Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favorite part of the Christmas Story

At the church staff meeting this week, Pastor Karen asked everyone to think and share their favorite part of the Christmas story. I thought about this, and I described my favorite part as the "appendix" to the story. In the traditional lessons and carols Christmas eve service, the last lesson comes from John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The whole story is good, but the best part is the fact that God cared enough about us to invade a fallen world and save us from ourselves. The Incarnation is my favorite part of the Christmas story.

Along those lines, I absolutly love this song by Todd Agnew. Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Top Ten Video Games of 2009

It is probably a touch early to begin posting "best of the year" lists, but with Connor due any day now, the odds of me playing any new games from this year before like April are probably slim. So I can already give my opinion on the top games of the year. Compared to the past six years, I have played far less video games this year. Both in number of unique games and in number of hours. This is the case for two reasons. First, is with working at Avon I have had a lot less time to play video games. Second, is that Abigail is a full fledged game player, of the board/card variety that is. I have not played video games many a night because she has requested to play a board game together. Despite that I found time to play a decent amount this year, and here were my favorites.

10. Lord of the Rings: Conquest
This game took the Star Wars Battlefront formula (epic battles over spawn points in familiar locations) and sets it in the Lord of the Rings universe. Technically, this game is flawed. There are glitches, the bot AI is not the best, and it is not all that balanced. Despite those things, the game is still fun because it allows me to take part in the battle of helm's deep. . . and kick hobbits.

9. Peggle
Technically this game came out in 2008, but its Xbox 360 release was this year. It is hard to describe peggle, and if I did it would sound dumb and boring. However, this game is fun and it can be addicting. This game is mainly on here because of Abigail's obsession with it. This year we bought Peggle three times. We got it for the 360. We then found a Nintendo DS copy on clearance (plus the DS version included the expansion), and finally she bought it for the iPod Touch. That is a lot of Peggle.

8. Ghostbusters
I loved Ghostbusters growing up. I watched the movie over and over, and watched the cartoon on Saturday morning even if I had already seen it. Any game that allows me to simulate strapping an unliscensed Nuclear Accelarator to my back is a winner. This game is a little to "gamey" in that it has boss battles that require exploiting repeated patterns, collection quests, and repetitive levels. However, the game also let me do this:
7. Panzer General
I like board games, and I like video games. This is a board game in video game form. Panzer General is unique in that it came out on the Xbox before gettting a board game release. Another plus in this game is that it is a WWII game with deck customization.

6. BlazBlue
This fighting game was my "game of the summer". Like previous summer games (DiRT and GRID) I played the game like crazy during the summer and the stopped for some unknown reason. I really do like BlazBlue. It is a very unique fighting game, and I even had an ok online record. I don't know why I quite playing it nightly after 2 months, but I would like to go back to it. One of the neat things about Blazblue is how it looks. The game seriously feels like playing a cartoon.

5. Battlestations: Pacific
Battlestations: Midway was a good game a couple of years ago. The game had mediocre sales, and despite that somehow got a sequel. This game is better in everyway that the original. The Battlestations game mix the strategy of real time unit management with real time action. Plus it is the only game I know that allows the player to control a battleship, and doing a full broadside barage to sink another ship is really fun.

4. Halo 3: ODST
This Halo 3 spin off, may be better than the original Halo 3. The game features a non-linear story and great FPS action. A big trend in video games has been co-op multiplayer where players work together to see how long they can survive against overwhelming odds. ODST comes with a really good one that I have played criminally little.

3. Fallout 3
This game was actually released last year, but I spent about a full game price on it this year, so it counts. Fallout 3 is an open world game with a post-nuclear war setting. This year five downloadable expansions came out that extended the game, and I played them all. My favorite was Point Lookout which gave a brand new area to explore.

2. Left 4 Dead 2
My favorite game last year was Left 4 Dead, and the sequel is more of the same. That is a very, very good thing as killing Zombies is always fun. Left 4 Dead 2 does have more variety, more refinement, and more ways to kill zombies than the original.

1. Modern Warfare 2

Every year there is a new Call of Duty game, and every year it is one of my favorites. The single player of this game is solid, and the new co-op mode is a perfect bite sized challenge. However, the real draw of the game is the competive multiplayer. I have put a lot of time in online call of Duty games, and I fully suspect that by hours this will be the game I end up playing the most in 2010.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fun with Statistics

I dislike math.. . I mean really dislike math. Despite that, when it comes to statistics about me, I can not get enough of them. The link is a list I made that shares a bunch of my board game statistics (I have to find something to do on my day off when my Xbox is broken!)

One Year of Recorded Plays