Showing posts from January, 2011

Final Fantasy I First Impressions

It's funny to think that a cutting edge game released just after I was born can now fit in the palm of my hand.  The future is truly amazing.  The real question is, has the game aged well? Overall the answer is yes.  This is Final Fantasy without the frills and advancements of the modern gaming scene, but that's not a bad thing.  There are random battles, no side quests, and just enough story to keep the adventure going. At the start of the game I got to create my own party, something fairly novel for a Final Fantasy game.  I think every other Final Fantasy has set names and ability paths for characters.  I wanted the traditional Final Fantasy experience so I made my party with a Warrior, Thief, White Mage, and Black Mage.  After a few minutes with the character creator the adventure of Bashy, Stealy, Healy, and Blasty began.  I'm awesome at naming, I know. There is no hand-holding tutorial to speak of.  There are a few NPCs with advice inside the first inn, but the

The Final Fantasy Project

  Image Credit Conclave27 Thinking about old school RPGs reminded me of something I've always wanted to do.  I want to be able to legitimately say I have beaten every Final Fantasy game.  It's time for me to start towards that goal. First of all I'd like to lay down some ground rules.  I'm only going to count the "main" Final Fantasy series .  That means Final Fantasy I through XIII count but not Tactics, X-2, Chocobo Dungeon, or that sort of thing.  I also don't count the MMO Final Fantasy games which are XI and XIV.  I tried them and hated them.  They seem more like a gimmick than an actual attempt at a Final Fantasy game.  With these rules I have 12 Final Fantasy games to beat. As of today I've already beaten Final Fantasy VII and everything above it.  That brings the number of games I have to beat down to 6.  That's a lot of hours, but not totally unmanageable especially because I don't intend to play them all back to back.  This

Gaming Industry Lull

Usually there's a period of time after Christmas when new releases take a break.  It generally doesn't last long, but it gives everyone a chance to enjoy their brand new Christmas games and dig into their backlog.  This year things are looking a little different. While it may be a fluke, I think the problem is World of Warcraft.  Specifically the new Cataclysm expansion that launched in early December.  It seems like everyone is playing it, new players and old alike.  WoW is sucking in the gaming community and keeping it captive. It even distracted me from other games for the last month or so, as I'm sure you could tell from my posts.  I'm basically done with the expansion at this point.  I'm just waiting for my subscription to expire. Since I've mentally checked out of the World of Warcraft and started looking for other games to play I started noticing the very empty release schedule.  Apparently everyone is waiting until March to launch their high pro

Sunday Reading: High Quality Links Edition

Lots of good stuff for you today.  Let's get to it. How Minecraft ruined World of Warcraft . How to make sandbox MMOs . Sign-up forms keep a player base low . Pay attention to your kids, not the raid . More thoughts on family and gaming . Which is better classes or an open skill system ? A passing thought from one John Scalzi . History of Gaming from Florian Smolka on Vimeo .

World Builder

I don't usually do a post devoted entirely to one video, but this one blew me away.  It's a short (10 min) film about virtual world building.  Watch it.

Nintendo 3DS News

I was getting pretty pumped for the 3DS launch in the Spring, but new announcements just landed and took some of the wind of out my sails.  In a nutshell: The 3DS releases March 27th in North America It will cost $250 It acts as a pedometer which earns "Game Coins" for steps About 30 games in the "launch window" have been announced A few things worry me about this particular news release.  First, $250 is a lot of money for a handheld system ($50 and I can buy a PS3). Second, the term "launch window" means not all the games will be out on day 1. Third, the launch games don't look all that exciting. If I buy a video game system it's so I can play games on it.  Looking at the list of launch window games I'm only interested in 2, Pilot Wings Resort and Street Fighter IV 3D.  Interested, but probably not enough to buy either game.  Further down the list are the first-party (Nintendo) games in the works which include a new Mario Kart, Pap

That Old School RPG Itch

After recently seeing Video Games Live with my brother I've had a crazy itch to play an old school RPG.  I want to play something that I look back on with fond memories or have heard great things about.  I'd really like to play something with good music too. I know it's sort of ironic because one of the reasons I'm bored of WoW is the grind.  The difference in my mind is that old school RPGs reward grind with story where WoW rewards grind with gear.  I absolutely love a good story and that makes the overall feel of the game different. Final Fantasy is tempting because I've always loved FFVII, FFVIII, and FFIX.  They are my top 3 Final Fantasy games ever.  I've heard fantastic reviews of FFVI but have never actually played it, so that's definitely an option.  Two games in my backlog are copies of FFIII and FFVI to play on my DS.  FFVI is actually GBA but it'll play on the DS anyway.  A few months ago I also impulse bought FFI and FFII on my ipod tou

Endgame Time Commitment

Heroics in WoW take too long.  I love the challenge, I love the difficulty, but I hate the time commitment it takes to run 5-man dungeons.  I need 2+ hours to successfully clear a heroic dungeon, but that's hard to come by when you're a parent, work for a living, and have WoW crash constantly .  2 hours is a lot of time to ask of someone who plays casually. I can feel my interest in the game waning, and the time associated with endgame content is a big reason.  I want to be able to jump online and have an exciting adventure in 20-40 minutes.  That's not an unreasonable request.  I can get exactly that from games like League of Legends and Team Fortress 2.  At the moment in WoW it takes around 40 minutes in the queue as a DPS and then 2+ hours to clear a heroic.  Even when I run with guildies and have no queue wait time I still usually end up leaving before we complete the dungeon. I feel I'm in a weird spot.  I want the difficulty to remain high, but I don't wa

Video Game Culture in Schools

This is an amazing TED talk about the way schools (and teachers) have failed to engage with gamer kids and how it can change their outlook on education.  It mainly applies to boys, but I think that all gamers can take something from this.

World of Warcraft Crashing

I've been writing about my thoughts and impressions from Cataclysm a lot.  What I haven't been writing about are the constant black screen crashes that WoW has been giving me. When I play WoW this is what my typical night looks like.  Start WoW, play until WoW glitches my computer, hard restart because I have no other option, play WoW again until crash, hard restart, give up, do another activity.  The whole process usually takes less then 2 hours.  A few nights I've gotten lucky and gone for 3+ hours without the glitch, but that's rare. I know it's not a hardware defect.  I have a great system that is extreme overkill for a game like WoW.  I don't have glitches in any other games that I play which are more graphically intense either.  It has to be the way WoW is interacting with my graphics card or graphics drivers.  It seems like a lot of people posting with the problem have a 200 series Nvidia graphics card.  The sad part is WoW works fine on my crappy

No Melee Love

  An example of Recount, a typical damage meter. I've been running a lot of dungeons and heroics in WoW with my main, which is a melee class .  Last week Spinks pointed out how much harder it is to be a melee DPS in Cataclysm compared to ranged.  I had never really thought about it before, so I started paying attention. I was surprised by how we get royally screwed.  Trying to stay behind enemies while the tank keeps moving them, paying attention to boss AOE abilities, dodging lots of bad stuff that shows up on the ground, having to run around to adds when they spawn, dodging AOE melee attacks from trash, and keeping up my damage ability rotation at the same time.  I always just assumed these things were part of the job as DPS, but then I started looking at the ranged guys and realized they don't have to deal with most of it.  They just stand back and watch the show while hitting the same sequence of buttons over and over. I'm not giving up my character or changing m

Favorite Reading of 2010

I just saw Syp do a post on his top 10 books of 2010 and thought I would do something similar.  Not to steal his thunder, but just because I love to read and I don't write about it on this blog as much as I would like to.  So here are my favorite books that I read in the past year. Old Man's War by John Scalzi An amazing take on space marines and unlike most of the science fiction I've read before.  Reading this and then immediately going back to read Starship Troopers (one of my Heinlein favorites) showed me how the same topic can be covered in completely different ways.  Scalzi is one of my new favorites and his sarcasm keeps me coming back for more. The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks This gritty take on an assassin's world is simply amazing.  Parts of The Night Angel Trilogy are brutal and actually made me cringe or have to take a break from reading which is a new experience for me.  The lows experienced by the characters and the harsh realities that