Gaming

Blog 855: Ember

I tend to ignore game store sales. Sales are so frequent that missing one is irrelevant, because there will be another. I don’t really buy games to stack up into a backlog either; I’ll usually wait until I’m in the mood for something new, and then I’ll see what’s on sale at that moment and let that guide me (or ignore the discounts and pay full price for something like a god damn rube).

But sometimes you’re between games and a discount comes up for a thing that’s on your wishlist, and since that takes it to 69p (nice) it seems almost rude not to pick it up. Thus is the story of how I bought RPG Ember.

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Gaming

Blog 853: K.Hawk: Survival Instinct

Browsing a popular internet auction site for old games, I am not going to lie, fills me with joy in a way that — for whatever reason — browsing an online storefront does not. It must be the physicality, the thought of getting a box of something. Maybe it’s the restrictions, of only being able to buy what’s available rather than being overwhelmed with an immense catalogue of… everything.

Or maybe it’s finding weird obscure stuff that even a place like gog will never rescue. I had never heard of K.Hawk: Survival Instinct before, but it looked like a third-person action game and I know I like those. I couldn’t resist.

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Gaming

Blog 852: Hordes of the Underdark

Lots of games got better with their expansion packs. Warcraft III unlocked the modding universe with The Frozen Throne. Age of Empires II‘s The Conquerors gave us the fantastic Mayan and Aztec civilisations (and snowy tiles). Morrowind‘s Bloodmoon gave us the delightful (snowy) island of Solstheim. Supreme Commander‘s Forged Alliance gave us the gloriously shiny Seraphim faction (but, alas, little more snow than we already had).

And Neverwinter Nights got… well… marginally better with its first official expansion pack, Shadows of Undrentide. Then there was a second, a direct sequel to the first expansion pack! Remember when games could get two expansion packs?! It never happened! (Still raging that WC3 never got a second pack at the time, and let’s not talk about… whatever Re4ged is.)

It’s time for Hordes of the Underdark.

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Gaming

Blog 850: Shadows of Undrentide

Yes, I know what you’re about to say. “You hated Neverwinter Nights, so why are you playing its expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide?”

Honestly, I do not have a satisfactory answer for you. A big part of it is that I have two games waiting on my shelf for the Windows XP machine, but I want to stay on the main PC during August while the Edinburgh Fringe is on — because the main PC’s attached to the printer and I’ll need to print show tickets. Not the greatest justification, but what is that saying? “Wars have been fought over less”?

And, well, there’s also pure morbid curiosity. Did they manage to rescue the art and the potential when they made more bits of the game? It’s already installed and its siren call is irresistable.

Sometimes I hate myself.

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Gaming

Blog 849: Project Snowblind

Project Snowblind was originally touted as an entry into the Deus Ex ouevre, albeit by a different developer than Ion Storm. However, Crystal Dynamics took a bold step — they realised that they were making something a bit different and cut ties to let Snowblind become completely its own thing.

It’s always been an object of interest to me, even more so now considering that the actual Deus Ex prequel that did get made would have been much better off had its developers realised they were making something different and not crowbarred their game into a mythos it didn’t suit. Sigh, etc.

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Gaming

Blog 847: Neverwinter Nights

As far as I can remember, I played Neverwinter Nights precisely once at the time, and the same again for its first expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide (before missing out on its second expansion Hordes of the Underdark). A while back, gog decided to hand out the complete Diamond Edition for free, so I figured it might be time to give it another shot. I created a Paladin who seemed to be utterly unable to hit anything and gave up on it not far into chapter 2.

But I was haunted by this failure; I had to try again and see it through. This time I made a Fighter — who I knew would be boring to play, but at least should be able to hit things and not die.

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Gaming

Blog 843: Gunlok

A long time ago, so long ago it defies memory (~2000), I played a demo of a game called Gunlok. I didn’t understand how to play videogames so I don’t think I even managed to move my dude(s), let alone complete it, but the blurb made it sound well cool. Fast-forward two decades and here’s me browsing through old games on a popular internet auction site, looking for things to put on my XP machine and, what ho, it’s a factory-sealed copy of this very game!

I barely remember what genre it was, but I’m long past hesitation now.

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Gaming

Blog 842: No One Lives Forever

Sometimes I hate legal battles over who owns the rights to what game. While I’m a big believer in physical copies, I’d still rather oft-lauded classics were available digitally than… not at all.

So here we are at No One Lives Forever, a 60s-spy-thriller-based FPS from the same people that made my beloved Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (and more surprisingly, the studio who would go on to make Lord of the Rings fanfic Shadow of Mordor), and a game that’s consistently revered by critics whenever it’s mentioned. But I missed it at the time, and it has been locked in a legal dungeon for twenty-odd years so I’ve not had the chance, until… Windows XP computer, internet auction site, still-factory-sealed box, you know this story by now.

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