So it’s been a little while since my last post. I do apologize, but work suddenly decided to throw hours at me. Good for my paycheck, bad for my video game playing time. I don’t know about you guys, but when I haven’t played games for a while I get really, really antsy. Not that there aren’t lovely non-game forms of entertainment out there (books, movies, TV shows etc.), but… but… GAMES!
On days when I am too busy to sit down and play games I have resorted to things like playing Angry Birds whilst on the toilet. (Speaking of which, Angry Birds is horribly underrated by “serious gamers”. Bigger post on this later, maybe.)
What do YOU do when you’re too busy for games? Do you tough it out? Do you MAKE TIME?
Lovely readers, if you have a moment I invite you to click here and spend 10 or 15 minutes playing this gem of a game. It’s first-person Pac-Man. This sounds straightforward at first, but augmented with eerie music and ghosts that materialize out of the darkness or pop around corners when you least expect it, it quickly becomes an experience you probably weren’t expecting when you read the word “Pac-Man”.
Mister Adequate and myself couldn’t help but somewhat whimsically wonder what the gaming landscape would have been like if the first Pac-Man had been less cute and more spooky. Survival horror: survival horror everywhere!
I was recently hanging out with my friend Mike having some drinks, watching some movie (The Raid is amazing seriously go see it) and playing some games. Of course while doing this we were chatting about various things – mostly games – and we turned to stuff from back in the day that we liked, as us old-timers are prone to doing.
Something we both agreed on though was that for all the newfangled graphics and physics engines, and for all the gun games of recent years, gaming seemed poised to go down a particular path and then swerved violently away from it. Probably the best example of this path is Bushido Blade, a fighting game where you choose your character, weapon (such as the Ancient Hanzo Sledgehammer), and have at it. Thing is there are no health bars; you take swings, they take swings, and you might get one-hit killed or cripple their leg or all sorts of things. It’s ropey, because it’s an old game that never had a huge budget to begin with, but it’s honestly one of the best fighting games ever.
You know in Samurai movies when the two dudes stand facing each other for a long, long time before making a single sudden attack that decides things? Bushido Blade is the only game I’ve played where that can happen. You and your friend will be sitting there watching, circling each other, trying to feel each other out, and then there’ll be a sudden burst of violence that decides the round. It’s brilliant – and even by the time the second game came out it was abandoned in favor of health bars and too-crazy characters and so on and so forth. It was a shame, though the original is still worth popping in if you’ve got a copy.
But it’s emblematic of a rather broader trend – namely, the reduction in experimentation over the years. Now to be fair this is picking back up a bit again, as indie games gain more and more ways to reach people, as kickstarters let people choose the sorts of things they want to see, and as publishers see the success of games they might not typically consider salable, such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Still, in this day and age you’d think we’d have developed depth that built on the sorts of ideas Bushido Blade seeded – locational damage in a fighter for instance. Or look at the game Sentinel, which had a very ambitious conversational system where you could actually ask NPCs things in a free-form manner. Underdeveloped and ropey, again, but a thing with so much potential. Instead we get yet another Soul Calibur, yet another Tekken, yet another Call of Duty. Nothing wrong with those in their own right, just sad to see there’s so little experimentation and attempts to use computing power for anything other than better graphics.
As it turned out Pandas was a great idea, so with that in mind I hope for greater open-mindedness from Blizz regarding new playable races to be introduced over the coming years. Here are some suggestions that I, with input from Pike, would especially like Blizzard to consider:
1) Tuskarr. These are top of the list, and should have been playable since Wrath instead of adding DKs. They are The Best Race. They are big fat Walrusmans who build big Walrusman moai and I forget to finish my sentences AND they have the best lines! “Visit again when you can!”
2) Ethereals. They are the Second Best Race, and I can’t even begin to fathom why they’re not playable because they’re blatantly superior to everything else that isn’t a walrusmans.
(everything after this point is in no particular order)
3) Ogres. They really should have been playable since Day One, let’s be honest here.
4) Mantids. These guys look metal as all hell and I’d very much like to be able to say things like “It’s time to swarm.” or “I must speak with the Adjunct!”.
5) Grummles. I love them and their constant talk about luckydos is amazing. I especially like how their name is their luckiest luckydo, so some of them have names like “Half-eaten Fish” and “Wooden Spoon”.
6) Naga. The quests in Vash’jir where you are a Naga Battlemaiden are great, because you get to see how cool as heck Naga are. Turns out they’re refined, treat their underlings reasonably, and act with respect and decorum! Also they have that crazy spinny-blade blender move that minces everything.
7) Iron Vrykul and Iron Dwarves. Rock-based robots covered in baller glower runes? Yep I’m okay with that sign me up please.
8) Tol’vir. Yesssss these guys are also baller as hell. Hanging out in Uldum being big old cat-taurs looking like they really do deserve to be in charge? Do want.
9) Arakkoa. I wanted to be one of these bird-people when I first saw one in Hellfire Peninsula all those years ago, and I still want to. Because creepy bird-people.
10) Aqir. Yes more bugs. I like being a bug! I want to be a bug leader of a gigantic, terrifying hive-mind that consumes the world, deal with it!
11) Faceless Ones. Tentacles and a complete inability to have pronounceable names add together for a pretty amazing race.
What about the rest of you guys? Any races in particular from the WoW setting you want to run around doing dailies as?
It is true, it’s far too hot today. Too hot to move, too hot to write, too hot even to play any vidya that require braining to play. So I’m just going to set up something like Victoria 2 and mess around with the console so everything goes wacky!
Are there any games you enjoy when for whatever reason you don’t feel up to concentrating on playing? Or are you like me, and you prefer to set things up and just watch them run? Tell us in the comments about how you deal with heat so intense it feels like your skin is flaying itself to try and escape!
Also some games do an atmosphere of cold very well but I can’t think of any that really do a hot one so well.