Despite the lack of Kickstarting update posts, I still have quite an unhealthy habit of tossing my money at hopeful projects. Time for a quick update of my current funded projects. (Am leaving out the ones I have already posted about, oh and a few of the less nerdy ones.)
Archive for the ‘Console Games’ Category
Getting back in the habit of writing is proving more difficult then anticipated. Six years of good habit, ruined by a few months of reckless abandonment. All my writing aspirations extinguished on the great bonfire of failure. Behold the end of my writing career. Oh World, how you have failed me!!!
At least my sense of the dramatic hasn’t left me. =D
Beyond the death of my writing skillz, my summer vacation created massive upheaval in my gaming habits. At one point I even thought I would take a break from gaming. ~gasp~ The horror!! Thankfully I came to my senses and after a short hiatus decided I simply needed a new gaming direction.
Finally canceling my World of Warcraft accounts is by far the biggest change. You heard me, as of August 2013 my WoW accounts are officially in the ‘not paying for it anymore’ category. After eight solid years of subscribing, it was time to part ways.
The husband had quit just a few months ago, and though I hung on to raid and collect pets, not playing with him certainly helped turn my burn out into permanence. Besides, I don’t miss it, just miss the people. =/
Puzzles and Dragons became my second victim on the chopping block. Considering that it is a free to play IOS game, it takes up waaaay to much time, energy, and money to play. Thus bye bye PnD. I really dont miss you at all.
Its amazing how much more time I have, just by cutting out those two games. Not that I am doing anything very productive. Animal Crossing New Leaf came out after all.
When I find myself desperate for excuses to do anything but write a review, it’s usually because the subject matter ended up being rather disappointing. Borderlands 2 sadly falls into this category, as I have been struggling for weeks to come up with something praise worthy to write.
But I can’t let that stop me anymore, productivity must continue!! (Never give up, never surrender!!) With my house clean, laundry finished, caffeine and snacks at the ready, I am all out of excuses; its time to sit down and get this review done. Wait, what am I writing about again? Oh right Borderlands 2…hmm is that a spot over there that I missed dusting? Clearly my bout of Borderlands 2 induced ADD is persistent.
Oblivion was quite effective at smothering any desire I might have had to play other Elder Scrolls game. Being the victim of poor character choices and frequently lost in the vast empty abyss that was the world of Oblivion (aptly named) made quitting quite easy and overlooking Skyrim easier still.
But then I finished Mass Effect 3 and found myself pining for something similar, something new. Skyrim seemed like the obvious candidate; though thinking about it now, Dragon Age probably would have been a closer match.
Whatever the case, Skyrim was recommended to me and, thanks to my fabulous friends, loaned to me, since I still couldn’t bring myself to purchase a copy. Seemed like the perfect solution as I expected to dislike the game and return it a week later.
These are all games that I have played in the past, games that I find not only historically significant, but that have also made a huge positive impact on me as a gamer.
Some of you might notice that my list actually consists of twenty games, not ten. Well, I’m really bad at picking favorites and they all seemed so important, plus I really wanted a diverse selection
Tetris, Super Mario Bros 3, Final Fantasy 8, Tomb Raider 2, Diablo1+2, Starcraft, Myst, Journey, Zelda windwaker, Animal Crossing, Civ 3, Pokemon, mortal kombat, quake, Baldurs Gate 2, gauntlet, Heroes of Might and Magic, Overlord, Professor Layton and The Curious Village, Portal.
This might come as a surprise but my pick is Tingle from the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker game. He is this totally hilarious middle-aged man who believes in forest fairies, so much so that his only ambition is to become a forest fairy himself, thus the costume. He also happens to be a skilled cartographer.
Though he is a reoccurring character in the Zelda series, he had a starring role in the Wind Waker game, resident mapmaker. But the real reason I liked him so much (besides being ridiculously funny) was that Tingle could help Link by connecting the Game Boy Advanced to the GameCube. It was a total gimmick, but I loved every minute. It certainly ensured Tingle’s place in this line up. =P
Character progression is one of those vital building blocks of the average role playing game and probably one of the most challenging to implement smoothly. Finding the balance between effectiveness and progression, while still maintaining a level of fun is what makes role playing games great (or bad as the case maybe).
But the game that does it best, in my humble (ha!) opinion, is the Zelda series. While Link doesn’t have anything as pedestrian as a skill tree, he is always getting acquainted with new weapons and magical artifacts. These of course just happen to be presented to him with such perfect timing, that he always has the perfect tool on hand to get through the next challenge.
Its incredibly satisfying to know that the ‘skills’, or in Link’s case tools, are actually going to be useful. No filler skills here!
The game also has a much more fluid leveling system. The only indication of levels is Link’s collection of heart containers, which provide him with more hit points. These do get collected as the game progresses, but many of them are available outside the general story line, so they only loosely indicate progress or skill level.
No matter what, Link is uniquely prepared for each and every quest he faces. His progress is brilliantly tailored to makes the game fun, interesting, and highly engaging.
Though my EverQuest enchanter epic certainly qualifies for this honor, it was not the only weapon that I coveted. EQ was filled with hard to get items that I desired, which of course was part of the brilliance of the game.
One such weapon was the Short Sword of Ykesha, which I was positive, represented the pinnacle of short swords everywhere. Eventually my little bard did end up with two of them, dual wielding! It never really mattered to me that they were totally wasted on bards, or that by the time I got them there were far better weapons available. I had Ykashas!!
Funny enough, after playing EverQuest with it’s impossible to get items and general scarcity of choice, most other games felt excessive, with items constantly being replaced by upgrades. Not that this wasn’t fun, it just meant that I didn’t fixate on one specific item as much.
But wait, there was another set of weapons that I absolutely adored. In Tomb Raider 2, Lara’s two starter pistols, I played the entire game dual wielding those things. Okay maybe it had a little to do with me not wanting to use up the ammo on any other weapons, but mostly it was because dual wielding them was awesome!
Just like the title suggests, the main playable figure is an evil overlord who commands a hard of goblins to do his bidding. Having lots of sacrificial minions to do all the fighting and heavy lifting is of course one of the big reasons I love this game.
Even though minions get used up and replaced like tissue paper, the burning and pillaging of the nearby town is optional. Which means its possible to be a slightly benevolent evil overlord. Though the humorous goblin sidekick will frown upon showing too much compassion.
Overlord is an incredibly fun game that makes being evil funny and quite entertaining, while not requiring true depravity. This also means that when I did have a few minor slip ups, like accidentally burning a farm to the ground, I didn’t feel too badly about it.
My two runners up are ‘Dungeon Keeper’ and ‘Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a Darklord’. Both are tower defense type games that let you play as the evil dungeon master. Build up your dungeon with traps and minions to defend against intruding heroes.
Both is really my preferred answer, but since that isn’t quite accurate I will attempt to be more specific. As I am a huge fan of both genres, in much more then games, it took a while to figure out that I do really have a preference.
In movies and TV I strongly lean in the Sci-Fi direction, while books are much more middle ground. But in games I seem to prefer the fantasy setting, its certainly what I play the most of.
This is very likely related to my proclivity for role-playing game, which are often in a fantasy setting, rather then the more sci-fi first person shooters. But I’m not sure if my preference is because of game mechanics or genre preference.
Whatever the case, my final answer is fantasy. =)
This was one of the topics that I debated not putting on the list, mostly because, in my initial pass through, finding an answer proved more challenging then I anticipated.
As I pondered possible candidates, it became clear that my expectations of feeling heroic were vastly different then what most games provided. Which left me failing to find a convenient answer.
Instead of bailing, it became the quest to determine what I found truly heroic. Saving princesses wasn’t it, shooting tons of opponents wasn’t it, saving the world from zombies wasn’t it, ‘the game that never ends’ model certainly wasn’t it, solving puzzles wasn’t it, defending castles wasn’t it, building armies wasn’t it. These goals were all challenging, fun, and exciting, but never really heroic.
Clearly none of the typical (male?) versions of heroism were working for me. Once I let go of these preconceived notions, the answer was simple, Journey. No other game has made me feel as much or as heroic as Journey did; a game with no fighting, no spoken or written story, no killing, no items, no princesses, no gender, no weapons or armor, no spaceships, nothing but pure unadulterated heroic journey.
But there are a few that were enjoyable for simply being fun and entertaining. My favorite is probably ‘Tomb Raider’. Angelina Jolie does a great job of being an action star, and I’m always a sucker for an intelligent, kick ass, female heroine. My runners up are ‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Resident Evil’.
Let me clarify, these are not great movies, but they still managed to represent their games fairly well and be quite entertaining. Frankly, with the selection of game movies that are out there (~cough~ Dungeon Siege movie ~cough~) these three movies are masterpieces.
The TVtropes site has an interesting write up about why video game movies suck and how animated versions tend to be better received. Well worth a read for deeper insight.
While games don’t seem to adapt as well into other mediums, the opposite direction is often much more successful. Two of my favorites are Lego Star Wars and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Both are super fun games that represent their various genres extremely well.
In general I favor graphics that stay far away from the uncanny valley; preferably cute, with bright complimenting colors and clean lines. In short, Cartoony with a strong Anime slant.
The game I picked for best graphics in the first 30 days segment was Kiry’s Epic Yarn, a graphically brilliant game, which is a perfect example of my cuteness tolerance.
But Kirby is a round ball, and though very cute, isn’t really the greatest example of my bipedal character preference, nor 3D backgrounds. Guild Wars 2’s characters are fairly good and the backgrounds in World of Warcraft are pretty, but I think the game that sums up my artistic preference the best is Aion.
While I didn’t play the game for long, as the mechanics were troublesome at best, I still found the graphics stunning. I loved the character looks, very anime with lots of style options and the backgrounds were vibrant and lush with color, absolutely beautiful. If only the game itself has been as great as the graphics.
Super Mario has been rebooted five million times by now, but I still love each and every one of them. Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS is the latest of these and is my current favorite reboot.
This version, more then most, reminds me of the original Super Mario Bros, with its fairly simplistic level design and world selection. But it is a reboot, which means additions. In this case they added very minor 3D aspects to each level, yet most of the game still remains a simple 2D platformer.
We all know what the answer to this is going to be right? Yeah, my current favorite mini game is the new World of Warcraft Battle Pets system, which is the perfect mix of challenge, simplicity, and collecting; a quite distractingly fun mini game.
But its been pointed out that the list is a bit MMORPG heavy. Thankfully one of my all time favorite games, Animal Crossing, is basically a collection of mini games.
The overall goal in Animal Crossing is to decorate and pay off your house; the mini games are the means by which to earn money. Fishing, harvesting fruit, digging up fossils, catching bugs, and selling turnips are some of the main ways to earn money in the game and each is its own fun little mini game.
What made the entire game so brilliant is that it wasn’t as simple as catching fish and selling them for profit, the game also tracked which fish were caught (or bugs, or fossils) and totally encouraged completing the entire collection. There was even a museum that would display donations, but only one of each.
But catching bugs and fish was quite tricky. The game was set in real time, meaning it used the console’s internal clock to simulate the real passage of time (one day in the game was twenty four hours long). Bugs and fish and fossils were also based on real life versions, which made the museum quite a learning experience.
The game also simulated the seasonal nature of these animals. Some fish could only be caught in the spring while others were only found in the winter, some preferred the lake, and others were only found in the ocean.
This meant that completing a full collection of fish or bugs was quite challenging but in the end really fun.
I might not like it in real life, but fishing in Animal Crossing was awesome!! It is certainly one of my favorite mini games of ALL TIME!