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Holiday Gaming 2010

Half Life 2 is on the top of my holiday gaming list.

Once I finish grading final papers and exams, I plan to sit down for a few weeks of hard-core gaming.  One of the perks of teaching in academia is the solid month off between the fall and spring semesters.  Oh the gaming!  Of course, I have some ulterior motives (read: research) in mind for some of these games. On the top of that list is The Orange Box, but I also plan to start (and complete) Splinter Cell Conviction, Halo Reach, and Call of Duty Black Ops.

Valve’s The Orange Box contains one of the finest first-person-shooters ever crafted in Half Life 2.  I simply loved it the first time through and have been waiting to play it again.  While the games characters, especially Eli and Alyx Vance, shine I also want to more fully explore the various settings and the pace of narrative. To me, HL2 is a game that does more with less.  Yes, the game engine is old, but it still manages to create wonderful environments and mood.

I'm determined to actually finish a Splinter Cell game.

Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Conviction presents a different challenge.  I have never finished a Splinter Cell game, though I really enjoyed Splinter Cell Chaos Theory on the original xbox.  I can’t seem to get the hang of stealth games, no matter how I try.  At least Conviction offers a co-op suite as well and a friend has offered to go through it with me. I would rather play co-op than adversarial multiplayer anyhow.

Similarly, Halo Reach also has a co-op mode called Firefight where you and some buddies (or strangers even) team up to fight off waves of alien bad guys.  This is where co-op is at its best.  You either work or “perish” together. Unlike adversarial multiplayer where people don’t really communicate, co-op modes like Firefight (and Horde mode from Gears of War 2) force players to talk to each other in order to survive and advance to the next round.

My goal for Call of Duty Black Ops is simple: finish the campaign.  I spend most of my time in the game playing team death match or combat training (both online). I think I’ve been a little lax regarding the single-player campaign since I have played a Call of Duty game every year since ’05. It’s gotten a bit old now.

My hope is that aside from having a lot of fun, I will gain some insight or epiphany that will, in turn, produce some good blogs (and perhaps a conference paper).

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