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.
Having only gotten an Xbox and Xbox Live account in the past year, as well as getting more into PC gaming, and having never really played FPS, I’ve never had to endure the world of online multiplayer. I say endure because the first time I attempted it, I downloaded and played a FtP MMORPG that I could only go so far in, independently. Then it was pretty much required that I join up with some other players to attack a dungeon and defeat a boss for the next storyline quest. But I still felt really newb-tastic and having to actually talk to all these impressive warriors running by me on the dusty road was too intimidating. So I stopped playing, relieved that I wouldn’t develop an addiction because I didn’t want to interact with others online.
I should probably dispel any possible misconceptions now; for the most part, I’m not completely anti-social. True, I don’t do much with people, ever, but when I do, I like to believe I’m fairly easy to talk to and relatable. Thankfully I don’t only talk about video games, and I can read social cues to know when to shut up or when to probe further about someone else’s hobby because they want to talk about it. But for some reason, the faceless, nameless judgment of someone else online is something I’d like to avoid at just about all costs.
So I bought Red Dead Redemption and never tried multiplayer, and started Team Fortress 2 and only played bots and tried out League of Legends and only played bots too. And then I bought Mass Effect 3. And to get the “perfect ending” (which I definitely wanted because I’m that anal retentive), I had to play multiplayer. So, expecting the worst, I logged in and started, and loved it! Co-operative team play with others, no friendly fire, this was my kind of multiplayer! I did get a bad player review from someone, and I’m completely unsure why, and it still really bothers me, but that’s obviously indicative of deeper psychological issues I have, ha. (In my defense it’s my only player review so it looks like I’m a really terrible person to play with because 100% of the people that have rated me, hated me).
With a positive multiplayer experience under my belt, I thought I’d finally give a non-bot run-through of TF2 a try, and surprisingly, everyone was nice there as well. It did prove to be more frustrating as I was dominated most of the games by really good players, but slowly my skills improved and I started setting personal bests with Demoman and I felt pretty good.
This all led up to finally trying RDR multiplayer, so I could start getting some of those multiplayer achievements. And the first time I tried it (months ago), I got wasted often, realized that you could actually roll in the game (I got 99.5% completion in the game without realizing that you could roll your character . . . sad), and got a couple of Xbox Live stranger-friends out of a full weekend of multiplayer. I then lent the game to a friend who just got an Xbox and had no money, and just tried multiplayer again for the second time this weekend. And now I’ve seen the true side of multiplayer that I hear about in CoD, Halo, and other games in the same genre.
I may just be in a generally irritable mood, but there were four out of this world good players who I magically never got reshuffled to be on their team (because I acknowledge that I would have been loving it if they were completely annihilating my enemies, instead of me and my teammates), and I got killed by over and over and over again. The last time I played, I recognized that I was generally getting better and better. This time, I spent most of the session re-spawning and watching myself die.
Then, someone on my own team shot me in the head so they could take my cover spot. What the hell is that about! How rude can you be! I tried to withstand the temptation, but a few rounds later, I had an opportunity to just blow this particular player away and I’m sad to say I took the opportunity to “get even,” which the more multiplayer-educated among you are now laughing because there is no “getting even.” The player simply shot me in the head again, a few rounds later. I then sent a choicely worded and explicit message to the player asking them to stop, submitted a bad player review, and quit because I was so frustrated.
The great thing about having a blog that only a few people read is that you don’t feel so bad when you rant and ramble without purpose. I suppose the purpose is venting, and saying that I suppose multiplayer isn’t all bad, but man . . . Red Dead Redemption multiplayer is highly frustrating. And I’m sure there are many people who would read my TF2 description and say “Really!? What server were you on, the rainbows and butterflies server?” So for the sake of my blood pressure and faith in humanity, maybe I’ll just stick with ME3 multiplayer. And it’s good to try different multiplayer experiences out – if only to confirm that I’m more grateful than not that I can’t play most FPS.
Vent your multiplayer frustrations, or share whatever you want about multiplayer. Do you guys hate it or love it? Or you are wiser than I am and realize it’s a mixed bag most of the time?
I bought Portal 1 & 2 during a Steam sale a year or so ago . . . I think I got both for $20 which is usually too much for my budget but I also knew that I would be labeled a heretic gamer if I never played the games. I figured it was imperative that I play the games in order, so I fired up Portal 1 and was instantly disappointed: it was in the first person perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a bad way to make a game, I just have major problems with it from a medical perspective. I tried to figure it out via a reddit question months ago and got this video in response, which I think does a good job of explaining how developers contribute to the problem of motion sickness in FPS games, but doesn’t exactly explain why CoD is a best seller and people don’t vomit like I do when I try to play.
But at the same time, I think part of it must be developer related because some games I can’t play at all, and some I am able to power a few hours into before having to turn it off. Team Fortress 2 for example is a game that I can play all right for a little bit. Unfortunately, I could generally only do one Portal chamber at a time before I’d have to turn off the game (not even a chamber sometimes, depending on how long it took me).
The other difficult thing about Portal 1 for me is that I’m terrible at puzzle games. I got Braid in one of the Humble Indie Bundles it was a part of (don’t remember which number that was) and googled a ton of solutions because I just didn’t have the patience to sit and figure it out. I’m terrible, I know. So in that respect, it was almost a good thing that I couldn’t sit and play Portal 1 for long periods of time because by the time I was getting nauseated, I was usually also getting stuck, so I’d leave, come back a few days later, and suddenly see the solution. Having said that, I did google a number of things, and felt like a traitor. More than a traitor, I usually felt really stupid because I knew I should’ve been able to figure out the solutions I googled on my own.
So did I think Portal 1 was all it was cracked up to be? Sure. I guess. I don’t really know what it was cracked up to be, since it’s been so long since it was released. I know that it was stepping stone to Portal 2 which multiple people have told me is the greatest game ever made. While I know I won’t believe that, I’m hoping for a good time.
I think the main praise of Portal 1 and I’m betting Portal 2 was the humor. During the last boss battle in Portal 1, I was laughing out loud at the clever, passive-aggressive one-liners GLaDos had. Humor in video gaming is always great, and I think it’s missing from a lot of non-RPG games (and RPGs for that matter), so it was refreshing to hear it in Portal.
And of course, at the end of the day, Portal is just a cool idea. Entering at one spot and coming out of another, HAL 3000’s granddaughter, and cake. That is a winning combo right there. I suppose I’m just glad I took the opportunity to play it, get a few more nerd references now, and can relate that much more to the majority of gamers. And of course, now I can start Portal 2, maybe after this nausea wears off . . .