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    May 1st, 2008 at 11:12:39     -    Grand Theft Auto IV (360)

    I'm not going to talk about the gameplay in this entry. I'm just going to log my journey from the morning of May 29th to the afternoon.

    I got on the 7:37 train from Prospect Heights headed towards Union Station, downtown Chicago. I didn't work until 12:30 that day, but I headed down early to see if I can grab my copy of Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest game in a series of cultural phenoms.

    I got to Sears around 8:50, and I was surprised to see no one outside the State & Madison location. They finally let people in, and I went downstairs. There was another guy already down there (probably let him in from a different entry a minute or so earlier) and he was standing anxiously at the counter waiting for a sales associate to help him. I asked "are you here for it?" And he shook his head, "of course I am." A woman eventually came out, and we asked for the game and she had no clue what we were talking about. She probably should be fired...anybody working in a retail store that sells video games that hasn't been informed of GTAIV is in need of some serious help. She got back and said they didn't have any in stock.

    Frustrated, we went to fye a few blocks away. We walked in the store and a woman asked "are you here for the game?" We nodded and she pointed us up the escalator upstairs. As soon as we stepped off, a woman asked us "pre-order?" We both did not, so she pointed to the right and we were directed towards a man standing by a wall. There were also security guards in the store, and I'd never seen any in there before. The man handed us a copy each of the game, and then we went back downstairs to check out and pay. As soon as I completed the transaction, the guy came down from upstairs and announced "360 is gone, NO MORE 360." I had gotten the last copy and the store was only open for 15 minutes.

    This just shows you the impact that this game is having. I'll be back with more later.

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    May 1st, 2008 at 10:59:43     -    Portal (PC)

    Portal is absolutely fantastic. This game just works on so many levels it is incredible. Not only does Valve once again give you a mysterious storyline and leaves it up to you to decipher it, the gameplay is out of this world. This game marks a very unique spin on puzzle games and first person shooters, breeding a hybrid child of the two. There are FPS elements without ever picking up a true "weapon" in the game, and there are puzzle elements without ever leaving the sights of your character (a random female, who looks pretty good).

    When the Orange Box came out last year I was by far the most excited to continue the HL2 story. Episode 1 left you with a huge cliffhanger on the way out of City 17's meltdown. I ended up giving Portal a try first, just because it was a new and unique experience, and I was BLOWN AWAY. This game is challenging, fun, addictive, everything. The only bad part was when the game ended...but thankfully there are advanced challenges!

    Portal can very easily be turned into the next blockbuster series. It will never reach the status of Half-Life, but it has the potential for future games and a lot more possibilites. I am excited to see what those possibilities are.

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    May 1st, 2008 at 10:53:42     -    Major League Baseball 2K8 (360)

    This game pisses me off in the sense of its lagginess. It runs alright when you play it, aside from the occasional crash, which is annoying enough. But the entire game is very bogged down, especially between plays. Replays damn neer need to be turned off, because it has to "load" each time for about 10 seconds before you even get to see it.

    I'm surprised by this, as its not the case AT ALL in NBA 2K8 for 360. Given the high quality of that series for the last several years, I'm very surprised to see such carelessness go into this game.

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    Apr 23rd, 2008 at 15:57:02     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (360)

    I recently played GTA: San Andreas to get ready for GTAIV.

    What really amazed me about this game is the sheer size and scope of everything. GTAIII blew everyone away with one city. This game is three cities just as large, all put into one enormous state. The state is called San Andreas, and there are three cities: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, which mock the state of California and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, respectively (even though Vegas is clearly not in California, but hell, its close).

    The space between the cities and what you can do in them is mind-blowing. The state of San Andreas is a huge one, and there are many different environments. North of San Fierro there lies a sprawling oceanside community that is quiet and peaceful. To the West of Las Venturas there exists a huge sprawling desert that is nothing but badlands with trailer parks. And to the northwest of Los Santos and South of San Fierro, there is a huge mountain range with towering peaks.

    Missions you can do in these outside environments can lead to many things. There are bike rally races on the huge mountain. There are also bank robbery missions that have you knocking off the joints in small towns across the map. In the desert, you can learn how to fly a plane and chopper after you acquire it.

    It will make me sad to see this type of environment absent from GTAIV. But GTAIV is only the beginning. There will be other games released under the GTAIV moniker (just as Vice City and San Andreas were released under III) and then the good times will REALLY start to roll.

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    Entries written to date: 9
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    1Grand Theft Auto IV (360)Playing
    2Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (360)Playing
    3Major League Baseball 2K8 (360)Playing
    4Portal (PC)Playing

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