Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

10 February, 2013

One More Step

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 14:03

I think I was quite spoiled, when it comes to adventure games. My love for the genre was kindled by playing some very good games at an early, formative age. Though the exact order is somewhat muddled now by the mists of time, I recall playing Pyramid: Challenge of the Pharaoh’s Dream in primary school, and while I suppose you might quibble a bit on the genre of that game, I certainly class it as adventure. It was marvellous fun. Then, picking through the PC games shelf in the library, I went on to play such excellent games as Pink Panther’s Passport to Peril and Riven. Although I didn’t understand a single thing on that first play, you all know how I’ve landed when it comes to that game. Eventually, I played Myst itself, of course. All great games, with fun and intriguing stories, and that’s where I’ve been spoiled – eating the best fruit first.

And then, when I was 13 or 14, I played The Longest Journey.

On the list of my favourite games, Riven holds the number one spot. The Longest Journey is on number two. Man, that game told an excellent story. It was one of the first games I actually bought, rather than borrow at the library. I don’t know how long it took me to get through it all, but it was a gloriously good time.

The sequel, Dreamfall, was also a good game, but it did not measure up to its predecessor. Funcom decided to experiment with action-adventure, adding half-hearted combat and stealth sections to the game, and choosing controls better suited for the X-box than the PC, though PC was the main platform. The story was excellent still, and masterfully told, but the actual gameplay left quite a bit to be desired. And it ended on a god damn cliffhanger. Six years ago. And then Funcom began digging itself its MMO grave, and we hear nothing more.

Until just recently! Ragnar Tørnquist, the mastermind behind these games, founded his own little studio and licensed the rights to finally make a new game in the series. And it’s up on Kickstarter right now, trying to fund the project. And they’ve said they’re removing the combat and stealth and going back to pure adventure! I am giddy with excitement! I have seriously been reloading that Kickstarter page over and over for the past two days, watching the number climb, ever slower, towards the goal. I pledged $50 myself, though I am debating going for the physical box, just to have it in my shelves. Will have to do some maths on whether the budget can take it.

If you haven’t played The Longest Journey, I heartily recommend it. It’s on GOG for a pittance, and I believe it is available on Steam as well, for those of that persuasion. Dreamfall‘s on there as well, if you want to check it out. But the Kickstarter is the real thing here. An actual proper adventure game made by people who damn well know how. I only wish I had more spending money at hand.

12 November, 2012

Dream(fall) Come True

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I apologise for that title.

You will recall that my favourite game is Riven. The Myst games in general dominate my toplist, but in the second spot, breathing Riven in the neck, is The Longest Journey.

I love The Longest Journey. It has its flaws, but I am willing to completely ignore them, because the good bits are so very, very good. It has some excellent puzzles (and some weird ones), some beautiful graphics (and some dodgy ones), and an excellent story (which is great all the way through). I love, love, love it.

I also liked its sequel, Dreamfall, but to a lesser extent. The story was still excellent in that game, but with some dodgy bits in it this time. The puzzles were not as engaging, and several of them were basically just fetch quests. I didn’t care for the interface. And, oh yes, there was combat.

I only finished that game by downloading a cheat thingy that let me instantly win any combat. And then I got stuck after I beat an enemy that was intended to be unbeatable.

Anyway, I did like it, and that’s enough about that. The reason I’m writing about this now, is the recent announcement that another sequel, Dreamfall Chapters, is on its way. I think I can sum up my immediate feelings on the matter by quoting my own tweet-slash-retweet:

Pictured above: elation.

To make it even better, they’re going back to pure adventure game, removing the clunky and dumb combat of Dreamfall! More puzzles! Closure to the Dreamfall cliffhanger ending! There’s apparently going to be a kickstarter campaign to fund development. I say, show me where it is, so I can throw my money at it. Elation.

Man, I hope it will be as awesome as it looks. Nobody’s asked me, but here’s what I think anyway: By dropping the combat, they’ll already be leaps better than Dreamfall. Hopefully, they’ll make better puzzles. In Dreamfall, so many of the puzzled were basically find this person, who asks you to find something else, and to find it you need to talk to X and help them find Y etc. Better puzzles, please! From the interview, it really looks like that’s where they’re doing anyway, so I’m optimistic. And maybe, just maybe we could have all the characters actually do something. In Dreamfall, Kian was pretty much just introduced, then off screen for ages, and then turned his coat out of nowhere when he popped up again. Develop this stuff!

Aaah, I’m just so excited! It looks like Tørnquist is fully and completely in charge on this one, so I’m hoping for awesomeness. The story continues! I’m almost running in circles, here.

 

I’m not afraid to give my heart away yet. Now I just have to count the days and look out for the kickstarter.

29 October, 2012

Procrastinating on Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I’ve pretty much decided to try this online game idea. However, I also know that I don’t really have the time for the start-up yet – life’s a bit hectic at the moment. The result is that I still putter around with the idea, but not with the parts that actually matter.

See, all the important stuff from here on will depend largely on the players, should I find any, so until I’m ready to go looking, I can’t very well do much of the real work. So, in a characteristic move, I obsess over needless details. Except, in my head they’re obviously not needless. If I’m aiming to run a campaign focused mostly on a sea voyage, I want to know which sail I’m talking about when one of them catches fire.

I’ve been puttering around with the details of this ship for a couple of weeks now. I made a little floor plan, gridded out should combat arise, based on some other ship maps I found. I’m pretty pleased with the results, so long as I don’t think too closely about the scale.

Ship plans

Sail plan

So, yes, I’m procrastinating on something that is supposed to just be fun. That’s the level of procrastination I rise to.

22 October, 2012

A Lack of Board Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I feel like I don’t have enough board games.

I don’t know if I’m properly qualified to be a board game geek (though I do have an account on BoardGameGeek), since I haven’t really played a wide variety of games. I do however feel like one, like someone who will go out of their way to get in a fun board game. But I feel like I don’t own enough of them. I’m actually less than impressed by some of the mainstays. Carcassonne, for instance, I’ve never seen the appeal of. There are a few I do like enough to have standing on the shelves however.

For a good long while, the only game I had was the Game of Thrones board game, which I’ve written a bit about before,  and which I used to play with friends pretty regularly. I still play it, but much less regularly now. It’s probably my favourite game, but it takes a while and needs many players, so we have to make an Event of it.

I’ve got a couple of card games. Monty Python Fluxx and Chrononauts are both good fun, but rarely see play. Bohnanza is a fairly recent acquisition, and has also not seen much use. Citadels I’ve had on the shelf for a little while, but never played – the opportunity has yet to present itself.

Kill Doctor Lucky I have gotten to play since obtaining it, and it was as much fun as I remembered. I quite like that style of humour – the family board game of murder in the dark. Earlier today I purchased a copy of Pandemic, which I have enjoyed playing in the past. I even played a little solitaire round to refresh my memory of the rules. I won.

And that’s it, really. That’s all that’s on my shelves. Like I say, I feel it’s not enough, but I don’t know where to go next.

I have been watching and enjoying Wil Wheaton’s TableTop show, but it hasn’t really inspired me to go get the ones I hadn’t heard of before yet. Maybe one will show up eventually?

Or maybe you, gentle reader, have some suggestions?

 

1 October, 2012

Idle Desires

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I’m having a bit of D&D withdrawal.

It’s been a good while now since last I played the game, and a few months since I even wrote something about my world to release some of the steam. Today, I finally watched this year’s Acquisitions Incorporated episode, and many laughs were had. I also recently got caught up on the excellent Critical Hit podcast, after having fallen a month or so behind. It all adds up to a great big desire for more D&D. Before you know it, I’m scouring Obsidian Portal for interesting wikis, trying to soak up the mood like some desperate sponge.

There’s a new edition of the game on the way. I have barely skimmed the playtest materials currently out there. I like some things, am very sceptical about others, but I’m trying not to make up my mind before I see the finished product. I quite like 4th edition, though – and I already have a bunch of the books – so I doubt I’ll be switching any time soon. Late adopter, that’s me.

But as I’m not really playing, it hardly matters at the moment. I don’t have the time for running a game; that much is certain. I suppose I could try to find someone else to run one and just play in it, but that’s not the easiest project in the world either. No, gathering a group around a table at this point seems an unassailable task.

But, there’s always the Internet. I have been toying with the idea of putting up an ad on Myth Weavers. I don’t have much experience in play-by-post games; I’ve participated in one that sort of petered out pretty quickly when the DM disappeared, and been the DM of another, on Google Wave, that also did not last long. People do make it work however, so maybe I was just unlucky. I could try signing up for a player on a game, I guess, but there aren’t that many 4e games advertised on there, and among those even fewer that I think look interesting.

If I decide to try running one myself, I think I would want the story to circle around exploration – adventurers sailing off into the unknown to explore the world and discover what lies in the blank spots of the map. Possibly structured around a central search for a lost treasure. It’s all in the vague not-even-early stages.

It’s something that I think I will eventually talk myself into, even though I have no idea if I actually have the time to run it properly; I don’t even know what the time requirements will end up being. It’ll take a little more time, though, so while I wait, I’ll just have a look at Obsidian Portal …

16 April, 2012

Five of a Thing: D&D Monsters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

One of the things I like about D&D is the ridiculous number of monsters it has accumulated. There are whole pages dedicated to some of the sillier critters the game has now left behind. There are still some really weird ones in the mix, but I think most of them have some cool feature at this point. Leafing through my 4th edition Monster Manuals, I certainly find plenty to love. So here’s five of them. I’m not even going to say these are favourites, they’re simply five monsters I think are cool.

5 – Rust Monster

Way, way back, when I read my first D&D book (a red one), I remember this monster being in it. I think it was encountered in the solo adventure in that book, and it might even have rusted away my weapon. Or maybe I’ve invented that whole memory. Either way, the rust monster is such an unashamedly obvious “screw you” to the players, I can’t help but love it. It’s a monster specifically designed to destroy you stuff!

4 – Owlbear

Yeah, that’s right, I said owlbear, the poster boy for ridiculous combinations of creatures. This isn’t so much for what the owlbear currently is, as for what it could be. Look at these things, and tell me this creature that leaves people with no other recourse than to draw comparison to killers of land and air can’t be terrifying.

3 – Aboleths

A.K.A evil fish. Huge amphibians that come from the cuthulu-esque Far Realm, swimming in unknowable patterns beneath subterranean seas, spewing an incomprehensible hate throughout their surroundings. I have a weakness for that sort of Lovecraft-inspired monster, I guess.

2 –  Rakshasas

Humanoid big cats. What makes these cool are their backstory. There’s a player race called Devas (neither of these have much to do with the thigns they’ve taken their names from, just as an aside) which are basically angelic spirits who have decided to hang around in the world and fight evil. Every time they die, they reincarnate in a new body. Unless they’ve turned to the dark side, in which case they become rakshasas, compelled by their new nature to continue a life of depravity and violence. Good concept. A+.

1 – Weavers

To be honest, what I’m really responding to here is the look. While the concept of a people who claim they existed in the previous universe and work endlessly to end the current one to restore their own is pretty cool, what really sells it is the image of a slender six-armed creature with no mouth. I don’t know what it is, but picturing these things move in my head makes me love them. They’d be all graceful and calm and never make a sound, and then just throw an opponent through a wall. Awesome.

Honourable mention goes to the destrachan, which is a raptor with sonar. I repeat, it is a raptor with sonar.

My head is in a bit of a D&D space right now. Maybe I’ll write more about that later. For now, them’s the monsters.

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