Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Oblivion Adventure & Rationale

Lately, the only thing I have been too focused on playing is the dastardly World of Warcraft. Without going into too much detail, I'll save that to a later discussion, WoW takes away too much of a gamer's time. Two days ago, a good WoW friend of mine suddenly suggested that we play the online Dark Messiah of Might and Magic to take our minds off grinding for the next reward for a while and I said yes. I had to reinstall the game to my PC since I have not played it for such a long time. I have never played the online portion of that game and it was amusing but horrendous. There were probably only 30+ people playing split between two servers and the load time between switching battlegrounds and servers were atrocious. I then decided to play the single player campaign for old time's sake and it was then that I got inspired to play The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion again.

A small start to the big adventure.

Did I ever finish the main quest during my first run-through of Oblivion? No. I stopped playing it when my character hit level 20 - that's 89 hours, 45 minutes, 45 seconds of gameplay folks! - and got occupied playing some other game. I loaded my "Mystic Arrow" character and tried to get into the game again but I just couldn't.

Yes, she is a Wood Elf Aspectist. Ask away!

Do any of you experience this same dilemma? I found that if I stop playing a game for a long time after getting through it mid-way, I would feel so disconnected to the game when I continued at a later time. There's this feeling that I missed something or that I no longer remember some important significance that is vital to truly enjoy the whole experience that the game has to offer. This is especially true with role playing games. Like always, this has caused me to restart my game from scratch to satisfy my cravings for a fully immersive gameplay.

The game's beauty is keeping me glued to the keyboard and mouse!

Though I know that this situation is a healthy one in terms of my video gaming integrity, it doesn't help with my shortage of video gaming time. So I have committed to do the following and you will see this reflected in my blog postings: When the mood arise, as what happened here with Oblivion, I would start playing the game that fit the occasion. I can only play that selected game until I have completed it before moving on to the next one. This doesn't include arcade or short games since they are of the short bursts gameplay nature and can easily jump in between the longer and more dedicated play sessions. Also, I can choose to commit myself to one game per gaming machine...

The light at the end of the tunnel... In the game and in my new gaming perspective!

...Now what should I do with WoW... MMOs are such an anomaly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Review: Tori-Emaki

Tori-Emaki (2008)
Developer: SCE London Studio & Playlogic
Platform: PlayStation 3
Purchase Date: 01/22/2008

Today, I downloaded another piece of "Interactive Art" from the PlayStation 3 store. Wait a minute; I thought that all video games are a form of interactive art? I have downloaded three of these PlayStation-Eye inspired concoction already, with the other two being Aquatopia and Mesmerize. Tori-Emaki was just released last week and ever since its conception, I was looking forward to the experience.

The real allure here for me is the Japanese painting. It is not as alive as those found in the great Okami for the PlayStation 2 (coming soon to the Wii) but it's no less beautiful. You control a flock of birds as they fly through multi-layered yet sparsely detailed paintings by the movements of your body in front of the camera as a traditional Japanese soundtrack filled the room around you.

The area of movement is represented by what looks like an egg flying through the air... I thought this was strange. Maybe I am missing its reference to Japanese mythology but I thought that it would have been cooler if your point of movement is represented by another flying bird.

When you stop moving, the birds would land on the ground and the painting would stop scrolling. It's a shame that you can see some pixilation at close up on some of the details, a sign of the developer's laziness to truly perfect the software. What's worse is throughout the flight, filters are used to represent different elements of nature like fire and water. This just looks weird more than anything because they could have used actual painting instead of the cheap filter effects on random parts of the flight.

It is what it is: a quick distraction for casual viewings every so often. At $1.99, of course one should never expect much from the software though some basic elements are missing from the package: Why can you not set this as a wallpaper for the XMB screen? Why can't you play your own music while this is running? I really hope that Sony will get the message soon and allow these functionalities for all of the aforementioned "Interactive Arts".

RATING: 3 out of 5

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Loner Gamer 101: Dilemma or Dementia?

I call myself the "Loner Gamer".

Yes, the video gaming world can be such a lonely place at times. When writing about this loneliness, I am not referring to the inability to make friends online when playing multiplayer games... No, the loneliness here is deeper than that. The best way to describe is to talk about humanity itself. We share this world with many other people around us. We interact with them. These individuals are our family members, our close friends, our lovers, as well as random strangers. At the end of it all, these social experiences are funneled through our own individual perception of the world. Everyone strives to be an individual within the construct of our social millieu. Now apply that situation to video gaming. The identity that I have created here is a symbol of my individualistic tendencies and through my writings, I would like to share that experience from the view of one gamer who is trying to make sense of this unique reality. In the context of video gaming, I simply exist to experience its offerings but as you will soon learn, this existence is not necessarily a carefree one.

Because of my burning passion for video games, I am not partial to one particular console. As a matter of fact, I play games from any and all systems. I have all of the next generation systems - the PS3Wii60 - and I despise those who play games for the consoles. Why? Well, because it is gamism, a video gaming form of racism. If you scour any video game forum on the internet, you will always find one of these gamist bastards making their futile, ignorant little comments about the systems they do not have. Do I smell jealousy? Now someone had pointed out to me before that not everyone who only owns one system is a gamist and yes I do agree with that notion. The rule is simple - if you start making negative comments about the games on another system just because it is not on a system you own, you are a gamist. And it is wrong to be one. You should realize at that point that 1) you desperately need to purchase the system you are so envious of, or 2) you don't enjoy video games because you are justifying to yourself that you do not deserve to play the awesome games available on another system. Losers.

Being a poly-gamist, I am overwhelmingly buried by too many games! Before I move on with discussing this pretty distressing state of being, let me explain to you how I play my video games. I use what I call the "Library System". When I am convinced that I wanted to experience a particular game, I would purchase it to be a part of my library. I always try out the new games I picked up just too make sure that they are not damaged but I do not focused on them solely unless they are that engrossing and I keep coming back for more. I only play a certain game when I am really in the mood to play that particular game. For example, after a long day, I just wanted to play a fast-pace game with quick rewards so I may pick up Street Fighter Alpha 3 or Ikaruga because you could experience the beginning, middle, and end of those games in one quick play session. Now it is this kind of video gaming habit that gets me into the "too many games" trouble.

Many of you are probably thinking to yourselves - What the heck is wrong with Mr. Loner Gamer? I would be in heaven if I have that many games! Well, you see... Sometimes after I preview a game, I would be so distracted with my newer ones that the previewed game may not be played again until later and since I don't stop picking up new games, I have been falling behind in finishing up many of them. Recently, this actually happened to the great Super Mario Galaxy. While playing that delicious game, I picked up Mass Effect. The latter was so good that I played it until the end but now, I need to find some time to play the pot-bellied plumber again. I have been so distracted by World of Warcraft, the evil anti-game that will be an article discussion in itself, and it is so hard to fly around Mario's galaxy once again. Before your brain gets there let me clarify this situation: I am a video gamer who is also a collector not to be confused with a collector who is also a video gamer. My still incomplete count of the content of my video gaming library is 1,429 games. Plus, this doesn't even include the many, many games I have played on the NES and Sega Genesis that I no longer own. And yes, I have finished the majority of these games and it is just recently that I have come to some weird saturation point of my time management.

There are just so many good games and so little time to play them! I have made the commitment to go as far back as needed and find the games that have been lost in the shuffles and experience what they have to offer in their entireties. I will then share that experience here as well. To conclude this foray into the basics of my universe, here are some pictures of my video gaming space. 2008 is going to be another great year for experiencing the complexities of this obsession, whether I am in dilemma or dementia.

Drawers packed with Nintendo Advance and Nintendo DS games!

Well guarded PC games.

I also have an I-Fish.

I wasn't kidding when I said I have a lot of games.

This is where the action takes place.
Click here to check out my latest HD display.
Click here to check out my latest game room.