Something special.

It’s definitely something that doesn’t happen on a whim, but is still sudden and I want it back.  Earlier, I promised Grassy, when Skyrim dropped under $12 it would be mine.  Skyrim was 8 bucks on steam this holiday sale.

A game like Skyrim ripens with age. Mods and patches take a game a long way.  I do want to touch on the fun of picking the right mods, but something happened that I didn’t expect.  I started to have fun.

I am not some sort of gaming curmudgeon. Yelling at casuals, “Get of my server”.  When I play, it can be for a ton of reasons.  Fun, real fun, the kind that comes with investment and excitement, is hard to come by.   I’ll settle for engagement or maybe some reward of mastery.

Somewhere along the lines of running for the fetch/find quests that are Skyrim.  I started to want to talk to people.  For a brief time, I remembered what it was like playing Secrets of Evermore or Illusion of Gaia.  I wanted to talk to everyone.  The Towns people each had a story and problem, instead of just another thing to add to my grocery list, aka Skyrim Journal, they were little adventures.

I have no idea what happened, but I want it back.  The next day It was gone.  I haven’t quit on the game, on the small chance that it’ll hypnotize me again.  I have been trying to collect my thoughts and figure what the issue is.  Why do I just care so little about what’s going on in that game.

I have read and seen enough comparisons of Skyrim, Morrowen, Oblivion,  and Fallout to write a dissertation.  Which tells me one thing. There is already a dissertations worth of discussion out there and I don’t want to retread on what has been covered very well.  So I am going to avoid the Quest Marker topic.  Going back trying to get that spark I realized some of the problems that kept my “care” needle firmly at “couldn’t any less”.

The problem is the size.  It is just too big.  Way to many named NPCs with way too  much lore with no practical way of consuming it.  An exposition at the start would be bad, this game is worst.  It is just about impossible to care with every NPC having their own problem.

Oh, they stole your daughter? I’ll ask the guard if he saw anything.  He did but, he actually has this map that leads to an amazing treasure all I need is to find a person that can read it. He’s in the next town.

On and on.  Just put it in the pile.  The pattern turns them in to, basically where and who am I killing and a stampede of names, locations, lore and none of them related.  Which cuts the legs off any kind of good story telling.

GTA 5 is also an open world game that manages to have smaller side stories, memorable NPCs and n solid over arching story.  It does this by keeping things more linear and limits the number of named NPCs.

What if Skyrim was approached this way.  One major arch and fewer larger subplots.  This way the lore could be placed strategically.

I’ll continue trying to get that sweet spot.  Who knows I might actually beat this one.

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Unique gaming experience.

I don’t remember what I was complaining about while arguing with Grassy, but I got a strong pang of nostalgia. Something had me thinking about peculiar gaming experiences.

Things that weren’t part of the games. Things that happened because of my unique situation.  Things that I simply can never re-live.  Like playing the first game that requires a pause to look around and just enjoy the spectacle.

I started to run through all the years of gaming I could remember, and find those times.

I got the PlayStation as a Christmas present, along with Final fantasy VII but no memory card. I remember playing the first maybe 2 hours over and over, stretching it to around 15 hours.

When I finally made it past the tower and out of the city for the first time. I can’t describe the excitement that came with the realization that this city was just one of a whole world. That changed gaming for me.

I had spent so much time in Midgar, I just never would have thought that there was another place.

I remember being challenged to 1v1 in Unreal Tournament by some other dude at school.  Unreal was the first online game I had ever bought.  At the time, I had just got broad band.  I played that game day and night, so naturally I accepted.

I pretty much destroyed him.  He had a negative score by the end since I took to pushing him over the edge. Then the big reveal, it was actually another dude playing.  The lesser of the pair.  Now I’d fight the real challenger.

He picked an indoor map, low gravity, and intsa-gib only(which is a one shot kill gone).  Did I mentioned, I lived this game?  Particularly with the insta-gib.  I would practice with that gun at 180% normal game speed.

I stomped him worst.

The last straw was my leap from one side of the stage to the other and killing him three times before I landed.  They disconnected. Memories.

I spoke to Grassy about his experiences.  Apparently he is the most boring standard gamer ever.

Please share some of yours.

Is it so bad to wish for new, or at least, well thought out ideas?

I grew up watching TLC, The Discovery Channel and History Channel.  Back when they had programming that actually taught things. After a few years of watching pieces on Dinosaurs, I slowly found myself already reaching the cap of knowledge.  It wasn’t that there was no more about Dinosaurs to learn, just that this was the cap that the channel was not willing to go over.  I guess in the interest of maintaining an audience.

They can’t exactly give a college level Paleontology piece.  Later the internet became a real thing, or maybe I just got old enough for it to mean something to me, and I found much more information out there.

Now-a-days, when I get an informational itch. I can run to youtube and find out as much as I want on a subject.  Sometimes literally from a college class lecture posted on the university site.  Which is just amazing to me.  This may have made me spoiled.

Now when I see a show online, I have expectations.  If it’s a fairly new channel, I can accept bad production value for more in-depth information.  For a channel with some money in it, I expect a certain amount of safety, meaning they aren’t going to poo on their sponsors and want go all out raging.

These two channels ‘PBS Idea Channel‘ and ‘PBS Game/Show‘ both have a bit of money and about the same production value.  I am Fairly sure they aren’t done by just one person.  There is a world of difference between them though.

The Idea Channel does it’s best to try and expose it’s reader to a new Idea.  Usually with a title like ‘Google is Knowledge’ or ‘The Internet is Cats’.  From there they’ll expand that thought and come around to some sense.  Not everyone would agree if their conclusion is right or not, but everyone is thinking.

PBS Game/show doesn’t do this.  It possesses more provocative titles like ‘Are games Racist’ and ‘Do Video Games Need Feminism?’ or their newest video ‘Will Videogames Become a Controlled Substance’.


Having been an avid viewer of the ‘PBS Idea Channel’, I expected this channel to also make sense of their titles.  I might have also thought they would cover the topic with reasonable care.  The show could even, If I was lucky, give me something new to think about.  Maybe a new perspective?

Nope, they mostly amount to a superficial look at the topic with nothing more then maybe an hour of thought could bring.

Give “Will Videogames Become a controlled substance?”.  This topic, I would agree, is something that is worth talking about, but it’s serious enough that it requires some definitions.

Non-physical Addiction is when something takes precedents and starts to effect a persons life in a significant way.  Not to be confused with people just taking part in a hobby, which can take a bunch of time too.  People don’t lose jobs and relationships over a hobby, they do over an addiction. This definition isn’t all inclusive, but it’s enough to start talking about the subject.  It’s actually very important to distinguish Physical and Non-Physical addiction.  The video puts them together in one lump.

“The reality is that most people who drink don’t become alcoholics and most people that play games, won’t become addicts.  But we still recognize that alcohol and addictive substances are dangerous.”  This is just dirty.  These things can not be lump together with gaming, alcohol and addictive substances.  Well ok, drunk gaming can be fun…  but they are not at all in the same levels of danger, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Non-Physical Addiction is always part of a psychological problem.  Every business is trying to get you to play and spend as much money as they can get out of you.  It is not the game makers job to try and save you.

Legislation on the vain of controlling any kind of Non-physical addiction, should be shot down. Non-physical addiction is fought by having more readily available psychological help and removal of it’s stigma.

People are susceptible to addiction of any type, when they are emotionally and psychologically compromised.  It has nothing at all to do with the escapism or how immersive a game is.

“.. it’s about to get a whole lot more dangerous.”  Come on, there is no danger.  If most of these addicts didn’t fall for games, they’d have fallen into something else.

The level of polish in this show is just so opposite to the actual content.  I started off watching hoping they’d grow and start giving actual insight. It’s clear now that this is never going to happen.

I blame my expectations on Extra Credits, Vsause, Nova before them, and all the other great shows that try to give more then the basics.

Dark souls opens doors and is such a breath of fresh air for me.

My inner pessimist and optimist were in complete agreement that I should wait before booting the game up.  One wined, a single player game hasn’t held my interest for more then an hour or too in so very long.  The other pleaded, so many people enjoy this game, it might not hold up to the hype, so save it for later.

Two weekends ago, later finally arrived.  I was an idiot for waiting so long. Simply put, this game kindled my enthusiasm for single player games again.

I had grown tired.  FPS’s put me against dumb AI.  Dead spaces, Bioshocks, Skyrim, Tomb Raider all did this. Not to say they weren’t fun in different ways but what they lacked in mechanics and AI they hoped to make up for in story and presentation. As a gamer that isn’t afraid to pick up a book I require a bit more in story to hold my interest.

Not to imply that games can’t tell amazing stories.  Most games just don’t manage it.

As an example, I beat through Bioshock Infinite solely to see as much of the amazing world and performances as I could. The game play almost completely broke immersion and boiled down to killing waives of enemys till you could move to the next room.  Most of the weapons and powers amounted to just a few actually mechanically different options.

Gaming is still my major hobby.  That time is spent in multiplayer.

Dark souls introduced me to a game that didn’t sacrifice game play for story or presentation and a world were AI wasn’t the focus.  In dark souls the focus is mastery of the mechanics.  Enemy’s are predictable but vary in difficulty not only by level, but my the build you chose.  So each build you create changes the game so much.  What was tough then is now easy and you are forced to come up with different approaches, which in turn makes me want to try other builds.

Much of Dark souls is completely a mystery to the first time player.  Which can make for a steep learning curve.  Items of value can easily be wasted or passed over.  Once I realized that the game was supposed to be about exploration.  I wasn’t afraid to just start over and try something new. It can be punishing but restarting is fun and feels like a world of new options.

This so far sounds like a game review, which is not.  I just want to explain where I am in terms of single player and Multi-player.

Other games do this but in much smaller scales.  Binding of Issac comes to mind.  Starting over and getting different items to beat through the game a very different way.

That scale of difference is what makes me so much want to just jump in to Dark Souls right now and try something new.  Everything in Dark Souls is build for a unique experience.  Almost every weapon, even the ones you start with, have potential to be amazing. There is no ‘best’ weapon.  It all depends on how you want to use it.

Even the Multi-player in dark souls is unique every run through.  Turn to human form for help with a boss you know your build isn’t ready to handle.  What do you know you were invaded and now you have a whole new experience and it all feels natural, even part of the single player.

I wish this game wasn’t such a rare gem.  I wish more major titles would focus on mechanically interesting and different games.  Till then, Dark souls 2 is coming out 2014.

Unfulfilled promises that grind my gears.

It’s becoming a Monthly discussion. Grassy brings up fall out and we start arguments about player expectations. He sees Fallout as completely open but something like GTA as too restrictive. The deciding factor is the fact that GTA has so many buildings and the ones you are able to explore are very limited. For Grassy at least, That alone is able to turn the game into a jacket two sizes too small.

I don’t have much against the limitations of Games. Budget and time only allow so much to be open. It’s not a disappointment to me that, while playing Skyrim, I wouldn’t be able to take a quite morning outside crocheting or building a steam engine.

What can quickly make me start considering a game’s options to have as much stretching room as a southwest center seat, is when a game doesn’t warn when an option is going to disappear.

Bioshock says no, that gun I have been upgrading is now useless because it doesn’t have a red ribbon at the end. Yes, my old gun is mechanically the same and has money put into it but too bad. I have to switch and start upgrading a new gun because head shots don’t do the same amount of damage to the new more human, humans.

Deus ex, at least before the update, says no, there is no way to non-lethally kill this boss. Even though the game gave every option in the few hours I played before this point.

That moment was more then upsetting to me. I had slowly and very enjoyably, managed to make my way through the areas without notice. Then I got to the boss.

Had I read anything about the game, I’d know that the first boss is disproportionately difficult then the game up until that point and for a good while after.

The difficulty wasn’t the issue for me. I wanted to maintain my non-lethal status. After about an hour of trying to win the fight without actually killing him. I decided to look it up. Nope, no way to achieve my goal. So I tasered and shotgun him till he died.

Adam then decided to take it a step further, and stuff a grenade down the bosses throat, with a smirk in his face. Blowing his head clean off.

Game violence as a whole doesn’t phase me much. What put sand up my butt crack was the betrayal. I had gone out of my way to make it to this point without killing or even being seen. The game rewarded me with character comments pointing out that my Adam was not a cold blooded killer. Until he was, and for no other reason then the game decided so.

Oblivion did this same thing to me. I worked on sneak and made my way with a knife and nothing else. That is, until I got to a fight that mattered. The area gave no option to sneak up to him. My super, once a day, turn invisible to everyone move was useless. The boss would just stand next to me waiting to de-cloak.

There simply has to be a way to let the player know a head of time, the hard limitations of a class decision. At least let us know when an option is simply off the table.

These situations are always worst in games where you are creating your own character. They take a moment of immersion and break it as abruptly as a sneeze in the face as you lean in for the kiss.

[League of legends] The Meta *echos through the ages*

Good god do people cry about it.

Meta this, Meta that.  Took me a while to realize, not only do people not know what the meta is but what ‘a meta’ is.  I am surely going to make a video about this but I have to collect my thoughts just a bit more.  I think I can get it all out in under 2 mins but if I am not causes that torrent could push to 20 mins.

Complaining and negativity are going to be the enemy on this one.  If league is your game please hold your hate at bay for just a bit, as I explain why I don’t want the meta to sleep with the fishes.

The meta gains its power, not from how fantastic it works under all situations, but from the very fact that you know what it is.  That’s why we need it and that’s why you should at least consider it.

When you Que up for a match you don’t know who you are going to end up with or what they are like.  Getting people to try and communicate about the actual game is like pulling teeth. Even if you have the best idea ever.  Trying to explain what you are going to do and the adjustment everyone else has to make without the base line of the meta, would be impossible.

Right or wrong, must players know what the meta is.  Which makes it a starting point so we have the smallest notion of what the other players are going to do.

Someone grabs and AP character, we all pretty much know they plan to go mid unless they say otherwise.

No one thinks the meta is magic but it does have value.  Well, it has value until you have a full team.  Then throw that crap out of the window and make up whatever plan you all want.

After this I wanted to go on to talk about what makes the meta.  Why it is so, but I think that’ll work better as another post.

TTYL

Mr Lion.

Oops, bit off more then I can chew.

I just want to do everything.  I want to draw, paint,  make game, groundbreaking apps, YouTube tutorials and play every instrument.  Eventually it becomes clear that my time is just so limited.  Trying to pour myself to thin caught up with me again.

I don’t enjoy failing to fallow through but I also don’t like to be afraid to give an honest try.  So here is where I stand.

My plan to write a book is on the back burner now.  It take so very long and I have so much to catch up on, when it comes to writing.  I’ll have to try again another time.  It’s like I read somewhere, “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings”.  It’s time to start killing some of those darlings.

I’ll never be ready to write if I don’t practice at all. So, I want to start up on this and keep it going.  It doesn’t take me too much to type something up and there are things I want to share that fit better here then anywhere else.  I’d say it’s about 50% ego and the realization that getting what I want to say out, will only improve the more ways I do it. Daily is too much for me.  Everyday I missed just made me less likely to pick it back up.  So, this’ll have to be as often as I have something to say.

Trying to run 3 youtube channels was also way way too much.  I am dropping or super slowing 2 of them.  HelpMeNotSuck is still doing well enough to keep alive and I find it fun.  Looking back at my old work it’s nice to see that I am getting better.  That alone is enough to keep me going.  Most of my videos average(with no advertising) around 30 views.  If I post them, that turns in to about 200. I did have my first major success of over 57k views on a single video. Good god was that invigorating.

Awww man, I have turned in to one of those posters that has to give the, “I am sorry I stopped, but I am back”… but, I am sorry I stopped.  I am back now 🙂