Saturday, October 16, 2004

Halo 2 Leaked

In a horrible turn of events for the gaming community, GameSpot reported today that a complete version of Halo 2 was leaked to the Internet last night. Although Microsoft is standing by it's official release date of November 9th, with the scandal and subsequent delay of Half-Life 2 about the same time last year I as a gamer now worry what this means for what is probably the most anticipated FPS this year.

The largest cause for concern with games that are leaked is that if the source code for the game is openly available, hackers will probe the code for vulnerabilites. With games such as Halo 2 that feature XBox Live support, these vulnerabilities can pose security risks and can allow the otherwise unworthy to emerge victorious by finding ways to cheat.

With pre-orders for Halo 2 topping 2 million copies, I am certain that the legal department of Microsoft is currently conducting a Witch Hunt of the likes that would impress even the most stoic Spanish Inquisition. I only hope that I can frag and be fragged in "fair-play" and not see Hack$RRulez0r scoring 4,000 kills per minute by using some mod or exploit.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Is it too late to learn?

Do you reach a point in life where you can't change your situation and just have to make do with what you've got? What if you're really unhappy with what you're doing? These questions were raised in our family in August of last year when Tiffany (my wife) decided that she did not want to file papers and answer phones for the rest of her life. But after seven years of college and a bachelor's and masters degree in politics, losing all interest in the arena offered few other choices.

So we talked about what would hold interest, and finally discovered that it lay on the other side of the academic spectrum in the field of BioChemistry. After many months of groundwork and financial planning, she finally began her studies at OSU in a field that she has not touched in over 10 years. A scary prospect for anyone. But apart from the commute being a real bear at over 70 miles each way, the rewards both academically and to her self-esteem are already worth the price of admission.

(Click to enlarge)
Picture taken at a BioChemistry club picnic at OSU.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Finish Him!

Finish Him!These immortal words were first heard in arcades around the world in 1992. Over the past twelve years there have been several subsequent iterations of the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Last year saw the series first true venture into the realm of truly 3D arenas with the release of 'Deadly Alliance'. Recently, the sixth major release 'Deception' takes the experience online. There are the usual updates including more characters, more ways to kill defeated opponents (fatalities), and other bells and whistles. However, the addition of a chess-style combat game, a puzzle mode, and the mini-RPG 'Konquest' mode make this an impressive upgrade. Ultimately though, the major appeal of Deception is the fact that you can challenge opponents online. The game is fully integrated with XBox Live! and supports rank-based opponent matching. This means that when searching for games online, you can specify the skill level that you would like to face in terms of 'Better', 'Equal', or 'Worse' than your current ranking. This is a welcome addition to someone who is used to getting completely owned when they venture into gaming-cyberspace and means that most of the fights are kept very close. Playing against other humans means that the game is based more upon psychology than ultra-fast reflexes, as applying strategies and tactics can actually work.

Despite the variety of game modes though, the most satisfying aspect is getting home from work on a Friday night and taking out a whole day's stress on someone hundreds of miles away. After both of you have dealt out more punishment than a cartoon character could survive, one combatant is afforded the honor of applying one of the game's signiture 'Fatality' finishing moves, the ultimate in animatic destruction.