Holiday Time and a Media Blitz

Well, the holidays are upon us already, and I’m not sure I’m ready for them. There’s a radio station in Milwaukee that’s been playing nothing but Christmas songs since November 1st. Seriously? Two months of Christmas songs??!? I grew up going to choir rehearsals and band practices and we would start with the Christmas repertoire pretty early in the season, but this is ridiculous. It’s one thing to sing Christmas songs twice a week for a few hours at a time, but All Christmas since November 1st?

On a related note, Angie wanted me to put up the Christmas tree two weekends ago, and I refused on principle. November 10th is too early for a tree. I relented and was going to do it this last weekend, but I was helping Steve cover the boat on Saturday, and enjoyed a lazy Sunday. I guess we’ll get our tree up after Thanksgiving like normal Americans.

I’ve been playing a slew of new games as I’m caught square in a media blitz this year. Some years it seems like very few good games come out, and at the very least they are spaced out enough to give you time to play one before the next blockbuster comes out. Here’s the laundry list of games I’ve been keeping busy with and a few of my impressions of the games. (In no particular order)

Halo3: Since this seems to be THE game this year, I should start with it. I enjoyed the single player, and Co-Op was excellent. I suck at the multiplayer, and haven’t devoted much time to it because of this. Even though I gripe about the console controls, they really aren’t as bad as the PC Fanboys make them out to be.

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts: the stand alone expansion to one of the best RTS games I’ve ever played. This new chapter is just as good as the original. It’s fresh, yet familiar, and even though I can’t get the hang of the new factions because they are so dramatically different from the original CoH, I will be playing this game for a long while.

The Orange Box: I’m not sure which part I like the best in this package. Portal is fantastic, and I can’t wait to see where they take that franchise (Please let there be more Jonathan Coulton in any future Portal games!). TF2 is a fun and I really enjoy the cartoonish graphical style of the game. It held my interest for quite a while, but I wish there were more maps, and more objectives. The Orange Box prompted me to buckle down and finally beat Half Life 2, and Episode 1, but I can’t say that I’ve played Episode 2 yet… I’ll get to it sometime.

Call of Duty 4: Fantastic. I won’t be going back to TF2 for a while because CoD4 has been eating my free time to an extreme since I got it. Several diverse objectives, unlockable items and perks, fast paced play that still allows for the stealthy lone wolf play style, and visually stunning graphics make this THE multiplayer FPS game of the year. (Single Player FPS still goes to Bioshock, and RTS goes to CoH:OF)

Beautiful Katamari: They got it right! No more “We made a cool game and we’re hip and quirky, look at us” that came with We Love Katamari. This brings back the quirky storyline, while keeping the fundamental play style the same. I’m not sure I noticed much difference between this on HD and the original game on PS2, but it’s Katamari in its purest form so I’m happy.

That just about rounds out the games I’ve been playing, but I’m planning on picking up Rock Band today, and bringing the XBox and game to Minneapolis with me over the weekend so we can play some of that.

Now that I’ve created a really long post that’s not interesting to anybody, I’ll move along.

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