October 02, 2002
is "queeg" a word? no?

The gaming gods, though fickle, have chosen this day to smile upon me. I bought some new games at that EBX store I was talking about yesterday. They totally washed away the stink that Stuntman left on me. The games are:

* Frequency, which has been recommended to me many times, and it turns out, is super fun, if you like that whole rythm game thing. Which I do. The music is good, if you're into the electronic music - and it's tolerable if you're not - plus, there's a brand new track from Curve on it! Woot! I don't know how I managed to wait this long to pick this up, but I did. And now I'm happy.

* Smuggler's Run, which was an early PS2 title from the same guys who later brought us Grand Theft Auto 3. GTA3 is probably the best video game I have ever played on any console, and you can see the beginning of that in this game. Great driving engine, simple yet addictive play, totally open to free exploration from the beginning, with both career and single game modes, so you can play it in whichever way strikes you, as motivation and free time allow. Me, I tend to go for the crackhead method, and just play and play until my eyes fall out. Which is why I got to bed at 7:30AM last night/this morning. I see that there are a couple of sequels, too - I reckon I'll pick those up someday when I need a quick fix.

* Stretch Panic - okay, so this game is really weird. You play a little girl with a scarf that's possessed by a demon, so you can grab things with it - like, everything - and stretch them out of shape. The story is that you have to rescue your demon-possessed sisters, but to do this you must first get points by using your scarf to destroy these women whose breasts are each as large as they are. Not making this up. Overall, it's fairly entertaining - the gameplay, again, is pretty original, and it' just the strangest damn thing, ever.

* Mister Mosquito - I already knew this game was good. Played the demo disc, and Phil loves it. It's one of those wacky Japanese games - in it, you play a mosquito (surprise), and you have to fly around and feed off of this family. Again, weird, but fun.

So, all in all, I'm probably looking at around, say, a good solid couple of weeks entertainment from those games, with pretty decent replay value on the whole. How much did they cost? Well, I got them used, so the whole batch ran me about eighty bucks - plus a new memory card - so let's say an even hundred. New video games generally run about fifty bucks - which is almost what I paid for Stuntman, which I hope to never see again.

So, I'm reading Penny Arcade, as I am known to do, and they've got this link to this Fair-Play Campaign thinger. I didn't look too deep into it, but from what I gather, it's a bunch of nerds who are trying to get people to not buy videogames for a week in December, to protest the high prices of games these days. Now, like I said, I'm not up on what all their arguments are, but my initial response tends to be something along these lines: "Shut up, you whiny dorks." First off, you're not convincing anyone to not buy anything with your little website. And even if you did, a week of slightly lower new game sales isn't going to have the slightest little effect on the industry. Not the teeniest tiniest little bit. And you know what else? It costs money to make games! There's whole teams of people that don't go home for months and months - sleeping under their desks, eating crappy snacks for food, and alienating their friends and loved ones - to produce the game that you'll spend a few hours on every now and then. Then it launches at forty or fifty bucks, sits on the shelf for a while, and then, unless it was a great success, ends up in the bargain bin in a year or so. It's a rough industry, and you've got the easy end, pal.

But all hope is not lost. There is a solution to your life-threatening game-buying problems right here: Stop paying fifty bucks for crappy new games all the time. Something cost too much for you? Don't buy it. I mean, sure, I've bought more than my share of ripoff titles; I've got a week's worth of burger lunches sitting on my game shelf in the form of a hastily snatched-up copy of Fantavision that I picked up in my initial PS2 game-buying frenzy. But you don't have to buy every damn thing that comes out the minute it ships to the stores. Being a year behind the industry isn't so bad. Used games, for the most part, are just fine. And hey, they cost about half as much as new games most of the time - sometimes less. And if the game does suck, you've got a year's worth of reviews and anecdotal evidence to give you fair warning.

There are exceptions, of course. If you're into RPGs, you're probably going to be first in line to get the new Final Fantasy when it comes out. I've got my copy of GTA:Vice City pre-ordered, and I'll probably be propped up against the mailbox waiting for it when it shows up. But that's the thing. If they charged $100 for Vice City, I'd pay it without blinking, no question. Because I know that Rockstar makes kickass games, and I know that this game is going to keep me unemployed and awake for a few months, solid. Hell, I should still probably go out and buy a few more copies of Half-Life for all the hours I've put into it. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, if you're still feeling cheap, someone pointed me at a brand new time suck today - and it's free. Don't click there if you have anything else to do today. Seriously.

Okay. Less blabbing, more playing. I've still got packing to do, dammit, and nothing's going to get done until I finish these last two missions...

(October 02, 2002 11:22 PM)
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