Too much gaming, no time to write! So, here’s a quick run down of thoughts on all the gaming I’ve done since I built my PC:
First, building that thing was so fun. It was the best of both worlds – getting to work with my hands and getting to work with a mouse and keyboard. I had a few problems getting the motherboard to recognize my GPU, but I figured it out and now it’s running like a champ. I will say, I used the stock thermal paste that came on my stock heatsink, and the CPU runs pretty hot sometimes. My first update purchase will probably be thermal paste. Then maybe more fans (the case only came with one! My one complaint about that Cooler Master case). Aside from that, I think the weak link in my setup is my motherboard but that’ll take me longer to replace just because I don’t know if I want the hassle, particularly because my rig is running like a CHAMP! So true, it’s worth saying twice. I’ve never seen games run on “Very High” graphic settings in real life before. Only in videos. Beautiful. Also, all on my 32” HDTV. This is heaven, as Jimmy Eat World once said.
The Friday that my final PC pieces arrived, I was geeking out checking the shipping logs online at work and my boss asked me what game I would first christen my system with. I had never even considered it! I logged into my Steam library to give it some good hard thought and settled on Dragon Age: Origins. It’s my oldest game in my library that I still haven’t played because I bought it when it was on sale and my laptop could barely run it. As I built my machine that night, I was getting bored waiting for Windows updates and I opened a game of Mahjong, which I later realized was truly the first game I played on the PC. Highly disappointing, unless you’re my mom, then it’s really great.
Anyway, Saturday morning I was troubleshooting some last software stuff when I finally got to business playing Dragon Age Saturday afternoon. I had attempted to play through this game when I first bought it, but my laptop was struggling so hard I didn’t get very far. But after a few hours of play, I’m just about where I stopped the first time around and let me say: it is slow going. I’ve heard great things about this game, so I’ll power through. The combat I enjoy because although there are some really tough bosses, the strategy aspect of being able to pause and assign characters actions helps a lot. I’m also looking forward to trying out a different race at some point to see how different things really are.
But while I was playing Dragon Age, I made sure I was downloading other games at all times. But every time a game was finished downloading from my library, I thought “Oooh, I wonder how that will look” and I’d take a break and start playing another game. I finally downloaded and tried out StarCraft II (which is the first StarCraft game I’ve ever played). I enjoyed it so much that when the starter edition ended, I straight up bought the rest of the game. The original World of WarCraft games were RTS and I remember loving those so even though I didn’t have a lot of time logged to justify my $40 purchase of the rest of the game, I am nearly positive I’ll enjoy the time I get out of it. Plus, it was more of a social purchase. Everyone I know and their dogs play SCII so I need to start getting my game on. Anyway, great graphics, very fun voice acting, I have no idea what’s going on in the story in relation to the original SC but . . . great graphics!
I had to check out Team Fortress 2 on the big screen (big by my standards . . .) and with a faster processor. Holy. Crap. It’s like a different game! No lag, just blowing people away without hesitation! Seriously fun. The problem is becoming that I have too many awesome games to play, and now am always in a conundrum of what to start.
I should make this useful, instead of commenting on old games. I did try out a demo for A Valley Without Wind which . . . I somehow thought looked amazing from a gameplay demo I saw months ago. False, it is not. Boring, too much going on, a really expansive world but constant hints throughout tell you not to waste your time exploring everything . . . ? More time should’ve been spent on the graphics and gameplay instead of the map, frankly. Don’t waste your time on it. I didn’t even finish the demo, I just quit after a few hours.
But! Best demo of the week aware goes to A Book of Unwritten Tales! I saw this on Steam a few weeks ago and thought it looked pretty cute, lots of tongue-in-cheek humor about gaming and fantasy tropes. I downloaded the demo and finally played it last week. Hilarious! Superb voice acting, a highly polished visual presentation, and humor all over the place. The gameplay is your standard point-and-click adventure game, lots of repetitive walking and puzzling, which I’m not a big fan of. For that reason, I’ll wait until this goes on sale (it’s currently $20) but it’s available on Steam and gog.com so . . . go nuts if you’d like! I highly recommend at least trying the demo, which had me laughing out loud.
Reviews you can expect in the future now that I can play some old gog.com and Steam purchases: Myst! (never played it, we’ll see how much I can do without googling like an idiot), Commander Keen! (this game IS my childhood. All Commander Keen games were just $4 during the QuakeCon sale on Steam last weekend), and if I can ever kill that ——- piece of —- devil —— stupid —– DURIEL, I’ll write about Diablo II sometime soon (also beautiful on the big screen, if for no other reason than I can see things for once, instead of squinting at a 14” screen. Also need to finish and write about Lands of Lore, so I can get rolling on Legend of Grimrock! (thanks, Steam Summer Sale!)
Ugh . . . DURIEL.
Again, we come back to the terrible balance of hobbies, life, social activity, and video games. The past week I have been camping, swimming, barbecuing, festival-attending, movie watching, TV marathoning, and not playing video games at all. Hence no blogging. But my video game blood started boiling yesterday, when the Steam Summer Sale finally got under way. Thus far, I’ve purchased:
-The Binding of Isaac
-Cthulhu Saves the World
-Breath of Death VII
-Indie Game: The Movie
-The Legend of Grimrock
I looked today but didn’t see anything too compelling. It’s always a toss up between games I’d like to play on console or keep playing on console (e.g. Assassin’s Creed) instead of purchasing on Steam and playing on the PC. We’ll see if amazing deals can’t break down my console reserve. Anyway, the saddest part of Steam that I’m remembering is the agonizing download speeds. Granted, that’s mostly my network connection’s fault, but I wish Steam was a torrent client and all the digital downloads were torrents. Maybe there is a way to do that and I’m just not looking very hard? Let me know in the comments if that’s the case.
In particular, I’m really looking forward to finally diving into the Witcher series and testing the Legend of Grimrock. I don’t know if I’ll really love The Binding of Isaac but here’s what I do know: I love all things by indie developers. I haven’t played the majority of the Humble Indie Bundles I’ve purchased, but I always buy them and always give all the money to the developers and none to charity (whoops).
Indie developers are doing what they love. Indie developers are forging ahead and taking risks and I live vicariously through them. I wish everyone could just do what they want and be happy and be able to subsist on that alone. Don’t worry, I’m under no delusion that this is actually possible, but it’s just the one idealist wish I hold onto in the midst of all of my cynicism. I love crowdfunding for this reason. I just love seeing people do what they want and I love getting to be a small part of that.
OUYA is combining so many of my favorite things. Another thing I love about indie developers is the sticking-it-to-the-man-ness that goes on. “Well, [big name publisher], if you’re not going to take my idea, I’m going to do it myself and make money! Suck on that!” Of course, indie developers don’t always make much money, if any, but still . . . get out of here, big publishers. You’re the worst.
So, for OUYA to do this with hardware is fantastic to me. I haven’t contributed (don’t have a big enough chunk of change to get the system at the moment) and I’m not sure if it’ll take off. I’ve read the criticism on reddit’s /r/gaming and some of it is valid. But I just want it to win so bad. I want things to change and I want to be watching when it happens. Plus, the CEO is a woman so that rocks super hard.
What do you guys think about OUYA? What games have you purchased (or want to) at the Steam Summer Sale? What are your favorite indie projects? Leave a comment, let’s discuss.