The lights are on
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X-COM: UFO Defense is a strategic turn-based game that was developed by the now defunct Mythos Games in 1994 for PC. It is a turn-based strategy game that has some city building elements that places the player in command of Earth’s defenses during an alien assault. You begin the game by selecting where to place your base of operations, which can be anywhere on the planet. You can expand this base and add more personnel, equipment, and vehicles through various menus and interactions with the base map. Alien ships will begin appearing shortly after beginning the game and your aircraft need to intercept them or they will create bases on the ground. If/when this occurs; you must dispatch a ground team to deal with the alien threat. When your troops arrive at the landing site the game switches into its turn-based mode. You control where your soldiers go and what they do, tile by tile. This mode also occurs during terrorist attacks by the alien forces that occur seemingly at random around the world.
For the day before All Hallows Eve, and the second to last day of my countdown to Halloween
From the macabre to the terrifying, Halloween is a time to revel in rather grotesque and disturbing imagery. But if you are not normally into those types of films, games, statues, experiences, muffins, then it might be a little difficult to get into the spirit of things. Naturally, you poor suckers need my help! I have a few suggestions to creepify your Halloween.
Continuing the countdown to Halloween, yesterday we looked at the things that horror games need, today we will be looking at the things that video games that deal in horror should avoid at all costs. There might be a couple overlapping points, but I will strive to keep them few and far between.
Continuing on to day two of the countdown to Halloween, I have created [pause for dramatic effect] A LIST! That is right, for today only (unless you choose to view it in my blog archive), you can be the proud viewer of a carefully thought out and planned list.
As my grandpappy used to tell me, “Back in my day, we only had two days of the week: Monday and Second Monday. Not only that, but we only had two numbers, one and zero. That’s how we made the computer. AND WE LIKED IT!” Okay, so my grandpappy never told me that, but I am sure many of you are familiar with the beginning phrase “back in my day”. It seems to be getting thrown a lot these days. Just today in one of the blogs on GIO I read someone talking about how games coddle gamers too much these days, unlike back in the days of Ninja Gaiden or Battletoads for the NES. In my opinion, the fact that games are easier these days is due more to better programming and improved technology at programmer’s disposals. But this blog isn’t about that. Instead, this blog is about how one game in particular is going against that notion of coddling and smashing it to bits with two slashes of its ridiculously oversized sword.
For those of you who are not familiar with me, my name is Jack and I like a lot of things. I like the color green, caffeinated beverages (with the exception of coffee, BLECK), alternative rock and folk music, and video games. Oh yeah, and I like to write. I like to write a lot. What kinds of things do I write? I write poetry when the mood takes me, I write short stories on occasion, and I also sometimes work on a few novel ideas I have stashed away on my computer. In addition to those pursuits, I am an English Major at the University of Minnesota and so I end up writing quite a few academic papers dissecting Shakespeare, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and other writers that you may or may not have heard of. I am usually perfectly happy to do this, but sometimes, especially in the case of material that I don’t find particularly compelling, it can become quite a drag. It sucks away both time and energy from both writing and reading things that I would normally find interesting and engaging. I enjoy writing creatively enough that I have published a book of poetry and short stories. I published it three years ago as as a gift to my parents for putting me through college and public education. But I have continued working on it over the years and it is currently in its third edition. I’m not going to say that it is good because, well, I don’t think it is that great. In fact, I get a bit embarrassed when people who have read it quote lines from it. But that is neither here nor there.
The question asked in the title of this post is one that has occupied me for a while. I think that the answer gets at some of the profound changes that the video game industry has undergone in the past to make it what it is today, and will also be the impetus for changes that will come in the future.
So often, licensed games get the harsh end of the stick from experienced gamers. Partly, this is because, with the exceptions of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, developers just try to capitalize on the name recognition such properties bring with them. But this does not mean that all licensed games are doomed to be terrible, but it does rankle gamers that their hard earned cash is being taken for a less than stellar experience.
Every so often, when I am unable to think of what to write for a blog post, I sit down and brainstorm for an hour or so and come up with a list of different ideas. Sometimes these ideas are terrible, and sometimes they are pretty darn good. Some of the good ideas for blogs are written down and become blog posts, while others are saved for future use. A small portion of the saved ideas are actually half written or mostly completed, but never finished. Today, in a new series titled Blog Vault, I resurrect an old post that was mostly completed about two months ago. Enjoy!