Monday, 21 February 2011

No-one has lost an eye yet.

So today I'm going to talk about games. I like games. Sometimes I don't fit in much time playing games for lengthy periods of time, but I still consider myself a gamer, because apart from anything else, it still influences the way I think.

OK, I'll include all forms of game. I play chess. For a few years I was very enthusiastic about my chess. Kept reading books, trying to learn openings, and generally get better. But, as these things go, at some point my interest waned a bit, and I started devoting my energies to other things. I still like chess, but I don't put as much effort into it as I used to. In fact, at this point I basically turn up to league matches and play in them.
Other board games are also fun (I've had some great times with excessively long games of Risk, albeit at the expense of a sensible night's sleep), but I have little to say about them specifically, except for those which also fall into another category:

Geeky/nerdy games. The kind of things which are played at Playground meetups, and also sometimes on the mornings after house parties among my friends (A practice begun with Talisman and continued with all the games I've ended up getting after discovering at meetups how awesome they were, and Chrononauts). I'll go through some in brief:

Talisman: Fairly generic fantasy ideas. You get a class with particular abilities, then wander around fighting monsters, getting items, and becoming more powerful. If you get a talisman you can go to the really dangerous section in the middle and thence to the central square from which you can basically annihilate all the other players and thus win. Takes a few hours to play.

The Order of the Stick Game: Described by Rich Burlew as like if Talisman had an affair with a card game and this was their love-child. With references to the Order of the Stick webcomic. Should not be taken too seriously (Fortunately many of the cards can help with culling excess seriousness). You assemble the dungeon at random, fight monsters, get items, get more powerful. Eventually you defeat Xykon, the dungeon collapses and you all flee back to the entrance and see who has the most bragging points. Takes a long time to play, but that time reduces as you get more used to it.

It's Alive!: Card game, in which you purchase body parts to build your very own Frankenstein's monster!

Fluxx: Everyone starts with 3 cards. Each turn you draw one card and play one card.
Some of the cards change the rules.
That is all you need to know.
(Also has variants, such as Monty Python, Eco, Family, Martian, Zombie, etc)

Once Upon a Time: First encountered by me at the last winter meetup and shortly thereafter received as a christmas present, this game has yet to have its post-party-morning debut. You get one card with a fairytale ending on it, and some other cards with common elements of fairytales on them. Someone starts telling a story. By getting your story elements into the story you can take over telling it. You win by getting all your story elements in and then using your ending.
This game is brilliant when you have a group of people who are both creative and very strange.
It produces such wonders as the Evil Magical Dog, the Evil Magical Frog, and the Mechanical Tree Dystopia. Big Mechanical Tree Brother is watcthing you.

I trust this serves as a decent explanation of why I think that these sorts of games are amazing.

Of course, also in the Geeky/Nerdy category is another category: tabletop RPGs. Haven't played any in a while, but I do love them, and want to try running some some time. I have a load of ideas which I need to work on some more. Different worlds I've made up, and a few borrowed from existing works of fiction that I think would work in one  system or another.
But, to be honest, I have too much I could say on that subject. That will have to be a separate blog post some time.

I'm going to skip over physical sports, because I can't think of anything particularly interesting to say about them.

So, onto what I was originally thinking of when I conceived this blog post but then decided to include other things: video games!
So, having hit 10 blog posts with this post, you get another video (I may have to think of another way of marking landmark posts, because sometimes I might just want to include a video anyway...)

Rawr again.

As a random point of possibly interest, I almost recorded that video from a different place. Eventually I may end up recording a video in a different location. I was going to do that one from my bed, since my PS2 games are all in my bedroom, but then it occurred to me that I might wake my parents, since their bedroom is adjacent to mine. And I'd rather not.
So my bedroom remains a mystery to you! Haha! Except for my family, who live in this house, and Buttercupliffy, who spent part of my 21st birthday party curled up on the floor.

So, yeah, there are a few different types of game I tend to like. I like video game RPGs as well as tabletop ones. Though I think tabletop ones can be kind of better potentially. Granted, you don't get the amazing graphics and the storyline may not flow so smoothly, because it's at the mercy of the players to a certain extent. But on the other hand you just have so much more scope for taking the story in your own direction, you can make your own character rather than just controlling a pre-created one, etc. Also, video game RPGs can  have the drawback that they don't require much in the way of skill, if anything. OK, you have to pick which of your various attacks or whatever to use each time, so there is some element of skill, but it's fairly minimal. Really the video game RPG has to stand pretty much purely on the basis of its storyline. On the other hand, a lot of other games don't have much in the way of plot. Though some do, of course.
On type of game I do kind of like which is not well represented in the games I actually own is racing games. It's maybe kind of odd that I like racing games, since in real life I'm fairly averse to driving. But that's why I don't actually own many racing games, for all that I quite like them. Because most racing games involve cars.
I can't get particularly enthusiastic about cars. So the only racing games I play are kind of odd ones. Mario Kart. Sonic R. Star Wars Episode 1 Racer (People may complain about how the podrace added nothing to the movie, but it made for a pretty good video game).

Beat 'em up games. I have Tekken. I quite like the Tekken games, and it can be cathartic sometimes (Or annoying, if you're playing against high skill CPU opponents). I've never been one of these people who gets ridiculously good at such games, but I do put in a certain amount of effort, so compared to people I know I can end up as the proverbial 'That guy'.
Oh, and Guitar Hero. Similar thing applies with my skill level, but on the other hand I do know some people better than me. Though one of them tends to use an ordinary PS2 controller, which is cheating. >:( I don't like the idea of including other instruments than guitar in the Guitar Hero system, but I like the games, the first two in particular. It helps that I'm somewhat musical.

Old school platformers are of course fun - sometimes simple pleasures are all you need - and they have nostalgia value as well. Same goes for space invaders.
Strategy games are not something I've ever really gotten into. But, I'm generally willing to try new things, especially if they're cheap. So I'm going to give Civilisation (I refuse point blank to spell it with a z) a go and see if I like it.

Finally, there's one really significant category. First person shooters.
Of course, these are vastly different to the video game RPGs to which I devoted my other decent sized video game category description, in that they tend to be big on skill and short on plot. But, well, it's a different kind of enjoyment. Sometimes you just want to blow up virtual monsters. Also the focus on skill makes it challenging, especially if you have a habit of defaulting to the most difficult skill setting, like I do. And of course I liked them when I was young, which gives them nostalgia value now, which is why there was no way I could resist the temptation to buy the Doom and Quake packs when they came up on whichever Steam sale it was.
Of course, an additional point which really has to be made is that not all FPS games have excuse plots and no more. I refer, of course, to the Half Life series. And also Portal, which may be the best video game ever. I'm not entirely sure about that, but I am fairly confident that when Portal 2 comes out I will consider it to be the best video game ever, since it looks to be basically like the original Portal, but more so. I think that will be when I break my habit of only buying things on Steam which cost less than £4, because it will be so worth it.
I could go on at greater length about the brilliance of the Half Life series and Portal, but that's really another thing which deserves its own separate blog post, so I'll limit myself to saying that if you like FPS games at all and haven't played the Half Life series, you really should. And if you like video games at all and haven't played Portal, you really should.
Seriously, there's a reason Valve have their own section in the examples for the 'Memetic Mutation' trope. And there is a reason one of the given examples is just "Everything GLaDOS says."

Cake and grief counseling will be available at the end of the test blog post.
Which is now.


  1. I commented on your video =D
    Although if you reply to it I probably won't get them... so... idk reply to me msnish or on here if you feel like there is a reply to be had!

    I like playing Pit (card game) which involves a lot of shouting (for those who don't know). We need to have a party so we can play that pre-drinking =p then twister mid drinking and one of your games post sleeping/dozing =D

    A game party! ooooh fun times.

    I like cake. I wish I had some.

  2. Hey'a Anon here,

    Being "faceless" sure can have it's advantages!
    Purple Monkey Dishwasher.
    Anyway. i like Nuclear War though in my opinion everyone should just nuke the roach on turn one

    also, i'm partial to a game of Peuto Rico. the expansions can really add to that.

    Finally there's the game i can't spell, Carcassonne a cool little tile game that you never have a table quite big enough for!


  3. I was going to reply with a comment, and then the comment got longer, and then I made it into a post:

    You got a pingback :-)