tOrchie / Member

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tOrchie Blog

Quick Update

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Started playing Dishonored a few weeks ago. It seems cool, but I basically only played the intro and haven't tried a regular mission yet. Also finished Time Gentleman, Please this weekend. It was pretty darn funny. I hope those guys make some more adventure games. Older son has been cracking out on Portal 2, again, so I've designed a few new levels for that recently, with a few more as yet unfinished. What else? Oh, also played Myst a few weeks ago, and been playing The Longest Journey on and off. Both of those are running on my XP virutal machine. I am in a weird place again where I can't seem to get too excited about any particular game, and just stare at my Steam games list without picking one to play. I just don't have the free time to really get crazy. I think I need more sleep. My productivity in general is less than stellar.

Another great Christmas

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I got a slew of delightful games this year. My brother got my Prison Architect and Starbound, a couple of indies, neither of which are even officially released yet and feature numerous bugs. Starbound is already pretty cool, but I'm having a little trouble getting into Prison Architect. I think it's because I screwed up badly my first go and it was a bit annoying. Plus, it's still in Alpha, so it's nowhere near complete. He also got me Universe Sandbox, which is kind fun in short bursts, but somewhat of a pain to use. I'm sure it would be cooler if I took the time to learn the controls. I should run through some more tutorials with it.

My bro also got me Space Hulk for my birthday, and I beat the campaign, but it's only so-so compared to X-COM's brilliance. More on that below.

My cousin got me Chilvary: Medieval Warfare and Dishonored. He's a AAA title kind of guy. I played a little of Chivalry but it wasn't all that compelling, and I haven't even installed Dishonored yet.

I also have bought myself a handful of games: Spelunky, a diverting little roguelike platformer; Papers, Please, a paperwork simulator with some fascinating political and moral issues lurking inside; LA Noire, the (hopefully) cutting-edge interrogation simulating action adventure game where you play a cop; and the crown jewel, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, the totally badass turn-based squad combat game. I am cracking out on that after just one day of playing. There are so many things about this game that make it fun. The combat, the upgrades, the classes, the personalization and attachment you feel with your squad members, yeah it's good.

I bought myself a few other games over the last few months that are also in the mix. Ben There, Dan That, and Time Gentlemen, Please! are a couple of little adventure games that are fairly amusing tributes to the old school games by LucasArts and Sierra. I beat the first one quickly but got bogged down in the second. Psychonauts is a 3D action/RPG/platformer? I think. Seems okay but the graphics are a bit dated. We'll see. The Binding of Isaac is a simple roguelike top-down action game like the old Zelda dungeons. Got a little into for a few days but it's not mindblowing.

The last Christmas item was good old Skylanders: Swap Force. I have played a couple chapters of that with my son, but it's slow going, because I only want to play with him, and that doesn't often work out. He gets frustrated with the controls. Hopefully that will improve as he ages. We now own about fifty Skylanders.

I guess that's about it for now. But X-COM is definitely winning the 2013 Christmas Crack Award. :D And I see that Assassin's Creed IV made it to the top four in the People's Choice contest, but didn't win the whole thing. Oh well. Close.


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So, new obsession out of nowhere: Skylanders.  Our old Wii crapped out a few months ago.  Lots of abuse from two little boys helped it along, to the point that it was only good for youtube and downloaded games, no discs.  But, the wonderful wife found a wonderful deal for a new blue Wii that came bundled with Skylanders Giants for $100.  Since we got it two weeks ago, it has become my world.  I've been researching all the figurines, checking all the angles, looking for deals, and trying to scheme my way into getting as many characters as possible for as little money as possible.  As of now, we have about ten characters, but I'm hoping to get a few for my birthday, and then a huge load of goodies (including Swap Force) for Christmas.  Yeah, I'm planning way ahead, sue me.  Before this came along, I'd had a bit of a lull, although I played a good amount of Skyrim in May, and lots of FTL for the last few months on and off.  But now it's all Skylanders.

Side note: I predict that the winner of the Thief/Assassin's Creed IV contest in Round 3 will win the entire 2013 Most Exciting Game contest.


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Damn, has it really been almost a year since I updated this?  I guess I was out of gaming for a good chunk of 2012.  I did a lot more Wikipedia last year.

Anyway, Christmas!  Got a ton of games, including Mass Effect 2 (which I haven't even installed), Assassin's Creed I (also not installed), and basically the entire THQ catalog, which I purchased on Steam for $25 for about two dozen games.  I've only played a couple of those so far: Titan's Quest and Warhammer 40k 2: Dawn of War.  But the two big titles for the holidays were FTL: Faster Than Light and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  FTL is freaking amazing, I played the crap out of it for about a month.  I've played some Skyrim on and off, but it hasn't super captivated me, although it is quite fun to sneak around and snipe people with the bow.

More recently, I've been playing some old schoolers again.  After the whole SimCity debacle, I played a little bit of SimCity 4, and I just installed Freelancer about a week ago.  Both of those games are still fun a decade later, plus I didn't have to spend any money to play them.  I love that I have this huge library of games now, probably close to a hundred I could play whenever I feel like it.  I also played and beat Drowned God just before Christmas, after finally getting it to install on an XP virtual machine.

I'm concerned that I'm turning into a cranky old man on video games though, always longing for the "good old days" but I'm seriously getitng tired of all this DRM nonsense and the way huge publishers like EA and Activision are behaving, pumping out new versions of games year after year that are essentially rehashes instead of new games.  The Madden format of a yearly release with very little new has caught on with FPSes and now, possible, SimCity.  I have no doubt EA will turn off their servers for that game in a few years and force everyone to move to the next installment in their reboot series to keep playing, after they milk everyone with DLC out the wazoolie.  Anyway, grumble grumble.  I'm still having fun with my old DRM-free games that I can play even ten or more years after their release.


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So, playing with the PTI in Portal 2 has gotten me a hankering to just build stuff, so I'm dusting off a few classics: SimCity 4 and Railroad Tycoon 3. Hopefully, they'll give me the fix I need. I also feel like building a new computer. Too bad I don't have a few thousand dollars lying around.

Woo! Ten years!

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Wow, I can't believe I created my Gamespot account ten years ago! I've used this place as a source for reviews for a far longer than a decade. I don't come here as often as I used to, what with the vast number of options on the Internet nowadays, but I still check back.

I've been playing a ton of Portal 2 the last couple weeks. The Perpetual Testing Initiative has added practically infinite value to the game. I've so far design three maps, and played a few dozen maps made by other players. I've been rotating around a lot of games in the last few months: Oblivion, Sims 2, Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and even some Mount&Blade again. I was playing a TON of Terraria at the beginning of the year, and that went strong for a couple months, but I got a bit burnt out on it, especially when it came to pass that the creator was not planning any more updates.

Not interested in Diablo III, which is The Big Thing right now, but I'm definitely thinking about getting Skyrim soon.

Finally played my Christmas games

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About a week or two ago, I installed the original Halo on my computer, as well as Jade Empire, and played about five hours of the former and maybe ten of the latter. Halo is okay, but not super compelling. I like the futuristic feel, but it is a fairly old game, so it's lacking a bit where newer shooters have improved the technology. Decent though. Jade Empire is also decent, although I'm not super sucked into the story yet, which is crucial for an RPG. So far, it's all just, ooh, your character is important and has a destiny. Yeah yeah, give me something a little more interesting and specific. We'll see. I'm trying to get motivated to get into a game, but I tend to fritter away my evening hours lately. I might start playing something entirely different lol.

Back on the Sims

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I installed Sims 2, with the first five expansion packs, on Frankenputer. I've only done one family so far, with one starting member. I've played long enough that he died of old age, but not before having three children. I'm going to try just sticking with one family for a while and see how that goes, but I'd like to start another neighborhood up with my parents as the start, instead of me as an adult. Because my family tree is a bit complicated, I've never tried actually copying the entire structure in the Sims. We'll see if I can do it. I stopped playing Oblivion and got into Morrowind hardcore for about a week, but those have both been set aside for now. It's weird, having no games on the computer and being able to start fresh. I'm somewhat limited by the little boy. I don't want to play too many loud violent shooters with him sitting in my lap. Colorful, cute games like the Sims seem okay, but I don't have lot of games like that of course.

Death and Rebirth

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Well, my 2006 built computer's hard drive stopped responding, and I couldn't boot anymore. So I took the hard drive and the awesome video card from my computer and transplanted them into my wife's computer, which I had just built for her about eight months ago. The combination, which I've dubbed Frankenputer, is actually pretty speedy. The PC I built for her was fairly budget, but it has a decent amount of expandability. It currently has 2 GB of ram and an Intel Celeron dual core, but I could upgrade it to 8 GB and a nice Intel quad core for about $400. I think I'll coast on this for a while, but upgrade one or both soon.

The bad news is I've probably lost most or all of my progress in my video games. Some save games can be easily loaded if you re-install on a new hard drive, and my old hard drive is accessible from the new computer, so it could still work out.

In the meantime, I've re-installed Elder Scrolls: Oblivion on the "new" computer, and have been playing it for a few days. I just tried the item duplication bug this evening and dropped ~10,000 apples down a hillside, so that was entertaining. Kinda froze the game though. Oh well.

Back in RPGville

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Finished the solo campaign for Portal 2 about a month and a half ago, and I bought Dragon Age Ultimate Edition about a month ago, when Steam had it on sale for $20, a great deal. I played a little of the co-op with my brother about two weeks ago, but we haven't had another chance recently. Still, Dragon Age is pretty cool. Also saw a gameplay preview of Skyrim, which looks pretty great. Still, it reminds me that I need to go beat Oblivion. That reminds me, I created an account at The Backloggery, and I have to admit, I'm a little underwhelmed so far. It's just basically another site to make a list of your games on. Still, I found twenty games pretty quickly that I hadn't beaten yet, so I've got tons of free entertainment waiting. I'm sure I could go find another twenty if I dug back into the second and third string games. For now, it's about about the Dragon Age, which is a pretty fun game. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it is solid, and the story is decent. It reminds me of a mix of Mass Effect and Baldur's Gate.