You made me promises, promises, you knew you’d never keep…

A couple days ago, I had to go through my old address book to find, well, an address.  And by “address book” I mean an actual, bound book, not the thing on my phone or the list attached to my email.  I don’t look at my little address book very often, but when I do, I take a little trip down memory lane.   I’ve had the book since my high school days, but the entries of contact information of old college friends are probably the most notable, because around 1995/1996, I started recording people’s email addresses.  Email, it was this new thing back then. During my sophomore year, everyone at my school was introduced to “the internet” and everyone got a shiny new email address – four letters, four numbers, followed by the @ouruniversity.edu.   To say this new email thing was a hit was an understatement.  We had to have special meetings on how to use email and what to use it for; but once all that was said and done, everyone, including myself, was all about email. We used it and abused it.

Oh, the 1990s. I’ll see your MacBook Air, and raise you my IBM brick.

So one of the ancient email addresses I had recorded in my lil ol’ book was for a boy I’m going to refer to as “Jake.”

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Dear Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim cover art © Bethesda (source)

Hello Skyrim, it’s me. You might remember me as my character, the brazen Imperial warrior Kallan. Yeah, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen each other.  I’ve been…busy, and…I’ve been meaning to—what?

Oh yes, I know where you are.  You’re on “the shelf,” and I see you’ve been pushed over to the far right side to make room for other games, played and unplayed.  There’s a lot of—huh?

Well, thanks…I…I miss you too.  The questing, the hoarding of (useless) stuff, the alchemy, the inns, the bears, and those silly dragons.  We did have some good times didn’t we?

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…and then I played Uncharted 3.

And the skies, um….

And the angels…well….

No, really…?

(And really, spoilers ahead! As well as strong feelings about a relatively new game ahead!  Seriously, if you really want to play Uncharted 3 and haven’t, don’t read any further.  Go play the game.  Or go play elsewhere on the interwebs — I hear they are very entertaining.  Heck, go play outside.  But do come back, some time, maybe…please?)

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception cover art © Naughty Dog, Sony (source)

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So first I played Uncharted 2…

And the skies opened.

And the angles sang.

No, really.

You know it, you loved it, you played it.  Or maybe none of those. But I bet that some gamers recall Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as one of the best-selling games of 2009, which received heaps upon heaps of praise.  Well I’m here, three years later, to heap a little more late praise on it because I’m pretty sure it’s the best damn game I’ve ever played.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves cover art © Naughty Dog, Sony (source)

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It was the 80s, it was an adventure: Text-based gaming with Spiderman.

I’m a fairly mainstream gamer — scouring the internets for old or obscure titles isn’t really my thing.  I’m impressed by the folks that do, and if I had the time for such searching, I might be so inclined, but I don’t and am not; and I have been generally pleased with the regular fare from today’s game companies.  (Still, *cough* OUYA *cough*) That being said, I think I get a few power points for having played Questprobe: Spider-man (1985) (aka “Questprobe featuring Spider-man”).  I don’t know that this game is incredibly rare or anything, but I do know that we were the only house that had it in our neighborhood, so that’s gotta count for something, right? (Of course, there weren’t that many houses in our neighborhood, so…maybe…not.)

This is the Atari version of the game — still pretty close to our PC version, except for the colors.

Continue reading “It was the 80s, it was an adventure: Text-based gaming with Spiderman.”

The story of the stories of the Diabolical Box and the Unwound Future

So I started writing a post on the continuation of my adventures with Professor Layton and his curious sidekick Luke, but it got really boring.  My writing, I mean — I couldn’t come up with much more to say about the gameplay and my words got very repetitious.  The games were fine.  I stayed with Layton on the Nintendo DS through to more adventures: the Diabolical Box (DB) (2009) and the Unwound Future (UF) (2010) – but the gameplay was pretty much exactly like the first game: find clues, solve puzzles, seek out special items, meet and unusual array of characters.  It’s hardly odd for game sequels to not include more of the same, but good developers usually throw in a little something different to help keep players interested.  With DB and UF, eh, that didn’t really happen, but they did succeed in trying to make the puzzles relate a little more to the on-screen action, so that was something, I guess.  For me, the best part of these latter games was their stories..

***Obviously, story spoilers ahead***

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box cover art © Level-5 and Nintendo (source)

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“Do you want to play Dungeons and Dragons?”

Pardon the divergence, but over the weekend, my husband asked me that exact question (in the title there), and I’ve been pondering it ever since.

It caught me completely off-guard.  All I could say was:

“Um…I don’t know…do I?”

I stammered a bit more and finally said “You know I’ve never played D&D, right?”

“Yes,” he replied, “and I can’t believe with all your RPG knowledge you’ve never played before.”

“Well, I don’t have all the RPG knowledge, but thanks.”  I paused — “Don’t you need dice?”

“Yeah, that’s a problem…” he trailed off.  He didn’t have any.

The conversation, though, motored along, as I learned about the kind of dice he wanted (Elvish glow in the dark), who he used to play with, how much he liked the game, how complicated the whole shebang could get.  He also questioned playing with only two people.  Was that even possible, we wondered?

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Duke Nukem, Double Dragon, and “me” time

Looking back on my childhood, it’s hard for me to believe that my parents allowed as many computer games into the house as they did.  Yes, we had several consoles over the years, but the number of games we had for them paled in comparison to the stacks upon stacks of games on those ancient  5 ¼” floppy discs we had for our computer (not to mention the cassettes we had for the TRS-80).

These guys times, like, a hundred. Or at least a couple boxes full.

I don’t remember being completely glued to a computer screen during my middle/high school years – my parents made us go outside, do chores, be social, etc. – but I did sink many an hour into a host of ubiquitous games, such as  Frogger, Centipede, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Breakout, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Q-Bert.  And I played them mostly by myself.

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