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I have to admit, it’s been an exciting time for me. See, I grew up in the late  80’s/early 90’s, and I grew up playing video games. I blame my dad for this, of course (being a nerd seems to be an inherited trait), he’s the one who brought video games into the house, he’s the one that monitored the new ones coming out, and he was the one with the money to buy them. 

For the most part we were Nintendo people – a phrase that used to carry just as much weight as proclaiming the superiority of the 360 or the PS3; Legend of Zelda, Mario Bros, Final Fantasy, all those beloved pixels with their simple catchy melodies (and by simple I don’t mean they weren’t complex and well crafted). 

But, we were also PC gamers – a term that simply didn’t exist back then. Much like today, if you played games on the computer the general populous was confused, but oh man was it the place to be for a little girl who had a very active imagination and was just learning to read and comprehend. I think my love of writing and story telling came specifically from the computer gaming days. 

As high in regard as I hold ye olde console games, they cannot hold a candle to my beloved adventure games, games that taught me to think outside the box, games that made me engage in characters, games that were simply capable of more things than our very dear NES could ever dream (though it tried,  King’s Quest V on the NES). 

Back in the day we would gladly gather around whoever was playing a game at the time, we sat, or stood, or leaned, to watch the player try and figure out the world, the puzzles, everything. If my dad was playing, I was often on his lap. And we would spend HOURS like this, the players switching in and out, saying “try this on that” or “can you look at that thing there?” and I learned to write simple sentences “Look at tree”, “Use broom on floor”, “Take bow and arrow”. I always had an advanced reading level in school, and I don’t doubt that these games were the cause of it – of course I knew what perilous was, I had already played Perils of Rosella. I could put 2 and 2 together. 

Sarcasm? Sarcasm is practically my mother tongue: Space Quest raised me well.

I can’t think of the lessons Monkey Island taught me, a sense of humor? A love of the bizarre? Sam and Max made me appreciate the things that were twisted, but in a good way I suppose? Whatever those LucasArts lessons were, they’re there, embedded in my brain, making me laugh at the ridiculous, and figuring out the most convoluted solution to any given situation. 

They tried, oh how they tried, to keep Adventure Games relevant with the advent of cds. They lasted for a while on CDs too, until someone got the bright idea to evolve them into FMV games.

FMV games were… well, I will always say that they could be awesome. They are a genre that rarely holds up anymore, assuming a modern computer can even play them (which is tricky at best – SCUMMVM and DosBox have made many of the old adventure games compatible with modern systems, but it’s not 100%). But damn if I wasn’t impressed with them. I remember the X-Files FMV game, a game I never beat, and how cool it was that the game disks (which were like…7 or 8?) were in individual cases in a larger box, and each of those cases were shaped like a file. I felt very adult. 

But we all know that those FMV games, they were the end. Adventure games kind of died from there. Game companies weren’t interested in making them, and it seemed gamers weren’t interested in playing them: there was a new generation of gamer, gamers who grew up strictly on consoles, gamers who liked pressing buttons and killing things. This was a new era of gaming. 

And it kinda sucked. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but for every one game I was interested in playing, there were 20 games that appealed to the people who weren’t me.

But some brilliant minds are still around – Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert, and The Two Guys from Andromeda for example – and these brilliant minds started Kickstarter campaigns to fund their own adventure games. And these games – well, not only have they been funded, but they have been FUNDED.

The Double Fine kickstarter, which neede $400,000 to be funded recieved $3,336,371. That’s 834% of their goal. 

And The Two Guys were no slouched either, they needed $500,000 and they got $539,767 – 107% of their goal.

(I suspect the disparity is that Double Fine and Tim Schafer are more well known that Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, the 2 Guys, who were the creators of Space Quest).

And I just played a new game: Resonance by Wadjet Eye Games, it was released today (6/19/2012) and has all the graphical charm and comfort of I’d say a Monkey Island 2, or maybe even a Space Quest 5 or 6. The sprites are lovely, well detailed, and completely 2 dimensional – no pesky 3rd dimension to make you all bulgy! Yet it contains all the complexity we expect a modern game to have: compelling characters, a good plot twist, and multiple endings that actually make you think. I won’t spoil anything here, but I was quite impressed with its level of story-telling, it’s attention to detail, the voice acting, and the puzzles (while note quite as outside the box as the great ones, are still pretty good, though usually when you’re stuck it’s a case of bring everyone everywhere and try everything until something works).

TellTale has been producing an astounding number of rebooted series (I’m still waiting on King’s Quest TellTale!) that people have been buying.

And let’s not forget my console brethren, who have not only seen their favorite games rereleased on thePSN, XBLA, and VC, are also seeing an influx of games like Bastion, Braid, and Cave Story – games with all the graphical capabilities of an NES or SNES, but still very much enjoyable by today’s standards. 

What I’m saying is that right now it is a very exciting time to be a gamer my age – a gamer who grew up with the classics, because right now we are the ones earning money. We are the ones raising little nerdlings. We are the ones pushing for video games to be better than they’ve been because we know they can be! It wasn’t the teenagers that needed Bioshock. It wasn’t the children crying out for Mass Effect (though, admittedly some of us sounded like children when ME3 ended). 

It was people like me. And my peers. And every gamer older than I am. 

It’s not like we can’t enjoy a good FPS, but gives us something shiny a different and complex and unique and good, and we will cradle it in our arms, use it as a weapon against video-game nay-sayers, and completely worship the geniuses that made it. FOREVER. 

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I have been avoiding this post, I really have.

January 25th, my dad died. He wasn’t sick or injured, he wasn’t suffering from a terminal disease… he just went to bed on the 24th and never woke up.

There is something you need to understand about this: my father was a good man. Good nothing, he was great. When I think back to anything bad he ever did, anything that could make the hurt less, it doesn’t exist. Yes, I was mad at my father in high school, but who wasn’t?

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The problem with SWTOR.

… I honestly don’t know. Apparently it has something to do with PVP?
Is the game broken and does it need fixing?
Sure, I run into a few bugs here and there, but nothing I’d get in a huff over. I love SWTOR, I love that I feel like I’m actually part of a story, and have felt that way since level 1. I love my character, and the I love the world. I love the characters that surround me (even if Kaliyo has caused me no amount of frustration in combat). 

I don’t play PVP and I likely never will. I am bad at it, and frankly don’t see the point. I understand people like killing each other for whatever reason, but it just makes me resentful. And yet I enjoy my time more in SWTOR when I’m playing with my friends, cooperatively. I love the flashpoints, and the conversations. I love that It really feels like my character contributes something to the outcomes. I really love that there are different outcomes at all! It really feels like what I say and do matters. My friend and I are constantly asking each other what decision they made and what happened (we both play an Imperial Agent).
I am excited to level up and learn new skills. 
For an MMO these are new experiences for me. I played WoW until level 10 on 2 characters and stopped caring. GW until level 15 and started a new character cause I didn’t care. And those characters we never part of the story he way that you are in SWTOR. You don’t shape a character, you don’t change the story, you just go kill things for the sake of the narrative that you may or may not care about. What was the narrative in WoW? I know there was some war thing going on with GW but I don’t remember anything specific. 

When I get frustrated with a fight in SWTOR my instinct is to try try again or ask a friend for help. With the other two I just stopped playing. 

So now PVP is “broken” and people want to cancel their memberships and quit, etc… and I say good riddance, because if you are playing SWTOR purely for the PVPing, you are clearly ignorant of who Bioware is and what Bioware does and I, quite frankly, don’t want to share a server with someone who can’t appreciate that.

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It’s out. It’s fantastic. It’s gorgeous. Every geek you knohas barraccaded themselves in their rooms/houses/office/etc… with a 3 year supply of their favroite food…and maybe some empty bottles for peeing. Why? Because Skyrim is out. Bethesda has released their newest amazing role playing experience for gamers to obsess over, and yet I will never play it.

Why?

Sigh…. because. Because I know exactly what I’m going to do in this game, it’s the same thing I do in every Elder Scrolls game. I am going to get bored almost immediately.

Because when I play RPGs where I canmake my character be whatever I want, I invariably choose a thief, with a high charisma skill – because I love stealing shit and charming the pants off of people while I do it.

I can tell youexactly what will happen if I ever touch Skyrim:

I will make a character, probably an Argonian, they make good thieves…and can swim… which is important. I will go through the opening mission, and once I can do whatever the hell I want, I will spend my time sleeping during the day, and picking locks at night. I will talk to everyone and use my charisma to charm those dumb townies while I pick their pockets. I will get arrested and go to jail, do my time, and then wander around fighting things and just walking until I find another town to do the same exact thing. Because I’m me, I will inevitably come to a swamp or ocean or random pool of water that pops up out of nowhere, and, if I weren’t an Argonian, I’d spent the next few seconds trying to not drown, and will drown.

I may reload, but it’ll just be more of the same. It’s not that the gameplay is shallow, it’s that I need the main storyline to be like “Hey, listen, I’m glad you enjoy exploring the world, but you’ve got shit to do here… lives at stake, a great balancing of powers, wrongs to right. Chippy Choppy.”

 

I feel like I should just rename this blog to Spoiler Warning because I fully intend to spoil the shit out of ME2 at the moment, and I’m likely going to spoil more video games  and movies and books and… comic strips?… because I can’t keep my big mouth shut.

But, About Horizon…

…and the unrealistic options given for Shepherd to do/say.

I am not silent at all about my love of BioWare, however, Horizon has bothered me for a bit.

Here’s the set up:

In Mass Effect 1 there was a slow build up between initial attraction and falling for your chosen love interest. For me, it was Kaidan (Carth 2.0), and because of the way my mind works, I kind of fill in the blanks a game can’t possibly include. But the culmination of everything is that in Mass Effect 2, you die.

You die, you’re rebuilt, and suddenly it’s 2 years later.

2 years after being dead, you meet Kaidan (or Ashley… but for the purposes of this blog, this situation refers to a female Shepherd and Kaidan Alenko… Shenko apparently) on Horizon.

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Oh hai blooooooooog, what’s up? Yeah, you know, things are good. Can’t complain. Oh, did I tell you I got accepted into Eugene Lang? Yeah… The New School. No, I don’t know why a private institute accepted me and community college didn’t… well, I’m going to call it fate.  So… yeah, what have you been up to? Oh yeah? Yeah…..sorry about that. Well, I meant to…I thought I’d like… you know… go all pro, transfer to godaddy or something and…yeah, sorry, delusions of grandeur. But you know me… no follow through. Ah well.What? No no, of COURSE not. I was going to take you with me. You know I love you babee. No no, I’m coming back. Yup. Working on it now. Maybe later today or tomorrow?Alright, I’ll see you soon. Yes. I promise.

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