Saturday Waffling (November 22nd, 2014)
It’s all been a bit V for Vendetta for me lately, though I’m actually through most of the stuff about the comic and tying up some loose ends. I think the shape of this chapter is interesting. One of the places where there really was a big creative decision to make was where to put the climax to Book One. What’s the Number One Iconic Alan Moore work pre-Watchmen? Where do you put the emphasis and let him have his moment of victory before anyone else really comes into the story? And I picked Swamp Thing, which I think was sound. The other two candidates are, ultimately, hampered by resolving well after Watchmen. So this chapter is doing a lot of the de-escalating necessary. It feels kind of like a Game of Thrones finale – the episode that’s after the big one. It’s a nice pace and tone to be working in. Two more after it before we’re done with Book One. Book Two terrifies me.
Except of course today was basically just wall to wall Smash Bros. Or will be. I’ve hardly been touching my video games, actually – so let’s waffle on. Interesting stuff of the current generation? Or in the evergreen PC/mobile sphere? Just don’t make it about ethics in video game journalism.
November 22, 2014 @ 2:43 am
Ooh! A video game topic. I like those. Pity that I have more to say about the state of gaming before I was born than I do the current generation. Nintendo have been in their own little world for quite some time now, and I've been more than happy to stay there with them.
As for the state of Nintendo itself…in terms of store-presence and market share they may not be in a healthy position, but creatively I find a lot to be excited about. In the face of declining sales they doubled-down on their corporate identity, and I'm so glad for it. The last 12 months have seen Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong and Mario Kart games that I would say sit among the best of those towering franchises. And I've got nothing but warm feelings for the Wii U, even as the last of the rats desert the sinking ship.
Very anxious for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to come out, but then I've been excited for that since Wii Fit Trainer was announced. Historically, a seven-day wait is nothing for Australia – but as I have the next week off before starting a new job, this one seems particularly cruel.
Pen Name Pending
November 22, 2014 @ 4:34 am
I think part of the reason the WiiU hasn't sold nearly as much is because they appeared to strip away what made the Wii so popular and appealed to those like me who previously hadn't been involved in gaming: the ability to move around and be active while playing. From first look, the WiiU seems to have done away from all of that, instead combining the DS with a traditional game controller, which probably confuses and alienates former fans.
Personally, I hope they continue the Super Mario Galaxy line.
November 22, 2014 @ 4:34 am
My taste in videogames is at least as dated as my taste in music. Like… does anyone remember Nethack? ASCII graphics? I played a fun trick my last time around. I'd polymorphed into an Elf, and just before sacrificing the Amulet of Yendor in the endgamne, I genocided the human race. "You feel dead inside" was the last message I received before I ascended. Good times.
November 22, 2014 @ 4:53 am
I've never gotten more than a few floors down in Nethack, I just lack the patience for it. Which is weird, because I'm a wiz at Dwarf Fortress. Actually, maybe that's not that weird.
November 22, 2014 @ 5:00 am
I got Mark of the Ninja recently, been enjoying that. I'm also working on Deadly Premonition semi-regularly, but that's a game that demands a lot of attention I haven't been able to supply. I just recently completed another run of STALKER: Call of Pripyat, this time with only weapons I've never used before. Lots of weird NATO crap with funny scopes and attachments. Speaking of weird crap with lots of attachments, I also just finished Ghostbusters: The Video Game right before halloween. Lotta fun, though I felt they maybe strained a bit to fit in as many first movie locations as they could, while avoiding the second movie like the plague and mostly relegating the new material to the ghost world. It was also weird to see early 90s New York in the daytime outside of the context of Law and Order re-runs.
I'd love to try the new Smash, been a big fan of the whole series, but I don't have a wii u. 🙁
You Know Who...
November 22, 2014 @ 5:38 am
I've started playing The Stanley Parable. My god, what an interesting experiment that one is.
November 22, 2014 @ 5:44 am
With the launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I decided to give Dragon Age: Origins another try. Origins came out right before my decision to transition, and it was the last game with a character creator in which I played a boy. (Cue complex internal war about whether I 'deserved' or was 'allowed' to play girl characters) So from that already fragile place, when I hit the transphobic bit in the game I abandoned it.
But… the game makes one shitty joke, and is otherwise quite enjoyable. So let's try this again.
November 22, 2014 @ 6:36 am
I finally got around the playing The Cave, designed by Ron Gilbert. It's the perfect fusion of the original 1980's Prince of Persia and classic Lucasarts adventures (I'm thinking Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle here). Well worth $5 on the App Store.
November 22, 2014 @ 6:55 am
The first computer game I ever played was one I wrote. Well, co-wrote, with a friend who actually knew something about computers. It was circa 1980, we were high school students in Hanover NH, and our high school had a terminal (no screen, just a dot-matrix printer and endless rolls of paper) with a hookup (big boxy modem you plonk the big phone receiver onto as it screeches) from nearby Dartmouth. My friend taught me to program in BASIC (a little) and we wrote (well, never finished, but we wrote — and played — a fair bit of it) a dungeons-and-dragons style game of wandering around on a big island fighting Ogres, Wolloths, Nincompoops, Diamond Buffalo Gods, and a wizard named Beerbreath Foulfeller.
November 22, 2014 @ 7:37 am
I'm still happily wasting a lot of my time on Marvel Heroes. Diablo 2 was one of my all-time favorites; and MH is pretty much D2 with Superheroes. It has a vigorous content release schedule. It's genuinely free to play- the only thing actually game play related that's pay walled is more stash space; unlike some F2P games where you need to shell out cash for the best content. And for me, at least, not needing to spend cash actually makes me more willing to actually spend cash to support the game.
I still miss City of Heroes so much it hurts, though. But that was as much the community as the game; it was not unusual at all to log in and get chatting with friends so much that no actual playing of the game occurred. It has assured that NCSoft will never, ever see one penny from me again- but with their track record on shutting down games it's my own fault for not seeing it coming.
November 22, 2014 @ 7:44 am
I'm -trying- to start playing Smash Bros. but having new Pokemon out on the same day was just too much. Feel like I need to get through most of that first
November 22, 2014 @ 8:24 am
November 22, 2014 @ 8:30 am
My best NetHack story is cruising along for level after level before accidentally choking to death on a can of spinach.
November 22, 2014 @ 8:50 am
I've felt quite pessimistic about games for a while now – virtually all of what I've been playing for the last couple of years have been HD remakes of older games, or just the older games themselves. I quite liked the Tomb Raider reboot despite the terrible dialogue and stereotypical characters (hello, blunt Northerner and aggressive Glaswegian) and Pikmin 3 was, you know, all right. More of a Pikmin 1.2, though, really. Other favourite franchises are probably beyond rescue at this point – Resident Evil most obv – and Final Fantasy XV looks like it's light on the great female characters that have been their hallmark for some time, kupo.
More generally, games are too easy, or to be more precise, too light on problem solving and exploration, these days. There weren't enough proper puzzles in TR2013 to sustain one level of the original series, and the much vaunted Uncharted series is no better.
November 22, 2014 @ 9:27 am
Funny you should ask. I was just about to go play Fallout 3 New Vegas, which I've never finished and am hoping never ends.
November 22, 2014 @ 12:14 pm
Alien Isolation is pretty good.
November 22, 2014 @ 12:23 pm
…in unrelated news, yesterday marked 50 years since the transmission of "World's End", the first episode of "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Thought it'd be nice to note that.
November 22, 2014 @ 2:38 pm
That's true. The Wii U's greatest flaw is that it is difficult to market, which is not good for a company that delegates most of its marketing to its audience. It just doesn't have what made the Wii go viral – you can watch a group of people swing imaginary tennis racquets, or a talk show host do step aerobics and instantly 'get it'. The Wii U's big new tools – asychronous multiplayer, off-screen play, and tethered-tablet functions – are all very difficult to communicate without sitting someone down with one. And it doesn't help that a lot of the system's biggest titles eschew these features because they don't quite fit an established format.
But then I think a large portion of the Wii audience was never going to come along anyway. Looking at their attach rates, the majority of Wii owners never bought a Galaxy, or Skyward Sword, or Rhythm Heaven Fever – they just wanted a Wii Sports machine, and probably felt buyer's remorse as soon as it started gathering dust. And the ubiquity of app store smartphones mean that many casual game-players are finding their fill elsewhere.
Not saying Nintendo haven't screwed up, though – there's too many fans of their IPs sitting on the fence about buying a Wii U for that to be the case.
November 22, 2014 @ 3:56 pm
I looove Maniac Mansion. I didn't have a Nintendo, but my aunt and uncle did and I spent hours at their house playing Maniac Mansion and Chip and Dale. I may just check that out.
November 22, 2014 @ 5:36 pm
I want to start back on Marvel Heroes, but I've been away so long, that I'm afraid the updates might literally take all day.
November 22, 2014 @ 6:12 pm
No wonder I wrote about Dalek Invasion of Earth today.
November 22, 2014 @ 6:13 pm
Cocatrix stories can also be quite funny, especially if you're already stoned.
November 22, 2014 @ 7:23 pm
And today is the last day of Doctor Who's anniversary year for pedants like me!
I must say, it's been a corker – starting with the anniversary episode, Matt's regeneration and then Capaldi's astounding first season. Knocks Brian Cox's "The Science of Doctor Who" into a cocked hat.
November 23, 2014 @ 9:10 am
I haven't really followed games for years.
I replay my old favourites every few years the same way I'll pick up a favourite book, or watch a favourite film, but beyond that… there's nothing out there that interests me enough to buy a console.
I've picked up FFVI to do another run through after comments last week. ^^
November 23, 2014 @ 2:33 pm
Did you ever get into ADOM at all? Similar vibe to Nethack.
November 23, 2014 @ 2:39 pm
I have a soft spot for games that I think could be amazing given an HD remake or new graphics skin or something. Prime candidates would be Bushido Blade (insane concept, relentlessly grim storytelling) and this here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/goodoldreviews/11235-Sword-of-the-Samurai-An-Honorable-Effort
November 26, 2014 @ 12:17 pm
"there's nothing out there that interests me enough to buy a console."
I hear that. But on the other hand, there are really interesting things happening on the PC side of things even if (like me) you have a pretty old PC and/or a basic laptop. There are a ton of really exciting indie games and older games out there now, and with Steam and Humble Bundle making it so easy, I've been playing a lot of games recently.