Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Positive Posting

Ray Ferrier: They're not from around here.
Robbie Ferrier: You mean they're, like, from Europe?
”War of the Worlds”

Think positive thoughts, think positive thoughts…

Well, since I did not play a hand of poker last night, resisting all temptation and bias, I think I am off to a good start. And as promised, here comes a positive post. Since I have nothing good to say about poker at the moment, I will instead focus on another time wasting venture of mine – video games. Here is a brief list of some of my favourite video game series and why I spent so much time and money on them.

Grand Theft Auto

I was in love with these games from the beginning. When GTA 3 came out with it’s revolutionary free-roaming game play, I was hooked. This was everything a video game was supposed to be for me. The original release of GTA3 in Australia was actually banned a few weeks after it had hit the shelves. Not because you stole cars, not because you dealt drugs, not because you could focus your rocket launcher on the local police, and not because you could solicit prostitution – but because after you had solicited the expertise of said young lady, you could beat her with a baseball bat and get your money back. THAT is just unacceptable apparently. Just like my little brother once said, “I man should be able to get head if he so chooses”. The stupid thing is, you can still get the un-censored version sent over from New Zealand for about $5 extra than what it costs to buy it here, so the real losers are the retailers.

But what I think was the biggest difference in these games was the ability to play the bad guy. There are not that many games that let you be evil if you wish, and certainly not when the original come out. Ah yes, the original GTA – I spent hours trying to run over those little Hare Krishna’s.

Finishing one of these games is a very sad day. Because while there are plenty of other things to do in the game, and it can never truly be over, you can only play through it for the first time once.

Monkey Island

“Hi, I’m Guybrush Threepwood, and I want to be a pirate!”. I have played and finished all 5 in this series or role playing adventures. The first three had crappy graphics compared to the last two, but the humour and storyline were much better, and in the end that is what really counts. Great games, and even better is the price on them now is dirt cheap. Don’t know if they are looking to make any more in this series as I think the interest dropped off in the last few.

Leisure Suit Larry

Originally the appeal of this “Adult Adventure” would be for any 12 year old to “crack” the age verification and then try to see some pixelated nudity to giggle at. Essentially the game was all about taking one object from location A and delivering it to location B. What kept the game alive was the brilliant humour of Mr. Al Lowe. I still subscribe to Al Lowe’s online newsletter, since he has nothing to do with the series any more. Sad thing – I never got to play number 7 and number 6 in the series always crashed on my machine. Don’t know if it needed a patch downloaded or what but it just never worked all the way through for me. I think number 5 in the series was the only one I could finish without using a walk through.

Legacy of Kain

The first in the series – Blood Omen – had an awesome story to it which kept you interested more than anything. Well, that and the fact you could suck blood. That’s pretty cool too.
I can still remember some of the brilliant quotes from the game, worthy of any cult film. The ending to the first story, some what rushed as it is, was a brilliant little twist and definitely went against the grain. I didn’t like the endings in the others because it really left me feeling like there was no conclusion.

I never bought the original on the PS1, but I hired it from the local video store a dozen times before I finished it. I am still surprised that the story was never transferred into a film of some description. Pity really.

Quest For Glory: So you want to be a hero

I absolutely loved this game, it had everything. If they released one now it could be awesome. It combined the character building and fighting of a Dungeons and Dragons game with very good humour. I would finish each game as the thief first – always the thief for some reason. Maybe this is a dormant part of my psyche that wants to be outside the law. Anyways, when ever I went as the warrior, I could never get to the Paladin stage which was disappointing because that would have unlocked another part of the game that I never got to see. I believe his series died too when Sierra got sold off or reshuffled, whatever, just like Leisure Suit Larry. Such a shame.

Again though, this was another game where I never got to finish the final chapter because it would always crash. I think it was called the “Heart of Darkness”, and right at the end it would simply crash after you completed one of the tasks. I was not happy to say the least. Several years latter, I picked up another copy of the game from a discount bin and rejoiced in reliving my past days of gaming – when the bloody thing crashed again in the exact same place. This was in the days before I knew what a “patch” was, so I suspect there was some problems there that could have been fixed. . If they did a new version of Quest For Glory today, you can bet I’ll be the first one in line

It’s weird, after all they are only video games but they left me feeling like there was something unfinished in my life when I couldn’t complete them. I could get obsessed with them and play for hours. Which might explain my current fascination with online poker – perhaps this is just another video game that I haven’t completed yet. Perhaps I am looking for that elusive high score and end scene to denote I won everything. This topic might warrant some more thought from me in time…


Huge Junk said...

Where's the Hunt The Wumpus review?

Heafy said...

I actually had to look that up. Hunt The Wumpus was released 8 years before I was born. I missed the sequels too.