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Yankees going to the World Series
October 26, 2009

The Yankees are finally going back to the World Series, the first time since 2003. For a while, I was somewhat fearful that my two favorite teams, Yankees and Dodgers, were going to both be in the series to face one another. The Phillies quickly disposed of that idea, along with the Dodgers, 4 games to 1 in the National League Championship Series. So it will be the Phillies facing the Yankees, starting Wednesday night in New York.

Song O The Day :Theme From New York, New York, Frank Sinatra.

Still Too Old For This
October 24, 2009

The youth group made brunswick stew overnight. So, of course, I was up all night stirring and trying to help keep the teens organized and focused. I didn't get a bit of sleep, and didn't leave the church until noon. I was finally able to get some sleep around 1:30 this afternoon, and got about four hours worth. In due time, last night will become a story worth remembering. Right now? No. Oh heavens no.

In completely unrelated news, I'm working on dropping the seasonality from the website style. I will be tweaking it over the next few days. If prior history is any indication, I will probably be tweaking it a lot. And no matter what I do to it, it will always end up looking more or less the same when I'm all done. This is just more proof that I don't have the designer gene.

Song O The Day: Whatever It Takes, Pillar.

Halo meets LINQ
September 28, 2009

Over the weekend, I tweaked the Halo 3 online stats area to add more information courtesy of my latest favorite .NET programming tool, LINQ. (I wrote about it some time ago, do a search.) Anyway, I added some playlist and map aggregate information and revised the way the recent games list functioned. On that last bit, I removed the AJAX part, which is another cool programming tool but one that really doesn't make sense for this type of data. But it was fun to do at the time. The aggregates are something I had when I first did this with Halo 2, but I never added it to Halo 3 before now and, frankly, the way I'm doing it now is so much better.

You can check it out by following this link.

Song O The Day: Again, Flyleaf.

Halo 3: ODST Wrap Up
September 24, 2009

Well, I just finished the game. It was OK, I guess. I mean, it's not as if I like many other first person shooters, so it's not as if I have a long list of other games in the genre I would prefer to play. It's not very long, though. There were eight missions that you undertook, and a hub city that you went back and forth over as you went from mission to mission. As for actual time in the game, it was probably 5.5 to 6 hours, give or take. But the missions themselves were probably only 3 or 3.5 hours. Not very beefy. Some of missions, in fact, had you in a vehicle almost the entire time. Worth the 60 bucks? I don't know. I at least have access to all of the multiplayer maps now, so that much is going for it.

Song O The Day: Alive, P.O.D.

Halo 3: ODST
September 22, 2009

Halo 3: ODST was released today for Xbox 360. Of course, I wasted no time in picking it up. It's technically an expansion of Halo 3, but it is actually set before Halo 3 and during Halo 2. I could explain it, but... no. Anyway, this is a game that does not have you playing as the Master Chief (the main protagonist in Halo 1-3) but instead as an ODST, or Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. The entire campaign is set on Earth, in and around the African city of New Mombasa in the year 2552.

Since you're playing as someone other than the Chief, the gameplay has changed. The shield is gone, replaced by a game mechanic called "stamina." Eh... it's basically like having a shield. You can absorb so many hits before your stamina goes by the wayside, then you start absorbing actual damage. Unlike Halo 2 and Halo 3 (but not unlike Halo 1), you actually have a health meter. So even if you surive a particular firefight and your stamina regenerates, you may need the aid of a health pack. Dual-wielding (introduced in Halo 2) is gone. So is the battle rifle. The pistol has been tweaked, they brought back the ability to use a scope with it like in Halo 1. It still isn't as powerful as the Halo 1 pistol, though.

So how is it? Well, to be honest, I'm not crazy about it. I don't think Halo gameplay fits the particular setting, nor do I think it works without someone who is basically superhuman (like the Chief). Instead, the setting and character lends itself more towards the type of gameplay featured in Gears of War. I think a third-person, cover-based game would have worked really well. I know that type of game isn't Halo, but this one doesn't feel much like it, either.

As far as multiplayer goes, they're introducing a new mode called Firefight. It is similar to Gears of War 2's Horde mode where you can work with up to 3 other people in co-op to face wave after wave of Covenant enemies on a given map. In theory, sounds great. But it uses the same gameplay mechanics as ODST's single player campaign, which means I'm probably not going to be too keen on it. Give me the Chief and a battle rifle!

But all is not lost. The game also features the full version of Halo 3's standard multiplayer. All the maps (including all of the premium downloadable content released over the past two years) plus three new maps. It comes on a separate disk and for all intents and purposes is Halo 3. People playing the original game and the people playing on the ODST multiplayer disk will be playing in the same online games with and against each other.

Speaking of Xbox Live, I re-upped over the weekend for 12 months, so I've been back online in a few games. It took a couple of games to knock the rust off (I hadn't played since February, March), but it's back to business as usual, for better or worse. There are still parts about the online environment that I really don't care about, but you take the good with the bad. It's still pretty fun.

Song O The Day: Moving On, The Letter Black.

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I'm Anthony Pegram. This site is a place where I can talk about things that interest me in music, video games, programming, and other parts of life. It's also a place where I test the latest and greatest in programming technology. Thanks for stopping by.