Tuesday, February 25, 2014

R.I.P Leia (070997 - 080214)

The more you love something, the more it hurts when it's gone. That's something I am pretty sure all of you have experienced, hopefully not too often. I am sad to tell you that my lovely little cat girl Leia has passed away, she would've turned 17 this year. I am writing this post because I feel like she, just has her brother who passed away 5 years ago, deserves it and because everyone should know what an awesome little cat lady she was.

Leia and Luke were the only pets I ever had (yes, named after the Skywalkers!). When I moved from home, one of the hardest things to move away from were definitely these two little rascals and I knew I would even miss their pain in the ass rummaging in the middle of the night.

Leia was so very curious, she loved running up to us when we came home just to see what we might have in your bags. She climbed everything she could see and I can't even count the amount of times we had to pull (yes, pull!) her down from the roof of my dads balcony because she couldn't get down herself. Our curtains took their share of her escapades as well. She quickly learned how to open doors around her which forced us to take counter measures to make sure she didn't let her brother out. In fact she hated closed doors and always made sure we knew that she wanted us to open them when we had them locked. Leia never shied away from vocalizing her thoughts or needs, but she gave twice as much love and attention as she asked for. Countless are the times she came comforting me when I was sad, it's like she knew.

Leia loved socializing and never went out on her own, she always wanted company. Taking a walk she used to run after us, meowing along to make sure we wouldn't forget her. When something happened at home she made sure to get a spot where she could sit and observe. She hated loud noises and would meow angrily if someone sneezed or did the dishes. She was playful and loved playing fetch. Her favorites were crumpled little balls of plastic bags that she wanted us to throw so that she could run off and bring them back to us. She'd drop them at our feet, look up expectantly and meow. She'd go crazy if there was promise of mince meat or chicken.

My sweet, lovely, beautiful little girl - I love you so very much and I hope there is someone to play fetch with you, talk to you and hug you wherever you are now. I will never forget you and I will always miss you. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Top 5 Games I Regret Buying

I've been talking a lot lately about all the games I've bought and that I am currently trying to work my way through, this got me eventually to thinking about a couple of games I've bought throughout my life that I actually regret buying. It happens a lot less frequent than you'd think. In fact, finding 5 entries for this list was difficult and I just barely scraped enough of games together. Obviously, before there was massive Steam sales, each game I bought was most often carefully scouted beforehand, to make sure that the money put down on it was going to be worth it. Not only were the games pricier, I also had less money to spend on games and if I bought a bad one that was what I had to live with until I had saved up enough money for the next one, something that normally took a couple of months. One benefit to this was that I gave each game more time and so an initally boring game could grow on me, something I miss about the fast paced flow of games that is common place now. If a game doesn't amuse me within the first 30 minutes, I have 20 other ones to take its place instantly and sometimes I find it hard to motivate myself to pain through something I'm not enjoying when I could be doing something fun instead. But I digress, and that feels like material for a different post.

My point here however is that the games on this list aren't necessarily games that I simply didn't enjoy but rather a combination of a game I really looked forward to trying, was quite disappointed with and subsequently felt like I had spent a lot more money on than I thought it was worth. If I pay a small sum for a moderately fun to boring game, I probably won't regret that buy much. A good example is Skyrim, which although I ended up not liking very much, I definitely don't regret buying it, and it was still among the most expensive games I bought that year. The difference between Skyrim for instance and the games on this list is that I wasn't expecting too much from Skyrim, although a lot more than I got, and I think I got my moneys worth out of it in the end after all. For the following games however, not so much.

5. Rayman Origin (N3DS)
This game is only fifth on this list because it's actually a really good game and I can appreciate it as such eventhough I ended up not liking it. After having played a lot of Rayman on the GBA, I decided to grab this game on a whim when I was on something of a shopping spree in a Game store. It was on sale already and since it was marked up in pounds, which are worth ten times the swedish krona making the price look ridiculously cheap, I didn't really think much about it. Unfortunately it turns out that A. I really suck at platformers and B. Platformers are just not my thing (these are probably connected somehow).

Impending doom - playstationer.net

Sure, I had had a lot of fun with Rayman on the GBA, but Rayman Origin wasn't enough like it for me to enjoy it in the same way. Because of this I was quite disappointed when the gameplay wasn't exactly like I remembered it and even more so when the game kept kicking my ass way more than Rayman on the GBA ever did. To put it simply, Rayman Origin was way too difficult for me and my tendency to get easily frustrated did not help. I was hoping for some simple platforming fun, but I realize this was just not the game to choose for a newb platformer like me. In the end I don't regret buying Rayman Origin too much since it's not a game I mind owning, but it does make me sad knowing I will most likely never finish it and I really wouldn't have minded never having picked it up either.

4. Suikoden V (PS2)
Two of the games on this list I've bought purely based on someone elses recommendation without much prior knowledge of it - Suikoden V is one of those games. I was up visiting my parents, walked into a game store and found that one of my old childhood friends was now working in that store. I couldn't stand the guy when we were kids, he was an arrogant prick to put it nicely, but he had turned into a really nice guy as an adult. I asked him if he could recommend some game for me and he suggested Suikoden V. Since I quite like JRPGs and was in a bit of a slump not having played any good ones for a while, I was eager to get my hands on something interesting. I had heard of the name Suikoden, but never played any of the games. The case looked interesting enough and the back description was just as vague as you'd expect from a fairly generic RPG of this style.

Nowadays I always check the internet for metascores and/or reviews before I buy anything I don't know much about, if there is a larger sum of money involved, just so I will have a rough idea of what I am looking at basically. But at that point smartphones weren't a thing yet so I had only his recommendation to go of.

I wish I was this happy playing it - decaires.wordpress.com

I've tried to play Suikoden V three times, and each time I get tired at about the same place, roughly 2 hours into the game. I'm not entirely sure why I lose interest at this point - I just don't care about the characters, the intro part is too long and too boring and I guess a lot of it is just stuff I've seen before without it being engaging enough to want to do again. I will most likely give Suikoden V yet another try in the future, maybe it's one of those games that gets a bit better if you give it some time.

3. Might & Magic Heroes VI (PC)
I am a massive fan of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and because of this I've felt compelled to at least check out all the other parts of the series. First up was HoMM 4 and initially I didn't check it out at all, I assumed it would at least be somewhat as fun as HoMM3. Even if it was only half as fun it would pretty damn fun, I decided. Oh how wrong I was. I don't remember much about HoMM4, I only remember that they had massively changed the map and I was completely confused about what anything was when running around. In HoMM3 most things are very clear whereas in HoMM4 I couldn't separate background objects from important ones, and that was just one of the problems I had with the game. It wasn't half as fun as HoMM3, it was maybe a 100th.

Pretty does not a fun game make - cdon.se

After the mistake I did with HoMM4 I decided to make sure any subsequent games looked decent before I paid for them - I didn't even buy HoMM5 because it seemed like it was too much like HoMM4 and not enough like HoMM3. When what would essentially be HoMM6 was released, although they then felt the need to rename it to MMH6 for some reason, I actually thought that they might've gotten it right this time. I didn't think it would be as fun as HoMM3, I realized that game would be pretty damn hard to beat, but maybe it could at least come pretty close. The combat system looked fun and I liked the better graphics and updated models.

So I bought it and I really, really wanted to like it. It was far from shit like HoMM4 so at first it reeled me in and got me really hopeful about being quite fun. Unfortunately it quickly turned out it wasn't, I guess I just couldn't come to terms with the changed style of town building and other changes they had made to the winning HoMM3 formula. I think my disappointment with this game is the reason it is on this list rather than HoMM4. It really got my hopes up and crushed them pretty badly, and still to this day I wonder why it's so hard to make another decent HoMM game (and do you really need to rename it?). HoMM2 was great though.

2. Bastion (PC)
Another game I bought because someone recommended it to me, and not only that person but pretty much any reviewer on the internet said that this game would be so much fun and worth buying. Obviously you won't always agree with reviewers, for instance my bf thinks The Walking Dead games are shit whereas everyone else in the world seem to think they're ambrosia for the mind. To me it was just about running around shooting stuff, which can be fun - but it wasn't. I didn't get passed the first stage, I think, before I decided that clearly this game was just not for me.

Why was this so fun? - supergiantgames.com

I guess my problem with Bastion is that not only was I disappointed in how much I didn't enjoy it, but because I didn't listen to my inner self when I actually knew I wasn't going to like it. I bought it simply because it was recommended and I wish I would've given it more thought. It's not about the money, because it wasn't very expensive, it just annoys me to think that I had no reason to buy it and did it anyway because I was stupid at that particular moment. Hopefully I've learned something from that experience.

1. Unlimited Saga (PS2)
This is another game on this list put here mostly because of the emotional attachment I have to it, in a negative sense (just as with Bastion). I was maybe 16 and had seen Unlimited Saga on the store shelves. I don't know if you've seen the case, but at the time I thought it looked amazing. Someone should've stepped in right then and there and told me not to judge a game by its covers, because I was completely awed by the game based on nothing but how the case looked. This was during a time when most of my games would come from my parents during birthdays/christmas, so naturally I wished for it - and got it.

It just screams "buy me!" - obsolete-tears.com

I was thrilled and overjoyed, as you are when you get a game you've really wanted to play and immediately popped it into my ps2 to give it a go. I was expecting something along the lines of Final Fantasy, at least and was completely confused and utterly disappointed when what I got was nothing like it. Not only was it nothing like Final Fantasy, it was nothing like any RPG I had seen before. I played for an hour or two, not understanding what was going on or why the game was so weird. I turned it off and haven't played it since.

That would've been all well and nice if not for the fact that I had known that I had begged my parents to buy it and they had spent a good chunk of money getting it for me in the hopes that it would make me happy. Of course my dad asked me if I liked it and I had to white lie something along the lines of "yeah it seems interesting" or whatever I might've said while silently hating myself for not loving it. If I had bought it myself I would've been the only one to suffer, but now I had fooled my parents into wasting money on that piece of crap for me, and that made me feel so awful.

Even more annoying is the fact that I've lost it since, and now I sit wanting to give it another go, thinking that I might enjoy it at this age. In the end that game will always be a bother for me, for the massive hopes I had for it, the massive let down it turned out to be, how it made me feel like I let my parents down and how it's gone now that I want to give it another chance. That game is one of those things on my mind when my brain feels like it wants to torment me about thinking about things that make me feel bad. I know it's just a game, but damn that damn game.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Field Report #22 - Let's Play Something

Woah, hold up. I aint dead, I just dug myself into another project for a while, but now I am back here again to give you a little update on what's going on!

First things first, the reason I have been a bit silent on the blog front (although not for the first and probably not the last time) is simply because I finally got around to do Let's Plays like I wanted. Not just collaboration co-op Let's Plays, but my own ones. I don't need to say much about them I think - I'm having a lot of fun doing them obviously, the quality is so-so as I am using a table top microphone and suck at editing, but just as with my blogging I do it because it's fun and if someone else has some enjoyment out of it that's a nice bonus. Go check them out if you're interested!

So now that I've nerded down into Let's Playing and got that show on the road basically, I am back with motivation to blog. My problem at the moment is that the few moments of free time I have during the day go to gaming, and Let's Playing combines itself a bit better with that than the blogging does. Both the blogging and the reading have been a bit neglected since I became a parent, apparently gaming is the top of my prio list, just after my son obviously. I am not lacking ideas for posts fortunately, at least I have that. I think about things to write about every day and scribble little notes in my note book that I always have handy. It is simply a matter of finding some time, and when I have the time it also has to coincide with motivation. But enough about that! What games have I been checking out in this new year?

I finished off Fallout and started Fallout 2. I was a bit disappointed stumped with my experience of Fallout, it seems that what I remembered of the game from watching friends play as a kid was pretty much all there was to it. In case you haven't played it there is some spoilers inc here now. I pretty much just ran around on random and managed to solve the water chip quest and then also randomly ran into the Super Mutant Military Base well before I was ready for it. I had to reload my save many, many times to manage to escape out of that area, but that also meant that once I got the quest to go there I knew exactly where it was and finished that fairly easily. I probably lucked out, but still felt like the game was extremely short. I was still eager to try out Fallout 2 however.

I see this screen a lot... - fallout.wikia.com

Turns out I've played it before, albeit not far. I recognized the initial cave and probably played a bit outside of Arroyo. I didn't like the time limit given to you in Fallout, so I am glad you're a bit more free to explore in Fallout 2. So far I absolutely love it, it feels like Fallout 2 is everything I missed in Fallout. There is just more of everything that made Fallout fun, so many quests and places to discover. At first I was very careful and barely dared talking to anyone for fear of them either killing me or me just screwing up some option or quest. As I've played on however I've decided to just play a more of a "meh screw it" style, where I just move along and if shit happens, it happens. I can't be bothered to worry too much about missing out on some content, but feel like that's where a replay will come in handy later on instead. Shortly put - I've come to terms with not getting everything on my first playthrough, and this is yet another level for me in my gaming evolution. I feel like many modern games not only spoonfeed you how, when and where to do everything, you can often feel safe that the game won't screw you over. Fallout, and most other RPGs from this time are not as nice. If you accidentally kill the guy who was part of a quest that would've given you an awesome armor, you are shit out of luck and without that armor (unless you reload obviously). But I like that, it gives me more satisfaction when I actually succeed with getting or finding something.

I'm glad, because before I probably would've just been angry that I missed out on something. I remember how angry I got that I missed a secret summon in Final Fantasy X, when my then-bf found it. I got so angry in fact that I stopped playing the game, since everything would be harder for me because I didn't have that one summon. Ridiculous, I know. Fallout 2 has proven to be the perfect teacher of "let it go" for me, because there is just no way to perfect that game without cheating. I am not beyond cheating! That is exactly what I would do normally as soon as I feel like I've missed something remotely useful. Fallout 2 doesn't even make cheating easy, as the quests are so intricate and ellaborate that even when I tried to read up on one of them I found myself more confused than before. That is when I decided to stop worrying, just do shit and see what happened. And I love it. Thank you Fallout 2 for teaching me that I don't need to find everything to have a good gaming experience.

It's so cool, they even play it in WoW! - blizzplanet.com

I've also been trying out Hearthstone, so far only very shortly however. I can not believe the hype around it, I mean it seems to be huge around the internets. My twitter feed has been going hot with talk about it, and so before the open beta I was very eager to get to give a try, especially since I am quite a big fan of card games of any kind. So far I am not wowed though. I realize that the most fun is probably in the pvp, which I haven't tried yet - I even read a review of it that pretty much summed up my thought so far of it, saying that the initial impression isn't all that great but that it quickly grows on you and then firmly sinks its claws in you. I will probably get back to you with a more proper review on it, I have already written down a pages worth in my little note book with thoughts on Hearthstone so hopefully that is a blog post that'll get written. At the moment I definitely feel like I need to give it more playtime before I can give it a just judgement however, so I'll get back to you on that.

I've started playing Chtulhu Saves the World as well, it's a cute and simple little indie RPG. It's very generic, but I don't think it's trying to be anything else and it has a lot of humour and heart. It's perfect to kill those short moments of free time and has an interesting battle system actually. It's also something I might write a little review of some day. I probably should stop half-promising all these things!

That's pretty much what I've got rolling at the moment, not counting the games I currently Let's Play - Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (which is a ton of fun!), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (classic point & click, I love it) and Bioshock (I'm really looking forward to trying Bioshock 2 as well).

Although this was just a boring update post, I am hoping to get some other posts up in a near future (there I go with half-promises again). Like I said I have a lot of ideas so it's just about writing them down really. Maybe even within a month this time!