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 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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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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Nondescript

Blog 838: Third Build Lucky?

Managing old computers is hard; if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Last time, in order to fix blue-screen hard crashes in Starcraft and LEGO Rock Raiders, I got a very old graphics card, which required a very old motherboard (and a very old sound card, and some old RAM). Yes, a full rebuild.

The other week, I took a fancy to do a wee bit of Age of Empires II skirmishing… only to discover that it had started crashing on this build! Only to desktop, admittedly, but reliably and in a peculiar way suggestive of… other problems.

There was only one way this could end.

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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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Nondescript

Blog 792: Monument

I’m big into software preservation. I think it’s important to maintain access to things as they were, not as you remember them or as you wish they were — accept them as they were, warts and all, or judge them to overall be wanting and discard them on that basis. This is most relevant in the area of games, where lots of classics are now unplayable and only remasters of various stripes can be had. Whether it’s new graphics or gameplay tweaks, most re-releases don’t fix only the compatibility issues to get things running again — they make changes too. I’m not here to argue whether those changes are better or worse, simply that they make these games different.

Luckily, I still have my original CDs for a selection of classics. While I can’t run some of these original versions on Windows 7 or 10, I still have the media — given a system that could run them, their ancient truths could be unlocked once more.

So I have found a system that can run them. I have built… a new old computer.

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