It’s Been A While…

…and I blame Twitter.

The “microblogging” site has become my latest obsession lately, though I admit to doing a lot more reading than writing on it because, quite frankly, I can’t think of anything interesting to say.

That is why I haven’t been posting much to this blog either. That, and I spend most days writing anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words between powerTV and I’m also trying to take the whole “managing editor” title seriously and promote Gas2 and make it into an even more awesome website.

Then there’s Starcraft.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been playing it a lot. Maybe 3-4 days a week, and mostly only with my buddy Brian.

What happened to give up games? Well for one, I haven’t had the money or inclination to work on my cars lately. It is friggin’ cold out, and my garage doesn’t have heat. Also, I went to the tax man a few weeks ago, and I owe a lot of money. Like, a lot of money. So that kind of sucks. So I’ve had these long weekends with nothing to do, and I well, I fell back into playing Starcraft.

But truth be told, I’m getting bored with it. Again. And I think I might have broken myself of my gaming addiction. Yeah, sure, I still play, but compared to how much I used to play? It hardly registers.

I feel a lot better about it. It’d be nice to not have so much work though. Speaking of which, I should probably get back to that.

But if you feel inclined to check me out on Twitter, follow me @harshcougar.

Yes, its a weird name. But I like it.

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Off the Wagon (though not for long)

So early last week I got my desktop finished, which meant I could finally upload and play Starcraft 2.

Which I have been, with frightening frequency.

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Extreme Gaming: Breaking the Addiction

I know the signs of classic addiction. Three years ago, my life was dedicated to Lady Warcraft, and then one day I was able to ditch my mistress, cold turkey. Never went back.

But Blizzard makes a good game, and two months after my desktop died, I finally managed to get the new hard drive installed (after fucking around for an hour trying to figure where to plug in the power gizmo). What was the first thing I did? Installed and booted up Starcraft 2. Sigh.

I would up playing the game in a few spurts on Monday. Two games here, three games there. It’s friggin addicting. I love Starcraft 2. I don’t really miss any other games, like Call of Duty or even Fallout. But Starcraft? I watch Starcraft videos on a daily basis, I think about new strategies, and guess what? I still suck. I’ll probably never be any better than a mid-level player.

Yet I still love the game. I managed to not play at all today…and yet I thought about playing. A lot. I probably won’t play tomorrow either. But I’m really starting to question the wisdom of my self-imposed sabbatical from video games. Can I really make it until October 1st without playing any more games? Doubtful.

And yet…

I don’t think my gaming addiction is nearly as bad as many people. I’ve got a job, a hot girlfriend, a following online, a collection of cool cars, and a life outside of video games. But I guess if I really wanted to get rid of video games completely, I could enlist myself in one of South Korea’s harsh anti-gaming camps. Yeah, it looks brutal, but I bet it gets results.

Ok, I’m not addicted enough to die in front of a computer screen. And I have managed to go three whole months without touching an Xbox controller, so that’s an accomplishment. Maybe I’m just being too hard on myself? Maybe not. I’m back on the wagon for now, but we’ll see how long I last.

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Hello from Beautiful Detroit!

Ok, so beautiful might be an exageration.

More like tired, sad, rundown and empty.

Yet Detroit lives, and that is no more apparent than in the Motor City Hotel and Casino where Ford has put Nicole and I up for the next few days. People just keep flowing into this place, despite it being literally across the street from a derelict row of abandoned (I hope…) houses. People here don’t seem to notice or care.

I’m not saying ignoring the problem is going to fix it. Far be that from the truth. But, being able to take the good with the bad, to enjoy yourself despite your surroundings. That sounds like the durable Detroit I know.

I’ll probably be too busy to see much of the city outside of the Cobo Center or casino, but there’s still something that captivates me about this hard luck city. Somehow, it always draws me back.

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I Bought A Game, Played Starcraft, and It Felt Good

New Year, new beginnings, right? Well today, I said the hell with it, and I played a game of Starcraft. While I was at it, I bought Fallout: New Vegas too. Oh the horror!

That’s not quite how it went down. You see, I visited my friend Adam this morning, and he was all in a tizzy (as usual). Apparently, his Xbox had shit the bed and ruined his Fallout game in the process, while making Assassins Creed: Brotherhood unreadable-yet-playable. On top of that, he had just gotten back from Gamestop, where he bought Dead Space only to get home and realize there’s no fucking disc in the case. That’s a shitty day, and it wasn’t even lunch time.

Anyway, we had to go back to Gamestop to get a new Fallout game (he already had the new Xbox). He had tried to trade in his copy of Fallout but they wouldn’t take it on account of being all scratched up. For whatever reason, he wanted me to buy it instead of him (I dunno) so he gave me his gift card, and there you have it. I bought a video game, for Adam, using his money. Woo.

Starcraft wasn’t quite so innocent. We got back and he wanted help on a single-player mission, “In Utter Darkness,” which pits the last remnants of the Protoss fleet against a massive swarm of Zerg and and Protoss-Zerg hybrids.

The mission, on Normal Mode, requires you to kill 1,500 enemies. Sounds like a lot, until you realize that you can kill 100 zerglings in about seven seconds. He had over 1,200 kills and most of his forces left when the game loaded up, and he handed control to me. I mopped up a bunch of zerglings and overseers hanging around and bam, all done. He was in awe at my non-existent skill.

He had to step out for a moment, and while he was gone I loaded up a multi-player game, my first since November 6th. It was a placement game, one where newbies battle newbies to determine what league you belong in. This means more rocks, and a slower pace to the game. I selected Random, and wound up as a Protoss. I’ve watched enough Starcraft 2 videos to know how to build a four gate strategy, and that’s what I did. I built a bunch of Stalkers, Zealots, and Sentry’s and moved out…at the same time my opponent did. We got to each other’s bases at the same time, and I briefly considered running back and trying to decimate him. Then I saw all he had were a bunch of Marines. So I decided to attack instead.

He killed a probe and an expansion, but didn’t go straight for my base. That gave me a chance to warp in more zealots while I dealt with the bunker at the top of his ramp. Long story short, my more-diverse and powerful units made short work of his defenses, and while I needed to pull my probes into the fight, I made short work of his attack. The game was mine.

And I got really, really excited. I’m such a damn nerd.

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I Almost Cheated into 2010

This morning I tried to cheat.

Nicole had gone to work, and here I am alone, on the last day of the old year, the cusp of the new one. I figured hey, it wouldn’t hurt to play just one more game of Starcraft. Just one more game.

I grabbed the disc out of the box and brought it over to my laptop, the very same laptop I bought back in Colorado when my Toshiba netbook died. It’s not exactly the beefiest laptop, but I thought maybe, somehow, it could handle a few games of my favorite gaming addiction.

It’s a 12 gigabyte upload. It’s huge. One of the biggest uploads I’ve ever witnessed. It took my humble laptop over 45 minutes just to get through the initial install. Then it had to download a few patches for another 15 minutes.

Finally! I hate the play button…and nothing. It took a whole minute for just the Starcraft 2 logo to pop up. Jim Raynor’s glowering face pops up, taunting me for another five minutes as my poor laptop, which has twice crossed the Rocky Mountains, gone all the way up Route 1 on the California coast, and survived our crash outside of Yellowstone.

But it couldn’t handle Starcraft. I managed to make it through the login screen (eventually), but I couldn’t get into a game. Forget about it. The measly on-board video card just can’t handle the awesomeness that is Starcraft2. Sigh.

I guess it’s all good. I can step into the New Year feeling clean, refreshed, new.

I really could have gone for one more game though.

“Spawn more Overlords…”

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One More Christmas Past

I survived the holidays. It’s another Christmas Miracle!

Actually, not only did I survive, but I made off with a boatload of gifts. While it is hard to pick a favorite, it’d have to be either my brand new Blu-Ray player….OR the Bosh drill my girlfriend got me. Gonna have to go with the drill. It’s awesome. I love power tools, especially really, really good ones. The Bosch power drill goes awesome with my new tool box and drill bits (really, I should have seen this coming).

It wasn’t just about the presents other people bought me though. I believe that this is the one time of year where I shouldn’t feel bad about buying a gift for myself. I do not buy myself things. Anything, really. I don’t buy myself clothes, I haven’t purchased a video game since July (Starcraft 2), and I generally keep as much of every paycheck as possible. The only non-necessities I have bought had to do with the Cougar…and I’d like to finish that car sometime in the next century.

But I’m getting myself something for Christmas. Something for Pony too. 2011 will be an important year for me, and I plan to start it off on the right foot. This gift-for-myself will go a long way towards that.

Also, we’re about to get a major blizzard. I LOVE SNOW. Love it. Can’t wait to build me a snowman. It’s been a great Christmas. It’s gonna be a great new year.

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No Games Under This Tree

This Christmas posed a conundrum for my mom; since I wasn’t playing video games, what could she get me for presents? Normally, I’d get two, maybe three presents, a new console, or at least something vaguely video game-related. Not this year though.

Momma did pretty damn good though, and I made out like a bandit while at the same time, shedding some of my youthfulness. Getting old sucks, but you can still get cool presents.

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Detroit Bound and Down

I’ve only been to the Motor City once, on a family “field trip” halfway across the country. My family usually did some sort of educational field trip, despite the decided lack of education either of my parents received. We avoided the rough areas of Detroit and instead checked out the Henry Ford Museum. If I had to pinpoint a place that began my love of automobiles, it was the Ford Museum.

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get back there, to see Detroit from a new perspective. Plus, there is the North American International Auto Show, the unofficial start of the car show season. And I just got an invitation out there from Ford to check it out.

I love my job. Yet I wonder, just what does Detroit hold for me over a decade later?

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Back to Cold Connecticut

I’m back from Florida after a harrowing flight home. Flying and me, we don’t get along.

Something about being corralled around like cattle while strange, often rude people search me and my private stuff while being at the mercy of maintenance and weather delays just doesn’t sit right with me.

Alas, it is all a part of the business world, and last week I flew down to Orlando to help cover the Performance Racing Industry show with powerTV. Despite delays and almost missing my connecting flight in Atlanta and the turbulence and the general lack of leg and elbow room…the flights wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.

Hell, I even had fun covering the show. I met a lot of awesome people and companies, saw some damn cool racing products, and the powerTV crew knows to have a good time on the road. California may not know how to drive, but they do know how to party.

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