By vidiot 12 Comments
The computer store seemed like something more akin to someones garage than an actual "store". No real counters, the store had the width of something resembling a large closet, components and random pieces of hardware strewn about without much care or organization. My father bought a computer here, a Mac, back during a time that Apple let other people make hardware that could be considered a Mac. Before the iMac, before Apple took over the hardware side almost exclusively. Anyone remember Power Computing? :P
This was the first time I saw Unreal.
I sat quietly with a pair of headphones in this small store, which slowly seemed to disappear. I wasn't int the computer store anymore. I was on a crashed prison space ship, no one else seemed to have survived, and if they did...they were to put it bluntly: fucked.
When I got home with the new machine we, tossed in a copy of the game. The castle fly-thru on the menu, the haunting sounds of that space ship, it was great. I'm not going to rave about the classic moment when you first see the waterfall. Good lord I think I starred at that thing for an hour.
The rest of the game was for me a hit-or-miss affair. Regardless it was my first experience with computer gaming that heavily emphasized on computer hardware. While you can argue that Quake deserves this spot, this was the first time I personally had this experience in my possession.
I was a fairly entrenched PC gamer as time continued, but the cost always drained me and my parents growing up. I'm talking about dollars.
There has always been the divide too. The difference between consoles and PC's, graphically.
When Max Payne was ported to the PS2, I laughed when I saw the neutered version at my friends house. My friend almost blew a gasket when he saw it running on my machine.
This generation of console gaming, has blurred that line in a manner I have never really seen prior. It's almost like we hit some nebulous watershed a few years back. With companies focusing more on their console versions, leaving the PC versions relativity the same. Like a lot of people I know, I didn't think it was really practical to continue with PC gaming, or at least continue buying upgrades. This changed a days ago when I finally got fet up and ordered a new PC.
A journey to the dark side.(Notice: My tenure with current PC games is rather new, thus the gist of these blogs. Most is probably common knowledge, I am aware of this.)
...It's upsetting that the most I talk about in this blog is this game in particular.
Beware: Ahead lies opinions.
So far my experiences have all been relatively positive. The amount of feed back from my last blog reminded me why this is the greatest goddamn gaming community on the face of the earth. I ran out, awkwardly on black Friday no-less, to pick up a few PC games with a ton of suggestions from a bunch of users on my mind.
There was one particular purchase that no one suggested. Halo 2.
The game was ported a few years back for PC, but was soon forgotten for the most part. Curious I researched it a bit. I remember it was used as something to push...*ahem*...."Vista gaming", as it was incompatible with XP, something that was immediately corrected by fans.
I didn't understand the gravity of what I was about to get into. I was simply curious about what Games for Windows was. I picked it up without second thought, the idea of some quick dirty achievements was something I liked.
I hate this thing with a passion.
I put the disk in. It asked for my gamertag, which I gave.
It proceeded to do...stuff...
In fact it asked me my gamer tag a total of three to four times. I don't know why. Without any context or explanation, I first thought that the install was caught in some bizarre loop. When it finally did install, more confusion set in. There were options to Play Halo 2, install a map maker, and install dedicated server software.
Play Halo 2?! Had it already installed?! I scourged my machine for any content. None whatsoever. Alright. I do want to eventually play it.
I noticed on the bottom of Halo 2's in-game menu that it was "copying game files". What?! So it is installing?! Are you installing or not!?
The computer did not respond to my verbal threat. A family member looked at me with a worried expression.
It was installing. Halo 2 has an option, I assume for someone who has the strongest case of ADD ever recorded in history, to play the game prior to it's install. The installation takes as many minutes as there are fingers on your hand.
After it's silent install, I decided to change the resolution. No such luck, I have 16:9 HD monitor.
Now normally in this case, I would simply look online for an option to force the game's resolution. This is not a big issue at all, specifically with Halo 2 considering that the wide-screen for the original Xbox version had to be 16:9. Last Remnant had similarly no problem running in 16:9 when I tried the demo.
Moder's and enthusiasts have aided in the past. Everything to unofficial patches to simple programs that can run in-tandem. Windows Live hates all of this. Windows Live hates the idea of customer self-help, something I think is a necessary component for PC gaming. It's terrified of anything running, or touching Halo 2 in any way. What if you were using something to cheat?! WHAT THEN?! (Not even remotely on my radar.)
Closed networks that use such draconian measures have a series of cons that they need to address. This is one of them. A PC is not a console, the amount of software/technical differences between users does not make such a streamlined decision possible. People are going to cheat. It's a PC. People are going to pirate. It's a PC. What you have to do is make a system that accommodates the user, and yourself in a manner that makes sense.
Halo 2 Vista is an unsupported mess. There's a reason it wasn't included with the list of games with Halo Waypoint. It wants to be forgotten. While it runs in a manner that is technically "stable" (it runs.), the lack of user support from both Microsoft and the end user is pretty sad.
To have your internet crap out, and then get a message saying that you can't keep playing singleplayer to get achievements is one of the dumbest things I have ever laid eye's on. Why not?! Because I might cheat? Using some magical program I don't have the interest or time to research, and get my achievements?! Who cares?! They're technically worthless anyway! That's not why I get achievements. Microsoft is so ban-happy regarding achievement boosters who get their points in a manner less-ethical, I fail to see the problem here.
People might cheat online? Is this truly something that difficult to monitor? You have Xbox Live support, why not just game with your friends? It's a bit maddening.
Maybe ill play Halo 2 latter. For now it can be uninstalled, and stay uninstalled.
Pre-Fallout 3...No, not Fallout 2!
This was a suggestion from a user.
Stalker intrigues me.
It's clear that the game is ambitious. I remember that this thing was delayed like crazy, to finally play it is incredibly interesting.
Right off the bat: This game will kick your ass.
There's a fine line between making your game "real", and still keeping it a game, keeping it fun. Realism and mechanics don't normally get along together. Stalker seems to like running on this line. You are not some rambo mass-murderer.
I don't know whether or not the clear lack of gun accuracy is a hindrance to the game, or a realistic attempt to convey the feeling of a scavenger. The visual mods for this game are great, taking a game that was made in 2007 and giving it a fantastic fresh coat of paint (Not shown here). There are things that keep it back/show it's age. The lack of voice is one of them. The radiated Chernobyl (The zone) is great to explore, but it's difficulty can be punishing even on lower difficulties. It's mechanics of quest giving is reminiscent of Fallout 3, something I like. I can't wait to play more of this.
I like sex.
I like sex. As a heterosexual male, I do not feel like this is a controversial statement to make. Stop giggling.
Geralt who is the character in Witcher, hypothetically probably has more sex in a week than I will have in my lifetime. He makes James Bond look like a goddamn pansy. As if the objectification of women isn't enough, each encounter nets you a collectible card of said female.
Regardless of your take on the whole "card" thing, I gotta say: This game so far has been pretty awesome.
It's nice and refreshing to see a western RPG that is both linear, yet has enough choice elements to give the player a sense of freedom. Usually western RPG's don't like letting you play as a pre-constructed character, who will say stuff and react in a manner that you yourself would not, for the sake of a focused story. I applaud the use of cut-scenes. I applaud that Geralt is his own person. Yet I also applaud the excellent customization for character growth and other western mechanic tendencies. This game for me has been the most pleasant surprise.
For those wondering: I'm running the Enhanced Edition with everything set to High, everything runs smoothly.
Witcher intrigues me because I don't understand why it's not on consoles. It seems fairly built for it, and I'm sure it would be incredibly successful. A console port has recently been stalled and put into limbo, which upsets me because if the first few hours are any indication: This is an amazing game that needs more fans. For those of us who have console sensibilities, who want to venture into PC gaming, I strongly suggest this title.
Wait while I take pictures of my ex-girlfriends and print their faces on cards.
Anyone want to trade?
What did we learn today vidiot?
Mod's like the visual enhancements for Stalker make the game a treat. Shame I forgot to grab some screens of them. The Enhanced Edition for The Witcher was made via a combination of developers listening to their users. For those who owned the original game, the enhancements were released free of charge online. This is a balance, that I would argue is natural with the complexity of PC gaming. To wrap everything into a closed system, similar to Xbox Live, is counter-intuitive. PC games can grow, evolve after release by both users and developers. It's something that's also required for maintaining our games for the future. Lucas Arts made Scumm, but they didn't make ScummVM which allows you to play your old games on computers today. The out-look disturbs me. If there is a lack of openness with your software with your users, if you close every PC game in existence: What difference is this than a console game?
Who will maintain Halo 2 PC, ten years from now?
If I'm an enthusiast gamer in the future, who's never played anything Halo and I hunt down a copy of this, who will be the people perserving it?