I'm at a real good place right now with video games. Peace Walker is friggin' great, I got a free game from Valve that is really fun (Alien Swarm), and for less than ten dollars/Euros, I got two more great games in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions for PSP, and the independant, one man production Minecraft (PC/Mac browsers).
I was just playing some Peace Walker and had another epic battle (Extra Ops 80-something) vs a bombing helicopter. I wasn't even really attempting to win it, just trying out different weapons as recon for a future run, but I managed to neutralize all of the ground troops and get the chopper pilot to stupidly hang his head out of the cockpit, which meant that some splash damage from one of my surface-to-air missiles took him out and netted me the machine for Outer Heaven's hangars. I wasn't aware that was even possible; I thought you had to tranquilize pilots to capture the vehicles. I suppose not!
The PSP redux of Final Fantasy Tactics arrived from Amazon today, and I played it for about 45 minutes, long enough to get through the intro stuff and to the world map for the first time. Yep, that's my good old FFT, but damn the translation is a hell of a lot better in this version. I can't wait to play all the way through and experience the story the way it should have been told over a decade ago. My last playthrough was just before moving back to the US from Japan, but I only got to somewhere in the midst of Chapter 4, probably about 75% of the way through the main game.
Yesterday I jumped back into X3 for a while and ran a couple of trade routes and explored a couple of new sectors of the galaxy, and then decided to check out Valve's gift to us all, the free Alien Swarm on Steam. It's a top-down co-operative class-based action shooter, kind of like Left 4 Dead meets Gauntlet or Smash TV or something. I ended up playing all the way through the game over the course of a couple of hours with random people on Steam. One guy was a total douche, spouting racial slurs and always rushing everyone through the levels, but thankfully he was easily ignored. I didn't feel like grabbing another group just for some quick action. It's a pretty quick game, especially if everyone knows what they're doing. Only the d-bag had played before, but even with 3 greenhorns we didn't have much trouble, on the normal difficulty setting. I could see myself playing more; the game has got a cool class system with weapon unlocks and experience points, and the action is tight.
I read on NeoGAF about an awesome little (though actually fucking huge) game called Minecraft. You're dropped into a tile-based and randomized 3D world, that looks a lot like the recent game 3D Dot Game Heroes, or what you would expect a 3D 8-bit world to look like. You start with nothing but you can punch trees to get lumber and then craft various things like a workbench that lets you craft more complicated things like pickaxes or hoes to till the soil with. From there, you can go mine in the world, just anywhere, it seems, or go do whatever. It's basically a huge randomized world/construction set with monsters and caves and all kinds of crazy stuff, and it's really neat looking and interesting. Check the thread
In the 30 minutes or so I spent checking out the game tonight I generated two worlds, did some climbing and exploring, and other stupid things like digging straight down for a hundred feet and not being able to get back up. I have no idea what this game is about, but it's awesome.