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gingefails Blog

Hello, June.

It made me realise how long it has been since I logged on when I checked my games collection... 80?! Really? Since the year I've been at University I think I've almost double the amount of games I've played and bought. My steam library has definitely padded out, that's for sure.

I'll admit. I much prefer Playfire to GameSpot now but at least this site allows me to collate all my games in to one big virtual collection.

Also, for that 1% of the internet population that might care, I've had my first gaming tattoo done;

Granted, I've had it for about a month now but it still looks neat as ever, if not more so now the scabbing has gone.

Why item collecting is so fun.

I can't help it. I'm a massive packrat. Remember Neopets? 'Course ya do. That's when I first noticed that I have an urge to collect absolutely everything. Ever. I remember I spent all weekend aiming for the packrat "avatar", filling up my Safety Deposit Box one item by one. It didn't stop there either, once I had the avatar in the bag I proceeded to start entirely new collections of 99x99 pixel items. Plushies, sea-themed stuff, candy, cakes... Yeah, I would sit and refresh those browser based shops all afternoon. (Please, bare in mind, I was 11 years old!)

So, why is item collecting so fun? Why do I spent about 1/4 of playtime on any game sorting out my inventory in to perfect sections and compartments?

In short... I have no idea.

It's not only in games I do it though. You walk in to my room and find yourself swamped by Hello Kitty. My collection currently stands at 2 giant dolls, 15 small dolls, 12 tshirts, 24 pairs of knickers, 17 pairs of socks, makeup, hairbrushes, footballs, stationary... Yeah, you get it. If I were to sell it on ebay I'd make a fortune. But let's face it, people rarely come in my room, and these collections do not benefit me. SO WHY DO I WASTE MY WAGES ON HELLO KITTY?

Well, because it's fun and she's just awesome. :3 It's nice to walk in to my lair and see all the white and pink faces staring at me from every dimension of the room. Nothing beats that feeling when I see something HelloKitty-ish in a shop and have enough money to buy it. And on top of all that? I'm SO easy to buy for when Christmas or Birthday comes around. "Hey, Hannah, what do you want?" "HELLO KITTEAAHEHSDJKD".

Maybe you're thinking "I'm not that weird, I don't get obsessive", but I think I might be able to prove you wrong. Maybe. Played Pokemon? I'd say it's 80% likely that you have. Everyone has. Pokemon is cool, because it's so dorky. Now, think hard. What's the motto? ... "Gotta catch 'em all!". Which translates to; "Gotta stay up until 3 in the morning because I want that Latios and it's GODDAMN EVADING ME". Why do you want it? Well, because your pokedex won't be complete without it. And that's what I'm talking about - the feeling of seeing the pokeball *click* shut on the last pokemon you needed for 100%. Oh, and the certificate the little ninty developer dude gives you. 'Cause that made your day. Collecting stuff makes you feel so good. It divides your life in to little points of pointfulness.

Another example, though demonstated through PS3-biased eyes, would be the Platinum trophy. As Kevin Butler rightfully pointed out at the E3 conference on Tuesday, trophies aren't real. They're fake. Totally virtual. They don't display in the cabinet that you keep in your dining room to make yourself feel great when you're eating pasta bake. They don't go on your CV to persuade your employer that YOU'RE the one. Still, you take pride in every little bronze and silver you rack up because you know that the elusive platinum is getting ever close. You can taste the virtual metallicyness. You can already feel the grin on your face as you have ONE HUNDRED PERCENT for Uncharted 2 when your cousin only has 5. And you know, you know so hard, that you have completed the game and your collection of little virtual trophies is finished. There it is again - that feeling.**

Expanding further from the platinum trophy idea, it is due to my hard work that I thought to write this blog. Currently, I am playing White Knight Chronicles. I love the game, the online play is fun. But, unlike other games you get trophies for collecting stuff. That's right. COLLECTING. I think it's fabulous, what better way to keep me entertained than offer hundreds of different ways to collect thousands of materials and armour and other miscellaneous items? Plus, as if that wasn't enough, the stuff I do collect can then be used to build my town. (And I love building things, and making things, and owning things in games). I find myself skipping down the stairs at 3am in the morning because I've just thought of a new way to get Iron Sand Grains, or Lizard Grease, or some other item that doesn't even have an icon but still means so much to me.

Some people might not fathom why I grind so long for things that, really, don't actually matter. Yet, it all comes back to that feeling. The feeling of knowing that all my hard work paid off to an end. The feeling that makes my eyes glisten as I gaze upon the one-oh-oh-percent. The feeling that I get as I west my weary head down upon the pillow that night:

I have finished my collection.

==========================================================
* - Avatars were pretty much the same as emblems, for those of you who weren't godtouched enough to play Neopets.
** - 360 people. I don't care about your achievement system, but I'm sure you get what I mean. :)

My thoughts on E3 and everything else that crosses my overly tired mind.

Last year I missed half of E3. The year before I don't think I even had internet capable of loading a page. This year I've sat through and watched everything and am currently curled up on my PC chair waiting for the timer on Sony's conference to tick down.

It opened up with Microsoft and I side with the majority in thinking it was rather pants. I've never been an epic fan of the 360; mine sits behind my bedroom TV collecting dust, only brought out when the parents are hogging the PS3 to watch some crappy bluray movie I couldn't give two clicks about. The noise, dodgy controllers and lack of online play (because let's face it, I'm gonna shell out nothing at all to play games online when I have a computer 5 feet away) makes me resent it unfairly. It fell on the floor and I didn't even pick it up for 3 days.

(Wait, now I feel guilty. Poor console. :c)

Too much Kinect. Too much sporty stuff. Too little games. Personally; my idea of a quiet night in gaming is snuggled up under a blanket at 3am in the morning, steaming cup of coffee between my knees. I have no interest in doing active stuff. Not when that coffee table is staring omniously at me with its corners, and stuff. That said; Rising looked rather interesting and had stunning CGI for the intro cinematic. Shame they didn't show more, si.

EA's resurrected by buzz a bit although nothing tickled my fancy majorly. Bulletrush looked okay, I guess, but the voice dialogue made me wrip my headset off in disgust. EA Sports turns me off completely, though I'm not gonna slander them for appealing to different markets. I just used that time slot for a tea break. Dead Space looked very interesting and I liked how they showed a good portion of gameplay. The Sims? Well. It's the Sims. My real life sometimes outstrips the Sims in craziness, so I'll ignore that franchise a bit more.

Nintendo's, for me, was the best so far. I mean, the entire thing could have been absolutely godawful and I would still look on it with a positive light. Why? GOLDEN SUN. Seriously. I spent my life on that when I was 11/12 or whatever the hell I was. Both I + II were beautiful games and sucked me in. I didn't eat for days if the story got to an interesting bit. (Or if I got stuck, because admitting defeat is not what I do.)

The 3DS didn't really appeal to me when rumours of it first hit the webbywebs. To be honest, the whole 3D thing has gotten a slight bit ABSOLUTELY BORING. But... Yeah, I want one. I love the DS because of the wide range of RolePlayingGames and adventure games, and downright weird games. All those with better graphics and snazzy three-dee-ey-ness? Yeah, awesome, sign me up right now.

===

lahlahlah, 20 mins left to go before Sony begins their big announcements of whatever at all.
I'm going to post a new blog soon because I got White Knight Chronicles and I love it and I have finished it twice. :)

~Hannah

PS. YES I KNOW THERE IS NO UBISOFT I FELL ASLEEP.

COME ON.
IT WAS LIKE, 3AM.

Were you excited for this? You should have been.

Finally! It's April! I'm not entirely sure why I'm glad it's April though, perhaps March just wasn't as crazy as I'd hoped. Only a few days and we all get to pig out on our chocolate eggs and Lindt bunnies or whatever. Excited? You bet!

So what's happened for me in the last month? Quite a few things, actually.

What am I playing?

A stroke of good luck hit me while I was in Gamestation last week; I finally found Disgaea 3 for the PS3. It was nicely priced too and only set me back £10. When I first switched it on I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it. It seemed very overly Japanese with OTT American voice actors. The first cinematics (could they even be called that?) had me wincing and I had to refrain from wanting to bash the skip-button. Despite the rockety start I found the gameplay addictive and clever and very refreshing.

Needless to say I've already racked up a good 15 hours on the game, even taking it round to my boyfriend's to sit on his PS3 all day too. I love how the bonus system works; awarding me more loot is a sure way to get me hooked on the game. So far I'm on Chapter 2 (Mao's Heart) which isn't THAT far, but I'm one of those people who has to grind and grind until they're 10 levels overlevelled.

No one who has seen me play it has fathomed why I spent a tenner on it. They see the sprite graphics, and instantly refuse to equate that 2D games can be played on the 3D. It's incredibly annoying as Disgaea 3 is probably one of the most refreshing and interesting games I've played in a long while.

As well as this, I've fully restocked my DS. This includes Ragnarok DS, which I have yet to play, and a cheesey puzzle RPG called Puzzle Chronicles. It's hilariously bad, but as usual the simple puzzles and levelling up system has me slightly addicted. I must be on a puzzle-addict mode this spring.

What am I reading?

Currently working through Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. I read the first one a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed it but only recently got the sequels off Amazon. Although they pale in comparison compared to the Robin Hobb books they're written very well and have incredibly different ideas within them that I've not seen in a fantasy novel before.

The inclusion of Allomancers; skilled people who are able to burn metals in their stomach to achieve different "powers", is certainly different to the traditional Magi and Wizards of epic fantasy novels. The fights scenes within the story are very detailed and fast paced, although admittedly I have difficulty picturing them in my head.

If you have spare cash and wish for a good read, I'd recommend these books. (Y)

What am I buying?

I thought I may as well include this section just to showcase my new trainers. I've never really been a "sneakers" person, but I felt compelled to buy these beauties:

They're obscene. They're flamboyant. They're totally different to anything I've worn on my feet before, and you know? I adore them. They're mighty comfy and spice up jeans+tees outfits.

I also picked up a PS2 game the other day for a mere 49p. It's called Sol Divide, and I believe it was originally a PS1 and arcade game. I haven't had chance to play it yet but my hopes aren't high. I mean, the manual only had 4 pages in it! Still, should be a laugh to dig out and play with a few friends.

Miscellaneous Stuffies.

  • So it's Easter on Sunday! Are you excited? I'm hoping to have lots of chocolate and a big roast dinner. Already I've packed my wardrobe full of eggs from ASDA, though I wonder how long they'll last in there...
  • If you're reading MissLibrarian, I made your chocolate cake! It worked, but I didn't photograph it. :( I also made a bright pink cake, making use of the red food colouring I found in the cupboard. Needless to say, it had me bouncing off the walls for hours. I worried all of my friends with my random outbursts of laughing. They probably thought I'd added some special herbs to the cake mix...
  • I got my hair cut and dyed in March. I had neon orange and more blonde put through it, and had the layers cut considerable shorter. Although it's faded a lot now, you can see how it looked from this:

  • I also got my Prom Dress sorted, with shoes and tiara to match! Although I'm not showing ANYONE the picture yet, take my word for it that it's gorgeous. It's covered in diamantes and sequins with a tight corset bodice and a very poofy skirt. Unfortunately, it cost £250... The prom is on the 2nd of July and the limos and +1s are all sorted now. It's very exciting!
  • I'm midway through my A2 art exam, and in less than an hour I'm expecting a bunch of very generous friends to arrive at my house and be helpful. I'm using them as guinea pigs for my observation module, which involves covering them entirely in a paste made of flour and water. Pictures may find their way on to the internet. ;)

Okay, I think I'm all done and dusted for now. I may update again further in to April, but we shall have to see. I hope everyone is well and healthy.

Take care, and have a fantastic easter!

Creative outpours never stretch to titles.

Hola!

It's a new month, and a new blog update. I really haven't meant to fall in to the habit of blogging only once a month, but it seems that I don't really have all that much to talk about - or at least, stuff that anyone will care about at all, in the slightest.

Alcoholic Expeditions

Unfortunately, despite my new year's resolutions I find myself with a collection of empty rum and whiskey bottles littering my bedroom shelves. It seems that every weekend my self-promise to spend it sober is quickly fractured with a phone call or a text requesting my company for yet another social drinking session. The next day is spent regretting my poor willpower.

Nevertheless it has been fun and I have successfully managed to intertwine the ever increasing college workload with the social events that crop up every Friday afternoon. It has been a good period of time, since my last blog post. With the sun peeking its little face out of the clouds my moods are remaining high and unwavering - until the next rainy spell, of course.

What am I playing?

My playing list has pretty much stayed the same. Most of my time is still invested in playing Divinity II: Ego Draconis. Although the ****of the game often forces me straight in to a brick wall, it has kept my attention much longer than the several other games I've supposed to been grinding through.

Recently I started up S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl. A scary, scary game and a not so wise choice for someone who, quite frankly, wets herself at the thought of radioactive fallout and stray radiation. It is not a game I can play with the lights off, and certainly not on my own. Still, it looks promising and I can certainly say that it is going to be a playthrough that I enjoy - when I finally pull my socks up and get the hell over the fact that EVERYTHING IS MUTATED.

Due to Divinity 2's unrelenting grip on me I can only admit to having done the very first mission. The whole clearing out of bandits, thing. It took me three tries because as you all (should) know, I'm really awful at FPS games. Really awful. Though I do have a lucky streak that always seems to kick in and earn me some incredibly lucky and jaw-dropping headshots. I mean, at one point, I whipped around a corner - saw the guy, wet myself, pressed the mouse button and shot him right between the eyes. With my eyes closed. Now THAT is some mighty skill.

What am I reading?

The pile of books outside my room keeps on growing, and that's not even because I'm lazy. Mum found a discount book site on the internet and has taken it in to her own hands to build a library on my doorstep. It's good though, because now I have every epic fantasy novel I could ever want sitting within 3 metres of my desk. Awesome!

Currently I'm reading the Assassin trilogy by Robin Hobb (did I mention this bit before? Oh well). I'm on the third book. I've never experienced a story quite the same way as through FitzChivalry Farseer's eyes - seriously. The depth to which Hobb goes is extreme. I often find myself thinking that the trilogy is more a psychological analysis of a growing man rather than a generic fantasy novel. Oh wait, that's exactly what it is. Hobb explores his mind, his troubles, his decisions, his conscience, his perceptions just so perfectly that I find myself craving to get back in to the book.

What am I buying?

Too many things, that's for sure. Although a new PC rig remains at the back of my mind, I'm about to shell tomorrow on having my hair totally redone, and my highlights touched up. Let's face it, roots aren't attractive.

I've also bought myself some tasty new going out clothes:

Black panelled bodycon skirt :: 6 inch, 1.5 inch platform heels :: patent leather black brogues. What can I say? I like to spend.

And a bit more trivial information...

  • It's mother's day on Sunday, so remember to treat your mummy's with a steaming cup of tea in the morning! Don't forget the card too, as it'll be added to the never-forgotten list of "all those times you forgot".
  • This Thursday I am at a prom quiz, the prize being a massive hamper of chocolate. So I would very much like any readers to leave a piece of general knowledge in their comment. I am awful at knowing anything outside of video games, and the chances of a question based on the lore of DragonAge coming up is slimmer than my anorexic dog.
  • I'm on a bit of a baking binge at the moment, too. Saturday I managed to bake an entire Victoria sponge with a superb hangover. I even cracked the eggs with no mishaps - hurrah! If you know any good recipes (that are simple. I may be a woman, but I'm awful in the kitchen) leave me those. I'll give them a shot and upload pictures of my incredibly flat creations; because self raising flour never raises when I handle it.
  • I'm steadily tracking the price drop of White Knight Chronicles. Second week of sales and it has already dropped by an impressive £5 on Amazon. I'm so glad I play RPG's - we get them for cheap! As soon as it drops below £30 I'll be ordering it and that shall probably fuel April's blog.

Whee~

Blog done. If you got this far, and didn't hit your back button then I love you.

February Updates, though no pancakes yet.

The beginning of 2010 has been consistently busy so far, and it seems to carry on getting busier. Admittedly I'm actually rather enjoying constantly being on the move. I'm willing to hazard a guess that as soon as I am presented with time to do nothing, I'll freak out. My PC seems to be happy that I am rarely sat at it though, as the fan isn't huffing and puffing quite so much.

Ego Draconis

Number one on my "now playing" list is currently Divinity II (Ego Draconis). It's a typical Western RPG that seems to have actually had a lot less attention than I predicted it would. Maybe that has something to do with being overshadowed by DA: O and ME2? Who knows.

Regardless, I've been playing it in slots of an hour here and there. I haven't had time to sit and play it properly so I have had to make do with finding half an hour to play it before departing on my next adventure. Therefore I'm not actually that far in to yet. I'm level 9 and a warrior. It's actually sort of fun - dual wielding swords, rushing, jumping, slamming the enemy. It's an interesting playthrough when I am not overwhelmed by skeletons two levels higher than me.

It has its flaws though. The animations for NPC's are OTT and jittery. This can be ignored by focussing solely on the text options, but I was still highly disappointed by the fact that the animation studios had allowed the game to be published with such an obvious imperfection. Loot has been disappointing so far too (and even shop stocks), but maybe that will improve as I move away from the beginning parts of the story.

Interviews

As you may (or may not) know I am in the process of applying for University. I've already had interviews with two of my Universities; yesterday was spent travelling for 5 hours there and back. They've actually been positive, and both have been conditional "yesses" - that means that I have to basically pass my exams in June and I'm sorted.

I have two left to go towards the end of February but I'm not as worried about these. I'm halfway through the process now and it's a lot less formal and scary as it had been advertised to me as. I guess I just need to keep up what I'm doing, whatever the hell that is.

Italy

This Friday I'm jetsetting off to Italy for 4 days. I gotta admit, I'm experiencing mixed feelings. I desperately want to just sleep, but simultaneously my brain is exciting itself with the prospect of seeing the volcanoes. We're visting Vesuvius and the Solfatara regions and even slipping in some time for good ol' Italian shopping. I imagine a bottle of vodka will end up in my travel bags somewhere along the way too.

I bought some new shoes to go (heyy, I need to find an excuse somewhere!). They're the oliver boots that are currently in all shops. Urban Outfitters sell them for £120, River Island for £70. I luckily managed to find a bronzed pair for £60. Very swish. They're both pretty and hardwearing, so I'm gonna look my part wandering around rocky landscapes.

Astroboy

My visits to the cinema are sporadic, but Saturday night was spent on the backrow of the Odeon munching sweet popcorn. I'd chosen to see Astroboy as opposed to something serious-beans like the Book of Eli or whatever. It was a good choice.

The film is nicely animated with interesting caricature. The story was very feel-good and I left feeling happy and elated. It's not often I tolerate PG films, but Astroboy was just adorable.

That's that. I have some other miscellaneous news, but nothing worth mentioning in my blog. :P Hope all gamespotters are enjoying 2010 so far.

Take care, all!

Arisen from my mid-January hibernation...

Ah, so, halfway through January and the new year syndromes are beginning to kick me in the stomach. Just the way of saying "another one down, another one to live through" I guess.

I'm currently slap bang in the middle of the exam period, conveniently with motivation levels nearing their lowest. I'm craving a period of rest right after Christmas but I think that's down to settling in to old habits again rather than genuine tiredness. Wednesday I had my physics exam which was a resit. Electricty and Particle Physics - thrilling! I feel neither positive nor negative towards it. I'm just glad it's crossed off my calendar now.

Dragon Age

Yup, I finished it finally. My first playthrough was on my human noble warrior, and my party wasn't very good. I hadn't expected such intricate mechanics from a modern day RPG so I didn't really take care in making sure my party and their skill trees actually worked. Nevertheless, I finished it and have restarted the game as an Elven mage. So far it is interesting, and seems a lot more substantial than flitting between weapon sets and slamming people with my shield.

(Wait... Who am I kidding? Shield slamming is awesome.)

And on the PC...

I have restarted Diablo II, and also find myself playing Deus Ex. It arrived two days after me ordering it and I happily spent Friday night playing it on my laptop. It's good so far, as standard a comment that is to make. I really liked how the introduction of the game was so long - another odd thing to say - but it allowed me to fully get to grips with everything. The only part I stressed out on was the stealth, but I've always sucked at being stealthy so no change there.

D2 is D2. I can't really say much about it, as I must have restarted that game well up to fifty times now. Again, I am the Necromancer for old time's sake but I'm also planning on levelling a Paladin just for some hearty thwacking goodness.

This week...

(Minus the games).

I have an interview tomorrow at LCC (Liverpool Community College) regarding my foundation art diploma. I'm actually quite excited despite having to carry several A1 boards, A3 sketch pads and series canvases all the way there and back. I'm wearing my smartest pinnafore and brogues to hit that smart-but-artsy look right on the head. Apparently it's quite easy to get in, but I don't want to be slack and end up with no place waiting for me.

Other than that, my week is looking to be pretty dull. I found out some unfortunate news last night which has set me off balance and will probably take me a few days to feel 100% again. Luckily I can immerse myself in revision of momentum, turning points and circular motion to keep myself distracted.

I don't really have much to say this week. The ice has gone, the sun is shining and I'm on hopping along through my future one toadstool at a time. Wahey!

The big freeze!

Yup, I can't even escape it on GameSpot. Why? Because it's so damn freezing at my desk! With the UK caught in the "big freeze" and all colleges and schools closed I've had nothing to do other than reread my particle physics notes and grind through Assassin's Creed 2. I thought I may as well update on my past two days of nothingness - heh.

So just an hour ago I finished Borderlands. I swear it was just as anticlimatic as the end of Fable 2. The only thing that kept me from throwing my headset across the room in frustration was the fact that I was on multiplayer and my teammates would probably thing I'd been shot or something. They were a cheery lot though, and the fact that THE ENDING WAS LAUGHABLY AWFUL didn't seem so bad when I was in the company of internet strangers that could actually type words.

I also mentioned Assassin's Creed 2, yeah. Due to my attention span (as far as work is concerned) being about the length of the icicles outside I've played as Ezio in between committing the rules of particle annihilation to memory. I've only just completed 'Memory Sequence 9' which is Venice. I have to say; so far this game is perfection. Seriously. The fact that for two days I've pretty much played this non-stop shows that it has been tailored to be so flawless. Somewhere on the site I saw someone comment that it is as if Ubisoft browsed all the gaming forums on the Internet, collected up all the negatives they could see posted about AC1 and set out to change them. Not once in AC2 have I felt the same dull monotony that was so dominant in the prequel.

I want to make a little list now, about why I feel it has been improved so mightily. Let's face it; lists are great!

  1. Water; In AC1 water killed you. This was a pet hate for me. Altair was strong enough to free run across entire cities without pausing for breath, and yet he "could not swim". This seemed absurd to me. AC2 allows you to swim as long as you want - even using underwater as a cover from guards! Awesome.
  2. Shops and Money; Previously shops hadn't existed. Although this was interesting, it was limiting. Throwing knives had to be pickpocketed from certain NPC's. The introduction of money, armour, weapons and medicine has made the AC experience so much more... full.
  3. Detailed Missions; Missions are more complicated now, but in a fun way. For example, some missions you have to eliminate archers prior to the BIG assassinations. I like this. It totally breaks up the repetitiveness of murdering conspirators.
  4. Atmosphere; The one thing I had noticed in AC1 that different cities seemed to be colour coded, almost. One was "grey", another "brown", etc etc. However, in AC2 the landscapes seem a little more genuine. Sure. Venice seems a lot whiter than the brownish Florence but it is done subtly.

Okay, so moving on from Borderlands and AC2, today I went and stocked up on woolies like a typical out-of-sorts Brit. The weather scares me and I have even dug out my (rather flowery) wellies. Whilst my college chums have been out sledding in the parks I have remained inside, button bashing with my thick woolen jumpers from Primark bundled around me.

It's not that I'm boring! I just happen to really dislike being smacked in the face by solid ice. I just don't find that sort of thing funny, sorry.

I also bought in some PC Gaming Mags to entertain me until I'm allowed to touch my mum's new books. The Assassin's Creed Book ("Renaissance") proved to be pretty awfully written and so I've given up a quarter of the way through it. (Quick note: The author is way too fond of commas and using "and then"). One of them had a multiple page article listing the 100 best PC games. Number one came out as Deus Ex - I've never played that! Is this bad? I'm going to have to get myself a copy now. Other cllassics (that I could relate to) were featured on there including Diablo, Dungeon Keeper and Half-Life. Someone had even included Windows Solitaire on the list which made me giggle a bit - because let's face it, all of us sin now and again. ;)

I think I'm done for the night anyway. We're supposedly back in tomorrow (on a Friday!? Point?) and I'm going to need to catch my forty winks to survive in the arctic conditions tomorrow.

Take care, GS!

The 10 most influencial games in the past decade.

I saw a thread similar to this on GGD, and decided I wanted to make my own personal list. What games have sucked away my social life? Which stories have moved me? Which ones would I pay to play over and over again?

10. The Haunted Mansion

PS2, March 2004.


It might seem laughable at first but "The Haunted Mansion" (loosely based on the film featuring Eddie Murphy) actually provided many solid hours of play. Due to money troubles I missed out on most of the second gen and often visited my Grandparent's house to play on my Grandad's PS2. We both ground through this game as a team effort, and so I remember it fondly.

It was released by High Voltage Software on the 5th March 2004. It features the scrawny Zeke Halloway, the newly hired caretaker of a nearby mansion. However things quickly go bottoms-up as he discovers the job contains aspects even the smallprint didn't cover. An evil spirit; "Atticus Thorn" has imprisoned 999 souls in quest to take over the Afterlife. Thus it falls upon Zeke's shoulders to put everything right with only his 'Beacon of Souls' to help.

9. Baldur's Gate, Dark Alliance 2

PS2, February 2004.


A fantastic effort by Black Isle Studios, and a real gem of a console RPG. Again, missing out on the second gen meant that I had to invade on my friends' consoles. I often played it multiplayer and always played as the Necromancer - spamming Melf's Acid Arrow was my game.

I don't remember much of the actual story so I am using Wikipedia to aid me. Needless to say it is a sequel to the first console Baldur's Gate and the story follows on. Wikipedia says: "Vahn, Kromlech, & Adrianna come out of the Shadow Gate only to be surrounded by Nightwalkers and Nightshades. Leading these creatures is a Vampire lord name Mordoc SeLanmere. He tells the three heroes that he and his allies will begin rebuilding the Onyx Tower. He tells his creatures to capture them."

Pretty self explanatory. You pick a character, you quest through the game. It pleased me with its original and solid RPG levelling system; skill trees and stat points.

8. Digimon World DS

DS, November 2006

One of the first games I played on my DS. It instantly had me hooked. Similar to Pokemon, but more colourful and certainly more 3D feeling. Me and my best friend played (competitively, I might add) through this game often comparing our new digimon on our days out.

Like the Digimon World that featured on the PS1 the story kicks in with a young teenager being transported in to 'Digiworld' some time in the 21st Century. The story continues to develop as the character befriends more and more Digimon., eventually facing the main bad-guy; Unknown-D.

I particuarly liked the level design in Digimon World DS. It was neat, tidy and very colourful. The pixel designs were clear and easy to see, and the Battle Interface was simple. The "Digi-Farms" really made the experience though. The more Digimon of a specific type that you encounter, the more scan-data of that Digimon you get. When at 100% you can spawn your own version of said Digimon, and it will live in one of your Digifarms. Digifarms can be upgraded with accessories and stats, all in all making it a very cute and appealing handheld game.

7. Diablo II

PC, June 2000

I consider this game an absolute life saver. Prior to having a PC that could play anything, I had a cheap budget build with a CPU only capable of running MS Office. Naturally, when I was introduced to Diablo II and my monster machine could actually run it I was in awe.

The most famous point and click RPG, it has inspired many spawns of point and clicks including Titan Quest (which I also happened to love). Although the graphics left a lot to be desired, it has such a impressive fanbase following that even its outdatedness can be overlooked. As with Baldur's Gate II, I played the Necromancer. It has been a long time since I have played it due to Vista compatibility issues. but I still remember the elated feeling I got from defeating the first boss (argggh, what was her name!?).

Diablo, The Lord of Terror, is back after the first game and much stronger. As you progress through the game you have to eliminated the "Prime Evils" which are apparently the superpowers of Hell. Admittedly, despite all the Saturdays I spent grinding through this game I never finished it. I guess I faff too much on RPGs.

6. Fable: The Lost Chapters

PC + xbox, September 2005


I first experienced Fable on the Xbox, though last year rebought it for the PC. A legendary RPG that allowed players to incorporate "free will" or whatever in to their gameplay. Compared to its sequel, this was a game I treasured for a long time.

You play as "Hero" in the land of Albion, who is funnily enough the Hero of the game. As a child, your home village Oakvale is burned to the ground and he is the only survivor. You then join the Heroes' Guild at request of the old hero Maze. You then continue to excel through the training and depart in order to find the truth behind your village's destruction. Along the way Hero runs in to his younger sister who was presumed dead since the raid on Oakvale.

Fable was particuraly addictive due to the Alignment feature. You could be an absolute bar stool, or you could be a little angel and give out boxes of chocolates to peasants. And if that wasn't enough? You could be a heartless womanizer at the same time. Perfect!

5. Pokemon Sapphire

GBA, July 2003

Ah, now this wouldn't be personal if I didn't include Pokemon in here somewhere! The Pokemon RPGs on the handhelds have always been a particular favour of mine, even though I'm finding the franchise too washed out now. Although Crystal was probably my favourite Sapphire was the one I spent most of my free time on, and is probably the reason my gameboy no longer has the letters on the buttons.

I don't think I really need to outline the story here - kid comes of age, chooses a pokemon, destroys gym leaders and then obliterates the Elite Four. Everyone knows that, everyone can do it! However Sapphire was the only Pokemon game I have ever completed my Pokedex on. Ever. I'm still surprised I had the time and effort to pour in to the game.

4. Cooking Mama 2

DS, February 2008

Such a treasure of a game, really. Along with "Digmon World DS", Cooking Mama provided me and my best friend many conversations - who could make the best Sushi Rolls!? It's embarassing to admit but I loved this game, and I'm pretty sure somewhere in my GS blog is a record of me completing it. Yup, that's right! I even unlocked all the accessories and trophies.

Okay, so, about Cooking Mama 2? Well, it's very Japanese seeming. Bright pixel art, sparkles, flowers, hearts and a fantastic introduction featuring a woman of (presumably) Asian origins shouting "COOKING MAMA TWO! DINNER WI- FRIENDS!". Yeah, awesome. Basically, you use your stylus and follow instructions to cook a wide range of gourmet foods. That's all there is to it.

3. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

PS3, April 2007

Oblivion, Oblivion... Makes such a hypocrite out of me. I always have a problem joining the bandwagon of a franchise half way through, such as Final Fantasy. However when I bought Oblivion I did not regret jumping on the Elder Scrolls train (I had not played Morrowind, ack!). It was the first game I bought and played on my PS3 and I successfully racked up 300 hours on it. Strategy guide? Who needs one! Hannah is here to fill you in.

Seriously, I spent the entirety of my free time on this game until eventually I bored of it. Although many people found the landscapes bleak and repetitive I loved them; there was so much space! The armour design also helped. Even though I was a mage I insisted on wearing Daedric armour as soon as I hit top level. It's gorgeous, and still features in my profile banner.

So... Yeah. You create your character, you start in a prison, the Emperor Uriel Septim comes to rescue you. He needs you to adventure through the land of Cyrodiil and defeat the fanatical cult "Mythic Dawn" which are trying to free the Daedric Prince and his armies in the peaceful land of bandits and Ayleid Ruins.

Although many complain about this game, it holds a flag and waves it in my memory - marking it as one of the most influencial games I have ever played. I think it rekindled my love for RPGs and brought me in to the 3rd generation hungry for more.

2. Golden Sun

GBA, February 2002

Still to this day I can't remember how I stumbled across this game. The box was new, but how did I hear about it? No idea, but I am glad I did.

Golden Sun was one of my biggest ever gaming obsessions in my pre-teens. I had posters of Isaac and Ivan all over my wall. I knew the Djinn's names off by heart. I was obsessed.

The story was particuarly gripping. Set in the world of "Weyard" where the magical power of Alchemy flows, the adventure begins with a handful of teenage Adapts in the village of Vale. They are forced to flee from an erupting volcano that coincides with a raid on the Alchemy Sanctum (or something) in which one of the four stars of Alchemy is held. I forgot to mention that, didn't I? Yes. Alchemy is split in to Elemental Stars of Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury. Anyway, the party of Adepts and their picked up friends continue to advance to fight against the Elemental Star Raiders "Saturos" and "Menardi" right up until the climax when all the world is saved again!

The battle system involved melee, Alchemy (magic) and the powers of little creatures called Djinn. It was a typical turn based battle setting, thus greatly delighting me.

1. Guild Wars

PC MMORPG, April 2005


Well, Guild Wars. Guild Wars, yes. Where do I begin? The semi-f2p, MMORPG that is my number one game of all time.

This game was my life for Year 11 + Year 12 thanks to my best friend. Together, we progressed in this and learned all the tricks of the trade together. From PvEers to GvGers, we did it all and I am glad to hold those two years of dedicated playing in my memory.

Over three thousand hours I poured in to this game. I'd get up and play it. I'd come home and play it. I gave up Friday night parties to compete in GvG Matches. My first account cost me over £80 and often ended up enhanced at Christmas and Valentines. I still remain friends with some of the people I met on there, but I don't think I will return (but that is a story for another time, hey?). All my characters had elite armour, most were able to PvP properly due to the time and effort I had channeled in to preparing their skill lists and weapon sets.

I don't think I can properly summarise my feelings for GW, and I'd look pretty sad if I tried. Basically, this game plunged me deeper in to gaming than I had been previously (which would have been harder to imagine considering it's always been my biggest hobby). I miss it but to go back to it in its dying days would give my memories no justice.

To Guild Wars, and the happy two years it gave me!

A little delayed, but...

Well, although it is almost 2010 I want to take this time and internet-space to say that I hope everyone on GS had a very awesome Christmas! I was going to write a blog sooner, with images, but my camera broke and so I put it on hold. Nevertheless, I'm going to compromise and use Google Images to illustrate my updates.

So, Christmas has passed and all the presents are put away now. My main present I am very pleased with. An Asus laptop, on a budget of £550. 17.3" screen, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 120M, Dual core @ 2.0 and 320GB HDD. I bought some cheap FPS games from Gamestation (Jericho + Condemned) to test out how it handled games and I must say - I am impressed! Frame Rates are fast even on max settings, and this I did not expect from a laptop I didn't give two hoots about.

On top of that, I also got Assassin's Creed 2. I sort of had to, since last year I asked for the first one. Carrying on tradition, you know? It's all well and good, I'm steaming through it and will probably write a review since I haven't done one of those in a while. What I did want to mention though, is my mum's sense of humour.

Yup, that's right. My mum found it highly amusing to buy the Assassin's Creed book alongside the game. Admittedly, it does actually look very good and I am waiting to finish Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" before I can start it. Watch this space.

In other news, my gaming mouse arrived. This was the one particular thing I wanted to photograph since the box is came in was so shiny and... extreme looking. Unfortunately Google Images must suffice. It's a cheap model; Emprex Cheetah Laser Gaming Mouse. It has five buttons and cost me a tenner. I'm not complaining.

I think for now that's pretty much done and dusted. Next up is New Years - I hope to God I get my camera working in time! I wish everyone all the best for New Year's celebrations, whether it's a loud night on the tiles or a quiet night in with MW2.