Recent gaming overload

Over the past few weeks, I've really stepped up my gaming. To start, we've visited the Pinball Hall of Fame once or twice a week for the past couple months. Honestly, I don't see that stopping any time soon. No where else in Vegas do I know of where the entire family can go spend less than 30 bucks for 60 – 90 minutes of entertainment. If you know of a place, please let me know!

My current obsession with the pinball game Creature From the Black Lagoon remains in tact. The current grand champion on the game has just over 1 billion points. The next score is around 750 million. I hold the final 3 spots on the leader board at 620, 440 & 420 million. The 620 came this past weekend, but I gotta tell ya, I'm not giving up until I have that #1 spot. On my way home from the last visit I came up with a plan on how I think I can achieve the score. Unfortunately it's going to be 2 weeks before I can get back to test out my plan.

Next up has been Rock Band. First I went out and bought a set of drum pads to help quiet the noise made by the sticks hitting the plastic. I had been using a set a guy at work made, but these are way better. They have cut the sound in half. Plus, these have the added benefit of deadening the vibration, so you are better able to hit all the notes in rapid succession. Next I went and bought some new sticks from Guitar Center. It was a funny conversation when I told the guy that I don't actually play drums, but just played Rock Band. Apparently I wasn't even close to the first person to come in looking for replacement sticks. The new sticks I bought are a little bit shorter (which I don't care for) and a bit lighter (which I love) than the set that came with the game.

With the new equipment in place, my son and I set out to conquer the endless set. This is a 58 song set that you can't stop and restart. Once you begin, you can push pause, but that's it. You have to finish all 58 songs to get credit for any of it. So, he played guitar on hard and I played drums on medium. I went with medium because there are parts of Run to the Hills and a few other songs that I just wasn't positive I could make it through. I would have hated to play for 4+ hours and then have to quit because I couldn't get through a song. But, on a Friday afternoon we started around 4:50 PM and ended just short of 10 PM. We made it through the set scoring 5 stars on each song. It was challenging, but a ton of fun. Unfortunately we didn't earn any new fans because I was playing on the lower level. We have already capped out the amount of fans we can earn on Easy, Medium and now Hard. To earn any new fans we need to play on Expert. To think that only a couple months ago I had never played drums before (other than just screwing around), I'm pretty pleased with my progress.

Speaking of drums, I saw the new drum set that's going to come out in the new Guitar Hero 4, World Tour game. Just.Wow! 2 Tom-Toms, a snare, 2 cymbals and a bass drum. Apparently they are going for the most realistic video game drum set ever. So basically, if you can play drums on the harder levels of the game, you should be able to hold down a beat on a real drum set. I've heard that before, but don't know that I really believe it. Yeah, I can play some songs on expert on Rock Band, but seriously, I'm just good at following the dots on the screen and hitting at the right times. That's just years of video game play helping out. Last I checked, on a real drum set, there is no screen with scrolling dots telling you what drum to hit and at what time.

Back to pinball. My brother-in-law had been telling us about a game he's been playing on the PS2 called Pinball Hall of Fame: the Williams Collection. I picked it up over the weekend and holy crap is it fun! First off, the list of pinball games they have in the game is fantastic. Funhouse, Black Knight, Pinbot, Taxi and 5 or 6 others. The game play is amazingly realistic. The bounces, gravity and even some of the nuances of the game are all accounted for. I just saw that Amazon.com has it available for the PSP. I may just have to buy it as well. This would be a fantastic game to kill time on a plane or in a waiting room.

I also recently picked up the game Lost: Via Domus based on the TV show Lost. I quickly realized something. I do not have the patience I once had for video games. Wow, I really suck at the game. I've made it through the first “episode” of the game, but am now at a point where I have to walk through a pitch black cave using a torch for visibility. I have died by falling in to the same pit several times. Thing is, it takes me 5-10 minutes to get to this point and then I have to start over after I fall to my death. As cool as the game seems to be, I think this one is bound for the dust collecting shelf.