• Entertainment,  Gaming,  Uncategorized

    Rediscovering Halo

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    When I bought the Xbox One a couple of years ago, I specifically got the Halo edition because it came with Halo 5 and I’ve been a fan of the series since I discovered it in 2003, a couple of years after the first one came out. The new console also came with the Master Chief Collection, which puts the first six games into an integrated collection.

    When STO (my primary gaming entertainment for the last year or two) was having its recent update snafu and I couldn’t play for a couple of days, I happened to notice the Collection was still installed, though I’d never actually booted it up. Perhaps it was time to visit an old friend. I played the first two missions and have played four more since, enjoying it like a comfortable re-read.

    But it’s just the campaign aspects of the games I’m interested in; it’s all about the story for me. I’ve never been a PVP fan, though I enjoy cooperative play if it’s done well. When the kids were younger (and all three of mine played some version of Halo at some point), I’d play with them to have some extra time with them, and they were into the multiplayer experience. I never got good at it, but I got good enough that they weren’t leaving me too far behind, and we had fun together. Left to my own devices, though, if we aren’t working together to achieve an objective, I’ve got no interest. So I probably won’t be looking at the online play much, if that’s even still a viable thing with the release of the most recent game five years in the past.

    If I keep enjoying it, there are six more games to replay between now and the release of Halo Infinite, whenever that happens to be.

    Of course, it’s not lost on me that I’m making he discovery at a time when my life is changing and I’ll need to be very, very focused on other things if it works out (more on that next week, really).

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Gaming,  Parenting

    Video Game Companies Need to Get Smarter If They Want My Money

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherBacking that up a bit, I appear to be raising several gamer kids, although of distinctly different types.

    At some point, we’ve all been Halo fans, and fans of first person shooters in general. Those days are mostly over, I think. We’ve decided we’re not going to bother with the XBox One at this point for a variety of reasons, but the 360 still has a solid place in our entertainment unit. So does the PS3. The Wii (although that’s mostly for Gamecube games, and the Gamecube itself has migrated to my son’s room with an older 360). And the recently acquired Nintendo 64. There are a variety of handheld devices in the house, too. DS and 3DS mostly, but there’s also a game boy and a PSP hanging around, as well as the game potential on several iPods. I won’t rule out a new console in the future, either.

    Personally, I’m fairly eclectic in my gaming (surprise!), though that usually means I don’t get really good at any one game. But it’s more about the fun, or with bigger games, the story telling. I’m not competitive, so I don’t need to be better than anyone else at something. I just need to be good enough to watch the story unfold in a reasonable time frame.

    But, like I said, the offspring are all different.

    Oldest appears to have migrated away from first person shooters of his “youth” to online battle arenas as his primary gaming entertainment. Not exclusively. He has a couple of handheld devices, so he’s never without games, though seems to prefer some of the classic Nintendo varieties. He’s ranked somewhere in the Platinum levels on League of Legends at this point, but plays several others, too. These are mostly too complicated for me to have time for the learning curve at this stage of life, but I like Smite as it gives you the ability to automate certain things to streamline play. We keep saying we should check out War Thunder, but haven’t managed to yet.

    Youngest Daughter is a Minecraft fanatic. I admit to having been bitten by this bug (as evidenced by a previous post) and intend to allow myself an account of my own for my fast approaching birthday. She likes the Pokémon type games, too, and has a fairly extensive and eclectic collection of DS games. But Minecraft is her current love and gets the vast majority of her gaming time at the moment. Often hours per day. As many as three people in our house have played Minecraft together at the same time.

    Oldest Daughter, on the other hand, is the RPG fan. She does some action-adventure games, too (like having just finished off the entire Assassin’s Creed series), but RPGs tend to hold her interest longer. For solo play, she keeps coming back to Skyrim lately, but we’ve played a couple of multiplayer games together in the last little while: War in the North, and Dungeon Siege III. Two very different games in the same general genre, but both a lot of fun. I think we probably enjoyed War in the North more, as we played through it at every difficulty level building our characters up to game maximum, but our interest did eventually die out.

    And that’s the problem right now. We haven’t found another one we can play together. Most of the really good games on the shelf get passed by as single player games. We want something that allows for the two of us to play together, as in at the same time. A lot of game developers seem slow to wake up to the idea that gaming can be social, that it almost has to be and not just in an online, can’t see the other players’ faces, smack talk kind of way. (Which I personally find to be a complete turn off.)

    Gaming can be family time.

    For me, that’s always what it’s about. Can I play with one or more of my kids? If the answer is no, it’s probably going to stay on the shelf at the store. Now, I recognize that I’m not part of the target market of young men with more money than sense that the video game industry seem to survive on by fleecing on a regular basis. But the thing is, I should be. I have the potential to spend more money on entertaining my family.

    And there are five of us.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Days of Geek,  Podcast

    DoG Ep 04: Gaming With Your Kids

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherNote that the contact info given in the episode itself is no longer any good. If you want to find me, try Facebook, @writingdad on Twitter, or email: lance@lanceschonberg.com.

    00:00 Episode ID

    Days of Geek, Episode 4: Gaming with your kids.


    00:05 Music

    “Split In Synapse”, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com.


    00:13 Intro

    I quote something I saw posted on Facebook. “How do you bond with your 9yo daughter?” and answer it by saying to play a game with her.


    00:42 Main

    I talk very briefly about games in our house, mention Will Wheaton (see Episode 1 at daysofgeek.com/1) and Table Top again, but expand from there before launching into our favourites.


    03:08 The games.

    Dividing things up a little, I talk about the three categories of games we really play: table top games, RPGs, and video games.

    Table Top


    Miniatures and RPGs:

    Video Games (mostly just list current favourites)


    13:33 Ye Olde Bin O’ Dice

    A strange and mystical thing I experienced at Fan Expo this year.


    15:50 Media Consumption

    The part of the show where I very briefly talk about the geeky media I’ve consumed since recording the last episode. This is hopelessly out of date, but was good when I recorded this segment.


    Star Trek TOS: “The Corbomite Maneuver”

    The Community Marathon



    Finished: Synthesis and started the first Typhon Pact book (which I’ve actually now finished).


    And then I talk a little about how my reading methods have changed in the last couple of years.


    17:46 Star Trek TOS Re-Watch

    Episode: “The Corbomite Maneuver”

    I play the original TV teaser and offer a brief synopsis (which seem to be getting less brief every episode), plus a few thoughts and notes.


    Not much to score, but it’s a tension filled episode with lots of nervous people sweating.

    I’m a doctor, not a _____: Moon Shuttle Conductor

    Best Line:

    McCoy, to himself: “If I jumped every time a light came on around here, I’d end up talking to myself.”

    Overlooked Character/Actor:

    Balok the kid, played by Clint Howard.


    Not a favourite, but mostly a fun episode. It’s fast, tense, has some good characterization, and stands well on its own.


    25:36 Outro

    In which I again offer contact info, plus a quick reminder of the Tanya Gough contest:

    Closing music—George Street Shuffle, courtesy of Kevin McCleod at incompetch.com

    Creative Commons licensing info (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 Un-ported License).


    27:15 Blooper, sort of.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather