I’m not dead, I’m alive and writing, for better or worse. Finished writing two articles up for Boomercharged, one apparently being quite controversial as well as badly written, so my usual standard then. I’ve got a few more articles lined up for Boomercharged as well. As for this blog I’ve got a few articles I’m working on, one being a short story nothing to do with games (just to mix things up a bit). Worthington is not dead either he’s still bringing love and peace to the wastes. I’m just thinking of a few ways to make those articles more interesting, funny and fresh. That’s all for now, expect to see some more posts later in the week.
Ghosts. I don’t like ghosts, I don’t like ones with broken necks, bleeding eyes, long arms, or disembodied heads. They can sod right off, the lot of them. This ghost bigotry comes courtesy from playing through the Fatal Frame series of games (or as it’s known here in Europe, Project Zero). It’s been such a long time that I’d almost forgotten that games could actually be scary, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Looking at the current market of horror games it appears that game developers have also forgotten how to make a good scary game. Resident Evil 5 seems to have given up with the scares and is shaping up to be a third person shoot fest with a buddy, it’s about a chainsaw and a chest high wall away from becoming Gears of War. Monolith forgot what Condemned was all about and instead produced a game about a superhero with shouty powers. Dead Space lacks any real atmosphere. And the less said about Alone in the Dark 5 the better (Fire bullets).
What happened to the games that made me hesitate to even play them (as I type this Fatal Frame sits at the end of my bed taunting me, daring me to play it), games that drew me so far into their own twisted world that I’d have to check the closet and creepy little dolls had to be expelled from the house before I slept, you know, just in case. It seems Survival horror is drawing it’s last breaths, as the market moves away from deep psychological horror drenched in tense atmosphere towards a more mainstream acceptance of action horror (surely that’s an oxymoron).
But you know who’s missing out the most? The kids.
Yes games have come a long way since the days of games composed of whiney static on tapes, and the main protagonist was composed of 4 pixels. We’ve come leaps and bounds since the games industry’s second revival in 1985, I still remember being mind boggled by the graphics of Desert Strike. Graphics have gone from two dimensional sprites in a world of tiled textures to a fully three dimensional rendered world of bloom and lighting effects. Audio has transcended from simple blips and beeps your computer made to dramatic music and delicious ambient background sounds. Stories have gone from saving the princess to epic tales that take multiple games to tell. And now even real world physics are being put into games, soon the games developers will need at least one physicist on the team.
While those have come many miles since their first incarnation, the A.I.’s progress seems to have all the progress of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a mountain. Sure A.I. now is far superior than that of yesteryear but it’s progress doesn’t seem to be as important to game developers. Everytime a developer raves of their A.I. improvements it turns out to be little else than a more refined version of the marines from Half Life. Of course this is an unfair generalisation, but it still seems that the dream of facing off against A.I. that could actually challenge you (without cheating, i.e. catch up A.I., see mario kart and nearly every racing game) has been lost in favour of online play. Only RTS games seem to really get a clever A.I. (Galactic Civilization 2)while us dumb FPS gamers are stuck with A.I. that still sometimes run straight off cliffs or into fire. So I have devised a shopping list of things I would like to see used more in games.
I’ve been playing a lot of Dwarf Fortress recently and things had been going well on my very first fortress. I couldn’t seem to attract new migrants but everything was ticking over rather nicely. So I decided to expand my base by digging underground eastwards with my head miner, Einstein. Unfortunately the river is also eastwards, Einstein had to run for his short rotund life when that water came. He made it to safety fortunately and I decided to pave over the lower stairs to help cover up this minor incident of losing the whole of my lower levels to flooding.
I enlisted all my mason’s to help and in no time it was done. It wasn’t too bad I didn’t have anything built down there yet and I could always make a well above it. Five minutes later a notice popped up to tell me one of my carpenter’s, Isaac Newton, had drowned. Yes in my haste I had forgot to check no one else was down there before bricking up my lower levels, and as a result Newton had drowned as the water slowly rose above his stubby head.
And how does the game decide interpret Einstein’s day? With two wonderful sentences:
Saw a friend die today. Saw a beautiful waterfall today.
A quick note about the temple of trials Worthington just completed. The trials are used as a tutorial to ease players into the gameplay, while providing enough experience to advance a level. In short an brief and easy introduction to the game, nothing to write home about. Worthington meanwhile was thwarted at every turn, frustrated to the point of pure rage, reborn countless times, fooled by simple traps, and outsmarted by killer giant radioactive ants. He also failed to gain a new level. This does not bode well as our hero Worthington now starts the real quest.
Worthington the pacifist Buddhist of Arroyo has been chosen by the tribal elder to undergo a quest to save the village crops from drought. This requires him to search every inch of the western wastelands to find the magical briefcase GECK that will turn harsh dry rock into fresh fertile plains of green and thus save the village. Frankly it doesn’t matter, this is Worthington’s time to shine! Finally he can prove that violence isn’t always the answer, that peace and love can conquer anything in this post-apocalyptic present. He’ll transform this hectic wasteland into a true utopia or reach nirvana trying, but first he’s got to pass the temple of trials. Can’t be that hard, can it?
I really enjoyed writing A Frank Mission, it was easy to write and I had fun doing it. Unlike other articles I write I didn’t spend ages musing over what to write and how to write it, everything just flowed nicely. Plus I got to play games and help update my blog at the same time. Since then I’ve wanted to write a game diary as a series and have been deliberating with myself on what to game to do it on, and after much back and forth with myself (he would never agree with me) a decision has been reached. I shall chronicle a long epic of adventures in Fallout 2. What’s that you say? Why would that be interesting? Well what if I was to say that during my play through I wouldn’t be allowed to kill, at all. Like nothing, not even a fly. Yeah, that’s right I’m roleplaying Ghandi, meditate on that bitches.