Thursday, July 16, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

This is not tonight's official post! This is supplemental, just so I can write it and get it out of my system. I need to clear some head space so I can think about other stuff.

Look for the traditional post later tonight. For now, I give you...

Games I Always Come Close To Buying, But Never Do:
- The Sims (1, 2 or 3): Yes, it's by far the best-selling franchise in PC Gaming history (100 million copies and rising). Yes, I've read nothing but good things about it since the first game came out 2000. Yes, it's supposed to be addictive and fun, at varying levels depending on how phlegmatic you are. Still, I've never played a demo or any version of it, for two reasons. The premise of designing a person, building him/her a house and then turning it loose, like a pet, and watching it go about its day, while seeing to its daily needs... strikes me as a near-monumental waste of time. Something about vicariously living through a life simulator is pathetic to me... plus, there are a couple-dozen different expansion products for the games, which seems like nothing but a non-stop squeezing of the addicted fan-base for all their discretionary money.

It's like playing a Soap Opera! Yay! What fun!


- Star Wars games: Every time I'm at Target, I pick up the "Star Wars: Best of the PC" combo pack and look at it. I look with interest at the games that are included in it - some very well-reviewed and liked games. Empire At War (an RTS), Knights of the Old Republic (one of the best RPGs of all time), Battlefront (3rd person shooter), Jedi Knight II (an FPS) and Republic Commando (a squad shooter). Man, that's hundreds of hours of potential gameplay, and 5 terrific games... but you know what sinks it for me? It's friggin Star Wars! Come on! I just can't get into it. I'm not really big into sci-fi. I liked the first trilogy well enough. The second trilogy was infuriatingly lame. And the whole mythos just strikes me as pure weak sauce. It's like a bad cartoon. So, yeah, I always put the box back on the shelf and walk away, knowing if I bought it, I'd install any one of those titles, play for 5 minutes and go, "What a pantload. Star Wars gives me gas." So it would be wasted dough.

Light sabers are nowhere near as cool as people think they are - they're pretty stupid, actually.


- Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Now, I loved Oblivion (Elder Scrolls IV), and after wringing everything I felt I could out of the game, I was tempted (often sorely) to pick up a copy of the previous game, Morrowind. Every time the topic comes up on the forums about which is better, invariably people will pick Morrowind, for various reasons. I routinely see that game bundled with its 2 giant expansion packs and sold for under $20, so it isn't a big investment. What stops me? Many reasons. The downgrade to the graphics is huge for me. High-res texture pack or no, dropping down to a several-year old game when you have (and love) the latest, greatest version is always disappointing to me. The most notable example of this for me was with Diablo 2. Those big, blocky characters moving around the screen might have been fine in the mid-nineties, but today it hurts my eyes. Another reason is that on the back of the Morrowind GOTY box, it proudly boasts about the hundreds of hours it will take to get through the missions. I read that and I ask myself if I'm really up to sinking that much time and effort into a game that I'll always look at and go "bleh". Can a story be strong enough to counter eye-strainingly poor graphics? I'll pass...

Compare this Morrowind Screenshot to the following 2 shots from Oblivion... no comparison...

I'd post some of the underground dungeon-crawl screen shots, but you get the idea... Elder Scrolls V will be far better still... I can't wait...


- Sim City Games: In theory, they are cool. Design and build your own city, and if you set it up just right, you can watch it evolve. The better you are at micromanaging your city, the bigger and better the city will look. In practice, they are even more tedious than they sound. The developers always put in random fires, floods and disasters for you to handle, as well as unhappy citizens, complex economies, corrupt council members, minimal funds, and unfun goals and objectives. I don't know about you, but I think a game should, by definition, be fun. Yet, I always pick these games up and look at them, especially the bargain bin ones that are a few years old. There are ancient Roman variations, Ancient Egyptians variations, Medievil Variations, Futuristic Variations... again, in theory, appealing. In execution, an exercise in frustration.

From up here, you all look like little ants!


- World of Warcraft: The most successful MMO ever (to this point), and for good reason. It's easy to learn, fun to play, and completely supported by Blizzard, with updates, patches and tons of other goodies constantly being added. Millions of rabid fans (some of whom freak out if their mom's cancel their accounts) that eat, sleep and breathe the game. You create a character, do quests, get loot and rewards, become part of the unfolding story... be the hero, basically. What sinks me every time I contemplate getting it is the monthly charge to play. I can't get passed the idea that to play it, I need to first buy the game (and its expansions), then pay a monthly fee ($15/mo) to get on a persistent server and MMO it up. I don't care how fun it is to play, I'm not going to pay $75 for the game + expansions, and then $180/year to play it. FORGET IT! I have better things to do with my money, and if I want to hack-and-slash baddies on quests for loot and XP, I'll play any number of games I already own, for free. I've tried the free WoW demo twice, and both times, I couldn't get myself to like it... out of principal, I guess. I wouldn't let myself like it, because I didn't want to get hooked into a game that wasted money as well as time.

And the award for The Game with the Most Cluttered HUD goes to...


- Flight Simulators: I always pick up flight simultor games and look at the screenshots on the box, with the photo-realistic graphics and life-like cockpits, and sigh. How peaceful to take off in a plane and casually fly anywhere, in a perfectly-rendered, scale model of the United States! And then I slap myself. Sure, it could be a teaching aid for learning the way different types of aircraft fly. I might someday need to know how to land a Piper Cub or a P51 Mustang! Uh... yeah. But at the end of the day, all you do is slowly fly around. Then land at an airport. Then pat yourself on the back and try it again. Nothing to shoot. No barrel rolls. The most excitement you'll get is maybe having to change course to avoid a simulated storm. No thanks.

Boring! Just like real life!


Well, that's that for now. I'm sure I could think up more if I set my brain to it, but this post has taken longer than I wanted it to, so I'm pulling the plug. Time to move on to today's "real" post...


Bobinho said...

I totally agree with you regarding monthly fees for WoW or any other payable game for that matter... no way! :)

I do have Sims 3 but haven't found the time to try it out yet...

marky said...

Yeah, I've never got the Sims either. Why would you want to spend hours watching people cleaning, or going to the toilet? I tried it out, and it was hell on earth. I even tried Sims castaway for the wii. It was a bit better because of the crafting involved, but it still stank.

Every Christmas I go to my girlfriends uncles for lunch, and every Christmas he drags me into his play room (No, he's not MJ) to play a flight simulator. Hopefully this year he'll want to yank my teeth out instead.

I've never played Morrowind, but I love Oblivion.

And Star Wars is brilliant. Pure, unadulterated brilliance. I played star wars force unleashed, and it was brilliant. I highly recommend it.

Vye said...

*Start long-winded comment*

The Sims - This game entertained me for one Friday evening. I thought it was fun to recreate our family by taking dominant parts of their personalities to the extreme... It was funny, but for once I think I preferred the real world.

Then on the 7th hour, I rested.

Sim City - I found this one fun primarily because in 7th grade I would play some old windows 98 version of the game and have a blast. I have a lot of good memories associated with the original version. Sometimes I want to go back in time because it seems like games back in the day were more fun, but then again I had detention every single day (except for the first and the last week) that year. Eh, maybe life wasn't so good then.

World of Warcraft - Being my first MMORPG, it was a very fun "adventure" for the better part of the first year. I didn't really understand how MMORPGs worked back then. When I found people in the game, I got rather attached to them. I remember when this lady showed me you could fly from Darnassus (big island that I thought was the whole game) to Darkshore, I was taken aback the sheer size of the other two continents. Darnassus probably accounted for 5% of the world, even less now with the expansions. Ah, those were the days. I used to think you had to create new armor whenever your gear broke (instead of just repairing it)... So noob yet, so fun. I could go on and on in this haze of nostalgia but I'll refrain. Alas, Darnassus is a ghost town now, peeps are raiding for their tier 8 gear and getting divorces or otherwise forsaking their family for this time-consuming game. All in the name of fun.

Overall I just play WC3. (as you already know) There is something rather satisfying about out smarting other people while randomly quoting Dream Theater lyrics in all caps as they show relevance to the situation. But, even then I rarely play it anymore. bleh, computers were more fun before they got so mainstream.

*end long-winded comment*

Abbie said...

haha, Dave, the only game I can relate to is the Sim City one. Like Vye, I would play it on windows 98 and I was so much fun!! Except, after a while, I would turn off the disasters because I was so annoyed with the stupid monster because it was so unrealistic :P I liked windows 98 cause you could play noodles (the snake game) and guerillas (the banana throwing game) :D

havah said...

I can't do RPG - I'll get sucked into them and die. Other than that, my old comp couldn't have handled the graphics, and I can't do the demon stuff anyway...I'll never sleep. Woe is me! :( I once looked at the back of a Sims box. Does that count for anything?

But I do still have the old Zelda on the old Nintendo. Does that make me old school? :D