The cake is a lie!

Yeah I know I’m a little late to the party but last night I finished ‘Portal’.

Portal is this amazing game that’s part of the ‘Orange Box’ from Valve. It’s one of 5 games in the game pack, and in my humble opinion the only game in it worth playing.

It’s a 3D puzzle game that puts you as a test subject at the Aperture Science Institute. “We do what we must because we can.”

The portal concept is difficult for some to get. I’ll try to explain it.

There are two portals, one orange, one blue. If you walk in one you come out the other. In early stages you only get to control one, the blue portal.

Imagine that if you walked out your front door. But instead of walking out onto the porch you ended up coming in the back door of your house. Like wise you could turn around and walk out the back and instantly be in your front foyer, as if there was no ‘outside’. That’s what a portal would be like, only you get to shoot them and place them where you need them in most cases.


There’s a 2D flash version on the net that might help explain this [here].

I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t played it.

I played this on the PS3. It’s available for X Box, PS3 and the PC platform. You can buy Portal by itself for $20 from Valve and I’d recommend that if you’re not into the half life series.

On the PS3 the game played fine, though it loaded like a slug.

Call Of Duty (4) aka COD4 is an addiction.


Santa brought us a copy of Call Of Duty 4 Modern Warfare. We’ve played previous call of Duty games and they were all pretty good. Everything you’ve read about this game is pretty accurate.

WWII has been done to death, so Infinity Ward brought Tom Clancy style gaming to the multi-player arena.

Only it’s worse than that.

The graphics are astounding, and the game play is really, really good. I’ve not been a huge fan of platform FPS games mostly because I’ve been platform controller challenged. I’ve just always felt like the controllers were the weak link. I mean come on. Compared to a mouse and keyboard how could you compete? Thank heavens this game isn’t cross-platform multi-player or I’m sure the PC folks would simply crush the platformers.

That being said, this game is addictive enough and the multi-player good enough that it’s pushed me over the edge. I’ve embraced my controller limitations and overcome most of them.

So what’s so addicting? The action. For the most part the games are balanced although you will find yourself in a lopsided battle now and again. If you’re on the winning side it isn’t so bad.

You start out with decent weapons but earn better weapons and mods as you progress through skill challenges. You get a plain Jane MP5 to start, but after a number of kills can add a red-dot sight or silencer. All good things in the scheme of modern warfare.

It’s this apparent never ending quest to have better equipment than the next guy that keeps you going.

There are no vehicles, and I’m OK with that. Get 3 kills in a row without dying and you get to call in or active a UAV, or radar plane that shows your enemies on the map. This is a good thing. Make it to 5 kills and you get to call in an air strike. Done properly, this will kill a few more bad guys and get you to 7 kills and the ability to call in a helicopter for support. Using air strikes and helicopters will get the frags piling up like the pay off of a loose slot machine.

Believe me when I say it’s addictive and I don’t take that lightly. As someone who lost almost 2 years of their off-time playing organized team FPS games, this one could easily put you back in that sored time waste of online gaming.


I admit I’ve probably gone a bit over board in the recent weeks but it’s all in good fun, and it’s a good thing the weather has been completely miserable or I’d really feel bad about the time spent.

It’s just a darn good thing not much else is happening around here.

EA Skate for PS3

At the same time that we purchased Ratchet & Clank for PS3 we also bought EA Skate.


As skating games go this one is pretty good. The reviews of this game coming in around a high 7 to low 8 are pretty spot on.

What differentiates this game from other skating games is the ‘flick-it’ controls. Rather than push a button to start a trick, you ‘flick’ the right analog stick to perform Ollie and Nollie tricks. The tutorials throughout your career are pretty good and get you down the right path. It’ s all about timing and that takes some time to learn.

Throughout the career, I’ve had two times when pulling the appropriate trick was nearly impossible. In some challenges you’ll have to do a Nollie 360 and grind on something. It has to be a “Nollie 360”, not a “Nollie 360 Pop Shuvit”, or anything else that’s very similar. The differences between the two on the Analog stick are very hard to discern and do with consistency, at least for me. Of the two PS3 controllers that we have, one seems easier than the other. Perhaps it’s not as worn out?

What sucks about these types of challenges is that you must do the called for trick in the called for order. It would help if you could do a couple different types of tricks to satisfy the requirement.

The other bad part of this game is there is no walking. You ride everywhere. You have to Ollie up every little curb and step, which can sometimes make getting lined up for a run somewhat tricky. If you could stop, pickup your board, walk to where you want to be, set it down this game would be much more user friendly. I fully expect that will be implemented in the next installment of this game.

The game can get somewhat redundant at times, but forging forward to get the X-Games unlocked brings all kinds of fun.

I currently ‘Own’ my 16 year old son on X-Games Big Air 🙂 He’s getting frustrated and there are still tricks that neither of us can pull with consistency.

Poking around the web you’ll find a number of ‘cheat sheets’ for the tricks. There aren’t any ‘cheats’ that I know of other than unlocking some clothes that you don’t want anyway.

This game takes time to master and certainly isn’t as much fun as saving the day and blowing stuff up, but as a sport game it is quite fun.

I highly recommend it. For me it was a lot more ‘realistic’ and fun than say a Tony Hawk game where you can pull any trick, any time, anywhere, w/o consequences.

I give it two thumbs up.