Sunday, May 13, 2007

New toy! Maybe not...well, someday....

Years and years and years ago, my Dad retired from Digital Equipment Corp. (took the retirement package instead of getting laid off...this is around the time HP bought them).
So, for the first time in decades, he has nothing to do.
For a while, he obsesses with various ways of making coffee (don't even get me started on this), but that can only go on for so long.
Anyhow, my brother, our friend Bonehead and I are all playing this game 'Ultima Underworld II' because another friend of mine, Austin Grossman, was working on it for Looking Glass Studios, and was kind enough to get us a late-stage beta.
Loved it.
Eventually, we move out.
Dad calls me one day saying "I just bought a computer and thought I'd use it to play games. What can you suggest?"
"Ultima Underworld II."
A couple weeks go by and I give him a ring.
Me:So how's Underworld going?
Dad:Well, I'm kind of stuck. I don't know what to do next.
Me:OK, so where are you?
Dad:I'm in the castle.
Me:What castle? (I have no memory of a castle)
Dad:The one with the King and the Royal Family.
Me:(confused pause) Wait, the one you start in???
Dad: Yes. I've talked with everyone and now I don't know what to do.
Me: Well, have you gone down into the sewers?
Dad: No. They said there were monsters down in the sewers.

And there you have it. Playing video games requires a fundamental shift in perspective. You are, in fact, looking for trouble.
Anyhow, once he got over that, his video game career has far outshined mine.

Dad goes through a couple of computers, upgrading when needs be.
But then Oblivion comes out and there's no way Dad's machine will run the damn thing. But its also a really bad time to buy a PC as the duo cores are still pretty new and all that.
So he buys an XBox360 so he can play Oblivion and maybe a few other games until he decides to buy a new PC.
He goes through every bit of the game that he can, and then buys Enchanted Arms.
Enchanted Arms has some display problems.
Spanking new tech in the XBox360, 5 year old tech in the TV. The text is illegible.
So, to him, the 360 is dead.
Eventually, he gives it to me.
I am most happy as I'm out of PS2 games to play, now that I've finished God Of War II, and can't justify a PS3 (which has nothing worth playing yet either) or a 360 (which has some games I'd like to play, and a bunch of great ones coming soon, like Mass Effect) since I just spent 900 bucks on a wedding ring.
I go and buy:
Gears Of War
Viva Pinata
Dead Rising
and an extra controller.
Gears of War confuses me. I'd gotten it on the recommendation of a friend who said it wasn't really a first person shooter, but rather more like 3rd person.
Plus, it looks pretty.
For a while, the game confuses the hell out of me. Moving around seems needlessly tricky, and I appear to have WAY too many options when I'm hiding behind a rock. I'm also getting my ass handed to me.
Until, of course, I read the manual, which makes it abundantly clear that hiding is the way to go. Duck, poke,shoot, duck.
Which reminded me of a CCG card I once read (or maybe it was a fake card...I dunno...). The flavor text was: "So there I was, between a rock and a hard place. And I thought to myself, 'What am I doing on this side of the rock???'"

Played a little DOA4 which was gorgeous and fun, and then...Viva Pinata.
1) Yes, all the 'characters' appear to be pinatas. And they all want to get bashed open by children at parties. Its unclear if they are then resurrected of if they are simply suicidal. Reminds me of the Schmoo.
2) Your pinatas eat each other (and also mate in front of a jukebox).
3) The tutorial section is unbelievably high-pressure. It wouldn't shut up with telling me to do things. All I wanted to do was grow my garden and raise some frickin' pinatas! Easily more stressful than Gears Of War.
Most tiring.

the 360 is busted after only a day or two of playing and is currently in transit to Texas for repairs.
(long way to go for a complaint, ain't it?)


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