Andy Stead 's blog
Writer, wannabe author, game player, reviewer and sun worshiper. All the best things in life, wrapped up into one.
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I'm still bitter and a new Bethesda game is almost certainly on its way sometime soon, so I want someone to explain something to me. Why does Skyrim get declared a GotY god child upon its release despite being horribly buggy, bland and generic and yet Alpha Protocol, despite being buggy out the whazoo, was not very bland and innovative and creative in ways that Bethesda forgot a decade ago?

Another episode, another ~13 minutes of New Vegas. Came out nicely and got all the way to Primm without dying. From hence forth is going to be hell.


PS: No CC. I'll add it if you guys need it, just shout in the comments.

I talk about Obsidian and their "problem" as well as how to fix it.

Didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would but I'm still pretty awful at this. Enjoy!

PS: There's CC if you need it.

I'm running a Let's Play with the Doctor as the main character. I'm running through the tutorial here. It's pretty boring, but hey, if ya wanna watch it's here for you!

First time I've ever done this, so feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!

PS: There is CC. It's not fantastic, but it's there if you need it. You probably will.

Dear Bethesda,

Why? Why did you let this happen?

There was a time, back in my youth, when I worshiped you! You were a god descended before me with a magical touch and sparkling brilliance. I remember back to when it all began, when I first played Oblivion. I loved that game. It was filled with creativity and wonder, it still had your charm. But, when I look back now, I see that this is when it started. When the golden idol caught your eye and you fell under its mystifying gaze.

Oblivion, for all its faults, truly astounded me. Before then, I was a Quake junky. On occasion I would branch out and try new things. There was Doom and Hexen, Duke Nukem and Commander Keen. I had never really tried out other games beyond shooters and platformers. Sure, I owned my copy of Age of Empires and SimCity, but those were the exception. So when I risked it and blew my birthday money on a copy of Oblivion, I never saw the experience coming.

I was so blown away by this new experience of an RPG that I decided to branch out. I started with you of course. I fiddled around on my Windows 95 and got a copy of Daggerfall working. What a time I had. Even dated, your love for games shone through, your old touch of creating an immersive world that sucked you in and never let go. I moved onto Morrowind and, even though it never quite had the same effect, I could still see your love and creative heart in the work through the browns and grays.

I slowly ventured out further, trying out RPGs made by Bioware and Obsidion. I played Jade Empire, KotOR I & II, Balder's Gate, Dragon Age, Arcanum, Neverwinter Nights; so many that I can hardly even recall their names anymore. Hell, I even gave WoW a shot. I picked up as many RPGs as I could get my hands on in South Africa and never gave the habit up.

There was one in particular, though, that I truly fell in love with. Its name was Fallout. The choice-action-consequence dynamics of the game was so grand that it boggled my mind back then and still does today. It and its sequel, Fallout II, ranked up there as my favorite games of the time and still hold their place today.

So when I heard that you, the mighty Bethesda, had bought the franchise from the decrepit Interplay, my heart soared with joy. Nothing could be greater than Fallout reformed and created anew by the master gamesmiths of Bethesda. It seems almost naive now that I think back on it, but my hopes and dreams, and the hopes and dreams of so many, were riding on that game.

I don't know, maybe I'm just bitter. Fallout III was, by industry standards, a great game. But your games were, to me anyway, held to a higher grade, a finer ideal. It could have been your magnum opus, a testament to games as an art form. But you'd learnt your lesson of Oblivion well, hadn't you. No longer did you have to create games. No longer did you have to pour your heart and soul into the work. The glint of the golden idol was too strong and from it Fallout III was forged into a gilded cage. Pretty, sure, but confining and a damned shadow of its predecessors.

The years have tapered me down but maybe I still see things through a harsher lense. My vitriol and bile has hardened into a jaded state, but I just don't see you shattering that any time soon. Your disgusting management of New Vegas scorned me greatly. Denying Obsidion their just deserves for "mistakes" you make gladly was truly shameful. Your wanton lust for more money through DLC has faded into a joke to many but still burns strong in my memory. Skyrim only further proved my point to me that you care little for your franchises anymore, only for the money you can wring out of them.

I love you still, you know. I understand there's little hope, but the very least you can do is tell me why. Why did you do it Bethesda? Why did you shun everything you once stood for? Why did you gladly join the ranks of Bioware and Blizzard? Why did you give up your creative legacy for money? And, most importantly, is it too late? Has the cancer gone so far as to infect you entirely? Is there nothing left of what you were? Is there any hope that some day, you'll sit down again and create something visionary and beautiful, or am I just sitting here, to be left out in the cold?

Andrew Stead

PPS: Yea, I'm probably still just bitter.

Andy Stead
11:54 PM on 12.07.2013

This one's a bit pretentious. Full of stuffy, thought heavy ideas and worse, no pictures!

Grand Theft Auto V is all in vogue but alas, as a stanch PC gamer, Rockstar hates me with a passion that cannot be understood. Years of late games, flat up refusal to release popular games and poorly optimized messes have left me jaded by the company. Still, they're a good publisher so I stick with them but I won't be the newest release in the series for quite some time. So I went back to number IV to try a playstyle that many might declare a touch crazy. 

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love me some realism. In fact, they might say that I'm a bit insane when it comes to realism. I love its tedious and frustration inducing qualities. I love its immersion creating touch. I love going out of my way to place myself in a world with a sprinkling of the real. I modded Skyrim to the point that I was living a second life of waking, eating, working, and sleeping in Tamriel. I made it the same in Mafia II, going so far that bullets did the damage that they do in our world and you have to visit the mob doctor to get healed up. I took Fallout: New Vegas so far that I was spending more time bandaging up and sneaking around instead of actually fighting anyone.This may sound horrible to you, but I absolutely love it.

So when I installed GTA IV again, I was determined to bring the real world into Liberty City. I stop at red lights, drive on the right side of the road and "exchange" insurance details in the rare bumps and scratches. I walk when I don't have the car, even if it takes ten minutes to get to my location. I eat every morning and evening. I sleep at least once a day. All in all, I play the game as if Nico Bellic was a normal, everyday, human being. It may sound terribly tedious, and it is mind you, but it opens up a world that, I believe anyway, Rockstar originally envisioned.

They wanted the game to be played this way. It's why there are so many little touches of the real world in the game. They never intended for the player to go on a sociopathic, rampaging murder spree right off the bat, or ever for that matter. They wanted you to take your time, get to know who Nico is and understand his plight. Its the main motivation behind splitting the GTA III - San Andreas universe and the new universe into two. Unfortunately, Rockstar overestimated their fan base's desire to join them down the greyscale brick road.

No one else wanted what Rockstar wanted. They wanted guns, bombs, jetpacks and masturbation jokes and I don't blame them. Every GTA before IV had taken its sincerity with a pound of salt. They told serious stories of revenge, greed and loss with a side of levity so that the player never felt overwhelmed. But Rockstar, apparently, was ashamed of this legacy of silliness. They wanted to mature from their past and that is a fair motivation. It's just a shame that they did it so fast as to lose most of their audience standing in the dust.

I, however, am willing to play IV the way I believe Rockstar wanted it to be played and, I must say, it's damn fun. Sure, it can get really boring, but that's life. Nico rapidly becomes a human being with struggles and hopes. The basic monotony of life grounds him so that he never ascends to the mythic levels that CJ, Speed and Tommy got to. He's not a god of crime. He's just a guy who wants a better life. He doesn't get to run around, 24/7, blowing away cops. He has to go home and sleep, eat and shit like the rest of us.

It's truly a surreal experience when you're sitting a stop light, blowing away the time, when you see a car that you want. You don't jump out your car and go steal it. No, you dream about it and hope that the side jobs that  you do will get you the money to afford it some day. This is just one example too. There are many little things like this, that really put you into the head of the character and how they'd approach situations.

I won't say that this is a style of play is for everyone, it's really not. It can get really boring sometimes. However, if you can pull through, the level of immersion you will feel is beyond what I can explain. To watch Nico go about his life and care about his dreams as if they were yours is an experience I won't forget any time soon. I suggest it to everyone, to just give it a shot some day. Worst comes to worst, you lose an hour or two of your life. At its best, you'll get a life changing experience that will leave you thinking.

Who doesn't want to understand that sexy mug? Wait... did I say no pictures?