Sparky's Update - Revisiting some modern classics

Howdy doody, el cowpoke-erinos (if you're not into the whole brevity thing). Gird your loins, says I, because... well... I'm about to do the writing equivalent of whatever would cause you to gird said loins. That's right, sugar dumpling, it's the weekly Sparky's Update.

This week isn't going to center around one or two games per usual. I've really been playing more bits and bobs of games I've played already rather than doing anything constructive like cutting down on my to-be-played pile. Join hands with me, then, as we sing Camptown Ladies, drink some cheap hooch, make up S'Mores, and I tell you some boring ass tales about one man's venture through the gaming world.

Da Randomwilder

Half of you just zoned out and decided to listen to Method Man and Redman instead. I'm perfectly okay with that.

-My progress through Tomb Raider: Legend has been, unfortunately, halted prematurely due to my gaming archnemesis - visual problems. In a tomb in England, I've reached a point that's a bit hard for me to, er, puzzle out. Hee hee ho ho ha ha. I'm such a jokester. Seriously, though, it's been a surprisingly great game so far. I'd hate for it to end here, but if it does, I feel satisfied already with my purchase of the collection. The fact is, I still have two other games on the disc to go, so I've got even more Tomb Raidin' to be done. I will probably alternate in another game before I tackle the other two, but you never know.

-I've been playing Broken Sword III on the PC. It's a game I sort of adore, despite a few niggling quirks. The puzzles are generally logical, though one does require that you either guess at its solution (ahem - as in my case) or that you've watched old police shows and know how to get a key from a door using only a newspaper and a pencil. Thankfully, though, puzzles like that are far and few between, and the game instead relies on basic logic puzzles to push you through its pretty good story. The main characters are voiced by the same actors as in Broken Sword II, and the side characters are a hilarious mix of good and awful talent. There's one French accented woman that sounds like she's reading her lines like the children from the old Charlie Brown cartoons. It's pretty great. I do sometimes take issue with the fact that you can't skip lines, especially when you're hunting down some bit of information from a phone message or something similar. It sounds minor, but in an adventure game like this, you cover a lot of the same ground and it can get old, fast. To balance that out though, there's no permadeath. See, before about 2000 or so, most non-Lucas Arts games forced you to save constantly for fear of dying every few minutes. It was an annoying mechanic that thankfully died along the time quick saves and the early 2000's hit. Everyone started to emulate LucasArts' style of no-death adventure gameplay, and I'm damned glad. You can, I guess, technically "die" in this game, but it will load seconds before your accident and you can easily avoid it. It's a great little adventure game.

-I revisited Borderlands after getting super pumped up about IGN's features on the character classes. Yes, I read other sites than Giant Bomb, and some of them are popular. Sue me. I finally got around to beating General Knoxx on the console, as well as revisiting Crawmerax (Clawmerax?). While I didn't beat the mythical beast (something that's eluded me even on the PC), I did have a great deal of fun. I plan on knocking out Moxxi's Underdome and Claptrap Revolution sometime soon, as they're two of the DLC packs I didn't visit until now.

-Skyrim is still pretty amazing. I finished up the last of the Daedric quests, though the achievement didn't pop. I suspect the reason is that I didn't always side with the Daedric princes. Oh well. It was still fun. I'm now at level 62, and am currently working on getting my Destruction skill up to 100. I'm putting it down until there's DLC. I don't want to burn out on it.

-Saints Row 3's DLC is fun, if a little disappointing. If the packs had been priced at about $5, they would have been worth the money. As it is, I regret buying the season pass, but I don't really regret supporting Volition. Unless there's a sale on these sometime, don't bother with the DLC so far. That being said, the Genki Kitty Yarn Ball mini-game is a fucking riot.

-I've just barely scratched the surface of Star Ocean: First Departure for the PSP. I'm enjoying what I've seen so far. It's a very basic game at heart, as it's a remake of a classic, but the visual aesthetic is super pleasing, combining some great looking backdrops and towns with great cartoony-looking characters. I'm not a fan at all of the anime cutscenes, which are as cookie-cutter as you can get. But overall, it plays great, looks great, and it seems very meaty.

Internet Bag of Fun!

This is a new section of the Update, wherein I throw in some random game-related machinima, artwork, or general links of gaming goodness. I'm deliberately keeping it open to interpretation, so the content might be old, new, or somewhere in between. Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite bits of machinima, from Halo Reach. You've probably seen it already, but oh well - it's a classic for a reason.


I've been reading some of Raymond Feist's latest. As pure fantasy popcorn, they're okay - you know they're not going to fill you up and they're terrible for your mind, but as a snack now and again, they're not bad. On dankempster's recommendation, I'm going to be moving on to His Dark Materials soon-ish. More to report then.

And that's it for this week! Thanks for reading. Next time, remember the marshmellows for S'Mores, okay?