Bacon’s Writing Challenge

My boyfriend, who goes by Slayn Bacon on the internet, has challenged me to write about things!  He’s given me three subjects to write about over the next two weeks or so… so it should be a lot of fun, since I love getting little challenges like this!  Here are the three questions posed to me:

  1. What is the defining characteristic of video games? [The Answer]
  2. What is needed for a compelling story in a game?
  3. What are your top three favorite games and why are they your favorite?  What elements so they have that make them stand out both to you and to video games in general?

Hey, that last one’s two questions!  He’s cheating!  Well not really, but anyway… I’ll be working to answer these come August, since the end of the month tends to be busy for me writing wise.  I’ll update the list with posts and whatnot when I’m done.

Also, if you have a question you want to pose to me to answer, ask away!  I love answering questions~

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EvilQuest – The Pseudo Sequel to Crystalis

EvilQuest is a very interesting title.  One of the ‘gems in the rough’ of the Xbox Indie Games service, EvilQuest stands out not only because it’s supposedly an okay game (well, maybe it’s not for everyone) but also because you get to play as the villain.  Not the ‘evil that eventually turns good’ villain, but a straight-up evil dude.  Also, it’s only a dollar, so what’s the harm in giving it a try?

But the game’s merits or faults aren’t what I’m talking about today.  No, I haven’t played the game yet.  But, when I watch my boyfriend give the game a whirl, I had a bit of a thought…

“Man, this game looks JUST like Crystalis.”

In the past, I called Crystalis one of my favorite NES games, though that probably wasn’t the best idea:  I only played the GBC version, and ultimately it’s a flawed game, albeit with some interesting concepts.  It also had quite a unique style to it… the way the character and the world looked makes the game pretty easy to pick out amongst a crowd.  So, it’s a bit surprising to find a game that seems to use the same character animations and general models as SNK’s action RPG.  Heck, it even seems as though both titles have the issue of a invincibility time after getting hit that’s far too short!  Of course, that’s hard to really tell without a direct comparison, but it’s there.

EvilQuest certainly isn’t a rip-off of Crystalis, but it’s very hard to not see the similarities.  Then again, it can be a little hard to explain in words.  Why not take a gander of these gameplay videos of the two games, side by side?

Yeah, they look quite a bit alike, don’t they?  Of course, EvilQuest does offer a but more design wise: Level ups allow you to choose what stats to increase, and items are of course easier to use.  But, it’s interesting–much like the NES game, EvilQuest seems to be loved by some yet hated by others.  Some of EvilQuest’s design choices were flawed… and while some our unique to the game (such as Galvis, the main villain, and his lack of personality), others seems to resonate with Crystalis’ problems, such as balance and difficulty issues.

But hey, that doesn’t mean EvilQuest is bad.  It’s certainly true that some people don’t like it, but chance are if you enjoyed Crystalis than this title’s worth a shot, especially for a single dollar.  Give it a try if you’re interested in a pseudo-kinda-sorta-sequel to Crystalis… I know I will be giving the game another look soon!

A-Z Challenge – Organ Trail: The Director’s Cut

Zombies!

I finished the ‘O’ game for my A-Z Challenge, leaving only one game left until I’m done!  Then again, the ‘X’ game’s going to be a little tough, since Xenoblade’s way too long and Xenosaga Episode I is not a game I enjoy… but I’ll just have to soldier through.  Organ Trail is actually a game I bought just a few days ago, but I sat down to give a couple tries and managed to beat it, so now I don’t have to try and beat Okamiden quickly!

So, Organ Trail, is you could gather from the name, is a bit of a parody/remake/zombie version of Oregon Trail.  It plays just like the game we all played fanatically on out school Macs, including the god-awful shooting mechanics and an unfortunate amount of dysentery.  Of course, it’s far darker and less educational than the original, with a few situations involving you or someone else flat out killing your teammates.  I want to say that I didn’t have to kill anyone from getting a zombie bite or anything… but when one of my teammates ‘sat too hard’ on my remaining fuel and destroyed it, stranding us for two days while I tried to trade for just enough to get to the next landmark, you know I had to put the completely healthy man down.

And good lord is that shot hard.

For  the most part this nostalgia trip is pretty great, though your normal tactics with Oregon Trail may not work here.  My first runthrough, I kept running out of food and having to scavenge during times of high zombie concentration, which eventually led to my death.  The second time, I brought a ton of food and only a few bullets, and I did very well (other than the fuel situation), though I had to trade a lot for replacement parts for my car (how could three mufflers break in three hours?), but for the most part, everything went smoothly as long as I rested up and made sure I was stocked at every safe zone.

So, um… Organ Trail’s pretty cool.  I had a fair amount of fun with it, though the unfortunate souls that didn’t get to play Oregon Trail when they were younger probably won’t see too much fun in it.

A-Z Challenge – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Apparently it's hard to find a small version of this box art, so have the logo instead.

Twenty-three down, two to go!  Uncharted marks my U game for the A-Z challenge, leaving only Okamiden and Xenosaga Episode I to be completed!  Uncharted was also part of my Summer Gaming Challenge… last year!  Better late than never, right?

Anyway, Uncharted was a pretty interesting ride.  I enjoyed the story of Drake and trying to find El Dorado and the path is ancestor took.  It was refreshing to be introduced to a character that really isn’t that great of a guy, either–he lies, cheats and steals, and kills other people like it’s no big deal.

Check out that boat!  Let's loot it!

Then again, I suppose you have to get accustomed to killing a bunch of dudes, with what the massive amount the game throws at you.  It’s used as kind of a cheap padding; at a few points even Drake himself sounds off dismay at the number of foes that block his path.  This seems like a relatively small scale operation on the part of the antagonist, so I have trouble seeing how they got about 300 people onto this tiny island… and they even manage to make it into ‘secret passages’ and the like.  It’s really detracting from the whole experience.

However, the padding doesn’t stop the game from being great for the most part.  Exploration was a lot of fun, and the plot keep me interested for the whole ride.  It’s a nice little game, and now I really want to try Uncharted 2 and 3.  Maybe after I’m done with all these other marathons I’m doing…

Gaming Overview – June 2013

Okay, okay so this is like a day late… I have problems having two posts on the same day.  I know I’m weird!  But whatever, here’s my overview for the month!  This month had some collection completing and my birthday, so no doubt my backlog got even more bloated than before… and as usual, I grab my stats from my Backloggery page.  Away we go!

ANY NEW GAMES?

Of course!  I got Tales of Destiny (talking swords!) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Isbelle!) for my birthday.  Also, I’m rounding out my Gamecube collection, so I now have Custom Robo (tiny robots!) and Viewtiful Joe 2 (Move on!) as well.  Other than that, I grabbed Mass Effect 3 (only eight bucks!), Fishing Girl (fishing!), Escape Goat (now with scapegoats!), Lego Lord of the Rings (I bet my blocks you shall not pass!), and Yoshi (thirty cents!).  Finally, I got a review copy of Bugs Vs. Tanks.

Compared to a lot of months, that’s actually pretty light.  Not bad, me!

WHAT’D YOU BEAT?

A couple things…

  • Persona 4 Arena (6-01) – To be honest, didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would.  The overlapping story thing made most of Story Mode a little too repetitive.  Not bad overall though.
  • Crimson Shroud (6-03) – Great little game.  A little on the hard side, but the atmosphere and story are top-notch.  I really have to do the new game+!
  • Code of Princess (6-12) – Alright.  I felt I sort of ‘broke’ the game by having Solange have massive strength, but it was pretty fun for the most part.  The plot was laughingly bad, though.
  • The Legend of Dragoon (6/23) – Oh, what a remake could do for this game.  Since it was the second game I beat for the Summer Gaming Challenge, you can check out my full thoughts here.
  • Bugs Vs. Tanks! (6/27) – I got about what I expected out of it.  When the official review is posted, I’ll make a link here.
  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (6/28) – I loved the setting, but it felt like there were just too many shooting sequences.  It was part of the A-Z Marathon, so when I finish that post, I’ll put the link here.
  • Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (6/28) – I certainly don’t dislike it like I did Kirby Mass Attack, but it wasn’t very fun to play.  Game 3 for the Summer Gaming Challenge, you can read a bit more about my thoughts here.

Whew!  Eight games this month… not too bad, especially with the addictive-ness of New Leaf looming over me most of the month!

ANY OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

Well, let’s see… I made good progress in the Summer Gaming Challenge, knocking out two games, and a bit of progress in the A-Z Marathon, getting rid of one of the three remaining titles.  However, with the A-Z ending at the end of July, and Summer Gaming at the end of August, I’ll have to step it up a bit!  Oh, and beating The Legend of Dragoon marks my first beat for the Console Elimination Round… that would have brought my count down to 11, but buying Tales of Destiny brought it back up to 12, so I didn’t really make much progress there.

As for Game Podunk, a couple of my articles went live this month, check them out:  Memory Lane: The Biggest June Releases Throughout the Years, 7 Completely Free Video game Albums from May 2013, Review: Strike Suit Infinity, and Review: Publisher Dream.  I still have plenty of stuff in the works too, so look forward to more random articles from me.

For The Dusty Corner… well… I didn’t do anything.  Getting game progress done is keeping me busy!  Hopefully I’ll still pump out one blog post for there, though.

I suppose I’ve also made a fair bit of progress in New Leaf.  I have a second floor and a bunch of fruits!  I also got that Reset Center up and running… and god knows how many random screenshots.  It’s a lot of fun, and thankfully I only play in small bursts so that I don’t get burnt out, but man it’s gonna take forever to get the ultimate town…

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That’s all for this month!  Next month will have… well, probably a metric ton of summer sales, so my wallet’s going to be crying.  See you then!