Video Games

The Saga of teh_Bast4rd_LeRoi: LymeJournal Post 04 Sep 2005 22:26:36

LymeJournal Logo Profile1a 500xI don't know how long I will be here. I've been here for a while, but I can never tell these things. I just figured that while I was in one place, I should set the record straight. Leave something behind for those who will come after. I have no idea how long I have been 'inside', but it seems like years. How can you tell passing of time when the sun never rises or sets, when the winds do not blow, and no stars shine. Here it is the blackest dark, or the brightest bright, or some pulsing, shimmering, humming thing in between. I have heard some of the people here, if you can call them people, refer to things as 'cycles'--whatever that means. As long as I have been here, it makes no sense to me. Feh, I used to have a life. I used to be normal. I was just a guy--a regular dude playing video games, trying to “save the world”. Maybe I was brash, and I got a little famous for being reckless; but people knew my handle--teh_Bast4rd_LeRoi. Whether I was on the Worlds of StarCraft or the Marauders of Gaia, I was a known dude. It felt great, but I never thought of myself as a hero. It was all just a game, after all. Well, one day not long after the Spar7ann event, I was online on MoG, and I spotted this troll just picking on some noobs. Now, everybody gives noobs a little bit of grief, but this guy (his handle was LOLTroll) was just being a real dick to these guys. I mean just starting fights and crap. His HP was unbelievable and he was just picking on them. So I walked over to him told the guy told the guy he was being a douchebag and to back off. I told him, “Hey, we all got to start somewhere." His avatar looked at mine, and somehow straight into my own eyes. “You picked the wrong guy to screw with, chump,” he said. In the next minute the whole world erupted into white flame—a fire cold and hot and electric. Then it was black. I awoke on the floor, and then gingerly stood to my feet. The ground seemed further away then I remembered it; and when I looked at my hands, they were not my thin, engineer's hands, but the meaty clubs of a warrior. Somehow--by some magic, I suppose—I was trapped inside the game, and inside my avatar, the hulking LeRoi. I had little time for shock, as I spent the next three 'days' with the noobs fighting our way our of a wraith filled forest. At the edge of the woods, we spotted a village with an inn on the edge, but before we could reach the door, I was taken by another white flash. After this second bolt I found myself in something like a Roman forum, standing on the floor and surrounded by rising rows of faces, motionless, except for their roving and darting eyes. These faces were looking out over the forum and racing to type across the air, and I realized I was looking up to a message board. I tried to attract the attention of the posters, to find answers; but not one understood that I was not just another user trolling them. I did not have much time to get flustered before the white flash took me away. And that is how it has been for who-knows-how-long. I am stuck here in a place that some call the Netwerx—the convergences of the world's computer and telecom systems. It like Tron or the Matrix-- where users interface with each-other and 'bots and AI's. And most have no idea was is going on beneath the service. I wander when I can, 'jump' when pulled along, and try to get out. God, I hope I can just find a way home.   ('Marauders of Gaia' created by Sortelli, Used with permission.)

The Rescue Blues

Shenmue1It's E3 week. For gamers around the world, this is like first Christmas in June, where among the lights and smoke and mirrors, we receive small little nuggets of sunshine in the form of game announcements and updates. This year was no different, with various companies announcing some big games, like Halo 5 and Mass Effect 4. But, in my opinion, it was Sony that stole the show this year with a pre-show press conference with the announcement of three highly-anticipated games. The first two, the Final Fantasy VII remake and The Last Guardian, were definitely welcome surprises, with the former a long-stated desire of fans and the latter long-since dead, but it was the third announcement that seemed the most shocking and exciting: Shenmue 3. Continue reading

I Can See My Breath

Majoras MaskI can see my breath. That's all I can think about as the minutes tick down into seconds until the Target two blocks from my apartment opens. It's 7:55 a.m. on a cold Friday morning, and my wife has left to go get breakfast. I'm about tenth in line, and I'm reasonably sure that the other nine people in front of me are here for the same reason I am. In five minutes, Target will open up, and we will all rush back to the electronics department, for an opportunity to score a new Nintendo 3DS. Specifically, we're all waiting to be one of the few people to score the super-limited Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask edition. I know I don't have much of a chance to get one. From what people have said, each Target is only going to get two to six, and being tenth in line puts me out of the running considerably. Continue reading

Quarterbin Follies #14: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

Indy2Hey, do you remember LucasArts? You know, LucasArts, the video game wing of all things George Lucas. Well unless you are old or a giant nerd, you might not realize that long before The Mouse shut it down for being lame, LucasArts made some pretty cool games, and not just Star Wars, either. Well, the games that stuck out to me the most were the adventure games: Sam and Max, The Day of The Tentacle, the Monkey Island series. And, of course, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Man, that was a fun game, full of globetrotting investigation, action, puzzle-solving, and anti-Nazi propaganda (which is not to say the Nazis didn't have it coming – damn Nazis.)

Any road, it was a great game chock full of replay value, what with three different game modes and multiple endings. Problem was, when I moved from my childhood home to try my hand at college, and then the real world, I didn't get to take the game with me! And so, I never got the shot to try and finish it more than once. Well, that was a long time ago, and the damn thing won't even work on modern PC's. Well, not in anyway I know of. Dark Horse to the rescue. Sorta.

Indy1You see, unbeknownst to me Dark Horse published a comic book adaptation, a miniseries that ran three acts in four issues in 1991. The first time I knew about it was a few months ago when I spotted the TPB (from '92) at Game Time, our local comic shop turned game shop, which does a sideline selling off some old comics from its previous life. And so, after many years of not knowing what I was missing, I had the chance to dig into a little-sung adventure of everyone's favourite fake archaeologist.

The story gets off to a great start, taking us to meet a 1939 Indy: thrill as he teaches! Of course, it is not long before Adventure sings her sultry, dangerous tune. In this case, a man comes a-calling, asking about an odd and lonesome artifact from the Jastro Expedition, a dig in Iceland that Indy had been on as a youth. One ransacking later, Mr. Jones is off to the city that never sleeps. It seems a fellow former student and 'Jastro' alum, Sophia Hapgood, has given up archaeology to be a fortune teller, guided by the 'spirit' of Nur-Ab-Sal. It is hard for Indy to determine what he is more disappointed with: Sophia's 'charlatan' ways or her insistence that Atlantean artifacts even exist. This latter complaint takes a back seat as Indy and Sophia find themselves in a race, and sometimes chase, across the globe – and against the Nazis – to visit the other 'Jastro' fellows. And all along the way, they acquire such strange artifacts that Indy must concede that Atlantis is very real. Indy4All this is very much like the video game (story by Hal Barwood and Noah Falstsein). So much so, that the writers/adapters William Messner-Loebs (Issue #1), Dan Barry (Issues #2-3), and Mike Richardson (Issue #4), seem to have not felt the need to write the whole story. Now, as I said before, the TPB starts great, giving us a wonderful intro to the heroes and the villains, and leading us into the stories about Atlantis, both legends and impressions. Indy and Sophia, and even Marcus Brody, have a time to shine there, but once they leave Iceland, well, things get weird. All the stops and plot points from the game are in the comic, but there are huge chunks just missing.

Now, the game is a puzzle-based, investigative adventure game, and large bits of it are reserved for the rooting and digging about that those types of games offer. Understandably, these moments do not make for the best in your comic book reading. But, many of the puzzles are just missing from the TPB. There are huge bits of the story that are just left out – or alluded to – and by the time Indy and Sophia discover the Lost City, they have all this stuff, and they just know how to use it to get inside. The third act slows up again, and we are able to follow the events in the Lost City as they “happen.”

Indy3And that is what makes it such a strange TPB. The intro section is a great pace, and we get a lot more a chance to feel ourselves fit into the events. Then—WHAM!—the story races along, and the reader is just left behind. Until the end. And the end is handled as well, if not better than the end of the game. I imagine this is largely due to the intricate difficulties of adaptation and of the sort of “creation by committee” that the project seemed to have going for it. I would be tempted to suggest that you just play the game (available on STEAM), excepting two things: The first act is much more fulfilling, and the art, by the team of Dan Barry and Karl Kesel, with luscious colors by Lurene Haines, is really something. Dan Barry took over all the art chores for the final issue, and, sadly, you can tell. But the whole is still worth checking out. Especially if you can find it in the QuarterBin.