Monday, September 20

I attack The Darkness!

I'm currently back in Portland OR, where it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day. They actually had a big Pirate festival which was mildly amusing and fairly entertaining. Portland is unique in it's culture. The people who live their are economically challenged but enthusiastic; the whole city is overrun with street performers, artists and the like. I find it a very enriching environment to be in, perhaps I'll live here one day? It does seem like it's for the young and single though, whereas I'm simply passing through whilst moving on towards a future in which I am married and gainfully employed. Yay me.

The friends I have made here treat me very well, we have been playing a lot of games and my documentary is going great. This weekend I also took them to the Retro Gaming Expo where we played the games that my Grandma used to have on the Atari 2600, some of the old Mario titles that we played on the spurious 'Mega-genie' and even Donkey Kong Country, the only game I ever needed to have on the Super Nintendo. I still remember eating Hungry Jacks in the Tullamarine terminal waiting for my Dad to get back from a trip to India, waiting for a Super Nintendo... Such retro games brought back waves of nostalgia as far back as the 80's; going to campsites and wandering into the simple Arcade-Sheds where they had three or four machines set up. I played Galaga for the first time since I found a machine at Phillip Island with a coin stuck in it and played until 11pm when you and Mum came and found me. I played Moon Patrol for the first time ever, although when I was seven it was my favourite machine to stare at because the demo screen had recorded gameplay. I even played Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Adventure (although I do this at home from time to time). The first reminded me of being best friends with Sean Jenkins in primary school, he was so good at the special stages. We would take the levels in turn, on long car trips to scout camps we used to try and hum the level tunes in order from memory. On this trip my Sonic t-shirt has been the most popular by far (as expected). The latter brings back two really vivid memories of my father; we are at Chadstone shopping center and I just stop dead still, the tv's in the EB window showed Sonic the Hedgehog moving in 3D. Dad wants to leave so I pretended to tie my shoelace so I can watch just a little bit more. 9/9/1999 at 9am, my Dad brings me home a Sega Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure. I play it in my underwear about a foot from the screen until he gets home from work and tells me to turn it off.

Now I'm going down memory lane; December 1997, I carve a 3D 'N' out of Styrofoam and paint it to look like the Nintendo 64 symbol and hang it on the Christmas Tree. It works and I spazz out like the kid on the youtube video. My dad takes me to 'World 4 Kids' and pick out any game I want. I pick Goldeneye and Bomberman 64 because they are both half-price. A year later my father plays his first video game: Diddy Kong Racing on an Ice track in a Hovercraft, never plays again. 19th May 2002, Southland shopping center food court: I've been living on my own for a few years and flat out ask my Dad to buy me a Gamecube, explaining that it will help me relax between studying. To my complete surprise he agrees on the condition that I work hard and get good grades. I don't, but I do play Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mariokart: Double Dash for the next five years.

Thank you for always supporting my interests Dad. Even if you didn't share them! I've been asking people I interview about their parent's view on their lifestyle and the results are varied. However most people can agree that there is a definite divide in the mentalities of the Baby Boomers and Gen X that is less pronounced in further generations. For most of us, our parents were the last of the rustic folk who lived their lives before the technological boom of Mobile Communication, The Internet and Virtual Reality. Whereas people of my generation are the Cosmonauts; more dream than substance, ambitious and doomed. Not really understanding the new frontier we discover, but delving deeply irregardless.

Since arriving I have hit up a couple of games stores and managed to get my hands on my very own copy of Aye, Dark Overlord and a copy of D&D:Castle Ravenloft as a gift to Kristin and Seeth for hosting me for a second week of my trip. I saw Castle Ravenloft at PAX where it was demoed. It sold out by Saturday so I'm glad I managed to find a copy. After two games we are still getting the rules right (All Hero XP is kept in a communal pool, Adventure 4- you keep all treasure cards drawn BEFORE nightfall and then just Item cards) but it is a great, fun, versatile, well paced game that does everything right to find a balance of power, speed and danger. You can play the game in an hour but it still feels very D&D. You could even write your own encounters if you get tired of the 13 game variants supplied. It even has Solo player adventures. How many board games can you play alone? A series of expansions featuring new monsters, missions, treasures and classes seems inevitable and would be welcomed with no errata to rules. It is fashioned after 'Dungeon' and it's ilk, but is executed much better. Seeth admitted to not being that interested in board games (he ran a gaming store!) but in spite of this did enjoy it enough to want to play again. I think it's also a very good gateway game to introduce people into D&D in a fast and fun way. 9/10

Meanwhile Halo: Reach did nothing for me. I was more excited before I played the game. Nothing has that epic feel, you don't get to play as Team Noble and a lot of the fights seem like dicking around on a whole new level. I played it when I was tired, but it felt like more of a chore than the awesome final curtain. It felt like ODST:2, sans plot. Hopefully I'll get more out of the online slayer? I can almost hear those foul mouthed kids now. 5/10

1 comment:

Josh said...

Hey Sunny, not sure if you read these comments, but I just wanted to say how I love the nostalgia!! I remember your N64 model, and I think the Dreamcast one was even cooler. I remember hanging around in Anglesea Caravan park for hrs in front of the arcade machines, so cool, then having 1 dollar to spend, starting playing and dying in 20seconds...go back to watching demo. Also, Erin and Raj came to L+ my place last night and we made and played D&D!!! Totally fun, I think Erin had a good time, we killed some wolves together, she's an Eladrin Druid (who can shapeshift into a tiger), Raj is a barbarian half-orc, and I'm a tiefling warlock. Lauren DM-d. I'd love to play with you once you come back to the land of Oz!