Playing favorites

I’m bored. I mean, like, near-fatally bored. Which translates into a new post for a blog I forget about 95% of the time!

I’d like to concentrate on games that have affected me throughout my life. That doesn’t mean they’re especially poignant or meaningful. These are games to which I somehow developed a strong attachment…there was just something about them that got to me, deep down.

Quake 3 Arena (PC)

I played Quake 1, or rather a mod of a mod of Quake 1, to death. Managed to skip Quake 2, although a bf of mine was rather keen on it. And then there was Q3A. Granted, I spent most of my time playing a total conversion called Urban Terror*, but I adored the vanilla game. The shiny graphics…the autobot smack talk…the smirking taunts…the satisfying punch of the railgun from across the map. Speaking of maps, it’s no wonder Q3A maps have shown up in later games. I still run through them idly in my head, when no one’s looking.

Zoarre (DOS)

Zoarre was a roguelike I played years before I knew what Rogue was. The particular version I played was gleaned from Big Blue Disk, the monthly tech news/graphic/games “magazine” to which my dad had a subscription. My tiny stick figure roamed the crudest of dungeons, fighting orcs and zombies and gelatinous cubes (from which my pet freen took the poison, saving my sorry butt). I never did get very far – hell, I don’t even know what the point was, other than to gain mounds of XP and treasure. Wait, didn’t I just describe every hack ‘n’ slash out there?

Nethack (cross-platform)

Ah, the granddaddy of all hack ‘n’ slash. I came to the Nethack table relatively late. Nevermind that it was still over ten years ago; compared to some of the games on this list, my interest in Nethack is woefully recent. A seemingly simple game, jazzed up by dynamic dungeons and the need to keep tabs on where you last came upon a bookstore or fountain (just in case you put on that ring of hunger by mistake). It’s like D&D without the bitchy DM!

Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom (SNES)

A little mixture of hacking, slashing and RPG. This one was long and super-tough near the end…which doesn’t explain why, after I beat the game, I kept returning to the toughest parts of the dungeon to defeat blue and black demons. The music definitely burrowed within me. In fact, I could swear the Simpsons ripped off one of the in-menu melodies for “The Genesis Tub.” Maybe that’s just my interpretation. Oh, and the ghastly smacking sound when you walk into a wall? Priceless.

Zelda 1 (NES)

What can I say? I first saw it at my friend’s house, when her little brother was playing it in their living room. It only took a glance before I knew I had to bug the crap out of my parents to buy it. Screen after screen I drank it in, gathering potions and rings as I went.** Don’t even get me started on the dungeon music. Go ahead, laugh, but that shit was spooky.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

Zelda 1, but…more. Better. Faster! …But only because you get the running boots early on. *ahem* I pretty much loved everything about the game: graphics, music (sad boy in the forest, anyone?), puzzles, fairies, monsters, the many different dungeons. One of the few games for which I own a strategy guide.

Final Fantasy IV (SNES)

Some people took VI to heart; this one was my Dark Side of the Moon, as it were. I don’t remember why I had to have it, but by the time I wanted it it had fallen out of fashion. I had to convince my mom to drive me to all these weird vidja game-reselling stores (before Gamestop, gasp!). I think I actually called beforehand, too, destroying my crippling shyness. It was worth reaching out for the story alone. I won’t bore you with my take on the effusive sprites, the transcendent music or what a bitch those behemoths were. You already know.***

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES)

First off, shut up. Second, as I imagine was the case for many youngsters, this was my first real intro to FF. I’d hankered for FF1 since seeing a full issue devoted to it in Nintendo Power, but never ended up asking for it. I know, I was weird. When FFMQ came along, I glommed onto it and didn’t let go. Typical story, sure, but I’m mostly fond of the items (damn I love those charm claws) and the music.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (DOS)

There were two periods of HHG for me. My mom bought the game when it was all the rage back in “the day.” When I first played it, I’d never heard of Douglas Adams, a babel fish or manic-depressive robots. (give me a break, I was like five.) Nothing really made sense, which explains why I didn’t get very far. Fast forward to a time where I’d read two of the books and heard a bit of the radio play. Ahhh, much easier! …Wait, shit. Mom, you never told me these Invisiclues would fade after a while…

Beyond Zork (DOS)

Zork 1-3. A classic trilogy in its own right. However, the original Zorks seemed to lack something…intuition? Heart? Christmas tree monsters? Beyond Zork had all three, coupled with a rudimentary “you are here” graphics indicator. Christ, that made things easier. Sprinkled liberally with Frobozzian humor and more magical items than you could shake a stick (or stave or cane or rod) at, the thought of Beyond Zork always puts a smile on my face.

Team Fortress 2 (PC)

Now, I started out playing Team Fortress 1 way back when, which led me to the bastardized version, Mega Team Fortress. Notice I’m putting neither in this list, forsaking them both for their ten-years-in-the-making follow-up. Why? Because it’s just that good. Like any other TF1 disciple, my hopes were beyond low. Then Valve exploded onto the scene with their clever, aesthetically pleasing FPS that never fails to amuse me. As soon as I popped on my first server and saw the old 2fort and Well, my mind was completely blown. The visual style and cartoony action really appeal to me. Every time I play, I say to myself, “Goddamn, I love this game!”

* Fun fact: I own an Urban Terror shirt, but do not feel comfortable displaying my love for the game in public. Thanks, 9/11!
** Another fun fact: Chicago has two versions of public transport farecards. I chose blue over yellow because it reminded me of Link’s color scheme once he had the blue ring. Also, yellow sucks.
*** Fun fact #3: Despite his utter uselessness, I always had a thing for Edward. Ooo, a sensitive musician! *swoon*


Time passes...

Wow. I really started up this blog with the best of intentions. Little did I know that I’d drop off the gaming map almost entirely. I figured for sure I’d just be too lazy to write, instead of not having any material.

The irony is, playing games led me to something that has replaced games. Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to a convention with some TF2 peeps (for which I made my L4D medkit) and met a couple guys who do a webcomic. I’m a huge webcomic fan; at one point in the past I wanted to create one myself, in the golden days of Keenspace. (i never got far enough to actually look into hosting.) One of the guys used that Sunday to make a strip right at the con. I couldn’t help it; I watched the whole 10-hour-plus process. Ever since the con, he’s been drawing five nights a week on Ustream, where I have been a loyal groupie audience member. I’ve even been inspired to try my own hand at webcomickry, though that’s still a ways off.

Guess what has to give in order to delve into that world? That’s right…my nightly TF2 excursions have dropped to one night a week, and my DS has been forsaken for my sketchbook. I basically swapped out one addiction for another, except this one fulfills my need to create and may get me paid one day.

That’s not to say I’ve given up gaming entirely. I went to another con this past weekend (which had most of the same peeps as Play On Con) and played a lot of Rock Band and Arkham Horror, and a little TF2. I’m also planning on some engy cosplay at PAX, if I can track down a decent pair of overalls. But I get the hardcore cravings still…I miss being able to game for sustained periods of time. I miss Catacombs and Big Blue Disk and Infocom. I miss Nethack and Wizardry and Final Fantasy. I miss Doom 2 and Q3A and Hexen. And those are just the single players. I also miss Mega TF and Urban Terror and COD and, yes, even TF2. Games open up the realm of imagination and creativity, exposing the player to new mechanisms and thought processes. But they take up so much goddamn time, and I’ve wasted far too much already…

I don’t really want to go back to gaming as much as I did. Maybe one day I’ll manage to balance my time well enough not to sacrifice one vice utterly for another.


L4D Medkit: Completion

Oh yeah. Rumor has it I made a medkit once upon a time. As for the lack of an actual update on it, you know how it is...you dress up at a con, you return, you have to get back into the swing of things (i.e. work, sleep, TF2 with the spiper update), you keep forgetting to update your damn gaming blog. Well, here's the medkit itself:
Turned out pretty decent, I have to say. The side pockets, admittedly artistic license in the first place, started to unravel at the con.. I'll have to fix those back up. I'd love to make another one at some point.

Here's a cosplay pic, including the 'kit:
It went over pretty well and was a lot of fun. Didn't get to spout as many Zoey quotes as I wanted, but I did play a little LAN L4D, which is so meta it makes my head hurt. Me playing as Zoey playing as Zoey? It makes me want to go lie down...


L4D Medkit: Exhaustion

So, so close. The zippers are in. The cross/white background is ready to go. The top and bottom straps are on. I barely know what day it is. A decent night's sleep is but a quaint notion, a vagary so far off the horizon it wavers and dances in my vision. After all, I'm doing this thing for a convention.. and who gets any sleep at conventions anyway?

On the plus side, Zoey herself is 98% ready. Got my jacket yesterday; found some el cheapo Chucks at Target on Monday. I still can't believe they fit. (I'll see how I feel about that after wearing them for a May day around Alabama.) The only things I'm missing are a belt (which is negotiable; the jacket is long enough to cover the belt line), a white camisole (i've got a backup) and a pistol. Man, do I wish I hadn't thrown away my leaky water pistol. What will I pwn noobs with now? :(


L4D Medkit: Downtime

Posting from work (zomg!), where I can't work on this damnable thing. That's either really good, as it will prevent me from going totally mad, or really bad, since I can't finish it, which is driving me totally mad. Despite the lack of sleep, I kinda like the manic baseline of a crafting project: feverish concentration, long hours of production, subsistance on nothing more than PB&Js and Queens of the Stone Age. The funny thing is, the comparison to video game cycles is glaring, yet I can't see myself doing it. It's such a difference when one works with one's own hands.

Anyway, barring some sort of meteor hitting Chicago (or a shutdown of CTA trains, which is much more likely), I should be able to get the rest of my materials tonight. That means a nice, shiny cross for my front pocket. So far I'm 98% finished with the two side pockets, I've got all the padding stitched in (for structure/pillowy appearance).. next come the zippers, with which I have never worked. And the whole thing must be done by Friday. Woo!


L4D Medkit: Frustration, she wrote

These are the two pockets that go on the side of the L4D medkit. These two pockets have taken a day and a half. I shit you not. Mind you, only one is complete. Remind me why I decided to do this again?


Left 4 Bargains?

Funny how I'm doing two projects directly related to L4D...and as a result, I haven't played the game in like a week. Anyway.

Medkit's been slow going. I've got most my material, except white for the cross patch/"First Aid" background, and a zipper foot for my old Singer machine. Oops. Those zippers will be hella hard to sew without one. I've got a few leads, though.

The search for Zoey clothes is a little harder. Since her outfit is slightly out of season, I had to snag a leftover track jacket off of Target's website. The thing dropped price while I watched (woot), but I won't truly rest until it's in my hands. I've got the jeans and a white shirt, just bought a belt off of eBay...which brings me to my main beef. When did eBay stop being a place where you could buy anyone's random old shit? I'm looking for a pair of ratty black Chuck hi-tops on there, and all I get are sparkling new ones at $40 a pop. Blasphemy! Who's gonna believe I've been running from zombies in those? What happened to the world's biggest garage sale?


L4D Medkit: Status

Pictures of project, from all angles? Check.
Drawrings of project, from all angles and with measurements? Check.
Prototype? Check.
Materials? Check. (Well, most of them.)
Excitement level? Growing...

I've also decided to go as Zoey for Play On Con, or rather CP Con, a minor offshoot. I've never cosplayed before. Hopefully no assgrabbings will be attempted...and if so, hey, I've got pistols.



What do you get when you cross a zombie-soaked co-op FPS with warm, cuddly crafts? The answer, my friends, is this:

I never thought crocheted tumors could ever be adorable, but am I glad I'm wrong! This boomer and hunter look amazing! She also did the survivors, but the zombies are really tip-top.

This re-ignites my passion to attempt my old idea: creating a L4D-style med-kit backpack. I'm going to a con at the end of the month...could I really whip up something like that in time? Goddammit, I think I can.

You know, it'd be even more kickass if it had cooler/thermal capabilities...but hey, one thing at a time.


*cue Tom Petty*

Game: Dark Spire for DS
Amazon pre-order placement date: 4/6/09
Street release date: 4/14/09
Amazon ship date: 4/18/09
Shipment receipt date: 4/23/09

Amount of time between game release date and game receipt: 1 week, 2 days

So, really, on what planet is this acceptable? Fine, I chose super saver shipping, that's my fault. But why the hell didn't it even go out until the Saturday after release? It's not as if it's a high-profile game, either. Old skool RPG hardcore gamers are an extremely niche market; on the DS, even more so. Is this normal for Amazon pre-orders or what? Either way, looks like Gamestop will be garnering more of my first-day purchases. Crap.

Now, to encapsulate my annoyance in review form, or a customer service email? Decisions, decisions...


Zombies ahead

You know the scene in Futurama where Fry finds out that, because he left 93 cents in his savings account for a thousand years, he was now worth $4.3 billion? Then his brain completely overloads and he starts frothing at the mouth, eventually passing out on the floor? That's exactly how I feel when I read this sentence from Valve about their new Survival Mode for Left 4 Dead:

"Given the extreme pace of Survival Mode, the number of zombies killed in a single round often outnumbers an entire campaign."

Holy nuts, that's a fuckload of zombies. Sign me up. *thud*


Put another one on the fire?

An ad for Rhythm Heaven on the DS piqued my interest, so I checked it out on Nintendo's site. Dear god, I wish I hadn't. It looks like another wonderful timesucker. This can't be happening! I can't possibly take on another fun game! I've got my near-nightly TF2 meetup, mornings and nights on the train with Etrian Odyssey or Puzzle Quest, Dark Spire winging its way towards me in the mail (eventually), practicing my Rock Band skillz, plus, you know, work, eating, showers...I'd petition for more hours in the day, but I know I'd blow it all on sleep.

That's it, I've got to find a decent cocaine hookup. Cocaine's safer than caffeine, right? That stuff'll kill ya.


Like coming home

Just played Quake Live for the first time. How did id know how much I loved this game? How did they realize I prize this FPS over all others? How did they know to preserve it in all its stylish, lightning-paced glory? I feel I am not alone. And that makes me happy.

Until, of course, someone calls me a fag.


One of these days, I should just learn D&D...

...since I love RPGs so much. I just pre-ordered The Dark Spire on Amazon. Word is it's a toughie, too, in the realm of old skool Wizardry. Dark, minimalist dungeon; first-person POV; random encounters; the works. Now I just gotta finish (ha!) Etrian Odyssey 2 and I'll be all ready to play Dark Spire! *faints* Oh, if only I didn't have to grind so much...


TF2 Update Update!

Next up: Snipah!

Reaction: Thumbs up! I'm one of the few who really enjoys sniper; always have. One shot one kill is hard to argue with. If you're on the receiving end, find a way around it or find ways of nerfing it, of which there are plenty. But I digress. What kind of new weapons could he have? Uber rifle? Throwable flare for dark corners, like in original TF? Piss jar? No clue. I'm just glad they're updating another class I play, albeit not that often.

My concern is all the other things Valve says they're going to do along with the sniper update. If it's just new maps, that's great, but.. don't fix what ain't broke, guys. It would take a lot to discourage me from playing, but it's definitely possible.


Two things:

1. I just discovered a stash of full-length songs in my TF2 sounds/misc folder. I assume I've procured them from random servers for game lead-in purposes. I understand uploading small snippets onto a client PC, but entire songs? No wonder it takes so damn long to get on a server sometimes. On the other hand, you gotta admit, finding out you suddenly have a full Static-X song without your prior knowledge is like some glorious Christmas. "YMCA," not so much.

2. Kotaku put up a feature post about gaming in theater. In a word? No. No, no, no, no, no.

Let me be fair: I am an uncultured wretch. I don't remember the last time I went to the theater and being hauled to a musical qualifies for me as the seventh circle of hell. But come on. Do games have to be everywhere, especially when still so few people really enjoy them? I'm not talking about the "casual" statistics, I'm talking about people with a width breadth and appreciation for gaming.

Take the "Ace Attorney" musical mania that's going on in Japan. Granted, it's Japan (and female-only, which fascinates me to no end). But imagine if there was an opera made out of Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy. Or a musical based on TF2 or Pac-Man. I don't know, it seems like a silly way to cash in on a niche market. I seriously doubt they'd make a profit when it's all said and done. Beyond that, when it comes to games, I like being a minority. It makes connecting with other gamers that much better. Dragging our milieu into the performing arts just makes me want to gnash my teeth and claw at my breast.


Soooo... OnLive.

I'm not the best at spotting trends, and no one in their right mind would place business or social analysis in my hands, but I have a feeling that this is what you might call "a big deal." (video here.. it's long, but worth it to get an in-depth explanation.)

I don't even know where to begin. I don't exactly know that this is a console killer - in its usage so far, it appears to be mostly good at letting you play PC games on an HDTV - but the features are intriguing, to say the least. Spectating someone in Resident Evil or Gears who's on top of the leaderboards in an entire country, in real time? Hot. Especially enticing is the "brag clips" mechanism, which allows you to retroactively save the last 10-15 seconds of your gameplay. Reminds me of recording live TV, but in the past. Somehow. Anyone who's ever missed taking a screenshot of an awesome gaming moment or forgotten to start a demo (ahem*me*coff) will love this feature.

Spectating, I think, could open up more avenues for people who are on the fence about buying (there appears to be just a "rental" option, as well as downloading for purchase). For me, I could see myself checking out other people's methods of play as well. One thing that's missing from my FPS gaming is having someone else around to bounce ideas off of, and to see the techniques that they use. Sure, you can spec teammates while you're dead, but 20 seconds worth of playing - if they even survive that long - isn't enough to learn anything of value. This could lead to big improvements...and accusations of cheating. Hrm.

Of course, there's the obvious question of whether or not this whole thing will even work. It's not due to roll out until next year, which I can dig. The fact that the studio behind it kept it under wraps for seven years is pretty hardcore in itself. I suppose my biggest problem, besides my piteous bandwidth, is the fact that unless they introduce a keyboard/mouse peripheral, I probably won't be able to use it for my favorite games. I've played TF2 on my 32" LCD before. It was nice. A pain to be sure, but nice. But as I've stated, I'm complete ass when it comes to console FPSes. To think, in a future so beautiful to other gamers, I will still be the outcast.. *tear*


You know you're a geek when...

...you're playing Etrian Odyssey and you can't wait to get past all those pesky monster encounters so you can draw more of your map.


Be It Further Resolved

Consider this blog post an unheard ripple in the tide of congratulations for Penny Arcade, who were honored yesterday by the state of Washington for their contribution to society in the form of Fruit Fuckers and Deep Crows PAX and Child's Play.

Seriously, thank you so much for your work, guys. You inspire thousands of gamers every year to think of the less fortunate. You are right in believing Child's Play and possibly PAX will outlive PA (as much as that hurts to write), but hopefully people will still remember the source and give due honor.

Also? Based on how proud Washington's Congress seems to be about their state's gaming culture, I'm moving west tout fucking suite.


My apologies for lack of updates. In addition to being sick as a dog, my job has been working me like a dog, leading to a double-dog situation of unprecedented proportions. And I'm a cat person. :(

No matter! What matters right now is this:

The return of one of my "memes" from childhood, A Boy and His Blob. I say "meme" instead of merely "game" because due to the goofiness of the title and the game itself, it took on a life of its own within my family. Even my mom was on board with the boy and his eponymous blob. Ultimately the NES offering drove me nuts due to poor mechanics, tied to a loathing of jellybean waste. God, I hated making that poor blob frown.

Now, come this fall, I will have a brand new blob to disappoint! Developer Wayforward is remaking ABAHB for the Wii. And thank goodness, too, for 1. it looks gorgeous, 2. continues the Nintendo tradition, and 3. could lend some serious artistic and gaming cred to the much-maligned machine. I know I've been asking for another jellybean-tossing adventure, or at least the original game on VC. Oh, and did I mention the blob is fucking adorable?

The new blob makes me squeal like the girliest girl that ever squealed. Which is funny, since he basically looks like a little gelatinous Halloween ghost. It's the little things, it truly is. Early video shows promise, though so far there aren't any sound effects (I can't wait to hear a "scarfing" sound for when he eats the beans), and the "hole" animation needs work. However, the thing's not due out 'till later this year. I might even get to see it at PAX. How sweet would that be?

(Hint: pretty friggin' sweet.)


To ogle or not to ogle

So I was playing on this TF2 server last night, one that I frequent quite often. It’s one of those servers that has an anti-swearing, anti-racism, anti-pornographic spray policy. It’s also got admins on pretty much constantly during prime time.

In spite of all this, some rebellious young horndog threw up a provocative spray of a woman splayed on a kitchen countertop, her goodies covered with naught but whipped cream. I didn’t look too closely; I was too disgusted to give it pause.

Or was I?

See, I have this slight problem. Not only am I a girl gamer, I’m kinda sorta maybe a little attracted to the womens myself. Yeah, sounds great, whoopty-shit. It ain’t all that. The scrutiny accompanying a bi-curious girl on the Internet, let alone one that plays games dominated by men, can be considerable. It gets more complicated when you factor in other gaming girls, both how they’re viewed by the community and how they view me.

No, of course I couldn’t be titillated; I had a duty to be full of feminist indignation. I do believe it was a case of the bigger picture, of not appearing soft on smut when it goes against the rules, and to stand up for my fellow gaming goddesses. But dammit, sometimes it’d be nice if I could just say, “Hey, look at the melons on that tomato.”


Batter up!

Super, super psyched about the scout update for TF2. This is the first one I'm looking forward to, since I hardly play any heavy (too friggin' slow), pyro (too many on my team), or medic (though I've played him more often lately).

It's hard to articulate my adoration for the scout. Completely obnoxious and relentlessly in-your-face, I would avoid him at all costs at, say, a party or a tailgating opportunity. His grating personality rubs me the wrong way in a real-life context. However, allowed to play in his shoes, I love tearing through a map, scattergun at the ready, tossing insults every which way. It's as if I take out the frustration of having to deal with guys like him...by becoming him. I'm sure Freud would have a lot to say about that, if he weren't dead. I also enjoy mimicking his accent. There's just something about stereotypical Boston or New Yawk accents I savor, at least until my ears start bleeding.

Valve has released some details but not all.. can't wait to see what else they've cooked up.


When you care enough to stab the very best

It's late, and I'm tired, and my cat is waiting expectantly for me to feed her, and Valentine's Day is my least favorite holiday (well, maybe ahead of Groundhog Day), but this is too sweet to pass up:

Forbidden Love?

It's so true. I've loved playing with/against my paramours in the past. It adds a whole new level to the experience. Thanks, Patrick!


Just what in the hell have I been doing the past few days?

Not that anyone asked, but:

- Hotly anticipating Velvet Assassin even though I know it will most likely be a steaming pile of dog doo. The best concepts for games always seem to have the worst execution, with a few exceptions.
- Returning to Baroque and FFVI, neither of which I have finished. Both confuse the hell out of me, but are compelling in their own ways. Baroque is one of those games where I want to cheat with a walkthrough if only to figure out WTF is going on. Even with the translation barrier, whoever wrote the plot was seriously high on something. I've reached a point in FFVI (before opening the Sealed Cave) where the fights are too easy, but now I've forgotten what all my characters do, since I haven't played it in at least a year.
- Not playing drums in Rock Band. ;_; Due to a strained inner thigh muscle, it's probably not a good idea to try any Tommy Lee-style feats at the moment. It's just as well. "Sick Sick Sick" will still be there when I heal up...mocking me.


Planning ahead

It's been five months since PAX, otherwise known as the Penny Arcade Expo. Seems like a lot, but in many ways I feel like it happened yesterday. Since my math is incorruptible, on the Georgian calendar, that means it's seven months until PAX 09, or as I like to call it, the Christmas in September (I think this is the first year it will take place entirely in September). Again, that might seem a long ways off. But you know what? It's not. It sneaks you, hardcore. And brother, I'm getting excited all over again.

I debated whether or not to go at all, since there will be a PAX in Boston in March of 2010. I presume that one will be closer and cheaper; Seattle's a fuckin' haul. But there are two things changing my mind. One is the Cross-Country Super Trip, a meetup of gamer geeks and PA forum readers coming from points east. I pondered doing it last year, but it required too much time off from work. This year I'm saying to hell with it, which ties directly into reason two...

It's my 30th birthday this year, right around the time of PAX. If I'm gonna celebrate, as a geek, I may as well do it up in the right fashion. That means a pre-PAX dinner, possible hotel room parties, very possible drunkenness but not a requirement (the only drink I had last year was one martini, after the whole thing was over)...and if I practice every single day, maybe even a Rush song on Rock Band 2. On Expert.

Yeah, I'm not buying that one either.

But I do have another plan. I've been toying with the idea of trying for Omeganautical status. I don't play a large variety of games, but damn if I got in, my credit card would start screaming for all the games I'd rent/buy/whatever. My worst fear is that you have to include some huge game achievement from your past, like getting all the way through Super Metroid without stopping or someshit. That's when I go for the laugh, I guess. And to play in front of all those people, 60,000 strong at this point... dear God, would it be something.

Dammit, now I'm all hyped up.

Diablo III: Now with Deadly Rainbow Unicorn Farts!

Even though I've never played Diablo (yeah, yeah, I know), there's no denying the pure awesomeness of this screenshot:

No way that'll make it in the game, but not bad for a rebuttal to rabid fanboys... well-played, Blizzard, well-played.


A Return to "Normalcy"

After a couple years of downsizing, perennial game convention E3 is going all-out again. This translates into bigger companies, glitzier displays, relaxed attendance rules, and...the return of booth babes.

I don't have a lot of experience with booth babes. What I know personally is limited to the one and only con I've been to, PAX 08. I did notice some eye candy present at a few booths, which seemed to run counter to the whole PAX vibe: focusing on the games themselves. A game should be able to stand on its own without having to rely on cheap boobery to draw in fans, no? I don't so much mind the women (it's their job, after all, demeaning as it is) but the companies undermining the intrinsic value of their product. I can see it now, a story as old as time:

Exec A: I hate to say it, but our game's just not that good.
Exec B: So what? Throw some tits at the fanboys, they'll eat it up.
Exec A: Done and done!

Now E3's running with that thought process once again (and Kotaku's audience is eating it up, btw). Say hello to the lowest common denominator. It's an insult to our collective intelligence. It's the con equivalent of a beer commercial. It reinforces the stereotype that a scantily-clad jiggling advertisement is the closest a geek can get to a woman. Listen, I don't deny that sex sells, but I'd like to think serious gamer guys are better than this. To all those who welcome the booth babes back...you're only doing yourselves a disservice.

Eh, what's the point? In order to be heard, I'd probably have to pull a Large Marge...


In space, no one can hear you weep quietly

I tried to resist. I really did. The demo at PAX was underwhelming, the specifics vague and worrisome. Things had changed so much, I didn't know anything anymore. But now that I've played the PC demo and made it past the "lolwhut," Rush-like space storyline, I can see why Puzzle Quest: Galactrix may indeed spell doom for many of my future hours.

Damn you, Infinite Interactive!! Damn you to hell!!!


Fallout: A Love/Hate Thang

I think I'm afraid of Fallout 3.

No, not in the sense of "omg there's a fire ant right on the other side of this wall," but more in the sense of its potential as a life- and energy-sucking exercise. Let me explain.

When Fallout dropped in October, I was seriously jazzed. I'd been hearing things about it for months, basically since PAX (where Bethesda had a pretty sweet retro airstream trailer set up to promote the game). I adored the '50s art style and apocalyptic concept so much that I did two things I never do: 1. I bought the game on launch day, and 2. I bought the Collector's Edition. Even as I write this I am watched cheerily by the Vault Boy bobblehead on my desk. So it's fair to say I was excited to dip my feet into the Wasteland.

Except...it's now January, I've had plenty of time to play this thing, and I'm still level 6, I think. I haven't seen DC yet, or even Rivet City. Part of the problem was getting sucked into Left 4 Dead when it came out mid-November. Still, how many holidays and weekends, or small weekday windows, have I had to explore further and further?

Call it the WoW effect. My ex keeps trying to draw me over to the Warcraft dark side, and yet I steadfastly refuse. Why? Because I know that it would steadily destroy my life. A lifelong fascination with fantasy and RPG elements paired with a barrage of quests and phat loot would mean, to me, finally giving up my toehold on life. If I give into a free trial, I may as well take out my own obituary.

Same thing with Fallout. There have been days when I think, "Okay, I'll jump back into it sometime tonight," except an hour doesn't do it, even two hours won't do it.. and there is no jumping, per se. It's a diving, a plunging. Fallout doesn't seem like just a game, it's another world, a world where one can easily get lost. It may also be a world where one doesn't want to progress after a while, just explore, explore, and explore some more. Sure, I spend a lot of time playing other things, but I don't waste hours and hours on those things intentionally. The rules are different in this case.

It's very possible that I'm addicted to games, especially in lieu of other activities normal folk enjoy. I do think it's good to have limits, hence my WoW kibosh. But to shut out Fallout, when so many have acknowledged it as an incredible game, if not GotY for 2008...I guess I have to ask myself, do I want to give myself over, or do I want some semblance of free will?



Welcome to my blog. After following sites like Kotaku and Penny Arcade for several years, I wanted my own user-generated content, so to speak. I feel that, for now anyway, I have a unique perspective on the world of gaming, in that I dig all the gore and the violence, yet I have an absence of a few body parts and an excess of a few others.

A little background: I grew up on Atari and Nintendo platformers, as well as the family TI 99/a and DOS text adventures. When I was 15 I saw a demo of Doom at a department store and that was pretty much it. I've been fragging ever since. I usually don't play a lot of games, but when I dig one, I stick to it like glue. Some of my past faves have been Doom 1 & 2, Quake, Quake 3 Arena, Mega Team Fortress for Quakeworld, Soldier of Fortune 2, Urban Terror for Q3A, and Call of Duty 1 & 2. My drugs of choice right now are Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. I never got into the whole Halo/Gears of War/Resistance games because frankly, I can't play console shooters for shit. C'est la vie. As you can probably tell, I'm not very "girly" per se, but I have my moments (and my makeup).

I plan on using this blog to opinionate, inform and vent. I should be sticking to just gaming, though not necessarily FPSes; I have another blog for daily trivialities. Hopefully I will update frequently, as games are a big part of my life at the moment. We'll see how it goes.

If you're a guy and stumbling across this, stick around, stay awhile, don't be put off by all the purple. (It's the color of royalty, after all.) If you're a girl and stumbling across this, stay even longer, as I haven't crossed paths with nearly enough of you. And please, be civil. I know this is the Internet and all, but my overall wish for this blog is the same as any game: just chill out and play.
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