Random Game Playing

I know I haven't been posting that often recently. I've actually been finding it hard to balance playing games with writing about games. Often, I've felt more like playing something than thinking of something to say about a game. Nonetheless, here are some random thoughts on what I've been doing recently.

After an extremely long hiatus, I finished Grim Fandango. It was a sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding experience. Despite the dated graphics, the production-qualities are top-notch. The decision by LucasArts to basically remove death from their adventure games of the 1990s was extremely wise. It works especially well for this genre too. And most importantly, it encourages experimentation. When I regularly found myself unsure of how to proceed in the game, I would try to use promising items on every object and character in the game, sometimes to their annoyance. But other than being stuck as a player, I was never discouraged from trying unorthodox methods.

On some blog, I'm not sure which, maybe the 1Up Yours podcast, they were talking about Lego Indiana Jones. Much like Lego Star Wars, your characters have a 4 heart health bar. And they were wondering why even bother with a health bar when you respawn at the exact location you died in. For all practical purposes, there is no death in those games. In Grim Fandango, the no-death concept works because you're not really fighting anything. You're trying to solve environmental puzzles. Nobody is shooting at you or attacking you in real time. It seems like the only solution with the Lego games would be either invincibility with little fighting, or 1 hit kills, both of which sound like painful, inferior solutions.

Finally, I got the Widescreen Mod to work for Baldur's Gate, which I have returned to after a period of many years. It wouldn't work before because the Bioware website told me I didn't need to download a patch with my version of the game. Somehow they were wrong, I did need the patch, and now the mod works fine. And beautifully too, I might add. I'm just barely into the game, since I haven't had much time to play recently, but I'm excited to delve further into it. I've also enjoyed listening to and reading about the release of D&D 4th edition, despite having never played a pen and paper RPG in my life. It's still fascinating.

And that's it. I'll be on another break from the blog, as my parents are arriving in Japan tomorrow to visit me. But, I still have a 3 hour train ride to and from Tokyo, to get in some serious time with my still-fledgling Patapon army. Until next time.

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