Gaming without your brother

Monthly Archives: May 2012

I suppose I shouldn’t advertise this because many of my readers themselves are game bloggers . . . but I love to walk on the wild side so I will throw caution to the wind and proceed.

I wrote a blog post on IGN‘s network of blogs to enter the contest for a chance to get an all-expenses paid trip to E3 to blog for IGN. I believe the blogs will just be picked based on merit (and author’s interaction with the rest of the IGN site and network) but I’m sure a few comments couldn’t hurt either. The entry information is found here if you’re interested in joining yourself. Anyway, there’s the word my friends. How amazing would it be to get to go to E3 for free with IGN!?

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Okay, the title is misleading, because I got over my addiction in one day. But for those five hours, I was hooked. Currently, the open beta of Pottermore only goes through the first book in the series. Had the other books been available, I’d probably still be playing through the site.

As a huge Harry Potter fan, I find the value of the site solely in getting a wand (elm, 13″, dragon heartstring core, hard), being sorted (Hufflepuff, with alums like Tonks and Diggory so don’t hate), and reading J.K. Rowling’s extra content. Extra backstory to multiple characters, as well as her thoughts and insights about what she’s written, and other funny anecdotes about her life while writing are like crack cocaine to me. The navigation of the site is pretty atrocious, the Flash animation is slow as dirt, and the randomized usernames (while necessary for child protection online) are obnoxious. But those extra paragraphs of information from J.K. Rowling . . . I CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT, OKAY!?

Pottermore

A decent start for what is hopefully an improving site and experience.

So if you’re looking for a factual recap: I got through pretty much everything I could possibly do (not including making potions for fun and dueling other Pottermore members) in 5 to 6 hours. I read every piece of new content (but not the recaps from the books) and favorite’d characters, objects, creatures, and places that I loved in the books, to flesh out my profile. I added two friends, and did try brewing two potions and unlocked one door (“alohomora!”) so I wasn’t just going for speed, if that’s what you’re wondering.

I’ll specify my navigation gripe: through the first five or so chapters of The Philosopher’s Stone, I was clicking back to the main page map, to click on a chapter, to then click on the next moment in the chapter I wanted to see. By about chapter six, I realized that there were navigation buttons on the bottom of the screen that I could use to click to the next moment and then the next chapter. At the end of every chapter, you have to scroll through the latest twenty comments or so to get to those navigation buttons. LAME. But something that could be easily fixed (my suggestion: make the buttons bigger, make it a frame so it’s present on every part of the moment you’re looking at).

And to those questioning why I’m writing about this at all: a) I’m in class and bored out of my gourd and b) it’s game, albeit a simple game at that. This enters the age-old debate against casual gaming, and this is certainly a casual game, but this is a future blog post (spoiler: casual gamers are gamers too).

CONCLUSION: Pottermore is ridiculously fun for those of us Harry Potter fans who cry every time they finish rereading the series because they just want more. For kids who enjoy the simpler games, it’s also ridiculously fun. The navigation and slow loading times are pretty terrible, but it’s still technically beta so hopefully that improves in the near future. If you want a friend in the Pottermore world, I’m BludgerNiffler3610, and I’ll keep going back.


So I committed to playing LttP, and I even got through a good chunk of it, and then I thought “meh, I don’t want to play this right now.” And as I started trying to think of other games to play, I started hearing the small voice in the back of my head saying “You must finish LttP! You must post a blog about it!”

HEY! LISTEN!

I imagine the voice in my head like Navi. And I hate it.

This is atrocious to say but last week I didn’t game at all. AT ALL. And as you can see, I also didn’t blog. Because of this damn nagging voice in my head! And then, at the end of last week (before I went away for the weekend which prohibited gaming or blogging), it dawned on me: gaming is not a chore.

Along the same line, this blog is not a chore. This blog is awesome. Gaming is awesome. And they’re awesome because I’m deciding what I write, when I write it, what I play, and when I play it. So last week when gog.com had a sale and I bought Lands of Lore 1 & 2 (LoL 1 being perhaps THE quintessential game of my childhood that I’ve never finished) and desperately wanted to jump right in? I could’ve, and I should’ve. So shut up, brain voice. No one likes you. You make gaming and blogging un-fun and I have no room for that in my life.

I’m gonna go play a classic dungeon crawler by Westwood Studios. See you guys in a few days when I’m so excited about it that I’ll write a blog post.