The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Check out this vintage news story about Super Nintendo

Okay, obviously, before anything else, we need to talk about the gorgeous Rogue from The X-Men realness that anchor is giving us.

Then, we can talk about the fuckery of the reporter "playing" F-Zero badly.

THEN we can get to the beef in this stew, which is parents (calmly) raging over the $200 price tag of the Super Nintendo, and letting their kinds know they don't have to have every new thing that comes along. It's quite a shock how much things have changed; nowadays everyone has every fancy new thing, from phones to Kindles to 55" TVs to computers to Poopourri. There's more technology for the consumer to consume than ever before, and we're consuming the hell out of it. No one blinks when a new console appears, nor do they balk at the hefty costs that inevitably accompany it because consoles are now "entertainment centers for the family", not just happy fun boxes for the kids. Scare-mongering news stories about video game systems involve customer-on-customer violence on console release day or Black Friday rather than "hmm, do we need this expensive thing when the old one is still great?"- buying it is a given, it's just a matter of when.

My point, I think, is this: I'm old.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

more questions answered

Okay, hi! Here I am to continue yesterday's post and provide more scintillating answers to gamer questions. What a wonderful time to be alive. Come, let us grow ever closer, invisible fake cyber-friends!

16: Character you've hated most? From what game?
Sure, there are some really hatable characters out there, whether they're just smarmy villains (Arl Rendon Howe from Dragon Age) or incredibly difficult to beat (feeling pretty good after some playthroughs of Dragon's Dogma, I finally picked up the expansion, Dark Arisen...every single encounter led to me promptly getting my ass kicked dead, repeatedly). But oh man, if there's one character I'd like to obliterate from the face of gaming, it's this motherfucker:

That's Barry from Alan Wake. He's an agent with that wiseguy, whiny New Jersey accent, which is undoubtedly the worst combination of everything possible. Whenever you're with him, he won't fucking shut up, and he constantly calls you "Al" in this obnoxious, nasally way that even Peg Bundy would find irritating. Ahhh, just looking at his stupid face has me all riled up and trying to resist the urge to punch my computer screen. I hated Barry. I really, really, really hated Barry.

17: What game do you never tell people you play?
I don't have any deep, dark gaming secrets I'm ashamed of. No stockpiles of tentacle-filled eroge or some such, sorry. Well, okay wait...I do indulge in some mindless Diner Dash clickery from time to time. PLEASE DON'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT MY SECRET SHAME

18: A game you wish your friends knew about?
Trust me, if there's a game I want my friends to know about, I will absolutely tell them. Over and over. That said, I will yell about The Last of Us, FTL, and Papers, Please until the cows come home.

The drudgery of bureaucracy has never been so much fun. Also, it just took me three attempts to spell "bureaucracy" correctly.

19: Which game do you think deserves a revival?
BALDUR'S GATE: DARK ALLIANCE PLEASE. Yes, I had to yell that because I feel so strongly. I love those two games, and Champions of Norrath as well. Although Diablo III sort of satisfies my isometric action RPG itch (I should really get that looked at), I would love to see BG: DA remade, rebooted, continued, whatever. So long as there's more of it. 

20: What was the first video game you ever played?
Combat on the Atari 2600, in all its glory. I talked a bit about it here.

21: How old were you when you first played a video game?
Nine or ten? I think? Video games weren't much around before that, at least not at the in-home level. If they were, I would've started earlier, I'm sure!

22: If you could immerse yourself in any game for one day, which game would it be? What would you do?
No brainer: Mass Effect. Flying around the galaxy, landing on planets, wearing spacesuits, meeting aliens? Fucking yes, please.

23: Biggest disappointment you've had in gaming?
Should I say the original ending to Mass Effect 3? Naw, why beat that dead horse (except I'll probably carry that grudge to my grave, honestly)? 

Instead of opening old wounds, I'll say Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. The first two games in the series were so wonderful, and then the quality began to slip. It was a gradual decline, though- I still bought every new TR that came along, hoping for an upswing. Then TR: AoD came along- the first Lara Croft on the PS2!- and oh boy, what a buggy, tedious, difficult, dreadful piece of shit. Just terrible. It completely put me off the franchise...until the next one, Legend, came along. Thankfully that was a vast improvement (to put it mildly) and my weakness for Tomb Raider paid off. And, it's obviously been paid off in spades with the 2013 reboot (GLORIOUS GAME). But Angel of Darkness? Go fuck yourself!

Nice texas tuxedo, Lara.

24: Casual, Hardcore, or in the middle?
Oh hardcore, no doubt. I say that without a lick of shame. NOT ONE LICK.

25: Be honest; have you ever used cheats (like ActionReplay or Gameshark)?
I've used some codes. In Grand Theft Autos, I've used codes to lower/eliminate my wanted rating so I can play for more than ten minutes without getting dead/irritated. And, of course, back in "The" "Day" I used the famous Konami Code when playing Contra. FUN FACT: if you enter the Konami Code whilst here at Jill Sandwich (just substitute "return" or "enter" for "start"), you will get a treat. YOU'RE WELCOME.

26: Handheld or console?
Console, although Resident Evil: Revelations almost forced me to pick up a Nintendo 3DS when it was exclusive to that platform. Eventually it was ported to the 360, however, and I could be at ease with my choices once again.

27: Has there ever been a moment that has made you cry?
I'll admit, I found myself a little misty-eyed during the death of Songbird in Bioshock Infinite. I cried actual tears out of my eyeholes at the end of the beginning sequence in The Last of Us. Wasn't expecting that, for sure.

28: Which character's clothes do you wish you owned the most?
I can’t really think of anyone, as I am not a style maven...not to mention, video game clothes tend to be crazy and silly and would look terrible on me. It's weird, but to an uncanny extent I dress (and have always dressed and wonder if I will always dress) like Ellie from The Last of Us (HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT GAME YET), all jeans and long-sleeved shirts under t-shirts and hoodies and Chuck Taylors and the such, albeit without the post-apocalyptic tatters and grime (usually). I don’t know whether to high-five myself or to punch myself for dressing like a 14-year-old.

29: Which is more important, gameplay or story?
While shitty gameplay can certainly turn me off to a game (or even stop me from continuing), story rules supreme for me. A fantastic story is not 100% essential to have good time- I come from the Atari 2600 era, after all- but games with fantastic stories are my favorites and generally stick with me the longest. I mean, I loved the crap out of Gone Home and one could easily argue that the gameplay is negligible and it's only story.

30: A game that hasn't been localized in your country that you think should be localized?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

hello I am alive

I know, I'm as surprised as you are! It's sure been a long time, eh? Well, here's what's up: I certainly haven't stopped playing games since the last time I posted...I simply haven't much felt like writing about them very often. A few people have commented here and there that I should maybe write a bit more on the ol' Sandwich (which is super complimentary, by the way, thanks), and I found myself agreeing. So, hi.

There have been a couple of changes for me on the games front over the last year: mostly, I finally got a Playstation 3. It's frickin' boss! Glad to have got my grubby mitts on some PS-exclusive titles, and boy oh boy, a membership in PS+ can't be beat. So many free games. I can't keep up.

There's nothing on the horizon that's got me clamoring for a PS4 or an Xbox One yet (although Elder Scrolls Online is gonna be awfully tempting...). The fact that neither is backwards compatible means I'm going to be waiting for many, many price drops before taking the plunge.

I also finally picked up a copy of Windows for my Mac, and I was so excited to play, like, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Skyrim with mods. However, I quickly discovered that my graphics card is pretty much dooky (and it's integrated, so I can't just upgrade) so I'm still limited in terms of what I can play easily. Oh PC gaming, someday we'll truly be together. Maybe.

Anyway, I thought a good way to ease back into the Jill Sandwich (sounds hot) might be to answer these game questions I found online somewhere. A capital idea! Feel free to answer any in the comments, or answer 'em on your own site and link in the comments. Talkin' games is great fun, after all.

1: Do you try to stay away from walkthroughs?
Yes, unless I'm absolutely stuck somewhere for a long period of time because I can't figure out what to do next. It's usually something like this awful sliding tiles puzzle in Dragon Age 2. I hate these things! But you can't move on until you complete it, so after 15 frustrating minutes, I look up the answer. SO SUE ME.

2: Company you're always loyal to?

Even with all the brouhaha over their latest releases, BioWare games in particular remain Day One purchases for me. Based on how much I love The Last of Us, I might end up adding Naughty Dog to this list (I've only played about ten minutes of Uncharted).

3: Best game you've ever played?
At this point, overall, I'd have to say The Last of Us. It's not the game I've played the most (that would probably be something like Super Mario Kart, which I mainlined in the SNES days). It's not the game I've had the most "fun" playing, and I think the entire universe knows how much I love the Mass Effect series. But my goodness, TLoU is so...satisfying. It's just a fucking great story, told so so well. The characters are unforgettable, and the acting is so so good. Some folks complain about the gameplay, but not me. The combat can be brutal if you're unprepared, but going the stealthy route is sweet. This game is heavy, and it's stuck with me like nothing else.

4: Worst game you've ever played?
Undoubtedly, this infamous piece of shit:

It has nothing to do with the rudimentary graphics (though they're terrible, they're fairly par for the course for the era, really). It's more the incomprehensible game design, frustrating gameplay, and...oh geez, like 30 years later I still want to punch this game.

5: A popular series/game you just can't get into no matter how much you try?
Assassin's Creed. I played through the first one to completion, but it was more something to get through than something to enjoy. Years after it came out, I picked up AC 2 because it was wicked cheap; though it was a vast improvement over the first game in virtually every way, I got bored with the repetitive nature of the missions and stopped before the end. That's it for Assassin's Creed for me, although I see people enjoy AC IV quite a bit, and the one with the female lead character intrigues me. But no! I am done.

While I was a big fan of Grand Theft Auto during the PS2 era, I never finished IV and I have no desire to play V despite the acclaim heaped upon it. I'm tired of the characters and the formula, and it's not fun anymore for me. I'd much rather play anything in the Saints Row series, they're a blast. And I can play as a female character. (At the risk of inciting the usual sexist gamer bullshit, yes, I will say that as I am a woman, being able to play as a woman and to see women represented well in video games is important to me.)

6: A game that's changed you the most?
Has anything really changed me as a person? I don't think so. As a gamer, maybe. I'd say that Resident Evil absolutely cemented my adult-years love affair with games, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic turned me on to western RPGs, which remains my favorite genre. But I can't think of anything that's changed me at my core. Like, say, I was a racist and then I played Bioshock Infinite and said to myself, "Oh wait, I've been wrong, racism is bad!" Maybe that's happened to some people, dunno.

7: A game you'll never forget?
Uh, see question 3. There are a lot of games I'll never forget- Silent Hill 2, just to name one. But for "unforgettable experience", for me, that's The Last of Us.

8: Best soundtrack?
Jeremy Soule's work on the Elder Scrolls series is quite lovely. The music in the Mass Effect got less space-tacular as the series went on, but it's all wonderful.

But yes, I totally love anything sci-fi/space-y, so it's no surprise that Ben Prunty's soundtrack for FTL is a fave.

9: A game you turn your volume off every time you play it?
I never do. The idea of listening to my own music during a game boggles my mind.

10: A game you've completely given up on?
I've dropped some JRPGs when they become a grind, but I'd like to think I'll go back to 'em someday when I'm in the right frame of mind. Don't know if I can say the same for Mirror's Edge. I was having such a blast in that game, running and jumping and parkouring all over the place...then the combat started and it was awful. Or maybe I was just awful at it? Regardless, it was awful enough to make me stop playing. Such a bummer!

11: Hardest game you've played?
Someday I'm sure I'll answer with Dark Souls, but for now it sits on a shelf, still wrapped in cellophane. The wonderful things I've heard about it led me to pick it up, but I've also heard that the gameplay is punishingly brutal, so...I can't say I'm looking forward to it, necessarily, as it doesn't sound like something I'll dig. I guess we'll see!

Other than that, the hardest game I've played is probably some old school 8-bit title, maybe Castlevania. Maybe Super Mario Brothers! Never finished either one. Or Paperboy, I always "called it quits" by Day Three. I'm pretty bad at those sorts of games, as much as I enjoy playing them. I mean, I think the highest I ever got on Ms. Pac-Man was a pretzel. Although that might have been just a dream and my true high is a strawberry.

12: Shortest time you've beaten a game in?
I've completed plenty of games in a marathon weekend session. Games with substantial length, I mean: like Mass Effect 3. If I'm into it and I've got the time, I will play until I finish.

13: A game you were the most excited for when it wasn't released yet?
No doubt, 100%, Mass Effect 2 and 3. Both were clear the schedule as soon as the release date is announced, get it Day One, make sweet love to it forever games.

14: A game you think would be cool if it had voice acting?
Most do, I think? Unless this means a voiced protagonist? Hmm. It's not always necessary (what would Portal have gained if Chell spoke throughout? Nothing! In fact, it would have been a lesser game for it, I think), but sometimes it would really enhance the experience...let's go with Dragon's Dogma, where your character looks like a real weirdo for not speaking during all the cut scenes.

15: Which two games do you think would make an awesome crossover?
I immediately thought Left 4 Dead / Resident Evil...then when looking for a suitable picture I learned there's a L4D2 / RE6 crossover out there. I AM A GENIUS.

But, I was thinking more of a Left 4 Dead game that's like the first Resident Evil, with some exploration and puzzle-solving and the such, not simply non-stop action. That would be a dream game for me, no doubt.

Okay, suckers, that's (only) the halfway point for these questions. Before this becomes the longest post in the history of ever, I'm going to stop and pick it up again tomorrow. I feel much closer to myself after answering all these, it's just AMAZING.