Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Games are Glorious

I love playing games, so I feel its only fair to dedicate an entry to a very important pastime of mine. Its hard to know exactly where to slot myself on the gamer scale. I get crazy into games, but I play on and off, so I definitely don't fit in with the hardcore gamers. However I think I play too aggressively to be on the casual end of the spectrum, and in any case "casual gaming" summons to mind commuters playing Angry Birds on the morning train and housewives playing Draw Something in the loo.

I go through fits of addiction, sometimes they last weeks, sometimes months, but I never really stuck with a game constantly for a long period. Circa 2007 I was absolutely addicted to this MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game, yes, its a mouthful) called Crazy Tao. It was awesome, it had adorable scenery and characters, pets that fought with you, a really fun system of improving your pets and items. Then they introduced currency you could purchase for real money, the in-game economy went nuts, I persevered. Until my partner at the time convinced me to join some guild. Suddenly it was all drama and bullshit and dealing with other people. Being a fairly high-ranking player and guild member, I couldn't log on without being hassled by someone to do something. It really just ruined the experience for me. So I left. I still logged in occasionally for several years after just to see what was happening, but nothing made me want to play again. Then the game shut down completely. I was super sad about that, even though I no longer played. It was so enjoyable while it lasted for me.

Some screenshots of Crazy Tao. So cute!

Another game I got really into was World of Warcraft. I started off playing the trading card game, but decided to give the MMO a bash. I loved it and found it really fun and engaging. The problem with WoW is that once you get to a certain point, you really need to play cooperatively with other people in order to progress, and for me, playing games with a bunch of random strangers just isn't fun. I logged in today after not playing since probably 2010 or 2011. I reactivated my account to try and help my son defeat a boss to get some mount he wants. I found everything cumbersome and difficult to get back into after a long period away. It seems to have changed a lot and I honestly can't be bothered investing the time needed to learn everything again. So as much as I loved WoW, I think we're over.

So I love RPGs and I love being able to play with friends, but I really don't like the free for all that is the MMO. So moving away from all that kerfuffle, I was deeply in love with Morrowind back when it came out. I have a terrible attention span for gaming, but this one I couldn't stop until I finished. The gameplay was complex and very open. You could follow the main story, which itself was interesting and compelling, or you could focus on doing side quests. I spent a lot of time running around for the Mages Guild, once my lawful good compulsions had been satisfied I also joined the Thieves Guild and the Morag Tong and sneaked my way around Tamriel like a boss. It remains one of my favourite games, and one I look forward to replaying at some point. Although its in early stages, the Skywind project,  which is a venture to rebuild Morrowind using the Skyrim engine, has me incredibly excited.
So obviously loving Morrowind so much, I was eager to get into Oblivion when it was released. But it just didn't do it for me. I really hated travelling into the Daedric planes and dealing with all the crap in there. I didn't find it anywhere near as immersive and I didn't give a toss about the story. Oblivion is loved by many, but I just didn't get into it. I had lowered my expectations by the time Skyrim was released, but despite trying not to get my hopes up too high, I was still super excited and pre-ordered it so I'd have it on release day. Skyrim, while still not as good as Morrowind, was an improvement on Oblivion. Unfortunately before getting too far in the game I moved out of my ex boyfriend's place and left my saved game on his Xbox harddrive. I recently got around to getting it for PC and playing again, and I really do enjoy it. Again, I don't find the storyline quite as compelling as Morrowind's, but the plot is reasonably interesting and there's plenty of other things to keep one occupied.

"I know! Let's ditch the brown theme and make Skyrim black.
That'll screw with people wanting to make a collage, HA!"

There are a heap more, but I could go on all day if I were to describe each and every one. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (only Vice City for some reason, the others just don't do it for me), Titan Quest, King's Bounty, Diablo 3, Folklore, Eternal Sonata, Portal, Prince of Persia. I don't really have a "type", there just needs to be something about the game that grabs me and pulls me in.

On the more casual end of the scale, I've been terribly addicted to the Professor Layton games. They're so much fun. I do love a good brain teaser, and having a cute little mystery story to go along with it lets me unleash my inner Velma Dinkley, searching for clues and solving puzzles. Tiny Bang Story is another puzzler, quite short, but very sweet and fun. Rock of Ages is amazing. I'd never have thought that rolling a boulder down a hill could be so much fun, but holy crap it was! And seriously we can't really move past this section without mentioning my oldest love, Pokemon. Yes its an RPG, but its not terribly in depth or complex and I would very much consider it on the casual side of gaming. It is a wonderful game that keeps me coming back time and time again.

Top row: Professor Layton; Middle row: Pokemon; Bottom row: Tiny Bang Story

I freaking love playing games, my kids love playing games, its a pretty integral part of our family life. So now that we've covered that, if I burst into song about a new installment of the Elder Scrolls, now you'll understand why :)

I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was!

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