Archive for the ‘Other Gaming’ Category
I have a love/hate relationship with EA right now. On one hand, I’m a huge fan of some of their franchises like The Sims, and I’m currently enthralled with one of the best MMO’s on the market right now, The Secret World. However, EA has shown a dark side by being a main player in the Always-On feud, creating such hostility among their fans that they’ve been named the Worst Company in America 2 times running, and ruining one of my favorite franchises of all-time, the Ultima series.
So, I was shocked by the news being released today that EA has announced and will be releasing The Sims 4 come 2014. Well, not really shocked. The Sims franchise is a juggernaut and one of those Wil Wright genius games that you have to sit back and truly marvel at. So EA making another one is a no-brainer. But with how EA has been acting recently with some of its other franchises, I’m worried.
In The Sims, controlling a Sim sounds like it would be the most boring thing on the face of the planet. You control a person to live their life just like you do. Eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, going to work, dating, having a family, working on your hobbies, and building a home. And yet, it’s gameplay is some of the most captivating I’ve ever experienced. Stories about peoples Sims exploits are hugely entertaining and the game leaves room for so much creativity from building design and decoration to the ridiculous like seeing how many offspring one Sim can conceive in their lifetime.
So what will The Sims 4 be like? Right now, EA has released almost nothing about it. But I am hoping and wishing and praying that EA has learned something from their mis-handling of SimCity.
…And there is hope. According to the official release by EA, The Sims 4 will be a single-player off-line game:
“The Sims 4 celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience.”
Thank you! They can be taught! If the Sims 4 ended up demanding we need to always be online, or some other such ridiculous hoop to jump through, I can guarantee that I will not have played it. The same way I did not play SimCity, the same way I did not play Diablo 3. Adding DRM is fine, but give us players the options whether we want to be connected or not, and give us incentive to do so. Otherwise, no deal.
They do have time to change their mind, though. But with that out of the way, I’m feeling a lot better about the Sims franchise.
P.S. – Fun story. There was one time I got so mad at The Sims that I stopped playing it for a few months. It was one of the first houses and families I ever made and my Sim got a call one day, offering to adopt a baby. I was thrilled. My single-parent bachelor was given the opportunity to build a family. I received the infant and since my Sim was alone, he took some time off of his job, received a demotion, didn’t get much sleep, and essentially was a living wreck. Finally, the baby grew-up into a child! It was like a whole new game. Instead of one Sim, now there were two to control! Since I wanted to teach this new kid some responsibility, I sent him into the bathroom to replace a lightbulb. He went over, pulled out a little stool, reached up to change the lightbulb… and was immediately electrocuted and died.
I was soooooo angry that I just quit playing right there. All that time spent, and the kid electrocutes himself on the first freaking light bulb?! Seriously?!!
P.P.S. – Also, if you have any great Sims stories, I’d love to hear them.
Edit – As seen below in the comments, it was the fantastic MMOGamerChick herself that did the Sims population explosion experiment. Go check it out.
Show of hands, how many of you actually listen to the music in the games you play? Hmmm… wow, that’s more than I was expecting. If you’re not, though, you should really start as video game music is already it’s own artform with known and highly sought after composers like Jeremy Soule, main composer of the Elder Scrolls and Guild Wars series. No longer are we in the age of simple MIDI compositions, but full orchestrations take center stage. This is a good thing. A very good thing.
There is even a new podcast, recently started, called Battle Bards that showcases the music of our favorite MMOs in a roundtable discussion. The podcast is hosted by the quartet of Steph from MMO Gamer Chick, Syl from MMO Gypsy, Dodge from A Casual Stroll to Mordor, and Justin from Massively and Bio Break (and since I’m link-dropping, Tesh from TishToshTesh did the artwork). I listened to the pilot episode, and it is fantastic and I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re a music aficionado like myself.
So, in honor of the Battle Bards newly minted podcast, here are my top five favorite video game musical compositions of all time. In order of simply how awesome they are.
#5 – Guild Wars – Lakeside County – Jeremy Soule
When I first started playing Guild Wars, it was as a quick break from the game I (and everyone and their mother) was addicted to, World of Warcraft. Because of my addiction, I never gave Guild Wars a fair shake and have always been disappointed that I never really played through the storyline. From what I can see of Guild Wars 2, the story from Guild Wars 1 seems superior, so it’s even more of a shame. Anyway, after the introduction and the stroll into town, the first zone you visit is Lakeside County in Ascalon. I could listen to this music over and over again, and frequently did. The beauty of the landscape, the autumn foilage slowly falling off the trees, the picturesque sky and valleys, and then this hauntingly beautiful flowing melody that didn’t quite fill you with hope of a new adventure, but set the tone of “everything is not what it seems”. Perfect foreshadowing for the trials to come.
#4 – Lord of the Rings Online – Shire Hills 03844 – Chance Thomas(?)
When I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy back in 7th grade, it was my first real foray into medieval-style fantasy fiction and the writings of JRR Tolkien was one of the best places to start. The culture presented of the Hobbits was instantly likable as one of curiosity and adventure. Whether that adventure was a full fellowship or just an adventure down the river to visit a neighbor, Hobbits, to me, always represented movement, motion, and progress. Even shoes held them back, they were always on the move. Why do you think they needed so many meals? For being such small creatures, their metabolism was through the roof and adventure was the way to burn off all those calories. They were the beginning of something much larger than themselves (as everything was much larger than they were), and this song with its upbeat guitars, light drum, and clapping gives the feeling of that forward movement. The song revolves around a single theme, but is intertwined periodically with other melodic phrases and joined by many other lines, like all the different sights to see and friends to meet while traveling down the road.
#3 – Skyrim – Main Theme – Jeremy Soule
I won’t lie. I played the EFF out of Skyrim. I didn’t stop playing because I grew tired of the game, I stopped playing because at level 65 I RAN OUT OF STUFF TO DO! I had completed every faction’s quests, the main storyline was done, and aside from grinding every skill up to 100 I was already maxed out in my favorites. Some guard would want to tell me about an old injury or something, but really there was nothing left to do. However, the theme song makes it sound like there’s always something to do. It’s got that grand, majestic feel with the chanting and horns that makes you feel like shouting from the tops of the mountains.
It starts out like a thunderstorm, bass drums and chants, and then slowly gathers steam until you’re in the thick of it. The horns pick up the main theme, and then take it over. The vocals pick up like thrums of lightning, then crescendo like gathering bursts of wind. A slight break, with a falsetto line leads into a joining of the chorus with the horns into the heart of the piece. After a couple more crescendos, the song lightens and ends on a clear and crisp note just like the storm having finally passed. With Skyrim being a land of harsh climate, both politically and physically, creating the music around a coming storm just ties it all together nicely.
#2 – Ultima IX – Stones – David “Iolo” Watson
I know I’ve been posting a lot about Ultima lately, but what can I say, it’s a big part of my own gaming history. And if there’s one song that would represent that history, it’s Stones. Encountered in the game sometimes at random, it was always a song that made me stop in my tracks. Say what you will about Ultima IX (and it’s all justified), but this is hands down my favorite version of Stones yet. Starting with that slow lute and then being picked up by the flute, it presents a haunting melody that feels very melancholy. And then, suddenly, there’s a burst of hope. The song lightens and the skies part. However, just as quick as they part, the melancholy comes back in the final strains of the piece. It’s like saying “yes, there are times when you will be down but remember there is always a ray of hope to lift your spirits”. Even if, in the end, you’re still sad, that ray of hope has a way of melting it away if only for a small time.
#1 – Civilization IV – Baba Yetu – Christopher Tin
Trivia Time! What was the first piece of music made for a video game to ever be nominated for and win a Grammy? You’re looking at it. I can’t say enough good things about Baba Yetu that I’m not even sure where to start. The Civilization series of games is all about building an empire to stand the test of time from humble beginnings and this song shows that by just not letting up on the hope and majesty, constantly building on itself over and over again until your goosebumps find goosebumps of their own. And just when you think it can’t build any more, it smooths out and ends on the main theme that puts that extra faith in humanity’s future. Plus, the fact that the song is the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili just adds that extra spark of faith that wraps the entire thing together into just an amazing piece. Christopher Tin ended up winning a Grammy for this song, and although I don’t agree with those that pick the winners of the Grammys usually, I couldn’t help but applaud their choice here. Simply amazing.
And now, thanks to making this list, I’ll now have these songs stuck in my head for the rest of the week.
PS – There could be a lot worse songs to have stuck there…
PPS – Think I missed any, please post them in the comments!
The wheel of online Player vs Player gaming started turning when dedicated online connections started to become mainstream. Instead of huddling around your friends old basement CRT, eyes focused on your quarter of Goldeneye’s screen, you could finally start competing against random strangers without leaving your house or making sure you had enough Cheetos and Jolt to share.
Player vs Player has quickly evolved since then. Starting with quarter-screen, then to LAN connected tournaments, to college shooter-game networks, to full internet shooters. Shooter titles like the Call of Duty and Halo franchises became synonymous with Multiplayer PvP. I’m sure those games have a storyline in them somewhere… but who the heck cares about it?
I read an article not long ago (I’m sorry it’s not linked. I can’t find it again. If I do, I’ll re-link.) all about how shooters in the past were competitive because everyone started on the exact same footing. You could find weapons on the map levels, but everyone already knew those map levels, and so even the weapon spawns were all about resource control. Through this, you could know and track your enemy. And then shooters changed.
Now, I’m not a fan of playing shooters against others, with the headset and smacktalk and what-have-you, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I hear it’s not like that anymore. Now there’s character progression. Random weapon spawns. Starting on an equal footing wasn’t rewarding to those who played more than others. They wanted tangible rewards and a system to progress through. I don’t blame them, as that’s what I go for, that sense of permanence in the games that I play, but I don’t play player vs player titles. However, if making a true competitive game is your focus, starting players at different power levels ruins the entire effect.
The wheel of online Player vs Player has stopped turning and has landed on the iteration that, I believe, will become the true standard of competitive team online player vs player: The MOBA. The popularity of League of Legends initially blew me away. How could a game, that was essentially a copy of the gameplay of Warcraft’s RTS games, become this wildly successful?
Strategy and equal footing.
Online shooters are losing these traits to the monetization of the genre, but that leaves a whole subset of gamers without a home, and MOBAs have picked up the slack. A MOBA is a “Massively Online Battle Arena”, a real-time strategy game with competitive elements, designed specifically for player vs player gaming. Just to solidify the fact that the MOBA is here to stay, two more have entered the fray today: Magicka: Wizard Wars by Paradox and Infinite Crisis by, of all companies, Turbine.
Personally, I love Magicka. It’s an action title using the top-down approach already found in MOBAs, but also uses an ingenious magic system. Spells in the game are cast using rapid-succession typing. For example: Thunderbolt: QFASA ; Tornado: DQFQQF ; Conflagrate: FQFFQFFQ ; Thunderstorm: QFQFASA where Q, F, A, S, and D all represent different elements with the spells a mixture of those elements. Magicka as a MOBA is a no-brainer and I’m glad to see Paradox make the move.
Turbine making Infinite Crisis is a little more confusing. Yes, Turbine is a subsidiary of Warner Bros and Warner owns the rights to the DC Universe. Having superheroes fight each other is also pretty standard and yet… I wonder what new things they might bring to the table. It feels like they’re jumping in while the water is still profitable, but the pool is getting really crowded.
You probably won’t be seeing me try either title anytime soon. Beating on other gamers and getting beat myself is just not how I roll. However, competitive strategy on equal footing is very respectable and I can appreciate gamers who are into that.
The smacktalk I can still do without, though.
I won’t lie, this past week I’ve been a little obsessed. Sometimes when a new game comes along that really piques my curiosity, I get like that (kinda what defines us as gamers). My recent obsession: The Cave.
The Cave was released on January 23rd, 2013 as the recent offering from Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine Productions and is fantastic. Presented in a 2D/3D platformer, the graphics are beautiful, the iconic Schafer & Gilbert branded humor throughout the game mixes puns and bad jokes as only the duo can, and the game drops significant doses of nostalgia throughout. In a surprise twist on the adventure genre, though, the game can be fully completed in about 3 hours.
The format goes a little like this: You choose 3 different characters at the start of the game and then lead them through 7 different puzzles. Every playthrough has 4 puzzles that are the same: The Introduction, the Miner, the Zoo, and the Island. On top of that, each character from the Knight to the Twins to the Time Traveler has their own individual puzzle. The purpose of each puzzle is to tell the story of how each character acquires their greatest desire and how acquiring these desires changes you. So underneath all the funny one-liners and puns are the very morbid acts you have these far-from-lovable characters commit to acquire these desires.
Launching nuclear missiles. Burning down a carnival. Poisoning your parents. Committing Stone-Age murder. Good times.
At the nominal price of $15, and a completion time of 3 hours, this game is a straight up appetizer. A delicious appetizer, but an appetizer nonetheless for the yet-to-be-officially-announced Double Fine Adventure. Having successfully completed it’s KickStarter last March, and seeing how the unofficial initial timeline was estimated at October of 2012, The Cave has only whetted my appetite for the final product. The vaulted herald of the return of the adventure genre.
I do worry, though. On my multi-playthroughs of The Cave (3 times as of this writing), the difficulty level didn’t even register on my scale. I’m not meaning this as a brag, but a true concern. If the modern version of adventure games is a game that is so easy that it’s filled with only elementary-level puzzles, maybe the adventure genre is gone for a reason. A difficulty of “Hard” is only at the will of the player to not scour the internet for a walk-through, which appear barely minutes after a game’s release. And what true value does a point-and-click adventure game have aside from it’s difficulty of puzzles? The draw of cheating is very strong if the puzzles end up being too devious. However, deviousness is a part of why I buy these games in the first place. Without the difficulty, is it even a game?
I don’t envy Gilbert, Shafer, and the entire crew at Double Fine one bit. Walking the line between what is too easy and what is so difficult that it’ll immediately send people scouring the internet for a solution is very tricky. But if there is a team that can accomplish it, it is them.
And If I may impart some advice as the casual adult gamer I am: err on the side of devious. Like The Secret World does with it’s investigative missions, expect a percentage of people to look up the puzzle answers, but know that a decent percentage of players aren’t ponying up money and expecting a walk in the park. We’re paying for a challenge. Maybe not Gabriel Knight 3 “impersonate a man without a mustache by adhering cat fur with maple syrup to your face” type challenge, but please amp it up a little more than this.
Please take your time on the Double Fine Adventure, guys and gals. Polish is good. But realize that The Cave has us now salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs for the main course.
Today has got me thinking.
With the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going free to play, it made me think about games and gaming value. Are the games we’re playing really worth the money we’re spending on them? Why does it matter the world to one person that a MMO has a subscription cost, but to someone else that same cost is utterly inconsequential? Multiple factors abound in this discussion, which is why it’s turned into such a polarizing topic. However, some numbers may help to explain it, at least from this gamer’s perspective.
Single Player Games
The single player genre is large and still in charge. Comparable to a summer blockbuster movie, it’s a big budget, years in the making game that starts out with a high pricetag. Generally $60. You’re $60 gets you admission to a fantastic story, awesome gameplay, and unrivaled graphics. Gametime will generally take about two weeks to a month to complete. Most gamers are left satisfied, and so these games take a long time to come down in price. I just purchased Skyrim during Steam’s Summer Sale for 50% off, a good 9 months after release. DLC now always comes later, but it’s 100% optional.
AAA MMO with Box Fee, Monthly Subscription, and Extra Cash Shop
Here is the standard we find with released MMOs today. If we say the initial box will cost about $60, then with a $15 subscription every month after, with a $30 expansion released after a year, you’re looking at figures like this: 1 month: $60, 3 months: $90, 6 months: $135, 9 months: $180, 12 months (with new expansion): $255. Throw an extra $25 for a sparkle pony from the cash shop, and you’re looking at a year’s total of $280.
When stretched out over the course of a year, it is a lot more palatable. I’m not one to be stingy. I am on a budget, and I do spend the money when I feel it’s worth it. Heck, that $15 monthly subscription fee is earned before I even fully wake up on the first workday of the month. But looking at the overall picture, $280 for a single game is a LOT to spend. As a comparison, right now on Amazon is a Playstation 3 for $250.
Free to Play MMO with a Strict Cash Shop
Here is the next standard we find in gaming today, the Free to Play MMO. Under a F2P MMO, the developers of the game are set to task. They can’t just wing out some content every year or so and think that’s it. No, they are held accountable for every item in that store. Content, potions, storage, cosmetic items, ships, weapons, it’s all in there, and it’s scrutinized heavily. Not only is it scrutinized, but it’s pushed like a bookstore’s endcap with the latest best sellers. Annoying at times but here are my personal numbers: If I’ve invested a lot of time into a game, you’ll most likely see me spend about $20 or so every 2 or 3 months. This comes out to about $100/year.
With sales, and for people that must have everything in the game with multiple alts, this can vary wildly from player to player. Nobody is the same. A great majority buy nothing, and a minority buy everything. As we are being proved time and time again, though, this is a business model that works, and is why we’re seeing Star Wars: The Old Republic turning to head down this path.
MMO with a Box Fee and a Not-So-Strict Cash Shop
My personal favorite. Also known as the Guild Wars model. You pay a large box price, about $60, and then there is a shop with fluff items. Costumes, extra storage panes, skills you can find in-game, etc. Now, I’m not commenting on Guild Wars 2 as it’s cash shop still has yet to be truly revealed. However, if it’s anything like the first Guild Wars, there is nothing to worry about, as it’s all cosmetic and fluff items. Nothing game-killing. Then, about every year, a paid expansion will come along, in the $30 range. So, in the course of a year, paying about $100 seems right.
This is very similar to my F2P spending, but the feeling is entirely different. That $100 is only for the first year, too. Every year after, it’s only the costs of expansions and cash shop fluff.
If every game went with the Box + Cash Shop model, I would be a lot happier. The box fee adds that gate that subscription MMO players crave so much to keep out the “riff-raff”, and the cash shop is there but far from being intrusive. The population is large enough to keep a stable community, and the best part: you can take a break from the game and come back later with no negative consequences.
So why did Star Wars: The Old Republic go Free To Play? Well, my guess is that they brought out the game, with a similar-feeling combat system to essentially be the next in line of the Knights of the Old Republic franchise, which is great, but players and Bioware seemed to treat it similar to a single-player game. Once one time through the story was accomplished or a month or two had passed, why keep it up? PvP? Raids? Only a small percentage of MMO players partake in them to begin with. Its nice to see them included, but it’s largely ignored. If SWtOR had the Guild Wars pricing model, it would’ve rocked the gaming world to it’s foundations. Now, though, after rounds of layoffs, Bioware and SWtOR will join the ranks of the already saturated Free To Play market.
Someday I may even play it, but most likely not.
P.S. – I’m sure you’ve noticed my lack of pictures this time around, I’ve decided to change my format to be a little more relaxed. The large pictures and huge articles was too much for me to keep up with. I found I stopped gaming, and thats the whole point! I was writing, but found little time to play. If I change to shorter (this one, actually, is not included in the shorter category) and less flashy articles, the pressure will come off and I’ll hopefully post more often. Casual Aggro, to me, is still in an experimental phase. Finding where I fit and where this fits in my time is proving to be a little tricky.
But overall, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for reading. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I truly enjoy writing it.
This weekend, from June 7th – June 10th, 2012, Steam is having a sale on titles by Paradox. If you’re not sure who Paradox is, that’s alright, it took me a second as well to remember. They don’t have a gigantic selection in their stable of games, but two titles stick out that I highly recommend: Majesty and Magicka.
Magicka straight-up is one of the most fun action titles I have ever played. It combines an ever-present satirical humor with a “discover the best combinations on your own” dynamic gameplay. The premise is that you are a wizard from from a sacred order and have to use an elemental spellcasting system to stop a big bad evil. You have eight general schools of magic: Water, Fire, Lightning, Earth, Cold, Shield, Arcane, and Life that you combine to create devastating effects. Combine Arcane with Fire to create a burning laser beam, combine ice with earth to create a huge snowball, combine earth and shield to erect a wall of spikes surrounding you. The combinations are numerous. You also have to be a quick typist as you set up spells by typing them in with the Q,W,E,R,A,S,D, and F keys. Then on top of this, you get higher “magicks” that require a specific combination. Think you’re a fast typer? Here are a few spell combinations I wrote down for quick reference.
Thunderbolt: QFASA ; Tornado: DQFQQF ; Conflagrate: FQFFQFFQ ; Thunderstorm: QFQFASA ; Napalm: QFDWFF (Napalm is only available in the Magicka: Vietnam DLC, but it’s well worth it).
Now how do I get my rogues to stop stealing…
The other title I recommend Majesty is a fantasy, real-time strategy title with one gigantic caveat: you don’t have direct control of your units. Essentially, you build a castle, then you start building “guilds” around your castle. A warrior’s guild, a thieve’s guild, a ranger’s guild, etc. Through these guilds you hire heroes who will show up and then meander around your town. They’ll wander off on their own, find monsters to slay, and acquire gold. Well, now you have to give them something to do with this gold, so you build inns, blacksmith shops, marketplaces, and trading posts. Your heroes buy stuff and upgrade their equipment, then you collect taxes generated by the sales and put it back into your town’s infrastructure. You convince your heroes to explore and attack by placing reward flags. Want that dragon killed? Put a nice bounty on it’s head and your heroes will rush for the reward. You still have scenarios to accomplish and foes to fight off, but it adds a nice twist to the standard real-time strategy model.
Game well, my friends. Game well.
P.S. – If you are an MMO player like myself, another title recently introduced to Steam is the Lord of the Rings Online, and a Starter Pack. Although the game is accessed pretty much the same way as before, I like using Steam as a platform not only for easy screenshots, but also for the nice extras thrown your way for using Steam. The Starter Pack comes with a Noble Grey Steed, Northdowns, Evendim, and Misty Mountains quest packs, a token that gives an extra 25% experience on monster kills, and 1,000 Turbine Points on top of that. Right now, it’s still at its introductory price of $15, which isn’t a bad deal at all, especially if you’re a new or free player.
I’m a sucker for a good game sale. A total sucker. Once I found out about Steam, Impulse, and GOG, my compulsions take over and I get hit with a huge burst of nostalgia. Well, right now over at GOG.com there is a sale that was giving off a siren song that was way too hard to pass up.
Two iconic game series from the 1980′s and 1990′s, Wing Commander and Ultima, are at a steep 50% discount until Monday June 4th at midnight (EDT). $3 per game pack is essentially my pricepoint, so… I picked up the whole lot. For the record, thats Ultima Underworld 1&2, Ultima 1+2+3, Ultima 4+5+6, Ultima 7 Complete*, Ultima 8 Gold, Wing Commander 1+2, Wing Commander 3, Wing Commander 4*, and Wing Commander Privateer. That’s $27 for more great nostalgic hours of gaming than you could shake a proverbial stick at. (* necessary)
Ultima 7 Complete tops the list as being my favorite game. Period. It has also been quoted by the esteemed Richard Garriott as being the pinnacle of the Ultima series, so he agrees, too:
“Ultima VII represented the pinnacle of virtual world simulation where I really felt I had done the best job of interactive storytelling and of world detailing to create a play space and a play environment and reasons to be there. I felt that was the most masterfully executed of the Ultima series, so to speak.” – Richard Garriott in an interview with Gamespot.com
I was ridiculously excited when the movie Avatar came out, until I realized it was just Pocahontas with blue aliens and nothing to do with Ultima…
I 100% agree. Every Ultima game on sale right now is a great game, but especially Ultima 7. I hate to say, but the only Ultima game that doesn’t make the cut as far as quality (and the sale) was Ultima 9. Maybe it was EA’s interference but Ultima 9, storywise, was just not that good of a game.
Wing Commander 4 also stands apart as being the best of the Wing Commander series. Not necessarily for it’s gameplay, but for it’s ridiculously stellar cast list (Notice that I just linked to it’s IMDB page). If there is any game that could claim to be an interactive movie, this one is it!
Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davies, and Tom Wilson make this more than just a game, and $3 is a steal (although Wing Commander 3 also stars the inimitable Tim Curry, I still prefer Wing Commander 4).
Make popcorn and bring a date. If they had made the Wing Commander movie with THIS cast, it would’ve been a MUCH better movie.
Game well, my friends. Game well.
I’ll flat out say it: If you don’t pick up the HumbleBundle.com deal, you’re probably not even a gamer. Really, look at this list!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Steam price: $19.99)
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP (Steam price $7.99)
LIMBO (Steam price $9.99)
Psychonauts (Steam price $9.99)
And if you pay more than the average…
Bastion (Steam price $14.99)
Do the math! That’s $62.95 worth of games.
Now, I can’t really speak for Amnesia, Superbrothers, or Bastion, but I have played Limbo and Psychonauts and I can guarantee that they are worth Whatever-price-you-want-to-pay-for-them! I don’t know if there is a minimum, but that means if you even donate $1, you get the top 4 games, but you shouldn’t only donate that as the money is going to good causes like Child’s Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you pay more than the average, which is currently at $7.49 as of this writing and climbing quick with every purchase made, you also get Bastion, too, which looks pretty sweet.
Psychonauts: From a little known studio called “Double Fine Productions”. Oh, wait! They’re known by everybody!
Well, what are you waiting for! Go donate!
I love a good Steam sale. No, really, my collection is rather ridiculous. It was during one of these sales that I saw and picked up The Baconing, an indie title from Hothead Games. With a title like that, how could I not? It wasn’t until after I started playing it that I realized it was the third of a trilogy, where the first two were made by the legendary Ron Gilbert, creator of the Monkey Island series, which I also highly suggest picking up. Even without his genius, The Baconing is still a fun as heck game, and I’m now waiting for the first and second of the trilogy to go on sale so I can pick them up as well (C’mon Steam! Get on that!).
The 2D/3D effect is a killer art style.
After listening to the last STOked episode, I jumped into Star Trek Online and played a bit of the foundry. Personally, I love the Foundry. I haven’t created any missions myself (yet), but the creativity that other players come up with is amazing. The good stuff is a little tricky to find, though, so I mainly get my Foundry playlists from trusted sources, like StarbaseUGC, STOked, and finally Cryptic themselves. I’m glad that Cryptic has started promoting specific missions because then at least you know they are going to be good. For the record, I went in to play two missions specifically: ‘The Worst of Both Worlds’ and ‘Temple of Pah-Wraiths’, both made by Captain_Revo, and both are more than worth it.
Bajor never looked so… Borg-y.
Finally, I haven’t yet gone back into Lord of the Rings Online for the Spring Festival. I know, I know, I was just complaining about not having time for special events, but this one I will make. It’s on until June 11th, though, so I got plenty of time. I’m even considering starting a new character. I do like the Loremaster, but its not as up-close and personal as I prefer.
I’m currently working my way through the original Max Payne, and I’m loving it. Its exactly as I remember it. Gritty, raw, and with one of the best “bullet-time” iterations in any shooter. Although, at one point, I overheard a conversation between two guys warming up around a burning trashcan, and one said “It may be the end of the world as we know it, but I don’t feel fine.” Yeah, that definitely dated the game a bit.
Warning… these screenshots do have a little blood in them…
I made it up to and through the level where Max was slipped something and ended up in a nightmare, reliving past horrors. Not pictured in the last shot: the endless cries of his wife calling for help and his baby crying. If you haven’t played it and enjoy a little of the macabre, I highly suggest you pick it up, although really, I’d wait for a sale first. $9.99 is a little much for an 11 year old game.
P.S. – If you’re looking for great deals on games, I recently found SteamGameSales.com
. It shows all the discounted games across many different services, like Steam, Impulse, and a ton I’ve never heard of.