A Mass Delay

If you’ve noticed, there’s been a distinct lack of posts on this blog.

My reasons are simple and predictable.

I’ve been playing too much Mass Effect.

Last week was pretty much dedicated to the first person action shooter. I got a ‘bee in my bonnet’ and wanted to finish the main quest of the game purely because I wanted to play the DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker so that I could reconcile with my lover from the first game Liara. Unlike most, I didn’t fall into the temptation of other lovers for this game purely because I couldn’t help but feel that the choice of partners for Female Shepard was somewhat limited in Mass Effect 2 (A reptile and a toad – and I dare anybody to describe them otherwise). The Male Shepard clearly had all the fun in this game (Miranda, hello…) so I decided to stick with my old love and be done with it.

It doesn’t often happen that I find myself so engrossed in a game which has lead me to realize that I’ve mentally moved this one up to that bar of greats in my mind, those games that I use to measure every other game that I play against. And, I have to admit that I like it a lot more than I did Fallout 3. I won’t lie and say that Fallout still holds a very dear place in my heart but Mass Effect is so good. Graphics aside, the storyline, the dialogue, the interpersonal relations with your crew and the magnitude of the world that Bioware created has blown me out of the sky in a very big Normandy 1 kind of way. The suicide mission was engrossing and the potential for how it played out almost endless.

I played a smart game, gaining the loyalty of all the key members of my crew first. I favoured Samara, Miranda Lawson, Dr. Mordin Solus, Tali and occasionally Legion and Garrus in my squad. Jack irritated the hell out of me (she has a terrible history I know but unfortunately that terrible history also made her INCREDIBLY rude). For my suicide squad I used mainly Miranda and Mordin Solus (purely because he thought that I was hitting on him in conversation and politely blew me off, what other person in the galaxy had the guts to do that to Commander Shepard?!). I knew the value of loyalty in Mass Effect and made a point of choosing only members whose loyalty I had. In my first play through, I managed to get the ‘no one left behind’ medal. Easy as pie. The galaxy was saved from the Collectors, I killed a Reaper and Miranda Lawson saved my life, something I’m sure gave her one hell of a kick.

I was so enraptured by the game that when I wasn’t playing it, I was writing Fan Fiction (a story named Three focused on my Shepard’s past) to get rid of the brain itch this story line gave me. It was invigorating, not just the game playing but writing as well. I’ve had a bit of a slump in my creativity of late so big was my surprise when I managed to dish out more than 8000 words in less than four days.

I’ve completed the suicide mission and Lair of the Shadow Broker (all in one night). Kissed and made up with Liara T’soni and had the satisfaction of seeing another Spectre of the Council fall from grace. Not bad for a day’s work!

The new Mass Effect will be released in March 2012. It feels like an INCREDIBLY long wait. This is really one of the best games that I’ve played in my life.

Hopefully life on the blog will return to normal now…

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Aheila’s Drabble Day – Wind

A little bit late but here with Aheila’s Drabble Day Challenge. I had some issues yesterday and couldn’t write, lol. J All sorted now.

This was our prompt:

Remember how it works?

Read the prompt and find your angle.
Write a drabble (100 words story, give or take five words).
Post a direct link to your drabble in the comments (or, if you don’t have a blog, just go ahead and post your drabble in the comments).
In the post on your blog, make sure to link back to this post.
Today’s prompt is: Wind!
I’m afraid I don’t have an extra challenge this week. *shrugs* Hope you don’t mind!

 

To understand this you have to watch the video below. J It’s a homemade one.

Wind

It is starts softly at first, just brushing through my ears, a whisper, no more.

Then, as the force beneath me grows, it starts rushing by, pushing against my chest, threatening to tear me from my seat but I remain where I am. Its whisper becomes a howl and then a deafening blast that steals all sound from me. It whips tears into my eyes, threatening to blind me for my trespassing as humans weren’t meant to go this fast.

Still, I close my eyes and laugh – shouting as I do:

“GO BASJAN GO!”

Mystery Monday: The Bloop.

In 1997 US Navy officers were being paid to listen to whales on their super secret spy equipment left over from the Cold War. I presume it was a sunny day and perfect for listening to the usual mediocre sounds from the deep blue sea. How big must their surprise have been then when they quite suddenly recorded a sound which sounded unlike anything they had ever heard before? It sounded like this:

The sound was nicknamed ‘Bloop’ for obvious reasons and for the next couple of years scientists and military experts alike tried to figure out what could’ve given origin to such a strange sound. Many theories came up, from giant squid, to mating whales to shifting ice. In 2002 CNN wrote the first news report on the sound, giving the reins to amateur scientists and authors alike (as we all know all answers lie on the internet) to speculate on its origins. No plausible theories arose and one author even speculated that it came from a giant eel.

This sound will remain one of the things that will most probably never be solved, unless another one is recorded and analysed (or the whale caught mid breath). It might not be a super mysterious mystery, but it’s certainly an interesting one. I’m amused by two things that firstly, there are people paid to listen to the ocean at all times (Soviet sub, I know, I know) but also that just sometimes, Mother Nature decides to throw something non destructive at us that we didn’t see coming and can’t explain.

 

 

Painball

The invitation had said that the game of Paintball was most definitively not going to be like in the playstation games but I couldn’t help but think that the same rules applied than those I used in first person shooters namely:

  1. Find cover when you are under serious attack.
  2. Take a few moments to survey your surroundings.
  3. Plan a route which would not only get your enemies but preferably take them by surprise.
  4. Get someone trust worthy to cover your back and,
  5. Shoot the hell out of anything that’s not on your team…

I had gone to the birthday party invitation with a secret mission – to prove that gamers knew something about combat and that we could hold our own in a fight. The opposition was tough. We were fourteen competitors divided into two teams of seven – the black team and the green team. I was on the green and at first, I had looked at my crew with a touch of hesitation. They didn’t look like much and the opposition not only had two strappy young men ready for action but also my Other Half (a serious bit of emotional warfare tactic). It was going to be a tough game.

We played five rounds, the first one was called speedball where we did combat at close quarters between some wooden shields stuck to the ground. We were all nervous I think, you start the game knowing that you had to shoot the other team but you also knew that if the balls hit you it was going to hurt. A lot.
Admittedly, I froze for the first couple of seconds. I received a painful shot in the leg and, when I wanted to retaliate, my gun was still on safe.

Not very good going for the gamer.

But, then I took a breath. And another. And, another one just in case.

And, then I moved. First to the barrier right in front of me, then – to another. I made my line to the side, coming round the enemy on the right. Before I knew it and, unable to believe my luck – I had one in my sights. And, not only that – the person had his or her back turned towards me.

I fired like a maniac.

And shot my partner about three times in the shoulder. Oh dear.

Score one for the gamer but definitive brownie points lost in the bedroom front.

We moved onto round two. I decided to apply the same tactic as in my first round, sneaking to side to fire on our opponents but this time I was outsmarted because they knew what my tactic and had realized that I was one to watch on the field. I was shot out of the round in about five minutes, having not even used half of my bullets. The black team won. Again. Some serious strategising had to be done and I found myself turning to number 4 on my list of how to survive a first person shooter.

Get someone to cover your back. My choice: The Thornbird – a good, trustworthy friend of mine who didn’t mind shooting at my Other Half. This time and this round, we were going to be ready for the opposition. The whole team got together, had a pep talk and discussed tactics. We were put into a much larger area this time nicknamed ‘the village’. It looked like a nice, apocalyptic wasteland full of abandoned buildings, over turned cars and barriers. The Thornbird and I went at it like a pair of navy seals, covering each other’s back and shooting down any enemies that came our way. This time, our team won.

The fourth round was in ‘the forest’ and there The Thornbird and I were almost outsmarted by our own wit as we neglected to look at number two on my list namely: Survey your surroundings. Too early in the round we found ourselves pinned behind a barricade barely big enough to shield us both. We sat there like sitting ducks until we finally realized that we had to move. It was a daring dash but we found good cover and made up in splashes of paint and battle cries for our time lost behind the first barricade.

It was during this time that I shot Other Half again. Accidentally.

Oh double dear.

The green team won the round again and the last game was to be the one to decide who would be the ultimate winners. Admittedly, that round was the most brutal of all and it almost looked as if our team was going to be completely annihilated when one of the opponents members went bizzerk and started shooting her own team mates. That lead me to remember a number 6 on my list of’ surviving first person shooters’ and that was: Never underestimate the effectiveness of accidental friendly fire…

The Thornbird and I were among the last standing (as we had the most bullets I suspect) and the game ended without too many tempers lost and relationships burned. It was a LOT of fun, well worth the 14 proper shots that are now distributed all over my person. I’ll confess that today, I found myself thinking that I could’ve done without the sore muscles, the massive bruises and the pained Other Half (though I’ve been forgiven, heh) but the experience was well worth the inconvenience.

And, quite frankly I rocked. Because for every shot that I got, I dished out about two – proving that gamers (especially fit ones, hehehe) could hold their own in the real world.

And, I have to add – if aliens ever took over the world, I would want the Thornbird by my side.