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Power Member - Level 10
On my birthday this past week I was 27 going on 15 even if
society now officially declares me 28 years old. As per my birthday tradition, I took the day
off of work, ordered pizza that was a nostalgic throwback to a much younger me
(Pizza Hut pan pizza with one topping - black olives - my same order from when
we got those kid size personal pan pizzas when I was a kid), and I played video
games all day while the Coke Zero cans piled up around me. The day was magical and the next morning, I
awoke and went to work daydreaming about my 2014 birthday.
If only eating cake regenerated my health as well.
In the weeks leading up to my birthday I daydreamed of the
games to play on a rare all-day gaming day.
Interestingly, I do not actually want to game 8-10 hours day everyday
but on the occasional day that I can I am ecstatic for the opportunity. With so much time for gaming, I was excited
for time to delve into a story.
Typically I game for 60-90 minutes a day at 4:30 AM or at 9:30 PM and I
am not particularly awake at either hour.
While trying to play games with a deep narrative and complex gameplay
systems such as inventory management, crafting, and/or skill trees I begin
drifting off to sleep trying to navigate how to play the game and once in the
game I practically fall asleep listening to long winded but important sounding
conversations that require more brain function than I can muster.
Consequently, my day to day games are often more action
oriented. Preferring to play games with
short term gratification such as demolishing aliens and nauseously experiencing
the spaceship's gravity changes in Prey or a thug beat down in Batman Arkham
City or the running footsteps in Mirrors Edge (not so much the combat
So many titles to choose from and so little time! Hip hip hooray for birthdays!
For my birthday bash I had a three game plan. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The
Shadows in the early morning to celebrate the resurgence of the TMNT, Dragon
Age Origins: Ultimate Edition in the late morning/early afternoon to begin a
new playthrough because I never finished my previous attempt, and finishing
with XCOM: Enemy Unknown to end the day in a standoff against the alien
invasion. Alas, plans are not made to be
My brand loyalty is to the Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles. I am a child of 1985. The exact moment is unknown but in the early
nineties TMNT hooked me and did not let go.
Like nearly all successful superhero franchises the story, once we look
past radioactive green ooze, mutant animals, news reporters in yellow jumpsuits
and human vigilantes in hockey masks, is about a family dynamic.
Yes, TMNT: Out Of The Shadows is a marketing grab of a
successfully revived franchise (I am explicitly referring to the Nickelodeon
cartoon and the comic reboot) to both capture the imagination of a young
generation drooling at the new TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon and to convince the
nostalgic late twenties/early thirty year olds to pull out their wallets. On cue, I pulled out my wallet and then I put
my wallet away.
The picture is only blurry because the image is an action shot. The purple smear on the bottom is exactly how the captions appear.
I played the free demo, I knew that the game was an action
game beating down the foot clan and with scaled expectations I enjoyed the game. The problem?
The captions are unreadable.
Color coded captions are fine and even makes sense with the TMNT but
with no outline or background the captions are utterly indecipherable and
unusable. I will not struggle to
understand the basic game and thereby resent my beloved TMNT franchise. I understand Redfly that you probably worked
nights to roll out the game in time for the Xbox Summer Arcade 2013 but shame on
the missed detail.
I greatly looked forward to playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, only
desiring a clear headed gaming time for strategizing my defense against the
alien horde. Naturally, I bought the
game for $20 dollars days before the announcement of XCOM: Enemy Within. The fact that, for consoles, the expansion is
only packaged at retail with the complete game for $40 stings a bit. Note to self to remain suspicious of price
drops, especially around big release opportunities such as the fall when the
new generation consoles are available. But
I never got around to starting this game.
The densest most impossible to use radial wheel, each option simply takes us to more and more menus.
In 2011 I bought my Xbox 360 with two games, Dance Central
and Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition.
Looking back on my attempt at DAO I realized that I was unsure how to
play the game. After feeling unable to
continue playing DAO, I bought and played Mass Effect instead which was a great
introduction to modern day gaming. In
DAO way back in 2011 I rolled as a standard human warrior because I wanted a
straightforward playthrough. The turn
based/action hybrid was beyond my gaming understanding at the time. I struggled understanding the menus, the
confusing combat and whether or not I was insane for not knowing how to use the
radial wheel efficiently.
I kept trying until I attempted to script my companion
character's combat tactics for more effective help from the AI during
battles. I entered the wrong command and
my party used every single health potion in my inventory while I was trapped
deep in the Circle Tower. I stopped
playing and I was saddened by my failure.
The origin stories are an awesome appeal for multiple playthroughs. Where else do we get a double elf wedding?
The buzz lately around Dragon Age Inquisition reminded me of
my desire to play the Dragon Age franchise and of my failure. On my birthday, I popped in the game resolute
to approach the game with a new patience and understanding. Not wanting to overburden my ability to
navigate the obtuse menus I set up a rogue city elf. A blend of my preferred archery and stealth
but little reliance on spells because magic requires the most cycling through
Dragon Age Inquisition, satisfying the daydreams of fantasy enthusiasts everywhere.
With a new wherewithal, I figured out the "powers" mapped to
my controller's front buttons, took my time in combat, and cycled through the
menus with deep breaths equipping and selling the correct items. I was and am now hooked. The story changed slightly with my new origin
story, I was not bored during lengthy conversations but engaged understanding
now the purpose of enjoying the journey, and I am not going near the Circle
Tower for a while. All day I played DAO
enjoying myself, only wanting to play more and building excitement for the
release of Dragon Age Inquisition, even considering purchasing the game on my
Xbox 360 rather than waiting for my upgrade into the next console generation.
The rediscovery of a previously difficult game is a gaming
triumph. DAO sat stacked in my gaming backlog,
a sore spot because I wanted to enjoy the game but I was frustrated by my inability
to "get it."
As far as birthday gifts, I tend to buy the games that I
want and have a ranked list in my head of the next game I want to
purchase. As nearly all gamers experience,
while I have more than enough games to play, some never yet played, on gift
giving occasions I still want more games just in case the sudden overwhelming
need to play "that" game pops up. Now,
on holidays I give my girlfriend a list of similarly priced games and ask her
to buy whichever game she thinks I should play.
I become psyched for a new game and am still surprised when I receive
Nothing says "Happy Birthday" such as a macabre twist on Alice In Wonderland. I always figured that Alice would get more done with a butcher knife.
This year's list was $20 games and included Alice: Madness
Returns, Prince of Persia (Ubisoft 2008), Metro 2033, Red Dead Redemption: Game
of the Year, Final Fantasy XIII, and Defiance.
I was bestowed with Alice: Madness Returns which includes the original
American McGee's Alice as well but I am too obsessed with DAO to pop in the
game. Maybe later I will play Alice:
Madness Returns simultaneously with El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron for a
As always, thank you for reading and spending some of your
time here. I probably spend too much
time writing these but I enjoy the process and I enjoy that there are those who
read and enjoy the pieces as well.
What games have you
What was your best
Do you plan to buy
Dragon Age Inquisition on day one? On
the current or new console generation?