>Weekend Recap: pre-Xmas 2008 edition

>Kudos to me for not buying Spore this weekend. I was clearly concerned that my lack of willpower would result in a drunk download and I just don’t have the time or the money (but especially the time) (and also the money) to get into something like Spore, which ended up not being the greatest game ever made.

My weekend was actually pretty busy, gaming-wise; made a brief bit of progress in Fallout 3, played more Rock Band 2 with the wife (who has gotten quite good at guitar and is even doing ok on the drums), got a bit further in Chrono Trigger, went back and rounded up some hidden objects in Little Big Planet, and started to get seriously sucked into Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

Where do I begin with Banjo? I was curious about it until I tried the demo, where I found myself in way over my head. But then Amazon lowered the already-low price by another $10 or so, and I felt compelled to give it another go.

Having the full game is quite a different experience than what the demo offers; all I remember about the demo was that the game was certainly gorgeous, but I didn’t know how to build anything and didn’t have the patience to learn. What’s nice about the full game, then, is that you don’t actually have to build anything, at least not right away; if you fully explore the environments that you have available to you, not only can you procure a number of parts on your own but you can scrounge up enough coin to buy blueprints and parts, thus giving you an advantage in the early competitions. And what’s nice about this – especially for someone like me, who was never mechanically inclined and who never strayed from the cover photos on Lego boxes – is that eventually you will hit a wall and will have to start building, but at least you can start from an already well-designed vehicle and then make tweaks as you see fit.

Case in point: this one particular event is basically a giant ski jump, and I have to get my vechicle to fly/glide to a certain distance in order to get a Jiggy. The catch is that I can’t just use a plane; once I launch from the jump, my engines cut out. At this point in the game I’ve either found or bought around 40 different blueprints, but none of them get me anywhere close to the Jiggy threshold. [Jiggy Threshold – great band name?] And so now I have to start experimenting. Putting wings on a heavy vehicle seems like an obvious solution, except the wings cause my vehicle to start sailing well before the end of the ramp and I end up having zero momentum by the time I really need it. Ultimately I end up putting 5 balloons on a moderately heavy pre-made vehicle and manually inflating them shortly before the jump to create lift, and I’m able to glide into the Jiggy Zone, although I’m still well below Trophy Level. Still, though, I learned several concepts about vehicle design, and I was able to invent a working solution, which felt very satisfying.

I have a feeling, though, that I won’t be smart enough to beat the game at higher levels of difficulty. But that’s why they invented YouTube, so I can look at other people’s blueprints.

Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

2 thoughts on “>Weekend Recap: pre-Xmas 2008 edition”

  1. >Damn. I’ve felt quite an internal push-pull re: Banjo. I’ve been drawn to it due to the glowing reviews from peeps I respect, but man, do I hate building things, and like you, I tried the demo, thought the final game would probably be way too heavy on the building for my tastes, and went on my poetry-composing, non-vehicle-designing way. But now that the game’s low low price is even lower, and now that I’ve read this entry, I will probably pick up the game.

  2. >Caro – it’s certainly worth a rental and 2 uninterrupted hours. That’ll most likely be enough time to let you know what you’re in for.

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