I thoroughly enjoy MMOs. They’re almost a whole separate category from general gaming in my mind. I can’t really enjoy more than one game at a time; if I get more than one at once I end up waffling between the two and get burnt out on both. But I can play an MMO and an offline game at the same time without the two interfering. Maybe it’s because of the long-term nature of MMOs; other games can be experienced fully in a few weeks, but an MMO provides months, even years of enjoyment.
Guild Wars 2 has all of the makings of a great game: a large user base, an active developer who seems to “get it”, rich backstory, a nice balance of complexity and user-friendliness, and some of the most beautiful and well-crafted graphics I’ve ever seen. But somehow it has completely failed to capture my attention. Continue Reading
When ever I see one of the myriad lists of tips for a successful blog, it seems they always include something to the effect of “Try to post regularly. If for some reason you stop posting for an extended period, it’s best not to acknowledge it. Doing so only reenforces the fact that your blog looks dead.” It’s good advice. And I’m not going to take it.
This is mostly a gaming blog, so I guess I should recap my gaming history in the last few months (ok… nearly a year) since I’ve posted.
My relationship with Linux is a complex one. Logically, I should absolutely hate it. First, I’m a big fan of standards, and I quite firmly believe that Windows has a natural, necessary monopoly on desktop operating systems. Yes, it’s always nice when someone comes along and thinks up a new technology for Microsoft to copy (poorly), and Microsoft isn’t exactly known for its elegant architecture, but when it comes down to it, as a developer, I need to know that most of my audience will be using one platform. Some will say that Windows is for geeks and businesspeople, but remember that an OS is useless without applications, and applications come from geeks. In other words, it’s all about the developers. Secondly, I’m a PC gamer. This is probably the biggest reason (followed closely by my undying devotion to Visual Studio) why I will always run Windows. Let’s face it: almost no one publishes PC games for anything other than Windows. Yes, Blizzard and Valve, two of the greatest game developers of our generation, have their entire catalog available on Mac, but aside from these two remarkably successful companies, there really isn’t much market for non-Windows PC gaming.
There’s something about Linux, however, that I love. Maybe it’s the knowledge that its underlying architecture is so much better than other OSes. Maybe it’s for the geek hipster cred of using something “less mainstream” than Windows or Mac OS. Maybe it’s that “hacker” feeling you get from using the command line all day long. Continue Reading
Everyone remembers some movie that’s so bad it’s good. The only real pleasure you get from it is laughing at how terrible it is. This effect transfers over to video games as well, and there are many to choose from, especially in the “dark times” (aka the pre-Nintendo years), such as the legendary E.T. game on the Atari 2600. Below are some of my favorite so-bad-it’s-good games. I hope you enjoy them (if it can be called that) as much as I do. Continue Reading
Is it weird that, in two of my top three favorite game series, you play as a girl? Regardless of the Freudian implications of controlling women on a screen, I love the Metroid series. I was first introduced to Metroid through Metroid Prime on the Gamecube. I saw it in the store, and was disappointed to find that Nintendo had lowered itself to make a Halo clone. I somehow had the great misfortune of missing the classic Metroid games, and my only exposure to Metroid at that point was playing as Samus in Super Smash Bros. If it tells you how little I knew of Metroid, somehow I and my friends got the strange impression that Samus was from F-Zero (actually the rumor was that she was Captain Falcon’s sister). Finally a friend of mine talked me in to playing Metroid Prime, and I was instantly hooked. Since then I’ve played through almost every game in the series (the only ones I haven’t played are Metroid II and Metroid Prime Pinball, the latter of which is hard to call a real Metroid game). Metroid, I found, is far from a Halo clone.
What really sets Metroid apart from its competition is its atmosphere. So many words come to mind when I try to describe the “feel” of a Metroid game: Lonely, beautiful, dark, compelling, eerie, awe-inspiring. Metroid’s environments really make the game what it is. The games really need very little traditional storytelling because the game makes you feel for the character simply by immersing you in their world. You are a lone bounty hunter making your way through some alien environment in order to stop some evil force (usually some form of the titular Metroid parasites) from destroying life as we know it in the galaxy. What more do you need to know?
Metroids. Aren't they cute?
Every gamer, as far as I’m concerned, needs to have a favorite RPG. Whether it’s Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Diablo, or any of the innumerable variants on the RPG genre, you know what you like and, in a way, it defines who you are as a gamer. It’s no different for me. I’m the “obscure Sega Genesis TacStrat JRPG” type. That’s right, my favorite RPG of all time is Shining Force.
Possibly the most awkwardly drawn box art since the US version of Mega Man?
That’s right, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is back in theaters IN 3D! Yippee! Just what everyone was waiting for: the chance to see Boss Nass fling slobber at the audience in the third dimension. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (I am currently writing this sitting under a large Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-Ray release poster), but I’m not overly enthused with 3D movies. I will, however, take any chance I can get to see Star Wars in the theater again. There’s something special about going to see a movie, especially one of the scale of Star Wars, in the theater. The giant, high-quality screen; that undefinable corporate experience; the high-end sound system blowing blaster sounds, lightsaber swooshes, and that incredible John Williams soundtrack at you from every angle… how could I pass that up? But 3D effect really wasn’t worth it for me. It felt very “cookie cutter,” that is, it seemed like they cut out around characters and popped them out in front of the background, rather than making the characters actually dimensional (I will resist the urge to make any puns about the characters seeming flat). It felt (and, of course, it was) very “tacked on” for its own sake rather than to improve the immersion experience. It made the podrace scene feel even more epic than it did in 1999, but for the majority of the movie it’s not worth it. Continue Reading