Monthly Archives: November 2010

No Kids Allowed

I am about to show how incredibly old and out of touch I am with Kids These Days.  You know, KTD, those runts with no redeeming value, that are hellbent on destroying everything good in this world? Those lazy good-for-nothing .. hold on, I’ve dropped my cane. Where was I? Oh yes, shaking my fist and ranting…

I have heard about how easy KTD give out personal information, but I never really saw evidence of this until last night when some 11-year-old girl gave me her e-mail address and full name: asked me to add her on Facebook. I felt like I wanted to wash with bleach afterwards.

Sweetheart: You don’t have to give out private information to someone you “met” for 10 minutes. Geez, add me as a buddy in-game or something… but giving a 35-year-old your e-mail is creepy: for the 35-year-old. And, yes, she knew I was 35 (our ages came up in conversation).  It gave me the screaming heebie-jeebies: for two reasons.

First, the obvious “you don’t know if I am a rapist/pedophile” hysteria. I think of my own kids and immediately go into “What are you thinking?! You don’t know if I am going to send you porn, or entice you into GAWD knows what with your webcam! What would your MOTHER SAY?!”  But to make things more realistic, she didn’t know if I am just a regular douchebag. Another person would have used her gmail to sign her up for all sorts of fun spam and other stupid, mostly harmless shennannigans. Lucky for her, my brand of evil consists of eating the last box of Kraft Dinner so that my husband is forced to make my child something other than “noodles and cheese” on Saturdays. Which, of course, is almost as evil as one can get.

But why even set yourself up for the internet equivalent of prank phone calls if you don’t have to? What was she trying to gain?

This brings me to my second point, I don’t want to play with children. She wanted to be my friend, and I don’t babysit anymore. I don’t want to be the friend of any more children. I like children. Or rather I like MY children. I play with them all the time. I play nicey nice with their friends. Which is why I want to get away from children when I game. I want to have adult conversations, with adults. Why the hell would I ever facebook friend some kid?

Her actions can  probably be chalked up to internet anonymity combined with being stupid, like all 11 year olds.

I remember as a kid, I was somewhat scared of “the big kids”. They were not going to be my friends, they looked like they wanted to beat me up. They were so different: I was a child and the big kids were on the verge of this thing called teenagehood. They were of a different culture and were more interested in standing around and talking about Important Things than running around and playing, which is an Important Thing.

If Big Kids were foreign, adults were alien, at least their conversations and concerns were so vastly removed from the kinds I understood that nothing resonated at all with me and my friends.

And so, hearing that I was 35 really didn’t mean anything to her, she needed to see me in order to figure out that I am a big girl with my big girl games and my big girl friends that have nothing to do with the likes of her.

So please, children who game. Leave me alone. I know I reek of awesome: but find someone your own size to bug.

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Help! Lost Dog

Please help, I’ve lost my dog.  Answers to the name  “Rex.”  He is about hip high, and hates rats and people with hats. Distinguishing features ‘include a visible rotting canine brain and cybertronic limbs. If you see him roaming then Mojave Wasteland, let me know, cause he is holding about 200lbs worth of cooking ingredients.

Seriously folks: any ideas? He is not at my base (the Lucky 38) and he is not at King’s School of Impersonation. I wonder if he is caught on some junk in the Mojave. Next time, Bethesda, all you would have to do is once you are able to recruit a follower, have a quest called “Rex” or “Boone” or whatever that you could activate to put a quest marker on your map that shows where they are. That would be great, thanks.

I also had one of those “ROLE playing game” moments. Cass and I were trying to find out what happened to her caravan. Spoilers: Crimson Caravan and the Van Graffs have something to do with it. You can do one of two things, either find the evidence through sneaking and lockpicking or go all Thelma and Louise and kick everyone’s ass.

We chose Option #2. Cause you know what they say: Revenge is a dish best served by me. Now, the Van Graffs are crazy violent jackasses who have their base of operation in the store that sells BIG BAD WEAPONS. Going in there with both guns blazing would be suicide. But Cass and I downed a flask of whiskey and did it anyway. Holy GEEZ! Super fun times! Once the smoke cleared we had a ton of great stuff to loot and a wicked story to tell. Now we just have to off some old chick and vengeance would be ours. Would be easier if I had my damn dog!

One thing I am finding in this game is that you can’t really min/max. In other words, it’s tough to build a character that is “perfect,” as this game encourages you to make tough decisions about character development. Case in point, I lowered my charisma to a four on ten; I also didn’t put any points into speechcraft or barter. After all, I didn’t really need this in Fallout 3, and you can’t talk your way around fiends. But that’s the point. You CAN talk your way around Ceasar’s Legion, the NCR and Mr. House. In fact you can beat final stage of the game without killing anyone. And there are many places in the game where there is some sort of check against speech, barter or other non-combat skills such as medicine or science. Bethesda made Fallout: New Vegas hard to play if you aren’t well rounded, which actually makes sense to the spirit of the game.

So, in this game I am really trying to not min/max as much as usual. I am trying to go with what I will enjoy playing. If that means a kinda screwed up character, then so be it. It’s too much fun to take it too seriously.

Friday Open Thread: Black Friday Wishlists

So, this poor wee blog got ignored quite a bit over the past month, but I have returned. Fear not. My reader (s) were ever in my heart and thoughts. Over the past month I played a bunch of Fallout: New Vegas, got back on Magic The Gathering: Online (although that was very recent) and finished Fable 3.

Oh: Also everyone in the household was sick. Still are. The baby has also begun teething a whole 3 months early. It’s going to be an awesome time.

But that is in the past, and now it’s time to look forward. Black Friday is almost upon us. Black Friday (for my Canadian friends) is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which marks the holiday shopping season. Stores have doorcrasher sales like NOTHING we have here in the frozen north.  Say what you want to about Americans, they have us Canucks beat when it comes to making good iced tea, barbecue and sales.

So, this week is the week to let your friends and family know what you want for Christmas. Wait too much longer and it’s Tim Horton’s gift certificates. Which would be awesome.

This year I don’t want too much *stuff*. I would rather have consumables, services or digital content for Christmas.  I have taken up too much of the Earth’s resources. And besides, I have two small kids; the junk just piles up higher and faster. I have asked for Microsoft Points, cause I know there is going to be lots of DLC coming out for Fallout: New Vegas. Any Fable 3 DLC will really have to wow me for me to pick it up. Very disappointed.

As an aside, if you are going to give Fable a shot, hit me up with a friend request and I will gift you a nest egg to get going.

My mom is a huge fan of the Heroes of Might and Magic series: from what I can tell it’s a turn based strategy game from Ubisoft. She loves it and if I had it that would probably make Mom happy. We could talk about mutual games. The family that plays together and all that.

Other than that I am not sure what else I really want in terms of gaming. A chat pad would be nice, but again I am trying to stay away from getting stuff this year. I was wondering about a digital e-reader. I would save on paper waste, but I would have created electronic waste and that isn’t great either.

But if I WAS to break my “no stuff for Christmas” vow, what *new* IP do you think I should ask for? Or is there something on XBL Marketplace that is a must have?

What are you asking for this Christmas? Any great and wonderful plans? Let me know! Or just post whatever you are thinking about with gaming and such. Anything in particular you want to see?

A Sad Case of Sequel-itis (Fable 3)

It’s been talked about often in the gaming world; there are many sequels and few new IPs. I have always ignored this as a bit of whining. Hey, I am a busy lady, and if I want to go with what I know will work, then that’s my prerogative. Yes, I kind of like the sure thing.

However there is a downside to the sure thing and that is when a company makes a game that is too much like it’s predecessor. “It’s Game X v. 1.5, not v2.0” is the refrain. Not a whole new game, but a simple reskinning of the old game.

But if I liked the old game, isn’t that a good thing? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

I think the feel of the game must change: if your gameplay rocks, then fine, don’t mess with it. Tweaks are okay, but don’t fix what ain’t broken. But the rest of the game must hit the gamer differently for it to feel like a new game. The emotional impact must be different.

Fallout: New Vegas I found did this wonderfully. As I mentioned previously, the feel is different. The Mojave Wasteland is a very different place than the Capital Wasteland. The area is more inhabited, more civilized. The people of the western United States are further along in creating new tribes and new governments. But it’s still a wasteland and people are struggling to get by; ingenuity still wins the day. The Capital Wasteland on the other hand really felt barren. They have barely stepped out of their vaults both figuratively and literally. Both games have the same basic mechanic, but the notes are different.

Fable 3, I am sad to say, missed the boat a bit. It’s really glitchy, like Fallout: New Vegas. I can look past the lag if the game touches me. But it didn’t. In Fable 2, the story made you love your dog, and when he was shot you felt something. It was the two of you against the world and I remember how great it felt to go running through fields with him beside you. In this game I really didn’t feel for any of my compatriots, not even the dog-replacement, Walter.  (spoiler) When Walter was killed there wasn’t that emotional ring to it. Walter being possessed by the big bad felt like what it was: a ploy to get around having to animate the big bad. Why go through all that trouble actually creating a moving,, fighting 3-D model, when the big bad can possess a guy that is already created. Add black eyes and viola! Big Bad Walter.

That felt cheap, not touching.

There were also some inconsistencies in the game that I didn’t care for. I abolished child labour, yet there are still child labourers. I had over 7.5 million in the treasury (more than enough) yet, Hobson still goes on about how the treasury is taking *such* a huge hit if I abolish the limit on drinking. Something didn’t feel right.

The world was also very small. Very few real cities: Brightwall and Bowerstone were the only major ones. I was also surprised at how little of my choices in Fable 2 effected my playthrough in Fable 3. Now THAT will be interesting if in Fable 4, if all the choices you made would shape the world for the better or worse. For the most part all of the good choices were long-term benefits, whereas the bad choices were either evil at worst (take the treasury money for yourself) or short-term (break a few promises to save the most citizens).

I suppose it is with the feel of Fable: but there was really little shades of grey. Your brother was an evil dictator, but once you threw him off the throne they tried to write him as a just a guy who tried to do his best. I didn’t believe it, but I am not sure I was ever supposed to.

The biggest thing that was changed was the multiplayer. And yeah: that’s pretty fun. But the few times I have gone into another person’s game (or vice versa) we really don’t know what to do. Yes, there are a ton of quests, but they kind of all run together after a while.

Maybe I am disappointed because I had such high expectations. Fable 2 was my game of the year (yes, over Fallout 3) the year it was released. This game didn’t hit the right notes and left me a sad panda.

What do you think? Been disappointed by sequels? How about Call of Duty: Black Ops? Is it just a reskinning with new maps? If so, is that okay for you?