The 360 Has Come Full Circle

I bought my original X-Box 360 more than half a decade ago. Six years ago, I was in awe of the system and just couldn’t wait until I could get my hands on one. I vividly remember sitting in my high-school band class gawking about the system to my friends. “Oh my gosh, Need For Speed looks so awesome on the 360!”

Then things were taken up a notch.

Gears of War was announced and no one could believe their eyes.

Every video game system has a game like this. A game that comes out at launch and attempts to push the boundaries that existed at that time. Gears of War was the 360 one. Developed from fame and style of their hit Unreal Tournament series, Epic Games brought to the gaming community a game that was just as frantic as their other games, but used a cover system. Cover systems were unheard of at this time. The game also was fused with pure violence. Elements from the Warhammer 40k universe were brought into the game with enemy types with nods here and there to the Tyranids as well as the bread and butter weapon of the CoG: The Lancer.

An automatic machine gun with a CHAINSAW on the end

Gears of War was my first AAA title experience on the X-Box 360. That was five years ago.

Yesterday, Gears of War 3 was released. With it comes enhanced gameplay, better graphics, and a more streamlined interface.

The end of the trilogy is also something that comes along with it.

Which means no more "BOOOM BABY."

It represents more or less the end of a period of my teenage/young adult life. But it also means that the 360 is nearing it’s end now more than ever.

Bungie’s epic Halo arc is over (yes I know Halo 4 is in the works, but not from Bungie), and the Gears of War trilogy is over. The two initial staples and original exclusive juggernauts of the system are complete. Years ago, 2015 (the projected end of X-Box 360’s life cycle) seemed like a long time. Now, with Gears of War 3 here, that date doesn’t seem too far away.

I’m curious to see how much time will pass until there becomes an official announcement of a new system tech from Microsoft. Next Summer? A year or so? It’s hard to say.

But I believe that the release of Gears of War 3 is the beginning of the end of Microsoft’s Sophomore year in the video game industry.

Link

Oh Dragon*Con… How I love thee.

Dat Garrus

Dragon*Con has become a yearly ritual for myself. There is nothing else out there quite like it. As soon as you enter downtown Atlanta, you can feel the energy of the Con buzzing in the air. It’s an outstanding feeling. The interesting thing about Dragon*Con is that every attendee welcomes everyone with open arms. There are no outcasts. There are no geeks. There are no weirdo’s. Everyone there is just one big happy family. There are cosplayers, Trekkies, Star Wars nerds, comic book geeks, horror freaks, and sci-fi aficionados everywhere. In fact, if you are not wearing a costume, or ironic shirt, you are the outcast. It’s almost as if it’s Halloween for the entire Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta during the Con. In other words, it’s home.

But there is another, darker side of Dragon*Con which has definitely become more popularized over the years. The amount of sexual energy and tension is ridiculous. A favorite blog of mine, Bleeding Cool (http://www.bleedingcool.com) actually did a series of articles on the sexual shenanigans of Dragon*Con exclusively. But, to be frank, I don’t see how in the world the Con could exist without that level of tension. I mean… Half of the people at the convention are running around half nude. Which brings up an interesting topic. Women and men who would typically not show any skin attend the con in skimpy outfits. They let loose, and go wild. It’s that one time of year where they can do whatever they’d like. And no one cares. It’s all a part of the fun. And basically, to quote a local Atlanta band, Le Sexoflex, “If you haven’t done it all year long, you know you’ll get laid at Dragon Con.”

2011 being my third year attending the Con, I’d like to consider that I have a good grasp on the convention as a whole. I am wrong each year. Dragon*Con is like… a Dragon. It’s unpredictable in so many ways. You never know what or who you will see, hear, or do.

Predator don't care

Like a Predator choking Robin.

This year, like all of the others, will hold a special place in my heart.

I slept on the floor in a hotel room for one, which definitely let me know that I am not as young as I used to be.

I got Edward James Olmos, Tricia Helfer, and Tom Felton’s autographs. Bumped into Felicia Day. Saw a topless woman just going on a stroll. Saw the Peculiar Pretzelmen perform live. And just had a blast.

There are panels going on the entire convention on tons of different subjects. If you’re into paranormal investigations, podcasting, Star Wars, Star Trek, cosplaying, comic books, programming, professional wrestling, modeling, Steam Punk, Cyber Punk, Fantasy settings, Dungeons and Dragons and other roleplaying, religion, social activities, or zombies, there is a panel for you (and many many more.)

But the two things that really suck up a surprising amount of time is people watching, and shopping.

NEVER go to Dragon*Con without a big chunk of money. Because you will spend it. A lot of it. When you’re not wandering around looking at people in costume, you’re most likely getting trapped in a vender room walking around in awe of things you never knew you could buy. Last year, I bought a Buster Sword replica from Final Fantasy 7. The Utilikilt vendor is a popular vendor as well for those who have always wanted a kilt that can hold all of their belongings, and doubles as a good kilt for a modern barbarian. There’s so much you can buy, it’s unbelievable really.

Tony Stark v. Whiplash

CHEWIE!

And like I said… lots of people watching.

Dragon*Con is a very special annual event. I plan on going to it for a very long time if I am able. If you’ve been on the fence on going for the last few years, just go. Venture forth and enjoy yourself. It’s worth it just for the experience alone. There’s nothing else like it.

 

The Future

I typically don’t write in the summer. Thus, that’s why the blog has been so inactive. I find it much more productive to write during the semester. So, I will be updating much more frequently now that the new semester has started, AND we will be seeing some changes. I have a couple of cohorts that are interested in beginning a podcast, and it will most likely be hosted on this blog. It will cover the same topics that I do (which is pretty much anything pop and geek culture) so have no fear. We are in the beginning processes of getting it off of the ground and much more work will need to be done in order to get it going. Therefore, I’m not sure when it will actually appear on here.

But, in other news, I will be posting several new posts within the next couple of days, so definitely check back soon!