Hunting in Borderlands

Borderlands Box ArtThe little free time that I had this week was spent in Borderlands, a co-op FPS/RPG I got on Steam. I preordered it with some friends last week and since Monday – when it came out – we’ve been visiting it’s arid landscapes, armed to the teeth.

I can’t say much about it’s singleplayer – probably plays a bit like Fallout 3, but more boring – but the co-op multiplayer is definitely a lot of fun. It has the adrenaline-filled action of a FPS combined with the obsessive-compulsiveness of Diablo loot (or WoW, for that matter). The weapons are procedurally generated, meaning that you can get really exotic combinations (like a shotgun that fires rockets that deal lightning damage on impact) and the world is pretty interesting, with a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max theme.

But the most important aspect is that it’s just… fun. It’s been a while since my last LAN party (or multiplayer StarCraft, after work Wink ) so this brings back all the good memories. Nothing builds teamwork like yelling expletives while running for your life, shooting at some huge monster poised on turning you into rice pudding. Then the blasted sniper rifle reloads, you aim, score a headshot and the whole screen lights up: LEVEL UP. Good game.

Video Games Live

On Sunday night I went to see VideoGamesLive, a concert where a live orchestra is playing music from video games. I’ve been wanting to go for a long time, ever since Roxy and Mike told me about it in early 2007. I had tickets for last year’s performance, but I got sick the day before and I was in no condition to go. I had to wait another year and a half for them to come back to NYC, so I got tickets as soon as I could, over 6 months ago.

We ended up going a large group – 12 people. I enjoyed the concert – the crowd, not so much – but I wish they’d played some favorites of mine (that I missed last year) like Civilization or God of War. Still, I have to say I discovered new beautiful music like the theme from Chrono Cross (here’s live in the second half of this video) or the Halo suite.

Other highlights were a pianist who could play blindfolded most of the themes form classic videogames (Mario, Zelda, and the like) and a Guitar Hero performance (on Expert), played on the big screen. Also, during the play of One Winged Angel (the boss fight theme from Final Fantasy VII) they had a nice montage of cosplay.

You can find my pictures in this SmugMug gallery. There’s a ton of videos on YouTube of the event (i.e. this one: part1, part2). For more info, here’s the NY Times coverage of the event.

Now I go back to replay for the hundredth time the Chrono Cross theme, acoustic version.


And Twitter agrees…