Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Crack, crack, crack the eggs into the bowl.

For no reason at all, there's a picture of my eye. I can SEEee you. ooOOoo. Okay.

So Puzzle Quest is superb. I've had it for the XBLA for a while now, but man. I must have wasted hours playing it the other day. Took me back to a dark, swampy period of my life where I played World of Warcraft. ::shudders:: Only with Puzzle Quest I'm not shelling out a small section of my soul every month and wasting those countless hours killing stupid fucking dragon welps. Or wolves. Or yetis. This is a clean feeling. I have to think with Puzzle Quest. I have to pay somewhat actual attention. And when someone sees me playing it, and subsequently asks what I'm doing, I can give them an intelligent, interesting answer. As opposed to "WoW," and then something littered with one-sided terms and references that leaves the other person rolling their eyes and hating themselves for inquiring. Amazing.

I love games like Puzzle Quest. Games that are relatively simplistic in their nature, but offer so much to be loved. Rez HD is like this, and you know how I feel about that. But even not-10/15-dollar-arcade games can pull this off. Unreal Tournament 3 is a good example. I could very well include the entire UT series in that statement, but as all fans of the series know, UT3 is the only one that matters right now, anyway. I only ever played the others off-handedly, so this game is my first "real" (get it?) delve into in the whole UT universe. I'm glad I joined in.

In a world where games (especially FPS games) are demanding realism and complexities as much as possible, it's nice to see something as artistically crafted as UT3 succeed in it's...unreal-ness. I say artistically crafted because, well, the game is gorgeous. I almost feel bad running and gunning through some of the maps in that game. Almost. I'll be honest: my first time playing I died several times while gaping at the details put into a "simple" deathmatch game. The Oriental-style maps (don't ask me to name map names, please) are particularly brilliant.

I think it's tremendously difficult to craft a complex game that works, and when it's done properly it's really something to behold. I think it's more impressive, though, to see a simple, easy-to-play game do just as well. Well, not just as well (they never do just as well), but comparable at the least. Grand achievements often start with very simple ideas. Wolfenstein 3d started with horizontal gameplay that was limited to essentially six buttons and three guns. I remember playing that game when I was seven years old. PaRappa The Rapper was "bad" music timed to four buttons (not bad as in bad--I loved that game.. Kick, punch, it's all in the mind...). I could go on.

I really think that to develop a truly awe-inspiring game you have to start with something very basic. I also think that sticking to that basic formula, whatever it is, is never a stupid move to try out. And as long as good games keep coming, simple or not, I'll be here waiting in wet anticipation (ew?). I'd be an idiot to ignore something because it isn't triple A and over-the-top.

On an unrelated note, Valentine's Day blows. If I see another jewelery store commercial I'm going to find those corny actors and stab them in their lame, fake-kissing eyes. Oh, he went to Jared, did he? Fuck him. I went to Taco Bell.

And don't you feel bad for someone in this? I don't. Awesome.

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