Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fluke of the Narwal – A Mystery

I just recently finished playing H2A campaign in co-op with my boyfriend. Dear god that was fun! I think it has been over 6 years since I last played that game. I couldn’t even remember parts of certain levels. But that was kinda cool cause it felt like playing a new game.The cut scenes, remastered by Blur Studios, are just breathtaking. Look at the Gravemind! Woah! I was constantly delighted. And the sound of the weapons: Dang…the Sniper Rifle and I love the sound of the Brute Shot.

But now on to my main topic. On the level Outskirts I saw a poster which excited me very much:

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If you remember the story behind the name of my blog you’ll see why this is so exciting. If you haven’t read it yet and have no clue what I’m talking about, go to About and check it out.

We don’t know when the band Fist of the Unicorn was founded, but we do know or must assume that SPC Van Kalletta and PVC Dimitrov were killed during the events that took place on Installation 04. That was around September 19th, 2552. The events in Halo 2 take place in the same year, shortly after the events of the book First Strike (section 1, chapter 5-11, September 22th, 2552).
My guess is Fist of the Unicorn were quite famous and were not only known on the Pillar of Autumn before it got destroyed. It appears that some unknown guys on earth founded a cover band of the Fist of the Unicorn. It’s name? Fluke of the Narwal. As you can see on the poster the gig is sold out, either meaning they had a pretty big fan base or were playing in a small venue…I think it’s the first.

So we have two bands with completely weird names. One about the fist of a magical, fictional animal, the other about the fluke of a badass, very real animal. What do they both have in common? The horn, that says: „There’s no shitting me pal. If you piss me off, I will impale you.“

What strikes me as odd is the following:

  • The correct spelling is Narwhal, not Narwal. Why the misspelling? In german Narwal would be correct by the way.
  • During my research for this article I found an entry on the bungie forums that concerns Narwhals. It seems pretty random and the author is anonymous/deleted. It was posted in 2008. 3 years before Halo CE: Anniversary (Fist of the Unicorn) came out and 6 years before Halo 2: Anniversary (Fluke of the Narwal) came out.

Here is the Link.

So did someone at 343 read this some day and thought „Oh man, we could name the cover band like that.“ But why would anyone from 343 browse the bungie forum? I mean it would make sense if you were, let’s say a former Bungie employee. If you, let’s say, had maybe had the job of content manager at Bungie back in the days. If you, let’s say, had the name of Frank O’Connor.

It makes even more sense, since Maxi, a friend of mine who was with me in L.A. at Halofest, asked Frank O’Connor about Fluke of the Narwal during an Interview. He was all professional and talked about this and that but never answered the question. So my guess is: Frank O’Connor is behind the running gag of the Unicorn and created or gave the idea to Fluke of the Narwal. I might be terribly wrong but unless Frank doesn’t state otherwise I’ll believe it.

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artwork by jezkemp  (www.jezkemp.co.uk)

 

Never Alone – an atmospheric puzzle platformer for the cold months

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Released on November 18th, Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is the first game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, a native people from Alaska. Nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the development of the game. You play as a young Iñupiat girl, who is accompanied by an arctic fox. If playing co-op one is the girl and one is the fox. They set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.

The downloadable title costs around $15 and is available for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4. I’m more than excited about this game. I absolutely love local co-op games. When you’re in a relationship and both love gaming and couching, it’s one of the best things to do as a couple. The sad thing is that there are so few games that support local co-op. A fact that irritates me greatly. Developers should know that it’s a common wish with gamers to be able to play locally with friends or your partner. It’s what I love about Halo. From the beginning you were able to play the campaign on split-screen. I played every Halo game like this with my boyfriend.

I’ll make a post about co-op games here someday. With a list of the best ones I played so far and hopefully I’ll get a few recommendations for new ones I haven’t discovered yet.

As far as this game is concerned, I have high expectations. The trailer is so beautiful and I think it’s the perfect co-op winter game.

Cortana coming to iOS? 

 

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Yes please!

As soon as I heard about Cortana being the new voice assistant for Windows phones, I was excited and devastated at the the same time. Since my IPhone and I won’t part I had to say goodbye to the thought of awesome Cortana helping me out when I’m looking for the nearest pizza place.

But at the same time it just made me happy to see one of my favorite characters of the Halo Universe becoming famous and getting so much attention.

So as many of you may heard already, there are rumors about the possibility that Cortana will be available for iOS and Android users as well. Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s chief experience officer was asked if Cortana could be coming to other operating systems. She said, „The short answer is, yeah.“ If that really means other operating systems besides Windows is unsure.

I for once would be so happy if that rumor was true.

Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana since 2001, supposedly has an Iphone herself…could it be that she can’t stand hearing her own voice all the time?

Halofest 2014 recap

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It’s monday and that means Halofest! Ahhhhh, that’s so amazing. But first Maxi and I took a trip to Venice Beach to get our dose of weird, but very interesting people. The taxi ride there was long and painful for me. I was feeling so sick I thought I couldn’t bear it. Plus the driver was constantly blabbering about this and that.

We went up and down the beach and the boardwalk with the many colorful stores and ended our tour at Santa Monica Pier. It really is a magical place. Although I’m not a big fan of the beach and the sun burning me up, I can imagine why people love this place. It’s very lively, you hear people making different kinds of music or performing some „awesome“ tricks and of course there’s this certain smell in the air…like everywhere…like it’s legal…wait, it is legal.

The hour grows late and we had to hurry back to the hotel to get ready for the Halofest 2014.
The event took place in the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood. And guess what? The Warthog was there as well. Looking good as usual.

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There was a blue or red or green carpet and a lot of interviews were being held when we arrived. I must say they did an impressive job on decorating the outside venue. There was a stand where you could get your Gamer Tag or your name engraved on iPhone cases or on dog tags.
Special Guests at this event were Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Mike Colter (Nightfall), Freddie Wong, Ben Schwartz, Aisha Tyler, Joel McHale, Donald Faison and Zachary Levi. How exactly did it happen that I only saw Freddie Wong and Ben Schwartz??? And not Zachary Levi, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day??? I have no clue! I’m sad, so sad. Maybe it was because I spent a big amount of my time playing Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer? Yeah…might be.

Inside the venue, which is absolutely stunning, was a green screen booth where you could take a picture of yourself on a Halo background. They had 3 weapons to choose from: The Magnum, the Assault Rifle and the SMG. A pretty nice moment was when I watched Kiki, Frank and Bonnie taking a group shot together and Kiki said something I can totally relate to: „Oh no, now I blinked! Can I see it real quick? Oh can we take another?“ I mean come on, if you have the chance to take an awesome Halo shot like that you want it to be perfect right?

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Then there was a candy stand with lots and lots of Halofest chocolates, sweets and 3 giant Spartan Lollipops. I wanted to silently sneak off with one of those.

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So when you had your mouth stuffed with candy and a drink in one hand you walked past several gaming stations where you could play the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta. As I walked by I witnessed the winners of the MCC Launch Invitational Tournament playing some „casual“ matches.
But not only Believe the Hype were present at the Halofest. I think most of the american players were there as well, all in good spirits and playing tons of matches.

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Upstairs you found more gaming stations. There you were able to test your skills on the beautifully remastered maps of Halo 2: Anniversary. It was my favorite place.

Around 8 pm we took our seats in the main room to watch the premiere of Halo: Nightfall. The live action series executive-produced by Ridley Scott, Scott Free TV President David Zucker, and directed by the award-winning director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Battlestar Galactica, Heroes) will connect the story of Halo 4 with Halo 5: Guardians.

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We watched the first two episodes. I like it a lot. I have always dreamed of a Halo movie and loved Forward unto Dawn very much. So for me this is a big deal. I know a lot of people weren’t that impressed by what they’ve seen, but I’d say give it time. Yeah sure, I wasn’t caught emotionally right from the start but it’s a series not a movie. There’s time to build a story and engage the audience in it. And seeing the Elite in the beginning gave me chills. It looked so real. I’m looking forward to the new episodes.

After that the pre recorded Halo 5 multiplayer match of BTH and Optic was shown and the Embargo for us was lifted. Both teams came up on stage and played more of the multiplayer. In the above picture you can see the set up they had prepared for the gamers. We joked that the chairs looked like „sci-fi torture chairs“.

At this point the public saw the new game type Breakout for the very first time. It’s 4 versus 4 on a very small Tron-esque map. You have to eliminate the other team completely to win. There are 5 rounds and the coolest thing is, that before a round starts, you and your team jump right into the map, which looks just fantastic and badass. Later on I got to play on the stage as well. That felt cool.

And that was about it. A very neat event.

Things I wished would’ve happened:
– Somehow my skill level raised to pro and I would’ve been able to play the pros.
– A kiss from Nathan Fillion…or a hug…or a pic with him.
– More time, more eyes, more memory.
– More fans on the event.

Things I totally forgot to mention:
– The good people of the 405th were at the event and showed some pretty cool self made armors.
– The 343 guys were very kind and friendly. Kiki is still the coolest wolf there is.
– I drank too much coke.

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Halo Master Chief Collection Launch Invitational Tournament Recap

I’m back home from L.A.. I have to say I didn’t get over the jet lag feeling yet. I won’t complain though because I had a wonderful time and met so many friendly and interesting people. I have to thank Xbox and most of all Boris from Xbox Germany for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. They took good care of us in L.A..
So what did I see? What did I get to play? I’ll answer it all.
After arriving at LAX late friday afternoon I took a Taxi to Hollywood where our Hotel was located. Right next to Hollywood Blvd. you find the fancy W Hollywood Hotel.

Jonathan Irons CEO of Atlas Corporation was accommodated there as well, maybe spying on some real and super „Advanced Warfare“. I wonder what time travel agency he booked. Haha funny, of course i am talking about world famous actor Kevin Spacey. After flying 12 hours and an hour Taxi ride I could finally take a shower and change. Then I met with the rest of the group. All in all we were 7 people from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy. The other guys were mostly Youtubers, one french guy works for Xbox France. I was really glad to meet Maxi, a german like minded Halo fan who works for GameStar/High 5.


The next day was the first day of the Master Chief Collection Launch Invitational Tournament that took place in the ESL Studios in Burbank, California.

It was about 86 °F on this day. I was told that even in L.A. this is quite uncommon for this time of year. My light skin was shocked and I had to put on sunscreen…in November!

8 teams were invited to compete over the top prize of $ 20.000:

– StK – Heinz, OGRE2, Royal 2, Snakebite, Coach Diesel
– OpTic Halo – Flamesword, Pistola, Ace, Snipedown, Coach Elamite
– Believe The Hype – Formal, Lxthul, aPG, Maniac, Coach Mr. X
– The Agency – Ninja, Hysteria, FearItSelf, Victory, Coach Towey
– VwS Gaming – Naded, Legit, Goofy, Mikwen, Coach Wolfmayyne
– TCM Gaming – Riotz, TuFoxy, Ramirez, Chalkie, Coach Xavier
– Str8 Rippin – Tsquared, Ryanoob, Roy, Str8 Sick, Coach Walshy
– Purple Rain – Gandhi, Elitest, Maven, Legion

The game types were Team Slayer, Neutral Bomb, 3 Flag CTF, 5 Flag CTF and King of the Hill. The playable maps were all from Halo 2: Anniversary. Shrine, Warlord and Lockdown. I think it’s fair to say that most votes were on team Optic Gaming. With players like Ace and (iGotUr)Pistola, winner and second best of the Halo 4 tournament last year, their chances were pretty good.

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Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez were there to give a live-commentary on the gameplay and they did a hell of a good job. On saturday the event went from 2 pm till 9 pm or something. Imagine to have to comment about 10 games of intense and fast pace game play.

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Even I couldn’t watch all of it. Hunger got us searching the neighborhood and we found a good old arcade. I did some wild animal hunting with Joost from Holland which I lost at. Damn you Joost! A nice meal at the Renegade Ranch completed the day. There was a mechanical bull you could ride and two of our younger, wild boys actually rode the bull. Let’s say they did quite well.

Sunday, I’m still jet lagged but overall happy as a clown. It all felt surreal. Our chaperone for the event was Clare from London. What a sweet girl! She managed everything for us and made us feel comfortable. She’s a gamer as well and has her own youtube channel. Around 11 am we were headed to ESL Studios again to see the grand finals of the tournament. Optic Gaming were out already, so was The Agency with Ninja on the team.

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We had Str8Rippin facing Believe The Hype in the grand finals. Boy did those teams play well. I couldn’t really say who I was rooting for, I was just so very impressed with both teams. In the end BTH won.
And did I mention that in The ESL Studios stood the most bad ass car there is? The Warthog, mother of all cars. I always dreamed of seeing one live. That I would be sitting in one wasn’t even part of the dream. But guess what we were allowed to hop in and take some pics. I even got to stand behind the turret. Haha the excitement! As far as I know there are only two official Warthog models out there. One from the movie Forward until Dawn and this one.

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After the tournament was over two teams (Optic and BTH) were invited to be the first to play the multiplayer Beta of Halo 5: Guardians. The footage of that was shown later at Halofest. It was the first footage of live gameplay the puplic saw.I didn’t want to watch it, since I knew we were invited to play as well later this evening. Needless to say I couldn’t resist. I was really impressed with the graphics and the new abilities like Ground Pound and Clamber.

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After what seemed like an eternity we were brought into a small back room with several gaming stations build up. We were allowed to record our gameplay. I brought my Elgato but in the end it didn’t work. Thanks to lovely Maxi I could use hers so I will have some gameplay for you guys when she sends it over. I will have a detailed post on my thoughts on Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer later. What I will say now is: It’s fast pace, it’s different, i will love it. At first I was scared when I saw the new design and feel of the weapons but after playing at Halofest a bit longer, that changed. 7 new armor abilities available to everyone right at the start. My favorite is Clamber. But yeah, detailed post soon to be up on here.

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fotu_halofest_2014_0030The End. Stay tuned for the Halofest 2014 recap…

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