Monthly Archives: August 2014

Big Catchup Post Part 3 aka “the myriad” (don’t stop meh!)

I know said I would write about Neverwinter next, but it’s not part of the catch-up, so it waits in the wings…

What we lack in depth, in this house, due to time constraints, we make up for in range! Here’s some of what we played while all the upheaval was going on, with assorted comments. More or less the new finds first, like Don’t Starve.

I recently discovered I could give myself extra carrots in Don’t Starve, so I played it like that for a day or two. Only it doesn’t feel right so I’m back to normal carrots and dying on day 5 in fits of giggles :), which reminds me an awful much of Bluebottle Game’s NEO Scavenger which reminds me I haven’t played that in a while. I will do that because I seem to have a weakness for this kind of game which I never knew existed until NEO Scavenger, where you doi, you know you will, but you keep playing anyway. FTL doesn’t make me laugh as much, but it’s another one I’m feeling the need to play again. I think my playing is meandering more and more away from MMORPGs because another recent find was Skyrim, which by now you know I like very much.

There’s a knock-on effect from that. The wonder that is Skyrim has prompted a quest for other single-player games.  So far enjoying Dragon Age, but not found much else (so suggestions welcome) – on the other hand I’ve only just started looking. I know there are a lot of single-player shooty games (scuse my terminology) – ah remembered nos FPS – a genre I have yet to dip into. I did used to play a fab game with an orangey cover back in the day which I recently remembered what it was called and now forgot again. Well that’s not helpful, I know.  I’ll go and dig for it… ehm – Half Life! Ha,  anyway that was jolly good fun, and I see there is a Half Life 2, so that’s a whole playground, FPS, still to explore right there.

Talking about shooting things, I found Duke Nukem 1 and 2 on Gog – happy nostaliga day, and also Command & Conquer – more nostalgia. We finally go to to play Fez, now that we have something it runs on. One person attempted a straight play-through, but failed to complete after a couple of days. It’s a big game! I’m still on the starting levels. Also in amongst things we can finally play is the Secret World – that would be me. I like going and killing a few zombies of an afternoon on a weekend. Lovely and atmospheric, but if I’m tired the inventory management usually means I log out pretty soon. So not making progress really. Just go and play now and again. If I’m fairly lively. Another nice place to go is Firefall. I love the world, I love shooting the alien insecty things, I have no idea what’s going on. But I like it. Mostly this is me being lazy about keeping up with developments, and changes. I don’t – so every time I log in there’s a new bitty to learn. I don’t learn it, because I’d rather play, so I end up not knowing what’s going on, but – I still enjoy the play session so all is well. I find Firefall in particular to be one of my best stress-busters, in fact. And it has now launched, and is due a revisit – so that should be fun!

It’s quite interesting how not being able to put in long hours for “progression” has left me with games for various moods and purposes. I have no idea if anyone else plays like this – picking the game to suit what kind of relax is needed. If I’m really not wanting to do anything but pure play I’ll go for one of the buildy ones. Apart from the already much mentioned Uemeu, I recently found Windborne which is still in development. I’m liking that rather a lot. In that sort of section I also do have a copy of TUG, and played it but felt it’s still got too far to go to be comfy – for me anyway. I’ll keep an eye on. Not quite a build game, Banished can draw me in for a few tired hours too. There’s a more thought and strategy involved than in the buildy games, but it’s good for just escaping to another place for an hour or two. I don’t play it that often.  More of an occasional treat.

If I’m in halfway decent shape I’ll play a proper MMO. I failed to connect with Rift, but I think that might just need more time than I’ve given it. I’ll be trying that again. I’ve never played SWTOR yet, and I have it downloaded ready to go. Later today actually. LotRO, still relatively new to me, is a favourite. I’m quite happy to log in, enjoy the scenery and lore, perhaps grind (in a very uncommitted way) for an hour or so. I don’t think I’m ever going anywhere on LotRO, but who knows. I’m barely out of nappies in GW2 and there’s a particular reason. The time-limited stuff. I quite like games where it’s all there for when you can do it, rather than games where if you weren’t there it’s gone forever (its a barrier for me in TSW and Rift too). I feel meh about it all, and I’m certainly not living around games because otherwise I’ll miss whatever it is I’ll have missed. Then, having missed it, whatever it was, I feel even more meh about playing leftovers. There’s that. I never analysed it before. Good to know these long posts at least lead to some thinkings. But I shouldn’t comment too much on GW2 until I’ve played it more because Bhagpuss will be along and give me a row if I write something stupid :))

In general although I still love them MMOs are poor value for me right now. In, them, ambitionless play, leftover crumbs is all that’s on offer for the time poor. But I do still love them, for what they could be I think, rather than for what they are. Fallen Earth, however, I find a good one to be playing. The crafting (for once) is interesting. And getting better even. It has flaws, and being me I have to relearn it all again every time I log in having forgotten how everything works, but along with LotRO it’s a goto game. I like it.

Heh. I’m a complete pushover for housing. Can’t think why I left it this late to mention that one. Every game I can find with housing gets tried out and I continue to play (or at least visit regularly). That’s why Rift is still on the playlist by the way, to be explored properly. Housing provides an instant anchor, and I’ve no idea why it’s not used more by people who go through all kinds of hoops to get you anchored – (eg they will sink money into developing  guilds, realID tags, launch platforms, links to social media.) Could just put housing in. It’s also a terrific goldsink. Oh well, mysteries of the game-sellers minds again. So of course the housing games got played during the upheaval – there’s not that many with (what I deem to be) really good housing – Wurm, EQ2, and nowadays Wildstar. Well, they got played.

And another wall of text already! Ok I give up for now.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Vanguard, CoH, SWG – a quick thought to keep the beancounters awake at night

You know, in their heyday, popular novels and film were thought to be of little significance and treated with zero respect. Not thought to be even cultural forms, let alone art. The BBC neglected and destroyed miles of early footage by not bothering to store it properly, footage that historians and film buffs and many others would give their eye teeth to access now. And who knows how many penny dreadfuls never made it to this century in any form. Dickens’ work did. Novel writing made it to art status, so did film. (Countless types of popular music were “horrible noisy modern garbage”  in their day, let’s not forget that either.)

Video games are absolutely and completely an expression of this era, being new (as in unseen before), coincident with rising technologies, popular, and expressive of our current preoccupations and visual tastes. In a mere 50 years the games that have been trashed will be deemed part of history.

People, with some distance and the passage of time, will also see more easily that they were things of beauty and depth, artefacts created lovingly by the hands of many  – and then ‘alive’ and developing through the usage of many because unlike film or novels part of this cultural activity, video gaming,  is the active and direct participation of audience. It is not a passive form. Without players, there is no game – you can see where this is going! It is to be hoped that code and assets will be at least preserved in a place of safety for the future.  But most likely, like that BBC footage it will not be, plus the technology will change making frozen, stored games unplayable.

The preservation of what we play now is pretty much down to the semi-legal efforts of fans, (via emulators, tributes, fan art etc) who will keep the code current. Companies, who could be doing their bit by donating information and what part of code/assets they own won’t help, because they’d just die of greed if anyone else made any money (basically). Well that’s fine, they’re doomed to be that footnote: “game was not profitable enough and XYZ Company closed it.”

So before putting on the chancellor face (Nigel Lawson did a good one) and considering VG, CoH and SWG to be good riddance to bad profit, I suggest beancounters play one of their ‘how rich I’d be if…’ games and imagine, now that the deed is done, how much money they have said goodbye to, 50, 100 , 200 years from now, when what little code and assets they bother to preserve is no longer accessible to them due to the platforms having gone dodo. Not accessible to them. But still accessible to those that salvaged what they could.

The game they thought they killed will still lurk in the corners and bywaters of the internet, alive. (It’s quite cool).

I’d not put any faith in lawsuits and copyright either. The games will in all likelihood outlast the company/person that ‘owns’ them, will be dispersed and all over the place (such is the internet) and finally copyright laws are such a mess right now it’s only a matter of time before some drastic revision and adaptation – they might not even apply. I rather think the games as a service model is rickety too and pretty sure that’s going to be challenged/modified at some point

Sleep tight now, beancounters 🙂

Categories: Vanguard

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