Archive for July, 2009
Some of my best gaming memories revolve around playing adventure games back in the early 90s. Every day after school I would go upstairs at my grandparents place and fire up the Amiga 500 to get some gaming in. For hours I would play Police Quest, Quest for Glory or any number of other titles.
So when in the spring it was announced that Monkey Island would be rereleased with upgraded graphics, voice overs and a new musical score for the PC and XBOX360 I was ecstatic that I would be able to return to one of those childhood fantasy worlds I had loved so much.
I won’t review the Monkey Island re-release much beyond these short words – IT ROCKS. An old school gamer or not – you should get this game and enjoy an awesome piece of gaming history and one of the most humorous stories ever told in any medium.
I went with the XBOX 360 version (my Sumosac was calling me – its getting harder and harder to feel inspired to sit at my computer and play with that thing looming behind me ) and the controls and whole experience on the console was just awesome!
My hope is that this re-release will do well and will encourage other studios who own the rights to these old games to get them re-released. Early evidence suggests that Monkey Island: Special Edition has been a success – on Steam the game has been a bestseller since its release several weeks ago.
During this economy where budgets are shrinking and projects are harder to get green lit this seems like a no brainer strategy to me. The teams required are small to update graphics and build the fairly simple engines that these adventure games run on. There is no story work required and even sound is fairly simple if at all required.
You are guaranteed a built in audience as these games come with a low price point and a strong nostalgic pull.
When I first started this blog post I was going to end with a call to Activision-Blizzard to get to work on getting the Sierra catalogue online in this manner but they’ve already put out their answer to Monkey Island’s success and I couldn’t be more disappointed.
Their answer was to put their existing compilation packs up on Steam. These compilation packs are the old games in their original forms that hardly run (if at all) on modern hardware. No imagination and no real desire to unleash the full potential that sits with these classic titles.
Sierra (now owned by Activision-Blizzard) was once king of the hill and their fall from grace was well documented. With just a little investment and a willingness to take a chance the Sierra brand could once again be reignited with these remakes. The Sierra back catalogue is so deep they could be remaking these games for years to come, and making out like bandits with minimal investment.
For me, as a fan of a genre and a brand now long since dead this is just another in a long series of heartbreaks. The management behind Sierra hasn’t had a good idea since the mid 90s and I guess I was just setting myself up to be let down.
Kudos to LucasArts for doing right by the Monkey Island IP and you can be sure that if you continue to remaster your back catalogue I will be first in line to buy your products – I just wish some of the former giants of gaming would have the foresight you guys did.
I miss you adventure gaming, but I’m glad at least in some small way you are back.
So my gaming world has been a little (read – a lot) stale lately. The lack of gaming in my life has led to an even greater lack of posting on this blog (as evidenced by the fact it’s been almost two months since my last post?).
So with no MMO consuming me that has left me with a lot of time. Now to be fair I started a new job back in April and that has been consuming an extra 10 or so hours a week BUT STILL there is quite a bit of time I’d usually be sinking in to MMOs that is just left wide open.
So what have I been doing with that time? Mostly Team Fortress 2 but I’ve also started putting more time in to console games; mostly of the sports variety.
Now I am not alone here – I suspect MMO players around the world are currently in a bit of a slump (it happens every summer, just part of the cycle). I can however say for sure that my usual gaming group (Chris, Evan, Jim (who doesn’t actually play games despite being a games developer)) is right there in the slump with me.
So when Jim approached us and said “hey, you guys should play Dungeons and Dragons with me” instead of doing the sensible thing and running for our lives we grudginly agreed. Now I’m not talking Dungeons and Dragons Online, or an online game involving both dungeons and dragons… No. I am talking, travel to nerdsville, do not pass go, die a virgin, Pen and Paper Dungeons and Dragons.
Yes MMO industry – this is what you have driven us to.
But here is my confession: It is probably the most fun I’ve had in A Really Long Time(TM).
Our setup is pretty simple: Everyone gets on Skype for voice chat, a few of us get on TinyCHAT for web cams (which has resulted in some hilarity) and we use RP Tool’s MapTool to play the actual game. Jim is our Dungeon Master, Evan is playing a Warlock, Chris a Warlord, Steph a Cleric ERR THAT CHARACTER HAS SOMEHOW ALREADY DIED err Steph is playing some crazy thing involving swords and I am playing a Paladin.
We’ve done 3 sessions so far and we’ve been having a real fun time of it. More than anything I think it is a social experience for us. D&D seems to force you in to putting a bit of yourself in to it and it makes it a much more connected experience when compared to your typical MMO session. Really in the end it’s given a group of friends an excuse to hang out and talk.
Jim has lots of crazy ideas – this one has really paid off And that my friends, is in the lore.