Strange Buys, Old Memories

There are a few cravings I have that follow the major waves of releases. Despite what Yahtzee said I want to play L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption is permanently on my yes list, Skyrim's hovering over my head, but other than those, most major releases don't feel like impulse buys for me, whether or not I really intend on getting them or just hoping the stars will align properly.
 
What I wind up actually getting usually falls into three categories (bullet pointed for those who can't stand any other method of listing. Poor guys.):
 

  • Finding old games that I'd transfered to CD-Rom
  • Finding games I'd thought I'd lost in a pile of nondescript, boxless CDs.
  • Finding games in bargain bins and on download services like Good Old Games.
 The latter seems to be the theme this week, as I bought Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, a city building sim/strategy game that I saw at the local Salvation Army for relatively cheap. Even had the manual so it was almost like my hand grabbed it, said "oh, Chinese stuff!" and bought it without my knowledge.  Haven't even gotten around to looking at how installing it yet, though. I guess I want to set it aside for when I feel the need to dive into a game that looks to be a bit involved, especially since I haven't explored Alpha Centauri enough to truly put it aside just yet.
 
Also, today Egge [inadvertently] brought to my attention the release on GOG of Bullfrog's Magic Carpet
 
Someone very dear to me who I've lately lost touch with first showed me the demo for this game way back when it was first released (because back then I was a bit of a gaming philistine who was totally into Doom and not much else (gross simplification, but I figure I can trash my own history for the sake of narrative integrity)). This dear friend was the same person who introduced me to Thief, which is now one of my favorite gaming series ever, but it took GOG's release and Egge's video to remind me why "Now Me" might find it intriguing. 
 
It looks like a very Populous-inspired system, but with some interesting direct involvement in the world that the god games don't quite have. That, and I guess I'm a sucker for mythical orient themes.  I would maybe be more interested if it was even more of a world-roaming sort of game, but I guess that would be asking a bit much of older computers to process. 
 
My finger is, figuratively, hovering over the buy button as I type this. I wonder if playing this game will, in some strange way, connect me to my now estranged friend. Probably not, but I guess it feels a bit like that anyway, if only symbolically. Lots of lost games out there, lots of broken threads. I wonder why the prior owner of Emperor got rid of it, and who they may have shared the game with, if anyone. Some of the best moments in my gaming life were when there was at least two of us hunched over the keyboard trying to figure things out, or playing co-op on a console. Gaming's become a bit more solitary; even with online capability you wind up being mostly alone. It's not quite the same, but I imagine at least younger folks get a chance to figure out obscure games together once in a while. 
 
I've never really been able to repeat that experience with any other medium. Even if old friendships fade or change, the memories of figuring out some weird piece of software are worth having, even if the software is long gone.
 
Anyone have any youthful memories of figuring out games in groups?
14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

There are a few cravings I have that follow the major waves of releases. Despite what Yahtzee said I want to play L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption is permanently on my yes list, Skyrim's hovering over my head, but other than those, most major releases don't feel like impulse buys for me, whether or not I really intend on getting them or just hoping the stars will align properly.
 
What I wind up actually getting usually falls into three categories (bullet pointed for those who can't stand any other method of listing. Poor guys.):
 

  • Finding old games that I'd transfered to CD-Rom
  • Finding games I'd thought I'd lost in a pile of nondescript, boxless CDs.
  • Finding games in bargain bins and on download services like Good Old Games.
 The latter seems to be the theme this week, as I bought Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, a city building sim/strategy game that I saw at the local Salvation Army for relatively cheap. Even had the manual so it was almost like my hand grabbed it, said "oh, Chinese stuff!" and bought it without my knowledge.  Haven't even gotten around to looking at how installing it yet, though. I guess I want to set it aside for when I feel the need to dive into a game that looks to be a bit involved, especially since I haven't explored Alpha Centauri enough to truly put it aside just yet.
 
Also, today Egge [inadvertently] brought to my attention the release on GOG of Bullfrog's Magic Carpet
 
Someone very dear to me who I've lately lost touch with first showed me the demo for this game way back when it was first released (because back then I was a bit of a gaming philistine who was totally into Doom and not much else (gross simplification, but I figure I can trash my own history for the sake of narrative integrity)). This dear friend was the same person who introduced me to Thief, which is now one of my favorite gaming series ever, but it took GOG's release and Egge's video to remind me why "Now Me" might find it intriguing. 
 
It looks like a very Populous-inspired system, but with some interesting direct involvement in the world that the god games don't quite have. That, and I guess I'm a sucker for mythical orient themes.  I would maybe be more interested if it was even more of a world-roaming sort of game, but I guess that would be asking a bit much of older computers to process. 
 
My finger is, figuratively, hovering over the buy button as I type this. I wonder if playing this game will, in some strange way, connect me to my now estranged friend. Probably not, but I guess it feels a bit like that anyway, if only symbolically. Lots of lost games out there, lots of broken threads. I wonder why the prior owner of Emperor got rid of it, and who they may have shared the game with, if anyone. Some of the best moments in my gaming life were when there was at least two of us hunched over the keyboard trying to figure things out, or playing co-op on a console. Gaming's become a bit more solitary; even with online capability you wind up being mostly alone. It's not quite the same, but I imagine at least younger folks get a chance to figure out obscure games together once in a while. 
 
I've never really been able to repeat that experience with any other medium. Even if old friendships fade or change, the memories of figuring out some weird piece of software are worth having, even if the software is long gone.
 
Anyone have any youthful memories of figuring out games in groups?
Posted by Tennmuerti

If you are refering to Zero Punctuation those are not reviews and should not be taking as anything other then fun jokes at a games expense.

Honestly I played Magic Carpet when I was under 7 or something (can't remember exact year) for maybe 20 mins, getting frustrated at not understanding shit and giving up :P

Edited by ahoodedfigure
@Tennmuerti: I take them as reviews, even though I know he exaggerates for comic effect enough that it's not a 1:1 relationship or anything. If he says he doesn't like a game, I'm pretty sure he means it. He even goes into why he doesn't like bits in games he likes, but if I started telling myself he was just making this stuff up to be funny I'd stop watching. He does have actual opinions, but they're a bit buried under the joke parade.
 
I'm figuring there'll probably be stuff [in Magic Carpet] I don't understand. It comes with a manual, but I figure I might have a bit more fun if I actually just dive in like I did when I was a kid and see what I can figure out (before, you know, giving up and reading the manual like I was supposed to).
Posted by Tennmuerti

@ahoodedfigure:

The problem is that while he may have some valid opinions on these games, he is very frequently factually wrong. Most recent example being Witcher 2 where he bitched about dying to the Kraken and stopped playing the game because he had to sit through the unskipable cutscene, ending his rant on that unpleasant note. Meantime that pre fight cutscene is completely skipable. 
That's why I never take his tirades seriously and just watch them for entertainment after having played the game myself.

To be fair to Magic Carpet I was at an age where a lot of games were difficult for me, had trouble finishing C&C when it first came out.


Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Tennmuerti: Hm. Strange error there. Maybe he was looking for an excuse to quit, or didn't try hard enough to find out.
 
Well, as much as I like in-depth games now, back then I was intimidated by them. I skipped a lot of RPGs because I felt that they were basically for savants. Not sure how in-depth Carpet is, but I didn't play much if any because it didn't look like What I Was Used To. Hopefully I'll amend that and judge it on its own terms in a bit.
Posted by Video_Game_King

I came in to bash Yahtzee, so it's good to see that it is now relevant. I'll just leave it at this:
 
  

  
 
It's funny because it both describes him and could be him.
 
I'd talk about the actual blog, but I'm not a social person, so it doesn't really apply to me.
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Video_Game_King: It's funny, because other people pressure him to do the "I hate everything" dance, since it's usually more interesting to read or watch a critic slagging on something than praising it. He'd gotten dinged a few years(?) back for giving a positive review, but it's his fault for bowing to pressure if that's true.
 
As for not being a social person, I assume you mean with regard to video games, since you're a rather prolific blogger and commenter :)
Posted by Video_Game_King
@ahoodedfigure
 
I think he misinterpreted that as "I should hate EVERYTHING" instead of "I should improve my writing or reviewing method." It is possible to be funny while loving something, like here. You don't even need Super Mario 64 to make it funny.
 
No, I mean "in general." I'm aware of how much this should freak you out, even though it logically shouldn't.
Posted by SeriouslyNow

Buy Magic Carpet. That is all.

Edited by ahoodedfigure
@SeriouslyNow: I totally did. Not sold on the controls, but that game is inspired.
Posted by SeriouslyNow

@ahoodedfigure said:

@SeriouslyNow: I totally did. Not sold on the controls, but that game is inspired.

The controls make a lot more sense as you get deeper into the game - they have a certain flow about them that come from an era when mouse controls weren't etched in stone as they are in FPS games. The AI gets pretty aggressive too as the difficulty curve ramps up - it really becomes clear that other wizards are the real threat. You can tell I love it, Magic Carpet is my most favoured PC game of all time. It was pretty incredible to play it @ 800 x 600 or with VR Helmet back in the day.

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@SeriouslyNow: You had a VR helmet? :) 
 
I think I have to finesse it a bit with the mouse, but since it's not like a flight sim I get a bit confused when I have to gain altitude.
Posted by SeriouslyNow

@ahoodedfigure: Indeed I did. It was marketed by Advanced Gravis and made by Forte (the dudes who did the sound chip in the Gravis Ultrasound. It was called the VFX1 and it was heavy.

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@SeriouslyNow: I wonder if, with the level of miniaturization we can now pull off, those sorts of devices might be a lot more practical.