Gaming Hodgepodge

If you've been holding out on buying a copy of Viva Pinata until it goes on sale, you're in luck! Best Buy has the game for $29.99. It was one of my favorite games from what has become known as The Last E3 EV-AR but I was reluctant to pay $50-$60 on it for fear that it would end up like Animal Crossing and become hopelessly boring and choresome after a week or two. A couple stores we were in over the weekend had it for $49.99, then Best Buy it had at a good price. So I bought it.

I haven't played it yet, however, because I'm still playing Guitar Hero II. I'm making good progress 5-starring the songs on Medium, but I've hit a stumbling block on the Foo Fighter's "Monkey Wrench" in the fourth set. It might be finally time to hit Practice Mode and earn the Achievement that goes with it.

Speaking of Guitar Hero II Achievements, the 10 Gamer Points you get for watching the Credits may be the most time-consuming to get in the entire game. The credits drag on forever. They're nearly 30 minutes long. Here's what I did while the credits played...

1) Made a cup of coffee.
2) Had a bowl of cereal.
3) Went in the garage and pumped up the tires of my road bike.
4) Put my bike on the rack and gathered up my helmet, gloves, shoes.
5) Filled water bottles and gathered cycling food.
6) Cleaned out the truck of dirty clothes and empty wrappers and Gatorade bottles.
7) Had a second cup of coffee.
8) Put laundry in the drier.

And then finally sat down as the credits for "War Pigs" scrolled up the screen... just in time to watch the funniest addition to a credits list ever.

"No Pitchers Were Harmed During the Making of this Game"
"Except One"
"Joel Zumaya"
"He Had it Coming"

In case you don't remember me talking about it earlier this winter, Joel Zumaya is a stud relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who mysteriously became injured during the American League Championship Series last fall and had to miss a few games. It turned out he strained his throwing arm from playing too much Guitar Hero II (PS2 version). I was really glad I sat back down in front of the credits in time to see that. The laugh I got was worth more than the 10 Gamer Points, that's for certain.

In other news, I just want to say that Gears of War has made it very hard to play "normal" first-person shooters. Warning to developers: If your game does not allow us to blind-fire; see the trajectory of our grenades; have worthwhile melee options; or possess the ability to slam into cover and hurdle over things, your game runs the risk of feeling very dated. I'm currently playing a game that does not release until early summer, yet thanks to Gears of War, the game already feels like it's several years old.

Lastly, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is second only to coffee as far as my life's list of current addictions. It's so nice to have a game that makes owning a DS worthwhile again.

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