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The Nerd Report: September '09

Late last year, while talking with Vickie about What I Wanted To Do With My Life, I had the idea of starting up a sideline helping people fix computer problems. I haven't done a great deal with the idea since I suggested it; I put a couple of flyers up and got some sporadic work from a mate of mine, but that's about it. The next stage is to do up some more flyers to be placed strategically in the local area, but I keep putting it off or talking myself out of it; the only real reason is because it seems such a big step outside my comfort zone.

I'm way overdue to do a rebuild of my PC. Windows XP is doing some really odd stuff, and I think the only way to fix it is back up what I need and reformat the bastard. My flirtation with Linux continues, although it hit a speed bump when the latest distribution of Ubuntu (9.04) decided it couldn't play sound. I have no idea why and the bug report I filed hasn't generated any real interest. I want to dedicate a weekend to getting the rebuild (XP, Ubuntu 8.10, then see if the Windows 7 RC1 code I got a couple of months ago is still valid) right, though, and we've wound up with other plans lately – the last weekend I dedicated to it, I couldn't find a critical part until I finally looked in the place I'd put it (which seemed logical at the time). So sometime before Christmas, one hopes.

Onto games. As you, dear reader, have probably noticed, I've once again been selling off chunks of my tabletop RPG collection, which now occupies roughly half a shelf. At the moment, I'm slowly divesting myself of my Heavy Gear collection, something I'd never see myself doing a few years back. But in all honesty, if it weren't for the fact that I'm not at all interested in the kind of play the rules advocate, I reckon the odds of me ever getting a bunch of people together to run it again are slim to none, even though it's the one game Vickie would probably like me to run again. Me, I'm still holding onto a little hope for a working Primetime Adventures campaign, but I'm in no rush.

My video gaming has picked up quite a bit, though. I tool around in Paradise City every now and again, although some of Burnout Paradise's lustre has worn off since I nailed most of the single player achievements. I also love cranking out Guitar Hero: World Tour, mainly to play Stan Bush's free-to-download 2007 re-recording of the anthem of eighties Transformers fans, “The Touch”. Dawn of War II and Team Fortress 2 have kind of fallen by the wayside; if I'm playing on my PC, I'm more likely to try and crack a new high score on Bejewelled Blitz.

But by and large Halo 3 is once again my draught of choice. There's something about its multiplayer gameplay I just like. Throwing down on the Social Slayer, Team Slayer or MLG playlists really does it for me, and I enjoy improving my skill with Halo 3's signature weapon, the Battle Rifle. I'm nowhere near as clan-oriented or competitive as I was last year, though; I stepped down from the PMS Clan, started hanging out with some ex-PMSers on the Xecutive Order clan forums, drifted away from them for a while and am now back with them socially. I doubt I'm ever going to organise or participate in a competitive ladder team again, and I don't really mind. But I'd still like to get my Highest Skill up above 22. I'm even trying to help a friend improve her ranked skills in the game.

I even got really nerdy a few weeks ago by taking Monday, August the 31st off work to watch the live stream of the third Major League Gaming Halo 3 tournament for 2009, in Dallas. I've been following MLG since I followed a link on Halo developer Bungie's website to footage of the first 2008 tournament. It's fun going back now and watching the footage that introduced me to MLG, especially as it features a player whom I've been pretty much following since: David “Walshy” Walsh, probably one of the first Big Names in the tournament circuit. Back then, he was on a team called Final Boss, which he'd captained for a few years, even as far back as MLG's original Halo: Combat Evolved tournaments.

Since the beginning of 2008, though, he moved from Final Boss to another team called Instinct, and just recently from them to Carbon, which came very close to nabbing the Dallas tournament. Walshy's not only a good payer, he's witty and cheeky in the pre-game interviews. I just like the guy, so I follow him from team to team, and I hope he and the rest of the fellows on Carbon do great things together. The matches are always fun to watch, and there's still something amazing and surreal about crowd of people chanting a Halo 3 team's name just like fans of any other pro sporting team.

All this talk of Halo brings me to the next Halo game coming out; Halo 3: ODST. For the first time ever, I'm going to wander along to its midnight launch in town (I've got the limited edition with the bonus controller pre-ordered at EB Games, which means I get to unlock Sgt. Johnson as a playable character in the game's “Firefight” co-operative multiplayer mode). I still have to go to work the next day, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; the entertainment editor and I are talking about turning it into an article! Fifteen months after my first and thus far only video game review published in a paper and I'll hopefully not only be doing another one but also reporting (Me! Reporting!) on a local digital entertainment event!

Anyway, to finish off, let me make a few random shout-outs, see if any of them are reading this: To my XO mates Tw1sted, MacGrandma, Retro, Clueless, Pesky, Princess and Kitten; to my PMS/H2O peep ObiJeff; to my TFO buds Hang Man and Cerebral; to Arwen, Bzerk (you snipe-teamkilling bastard, you), Rogue, Alcuras, Blown, Delirious, Franki, Seraph, Podge and StealthE: You all rock!

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A great read, Rob! Good luck on the ODST report! :D

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