Friday, April 23, 2010


I actually haven't had all that much game time this week, thus far.  It's been busy, between an evening out with people from work, and two or three nights of mostly watching episodes of Mad Men.

Yesterday I knocked out another mission in Starcraft's Zerg campaign, putting me at halfway done, but with 5 very challenging missions ahead, no doubt.

I've pretty much retired my DS at this point, and I thinned out the last of the "non-keep-forever" games this week, games I've never played and at this point never will.  I'm keeping things like my Japanese/Kanji dictionaries, NSMB, Zelda, FF titles, and a couple more, but trading away Hotel Dusk and Rondo of Swords and The Dark Spire netted me some credit at the local independent game store, which I used to pick up some Wii points, since though I love trading stuff in at that location (stuff that wouldn't be worth selling on Amazon, anyway), I don't typically buy anything there.

I used my Wii points to pick up a few Virtual Console games I felt like I needed to own, the original SMB, the Japanese SMB 2 (what we know as The Lost Levels from Super Mario All-Stars on SNES), and one of the most sought-after 16 bit action games of yesteryear, Castlevania Dracula X Rondo of Blood, a Turbo-Grafix 16 import.  I sat down for a couple of hours and played all 3 games for a while.  Retro games are hard, just like I remember.  I've got a solid VC collection started, now, with those games and the NES Zeldas.  $5 is a lot when I think about getting much of anything else, though, and the pricing for other systems on there is pretty nuts.  Rondo for $9 is excellent, though, all things considered.

I managed to finally get the Rebound achivement in Geometry Wars 2 last weekend. Lonesteban picked up the game in the half-price sale a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to see if he'd put up any scores on the leaderboards yet (he'd not, really).  I still need the two from Sequence, but that mode is too damned hard, just like the 500k+ achivements from the first Geo Wars.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Need To Focus

The good news is that I finished a game this week. The bad news is that it was just the campaign missions of UniWar. It counts though, because those 21 missions, 7 for each race, probably totalled 5 hours or more of my time! Plus, I've played a crapload of the game in VS. matches.

The other bad news is that I decided EVE just isn't for me, after all. The lack of explicit direction kind of made me down on it, but it was the subscription that killed it outright. Just having that $15 a month hanging over my head when I'm not certain I will even want to log on in a given week is enough to put me off. I want to play the game, or a game like it, but I want to play on my own terms. The subscription might not be a total deal-breaker, (we'll probably see whenever The Old Republic is released), but when you consider it combined with the extreme complexity of EVE, the whole game becomes this huge time investment that I don't want to make.

The other games I've played the most of over the last couple of weeks have been Super Mario Galaxy and Battlefield Bad Company 2. Galaxy continues to wow me with inventive levels, and I continue to rack up points, ranks, and unlocks in BC2. There isn't a lot of else to report, other than that I finally got back into Torment and hope to continue that to it's conclusion soonish.

I've really got to concentrate on finishing one game at a time. I've wondered if I shouldn't just try to play whatever I want whenever I want, but going that route seems to lead to playing a few hours of many different things, and not really getting deep into any of them. I think now I should probably try to concentrate on them like books, to either finish them altogether, or to wring as much as I can out of them before shelving them.

It's an odd fact that a lot of games lend themselves to this approach; many of them can easily be seen as single-hit experiences. It's the rare video game that many players treat like a traditional board-based or pen-and-paper or physical game, as something to come back to and play over and over, at any time, and for the pure enjoyment of the mechanics as opposed to any desire to follow a narrative through to its end.

So, for games that can be finished and don't offer much more than that, then that's what I'll try my best to do (Galaxy, STALKER, Planescape, etc.). For other games that offer more, like multi-player modes or replayability and character growth, I'll dip into them whenever I feel like a little of what they have to offer (Starcraft, BC2, Torchlight, Demon's Souls, etc.). Naturally, there are some games with overlap in both.

On a final note, I reinstalled Starcraft this week and got restarted on the Zerg campaign. I'm going to teach myself how to play well enough to finish all the campaigns, at least. I hope. SCII and the new look pretty awesome.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Omnigamer

I have been all over the place in my gaming this week.

To begin with, I closed out March by finishing God of War, bringing my March completion total to 2, after Far Cry 2 on the 1st of the month. It was a good game. I would put it solidly in the B+/A- range if I were a game reviewer, and 5 years on, that's pretty impressive. Like Wolverine, God of War is the best there is at what it does. I'm not going to dive into the sequel(s) just yet, though. I wouldn't want to burn myself out on the formula.

Swept up in the enjoyment of action-y, platform-y gaming, I decided to finally get down to brass tacks with Super Mario Galaxy. I've had my Wii for going on 2 years now, I think, and still hadn't played any more of this game than I could at a GameStop back when it first was released. The sequel being on the horizon helped muster my hype, as well. After a couple of hours and 4-5 levels, I can tell you, it's great! It's Mario, and it's easy to forget how genius Nintendo's design can be when you go so long between playing entries in the series as have I. I put maybe 2 hours each into Mario 64 and Sunshine, so this is the first three-dimensional Mario experience I'm committing myself to, and I dig it. It's hard not to feel like a kid again in these inventive and colorful worlds filled with cute graphics and sounds. I might even be able to get my wife to try this game out.

Between these games and all the others I've dabbled in this week, I've kept up my wargaming, gold-starring my second gun in Bad Company 2 with Emily, and spending a couple of hours playing Battlefield 1943 when the PS3 happened to be turned on on account of a DVD being watched. I also messed around just long enough to make sure I'd seen every map in 1942, though I don't really intend to play it when newer versions are out. I'm going to surf through all the Battlefield Vietnam maps just the same, just to poke around at the series history. On PC, I'll continue to play Day of Defeat, though when I logged on last night I was getting killed almost before I even spawned in. The engine and UI update to that game, along with Steam achievements, do a lot to extend it's life well past its contemporaries. In other Battlefield news, a co-worker lent me Bad Company 1 so I could log a few matches of that to count toward my veteran status in 2, and play through the campaign at some point.

The rest, I fear, are the dregs. These are the games I played some, but not enough to really talk about or to make any significant progress, with perhaps one exception. In Dawn of War II, I played through one mission twice, losing the first time as I tried to recall how to play the game well. I fought my way to the end of one stratum of Torchlight, did a few small tasks that paid in STALKER, and proceeded through a few more tutorial missions in EVE Online. I've spent a good deal of time this week playing UniWar on iphone, though. I'm halfway through all the campaign missions, and I've got probably 20 separate a-synchronous vs. matches going with other players. It's a great hex-based, turn-based, StarCraft-like 3-race strategy game. The unit balance is really well done.

That's about it, for now.