Archive for the ‘games’ Category

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Vive talkin’

August 6, 2016

So yeah, this blog started as a gaming one. It’s time to doff my cap in that direction and talk a little about the HTC Vive our house has acquired recently. My husband had been saving up since it was announced, so we ordered one as soon as they went on sale and started to upgrade the computer to be able to handle it. We also use bluetooth headphones and are lucky enough to have a spare room to have it all set up.

I was pretty unconvinced by VR before I’d experienced it. I thought it’d make me sick as many people said the initial Oculus Rift tests at gaming cons said it did for them.. but I never even bothered to queue up to test it. As far as I was concerned, it was something my husband was interested in, in the same way as I played MMOs and he didn’t much.

But he was quite eager to get me to try the system. And of course, I was interested once it was in the house!

I started off with the tutorial, set in the Aperture Science Labs, which is always nice to see. There’s a few small games to get you used to controls, how to jump around so you can walk seamlessly even when the physical room is running out, how to shoot bows, investigate objects, pick things up, and even stroke a robot dog (highlight, of course). Got to wander around a mountain looking at scenery, shoot a bow at baddies trying to storm a keep, repair an Atlas robot with GladOS badmouthing me, and yes.. even locate some cake. I threw a lot of things around, shot an Aperture Science worker because I could.. it’s quite liberating. And then didn’t do much else for a while. I really like the immersive scenery, couldn’t spend too long on ledges of mountain as it made me feel a bit vertigo-y, which shows how realistic it can get.

Then I tried Waltz of the Wizard, which let me wander round a magician’s house and play with objects. And TheBlue, where you stand underwater, and watch stuff, including a very majestic whale swim-past. And then of course Trials on Tattoine where you get to wield a lightsaber and use it to deflect bolts back on Stormtroopers. All very short, but cool experiences.

But none of which are ‘real’ games. More like experiences. And that is one of the strengths of the Vive VR for me, it really does take me out of the room and let me just BE somewhere else, even if I don’t want to play an active game.

However, it was time to try a game. So, after the summer Steam sale, I played Vanishing Realms, which is proper little D&D game, and includes swordplay, solving puzzles, grabbing items (and yes, smashing barrels and crates) and feels very much like a real version of Knightmare, but without the actors. I haven’t played through too much, we had some computer issues which are now resolved, but I found my height was an advantage on the skeleton-killing, since I could go under their shields and stab upwards. Yes, I had to kneel to get through a knife trap, I jumped over platforms to get through a water room, and had to choose my weapon! It’s not all crazy action though, so that suited me.

And my most recent gaming has been on Audioshield which is a bit of a workout. Using music from your own hard drive, it takes songs and turns the music into a series of blobs you have to deflect with shields on your hands. Your right hand is an orange shield and your  left a blue one, and you have to hit blue and orange blobs, with the correct hand! And you put them together to deflect purple ones. It comes with 3 difficulties, 3 shield types (I mostly use gladius) and 2 stadia to choose as backgrounds. It’s not a graphically amazing game, but it’s pretty fun and I hope to do 20-30 mins a day just to get me moving on days I don’t leave the house.

I know most people would have tried EVERYTHING, but I’ve been purposely picky. I don’t want to dip in and out too much and I’m still finding what’s best for me. But I’m delighted by the Vive VR experience much more than I ever thought I’d be. And we love showing it to people, because mostly they have the same reaction – that it’s a lot better than expected.

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St Andrew’s Day thoughts

November 30, 2009

This morning, I can’t recall a computer game that’s had a good Scottish accent in it.

Is it because I mostly play MMOs and have never recovered from WoW accent-abuse?

Would be interested of any people can think of (bear in mind if Dragon Age has good ones, I haven’t got to them yet).

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Tackling a Boss Monster

November 4, 2009

So, I decided to make a stab at tackling my Feed Reader today, in some of my spare time. I’m greatly enjoying reading everyone’s blog posts, even though I’m hideously behind with things. Haven’t finished it yet, but here’s some of the things that caught my attention:

  • Blizzard to start selling in-game cosmetic pets for $10 a pop. I’ve been playing the refer-a-friend time with Spinks of late. We’re at level 40 now and my first month is over. Might sub another month to get to 60 when the R-A-F bonus runs out. But I hate microtransations, so I’m feeling a bit more ambivalent today than I was yesterday.
  • Free Realms transforms into Fee Realms at level 5 in more microtransation news. Don’t mind this one so much as you get to dabble free, and apparently the costs are fairly small.
  • The new Siege of Mirkwood trailer is up and available and deals with the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur – the lack of a name stems from licensing issues, according to Zubon.
  • KIASA name Torchlight Diablo 2.5 in reviewlet I’m totally in agreement with.
  • Tom Chick over at Fidgit enters into a bit of a spat with Bioware over the extra storage in the $7 DLC and accuses the company of nickel-and-diming. Bioware replies.
  • The Wii is dead, long live the… ?
  • Green Armadillo takes a look at the marketing and pricing of the Siege of Mirkwood and the extension of the pre-order deals and deadline. It’s an interesting take and cites some other things to read on the subject, which I greatly enjoyed. Not sure it’s a cover up, since it seems blindingly obvious they’re taking money for what was once free to players in content updates… but valid points, nonetheless. 

More as I catch up further tomorrow!

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Boggle

November 3, 2009

I was reading this story about the UK opening its first games addiction clinic when I came across the following quotation:

It’s not unusual for people to get so obsessed with online gaming that they forget to eat and drift towards an anorexic and undernourished state…

While I’m sure it’s true, it’s certainly not true for me! Which obviously means I’m not obsessed or addicted. Hurrah (and bring on the chocolate).

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Musings (and a bit of peer pressure)

October 13, 2009

I want to love Dragon Age: Origins. I’m sure I will. I like RPGs, I like story. And yet, I don’t want to spoil it with trailers (which I hear rock) or with chit-chat about the game.

And I’m not sure I really have the money right now to justify buying the game new. We tend to only buy things when they’re around a year old in this house, or for birthdays. MMOs are the exception to the rule, because I like being in on day one (might make an exception for Fallen Earth some day).

The character creator for DA:O is due out today and I’m sure I’ll have a play with it. But I may well not have the game on release. The fact they want to sell me DLC on day one has helped push me further towards the ‘wait for the Game of the Year edition’ camp, even if it means having to buy further DLCs.

I sometimes wish I had more money, then I remember I work one day a week, and there’s a price I pay for that freedom. So while I’ll be following DA:O, and I’m definitely feeling the peer pressure to pre-order it and get excitable about it, I think it’s more likely I’ll be playing it in 2010.

For the record, other games I’m looking forward to of the non-MMO variety are Diablo 3 and Deathspank, and even those will probably not be bought on release.

Still, even admitting this makes me feel a bit dirty, and like I’m not a serious enough gamer to be writing about games. Time to read some comics and feel like a serious comics reader ;p

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In Which I Attempt a Links Post

September 15, 2009

I can’t even begin to list all the blog posts that have kept me entertained and enthralled while I’ve been away from home, so I had to start afresh, and thought I’d link to some of the more recent stories and posts that I’d recommend:

First of all, from the Codemasters’ Blog, I bring you Faya’s favourite designs in the recent Design-a-Horse competition. You have to love the pimped out tiger skin blanket and the Pirate Horse. Arrrrr!

Bootae brings up a fascinating subject that I may return to sometime if I remember. If you had to pick your golden team of classes from any MMO, what would it consist of?

We Fly Spitfires asks about whether guild websites are worth it? To be honest, I couldn’t imagine not having a guild website, the amount of tattle that goes on on ours is fairly legendary (including the current thread where people post screenshots and everyone else has to try and guess where it is in-game).

Syp reminds me of my beloved ‘No Elves’ campaign, and notes that IGN have joined. He also warns of the dangers of elves in Dragon Age. Reader, beware.

Skar has some wise words on MMO tourism. It reminded me how often I compare things to DAoC, and they come out poorly.

Congrats to the Ancient Gaming Noob on 3 years in the sun! Always worth reading, too.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun cover the Bethesda/Interplay legal wranglings, and I echo their words. Go read the full article they link to. Sobering thoughts, and it saddens me, because I love Fallout, in all forms and flavours.

Go read Hawley’s blog! (slipping it in there, did you notice?)

That’s it for now, am saving more each day.

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Pay-off

September 4, 2009

I knew one day all my geeky hobbies would pay off. So finding out I won a Watchmen competition over at the Limited Edition podcast really made my trip home from work yesterday a far more exciting one. Validation that reading comics is good for you! As is winning prizes!!

Anyway, if you don’t listen to the podcast, you should consider it (esp if you read this blog). They now alternate between talking about comics and talking about games (so essentially it’s two podcasts from the same stable), and even if you don’t read comics actively, the chit-chat is interesting and worthwhile. And the same goes if you don’t usually play games, but read comics instead. There’s cross-pollination and general all-round good geekery.

Check out an episode or two and see what you think. And let me know (if you remember!)