Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Computer Games 11.01

I didn't want to include this, but considering it is one of the biggest addictions I currently have, I must.  Most recently I essentially finished my course through Fallout: New Vegas.  It is an amazing game, set in the Mojave and Las Vegas, NV in a post-nuclear holocaust world following an alternate timeline that split off around 1910.  Naturally, there are robots, laser weapons, mutants, and music from the 40s and 50s, as well as western swing.  Not music I would normally listen to, but it suited the world quite well.  It is made by Bethesda, and is technically a role playing game, but you do not interact with other real people, just with characters programmed by the game designers.  Also, it is an open world format, meaning you can essentially walk in any direction you want - there is no place you can't really go, so no conventional 'levels'.  It is great but after a year of non-stop playing, and re-playing, and even downloading user mods to make the game more challenging and add new quests, I think I have reached the end of it.  



I play my games through Steam, which is a client that manages your games, stores saved games online, and lets you purchase games and download them to play.  On Halloween, Steam was having a sale on 'scary' games, so I took the opportunity to look through their list of games that were on sale and purchased F.E.A.R (1, 2: Project Origin, Extraction Point, and Perseus Mandate), Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat and Shadow of Chernobyl.  



Of the aforementioned, I have played a little of F.E.A.R., which reminds me a lot of the Half Life games, except a little less interesting because it reminds me of Half Life.  I have been playing Amnesia, and that is definitely a game that is difficult to play - not because it is necessarily challenging, but it requires emotional endurance.  The premise of the game is you wake up in a dark spooky castle with amnesia and you find a message to yourself that you must find this man in the basement and kill him.  As you go, you learn there is a "shadow" following you, and you must not let it catch up, and there are notes and messages here and there that you find that give you more pieces of the puzzle.  If you are in the dark for too long (if the oil in your lamp runs out, or there are no candles or torches nearby) then you start to "lose sanity" and your field of vision starts to pulse, you hear the sound of scratching or scraping, and you can't tell if there's a monster nearby or if you're just going insane.  If you do happen to run into a monster that you can see (there are some which you cannot see), then you must hide in a corner and look away from it - looking at it for too long will drive you insane and make it catch you more easily.  If you are familiar with the writings of HP Lovecraft , think of the his stories Herbert West - Reanimator, The Lurking Fear, The Hound, The Rats in the Walls, The Unnamable, and The Outsider, to name a few.  Amnesia feels like you are the main character in one of Lovecraft's stories.  And you almost feel like you are losing sanity points as you play.  I am going to play some more tonight, if I can stand to walk down another dark corridor, knowing any moment I might see...

Other games I have played through adoringly in the past four years include Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life, Portal, Portal 2, Plants vs Zombies, The Path, Starcraft, Starcraft 2, American McGee's Madness, and Alice: Madness Returns.  I will have to do an entry about how each of those various phases went, as they are still very close in my mind, and I did projects at the time for each, including a Bioshock themed New Year's Party, which turned out awesomely.  As for now, I think I have to bite the bullet and load Amnesia...

P.S. Skyrim came out and I am absolutely dying to play it, but I already know without playing that it will be even more addicting than New Vegas - it is from the same studio, and has a setting that I will want to explore even more and has better graphics and there are dragons.  I will never sleep again when I finally get it...


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