Gaming

Blog 837: Final Grindtasy VII

A part of me thought this moment would come much sooner than it did, but as I activated the endgame of Final Fantasy VII it arrived at last — the moment where my team simply weren’t powerful enough to get past the challenges in front of them.

I had to go back to an earlier save and commence… the Grind.

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Gaming

Blog 835: Final Fantasy VII

I have never played a JRPG before, let alone a Final Fantasy game. The closest I’ve ever got to Final Fantasy is my affection for classic cinematic CGI romp The Spirits Within (another party to which I was late, as I first saw it on DVD as an adult).

But I know that a lot of stuff I like was influenced by Final Fantasy, and the seventh entry comes up again and again and again in discussion. I have felt for years that this is a hole in my experience, and it was one I thought that I could never fill because Final Fantasies are traditionally console games… until I was told that Final Fantasy VII was indeed available on PC, and had been for a very long time.

Oops. Better late than never, right?

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Gaming

Blog 833: LEGO Rock Raiders

LEGO Rock Raiders was a formative game for me — it’s the reason why I’m called Rao Dao Zao.

Previously, when playing Baldur’s Gate, I’d made my real name “Robbie” marginally more fantastical by shortening it to “Robe” (shush, I was only 11 or 12). In Rock Raiders, when you hover the mouse over things, the name of the thing is read out, and one of the vehicles is “The Loader Dozer”. For some reason, my mind saw fit to repeat this voice clip over and over and eventually swap “Load” for “Robe” to form “The Rober Dozer”. Finally, if you slur “The Rober Dozer” really hard you end up with… Rao Dao Zao. (I guess it should really be “Rao Bao Dao Zao”, but Bao somehow never entered into the equation.)

Why is this relevant? Because after I rebuilt my Windows XP machine with true 2004-era components, I got Rock Raiders running. So let’s take a step back in time, to before “Lego Game” was a whole genre of licensed tie-ins, to the heady days of 1999…

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Gaming

Blog 830: Make Love Not Starcraft

So! Having rebuilt my old XP machine to improve its compatibility, I am now able to play the original Starcraft without fatal Blue Screens every one to five minutes.

Which means I can start writing about the game, which I had previously played through only once, based on its revered status in the WC3 modding community… And which I found sorely disappointing. How does it hold up to these eyes that have seen so much more?

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Gaming

Blog 829: Rolling Back the Years

I recently took a fancy to replay the original Starcraft. I remember the critical glow surrounding it from my Warcraft III days, so I was quite excited to try it… and was sorely disappointed. It just seemed to be WC3 but a bit worse. Even so, I was a teenager then, only ever played it through once hammering the cheats; so I’m curious now to appraise it more… intellectually.

Except it crashed all the time on my Windows XP machine. Not any old crashes, but full on system-reset-required Blue Screens Of Death. I had no such trouble with any other game I’d tried on Monument, and I don’t remember Starcraft doing anything like this back in the day — what could possibly be the issue?

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Gaming

Blog 824: Wasteland 2

I read recently that gog.com was having financial troubles, which is a shame because they’re one of about two places that sells properly DRM-free games (oh well, if they do go bankrupt, at least I have offline back-ups of everything I’ve ever bought there). On the other hand, they keep handing out free games, which seems like a poor strategy for making money.

A while back, they gave out Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut, the Kickstarted sequel to the game that was (apparently) Fallout before Fallout; something in which I had a passing interest but wasn’t in the mood for… until now. After all, didn’t I always like to get a big chunky RPG from Santa?

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Gaming

Blog 818: Dragon’s Dogma

My old WC3 modding pal Dionesiist spent a lot of time urging me to play Dragon’s Dogma, to the point that I can barely type it without auto-correcting myself to “Dragon’s Diogma”. That was years ago, though, and I am not a man to rush into anything — but nor am I man to forget. So this one’s for you, Dio! (Give him a commission, why don’tcha.)

Besides, Dragon’s Dogma is a third-persion open-world action-RPG where you climb up giant monsters and stab them in the face; it’s totally up my street.

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Gaming

Blog 816: RoX

I’ve been meaning to write properly about Safrosoft RoX because I’ve mentioned it obliquely a few times since I built my Windows XP machine — it’s one of the straws that broke the camel’s back, which, along with the inability to play Age of Empires II and Atrox on my real PC, made me take the olde worlde plunge.

I mean, this will be a mostly academic discussion, because you can’t play RoX anymore — it’s a hoary old piece of 32-bit Visual Basic shareware, and while it might be possible to rig it up on a modern OS with some decidedly unseemly DLL registry shenanigans, nobody’s realistically going to take that risk. Which is a shame because RoX is a fantastically compelling little game.

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