Some thoughts about Borderlands

borderlands-looks-niceI finished Borderlands last week! It’s one of the few xbox 360 games I completed lately.  A game needs to be engaging for me to spend more than a few hours on it thanks to all the other games that I want to play and my backlog.

Things I loved about the game:

  • Diablo loot-a-thon + first person shooter + RPG: This is the main reason why I bought the game. I wished that Fallout 3 was more FPS-ish and thi s is the game that answered the wish.
  • Art style: it’s like a cartoonish, twisted, colorful Fallout
  • Gearbox: I have fond memories of them from their Half-Life 1 days.
  • Claptraps!

Things I liked about the game:

  • Driving vehicles was easy schmeezy
  • I didn’t get lost in the open world
  • Lots and lots of different guns
  • Online co-op was easy to set up and lots of fun with a buddy

Things I didn’t like about the game:

  • Joining a player’s game will make you automatically inherit all their available quests whether you’re ready for them or not
  • The story was pretty generic
  • I couldn’t turn my controller’s vibration off

Things I hated about this game:

  • The path to the end of the game: finally making my way to the vault.
  • The ending

SPOILER ALERT! I’m going to complain about the ending below, so if you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read it.

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Waiting for Diablo 3? Play Torchlight

screen-shot-2009-11-19-at-32702-pmNo, PC gaming is not dead. Far from it. I’ve been playing a lot of Torchlight during my spare time lately. It’s a dungeon crawling loot-stravaganza for the uninitiated. The UI is great. The art design is whimsical. Your character model changes depending on what you have equipped. Oh, and every class gets a helpful pet!

Pets are one of the best parts of the game. They attack enemies, can be equipped with rings and trinkets, and can learn helpful skills like “Heal All” or summoning minions. They can also be sent back to town with a full pack of loot to sell if you don’t want to be bothered with teleporting into town and just want to stay in the dungeon. Pretty damn awesome.

The sweetest part of the deal is that this whole game is $20! I bought it on Steam so that I could have it to play on my PC and my mac (through Crossover Games).

The Stick

The BF got me the Street Fighter VI Tournament edition stick for my birthday a month or so ago.  The original artwork was mediocre, so we worked together to mod it.

The original stick looks like this:

sfiv_og_stickI fuddled with a template based on the Sega Astro City arcade cabinet and sent the finished artwork to Art’s Hobbies to be printed and also ordered plexiglass from them.  In the meantime, the BF ordered some different colored Sanwa buttons online.

After a few weeks, our orders got shipped to us and we took apart the stick.

Switching Out Parts

Unscrewing the top plate and peeling the original artwork off was no problem.  Disconnecting the ‘quick’ release wiring from the individual buttons were a pain until I MacGuyvered a lever system with a small flat edged screwdriver and a hex key.

I then spray-painted the bevel, originally red, to a matte black color.

The finished product looks pretty damn good IMO:

SFVI TE Stick Mod

It’s easier on the eyes (I think at least!) than the original look of the stick and I’d like to think that psychologically, it improves my game.

We had also bought smaller buttons to replace the start & select buttons at the top (not seen) of the box, but couldn’t figure out how to pop those buttons off at all because the spacing in that area of the box is so tight.  Other than that, I’m extremely pleased with the results.