Sunday, March 22, 2009

Guitar Hero World Tour!

Ever played it? If haven't, you should. This is probably the best game/toy I've played in many, many, MANY years. Guitar Hero World Tour is one of the latest game put out by RedOctane/Activision. There have been many iterations of Guitar Hero since the first Guitar Hero I. There has been Guitar Hero II, III, World Tour, Rock The 80's, Aerosmith and soon to be released Metallica.

Being a musician, I enjoyed Guitar Hero III (the 1st guitar-based game I've ever played) but hit a plateau after I breezed through the Easy and Medium levels. I found the jump from Medium to Hard level was simply to big and honestly never took the time and dedication to 'learn' the guitar past that level.

World Tour combines the elements of a 'band' into the Guitar Hero platform with a low learning curve.  The 'kit' comes with a wireless guitar, drums and yes, a microphone! With all these elements, it's great for a social/party-type environment. As a matter of fact, within a few weeks of getting this, I convinced asked a neighbor to host a Guitar Hero party...they did and IT WAS A BLAST!

It was all adults and we all took turns singing, drumming and playing guitar and bass. Each person could play at their own level so its became fun for for everyone! There were about of us 5 families taking turns so we ended up playing all night 'till about 1am! Truly a great time.

Months later, I still enjoy the game. I've completed all the songs in 'career' mode on Medium level and am about halfway through on Hard! Some songs are harder than others but I am definitely not getting bored of it. What's even better is the fact that you can download new songs -  so the game stays fresh. My young boys love it and often have their friends over to play on it as well.

Overall, I highly recommend buying or playing this game; the more people the better in my opinion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Snowboarding Rookies - February/March 2009

About a month ago, I was able to get out snowboarding for the first time this season. It was also extra special because I was able to take my 2 boys out for their first time as well! Last year as Christmas presents, my wife and I bought the kids 'new' snowboards. After much searching and bargain shopping, we were able to get a few used boards and boots off of Craigslist and Play It Again Sports as well as a few helmets and goggles that were on sale off of and Sports Authority. With all things considered, we got all this on the cheap.

After Christmas, weeks went by with busy family & social schedules, other commitments and of course, bad weather. But in February, we were able to get out to Mount Kato located in Mankato, MN for an experience to remember!

Being a long-time snowboarder, I was in the frame of mind to be teaching the kids for at least a few hours (I remember when I learned to board back in the mid/late 1990's and it took me almost a full day!). So I was very surprised when my 7 yr old went down the 'bunny hill' once (yes, once, without falling) and insisted he was ready to go up to the top of their 'bunny hill' via the chairlifts! I was pretty shocked and blown away, I just remember looked to my wife in awe and saying "OK, I'll go with him".  We went up the chairlift leaving my wife to teach my 5 yr old. In hindsight, I feel bad about that, considering my wife did not know how to snowboard and was left trying to teach our 5 yr old how to do something she knew nothing about...

Overall, the day progressed well. There were a few falls, wipeouts and spills throughout the remaining hours but by the end of the day the only one who didn't get the hang of it was my wife. It wasn't fair to leave her to 'fend for herself, but with two boys who were on the go, I don't know what else I could have done. She ultimately gave up after just a few times trying to go down. However, she did say she would do it again if she took lessons or went with someone else that that had never done it before.

We were able to get once once again, this time at Buck Hill. The boys picked up pretty much where they left off before. After a few times down the hill they were getting it. Buck Hill was probably a bit better as they had much smaller practice hills along with a nice conveyor belt to get up the hills.

Take a look at some of the pics below for the family in action!