Every Steam summer sale starts the same.
“Well, I bought way too many games last year, and I didn’t even have time to play them all. But this year will be different. This year I will buy two games tops, awesome ones at that. That will be it. Nothing else. NOTHING.”
Fast-forward about two weeks, and we have all suffered the same fate. Once again, we bought way too many games, and we won’t even have time to play them all.
Oh well, it can’t be helped. The best we can do now is revel in our purchases and enjoy the games so much we got more than our money’s worth by the time we’re done. And that’s exactly what I intend to do.
My haul this year is as follows:
Antichamber FEZ Dark Souls Penny Arcade: On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness Episode 4 Ys I + II Chronicles Mirror’s Edge FTL: Faster than Light Finally, I bought Thomas Was Alone as a gift for a friend, because Thomas Was Alone is still the best thing. As is she, for that matter.
Anyways, I’ve already played and finished some games from my haul. Namely, Antichamber, FEZ, Penny Arcade and Mirror’s Edge. All of them are good or even great. Antichamber is mindfuckery of in the best possible way; FEZ has cool art/music/puzzles although the math and alphabet systems are way too convoluted, especially for a non-native English speaker who doesn’t know the significance of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”; Penny Arcade is good, but neither as fun nor as funny as the previous episodes; and Mirror’s Edge is still brilliant (played it before, but had to rebuy). I already started FTL too: it’s fun, but I wouldn’t choose it over something like Dungeons of Dredmor.
And of course there is Dark Souls. What a fool I have been for not getting this one sooner. I’m not too far in yet, but I’m loving the hell out of this game. I like how much planning and strategy is involved in even the most ‘simple’ fights, and I love how the world of Lordran has been set up. Dark Souls feels like Metroid Prime’s worldbuilding and ]Monster Hunter’s combat had a baby who hates your guts. As for my progress, I just passed the twin Bell Gargoyles yesterday. They were a massive pain, but upgrading my equipment and a touch of strategy eventually carried me through the fight. Having rung the bell, I’m not really sure where to go next. Dashing past the faceless lightning dude (no way in hell I’m fighting him with my current stats) into the Garden seems like a fair bet though.
[EDIT: I just beat faceless lightning dude, and pretty easily at that. How? Bow. Because of course it’s the bow]
Beyond the games I paid actual money for, I also got some games for ‘free’. I dumped nearly all of my Trading Cards on the community market, and got a grand total of €10 out of the deal. Not too shabby, if I say so myself! I spent those 10 bucks on games I wouldn’t have paid my own hard-earned money for (for whatever reason) but could still see myself enjoying. In the end, I found three games which fulfilled those criteria quite nicely, and cost just a little under 10 bucks combined. These were:
Overlord + Overlord II Pack Hard Reset Deus Ex: Human Revolution
So far I’ve only played a little of each, but it looks to me like it was ‘money’ well spent. I knew I would love Overlord, having played the original back in the day, and getting it together with the expansion and sequel is a fair deal if I ever saw one. Hard Reset, being an FPS, I was less sure about. However, in his review Jim compared it favorably to Painkiller, and that if nothing else will get me to buy your FPS in a flash. I don’t hate First Person Shooters per se, I just hate what they’ve become. Give me an oldschool shooter with tons of enemies in wide open spaces, health packs and enough ammo to swim in, and I’ll definitely enjoy it. So far, Hard Reset is nothing if not that. As for Deus Ex, I’m not far enough in yet to give a verdict. Of the three, this was by far my most ‘dangerous’ purchase, because I have no clue if I’ll like it at all.
And there is one final purchase to enjoy! Just not on Steam (and thus without a 75% discount unfortunately). Over here in the old world, Pikmin 3 will be out tomorrow! I should be getting it in the mail right away. I’m looking forward to it! I never actually played Pikmin 1 or 2, but the trailers for the third installment may have sold the series to me, not to mention Miyamoto playing with stuffed animals. What’s that? PS4 and Xbox One will have ‘teh polygonz’? Fuck your polygons. If WiiU can do this that’s more than I’ll ever need. Just take a look at those leaves and tell me they aren’t the prettiest shit.
So now that I’m done making my wallet cry recalling all that money spent, let’s get cappin’! And, you know, actually playing games.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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