Monday, November 26, 2007

Back in the Game

For all of you that noticed that I dropped off of the radar for a while: I'm not dead. I've just been busy. Back in August I wound up in crunch-time developer mode and had no time to blog, let alone keep up with things. By the end of September I was weeks behind in my current news and furiously trying to catch up. Thanks to a combination of Google Reader and fall cleaning, I've fully caught up. Now I just need to find time to put words to page.

But I'm back, and hoping to blog more as things turn around in the holiday season, and the new year. I've also been gaming more lately. That's a good thing.

So here's a quick look at what I've been playing, and some off the cuff impressions.

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
I was hooked in this for about 2-3 week after I got it. It was light, fun, and easy to play in half-hour segments on the bus to or from work. I even dropped the occasional evening on it to scour a dungeon. Then I hit just past the half-way mark and the game became all slog. The dungeons became too large to manage in a lunch break, or on a bus. The side quests became more tedious than fun, and fishing is just boring.

I only have the final (that is, main, repeating, annoying) dungeon and boss to beat. I've been at this point for about 3-4 weeks and haven't had the time or desire to continue. I want to finish this game, but it now just feels like too much work.

Sam & Max, Season 2, Episode 1

The dynamic, deadly duo return in their second episodic series. This time they have to save Christmas. That bodes ill for the holidays. The writing is full on course with this episode, and it is fun, clever, and easily playable in a single evening. This is the only game so far in the last half-year I've been able to finish and enjoy all the way through. I highly recommend playing it (or at least one of the Telltale crew's Freelance Police episodes). You can get them direct or through GameTap.

Which leads me to another game I've gotten to play a little bit of. I don't own an X360 yet. I don't have the TV for it, I don't have the money for it, and I so much want one. So when my friend picked up Overlord for it, I was disappointed that I had another game I couldn't play. Until I found out that it's on GameTap. Joy!

The game itself (so far) is a mad romp through every fantasy cliche, except that you get to inflict bodily harm (somewhat indirectly) on the lovable inhabitants of the world. Controlling your horde of minions is rather intuitive, just point them at something you want killed, or broken, or desecrated, and they'll happily take care of it for you. You hardly have to lift a finger. And you get to be evil, or at least malevolent, which is always a nice escape from constantly being the icon of good. I've only had the time to play the first couple of missions, but they've been fun. I'll need to get on my computer more just so I can play this.

Super Mario Galaxy
My wife got me Super Paper Mario for my birthday, back in August. I feel bad because I have barely cracked the case on it. However, getting Galaxy I think makes up for it. Not only is it incredibly fun, but I can play the game with her. It makes the game a lot easier when I don't have to worry about collecting all the star bits myself, or she can hold off some of the dangers while I blunder around. While some levels are a little headache inducing (winding up upside down with stars swirling in the background can be a little much) the creative use of space and classic platforming constantly makes me smile. I'm addicted (at least for now).

And I think that brings me up to date. I'm also sitting at about 60% done Okami (and have been since July). However, that game sets off my OCD so playing is a study in list and checkmarks. I also recently bought Ico, but have no idea when I'll get to it.

So many games, so little time. Oh, almost forgot about Worms 2 for DS. They fixed everything that was stupid and broken about the first Worms for DS. Apparently they did it by giving the license to someone else and throwing out all the code and design from the first try. Good for them. The game brings back the fun of madly destroying your opponent with overpowered explosives and oddball weapons. There is nothing so totally Worms as dropping a concrete donkey on your enemies. It is worth the money if you can find it. It also has WiFi, so if you have a copy let me know and we can blow each other up some time.

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