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Start Of The Week

Posted by | Posted in Gym, Monday Mornings, Random | Posted on 25-01-2010

…and it’s started like any other – a grey sky and a loud whinge as I have to drag my sleepy carcass out of bed!

I decided last night that 3 weeks is far too long not to have done any real exercise, and so tonight will be the start of my new year’s resolution (which is probably the same as it has been for the last few years) – get fitter and healthier.

I didn’t actually make a new year’s resolution this year; it just kind of slipped my mind. Which is convenient really, as it means I can just make something up half way through the year and pretend that that was my resolution all along.

But as it happens, it’s the 25th January, and I’ve found a new determination to get properly fit and healthy. The Christmas food is well and truly eaten, so there’s no more excuses!

For the last few days (well, nigh on two weeks now) I’ve been playing the Star Trek Online beta. I always swore to myself, after seeing family members’ lives getting consumed by World Of Warcraft, that I wouldn’t go down that route. Don’t get me wrong, I like my computer games, although I don’t get a lot of time to play them these days. But MMORPGs seem to absolutely consume people’s lives, and I really didn’t want to get addicted to one. Then along came Star Trek Online.

Now, like a true geek, I am a Star Trek fan, and have been since I was about 7 years old, and so when I heard that they were making a Star Trek game, I was immediately interested. And so far I’m quite impressed. But my dilemma is that, because I’ve never played an MMORPG before, I’ve got no idea how it compares to others of it’s genre. I guess it doesn’t really matter – if I like it, I’ll play it – but it’s nice to know where it lies in the grand scheme of MMORPGs.

The beta itself is pretty buggy to be honest, and I personally think it’s got some way to go before being released (which will be happeneing on 2nd February in the USA, and the 5th February everywhere else). Being part of the beta testers because I pre-ordered the game means that I’ve also got access to the “head start”, which is exactly that – a 4-day head start, that allows me to play the game from the 29th January.

Looking back on it, it seems strange that I might pre-order a game just to get access to the beta, and get a headstart, for a game that I’d not even played yet, but that’s just how much of a fan I am. And also, if I didn’t like the beta, I could simply cancel the pre-order. But as it turns out, I loved the game, and I think I’ll be getting a lifetime subscription for $239.

The only trouble is, on Thursday, my PC’s motherboard blew. At least, I assume it was the motherboard, but without being able to start the PC for more than 5 to 10 seconds, it’s hard to know. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time either – the beta period for STO ends tomorrow, and my newly-ordered mobo won’t arrive until Wednesday. So not only have I not had the chance to play the beta game fully, but it might turn out that the mobo isn’t causing the problem after all, and I’ll have two days to fix whatever the problem is, before the headstart begins. And if I don’t make the headstart, it’ll have been pointless pre-ordering the game (to a certain extent).

Still, the pre-order did give me the opportunity to play the game for a little over a week, and it was enough to know that I want to keep the game and subscribe to it. I just hope they fix the mountain of bugs that people have found thus far, and that the game is in a reasonable state when the headstart begins on Friday.

My PC speakers also went up the creek about a month ago. The volume control seems to have a faulty component, and while I’ve ordered a new part (from Poland of all places) I’ve yet to take the volume controller apart and solder the new component into place. So for the last few weeks I’ve been using some crappy PC speakers, for both my PC, and my CD decks. It doesn’t sound pretty. Still, I can’t complain – I did get them for free!

As I seem to be going for a full-on geekfest post this time, I might as well comment on what an awesome game Deus Ex is. The second one isn’t bad, but the first one totally rules. It rules as hard now as it did when it was first made… ten years ago! The graphics are nothing special, just as they weren’t when it was made, but it’s not the graphics that make it awesome. It’s the story, and the complexity of the gameplay. Although games like WoW are pretty complex in terms of the weapons and items that can be bought/sold/crafted, Deus Ex set the standard for first person shooters back in the day. Some people complained that it was too complex, but personally, I loved it.

I found myself playing it again at the weekend. With my main PC out of action, I was using my laptop. My laptop is over three years old now, and is more of a business laptop than anything, so it wasn’t designed for games. But as Deus Ex is ten years old, it runs just fine. I installed it a few months ago and started playing, so I simply picked up where I left off. And even though I’ve played the game from start to finish a number of times, I’m still finding new areas and side missions to play. And there are three different endings as well (I think – there might possibly be a hiddon one too). I’d highly recommend you play it if you’re into any kind of shoot ’em up game, because even though it’s old, the story is still wicked. And if you’re a true geek, you’ll know about things like Area 51, the Triads, the Illuminati, and the Knights Templar, which all appear in the game story at one point or another. It’s just mint. You can pick it up in discount shops and the like, for about a fiver. Well worth it!

Not having a PC to play on this weekend meant that I got round to watching a few of the extras on my DVD’s and Blurays. Specifically, I watched the extras on the Star Trek bluray. All four hours worth! And they were pretty good, I have to say. Mostly, extras on DVDs are pretty tame – they might have a documentary about making the film, with some trailers or deleted scenes, and that’s about it. This had a number of documentaries about various aspects of the film, with little “in-film” extras that you could choose to watch within the main documantary, or watch separately. The deleted scenes were actually worth leaving in the film (and hence, worth watching) and the gag reel at the end had some hilarious moments in it (such as Kirk and Spock saying their lines with an Irish accent – brilliant!)

After having watched Avatar in 3D again last night, I’ll certainly be getting that film on bluray as well. As James Cameron has had five years (and $300 million) to make the film, I’d hope there would be a whole load of extras lined up. Aside from the usual things, there’s no word on what extras there might be right now, but I have high hopes!

Right, that’s it from me for today. Enjoy your Monday!

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