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!

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.


matango said...

On PC, if you haven't played Fallout 1 & 2, Planescape: Torment, and the Baldur's Gate games, I highly recommend them. Planescape is kind of the test run, I think, for the super story centered Bioware games (KOTOR and after).

Stacie Ponder said...

Nice, thank you! I actually picked them all up in a huge sale over at some time back. I've only started to play Baldur's Gate, and I'm digging it...although I'm pretty terrible at managing all those party members. I die A LOT. :D

positronichalloween said...

That's so funny - I picked up that huge GOG D&D game package, too, and have yet to make it far past that Inn where you meet the wizard's friends. I keep getting killed by a roaming goblin band that wipes out my party because I can't figure out how to manage them ("How the hell do you cast a spell again?!").
I might have to give this quiz a try on my blog. Some fun questions.

Stacie Ponder said...

THANK YOU. I suspect that it has a lot to do with my coming from the World of Consoles and using a controller, but I have a bitch of a time handling it all. Micromanagement and tactic- gameplay have never been my strong suit when it's real-time combat. It's going to take me 64358 years to finish this game :D

CashBailey said...


I think I have played three of those games for a few hours each and it just won't grab me.

If they were straight-up historical games I might like them more, but the whole sci-fi time travel aspect to it is too janky and confusing for a simpleton like myself.

Stacie, did you ever play THE WITCHER 2? That shit was the bomb.

Stacie Ponder said...

I have it sitting on my shelf (for Xbox), but I've yet to start it. Should I play the first one beforehand? I've got that for my Mac, but I'm notoriously slow getting around to computer games.