Bahn Unplugged: Volume 11 Feature - The Next Level

Bahn Unplugged: Volume 11

Snow in April, disgruntled musings with online gaming, and other random ranting.

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
April 5th 2006, 08:20PM

Mother Nature decided to reveal its sense of humor to me this morning as I awoke to find something strange. It was snowing... in April. At this point, the thought of a winter flurry should be but a distant memory, never to be discussed again (unless you live in a place like Alaska where that white stuff will exist for an eternity.

To make matters even more interesting, today marked the first of several shifts where I'll be "forced" to work 12-hour shifts... alone. See, the big problem with that is the customer frequency isn't nearly as great as it used to be last year around this time. And it's not just my particular business that's being affected, but the entire mall. Come May and June, don't even think about seeing a business boom -- everyone's going to be chillin at the beach and working on their tan.

And speaking of sun, man, am I eagerly looking forward to E3. Sure, I can sit and regale you with talks about the highly anticipated games and such; but by now, you've heard it all before. I'm just going to be thrilled to spend a week in Los Angeles -- as odd as it sounds, that's vacation time. Well deserved vacation time. I've vowed to balance my work duties with R/R (rest and relaxation for the abbreviated impaired). Wait a minute, rest AND relaxation, at E3? P'shaw. I'll be lucky to put in a mere 4 - 5 hours of sleep. This year is destined to be a big year. Not only are we finally going to get a up-close-and-personal look at the Revolution, but the second generation of 360 games will be unveiled, and then of course, there's that console predicted to take over your virtual lifestyle (and probably your real life too). Yeah, I'm talking about PS3. Long has there been folks drunk on the haterade that this system will suck since Sony allegedly doesn't know what they're doing.

Of course, many have began singing a different tune now that recent announcements revealed the advent of a Xbox Live-type online gaming network, hard drive support and more promises of what Blu-Ray will do to the state of the entertainment industry. It's really a great deal to take in. Oh, and then there's the buzz of how games are going to look absolutely stunning. Heh, I'll be a true believer once they stop feeding us tech demos and get to showing off some actual titles in action.

So I've gathered a few of you were intrigued by my achievements blurb and rest assured, I'm planning to make every effort to follow up on that topic. Ross Fisher may be assisting me in establishing a joint-feature. We'll see what comes of it.

In other random related news:

-- Rumble Roses XX is NOT what I expected. Should 360 owners be thrilled that a next-gen wrestling game is available? Absolutely. The bad news is, there just isn't too much depth or substance behind this game's pretty face. Yes, the game has a respectable degree of visual eye-candy, the chicks are sexy -- that is if virtual chicks are your sort of thing. I really dislike the combat system. Even though I am not an avid 'rasslin fan, the mechanics just feel odd to me. The execution feels delayed and lacks the intuitive quality that NEEDS to be in a game that tosses the pretense it's such an "intense" battle. I plan on playing the game a bit more and I'll put it all together in an organized fashion. In other words, the end result will be a review. ;)

Burnout Revenge may very end up being my favorite 360 game for some time, although I am not pleased with EA's decision to continually reset their leaderboards. Granted, I am not a stat whore or anything, but it's difficult to shake the notion that it could be bothering others. Far too often have I been in sessions where players constantly feel the need to quit. It appears that this practice is a regular thing that goes into effect every Tuesday. What are the reasons behind it though? Someone please explain it to me...

Silent Hill: The Experience just hit my doorsteps earlier this week, and I must say that the thought of a digital documentary on my PSP intrigues me. I'm not planning to do the official review, but promised a few others that I'd share some impressions prior to mailing it out to a staffer. As some of you know, I've scaled back the degree of reviews personally authored by me. After putting in 7 years of non-stop editorial work, the thought of regular reviewing just doesn't appeal to me. As things begin to pick up, I plan on offering my services back to Gamespy (after taking several months off, it's about time to get into another groove). Besides, we've got a relatively large group of passionate, productive people.

Dead or Alive 4 may be on its way out again. Seems that everyone on my friends list has become fully immersed with Oblivion. I have the game, but who knows when I will actually get around playing it on a regular basis. RPGs and I just don't mix anymore. And yet, as I write this, I recently picked up Kingdom Hearts II and even started playing the original from scratch. (Just so you all know, I never did get around to beating the first one, and I feel weird playing the sequel right now). I know, shameful isn't it? But hey, at least I am actively gaming more often.

...and on that note, I think it's time to fire up some Tetris DS. Great game. Tetris always rocked my face, giving me endless hours of enjoyment. I may eventually hop online to play others, though I am a bit fearful as friends have hinted the competition is somewhat beastly. Gak!

Help Wanted: Before I forget, I am looking for a news contributor to help out on GotNext. If you feel you've got a nose for news, solid writing skills and a great personality to back it all up -- please drop me a line.

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