Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

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Adventure Games: So You Want to Be a Hero?

August 27, 2009

I was a kid in the 90s which in my family meant M*A*S*H* reruns, Night Court, Nickelodeon and Sierra adventure games.  I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap while he played old DOS games like Eye of the Beholder and Hexen and being alternately frightened and fascinated by these games about dungeons and adventures.  My Dad grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons and listening to Pink Floyd so he thought nothing of exposing me to video games at the age of 4, but  my mom would decry the violence in the games my Dad played, worrying that I would be scarred or turn out to be a sociopath (which I didn’t, but I’m still terrified of the green dragons that shoot fire in Hexen by id Software)

Those Green Dragons were dicks.

The point of all this is, I grew up loving old school adventure games, and my favorite was and is Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero.

The Quest for Glory games were made by Sierra Entertainment, and Quest for Glory 1 was a VGA remake of Hero’s Quest (they had to rename it be cause of copywrite issues).  The thing about games in this series and Sierra games of that time is that they all had a clear, crisp, colorful aesthetic with off-color jokes and easy-to-learn gameplay, though some puzzles were quite challenging and obtuse.  You can choose to play as a fighter, mage or thief and depending on your class, you have access to different aspects of the game.  The story is misleading in its simplicity, and while I will not give anything away, it’s fun and tricky like any good fairy tale.  Also, the music is beautiful, they do some great things with MIDI in this game.

Gameplay wise, it’s a point and click interface, with a series of buttons above that you click on to change your cursor so you can interact with the world in different ways, which can lead to hilarious results when you say, click on yourself with the lockpick from your inventory.  The thing about these games is when you die, they make fun of you.  That doesn’t happen anymore, there are no more mocking text boxes saying things like:

“Unfortunately you push it in too far, causing a cerebral hemmorhage.  Guess you should have been practicing on less difficult locks” -When you click the lockpick on yourself.

Adventurer with an Antwerp

And people wonder why I tend to have lots of save files… you never know what could happen… you could die from doing something really stupid because the Sierra folks thought it would be funny, and they were right!

If you are interested in checking it out, it’s hosted for free on Abandonia (make sure you get the VGA remake version).  Download DOSBBox, which is compatible with both PCs and Macs and allows one to play all of the old Dos games, being essentially an IBM PC.

Oh Silliness

Sierra made lots of great adventure games like the Kings Quest (Roberta Williams’s magnum opus), Police Quest, and Space Quest series (full of Hitchhiker’s guide jokes).  For what it’s worth, Ms Dos and the game it housed, from Jill of the Jungle to Xargon, was and is my NES.   I view games like Jazz Jackrabbit in the same way that other kids look at old nintendo games.

This might seem to come out of left field, all this talk of old PC games, but I enjoy going questing, and a game that lets me name my adventuring gent Balsak the Brave is A-Ok by me.

Battling in QFG 1

Battling in QFG 1

-amanda seamus

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Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Prototype

June 13, 2009

I could make this a long post about the merits of gliding through a city, stealth kills without a body afterwards and all the various game mechanics that make Prototype everything that Assassin’s Creed could/should have been.  I could praise the beautiful rendering of Central Park, the oodles of things to do, the openness of this open-world game that manages to do everything that Grand Theft Auto would like to do gameplay-wise (I’m not referring to the kooky parts of GTA, just the straight-up gameplay).

In other words, I could waste your time with mere words… but I’m not going to.  If you like the comic The Boys, the video game Assassin’s Creed (before it got repetitive),  Spider Man, or even Max Payne (before it got really weird and repetitive)… You will like this.  This is the best game that I have played that has come out this year, and most importantly, it is FUN.  I have spent hours today just gliding through the city, getting experience points doing the “plot” and then using said EP to make my character better at flying. This game is unfolding like a delightful apple pie, it is full of layers of delicious and MOST IMPORTANTLY:

If you start a plot mission or an “Event” or anything like that and you decide “Man..I just wann glide some more”, which will happen more than you think it will, all you have to do is go to the menu and click “exit” and then go to “Return to Free Roaming” and you can just bop about to your heart’s content.

Buy Prototype.  If you don’t have an XBOX, find someone who does and play Prototype at their house…make sure you don’t break any laws by using the term “someone” loosely.  Don’t break and enter or anything.

-Amanda Seamus

PS: One of the songs from the soundtrack sounds like the music from the movie The Fugitive and it’s GREAT.

Prototype: He looks angsty here but he is one badass motherSHUTYOMOUTH