Giving Thanks

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Today our office is closed as we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and family. Over the past week, I asked folks at the office to share what they’re thankful for this year. Check out the list below.

From everyone at Bethesda Softworks, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving….and Go Lions!!

Ashley Cheng: As you read this, I will be in Taiwan, the country where I was born, visiting friends and relatives I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I am very grateful for my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues, and mostly for my beautiful wife, Megen. I’d also like to thank everyone who has ever purchased a game I’ve worked on, thank you so much for your support.

Todd Howard: My family, friends, coworkers and everyone out there who supports our games. And for all the dreamers; the ones who make the games, and the ones who play them. What’s on the screen is never as good as the story you’re telling in your head.

Emil Pagliarulo: As always, I’m thankful for my four great kids, and my wonderful wife who someone manages to take care of us all, before she even thinks about taking care of herself; I’m thankful that I have the best job in the world; I’m especially thankful this year that I’m finally healthy, and really looking forward to what the future may bring; and, last but not least, I’m thankful for my car, the Cherry Bomb 3000 — a red 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. My God, I love my car.

Pete Hines:I’m thankful that for 10 years I’ve been able to go to work at a place I love, doing something I love, with people I truly enjoy working with and being around. I’m thankful for my great friends and family, two terrific kids, sweet tea, Bojangles’ biscuits, the very existence of Chick Fil A, serious thunderstorms, Wake Forest sports, Caps playoff hockey games, the US Nat’l soccer team, a World Cup to look forward to, being able to still get it done on the soccer field at age 40, that at home I have a stack of good video games to play, entertaining books to read, and a list of movies I can’t wait to see, and I’m thankful for the promise that 2010 holds.

Kevin Kauffman: Thanks to everyone responsible for paying me to do a job that I love and would probably do for free. Also to the best family and friends money can buy… you guys were worth every penny.

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What we’re playing

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Earlier this week we checked out the first chapter of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves in our theater. The game dropped jaws and now a number of devs are busy playing through the full game. Uncharted 2 isn’t the only game getting lots of buzz — new releases Brütal Legend and Demon’s Souls having quickly become office favorites, too.

Now back to playing Uncharted…enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Jon DeVriendt: Uncharted 2, League of Legends, and Demon’s Souls.

Orin Tresnjak: Demon’s Souls.

Pete Hines: Uncharted Drake’s Fortune, Madden, NCAA, and Halo 3: ODST.

Brett Douville, Eater of Metal Cookies: Brütal Legend, Brütal Legend, and Brütal Legend.

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Where we’re dining: Craving Five Guys

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This week I thought I’d ask everyone to share their favorite places to eat (good suggestion, Ash). As you can expect, there’s plenty of variety in the places where folks from our office go out to eat.

One of the most common responses was Five Guys. Like In-N-Out Burger on the west coast, Five Guys is one of those burger places where you just assume they’ve put some addictive chemical in the burgers that make you crave it. If you haven’t checked it out, there’s a good chance one will pop up in your area sometime soon. While the restaurants began in the DC Area (Arlington, to be exact), there are now more than 400 locations in the US.

Below are more of the places we enjoy eating…you might even recognize some of the areas from Fallout 3.

Pete Hines: Five Guys, Valentino’s, Chick-Fil-A.

Gary Powell, QA Tester: Viet Gourmet (Fredrick), El Charro (Dale City), Panera Bread, Five Guys, Grotto’s Pizza (Bethany Beach, DE) and House Of Dynasty (Alexandria).

Dane Olds, Artist: Dogfishhead Alehouse, Roy’s Place, Cava, and Sushi House (Rockville).

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Fan-Made AER9 Laser Rifle

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This morning while drinking my daily glass of grape juice, I saw this blog post at Destructoid — depicting a fan-made Fallout 3 AER9 Laser Rifle. As my jaw dropped, I nearly spilled the grape juice all over myself and my laptop. Upon not destroying my laptop, I immediately sent the link to Pete, Todd, and others at the office.

The rifle was created by Harrison Krix (who also created an awesome  Bioshock Big Daddy), who is a self-proclaimed “27 year old dork working in Graphic Design and living in Atlanta.” Be sure to read more on how he assembled the rifle (complete with some step-by-step pictures) at his website.

Great work!

What we’re watching: Heading to District 9

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Later tonight, I’ll be heading to see District 9. Looking at the list below (and having seen others’ Facebook updates), I’m guessing that I’m one of the last at the office to see it.

In addition to District 9, find out the movies and shows are developers are watching below.

Max Cameron: District 9, Funny People, and catching up on How I Met Your Mother.

Andrew Scharf: Catching up on Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter Season 3, and watching District 9 over the weekend.

Ryan Lea, Programmer: District 9 and Psych.

Matt Killmon, Video Producer: I keep watching the videos on this site over and over, and now my dreams are haunted and my soul tortured… and yet I cannot look away! Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!

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What we’re playing

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There’s a lot of common ground this weekend on what the devs are playing. Mostly notably, several folks (Joel, Jeff, Phil, Daryl, and Jonah) are returning to PlanetSide. For those that missed it, it’s a classic Massively Multiplayer First-Person game that was originally released back in 2003. Outside of that, folks are playing Wii Sports Resort, Worms 2: Armageddon, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, (re-released on Xbox LIVE arcade this week), Gears of War 2 (with new DLC  out), Secret of Monkey Island (whether it’s on iPhone, Steam or 360), and much more.

Let us know what you’re playing.

Nathan McDyer: DoWII, Monkey Island SE, Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Killzone 2, Team Fortress 2.

Ashley Cheng: Monkey Island iPhone, GTA4, Battlefield 1943, and Baseball Superstars 2009 (iPhone).

Ryan Lea, Programmer: Mario Kart Double Dash for a 150cc All Cup battle royale vs. Samuel Bernstein. Challenge accepted. Inspirational Words – “Here he comes here comes Speed Racer. He’s a demon on wheels.”

Sam Bernstein: Rocky montage-ing Mario Kart Double Dash for a 150cc All Cup battle royale vs. Ryan Lea. The gauntlet has been thrown.

Mike Christensen: Pokemon Pinball (GBC), Psychonauts, and The Secret of Monkey Island.

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What we’re playing: More throwback action

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Last week plenty of folks were turning back the clock with Battlefield 1943, and this week it’s all about Lucasarts’ re-imagination of the adventure classic, The Secret of Monkey Island. For some, it’s a look back on a classic. For me, it’s a chance to play something I always wanted to play.

Aside from Monkey Island, other popular titles include Trine, NCAA Football 10 and Fight Night Round 4.

Let us know the games you’re playing…

Brent Krische: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, and Overlord: Dark Legends.

Louis Riley: Prototype, Secret of Monkey Island SE, and Fight Night Round 4.

Jon DeVriendt: The Secret of Monkey Island, Battlefield 1943, Fight Night Round 4, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft.

Dane Olds, Artist: Super Metroid. Stretching the ol’ Metroidvania muscles in preparation for Shadow Complex.

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What we’re playing

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This week we had a pretty heated battle for the featured game of the week. DOOM Resurrection and Prototype were popular picks, as was the already featured Plants vs. Zombies (hint hint, devs). Since DOOM Resurrection was already blogged about this week, my plan was to showcase Prototype (which I can’t wait to play) — until Ryan Lea begged me in the team meeting to showcase Personal Trainer: Walking for the DS. To quote Ryan, “This should win just because it’s that awesome! It measures steps per minute and your life rhythm! I’m not even sure what that last one is…”

Given that I walk about four miles to and from work each day, I think I’m going to check it out. Next week I’ll go back to picking a title based on the vote count…unless someone bribes me.

That’s all for this week. Have a splendid weekend. Happy 4th of July!

Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer: DOOM Resurrection, Baseball Slugger 3D, Tiger Woods golf and anything else portable I can play on the beach on my iPhone.

Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: Hitman: Blood Money (catching up to the Rebel FM Game Club crew), Duels of the Planeswalkers, Fallout 3 DLC, misc. board games (Thurn & Taxis, Dominion, Tribune, etc.).

Mike Dulany: Red Faction: Guerrilla and DOOM Resurrection.

Liz Beetem: Prototype, Planescape Torment, this weekend brought to you by the letter P and morally ambiguous zombie men.

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What we’re watching

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As for this week, I asked folks at the office to share what movies, TV shows, sporting events, etc. they’re watching. No surprise, there’s plenty of variety. HBO shows (True Blood, Carnivale, Flight of the Conchords, and Six Feet Under are mentioned) seem to be quite popular for beating the summer heat. In the end, True Blood received the most votes to be featured. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s on Sundays at 9 pm on HBO.

We’ll also highlight what QA Project Lead Ruben Brown is watching. Today’s Ruben’s last day at the office, so we all wish him well.

Ruben Brown: Once upon a time in the West, Money for Nothing, The Hangover, and as always, til it’s done…The Venture Bros.

Chris Esko, Programmer: The Daily Show, Venture Bros., Mythbusters, Flight of the Conchords.

Louis Riley: Senior QA Tester: Carnivale.

Megan Sawyer: True Blood (but I like the books better ;D), lots of Star Trek: DS9 on DVD.

Ashley Cheng, Production Director: Royal Pains, In Plain Sight, Burn Notice (I’m on a USA Network kick lately)

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What we’re playing

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Between a trip to London, a DLC release, and the id announcement, I got so busy I forgot to post last week’s “What We’re Playing.” So without further ado, here’s what the guys were playing (as of last week). From the emails I got, the game that got the most votes for the “featured game” was Ghostbusters, which I plan on checking out when it’s available in our game library.

Mike Dulany, Programmer (terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought): Ghostbusters.

Chris Esko, Programmer: Ghostbusters, Red Faction: Guerilla, the acronym-tastic XBLA : MtG : DotP.

Liz Beetem, Artist: Playing a lot of Prototype because I have to hurl these pedestrians to safety away from this zombie hoard. Oh god, they hit a helicopter, oh god I’m sorry. Here I’ll catch you I just have to run through this crowd top speed with my meatshield art turning everything into a red mist. Oh oops, oh god I’m sorry again.

Matt Ponton, QA: Street Fighter IV

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