Over the past few weeks I have been doing very little "off hours" work. This is because I have purchased a Microsoft XBox, with about 10 games, and it has since sucked every spare moment of my life away.
I very regularly get my ass kicked by 11-year olds in the one online game I have been playing called MechAssault. It's evidently a continuation of a series of games in the "MechWarrior" series, which I've never played, that has more of an arcadey feel than the other games. The older games are primarily strategy games. This game doesn't have much overt strategy, although if you want to win, there is a lot of strategy involved in staying alive and killing other mechs.
None of which I understand, evidently. I really don't understand how everyone in the world can be better than I am at this game. I have never won a match (in "Destruction", an online deathmatch style game), though I've been playing it regularly for weeks now. Now, I admit, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, and my reflexes probably aren't what they used to be, but for the love of god, I should be able to win one measly match. But somehow, people named, for example, V3G3TA and SHUTYOURMOUTH pound the snot out of me every time. It's beginning to impact my self-image. ;-)
Despite my lack of proficiency at this particular game, I am pretty awed at the the networking and UI code that went in to making these kinds of multiplayer games. I haven't really played any videogames since about 1982, so I'm a little overwhelmed by the difficulty of the controls and the complexity of the games themselves.
Another game I've played a lot is one called Jet Set Radio Future. Although it's not a multiplayer game, the sheer creativity of this game is astounding. Basically, while playing the game, you are a rollerblading kid who needs to perform various tasks in a huge virtual world. The world itself is just beautiful. I found myself just skating around, ignoring the tasks I was supposed to perform, to try to take in all of the gorgeous scenery. The storyline is a bit hokey, but it's an incredibly fun game.
Must... get.. back.. to.. coding...