Jay Little - Software Obsessionist
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01/06/2008 21:15:22

So of course I'm still gaming. Pretty decently too. Over the last year I managed to snag a Wii. The Wii is a pretty cool piece of equipment. However my mainline gaming interest has stayed with RPG gaming. Over the course of the last year I've played and beaten a number of games (some not for the first time either) such as all three Gothic games, Baldur's Gate 1 (still working up to actually playing through 2), Neverwinter Nights 1 (almost finished but dropped at the end), Oblivion (Morrowind was better), KOTOR 2 (which was great until the last 4th of the game) as well as a number of other classics like Chrono Trigger.

RPG gaming has essentially become my mainline genre now. I've nearly written everything else off including the FPS and RTS genres now. I think a lot of this is because those genres seemed to have stalled out for me somewhere along the way. RTS gaming has become one big repeat and FPS gaming hasn't changed significantly in years as best as I can tell. More than anything with but a few exceptions, gaming itself has become commoditized in the worst sort of way. As an industry wide consolidation of publishers continues to result in larger and more powerful entities battling one another, and as a result the need to create unique and memorable products in outweighed by the financial risk one undertakes by creating such products. The RPG genre is certainly not immune to this, however this genre seems to be the one left in which great things still have a chance of being produced.

For instance I just finished "The Witcher" yesterday and what a wonderful game that was. Yet another RPG game that dedicates itself more to exploring morality rather than relying upon the size of your stats. Bioware started this trend with their KOTOR games and it has been picked up and continued by other companies as well thankfully. The Witcher is especially unique here because instead of exploring good vs. evil as two clear definable concepts, it takes it to the next level and explores conflict and wars as the amoral entities they truly are. This presents a very interesting story and forces the player to either engage themselves into a state of critical thinking or altogether abandon critical thought for the comfort of choosing a side and being done with it. In essence "The Witcher" is a truly great game. It reminds me of Planescape: Torment (which is perhaps the best RPG ever created) in that it really strives to be different in all of the ways that matter. Gothic 1 and 2 were like this as well but Gothic 3 was a massive disappointment from the perspective of myself and other hardcore fans.

I am still into retro-gaming quite heavily. Over the last year I joined the beta testing team for DOSBox, one of my favorite retro gaming tools. I've even contributed a few patches to the codebase over the the last year, though I honestly have no idea if any of those patches will make it into a release version. Nonetheless it is nice to be able to contribute to a community of like minded gamers but not only testing but helping to build a better platform to allow them to continue gaming as they see fit.

Well that's enough posting for now... I'm watching Bladerunner: The Final Cut while the wife is away at church.

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