New memories: sometimes, they’re just as awesome.

bfbox

 

This game has been out what… just over two months?  How could I already have an unforgettable memory associated with it?

Well, a lot has changed in regards to Star Wars since Battlefront II was released on PC and consoles back in 2005.  Of course there was the sale of the franchise to Disney, the creation of new movies – pretty much one a year for the next few years (!!!) – the well-established Expanded Universe no longer being canon, and one of the biggest heartbreaks, LucasArts being shut down.

But fear not!  EA and DICE were there to pick up the slack, and they promptly announced Battlefront III!  Well, kinda – it would just go by Battlefront, but still, it was frickin’ BATTLEFRONT!!!  It was coming back, baby!

Actual game footage was a bit slow to pour in at first, but it became obvious at E3 2015 that this would be a pretty-looking game, to say the least.

But would it be any good?

 

Also, what in the world is Endor-Luke doing on Hoth? Where's Hoth-Luke???

Also, what in the world is Endor-Luke doing on Hoth?
Where’s Hoth-Luke???

 

On November 17th – almost ten years *to the day* that Battlefront II came out – Star Wars Battlefront was released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.  Having just purchased an Xbox One not too long before, and with more friends of mine owning that console than a PS4, I went ahead and picked up that version.

I obviously started with the single player stuff with the intent of treating this as a game I would play by myself after a long day of work.  You know, to unwind.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after playing through a few missions that I realized Battlefront was mainly built as an online multiplayer experience.

There are eight solo and co-op “missions” as well as four “survival” rounds spread across eight maps for you to play offline – but that’s it.  Even then, the missions are quite literally all about killing AI with no other objectives in sight.  The lack of anything containing a story, especially considering the Star Wars saga is so story-driven, was quite disappointing.

I quickly realized that if I was to enjoy Battlefront for what it was, I had to go online.  For those of you who know me and how I feel about multiplayer games – specifically shooters – that was a pretty big deal.

I held my nose, bought myself an Xbox Live Gold subscription, hopped online and hoped for the best…

Well, to say that I’m glad I did that would be an understatement.  I have played the various multiplayer modes like crazy, and although I’ve stuck to some more than others, they all have their merits.

 

So many modes, so little time.

So many modes, so little time.

 

Drop Zone – claim and defend randomly-dropped escape pods (one at a time) in hectic 6 vs. 6 action.  First team to claim five pods wins the round.

Droid Run – 6 vs. 6 like Drop Zone, but with three Gonk Droids slowly roaming the battlefield.  Hold all three for 20 seconds, or hold more than the other team when time runs out to win the round.

Fighter Squadron – 10 vs. 10 battle in the skies with a very Rogue Squadron-like feel to it.  Incredibly fun, especially when you get on a roll or manage to snag a token to pilot Slave 1 or the Millennium Falcon.

Heroes vs. Villains – each round, three players on each team of 10 are randomly assigned the role of a Hero.  If you’re on the Rebel side, Luke, Han and Leia each have unique and extremely powerful abilities.  If you’re with the Imps, Vader, Palpatine and Boba Fett get the call… the first team to eliminate all three of the opposing side’s “celebrities” wins the round, and the first team to win five rounds wins it all.

Supremacy – 20 vs. 20 battle for capture points, probably the most similar mode to the classic Battlefront games.

Walker Assault – my most-played mode by far.  20 vs. 20 battles where Imperial AT-AT’s slowly make their way to escaping Rebel transports on the opposite end of the map.  As the Rebels, defend beacons long enough to have Y-Wings swoop down to take out the AT-AT’s shields for a limited time.  The longer you defend the beacons, the more Y-Wings come to disable the AT-AT’s shields, giving you more time you have to damage them.  As the Imperials, defend the AT-AT’s by deactivating the beacons as best you can, then suppressing any fire the Rebels might throw at you.

 

Decent round, but I didn't do as well as a poopsicle.

Decent round, but I didn’t do as well as a poopsicle.

 

So yes, to say that I’m having a blast with Battlefront so far would be an understatement.  The crazy part is that I’m not nearly as good as most of the strangers I play against!  At the same time, the game does a good job of not making you feel like a piece of garbage for having a terrible Kill to Death ratio.  By sticking to mission objectives (such as capturing droids, damaging AT-AT’s, etc), you can accumulate tons of points and help your team a lot!

 

Sometimes I suck! Sometimes I snag the Millennium Falcon and go to town! (My old friend Josh still manages to get more kills, however...)

Sometimes I suck!
Sometimes I snag the Millennium Falcon and go to town!
(My old friend Josh still manages to get more kills, however…)

 

OK, so as far as unforgettable memories go, this one ranks right at the top.  Like, major-big.  Huge.

My wife Anita and I met on June 16, 2006, and when it came to choose a wedding date five years later, we thought June 16 would be as good a date as any.  The courthouse here in town only does weddings on Fridays however, so we set June 17, 2011 as our date.

No big deal – it would just be two days of anniversaries instead of one!

 

'Twas a great day!

‘Twas a great day!

 

As is usually the case, people started asking us pretty much right away when we would start having kids.  It’s something every couple inevitably goes through when they get married – heck, some people even go through it before they get married, and even when they’re single.

We started trying to have a child about a month after getting married.  As time went on and we were unable to conceive, we naturally began to wonder what the deal was.  Was there something wrong?  Was it me?  Was it her?  Are we healthy?

We started going to various appointments, taking tests, doing all the things that people wanting to be parents will do.  To make a long story short, we ended up being told it would be very unlikely that we would be able to have a child by traditional means.

We could either adopt or try various means of fertilization or try to improve our chances with drugs… but because we are the way we are, we wanted to do it normally.

Besides, with our luck, we’d take fertility drugs and end up with quadruplets right off the bat!

The decision to let things be was a tough one, even though it was one we were eventually okay with.  As time went on, we kept getting the questions – “when are you two going to start a family?”  “Shouldn’t you be ready to have kids by now?”  “I saw you in that picture with a child, and it looked really good on you!”

Any progress we would have made with *not* being bummed out about our situation would take a bit of a step back.  We eventually made complete peace with it just being her and I for the rest of our lives, and it was a HUGE relief for both of us when we could finally just let things be, and all the questions would just roll off our backs…

A day or two after Canadian Thanksgiving, Nita called me at work requesting that I bring her Subway for her lunch…  that was incredibly odd, because during the entirety of our relationship, she had a notorious dislike of Subway.

Mostly as a joke (but also because I had a hunch), I went to Wal-Mart to pick up pregnancy tests before picking up and dropping off her sandwich.  We shared a laugh, and I went back to work.

I sent her a quick note to say, y’know, “you should probably take a test, just in case, because you never know?”  She agreed, but was like “haha, when this comes back negative, you’ll eat your words!”

A few minutes later, the Facebook message came in.

“Uhhh…….. holy s**t.”

So, Anita is pregnant, and is due this coming June.  To say that we were surprised to learn this would be an understatement, but when she started feeling sick and craving weird things, I knew something was up.

We had the positive tests, we had confirmation from an after-hours clinic doctor that “oh yeah, those tests are accurate, you’re pregnant”, and we had a very sick mommy-to-be.  But other than that, it hadn’t really sunk in.

I had a couple days of vacation to use before the end of the year, so I used two of them in November the week Battlefront was released.  The 16th, Nita had her first appointment her new family doctor, so I took that day off… the 17th would be dedicated to crushing Rebel scum\Imperial scum.

During the appointment, the doctor said “we’ll try to hear the heartbeat – we might not be able to hear anything yet, but we’ll give it a shot!”  Nita and I both thought “well, hopefully there’s an actual baby in there and it wasn’t a false-positive test”, mostly because it was still such an unbelievable turn of events.

The doctor’s office overlooks a 200-plus year old cemetery, and it was a really cloudy day that day.  While the doctor asked Nita questions, I stared out the window and tried not to get bummed out.  What a dreary and gross day!

 

*Man, I can’t believe I finally get to play Battlefront tomorrow…*

*Man, I can’t believe I finally get to play Battlefront tomorrow…*

 

I just kinda sat there in my own little world, paying attention pretty much only when I needed to pay attention.  When it came time to try and hear the heartbeat however, I snapped out of it.  After a few moments, we heard it.

*whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww*

I couldn’t believe it.  That was *our child*.  After being told it probably wouldn’t happen for us, there it was, clear as day.

*whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww*

I looked at Nita, and she looked at me.  Time froze.  Was this real??

*whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww-whoww*

After the tests and her countless bouts of vomiting, we knew she was pregnant, but it hadn’t hit home yet.  When we heard that heartbeat, that was the moment it truly dawned on both of us; we are going to be parents.

I got Battlefront the next day, but to tell the truth, I was on such a high from the day before that my first experience with the game was a blur.

Even now, after a couple months of playing the game religiously, I’m still experiencing some pretty amazing stuff.

We’re in the process of moving to a new place, and although we were going through and packing\moving things gradually, I left my Xbox One and Battlefront unpacked so I could keep playing it.  Not only am I incredibly pumped for the move into a much better place to raise a child, but we have also gone for an ultrasound to *see* our baby.

As mind-blowing as hearing the heartbeat was, seeing the child and learning the sex was even crazier.

So yeah, these past few months have been a whirlwind, but I’m so incredibly excited for what’s to come in 2016!

A bunch of Battlefront DLC and a bouncing baby boy.  Not too shabby.

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