Work commitments over the last week have meant that I couldn't stray far from home for long, never mind enjoy the fruit of the vine and the grain. But this last week hasn't been a disaster. Far from it, I've been in geek heaven.
First, last Tuesday saw the release of the long anticipated console and PC game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Despite what gobshite Keith Vaz says, it's a fun way to pass a few hours, and not the moral quagmire the Vazman reckons it is. The section of the game in question is a key part of the plot, driving the context of what's to follow, and not playing it would be like skipping the cock scene in The Crying Game.
Admittedly, the offline campaign is straightforward and short, and whilst the story brought back some old friends, it's the online mode which most people have been waiting for.
A first person shooter addict, I've been a fan of Infinity Ward's Call of Duty games since the first one on PC in 2003. 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare saw me move from PC to console gaming as the graphic demands of newer games started to outstrip my wallet's ability to support the latest graphics cards.
New to the COD: Modern Warfare franchise is a 'Special Ops' co-operative mode, which is good for a short blast of fun with your friends against bot bad guys, but not as satisfying as say Rainbow Six 2's co-op mode, or playing with and against real people online, where kills mean points and points mean ranking up and weapons upgrades. Already at level 20 after four hours online play, I foresee some of my life sucked away working up the ranks.
Then yesterday, my preordered Blu-Ray version of the new Star Trek movie hit the doormat. Not only did it come in all it's high definition Blu-Ray surround sound glory (thank goodness I don't have neighbours), it also came with a 'digital copy' dvd, with a version you can copy to your iPod or onto Windows Media Player. This is a model I hope to see more of in future as it expands the flexibility of options to view your movie without having to jump through (or bend) digital rights management hoops to copy your purchase to other formats.
And the film was pretty awesome too.
Lastly, today saw an Xbox update with some new toys: Zune (Microsoft's media player), LastFM, Twitter and Facebook. Admittedly, most of these are little more than apps that tech heads have already seen on their iPod and iPhone, but it indicates that Microsoft have seen which way the wind is blowing. Sony should take note for the Playstation 3 or risk being left behind.
A quick test of LastFM revealed a stable and fast application (faster than the PC version) with a cleaner and more useful interface than its sibling iPod/iPhone app. Facebook was also competent, despite the lack of keyboard requiring some deft controller work. Once you've joined your Facebook account to your Xbox gamer tag, whenever you're on Xbox Live it shows your gamertag on your Facebook profile page. However, it is disappointing that you can't update your Facebook status with your recent game achievements (or at least I can't find an option to do this) in the same manner as the native Facebook games status update on the PC. Hopefully this will follow.
I'll have a play with Zune sometime, but I'm not sure I'll bother with Twitter yet as it's not something which has grabbed me. Maybe I'll set up an account to see what the fuss is about.
As long as it doesn't eat into the serious business of gaming.
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