Halo saved the Xbox. Prior to its arrival, the gaming console was an also-ran; afterwards it was the definitive reason to buy Microsoft’s PlayStation competitor. Gears of War may be the Xbox 360’s Halo.
Like Halo, Gears of War features humanity fighting a desperate, last-ditch war against alien destroyers. As the game opens, the far-off human colony world of Sera has been decimated by the Locust, bipedal horrors that emerged from deep underground 15 years ago and sacked most of mankind’s cities and nations. As humanity’s last city teeters near collapse, an elite group of soldiers known as “Gears of War” show up at a maximum security prison to break out one Marcus Fenix, a former soldier imprisoned years earlier for going against orders and attempting to save his father from the Locust. Now it turns out that his father may have had the key to defeating the alien menace … and Fenix has to help find it.
Tonight we'll be playing Khelez-Mar: The Dwarven Imperative, our dwarf-centric campaign set on the Pomarj in the World of Greyhawk. The last adventure saw the adventurers tracking a large orcish warband comprised of orcs, grey renders and manticores. They engaged and mostly destroyed several of the warbands patrols before breaking off from the main body to track a group of uruk-hai south. A hard march followed that ended with the orcs meeting a group of powerful human mercenaries ... which the party promptly ambushed.
My character, the dwarven mountain man Kull, lost his wolf companion in the fight, and this week finds himself mourning the animals death while seeking out a new aerial companion in the form of a mountain hawk. Meanwhile, the rest of the party is set to interogate the human prisoner they captured previously
Nuketown Radio Active gets Dugg (or at least an entry on Digg) while I struggle to organize comics that haven't been filed in a decade. If you're similarly organizationally challenged, then figure out how to hack your life with the 50 best Life Hacks from 2006 and an exceedingly geek calendar for 2007.
Rounding things out is a review of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the expansive role-playing game for Windows and Xbox 360 in which you play a hero who saves an empire from demonic invasion ... or not.
I missed the Geezer weigh-in yesterday because I forgot my iPod at home ... and there's no way that I am going to the gym without my podcasts. The good news is that I did make it today, and the gym scale surprised me with a weight of 204 lbs. I had to reset the scale and weigh myself again before I believed it.
I now weight 20 lbs. less than when I started this quest and as a fellow Geezer said today, the Land of Sub-200 is in sight! My 36 waist jeans and pants now fit well, and while they're not loose yet a 34 waist also seems achievable.
I'm excited to play it -- the last time I ventured to Castle Ravenloft, I was in 6th grade and playing my fighter Samuel "Battle Axe" Longriver (but, ah, he was just called "Battle Axe" then...) who eventually found and wielded the fabled sun sword. That was years and years ago, and most of my memories of Ravenloft have been consumed by the mists of time. Almost everyone in our group has been to Ravenloft at one time or another, and just about everyone is eager to return.
Radio Active's long dark tea time of the soul ends with Episode 43, in which I discuss a crazy January that saw my Xbox fall under the spell of the red rings of death while I destroyed my "integrated home theatre system" with a static electricity-empowered touch. Looking ahead to 2007, I talk about some of my personal goals, including reaching a weight of 190 lbs., coverting my campaign web site to a wiki, and writing a novel.
It's only fair that since I complained mightily when my Xbox 360 died, I should also let everyone know when it was resurrected.
During the week after my machine died, I spent a lot of time on the phone with Xbox and Best Buy, determining that a) either of them would replace the broken Xbox and b) Microsoft's fix would take several weeks, but not require my hard drive while Best Buy wanted the Xbox and everything it came with, including the hard drive.
It's Game Day, meaning that in about seven hours, a horde of geeks will descend on my house and we'll spend 4-6 hours hacking, slashing (and yes, role-playing) our way through a variety of humanoid menaces. Alternatively, we may be vying for world domination playing Risk 2210 or trying to prevent the Rise of the Sheeple in Settlers of Catan. Regardless of the game, you can be assured we'll be playing something.
Game Day's a big deal for me (and for everyone in the group), as it's a chance to blow off steam, relax away from the family and significant others, joke with friends and generally have some fun. With that in mind, I've decided to start writing a weekly "Game Day" column dedicated to all things gaming and geeky as a way of ramping up for the night's adventure.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The Complete Recordings by Howard Shore and released by Reprise Records is a huge collection containing 3+ hours of music from the movie spread over three CDs and augmented by a video DVD documenting the soundtrack's production.
I swore I'd never do it. I said it was pointless, watching video on an iPod at the gym. The screen's too small, the iPod's too far away, and there's plenty of better stuff to listen to that doesn't risk the iPod going flying across the gym after an inadvertent tug of the earphones sends it bouncing off the elliptical climber.
Yet there I was, at the gym, iPod balanced carefully on the stand in front of me, tiny screen flickering with all the science fiction goodness of Battlestar Galactica's "Eye of Jupiter" episode.
Desperation led me to this moment. Sue had yoga, I had a Knights of the Dinner Table column due, Heroes was on at 9 p.m. and I had to get caught up on Battlestar before Tuesday's lunch hour, when I'd be getting together with friends to watch Part 2 of "Eye of Jupiter". I had too much too do, and not enough time to do it. So I did what I swore I wouldn't, loading the episode onto my iPod and heading to the gym.