Tag Archives: Skyrim

The Good Old Days

Introduction

My obsession with retro video games started with mine and Liam’s trip to The Quarters a few weeks ago.A� That’s no entirely true.A� While not often one to fall victim to nostalgia, I have always been a fan of the video games of my youth.A� Let’s say that my most recent obsession with retro video games started with our trip to The Quarters.A� It was just such a fun walk down memory lane.

XBox 360 (Skyrim/Fallout)

My second step on the nostalgia tour took me to my XBox 360, where I planned (yet again) to play and attempt to finally beat Skyrim or Fallout 3 or both.A� I already wrote an article about my latest experiences in Skyrim, so I don’t have to repeat myself here.A� In addition, due to the drive tray issues on my XBox 360, I haven’t even loaded Fallout 3.A� Oh well, best laid plans and all of that.

That’s not entirely true. I did test both games to make sure that they loaded.

While Skyrim didn’t (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the other article) quite sate my appetite for recaptured youth, that’s not unexpected.A� I only ever played Morrowind from the Elder Scrolls series and that was well after I had become (at least in the eyes of the law) an adult.A� I never liked Morrowind much.A� I did like Skyrim very much, but it also came into my life during quite a difficult time, so maybe I just need to recalibrate the game in my brain space to a happier time.

Nintendo GameCube/Sega Dreamcast (Pokemon Colosseum)

Those of you who follow and read the page regularly know that the Nintendo GameCube was a big storyline through the holidays around here.A� The short, short story is that Liam wanted one for Christmas, we didn’t buy one because I was confident that we still own ours, and he ultimately felt jipped by Christmas.A� That led to our trip to The Quarters.A� It also caused a wild search around the house for our old GameCube.

Liam also found my old Dreamcast, which further supported my theory that the GameCube must be somewhere around the house.A� I have my PS1, PS2, DreamCast, and Game Boy Advance.A� I know that I sold my N64 to a local YMCA youth program, and we gave our Wii away to a gift exchange for needy families.A� That is all consoles (not including the more current ones) that I have owned at one time or another.A� All except for that dang GameCube.

I don’t know what happened to you little buddy, but know that you are missed.

As one of our ideas to sooth Liam’s broken heart over Christmas, I decided to load up the Dreamcast.A� I discovered that it has a loose drive door and that it won’t load games consistently.A� I did get House of the Dead to the loading screen.A� Other than that, it keeps kicking me back to the main menu.A� Oh well, best laid plans and all that.

Liam did finally collect enough money by selling some gift cards he got for Christmas to buy the system and the game that he wanted for it, Pokemon Colosseum.A� I’m glad that we could help him come up with the money to buy it.A� I’ve never seen him so happy about a game.A� I suspect that when he’s my age, Pokemon will be one of his go to games for warm and fuzzy feelings from his youth.

Nintendo 64 (Legend of Zelda:A� Ocarina of Time)

I loaded this one on a whim a couple of weeks ago.A� It is probably my second favorite Legend of Zelda game that I’ve played behind A Link to the Past.A� Quinn got kicked out of the living room one night while Christine was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the older boys, so he took a seat next to me and watched me play.A� It has become an almost nightly date for me to sit down and play Zelda while Quinn watches and they watch Buffy or Stranger Things if it is just Christine and Aiden.

Most people hate the water temple level, but I’ve never had much of an issue with it. I am, however, currently stuck on the Jabu Jabu level.

Game Boy Advance (Pokemon Pinball)

I can’t fully explain my interest in these types of games.A� I do know that I played the heck out of Sonic Spinball on my Genesis when I was younger.A� I also grew up with a father who couldn’t really get into video games, but loved a good pinball machine.A� I remember going to the boardwalk and he would go up and down the line of pinball machines with his handful of quarters until he found one that he liked.A� Okay, maybe I can fully explain it.

The thing that I can’t explain is with all of the games that I have available to me on this system, why is this the first one that I play?A� I have a history with Pokemon all the way back to the first games and I played and enjoyed Pokemon Sun a couple of years ago.A� But, I’m not crazy about Pokemon like Liam.A� I don’t know.A� There’s just something about this game that calls to me.A� Maybe it just is the connection to my dad, pinball, and those memories.

Atari 2600 (Various, but mostly Frostbite right now)

And so, we return all the way back to my beginning with video games, the Atari 2600.A� This is the first console I ever owned, bought by my parents for Christmas one year?A� Maybe?A� I honestly don’t remember how we ended up with one in the house, but it was so cool to be able to “play the games from the arcade” in my living room.A� Sure, Pac-Man wasn’t even close to an accurate port, E.T. is routinely blamed for killing the console, but Mario Bros and Jungle Hunt both looked and played as close to their arcade brethren as the limited 2600 hardware allowed.

I know I ask this every time the subject comes up, but what was so bad about E.T.? I loved the game and it is one of the first games I beat.

Jungle Hunt, especially, holds a place close to my heart.A� I played the game in the arcade one time, plugging quarters into the machine until I finished all of the levels.A� I don’t remember how much money it took, but it must have been at least 5 and maybe even 10 dollars.A� Well, I split my head open being a dumb kid.A� My parents said that because I was so good when I got the stitches in my head, I could get a prize.A� I chose Jungle Hunt for the Atari 2600 so that I could play it at home and not have to keep dumping quarters into it.

Frostbite, Pitfall, and the other Activision titles are just very good games.A� I especially played Frostbite and Pitfall so much as a kid.A� One of my most vivid memories is playing Pitfall all the way to the end at my grandmother’s house.A� I don’t remember if she also bought a system or if I brought my system with me.A� I just remember playing it until the timer reached all zeroes.

Post Script

I’m not going to go full “back in my day” mode and argue that games were better then than they are now.A� That is simply not true.A� Graphics on modern systems are better.A� More memory and storage allows for better and deeper stories to be told by games.A� Sure the games were fun then, but they are fun now, too.A� The fun of games from my childhood are the fun of children.A� It’s the repetitive and familiar fun that will get old after a couple of weeks or months.A� But, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Protect your Knee

Every year in December and January, I come out of hibernation long enough to get inspired to work on the web page.A� Usually, that only lasts until February when I start back to school and everything falls into a state of disrepair for a few months.A� I am not the type to do resolutions, but this year I hope to power though those months of inactivity and instead make the page what I always hoped it would be.

As part of that plan, I’m going to start playing Skyrim and Fallout 3 again.A� That, too, is tradition.A� However, this year definitely feels different.A� I have, so far, avoided the post holiday “blues”.A� In the past, that is one of the things that has kept me from contributing to the page on a regular basis.A� If I can just keep that momentum going, things will be good around here.

My father believed firmly in the power of positive thinking. He also lived by the credo, “It’s a good day to die.” Time to start living up to his standards.

I started my trip back into Bethesda fantasy RPG this time with Skyrim.A� At first, my XBox 360 door did not cooperate and I was afraid that this plan might be dead in the water.A� However, through persistence (and a little bit of muscle, a steak knife, and a lot of swearing), I got the game up and running.A� What better way to start this adventure that with a quest!

Once I loaded the game and continued from my last save state, I texted Kevin to laugh that starting back with these games after months off was always an experience (pun not intended).A� He replied that it always took him about a half an hour to get acquainted again with the story, his character, items, etc.A� That’s about how long it took me.

Pardon the language, but this is exactly how I felt.

It didn’t help that apparently I saved the game in the sewers and the color scheme was nearly monochromatic.A� That alone made me almost quit the game and restart.A� On top of that, the reason I was in the sewer was that I was on the Thieves Guild quests.A� I had to collect three debts from people.A� It took me at least 3 failed tries of killing the first person and being put in jail before I considered restarting again.

I didn’t restart.A� I got smart.A� A�In all honesty, I stumbled on quest completion by accident.A� Instead of pulling out my mace and bludgeoning her to death and then having to beat the rest of the town to death, too, before either dying or ending up in jail, I simply punched her until she submitted.A� Not necessarily good, but at least it finally advanced the story.

All’s fair in love and Skyrim.

What are the chances that I continue playing to beat that story?A� That’s been my goal for the six years that I’ve owned the game.A� I can honestly say that after this latest play session, I don’t know.A� That’s unusual for me.A� I’m usually a big fan of the D&D style fantasy.

We slept in the living room last night as a family and we plan on it again tonight, so I played some Hearthstone and Minecraft on the computer.A� Therefore, I didn’t get a chance to play last night to see if I could find that hook.A� That’s the main problem.A� I’m just not that interested in the main story.A� When I played the other day, I completed the quest to be inducted into the Thieves Guild and I was so excited that I completely zoned out on the conversation that led into the follow up quest.

That’s not an isolated incident.A� When I first got the game, I played it for 50 hours over two weeks.A� I was unemployed and had a young child who napped daily back then.A� How did I play 50 hours and only make it to the Thieves Guild quests?A� A majority of that time was not spent questing.A� Mainly, I roamed the countryside looking for butterfly wings and flowers to increase my alchemy skill.

Skyrim can save its damn self.

I took stock of what my life had become and didn’t like it one bit.A� So, I put the game to the side for the first time.A� As I wrote, I’ve since given it a few more chances.A� Here I am giving it one more.A� One last?

What keeps me coming back?A� Obviously, I don’t have to like the game.A� Sure, it is almost universally considered to be one of the best games, both in the series and overall.A� It’s not like I’m ever shy about going against conventional wisdom.A� It’s clearly not a “keeping up with the Joneses”.

I think that it just goes back to what I wrote earlier.A� I’m usually a fan of any type of fantasy setting and I’m a fan of RPGs.A� I suppose that I just have to face facts and realize that if I’m going to beat this game, I may just have to power through the story that I don’t like very much.A� It’s either that or hope that some aspect (besides chasing butterflies) of the story finally hooks and speaks to me.A� As it stands right now, I’d much rather play the apocalyptic future version of the game in Fallout 3.A� Maybe I will just do that and try again with this game once I’ve finished Fallout.

After all, it’s looking more and more like Fallout might be a instruction manual for the near future.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Part 2 – Console)

(Editor’s Note: A�Anyone else want to share? A�Oh, Noob, you’re not finished yet? A�Well, aren’t you the little chatterbox. A�Please, continue.)

I have played slightly more of a variety on console. A�Chris picked up a PS4 a couple of months ago and we played some MK and call of Duty on that. A�I enjoyed the latest MK and even had fun shooting at Chris and his stupid bot teammates. A�It actually made me consider getting one for myself, but then I remembered that it is summer and I only make enough to pay bills and go on five vacations. A�I know, I know. A�Feel sorry for me. A�If you feel badly A�enough, I can open a Kickstarter.

I have played a lot on the Wii U. A�While the boys and I haven’t continued our adventures in New Super Mario Bros. U, we did finally get a chance to rent Pokken Tournament. A�Unlike Pokemon Go, which feels like an extremely polished beta and fell slightly short of expectations, Pokken Tournament is everything I had hoped it woudl be and maybe even more.

That’s saying something. Pokken Tournament was one of my most anticipated games of the year. Under normal circumstances, a Pokemon fighting game would not excite me so much. A�I’ve seen too many of these offshoot type games come and go to know that the only reason they get any attention at all is because of the brand name. A�Nintendo, especially, is famous for green lighting extremely questionable games for their properties.

Remember Pokemon Dash? Of course you don---oh, you do? Well, then, I'm sorry. I'm very, very sorry.
Remember Pokemon Dash? Of course you don—oh, you do? Well, then, I’m sorry. I’m very, very sorry.

This is not one of those games by any stretch of the imagination. A�Instead of keeping the development of the game in house, they partnered with the makers of Tekken. A�Granted, the aforementioned Pokemon Dash was the result of collaboration with an outside company. A�However, there is a big difference between Namco and whatever out of business company produced that abortion of a game.

Oh, and before you accuse me of a love in with Namco and Tekken, I need to assert that Tekken is not even my favorite game in the technical fighting genre(?) A�Is that even a thing? A�Or, did I just make it up? A�I don’t know. A�It sounds like a thing. A�Let’s treat it like a thing because it makes the next paragraph that much easier to write and I don’t have to go into a long back story. A�Even though we all know that’s what I love and I pretend that you all love it, too, in an attempt to convince myself that it’s all worth it.

So, in what may be a first, a short explanation. A�Once upon a time, there were two polygonal fighters that revolved more around actual fighting strategy than throwing balls of fire at the opponent. A�One, of course, was Tekken. A�The other was Virtua Fighter. I don’t know if the games were meant to be direct competition to one another. A�But, that’s what we do as gamers. A�We bring competition where there should be none. A�After all, look at the Hearthstone phenomenon. Bazinga!

Oh, you've spent the entire game playing strategically and following a carefully crafted gameplan? Here, let me cast a bunch of completely random spells that invalidates all of that and reduces the game to a series of dice rolls and coin flips. Hmm, well played.
Oh, you’ve spent the entire game playing strategically and following a carefully crafted gameplan? Here, let me cast a bunch of completely random spells that invalidates all of that and reduces the game to a series of dice rolls and coin flips. Hmm, well played.

Well, in the great technical fighting game battles of the 1990s, I was firmly in the corner of Virtua Fighter. A�In fact, Virtua Fighter 2 is probably one of my top 10 games of all time. A�I say probably, because I haven’t actually ever extended my list officially to 10, but off the top of my head I can’t think of 5 other games that I like better. A�Hopefully that establishes my credentials as a non fanboy of Tekken. A�With all of that being said, Namco does make a decent fighting game and they did a heck of a job with Pokken.

They could have just made all of the Pokemon play the exact same and just give them different voices and one or two attacks that fans would recognize. A�They didn’t. A�All of the Pokemon play as different fighters with different strategies. A�This adds a variety and replayability because you want to try to master all of the different styles. A�The game also makes use of the buddy feature common to many fighting games where you pick a companion Pokemon to fight alongside your main character. A�Overall, a great game and I can’t wait to play it more and have a more detailed review in November when the boys and I cover the game for Pokemon month.

Pikachu, I choose you! ...to beat the crap out of other Pokemon!

Pikachu, I choose you! …to beat the crap out of other Pokemon!

Aside from my introduction to Pokken, I have actually been catching up (slowly but surely) on my XBox 360 list. A�I have advanced quite far in the story on both Fallout 3 and Skyrim. A�I haven’t even been using a walkthrough for Skyrim. A�Those who know me and have read my articles know that is quite the achievement for such an open world game. A�I still get distracted by the carrot on a stick side quests, but I’m moving right along. A�At this pace, I should be done with the main questline right about the time that they release the remake on the XBox One 360 Redux Master edition in 10 years.

Finally, of course, I played some Portal 2. A�The play through was nothing short of amazing and the game is still special to me. A�This time was more special, though, because they boys joined me for the journey. A�Both Liam and Aiden were able to get a kick out of the humor and Quinn was blown away by the sometimes twisted physics of the portal gun. A�I started an article about why I’m so attached to this game that I will play it time after time over other games that I haven’t yet finished. A�Maybe I will post it when I’m suffering one of my legendary bouts of writer’s block.

Well, that’s about it for my console summer. A�I still have two other articles to write about mobile games (where I’ve spent most of my time in the Digital Playground) and tabletop escapades. A�I haven’t done as much On the Tabletop, but I have gotten back into Magic and started to put together my Hordes armies, so there will be plenty of pictures. A�Until then, keep on gaming!