Finally, after a few weeks of being MIA, I’ve finally returned to what I hope will be a normal posting schedule.

Being that my personal schedule had gotten the better of me for well over a month, I didn’t have a lot of time to play video games, which in turn made for a very boring blog. It’s a little hard to write about something when you aren’t able to bring something to the table.

But November, which is absolutely teeming with gaming goodness in the form of a new Zelda, Skyrim, and Mario‘s 3DS debut, I’ll have things to cover.

I have put in some gaming time this month already, however. I’ve been playing Aliens: Infestation for the Nintendo DS, and am finally getting my feet wet with Batman: Arkham City. At least I can post some initial impressions about these two.

Long time readers knew that I was waiting for the DS Aliens game. A video popped up a few years back on YouTube, then was yanked down, and the game disappeared into the shadows for a long time. So long, in fact, that I figured that it was canceled, and my dreams of playing a 2D Metroid style shooter of one of my favorite film series just wasn’t going to happen.

But it did! And the game itself is pretty entertaining so far. The game itself looks and sounds excellent, there are some decent “scare” moments in the style of the movies, and it focuses more on the first two films, which is fine by me. I enjoy the exploration and fighting some rather tough enemies. But there is one of the big 2D traps of respawning enemies (to the level of 8-bit Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden, and Castlevania games), and they really do take the films philosophy of “expendable marines” seriously. On one hand, I appreciate the true to nature feel of the films. On the other hand, dead means dead in this game, and the bosses I’ve encountered so far are crazy hard. Is it worth it? As likely one of the last good regular DS games, I’d say definitely so.

Batman: Arkham City is slowly becoming a time sink for me, in a good way. It’s very well done with a great opening, and I like the fact that the gadgets Batman ended up with at the end of the first game are all accounted for at the start of the second. It’s something Metroid should really consider doing, while adding all new items along the way. There are a ton of things to explore in this new game, and a lot of criminals to trash along the way, either as Batman or Catwoman.

Two small gripes so far: Why does Gotham City hate itself so much that it would allow a substantial part of its city to be sectioned off as a daycare center for the numerous criminals and madmen that take up general residence there? Seriously, are Blackgate Prison and Arkham Asylum just not cutting it that much that they felt the need to dedicate that much city space to house these nutjobs? I would hate to see the decline in property values on Zillow after this “brilliant” decision was made. Ah, well. It’s still an entertaining game.

Also, like Mortal Kombat, I do not like this “online pass” thing games (notably Warner Bros. in my particular selections), are doing to deter the sale of used titles. Integrated game features should not be disabled at the beginning to put in some code to prove that you “bought” the game. The withdrawal from my bank account is enough proof for me to validated my game purchases, and even if a gamer does buy a game used, someone had to make that initial purchase in the first place.

I get the point: Companies want the sales. They want to prevent piracy. I understand that. I also understand in that any game that we as a consumer buy is not “ours” in the sense that I can’t go around saying that I own the rights to the Mario franchise or that I created the game in hand. It’s not mine to distribute as such. But the specific physical copy that I directly purchased is indeed my property. I have games that are 10, 20, 30 years old, and no company representative has ever shown up knocking at my door saying “You need to renew your license for this game”, or “We need to take it back now.” If I want to use my games as a doorstop or toss them in the microwave to look at the pretty crackles, then that’s my option as well. Bottom line: I don’t appreciate buying a temporarily disabled product over an issue that I didn’t help contribute into. With the rare, out of print exceptions, I buy my games sealed and new. This is a concerning trend that I hope will be the exception and not the rule.

I’ll be updating more thoughts later this week, now that I’m back. I have a few new entries in mind, and finally the time to write them.

It’s good to be back….

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