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Archive for January, 2012

In addition to all of the games Rose has been playing this year for the site, she has been playing A LOT of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Recently I jumped back into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for Xbox 360, and have been earning up a bunch of achievements I never got. We both have Elder Scrolls on the brain, so we decided to go back to the beginning, and play through the game that started it all: Elder Scrolls I – Arena.

Here are the first two videos:

More coming soon!

Interested in playing for yourself? You can download it for free at elderscrolls.com

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Evan Plays: Ricochet

What is this game? I don’t even know.

I know some things about it; I know it was a mod for the original Half-Life that used to be free but now costs 5 dollars, I know it is a very obvious Tron rip-off, where people in brightly colored outfits jump around on light platforms and throw light disks at each other, and I know that somehow, I own a copy of it in my steam library.

The first problem I ran into is that this is a multiplayer ONLY game. The only option is to play online. There is almost nobody playing this game online, and the few who are have been playing the game for years. Not a great way to start out. Luckily, I did find a third party bot, and was able to get a game going.

As you can see, I didn’t do great. (more…)

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Rose got me the Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition for Christmas 2010, and i loved it, it was a wonderful gift, and I played and enjoyed it for about 2 and a half hours total before I got distracted and moved on to the next thing. This is not new, most of my life I’ve considered myself a fan of the Monkey Island franchise, though I’ve never (until now) finished a game.

So I picked it back up, a year later, and dove in headfirst, not really remembering what I was doing or how to play the game. As per my usual, I filmed it, and you can see the results below. However, normally i try to film about a half hour’s worth of play and edit it down to about 5-8 minutes, here, I got lost in the moment and played for over an hour. It was a bitch to edit down, and the end result is a bit choppy in places, but here you go:

I did wind up going back and starting a new game from the beginning and playing it through to the end. My full thoughts after the break: (more…)

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Man, what happened to me?

There was a time — I recall it! — when I was able to play games without marked quest-givers, without useful in-game maps, the kind of games that just dropped you right into the deep end of the pool with a stern reminder that it would “build character.”

I am getting ahead of myself.

Half-Life 2 isn’t a game I chose for myself. I don’t care much for first-person shooter type games, not because I find them distasteful but just because by and large they don’t especially appeal to me. Evan somehow had a spare key that he passed along to me as a “bonus” Christmas gift. I claimed it but it pretty much just sat around for a year, and it wound up first on my list of unplayed games to tackle in 2012.

So how did it go? Well…

From the Pottery Gulag Spring 2012 Collection.

This pretty much sums up my Half-Life 2 experience: wandering depressing hallways covered with tattered propaganda posters. Actually this is nicer than my last apartment. Where's the For Rent magazine?

I went into it knowing pretty much exactly nothing about the game or the franchise, save a passing familiarity with the main character Gordon Freeman (because how can you not know who he is?) and the fact that I have seen Evan shoot up lots of identical dudes wearing headcrab hats. The game really pulls no punches at all about throwing you into chaos — the mysterious intro puts you directly into Gordon’s shoes, and the player’s confusion prompts immediate identification with him.

I had a lot of fun listening to the propaganda reel, being thoroughly creeped out by the masked guards, and bumbling around until I found the single valid route out of the area — but even at this point, I was thinking to myself, what am I supposed to be doing now?

I was grateful to receive direction once it came — keep going until you get to the plaza! — but once I got to what I assume was the plaza, I was stuck once again. All the doors appeared to be locked and the gates out of the area patrolled by security cameras and impassable. I circled around for a while, receiving no prompts or even any dialogue from any of the other citizens in the area. No other friendly personage showed up to meet me. Bear in mind that all I really know how to do at this point is pick stuff up, throw it, and move around. Eventually I put my limited knowledge to use to climb up a fire escape and leap over a fence, because it seemed like the only thing to do. Loading message, that means I solved the puzzle, right?

In the next area, I got to run around a neighborhood full of miserable citizens undergoing a police inspection. After a fair amount of aimless wandering (and fruitless searching for anything to interact with), suddenly there’s an alert! Miscount detected! My fellow citizens, aware that I don’t belong in their section, rush to hide me! To the roof, they cry, hurry! So, I ran to the roof…

And I got there! Success, right? Except that once I got to the roof, again, without any obvious cue what my next goal should be, I pretty much just ran around aimlessly looking for something to point me in the right direction. And got gunned down. Okay, back to the checkpoint, I’ll try another direction this time. Ooops, died. So, okay, I’ll try another way… oops, that’s where I came from… oops dead.

Half-Life 2, you look awful neat, and your setting is creepy and compelling, but I will have to return to you sometime when I’m feeling more patient and generous, and when I’m not having a great time in another game that goes out of its way to throw tons of cool stuff to do at me.

UP NEXT FOR ROSE: Bastion

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There’s a bundle on Steam called “The Orange Box” (also available for Xbox 360) which contains Half-Life 2, it’s two episodic sequels, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. I had to buy Team Fortress 2 for a LAN party, and figured “Why not buy the bundle, I’ll play all those games eventually.” The idea of “I’m going to play it eventually” has heavily factored into my decision to buy many games I didn’t really need, and this week is no exception.

Looking back, I don’t think we played Team Fortress 2 at that LAN after all. But I digress.

The point is, I owned Episode 1 for a long time, but never played it, since it was a sequel and until very recently, I hadn’t beaten the original.

But coming fresh off my completion of Half-Life 2, I jumped right into Episode 1. Or as this video demonstrates, I fell right off of Episode 1:

Without getting into spoiler territory, at the very end of Half-Life 2, you DO SOMETHING. Immediately after you DO SOMETHING, the game ends. You don’t really get to see the effects SOMETHING had on the world around you, or what happened to THAT ONE PERSON.

So my main hope for Episode 1 was that it would pick up those plot threads and continue the story – and it did not disappoint. (more…)

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The focus of this blog is to chronicle the adventures Rose and I have in PC gaming. I am still, however, primarily a console gamer, and from time to time, when I feel it’s relevant, I may share my experiences playing Xbox 360 games. This is one of those times.

Of late, I’ve been playing the game AMY. If you’re not familiar, its a new Survival Horror game that just came out for Xbox Live Arcade. Here’s a trailer:

My experiences with this game after the break, but for any who don’t make the jump, let me be clear: you probably shouldn’t buy this game. (more…)

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[Editor’s Note: This post contains minor spoilers for an 8 year old video game. You’ve been warned.]

You have probably already figured out, I am a big fan of plot in video games. But you may not know just how deep it goes; see, I have a compulsion for continuity and order. If there is even a thread of plot carried over from an earlier game, I can’t play the sequel until I’ve played the original. I have a lot of sequels in my game library that haven’t been played for just this reason.

So when I resolved to play the unplayed games in my library, many of those were sequels, and they went on my list. Now I am CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED to play these games (it’s a verbal contract).

That didn’t make my compulsion go away, however. So in addition to the 52 games I’ll be trying out this year, I’ve also got a bunch of games that I need to beat before I can play these sequels. Prerequisites, if you will. Games I never beat, but now I have to in order for my compulsion to allow me to play the follow-ups.

The first such game I encountered on my yearlong journey was Half-Life 2. (more…)

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