Friday, 30 January 2015

The Discovery of Slowness

My girlfriend bought Eternal Sonata and said I should give it a spin. It has been a long time since I've played a JRPG - last one I played was Final Fantasy XIII a few years back - so it was nice to get back into the swing of things (this usually means me hoarding special items and never using them throughout the JRPG, not even on the final boss).

Playing the opening section I really admired the beautiful colourful graphics. I also found myself enjoying the wistful slow pace as the game as it gently introduced you to characters and concepts. So often now games can be so immediate and hurried that I appreciate a game that takes its time - and being a Hideo Kojima fan shows that I have an almost paranormal patience when it comes to long cut-scenes anyway.

So far I am digging Eternal Sonata, the battle system reminds me of Star Ocean: The Second Story. Dang, now that's a fantastic JRPG I need to replay someday!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Give Gozer a Break

I've been back playing Tetris a few times recently, but nowhere near the intensity of how much I played it last year. Suddenly this weekend I broke my all-time high score in marathon mode with ease. It amazes me how sometimes absence can make you better at playing a computer game. It reminds me of when I had Ghostbusters as a kid on the Sega Master System. That game had me stumped for an awful long time, I was constantly getting killed on the staircases before reaching Gozer.

In the end the frustration got the better of me and I stopped playing the game. Then about half a year later - for no real discernible reason - I decided to give Ghostbusters another crack. After a few tries I finally got to final level with Gozer and completed the game.

How did this suddenly happen?

Maybe I had lost some bad habits by having the rest?

Or maybe the break refreshed my enthusiasm?

That reminds me, I really need to go back to the 2009 Ghostbusters game. I drifted away from it - not because it was too difficult - but because the game mechanics were so clunky. But still it has the original voice cast so it would be worth going back to if only for that.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Smashed Street Fighter

For my birthday I decided to go with my friends to a new bar in town that has a few arcade cabinets. It has Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, 1943, Street Fighter II and Pacman. Channelling my inner-Billy Mitchell I mainly played Donkey Kong most of the night with my friends.

Then an old friend I used to work at Gamestation with challenged me to Street Fighter II, we'd never actually played each other at it before and had always talked trash to each other about who was the better player. I was always confident I could beat him due to my turtling Ryu style.

Anyway when the machine was free we stepped up to the cabinet to play, I placed my drink on top of the arcade cabinet and grabbed the controls. Then I noticed my glass starting to slide, then to my horror I realised the top of the cabinet slopped backwards. The glass slipped away from me and fell off, making an almighty smash on the floor behind Street Fighter II. The bar was quite busy and noisy, I thought to myself, maybe no one had noticed?

I looked gingerly behind me... and I saw a bar full of amused eyes watching me.

Oh the shame.

I ended up losing the Street Fighter II match afterwards too. Maybe that's proof that video games and drink do not mix.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Krogan Battlemaster Blues

"Surrender. Or Don't. That would be more fun."

I heard that surly Krogan Battlemaster growl those words to me many times as I became horribly stuck on the first Mass Effect. And I mean really stuck. It seemed impossible - I was too low a level and I had my weakest members of my team in my squad. Would I ever help Liara escape Therum?

One thing that ages the first Mass Effect is not the graphics but little things, like the inability to skip cut scenes and the unforgiving restart points. Maybe I'm actually just whining here and modern games have made me too soft.

Anyway, after about 12 brutalising tries I finally managed to beat the Krogan Battlemaster. I had no biotics, so I had to use chemical rounds and hide behind pillars to stop the Krogan's melee attacks. I had a real sense of achievement when I finally downed him.

I am digging Mass Effect, it is the first time I have ever played a PC-style action rpg but I am starting to understand how things work. Plus I am in a real science fiction mood still after seeing Interstellar and 2001 on the big screen last year.