Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Video Games - XCOM Ironman mode

The 2K Games Humble Bundle came and went and I made the decision to purchase it for the $20 price so I could get X-COM: Enemy Unknown.  I got a bunch of there top notch games as well (the entire Bioshock Series, more X-COM games and Spec Ops: The Line) and most of the money I donated to charity so in my opinion a very well spent $20.

Anyways, I've never played any X-COM games before but I read about the Ironman mode and it intrigued me.  Basically you can't reload your saves and the game saves basically after every decision you make, whether it is buying a new gun or moving a soldier on the battlefield.  Also since soldier death is permanent, you can't reload your save to try a new strategy.  Very reminiscent of old games where you had a limited number of lives and continues to go over a level.  The game has a warning that you should not attempt Ironman mode if you are new but I did anyways as I fancy myself as a decent strategy game player and I wanted a more difficult challenge considering most newer games give you an infinite number of retries to do something right (see Assassin's Creed 3 or the Arkham games that I've been playing recently).

The first few maps were quite interesting as I did not get the tactical strategy quite right and I ended up positioning very poorly so lost quite a few rookies and later some of my higher ranking officers (though I swear it was just unlucky crits that got those officers).  As my troops died I found myself getting more attached to the ones that did survive because I did not want to train a whole new one (it takes a lot of missions and kills to get a high ranking officer especially if they get injured).  When I started giving them my own nicknames (soldiers get nicknames once they hit Sergeant rank) it really made me want to ensure they survived each mission.  Not that I cry over every death, but it does hurt a little when one of my soldiers dies because I ran him/her out a little too far or forgot a muton was on overwatch or something equally silly.

I managed to keep one of my soldiers from the first tutorial mission alive (of the 4 that are deployed only one of them survives) over the past 11 hours of game play and if I lose him that would be quite sad.  Not only because he is the highest ranking officer I have but also because he's been with me since the beginning.  Still slogging through the campaign and I've no idea how far I am in but I'm hoping this soldier makes it until the end (I think I get an achievement for it).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

League of Legends - Get fit with League (inspired by #GetFitWithSnoopeh)

Let's start by showing this video.

Snoopeh has been a big reason as to why I have started to be a little more active this past year or so.  Shows that not all gamers are fat slobs who live in their mothers basement (see here).  Fun to incorporate a little exercise after a game or two of League and has had a lot of positive impact on my overall health as well as how my day starts.  Unfortunately I have not been consistent with physical activity since the teacher strike as I've had other things to worry about.  But now that it's summer I can choose not to worry about job related stuff until at least late August.

This coming school year I am going to be a Physical Education (PE) teacher for at least 2 blocks out of the 7 that I teach in the school year.  This came about mostly because that's what was available if I wanted a classroom.  I had spent this past year as a distance education teacher (really I just marked assignments for the whole year and did not interact much at all with students) and I really wanted back in a classroom.  None of the science teachers at the high school were going anywhere but the senior math teacher retired and for some bizarre reason a bunch of junior PE classes were left over so they mashed the classes into a bizarre senior math/junior PE position which I ended up getting.  Strange, I know, considering there were a few junior math classes that ended up being rolled into a social studies position.

Regardless I've got 2 PE classes to teach and I would be a bad example for the kids if I wasn't in good shape myself.  Unfortunately I'm not the most active of people and have relied on my naturally high metabolism to keep me relatively thin.  At first glance you wouldn't think I'm unfit but any amount of strenuous physical activity tuckers me out quickly.  With this in mind and the fact that I want to be able to at least keep with my future PE students, I will do my best to get fit over the summer.

As a result I've devised a series of exercises to do before and after each game of League of Legends.  Why before and after each game of League?  Mostly because I have been playing League consistently every day in the morning for the past year or so (became my morning routine on my quest to get Gold last year as I couldn't play any other time because of family and I don't play ranked with my friends on our gaming nights).  This habit just carried over into the summer.

Before game
Queue Wait time and Champion select - Wall sit until game queued, then wall sit for duration of your champion select (not the whole champion select unless you really want to work your quads)
Game load - Jumping Jacks until game loads or a set time passes like 45 seconds or 1 minute (if a player has a toaster you could be doing jumping jacks for a long time, which isn't necessarily a bad thing)

After game - Take a rest of about 10-15 seconds after each set.
Kills = # of Pushups, x3 if below 10, x2 if below 15.
Assists = # of Russian Twists, x3 if below 10, x2 if below 15.
Deaths = # of Squats, x3 if below 10, x2 if below 15.
Kills + Assists = # of Triceps dip, x3 if below 10, x2 if below 15.
Kills + Deaths + Assists = Plank for equal number of seconds, x2 if below 30
Kills + Deaths = # of Burpees (currently without a jump or push-up)

The order is designed to work different muscle groups and the amount of each can be adjusted to your level of fitness.  The multipliers are there to ensure I actually do enough of each exercise to have some appreciable effect.  None of the exercises require any special equipment, though the triceps dip does require a non-spinning chair or something similar and the Russian twist should be done with a weight of some sort like a text book.

Let's hope I can keep up with this routine as from what I've read, consistency is key when trying to get into shape (an adjustment in diet helps as well).  6 weeks before school starts, let's get fit!

EDIT: I failed to mention that if you attempt this, you probably should not do the After Game routine every day.  The muscles you work need a day to recover in order to rebuild themselves properly.  If you find your legs hurt are getting sore from the wall sit, you can do that every other day as well.  The jumping jacks are fine to do every day though.