Category Archives: Nostalgia

My First Win

I remember when I was a kid and my Mum got us our first computer. It was a giant cream coloured beast. I was so excited because I could play the copy of “Age of Empires” that was the prize in a box of Corn Flakes.

I’m pretty sure I still have it somewhere.

After installing it and starting a new Blue civilisation, everything went downhill. I was so happy hoarding resources, I forgot I had an opponent to defeat.

Within a few ages, the Reds descended upon me. It was a massacre. Luckily, a few innocent Blues managed to escape the carnage. With all the food, wood, gold and stone I’d collected before the first downfall of my empire I rebuilt stronger and with new determination. My new purpose was to crush my foe.

This was difficult with a population cap of just 50, but my small legion of builders made me an army that made my Red opposition tremble.

With a tide of horses and archers, I rained fiery Blue vengeance on those tiny red pixel people.

“You Are Victorious” flashed on to the screen, and I had my first taste of video game victory. This innocuous silver disc, pulled from a box of cereal is what I remember as my first real video game.

It started a love affair not only with the RTS genre of gaming, but could be responsible for my drive to write about games. I have fond memories of other games, but none have the nostalgia that AoE does.

I’ve got AoE games that follow that first game, but none draw me in like Age of Empires 1. They’re still fun, but they don’t hold a candle to the woo-loo-looo of AoE 1.

Replay Value

I was thinking about the mountain of games I have yet to finish, but all I wanted to do was replay BioShock. My love for BioShock isn’t disguised by any means and this sparked a question, “Why, after finishing BioShock 4 or 5 times, do I want to play it AGAIN when I have a plethora of games waiting to even be unwrapped?”

Replay value is a tricky thing to talk about as it varies from player to player. My friend, Aimee (Hi, Aimee!) has replayed Mass Effect a few times and I don’t see the appeal but she doesn’t see my almost orgasmic desire to replay Bioshock. She’s also said that her favourite game to replay is Dragon Age, another RPG, with what she’s described as clunky controls.

The desire is quite bizarre since Bioshock is a linear game with only two real endings and RPG’s like the ones mentioned are fairly repetitive with some missions.

Trying to analyse what we find fascinating about games we replay is easy, however. The elements that make us return to our favourite games to relive moments with characters with love and cherish (or despise). I’ve found new areas to explore with more exciting loot. There’s a lot that you can miss during your first play-through of game and with the added encouragement of achievements, there’s enough content to go back.

There are games I’m always going to keep because of replay value. I think that’s a merit to the developers. They’ve created a game that you can be so attached too, that no matter how many times you play it, you’re never bored of it.

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But Our Princess Is In Another Castle! (Blogspot Post)

Image representing Nintendo as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

This week I started Pokémon Heart Gold a re-release of what is said to be one of the best Pokémon games. This got me thinking about Nintendo and the company. Even more than that, it got me asking myself, “Where did the Nintendo ingenuity that made them a household name go?”

Nintendo has released a new coloured Wii to attract a different demographic, Super Mario Brother Wii is almost the same as other Super Mario games, the new DS XL, which is the 4th redesign of the DS and the re-release of Heart Gold and Soul Silver.

What troubles me about Nintendo’s new design philosophy is that I haven’t noticed any new series’ that are worth the money it cost to develop them. Anecdotal evidence suggests that even though the Wii is winning the pissing contest between Sony and Microsoft, people buy the Wii and soon move on from the novelty of motion control and the gimmicks wear off quite soon after. And the DS isn’t much better. With games varying from Barbie Fashion Show to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Mobilised, the handheld device can’t decide if it wants to accessorise humanity or blast it to hell.

I’m starting to think that if Nintendo can’t release anything that isn’t in the same league as games from the glory days of the late eighties and early nineties, they might be looking at the beginning of the end and in ten or so years, Nintendo might only be a memory.

My Friend Steals my Xbox, Suddenly Converts (Blogspot Post)

Xbox logo

Image via Wikipedia

“Addie, you love me right?”
“May be, why?”
“Can I borrow the Sexbawks for a little while?”
“Why?”
“’cause…”

This is a conversation with my friend, who I’ll call Jerkface to protect his identity. He is on school holidays and has decided this week would be the week that he’d steal my beloved Xbox and play Assassin’s Creed 2.

What’s interesting about this is he’s a PC gamer, and by rights would be my enemy if the platform wars ever decided to break free of the internet. Also, I know he’s got money to buy the game. You know, he probably would if Ubisoft didn’t have that silly “Permanent connection to internet” DRM that’s been rubbing people the wrong way.

Anyway, I think I’m starting to slowly turn him towards way of thinking about console! He even thought about buying an Elite. Not that he’ll ever admit it. If he keeps following my lead, he’ll be swooning like a woman when Nathan Fillon is on Castle.

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Which Zombie Is Worth More? (Blogspot post)

The UK version of the box art shows the back o...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m in for a long weekend…

On Thursday 22nd, Valve released new DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 known as The Passing. This includes a new campaign which is hard as concrete, an in-game blog and a new game type called “Mutation.” Mutation cycles different game types such as realism verses which combines the difficulty of realism with the interesting concept of Verses (which I’m still not sold on) or Chainsaw Massacre where you just run around with chainsaws.

This new DLC irritates me a bit. While I’m a great fan of the original Left 4 Dead, and still believe that Left 4 Dead 2 probably could have just been added as DLC to L4D, I’m wondering just what Valve are doing at their development studios. Portal 2 is set to release very soon, all new DLC for a game that was released a year after the original (it shows in the feel of the game) but the game a lot of people have waited for isn’t set to be released this year or anytime in the future. The game I’m talking about is Half Life 2: Episode 3.

I thought the idea of episodic gaming was to get games released quicker. But Valve seems to subscribe to the well known Valve Time timetable and that doesn’t sit well with Valve supporters. I would rather be fighting Headcrab zombies than Boomers, Smokers and Jockey’s right about now.

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How-To: Get Your Girlfriend into Gaming.

I see the same question asked around the interwebs, “How do I get my girlfriend into gaming?” There’s a two real answers to that question.

Answer one:

You can’t. Sadly, your girlfriend is not one of us and she is never to be assimilated in to our culture. Don’t stop loving her for that. I’m sure she’s a nice person anyway.

Answer two:

Success! Your girlfriend has shown interest in our world! You may be able to bring her into the hive mind with a few handy ideas:

  1. Sit with her and try to keep your harsh instruction to a minimum. If she’s stuck try “Hey, try looking over at (object x)! Last time I played his game, I think that did something.” You’re not telling her what do you, just a helpful suggestion.
  2. Don’t start off with CoD or Halo. Not only is the opinion of this writer that CoD is a horrific game, it’s not a good starting point. Beginners (under no circumstances are you call your lady a noob. She will smack you down) will probably find the learning curve of an FPS to be too overwhelming. Try an RPG, something that your girlfriend customise to what she’d want. If she plays a new character, she’ll feel as if it’s her game and not just borrowing it off her.
  3. DO NOT TAKE THE CONTROLLER OFF HER.
  4. Don’t play two player. If you’re playing a game that you’ve already played, you’ll speed through and get frustrated with her which will only lead to fighting and hurt feelings.

If your girlfriend has shown interest but none of these tips help, you’ve tried your best, she tried her best but she’s not a gamer. If you succeed in your quest, don’t rush her. Take it in baby steps. You’ve just introduced your lady to a whole new world which is wide, often scary and very overwhelming for a new player. Introduce her to new games similar to the ones she’s enjoying or enjoyed and then expand on themes. Soon enough you might find that she’d enjoy CoD or Halo and even beat you from time to time!

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