Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Zinn's New Years Special!

Welcome to Zinn's New Years Special!

I can't believe it's almost 2014 guys and girls! 2013 has been loads of fun, mostly, but it still feels like a weird year somehow. Just the other day I was thinking about how we're actually in the future now. When I mentioned it for the bf he didn't understand what I was talking about, but think about it - all those cool movies from before the millenia consider 2010 and beyond to be that far distant future where we have hover cars and humanity has gone to shit (maybe there is a link there?). We're there now, but without the hover cars. Instead we have memes. Also, I don't think humanity has gone to shit, it's about as bad/good as it's always been. Here are some more things to look forward to not happening;

  • 2015 - According to Back to the Future part 2 this is when we get hover skate boards. I can't wait! Although considering I can't skate on regular skate boards, a hovering one is a sure recipe for hurts in my case.
  • 2015 - Is also when Robocop takes place. The new Robocop movie is coming out next year, so is that also taking place in 2015? I doubt it.
  • 2017 - We can all join in on the fun that is The Running Man show. Love that movie btw.
  • 2018 - John Connor leads a resistance on Skynet, although in our timeline Skynet is called Steam and has also decided to neutralize humanity albeit with methods of super game sales, forcing people to stay by their computers forever.

And that's just the near future! I don't like how only one of those movies has a positive outlook on what's coming up, so I'm going to throw my thoughts in the mix. But first, let's take a look at the year that's been.

2013 in retrospect

The Baby (& The MMO)
2013 has turned out to be a pretty important year for me, not only is it the year my son is born, but also the year I decided to quit WoW. Both these events were pretty traumatizing to go through and in a way the one has replaced the other. Admittedly I did not quit WoW because I was having a kid, I decided to quit WoW because my work schedule changed and did so long before my son was born. It's not a decision I regret, and I still know I can return to WoW anytime I like, but oh do I miss playing it. I miss it so very much. Having a kid has been a good replacement however since it's basically also a game that takes up most of my day at the moment, and one that I am having a lot of fun with as I've mentioned before

Watching your child grow to learn how to grasp items and communicate with you (that's the level we're at now) is a lot more fun than one would think, and somehow I can relate a lot of my gaming experience to what my son probably is going through at the moment. I can recognize myself in both his frustration and curiosity as he struggles to learn motor coordination and understanding his surroundings - not unlike learning how to play a game. There are a lot of parallells to be drawn between him throwing out his tiny fist in yet another go, with the end result most often being him just punching himself in the face, and me giving that annoying, hard-ass boss in FFV another try. The difference is that my son goes at it with a patience and determination that is commendable, and I at least who get easily frustrated and give up, have a lot to learn from that. Most importantly, since he can't know that the end result and reward for all that hard work will be worth it, he does it because he sees enjoyment in the struggle (although hard wired to do so), and that in particular is something I should get a lot better at.

To me it is a lot like playing a game with him when we coo together and look at otherwise menial objects (pottery plants are apparently really interesting). It's fascinating how he can stare at something for half an hour trying to understand/grasp it, but how different is it from me grinding trolls in Stranglethorn Vale for that special drop? I imagine my son is "grinding" in a way, we both repeat something over and over until we succeed, I want a drop and he wants to be able to control his hands.

The Games List
Quitting WoW has allowed me to put more time into other games, and 2013 I've probably bought more games for myself than all other years in my life combined. One big reason for this is that before WoW I mostly played console games, and console games are still (or were at least pre-2005) quite expensive. I usually bought maybe three in a year, tops, this was a time when I hadn't started working yet so I didn't really have an income other than my allowance. Now that I've shifted to predominantly playing PC games, I do have an income, WoW isn't taking up all my time and PC games can be found so very, very cheaply (especially if you play oldies but goldies like me) I've gone pretty much bananas on any kind of sale just to build up a nice gaming library. In a way I've wanted to catch up on all the gaming I didn't do as a kid and check out games that everyone talks about but that I've never had the opportunity to play because the combination Mac + Poor = Very Little Gaming when I was younger. 

So far I've bought 37 games this year and obviously I am far from having had the opportunity to play them all yet. Then I have a massive list of games I want to play, that I don't own yet, but I'll get to that in a rainy future. Let's check out what I bought (and TLDR is just past this list);

Magic The Gathering 2014 - After having played the 2013 version and loved it I decided I wanted the 2014 version as well. I've played this throughout the year, it's one of those games I like just having around so that I can play a quick game every now and then, mostly because I love card games in general and MtG in particular and don't have anyone irl who plays it anymore.
Terraria - I played this intensely when I first bought it, probably a bit too intensely. I think I burned out on it and now it's been laying around, untouched, for quite some time. I really liked it and will probably get back into it eventually, which is why I still have it installed.
Faster Than Light - One of the most fun games I played this year and one of the reasons I've really come to love the roguelike genre (which seems to be making a massive come back this year). I am glad I decided to try it out although on the surface it looks quite dull. It's difficult, or I'm just really bad, because I have yet to complete it in normal mode. I've had a little break from it recently, but they're in the works of releasing a big, and free (!), DLC for it and I am sure to play loads more when that happens.

A good example of "looks can be deceiving" - ubuntuvibes.com

Dragon Age Origins - I haven't got around to playing this yet. It's one of those big games I want to make sure I have enough time for before I start it up. These games, just like Skyrim, require a certain amount of time to get the proper immersion ie fun out of them I think.
Alan Wake - Game I bought to play together with the bf. I am a huge fan of horror games but way too chicken to play them myself. Therefor I either watch Let's Plays of them or force my bf to play them for me for me to watch. We got started on it and it seemed promising, but now it's been lying around waiting for us to continue for ages. I'm not sure why we lost interest, but maybe the story wasn't that interesting (especially not after playing the RE games).
Skyrim - I was quite disappointed with this game, and after having spent some 70 hours in it, mostly randomly running around exploring the map, I decided that was enough and uninstalled it. I don't miss it one bit, and although I am sure some might think I was playing it wrong, I can't see myself finding enough enjoyment out of it by modding/whatever to make me want to play it again.
Pokemon Stadium - I used to own this game and was stupid enough to sell it, way back when. My plan was to use the money to buy Pokemon Stadium 2, which never happened. Ever since then I've wanted to get it back, and when I saw that they had a copy in Game that wasn't horribly overpriced I decided to take the opportunity. It's one of those games I don't necessarily want to play, I just want to own it.

I know what you think they look like, you dirty mind you - giantbomb.com

Pokemon Colosseum - When I couldn't find Pokemon Stadium anywhere that wasn't overly pricey or in german, I decided to comfort myself with Pokemon Colosseum instead. It's also a reasonably fun game actually, which I intend to finish at some point in a distant future.
Wipeout 64 - I'm a pretty big fan of the Wipeout games, and have one on the PS2 as well. I decided to get this to try it out, turns out you need a Memory Pak to be able to save, which I don't have (yet). Haven't been playing this much because of that, but if I get around to buying that Memory Pak I will love to play this game.
Planescape Torment - Part of a big bundle of games I bought from gog.com, all oldie goldie RPG that I've heard so many good things about but never played myself. I wanted to change that, Planescape Torment is the only one out of those I've gotten around to playing and finishing though. The main issue is obviously that these games require quite a lot of focus and time from you, because if you take any kind of break and try to get back into them you will be confused and lost for hours.
Neverwinter Night - Part of the abovementioned bundle, have not got around to play yet.
Icewind Dale 1 & 2 - Same as above.
Baldurs Gate 1 & 2 - Same as above.
Deus Ex - A long time ago, when I was but a wee lass... ahem. When we had just basically got our first PC I remember my dad coming home with a game he had borrowed from some work friend, telling us (me and my brother) that it "was great and we should definitely play it". Deus Ex was way too complicated for a newbie gamer like me and I doubt I got passed the first screen. In fact I'm not even sure I dared to install the game, considering I had no knowledge of how a PC worked at this time and was still heavy into console gaming. I probably will never play Deus Ex, but I know it's a good game and I think it's one of those games you need to have in your gaming collection. Who knows, maybe my son will find it eventually, many years from now, and try it out.
Heroes of Might and Magic 2 -  HoMM 3 is one of my all time favorite games and I've put more hours into it than I care to count. It's one of those games that you start up with the intent of "just playing it for a bit", you look up and five hours have gone by in a flash. Some people say that the second game in the series is in fact the best one so I decided I had to find out for myself. I agree that a lot of the elements that make the third one so good are already available in the second one, but I think the third one takes all those elements, adds a couple of new ones and refines them into a game of perfection. I had loads of fun with HoMM2 though, and I'm keeping both around for that "just one little game" whenever I feel like killing off a boring day.

Proves that you don't need pretty graphics to make a kick-ass game - redshirtcrew.com

Serious Sam 1 & 2 - I bought my little brother Serious Sam 2 as a birthday gift ages ago, in the end I ended up playing it about as much as he did, which wasn't all that much. I was quite young and although I really liked the game, it was both a bit too difficult and quite honestly a bit too scary for me. All those monsters running at me, and particularly the headless screaming guys with bombs in their hands, freaked me out. But I had a lot of fun with it and I love wonky shooters, so I felt like I needed to have these games.
System Shock 2 - I don't know why I bought this game because I am quite sure I will never gather the nerve to actually play it. I'll blame that I found out after I bought it that System Shock 2 is on many peoples "Top Scariest Games" list, whereas I just knew that it was a precursor of sorts to the Bioshock series. Since I wanted to play the Bioshock games I also wanted to give System Shock 2 a try. I still intend to play it of course, and since I managed to get through Half-Life without too much trouble maybe SS2 won't be so bad? Or am I fooling myself here...
Myst - I am so dreadfully bad at puzzle games, I wouldn't get out of the first room in Myst without a walkthrough for sure. I remember my mom playing this game (she loved puzzle games when I was younger), and when the bf said he was looking for a challenging puzzle game, having completed Safecracker without too much trouble, I suggested this and gave it to him as a gift. Seeing him play it also reminded me of another game, quite unrelated to Myst but that I played at the time called Myth. Also a game I didn't get very far in.
Fallout 1, 2, Tactics, 3 & New Vegas - I've always wanted to play the Fallout games ever since I watched a friend of mine burn through them when we were younger. As a Mac owner, the Fallout games were just one of many series I couldn't play on my computer, to my dismay. I decided to change that this year and got my hands on all the games, but have only got around to playing the first one recently. Definitely enjoying it so far.
Soul Calibur 2 - I was that kid who turned off the console when I lost in a competitive game, and fighting games were the worst for me. Every now and then I would get the false sense of hope of actually having some skill when I button mashed myself to victory against some of my friends, only to have those hopes crushed horribly the next round against someone who actually knew what they were doing. Soul Calibur 2 was one of the few games where my button mashing, in the incorporation of Voldo, actually took me a bit further, and thus it was a game I enjoyed a bit more. I actually do like fighting games in general nowadays, if only I wasn't so dang bad at them.

He would also make a good boss in RE - fuckyeahvoldo.tumblr.com

Guilty Gear x 2 Reload - Got to love fighting games and their long ass names. Street Fighter is normally among the worst perpetrators, but this one comes pretty close. I have never played GGX2R, but the bf said it was good, it looked good and so I decided to give it a go. I still haven't though, but I will.
Thief 2 & 3 - Watching my ex play the Thief games really made me want to try them, but I didn't get around to buying them until this year (for abovementioned reasons). I still haven't played any of them, simply because they're not top of my list and also I'm really not looking forward to that one really creepy stage that I know is in there somewhere.
Bioshock 1 & 2 - Another game series I watched other people play and finally thought I wanted to try myself, I've gotten around to playing Bioshock 1 some and so far I'm not overwhelmed by it. It's ok, but maybe a bit repetative. It might be because I already know most of the story and so the novelty of discovering Rapture and the crazy things that went on there is a bit lost on me. It's the drawback of playing games way late.

Having second thoughts on playing this now... - bioshock.wikia.com

Game Dev Tycoon - I like some Sim games, but it's far from my favorite genre. I never understood the fun in The Sims for instance, which bores me to tears. On the other hand I played Sim Tower for hours on end. I heard a lot of good things about Game Dev Tycoon, so when I found it for a cheap coin I decided I wanted to try it. Still haven't got around to doing that though.
Pokémon X - As I've said in a couple of other posts already, I had been looking forward to the most recent Pokemon game since I first heard of it early this year. Obviously I had to buy it and I have been playing and enjoying it loads since it was released. I am still playing it every now and then, entertaining my pet project of trying to complete the elite four with as many different pokemon as possible.
Resident Evil 5 - My most recent purchase, bought just before Christmas actually. The idea was for me and the bf to co-op it. First we weren't sure if you could play co-oo with just one game, turns out you can't (at least we don't think so) so we had to buy another copy. Then it turns out you need a Games For Windows Live account to be able to invite eachother to a game. I thought GfWL was dead already and setting up an account was a hassle I would've liked to be without. Once we finally managed to get everything in order and were about to play, it turns out the graphics card on the bfs computer isn't strong enough, so there won't be any playing done until we get around to update that piece of hardware, unfortunately. Boo...
Cthulhu Save The World - I read about this game quite a while back, it looks like a fun little RPG set in the old style that I like, and considering they were basically giving it away on Steam I thought I'd give it a go. I also bought this just a couple of days ago so I haven't gotten around to trying it yet.

Nope, no problem - missiongeek.com

Eldritch - Last but not least, Eldritch, a game I first heard about a couple of months ago. I was intrigued from the start with a game that promised to mix two of my favorite things - roguelikes and Lovecraft. At the time it was released I didn't think I had the time to play it so I waited with buying it, but of course the Steam sale finally convinced me to get it although my gaming schedule is way overpacked at the moment. On the other hand the game isn't going anywhere (I hope), so I'll get around to playing it eventually, and I am looking forward to it.
Steam Marines - It's a roguelike, it's in space, it was cheap, so obviously I had to buy it. It's still in early access so I haven't checked it out yet, also I suspect it's actually too difficult for me, but we'll see.
Torchlight 2 - I love dungeon crawlers and I quite liked the first Torchlight, although I didn't get around to playing it all that much because I was a bit burnt out on Diablo3. I've heard the sequel is supposed to be better though, so I definitely have to give that a go soon. 

Phew, that's it for my gaming acquisitions this year, and that's not even mentioning all the games on my long list of games I really want to play that I haven't got around to buying yet. Or all the games I played that I didn't buy, like Black Mesa, Pokémon: Mystery Dungeon and Card Hunter. Needless to say, I have a lot more games to play than I have time to play them, and it is both thrilling and stressful to have such a backlog of awesome games to play. I am worried that something will happen to the internet, or that either Steam or gog.com (or horror of all horrors, both) will pull the plug, effectively reducing my PC gaming library by 95%, but if that happens I guess I have to go back to my more trustworthy consoles and play Sonic until I finally manage to finish it properly.

TLDR - Welcome back from skipping that massive list, or congratulations on getting through it if you actually bothered to read it. You must have an exceptionally boring day at work.

2014 New Years Promises To Break

No, I won't make any promises for 2014, because I know I will break them, or at least stretch them to breaking point. Let's mention some hopes for 2014 instead!

I was really happy to personally re-discover the roguelike genre in 2013, which seemed to have somewhat of a comeback and boom during this year, and I can only hope that there will be plenty more games of this style released in 2014. My first encounter with a roguelike was with the splendid Azure Dreams for PS1 many years ago and I loved the concept, so I was much pleased to see it return to the gaming scene again. I am ridiculously fond of pretty much everything that signifies a good roguelike, from the randomization of levels, grinding to perma-death, which is why I have enjoyed games like FTL and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon so much. 

Another genre I really love that seemed to have something of a boom this year are the card games. We've got oldies like MtG hanging around since before, but this year we got betas for both Scrolls from Mojang and Hearthstone from Blizzard. I love card games ever since I started playing Pokemon TCG ages ago. That got me into MtG and further looking for most things cardy (except Yu-Gi-Oh). I've tried things like Munchkin and Spank the Monkey and loved it, I even created my own card game together with my brother when we were kids (it kicked ass tbh, but we didn't want to use our existing Pokemon cards to draw on). I really hope there will be more games like this in the upcoming year.

Not related to the picture but still fact: Pokémon owns Yu-Gi-Oh - pcgamer.com

Out of the games I've got lying around waiting for my attention, I am looking forward to playing the Fallout games the most, also System Shock 2 eventhough I know it will scare the crap out of me for sure. And the Thief games actually. I was looking forward to playing Dragon Age quite a lot, but that's taken a slight turn in my disappointment with Skyrim. I am hoping they're not too much alike, but rather that Dragon Age might retain the good parts and not have too much of the bad ones.

Just as everyone else, it seems, I'm quite fond of watching Let's Plays. There are many games I am interested in without wanting to play them myself, horror games most notably, but also other games. If you happen to have a Let's Play channel, give me a shout and I would love to check it out. It's always fun to find new people to follow. I'm also hoping I'll get started on my own personal Let's Plays eventually, as I've at least gotten started with the co-op ones with the bf (which I also intend to continue). Of course in my case it's very heavily reliant on what Mini-Me is up to, as it is now there can be days in a row where there simply is no good window of opportunity to do some recording. Here are a couple I recommend (shameless plugs inc!);

SegaVellik - The bfs Let's Play channel, does mostly old MegaDrive/Genesis games.
OldNGamer - Old friend of mines' channel, does any kind of old (and some newer) games, mostly blind.
Jaev - Someone who actually isn't related to me somehow, I just like his Let's Plays. Does some more obscure games.

And finally, we have the ever overshadowing of WoW. Yes, I did quit it this summer, but I have not gone one day without thinking about it and missing it. Every day I will come across something completely random that sparks an equally random memory - thinking of running a dungeon, questing in some area or doing one of the raids I did. After nearly 8 years of playing that game there are very, very many hours of memories to take from. Honestly I never thought I'd be gone for long, and as it is now I will almost certainly return to WoW in the upcoming year. I have to remember however that I quit WoW for a reason, and that I did go months with an active account without ever feeling the need to log on. Right now I need to have a talk with myself and figure out whether I really want to play again or if I'm just being sappily nostalgic. We'll see. 

Either way I know the upcoming year holds tons of fun gaming, and I am really looking forward to it. I hope you'll be with me for another year, so Happy New Years to you all!


  1. Zinn

    Whew, that was a lot of reading, must be the longest post you have made in quite a while. Glad to hear your little one is doing fine, I find that they are much more engaging and adorable when they start really looking, interacting and "talking" to you, it is just priceless. I had never thought about how kids grind away at things (probably as most of the ones I dealt with were before my MMO days). Wait until your little guy starts eating Cheerios (or similar thing over there), little kids will sit and "grind" away at these things one by one. I get frustrated just watching them.

    I enjoyed most of the HOMM series as well, my favorite was probably 3 also. I also enjoyed the original King's Bounty (way back in the day). Once you found the map the second continent and could get the vampires, the game became a real breeze. I used to do it with just vampires and demons (for the flying), it was a lot of fun. Just stay away from the ghosts, they would get out of hand quickly.

    Anyway, happy new year's and best wishes to you and your family.

    1. Yeah that was a very lenghty post, and I didn't even put everything in there that I wanted! Thanks for the tip on King's Bounty, I checked it out and it looks interesting so I might try to play that some day (but as you know now my list of games to play is very long ^^). Thanks for the well wishes, same to you!

  2. All the best for 2014 Zinn.

    Reading this post, it's clear you've been busy last year and you will be busy coming year. Going though all this, together with a little one to care for, a boyfriend to please, a house to keep and maybe even a job to attend, you won't have a dull moment I guess.

    1. The same to you Asverze!

      Indeed there is a lot to do, but fortunately still some time for gaming and the occasional blogging :) Can't have all work and no play after all