Traveling to Los Angeles and Seattle over the last two weekends had prevented me from getting together with my gaming spouse, as he is now referred to by my wife, to finish Earth Defense Force, but I’m actually home this weekend and gaming was mandatory.
First, however, the four of us – me, my wife, my gaming spouse and his wife – went out for dim sum at Wong’s King restaurant. This is a chain that has several locations in the Portland area, but with a bit of a twist. Most of their restaurants are, while very good, basically “McChinese” food. You can go in to any one and have a massive plate of Sweet and Sour Pork and Pork Fried Rice served to you.
Their Dim sum location, on the other hand, I think they’d slap you if you tried to order Sweet and Sour Pork there. It’s crazy popular (we got there before 11AM and there was already a line for lunch) and the customers seem to be 90% Chinese, or at least Asian, which is always a good sign with a Chinese restaurant. Still, feeling a little out of place is worth it when the food is good, especially because Gaming Spouse’s wife lived in Taiwan for some while and knows her Dim sum and was able to recommend us some things I wouldn’t have tried on my own.
Pigging out on dumplings aside – and I didn’t even get on the scale this morning, I’ll give myself a couple of days of eating properly before I look again – we did eventually get around to the gaming part of the day.
I will point out that most of the games we play are Xbox or Xbox 360 games, simply because we tend to get more multiplayer games for those systems and more single-player games for the other systems. I have no special console loyalties since Sega left the hardware business. At any rate, one of the more genius moves Microsoft made with the 360 was to have the “gamerscore” feature, which is a constantly running tally of significant things you’ve accomplished in your Xbox 360 games. The significant things and the points awarded for each significant thing are up to the individual publishers, of course, and not very consistent, which is why the 40 points I’ve amassed in Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 for collecting all of Kasumi and Hitomi’s swimsuits took something like 20 hours to manage whereas some other games toss 50 points at you for getting through their training missions. I’ll get to that.
Neither of us is really focused on gamerscore, though. We’re both in the sub-1000 range where competition doesn’t really matter, but I get to make fun of him for having a 500-or-so gamerscore compared to my MASSIVE 675 gamerscore.
The game of the day was intended to be Earth Defense Force 2017. We’d managed to grind through most of the game in our last session and then been stymied by the final level, and expected to be stuck there for a while.
Unexpectedly we were not stuck. Starting the level at 1PM, fueled by freshly consumed Dim sum and focused on the task at hand, we got through it on the first try and got to watch a, actually rather disappointing, ending credits scroll.
And 100 gamerscore points.
Followed by 15 points because I was showing my wife what “Hexic HD” was and accidentally got a flower to happen.
Followed by 10 points for playing through a co-op level of “Rainbow Six: Vegas”
Followed by 50 points for playing through the TRAINING mission of “Call of Duty 2”
For a total of 175 points on the day. I am like unto a gamerscore god and all other gamers with less than an 850 gamerscore must bow before my greatness.
Mind you, “all other gamers with less than an 850 gamerscore” is basically me, my gaming spouse and people who don’t have an Xbox 360.
And 50 points for playing through the training level in “Call of Duty 2” is really silly.
Mixed in with the 360 games was a prolonged session of Counter-Strike, a game which I am given to understand is fairly popular and which I had not played before Saturday. Playing it involved:
a) buying a second copy, as it doesn’t support split screen play. Fortunately this was only $10 and meant that we got some exercise from walking to the nearby Fred Meyer’s.
b) hooking up the original Xbox to another TV. Subtasks: Hauling another TV over to near where the Xbox was.
c) hooking up the original Xbox to the router, as it wasn’t connected before. Of course, the first ethernet cable I dragged out of the cable bin turned out to be a bad cable, which caused no end of frustration, but once it was replaced all was well.
d) actually playing the game, which meant an awful lot of me dying before I got the knack of things.
It’s not 100% my cup of tea. It’s a little too fast paced for me and the constant re-equipping took some getting used to. It was good to see what everyone goes on and on about, though, and it was well worth the 10 bucks for the game and the hassle of hooking up the second system.
Then we finished up with a level of Lego Star Wars II, which is turning out to be a surprisingly difficult game and not really as fun as the original. But still, a good end to the evening of manly gaming.