Tag Archives: planescape

Gaming Questionnaire – My Answers

I guess I should fill out my own questionnaire, here are my answers.

  1. When did you start playing video games?
    I started playing games as soon as I could sit up at the computer, when I was 3 years old. I’ve been playing ever since.
  2. What is the first game you remember playing?
    I’m using a very loose interpretation of the word ‘remember’ here, as I actually asked my mom what the first game I ever played was. We weren’t 100% sure of the name, but we think it was Cross Country USA, a game about trucking on MS-DOS. My first console game was Super Mario Brothers, but that was a few years later.
  3. PC or Console?
  4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
    XBox. Though for the newest generation I’ve played a lot more games on the PS4. Come on XB1, release some games I’m interested in.
  5. What’s the best game you’ve ever played?
    Planescape: Torment. It’s an amazingly immersive and well-written RPG based on AD&D rules. The story and characters are all amazing, and it’s backed up by very solid gameplay.
  6. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?
    WWII Combat: Iwo Jima. Part of the problem came from the fact that this game was the definition of a generic, low budget, military shooter. And part of the problem was that testing it was my job. I’ve done QA on a number of mediocre games, but this was a special experience. While QA was expected to test this game for 8 hours a day, the developers were doing something else I guess, and we were only getting a new build every week or two. This made for the most tedious gaming experience I’ve ever had.
  7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.
    To the Moon. It had a really good, inventive concept, but I found the main characters endlessly irritating. They completely ruined what would have been a very sweet and poignant story, and I spent the last half of the game clicking through their dialogue as fast as I could, waiting for the game to end.
  8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
    Remember Me currently has a metacritic score of 6.5 from critics. This is bullshit. Remember Me is a really fun action platformer with an interesting story and a lot of great female characters.
  9. What are your favourite game genres?
    RPG and action-adventure.  I also really like clever puzzle games.
  10. Who is your favourite game protagonist?
    Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. Jade has strength, smarts, and sass. She wields her camera to expose truths as expertly as she wields her jō (staff) to kick ass.
  11. Describe your perfect video game.
    I’d combine the story, writing, and character depth of The Last of Us, with the gameplay of Tomb Raider. It would take place in space, or on some distant, unexplored, gorgeous planet.
  12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?
    Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins.
  13. What game has the best music?
    Final Fantasy VII. It’s good on its own, but I especially like it when it’s remixed or recreated.
  14. Most memorable moment in a game:
    The beginning of Under a Killing Moon. The first time I saw it, it just looked 100x cooler than anything I had seen before. The music and sound were great – it had James Earl Jones reading Poe quotes! FMV is often looked down upon, but in Under a Killing Moon it showed me a whole new idea of what games could be.
  15. Scariest moment in a game:
    The radio in Silent Hill. It was so unnerving that it made me turn the game off and never turn it on again.
  16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
    Saying goodbye to Garrus before you head toward the final showdown in the Citadel in Mass Effect 3. All the goodbyes at the end of the game were hard, but this one was the worst.
  17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?
    I really like Polygon for gaming news. It goes beyond the normal review and previews and often looks at gaming from different points of view. Also, I really like The Astronauts blog. It’s written by game developers and often has really fascinating insight on game design and good articles like The 7 Deadly Sins of Adventure Games or How Gamers are the Ultimate Trolls.
  18. What is the last game you finished?
    Broken Age.
  19. What future releases are you most excited about?
    I’m really looking forward to Dragon Age: Inquisition this fall. Also, a little further out, Rise of The Tomb Raider, since the previous game is my game of the year so far. I’m also looking forward to Life is Strange, by the studio that made Remember Me. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Inside, Torment: Tides of Numenera. Lots of games!
  20. Do you identify as a gamer?
    Yes. I’ve been playing video games for most of my life. It’s something I spend a lot of time on – not just playing but also reading about, writing about. I know the term ‘gamer’ is starting to become a dirty word in a lot of circles, but I don’t let the loudest and most awful parts of the community detract from how I identify myself.
  21. Why do you play video games?
    For entertainment mostly, though games can entertain in a way unlike books or movies. I love really being able to put myself in a game, feeling what a character is feeling, and having decisions be difficult. I love the sense of adrenaline they can give when you face a particularly challenging or stressful scenario. And I like that games are ultimately something I like to enjoy on my own while playing, but there’s never a shortage of analysis and people to talk to about the games I’ve played.

If you haven’t already, go answer these on your blog or in the comments here.

My Favorite Games

Since I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t write about druid changes or tree form for a while, I thought I’d make a completely non WoW-related post.

I’ve been a video game geek for a long time. In addition to WoW I still play a number of other games (although not as many as I’d like). There are a few games that I keep coming back to – games with fantastic story and gameplay that are still great despite aging graphics. I tend to go back and replay my favourites every few years and I thought I’d share them since they are older, weren’t terrible commercial successes, and a lot of people may be unaware of their existence. My video games tastes tend towards RPG/adventures. You won’t find any FPSs here.

Planescape: Torment (1999)

Planescape Torment

Best CRPG ever. Torment is a dark, story-driven RPG with excellent dialogue and some of the best writing I’ve seen in a video game. At the beginning of the game you wake up in a mortuary. You are the Nameless One, you have no memory and you cannot die. A floating skull comes along to give you the chant and help you escape. Throughout the game you run into all sorts of interesting characters, become stronger by reacquiring your memories and search for your lost mortality.

The game is very text-heavy, but it’s so well done and every aspect of the Planescape universe is so fascinating that it doesn’t weigh it down. Torment has the same top-down viewpoint as games like Bladur’s Gate or Icewind Dale, but it blows those games out of the water as far as immersiveness and characters go. Even minor NPCs are more fully fleshed out than most playable characters in other games.

If you’re into grindy, Diablo-style combat, you might not enjoy this game as much as me, because the focus is not on combat. Despite this, I think they do a decent job with it and the division of combat vs. story is good.

If you like story-based RPGs you should give this game a look. The only problem is that I have no idea where you can get it for a decent price. If you can find it, it’s worth it. Edit: Planescape Torment is now available on GoG.com! Go buy it!

Under a Killing Moon (1994)

Under a Killing Moon

This is an adventure game with a film noire atmosphere. You play Tex Murphy, a hard-boiled PI living in a post-apocalyptic future. Under a Killing Moon and its two sequels are the only games I’ve ever seen who manage to pull off the use of Full Motion video.

For me, this was adventure gaming at its best. I think I was maybe 12 when I played this game for the first time. Although I had been playing games like Super Mario Brothers, Wizardry and Sim City for a few years, it was games like Under a Killing Moon that made me fall in love with video games. I can’t say what exactly it was about it that thrilled me the first time I played it, but I’ve now gone back to play it at least 3-4 more times and it’s still doing it. The interface is intuitive, the characters and dialogue are great, the puzzles almost never fall into the adventure game trap of not making any frigging sense.

The look and feel of UaKM is different that any other game I’ve played. Both follow-up games are very good as well, in fact most people would argue that Pandora Directive is much better. I love them all, and they are available quite cheap at gog.com. I’ve still got my fingers crossed (12 years after the last game was released) that I’ll have a new Tex Murphy game to play one day.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (2004)

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines

The game is set in White Wolf’s World of Darkness, and is a very atmospheric RPG. You start the game as a freshly sired vampire and need to navigate through an eternally dark Los Angeles, making friends and enemies, feeding on mortals, fighting foes and surviving vampire politics.

The character development is deep and allows you to shape your character to your liking. Would you rather charm someone into giving you what you need, steal it, or just smash their face in and take it? It’s up to you. You also get access to skills not usually associated with creatures of the night, such as computer hacking, lock-picking and use of firearms. Depending on which clan you belong to, you get different supernatural powers that will aid you in combat or quests.

This is by no means a perfect game, it does have some bugs along with a fair share of clipping isssues, but if you can look past these, it’s a lot of fun. There are also a number of unofficial patches and mods available. Vampire: The Masquerade is available through Steam. Tip: For the most fun game experience, play as a Malkavian.

What are your favorite games? If anyone knows any gems that are older or less well known, I’d love to hear about them.