a trip through the archives

Before I get into whatever this post is about, I must make mention of three excellent iOS games that I’ve picked up this week.  Firstly, there’s Rayman Fiesta Run which came out on iOS last night.  It’s absolutely fantastic, and probably somehow better than its excellent predecessor Jungle Run, and if you have $2.99 lying around you should pick it up.

Secondly, I should also mention that Tiny Death Star is out, being a Star Wars-themed version of Tiny Tower, and I’m kinda glad that I burned out on Tiny Tower so that I don’t have to succumb to Tiny Death Star, even though it’s adorable, and I need to remember to adjust my iPhone’s notification settings or else I’ll never see my loved ones again, even if we’re sitting in the same room.

Thirdly, I’m also kinda heavily addicted to the new (and free) Deadly Bullet, which has an art style very reminiscent of Hotline Miami and which has you playing as the titular bullet, mowing down gangsters, and using a control scheme that takes a bit of time to master but is quite engaging once you get the hang of it.

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I’m now officially working on my “farewell to this console generation” post, which will most likely need to be broken into at least 2 posts, because I have a lot of navel gazing to do as far as this generation is concerned, dammit, and I intend to do it.

Anyway:  in preparation for this epic post, I’ve been going through my old Gamespot blog, which is where this blog originally lived (back in 2004) (?!).

I’ve always gotten a little kick rummaging through my blog archives, even though the writing was worse than it is now (which is not to say that my writing now is where I want it to be).  Those old entries remind me not just of forgotten games, but of who I used to be and what I used to think about.  They tell me where I’ve come from, which also helps me figure out where I seem to have gone off to.  (They also show that I’ve probably started at least 80% of my posts with apologies for not posting, so I clearly haven’t changed all that much.)

I’m a little bummed, though, because there’s an unexplained hiatus between 2005 and 2006, and so it seems that I never wrote about the purchase of my (first) 360.  But I did find my original reactions to that Chuck Klosterman piece about the lack of a Lester Bangs of video game criticism, which can be found here (1, 2).  It would appear that I’m still in disagreement with good ol’ CK, even if my reasons have changed.

I do miss those Gamespot days.  I was part of a tight community there, and I made a lot of great friends in the forums, and it’s where I started figuring out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.  I haven’t really found anything like it in the years since I left, though it’s not for lack of trying.  I’m happy to be an independent voice, for sure, but I miss the feeling of being in a community.  To be sure, there’s a number of great WordPress game blogs that I follow and engage with, but WordPress doesn’t quite do the “community” thing the way a dedicated game site does.  I suppose this should be my call to arms to start a WordPress game blog group, though I suspect I’ve probably got the smallest audience out of the blogs I’d want to court, and so who am I to lead?

Anyway, I’m suddenly full of nostalgia for the mid-00’s, which is a weird era to be nostalgic for, and so that’s what’s going on with me.  I have no idea when this farewell post will go up.  It seems silly to me to feel like I need to rush it out, though, considering that I’m not buying a new console until next spring, and I want to make sure that it’s not redundant with my Best of 2013 post, and I kinda also want to make sure that Assassin’s Creed 4 isn’t the best game of the generation before I start making lists and such.  (Oh, did I forget to mention that I directly contradicted my previous post, and ended up pre-ordering the PC version?  With a Season Pass, to boot?  Have I mentioned that I have no willpower?)

 

 

weekend recap: strangeness all around me

I’d started a post last week, but never got around to finishing it; things are still a little weird, and I’m finding very few pockets of idle time these days.  A brief summary of what’s going on in apartment-land can be found here.

As for games & stuff.

To be honest, these days I’ve mostly been playing Dungelot on the iPhone, which recently went free.  Also Pixel People, which is a strange but addictive hybrid of Tiny Tower‘s resource management and Doodle God‘s creation mechanic.

I’ve also been getting very deep into Antichamber;  I’m far enough into it now where I can only play it in short bursts before my brain starts hurting.  I feel like I’m not smart enough to talk about it.  Certainly it’s the closest thing we’ll ever get to living inside an MC Escher drawing.  It’s a very strange game for me to be playing right now, at any rate, because I only find myself with game time very late at night, when I’m exhausted from dealing with apartment stuff, and it’s not really a relaxing experience.

I took a sick day last week, and in doing so I plowed through the end of Devil May Cry (or is it DmC?) yesterday.  I liked it a lot, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for any of the previous games.   I’m not a DmC fanboy, and I think that this game was made for people like me, and to that end I think they succeeded admirably.  The action was continually satisfying and engaging – and even if I played on the “normal” difficulty setting, so what?  I had a lot of fun with it, which is, again, a lot more than I can say for the previous games.  And the graphics and overall visual design continued to be just as jaw-droppingly insane as they were in the beginning; I’m tempted to buy it on Steam the next time it goes on sale just to be able to see it on my kick-ass monitor at 60 fps.

I’ve been slowly moving further along in Ni No Kuni.  My wife was sitting next to me on the couch, reading, and every once in a while she’d look up and say “This reminds me of a Zelda game.”  I kinda wish this was a Zelda game, to be honest.   JRPGs live and die more or less on their battle systems, and while there’s an awful lot to love about Ni No Kuni, the battle system feels a bit tedious and unnecessarily complicated; I’d much rather just engage in a real-time combat system.  I do like the idea of improving people’s moods by taking/giving heart, but the game (at least in the early going) holds your hand a bit too much, which means you can’t actually solve the puzzle on your own; you have to have this mandatory conversation that’s just long enough to be annoying, since you already know what it is you have to do.  Still, though, I’m only 3-4 hours in, having saved my game after finishing the missions in Ding Dong Dell and moving along to the next city, whose name escapes me.  Somewhere in the desert, I think.

Beyond that, it’s just apartment madness and work busy-ness and impending baby stuff.  Good times all around.

hacked!

I haven’t been doing very much gaming lately – no, not even in Old Republic – so it took me a while to notice that my Gamerscore looked a little off.  I did a little poking around and, lo and behold, my Xbox Live account got hacked, and someone bought almost 3000 Points worth of FIFA12 DLC.  Spoke with customer service this morning, and the short version is that my account will be suspended for around 2 weeks while Microsoft conducts an investigation; when that’s over, my account will be reinstated and I’ll hopefully get my Points refunded.

Kind of a bummer, right?  Not that I’ve been doing a lot of online gaming ever, but still – that’s kind of messed up.

In the meantime, yeah – not a lot of gaming happening.  I’m stuck on a boss in TOR and haven’t felt inclined to grind my way past it.  I’ve mostly been playing the shit out of two iPhone games:  Muffin Knight and Run Roo Run, and if I had the time I’d devote some Subway Gamer columns to them.   They’re both fun, though, is the thing.

I’ve also been continuing to build the hell out of my Tiny Tower; I’m up to 126 floors and the other day I went a little OCD-insane and renamed each business to include the floor number and its number of happy employees.  I did this because, well, when you have 126 floors, finding things is very tedious, and I’ve basically removed the endless searching from the equation.  Now, whenever I move a new bitizen into the building, I can immediately tell if their dream job is available.  I can also tell if I’m able to complete a mission just from seeing the names of the necessary companies.  Again, this is kind of insane, and I’m well aware of that, but, I mean, if you’re similarly addicted to Tiny Tower you would definitely appreciate this kind of insanity.