Now That Was A Hiatus

Two weeks that stupid post was up. Milestone madness has hit, and I wish that I could blame that, but…

The fact is that I’ve been overwhelmed with games.

I have, for example, been playing Dawn of War every morning with my office-mate. We got the Winter Assault expansion, and ever since the morning hours have been dominated by the hew and cry of intergalactic war. I’ve become reasonably proficient with my Eldar minions, and can at least hold my own. Whereas before I was meat.

Dawn of War is a funny case; it’s not really that great of a game. It’s what I would describe as a very competent RTS. It sports one or two genuine innovations (upgrading your units in the field, for example, is a lot of fun), but on the whole, it’s a resource race like any other RTS. It’s certainly no Warcraft.

But god damn it is fun. For fans of the Warhammer universe (which you might say I qualify as), it’s a fucking kick in the pants. Watching my Avatar go toe-to-toe with a Bloodthirster of Khorne is more fun than I ever imagined I could have.

Enough about that. Because, see, that’s not all that’s been destroying me of late.

For example.

I’d been waiting for Shadow of the Colossus for quite some time. And, I beat it, three days after I bought it. Oh my god. Go play it.

[ASIDE: I can say with some pride that I figured out the whole game myself. I nearly cracked at one point, but I persevered, and pulled through. No walkthroughs. Yaaay, me!]

Controversy! This brilliant game caused something of a stir at my workplace. Said stir centered around the often violent collision between framerate and gameplay.

I will summarize for you. Whereas it may be appropriate to judge an individual game on its technical merits, and whereas framerate does certainly directly impact gameplay, those that play this unbelieveable title and snivel about the framerate choppiness I hold in the same contemptable category as folks who watched the Lord of the Rings films and sniveled about fictional accuracy.

Get. Over. It.

Would you, perhaps, prefer that you not be subjected to this entertainment masterpiece? Does the fact that the Playstation buckles from time to time under the weight of the developer’s ambition put you in a frame of mind where you are wanting to get your $50 back? Are you ignoring the absolutely stunning imagery passing through your eyestalks and tickling your cerebral cortex, because there’s a stutter or two in play, and this doesn’t meet your quality bar?

Get off your high horse. To quote myself: “You can criticize Shadow of the Colussus on its technical merits when you, yourself, have created a masterwork entertainment experience of that quality. Until then, shut the fuck up.”

Ahem.

And, you would think that that was all. No.

Lost in Blue is a game for the Nintendo DS that a co-worker of mine turned me onto. The premise is simple: you’re a teenage boy stranded on a tropical island with a near-sighted teenage girl who was on the same boat as you were on. Survive.

It’s basically The Sims in survival mode. And, for some goddamn reason, I can’t put it down.

My cave is tricked out, man. I’ve got beds, I’ve got shelves, I’ve got a water drum filled with water (which is awesome because it means that I don’t have to walk the near-sighted girl down to the river every day to drink, she can — get this — take care of herself), I’ve got tables and chairs, man. I’m a survivor.

I also spend a lot of time doing this:

Which is surprisingly fun. (That’s fishing, by the way. I’m a fishing God.)

Nintedo DS?? Awesome. Who’d have thought. Certainly not me. I was a PSP believer all the way. And then, I got a DS for my birthday, and it’s kicking Sony’s ass.

A fine example of that declaration is Trauma Center: Under The Knife (which I’m most of the way through).

This game has proven, for all time, that you can make a video game out of anything. I’m going to make a video game that’s about filing paperwork someday, just to demonstrate the truth of this axiom.

And THEN… there’s We {heart} Katamari. Which I have also been playing.

Did you play the original? You outta. No, really. Really, you should. It’s bizarre.

Quick story about Katamari Damacy: I attended the G-Phoria awards show last year (to accept the award for Best Male Performance in a video game, on behalf of Mr. Pierce Brosnan… yeah, that was fun). Useless night, all things considered, but out in the liquor mixer hall before the show they had Katamari Damacy up on a plasma screen for folks to play. I hadn’t played. So, what the fuck, right? I was half drunk, I’d give it a shot.

I started rolling. Roll roll roll. Now, if you’ve ever played this game, you know that the object very quickly becomes to get big enough to roll up cows and people. Rolling up tacks and pins and shit is fun, but when the thing that you roll up screams in fear, that’s when the real game starts. And, I have a loud, booming laugh that I let fly when I’m having a good time destroying virtual civilizations.

And, so, shortly, me and this other guy were exploding with cheers and hoorays every time I rolled up something that I was previously too small to roll up. I mean, we were having a ball(no pun intended), rolling up cows, and trees and buildings and shit, and whooping it up… and I kept noticing that our hoots and hollers were being joined by more and more voices. Finally, the level ended, and I turned around… we were standing at the center of a half-circle of maybe forty semi-drunk game developers who were having what appeared to be a grand time watching my compatriot and I roll shit up. There was applause.

I put to you: there are not many games that could generate that kind of spontaneous event. Katamari Damacy is one of them.

So.

Yeah, a lot of games. This is all in the past two weeks. The next few months look like they will be providing no relief. Send help.

Published by

the_darklorde

I design.

4 thoughts on “Now That Was A Hiatus”

  1. Oh, and yes, We {I refuse to use the heart symbol, as its conversion to a penis with a single “=” placed between the “< " and the "3" prevents me} Katamari is certainly worth the effort.

    It’s like an expansion pack to the first game; cleaned up a bunch of little issues, added variety of gameplay, made the goals a little bit clearer… and that’s about it. 🙂 I loved the first one, and wasn’t really done with it when I finished it, so I’m happy to be going back. 🙂

  2. HAHAHAHA

    “such that it seems like it’s Tolkien that departs from canon”

    That is AWESOME. I love that thought, and it is so TRUE now.

    Okay, so to take up your earlier point, here’s the point I’m trying to make: there is a threshold that some titles reach (in film and in video games) where they are, in my opinion, beyond reproach. One can discuss their strengths and weaknesses, but we must imagine that we are standing in the Louvre, trading opinions on whether Michaelangelo really should have picked such a provocative pose for his David.

    Which is to say, it’s apalling. It’s a work of art, that succeeds, and that puts it (in my oh-so-humble opinion) beyond reproach.

    It doesn’t have to be 500 years old for it to be an icon of civilization.

    Let’s look at it this way: do you bitch about Tempest being flat and uninteresting-looking? Hell no. Why? Because it’s perfect as it is, flaws and all. It doesn’t need to be better, it succeeds exactly as it was built.

    It’s like criticizing my Honda Civic for not having a fast enough top end. Goddamn thing ain’t a sports car, is it? Designers didn’t intend it to be, did they? Wasn’t the point?

    Simply because a game has a framerate doesn’t mean that it has to be 30+ at all times. Blah.

  3. Oh, and LotR is undeniably better without Tom Bombadil.

    One can hardly bear to read the original work, post-movie. I’m glad I re-read each volume prior to seeing the films, as Jackson’s version is seared indelibly into my brain now, such that it seems like it’s Tolkien that departs from canon.

  4. Whoo, where to begin?

    So, is We <3 Katamari in any way demonstrably better than Katamari Damacy? Because I agree, great game, but once you've rolled your katamari up to several kilometers in size, unlocked all the "unlimited" levels of the original game, and generally rolled up everything imaginable in the first game, I'm wondering if there's any juice left in that orange...

    Oh, and I don’t buy into the whole “you can’t criticize a game until you’ve written a better one” argument. I won’t comment on Colossus in particular as I haven’t played it, but ultimately if you’ve chosen a target platform for your game and that platform can’t support your vision, I’m not sure that’s a valid excuse. I’ll play Colossus soon (rumor has it that otherwise I’ll be hunted down and forced to play it, Clockwork Orange-style otherwise), but if I die because the framerate skips at a crucial point, I’m gonna be Unhappy.

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