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Blog3: Virtual Warriors

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Oh boy. So we finally picked up one of those fancy Oculus Rift kits all the boys and girls have been talking about. While I don’t want to spend 18 years tooting it’s horn, it was genuinely concerning at times. I watched multiple co-workers attempt to put their hands on desks that weren’t there. One tried to put his feet up on the bomb defusal (Ala Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes) table, which sent him hurling into a nearby, very real table. Another, our manager, in a fit of desperation, threw one of our Touch controllers across the room, attempting to throw their gun at the rampaging robots coming for them. How easily the brain was tricked into believing the cartoon landscape was a real tangible place is scary to me. Falling into that pit was far too easy for my liking, so I spent most of my time watching others. Maybe if we get one of those space dog fighting simulators set up, maybe then I’ll take it for a real spin.

Uncle Dogster

Blog 2: DogsNDolts

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I have recently, to fill the hole The Witcher 3 has left, joined a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I haven’t touched DnD in a few years, but I mistakenly thought that the 5th edition couldn’t be much different then the only other version I had played, the 4th edition. My next mistake was then telling the dungeon master I didn’t need a lot of help making my character, as I had DM’d a campaign before. I was using one of the most widely hated manual books to create a character for a completely different system, and I didn’t realize this until it was far too late.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a nerd. I just played tabletop games like Battletech and Babylon 5 Wars, and the few ventures I had into Dungeons and Dragons were in the 4th edition or heavily homebrewed. I like the format, what with the chance of the dice and the crazy stories, but I usually either was the dungeon master or had to deal with a sassy and anti-social party. So instead I drifted towards video games, hence Various Garbage being mostly about video games. I would love and do plan on expanding our themes, and a Dungeons and Dragons comic is certainly on the list for once our hiatus is lifted, but I don’t have nearly enough content from DnD or other table top games to really produce enough comics to warrant the effort. Maybe these new ventures with my ever so patient new DM will spice things up enough to take action.

On our usual theme, in our spare time the folks in our neck of the woods have been playing this wonderful little indie game on Steam called Of Guards and Thieves. OGaT is pretty close to the ideal competitive stealth game for free on the market right now. It’s still in beta, but what there is for free is enough for a good couple of friends to play for a few nights and get plenty of laughs. OGaT features two teams, the Guards, and the Thieves. The Guards have to protect five to six objects in their base, while the Thieves secretly conspire to steal the one item they need to win (or the Merchandise, as we like to call it). My personal style is to play Cobra, a Solid Snake styled character with a heavy focus on stealth, and distract and assassinate the guards while my team mates grab the merchandise. I highly recommend it for a Friday night with the friends.

-Uncle Dogster

P.S. Sorry for the delay! I’ll try to be staying to a weekly Saturday blog from now on. If I slack off, feel free to scream at me on Twitter. ( @Uncle_Dogster )

Blog 1: Halo’s Halo

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It really bugs me how Arma 3 does Halo better than the new Halo does Halo. The official Halo game after Reach have slowly but surely gotten farther and farther away from what made the first trilogy great. Where there used to be a sense of wonder and awe as you discovered the Halo rings, fought off the endless waves of the zealots belonging to the mysterious Covenant, and just survived disaster, friends in tow. In the newer Halo games, any of the more genuinly exciting moments are quick time events and cutscenes. It feels almost hollow, like the fun had been scooped out and placed elsewhere. And that scoop must have landed in Operation: Trebuchet, a fan-made modification for Arma 3. Operation: Trebuchet (or OPTRE, for short) sets the game in the years before the Spartans were public knowledge. The player team plays the UNSC marines (the friendly mooks of the series) and are forced to start using real world strategy, tactics, and planning to complete objectives. Personally, I have been playing through an OPTRE Liberation map, where my friends and I have to defeat the Insurgent Forces (rebels fighting for freedom) by freeing every city from their clutch. OPTRE creates situations that feel like the original Halo games. Cookie, Lizard, Gub (a personal friend), and I, armored head to toe, were dropped from orbit as Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs, protagonists from Halo 3: ODST, go figure) in the middle of a city-wide firefight. Dropships filled with friends and foes zipped back and forth from their respective bases, fueling the battle further. Our mission on the way in was to secure a building to prepare a forward medical base. Our mission when we got there was to survive. Moments that would be quick time events in the new Halo games are fully played and thought through. Cookie carrying Lizard’s unconcious body across No Man’s Land to get to me so I can sew his innards back in him, or Gub narrowly escaping the watchful eye of enemy helicopters, looking for targets. Tense moments and exhilirating moments came by completely unscripted, and often left us wishing to return back to base to watch funny videos and relax instead. Watching the burning husk of a transport, freshy lit ablaze, falling from the sky in the night, knowing it was our way home, evokes the same emotions that the new Halo games can’t quite reach.

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