Confession: “I Didn’t Finish These Five Excellent Games”

I’ve never really been a 100%-er, sure I’ve gathered that fabled status on a handful of games, but I’ve reached a comfortable state where I can put a game down without feeling the need to slay forty-dragons with a teaspoon, only walking backwards, following a heavy drinking session with the local wizard if it’s not fun anymore… although that particular brand of cutlery fueled reptilian carnage sounds pretty excellent so I would probably give it a shot. That being said, I do tend to reach the ‘end’ of a game if I’m enjoying it; whether it’s closing out the story, clearing all the missions, or managing a complete run, watching those credits roll is just as satisfying now as the first time I achieved it years ago.

It’s strange then that there are a few games that I think are pretty great that I have never gotten around to finishing. So, in a confession of sorts, here are five games that I’ve never completed… And my half mumbled apologetic excuses as to ‘why’:

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Cities Skylines: Idle Gaming

No, not ‘game idling’, that’s leaving TF2 running on an empty server because you’re desperately trying to get a hat as cool as my heavy’s purple-super-awesome-fuzzy-hat; it’ll never happen, so you should probably stop trying now. 

In the past week I’ve once more returned to ‘Cities: Skylines’, which may not be the most catchy name, but I guess the developers decided against calling it ‘Cities: The Game That SimCity Reboot Should Have Been’. I first tried my hand at this gentle brand of city planning back in 2015 when it made the list of top 5 games I played that year and, despite rarely being touched since the close of that twelve-months, it remained installed on my PC; a worthy achievement as I tend to clear space pretty regularly to make way for new titles. Working on the ‘Field of Dreams’ school of thought the player lays out roads, infrastructure, designated zones, and the population, like ballplayers through a cornfield, arrive to live, work, and shop. It’s a tried and tested formula that, in all the important ways, has remained unchanged since the first SimCity hit consoles and home computers in 1989 (if you can believe that!). ‘Cities: Skylines’ brings back all the important elements and adds a few more for good measure; along with overall budgeting the player can designate districts within their virtual utopia specifying local bylaws and incentives; for example you could designate a district which gives tax breaks to small businesses, or distribute smoke detectors to residents of a specific residential area. Along with this the game allows you to place certain landmark buildings as you reach gameplay milestones which in broad terms bring in more tourism and act as some kind of indicator of ingame progress. Continue reading “Cities Skylines: Idle Gaming”

Zelda Fan-Fiction: I Don’t Know Much About Zelda

Occasionally I’m roped into a conversation where I’m forced to admit that I really don’t know much about Zelda. By far my biggest experience was playing the original NES outing on the 3DS some years ago (which I picked up for free as part of their ambassador program), but only making it past two or three dungeons before abandoning it. Following one such admission, I began to think about how to best express this lack of knowledge and decided that writing Zelda Fan-Fiction with this severely limited background would really hammer the point home. This was a terrible idea… but I did it anyway. So for your reading pleasure here it is; a short Fan Fiction introduction to Zelda based on my limited knowledge of the series. You have been warned… enjoy?:   


Link materialised. He winced; the hot desert sun nearly blinded him, his eyes barely ready for the onset of day compared to the … the… non-existence that was before.

“Do I even have a backstory,” he pondered, carefully inspecting his clothes, “I guess I’ve got clothes… and they’re green…” he murmured, to nobody in particular, but genuinely pleased that he had discovered something about who he was.

The ‘green’ thought rattled around his brain for a while and he was just working his way up to drawing the conclusion that he presumed he must either be an elf, or Robin Hood when something else happened. A Ganon appeared: Continue reading “Zelda Fan-Fiction: I Don’t Know Much About Zelda”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Quake -game Reaper

It’s off the back of my recent outings into the various worlds of Strafe that my mind turned back to the title that it (arguably) draws much of inspiration from; the first title in ID’s third major FPS franchise ‘Quake’. I knew from the moment that I first installed this masterpiece of a game that I would be hooked for weeks, nay, years, basking in every aspect of it’s well-crafted…

…. no, wait… this isn’t how it happened at all…  

Quake is unquestionably an important title in the history of FPS games, and one that I experienced around the time that it was relevant; but being honest, it’s a title that I was more ‘interested in‘ rather than ‘enjoyed playing‘. Unleashed on the world in ’96, Quake caught me towards the end of my 16-bit love affair, but before the joys of the PlayStation opened my mind to 32-bit consoles. PC gaming was always something that I had enjoyed alongside consoles (as I mentioned in the pilot of “Please Insert Disk 2“*) and I guess my interest in the platform was heightened by the lull between generations. I remember clutching an issue of ‘PC Gamer’, cover CD proudly proclaiming to have the Shareware version of Quake, on my way home from the shops, eager to see what this hyped game was all about. I installed it, played for about two minutes, and then closed it, baffled as to why this drab mess of brown had warranted such hype.

Q1
It really is very brown

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QotM*: Which Videogame Contains the Most Surprising Plot Twist

*Question of the month is some kind of marshmallow joined to another marshmallow… a “doublemellow”…. thought up by Later Levels Spoiler Warning: This post talks about a plot twist in PlayStation Classic ‘Metal Gear Solid”… read no further if you want to remain in the dark! For this month’s question those masters of the cerebral poser over at Later Levels have asked which game has the most … Continue reading QotM*: Which Videogame Contains the Most Surprising Plot Twist

STRAFE: Wolf in Some Other Wolf’s Clothing

So those mischievous developers over at Pixel Titans had us all hoodwinked when they released Strafe a couple of weeks ago. This very successful KickStarter project promised a procedurally generated 90’s style FPS experience, but actually delivered something quite different once you peel away the crispy-polygon coating, and personally I’m pretty thrilled about that. As regular readers will be aware, I have mixed feelings about … Continue reading STRAFE: Wolf in Some Other Wolf’s Clothing

Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 1 – Banjo Kazooie (Podcast)

Oh yes! It’s not a prank; you can now hear me speak! Introducing:
Please Insert Disk Two
A new collaborative podcast with my good friend Chinery

A Podcast you say?… tell me more…

“Please Insert Disk Two” is a collaborative project that I’m venturing in to with a good friend of mine; the aforementioned, Chinery. Having spoken many times about putting a podcast together, we finally moved out of the all important “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” phase of the project and decided to just jump in and give it a shot.

The concept began to form itself in my mind late last year when I posted this piece about ‘Dead Rising’. We all have titles in our ‘gaming history’ that we attach sentiment to; maybe it was a great title, maybe we just played it at a time when we were particularly susceptible to the theme, or maybe we just attach it to a specific time in our lives. Whatever the reason, trying to convey ‘why’ this is particular game is a classic to a friend who didn’t experience this first hand is a tricky business. Chinery and I have decided to embrace this idea, dust off out microphones, and share our thoughts as we each pick landmark games from our own histories for the other to jump in to for the first time.

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