Checkpoint: Top of the Game Edition

Checkpoint: Top of the Game Edition

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The UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and FC Barcelona was a great one. I was predicting a Barcelona win but I didn’t know if Juventus were going to make a match out of it. Were Barcelona’s front three going to run circles around Juventus’ defense? Would Juventus’ midfield maintain order? Thankfully Juve stepped up and made a game of it; even going down 1-0 early on didn’t dampen their spirits. It was a very enjoyable final and more so because I’m actually familiar with the teams. I actually accidentally stumbled across the Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich a couple years ago. I watched it but didn’t have any vested interest in the sport at the time.

An hour after the Champions League final, the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in Edmonton and I watched Canada take on China. It was an awful game. Both teams were making mistakes left and right, the Chinese were parking their defense and Canada had no answer. The only way Canada eked out a win was when China’s defense gifted them that silly foul in the penalty box.

I never watched the women’s game before. I’ve watched men’s lower division play in the form of NASL and MLS which was different compared to the top european leagues but the game remained intact. I didn’t expect a quick pace or a lot of physicality between players but I was expecting crisp decisive passes. The Canada vs China game showed glimpses high level play but it didn’t fill me with the desire to watch more. When the most confident looking players on the field were the goal keepers, it doesn’t make for attractive game.

Despite the terrible match, I didn’t give up on it on the Women’s World Cup and decided to watch the Netherlands take on New Zealand. That was a solid match which showcased what I was expecting. By default, I should be rooting for Canada but I think I’m going to back the Orange Lionesses.

I’m looking forward to seeing the top ranked German squad in action later today. They’re pitted against the lowest ranked team in the competition this year, the Ivory Coast. So this should be something.

I’m still playing The Witcher 3 and FIFA 15. I don’t see that changing next week.

Checkpoint: FIFA Corruption Edition

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What a week for world soccer. A bunch of high ranking FIFA officials were arrested and Sepp Blatter somehow manages to win a fifth consecutive term as a FIFA president.

How?

If this was any other organization or governing body, Sepp Blatter would have been forced out in the wake of all these arrests. So how did Mr. Blatter manage to get re-elected? Years of attention towards African and Asian countries curried a lot of favor and it pays off handsomely for this man. Since every country — regardless of size or influence — has equal say in who should lead FIFA, it’s no wonder that Sepp Blatter continues to win.

The story surrounding FIFA’s corruption is interesting and has been covered by the likes of John Oliver (seen above) and ESPN E:60 Special Report. Despite the awareness, many of the nation members of FIFA don’t seem to care that FIFA is corrupt because all these little nations continue to receive money from the World Cup and Sepp Blatter ensures that.

So it’s business as usual then? For now. Unless there’s some kind of external power that will force change, it looks like FIFA will operate like it always has.

I honestly don’t care about the World Cup. It may have wooed me into soccer but I am a bigger fan of club soccer. International soccer may have the prestige but it doesn’t quite represent best of soccer. The flopping is more rampant and the quality of the refereeing suffers due to unfamiliarity and the pressures of a big stage. I would rather watch the UEFA Champions League than the World Cup final. But not everyone feels that way. In fact, it’s the opposite which is why the World Cup is such a big deal and why FIFA is so powerful.

I don’t foresee myself playing anything but The Witcher 3 for at least the next month. The Witcher 3 is huge and I’m enjoying the process of peeling away the layers.

 

Checkpoint: March Rushed Edition

Checkpoint: March Rushed Edition

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I can’t believe it’s already March. Where did February go? How did it disappear so quickly? I honestly don’t know. In some ways, I did want the months to fly by but I didn’t expect them to move at this pace.

Last year, there was an air of uncertainty with my life. I was in a relationship but there were many questions surrounding it. This March —  despite being single — I’m feeling very comfortable and focused. This time last year I was focusing on myself while this year, I’m focusing on family.

I’ve also been focusing on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’s campaign. It’s been very pleasant and a bit of a surprise for me. I didn’t realize how varied and inventive the missions would be. At it’s very core, it is just build armies and eliminate the enemy but the manner and circumstances surrounding each mission were inventive.

I’ve also started playing my FIFA 15 campaign at “World Class” difficulty. It’s been challenging and forces the game to be played in a realistic fashion.

Game of the Year 2014 Day 2 of 3

Game of the Year 2014 Day 2 of 3

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There were plenty of disappointments in 2014. On the flip side, there were some genuine surprises for me as well. Kart racers, space shooters, Seattle and sports titles make their way into this year’s awards.

Most Disappointing Game of 2014

Winner: Destiny

Destiny PS4 Box Art

I’ve said my piece on Destiny, so I won’t repeat it again. Instead I’ll point you to towards Jeff Gerstmann’s excellent rant which echoes my sentiment.

If only I didn’t buy a digital copy…

Runner ups: inFamous: Second Son, Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Most of Surprising Game of 2014

Winner: Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 Box Art

I have to stress, this is a personal list and not one that reflects “the industry” per se. So yes, Mario Kart 8 was the most surprising game of 2014 for me. I tried to enjoy Mario Kart throughout its many iterations but none of them ever clicked with me. But I was drawn to Mario Kart 8 after its E3 2013 trailer and decided to roll the dice on it. I wasn’t disappointed whatsoever. What a fun a game despite the Blue Shell’s bullshittery.

Runner ups: FIFA 15, Hitman Go

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