Gaming

Blog 841: The Wheel of Time

I didn’t really get on with The Wheel of Time series of books. I enjoyed some of them the first time around, but tried to re-read them more recently and decided by about book 4 that life was too short. While I enjoyed the prose, the overall plot seemed incredibly stodgy, with months of travelling between important locations and nothing much of consequence happening. Also many of the characters are kind of annoying.

But as you all know, I love a late-90s FPS, and yes — there was a Wheel of Time FPS made in Unreal Engine 1 back in the day. I’ve known about this game for years (indeed, the premier UnrealScript IDE, WOTgreal, was built for it) but it has been somewhat inaccessible… Until now. Yep, it’s been re-released on gog and oh, my body is so ready.

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Gaming

Blog 839: Pariah

It is by now an Agreed Fact that I am interested in 00s first-person shooters. Such an Agreed Fact, indeed, that when a friend was clearing out his collection of old PC games, he offered me first refusal on claiming any of it. Among the classic titles I recognised, one stood out that I did not: Pariah.

An Unreal Engine 2 game by Digital Extremes? The people who worked with Epic on the original Unreal Tournament? You don’t have to ask twice.

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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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