I wanted to take a little time to get my initial thoughts of Metro 2033 down before I get too far into it. I am almost done with chapter 2. It’s been pretty fun so far. Nothing earth shattering but definitely a solid shooter.
I have finished Portal 2 and made some more progress on Super Meat Boy over the last couple of months. However, it’s now time to move on to the next featured game, Metro 2033. Betic and I are going to be playing through this together.
Metro 2033 was one of the many shooters released last year. I wasn’t really all that interested in it until I heard the guys on Weekend Confirmed talking about it. That podcast has peaked my interest in a lot of games. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, I heard them talking about it and thought I needed to check it out. However, I am pretty cheap when it comes to games so I thought I would wait until it went on sale. It wasn’t a must buy like Portal 2 so I decided to give it a little time. Turns out I didn’t have to wait long. Steam ran their “Great Steam Treasure Hunt” with a chance to win 100 games. One of the games included was Metro 2033 so I grabbed it.
I have actually played through a bit of this game already. You had to get the Nosalis hunter achievement to get credit in the treasure hunt. So I played enough to get that achievement. However, I played through fairly quickly so I didn’t understand the story as well as I would have liked. So I am starting over.
My expectations for Metro 2033 are a little low. It’s not that I’m afraid it will be bad. I just don’t expect it to effect me like Bioshock. I am hoping I will be able to get several hours of mindless fun. We’ll see!
I started working on a couple posts I’ve had on the back burner when I realized I needed to add another feature to K & M. A spoiler warning.
I built this site so that my friends and I could share stories and ideas about the games we are playing. The very nature of this invites spoilers. I want to be able to talk specifics, not generalities all the time. However, I also don’t want to ruin any games for anyone
Personally, I try to avoid any talk of the specifics of games I am interested in. For example,Weekend Confirmed had a segment about Homefront the Friday before it came out that I skipped over. I don’t want anyone’s opinions to taint mine before I get into a game.
And it’s not just a matter of blatant spoilers that can ruin things for me. Sometimes just mentioning there is a twist in the story makes me approach a game differently than I would have otherwise. So I would rather not know anything.
So this afternoon I added a small feature to K & M to hopefully keep from spoiling things for others. I added a "Spoilers" checkbox to the blog post screen. This way posts can be marked as containing spoilers. If this box is checked, the full post will only be shown on the single post page, not in any lists. And the link to that page will be marked with "Spoilers Ahead".
This afternoon we launched a new feature. You now have the ability to create you own game queue. Each game has a link on the right you can use to add it to your queue.
You can check out your queue under you account. You can then reorder that list however you want.
I built this functionality to help me with the plan I mentioned in my post about gaming as a hobby. Over the next several days, I am going to be working on getting all the games I have in the queue and in order. You can follow my progress here.
Over the last couple weeks (before the release of Portal 2), I’ve been hooked on Super Meat Boy. I bought it on sale a while back but never really got into it. If I’m honest, it’s difficulty scared me away. Then I read this postmortem on Gamasutra. I don’t know what it was exactly in that article that sparked something in me but I decided to give it a serious try.
Let me just say up front that SMB does an amazing job waking up my OCD part. Every level has 2 or 3 objectives. First, to beat the level. Then, to beat it faster than the goal time given, which gives an A+ for the level. And finally, some levels have a bandage or warp zone to get. Oh, and then there’s the negative levels, one per map. But I’ll explain those later.
My sessions with this game have been very methodical. I start the next level in line aiming to hit the A+ time. Normally it takes me several attempts to get through the level. If I see a warp zone or bandage, I forget about speed and try to pick that up first. Once I collect it, it’s back to speed. It doesn’t matter how many times I die or how many times I complete the level slower that necessary. I will keep at it until I have completely beaten the level. And then it all starts over on the next level.
SMB’s greatness comes from its ability to make me feel two things. No matter how many times I die, I always feel like I made progress and am about to make progress. Let me see if I can explain that statement.
Most of the levels in SMB (except for the first few training levels) have several obstacles that must be traversed. There might be a big spinning blade followed by some platforms followed by a wall covered in spikes. I can see the first obstacle but don’t normally know what comes after. So I tackle that, trying to figure out the best away past. As I fail, I am learning what I need to do. Once I pass, the first one, it’s on to the second. Of course, when the second one kills me, I have to do the first one again. The thing is, since I learned how to pass the first obstacle through trial and error, it’s much easier the second time around.
The best example I can think of for this is the negative level in the Forest. Negative levels are special levels that you reach by finishing a level when Bandage Girl is "glitched". Basically, there is a chance when you die that she will glitch out and look funky, which leads to the negative level.
The first negative level is broken up into three parts. You can see a run-through of it here to get an idea of what I’m talking about. The first part has some spikes on the wall and falling disks. The next part has a large pit with suspended walls with spikes on the top. And the final part has disks falling down two walls with Bandage Girl at the top
The first part of this level was tricky until I was able to figure out the timing of my jumps. After that, it was cake. The large pit took me many tries to get right but I never had to worry about the first part again. And then once I figured the pit out, it was no problem to move on to the last section. Even though I died probably 30 or more times on this level, I never got frustrated because I was making progress.
The other thing SMB does so well is make me feel like I am about to make progress. The controls are so tight that I never feel like I died because it didn’t respond correctly. If I died, it’s because I messed up. If the fault lies with me, I can fix it.
The negative level was a great example of this as well. I jumped into that pit a TON of times but always knew it was because I wasn’t quite good enough yet. Each time I got a little closer, I knew I was going to beat the level. It was only a matter of time.
While I have been really hooked on SMB, I had to take a break to work through Portal 2. I will be back to it as soon as I’m done.
My expectations were high for Portal 2. It appeared on my list of games I’m looking forward to in 2011. There is no game company I love more than Valve. Everything they build is gold. Every game in the Half-Life/Portal universes are release day purchases for me. And they got me to do something I didn’t think I would do again. Buy a game for the PS3.
Valve has taken things to the next level by bringing Steam to the PS3. I has pretty much written off my consoles. I have a WII and a PS3 but very rarely play games on them. My PS3 has become a movie machine. I watch blu-ray movies and Netflix on it, and that’s about it. However, several of my friends are console gamers, which makes it hard to find common ground on games at times.
Portal 2 changes that. I was thrilled to hear it has cross-platform co-op. Now I have something I can play on my computer with my console-playing friends. I bought the PS3 version just to do my little part to show Valve it was worth the effort. I’ll probably never play it there since it included the PC version as well but the extra $10 was worth it to make that statement.
But does the game actually meet my expectations? Crap yeah it does! I’m not very far yet (only about an hour in) but it’s been worth the purchase price already. The writing is fantastic, the game play is spot on and the atmosphere just feels right. It definitely deserves the high praise and review scores it is receiving.
I mentioned in my last post that I am trying to get through at least one game a month this year. April is Portal month. And I expect it will continue to be a good one.
I have been a gamer for most of my life, even though I didn’t own my first console until after high school. My grandmother had a 2600. My best friend had an NES and a Super Nintendo. And I cut my teeth in PC gaming on the Kings Quest series.
Over the years, my gaming has consisted of a lot more purchasing than actual playing. Here is the list of games I own on Steam but have not finished:
- AI War: Fleet Command
- Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000
- Call of Duty 2
- Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
- Commander Keen Complete Pack
- Commandos 2: Men of Courage
- Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
- Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
- Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
- Company of Heroes
- Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
- Deus Ex: Invisible War
- DOOM 3
- DOOM II: Hell on Earth
- Dragon Age: Origins
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
- Far Cry
- Far Cry 2
- Final DOOM
- Freedom Force
- Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich
- Gratuitous Space Battles
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
- Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- King Arthur – The Role-playing Wargame
- Master Levels for DOOM II
- Max Payne
- Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
- Men of War
- Metro 2033
- Mount and Blade: Warband
- On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One
- On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two
- Red Faction
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
- Sid Meier’s Civilization IV
- Spellforce 2: Gold Edition
- Star Wars – Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith
- Star Wars – Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
- Star Wars: Dark Forces
- Star Wars: Empire at War Gold
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Super Laser Racer
- Super Meat Boy
- Supreme Commander 2
- Swords and Soldiers HD
- Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 1 – Launch of the Screaming Narwhal
- Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 2 – The Siege of Spinner Cay
- Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 3 – Lair of the Leviathan
- Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4 – The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood
- Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 5 – Rise of the Pirate God
- The Dig
- The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom
- The Ultimate DOOM
- The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
- Thief: Deadly Shadows
- Titan Quest
- Universe at War: Earth Assault
- Unreal Gold
- Unreal II: The Awakening
- Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II – Retribution™
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Zombie Driver
Man, that’s a long list. And it doesn’t even include all the expansion packs or games that I did not buy through Steam. It can be paralyzing. I have spent several gaming sessions just staring at it trying to decide what to play. Those sessions don’t normally end with much progress.
Looking at this list, the question becomes, so what? What does it matter if I have all these games I haven’t played and/or finished? Do I really want to spend time and energy whittling that list down?
This list represents my general lack of focus. I am so easily distracted, not only in my gaming but in a lot of areas of my life. I have all these ideas of different things that I want to do or try but never really make much progress. The idea of doing things is more exciting than actually doing them.
You can definitely see that in this list. The idea of Mount and Blade or Super Meat Boy or Supreme Commander drew me in to make the purchase. And I know I would really enjoy those games if I gave them a chance. But then another game pops up that steals my attention away. When I do finally decide to sit down and play something, I can’t decide what because everything is pulling at me.
What I need is some organization. I need a schedule. I need to know that I WILL get to those games so my mind doesn’t keep reminding me how I haven’t yet.
I need to start treating gaming as an actual hobby
Dictionary.com defines a hobby as, "an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation". The key word there is "pursued". I’ve never really pursued gaming. I’ve let it come to me. I have decided I want to change that starting this year. I set some goals for the year to help me take control of my gaming.
My main goal this year is to finish one game a month. This is easy enough that I should not have a problem while still helping me feel like I am actually making some progress. I have done well so far by completing Bioshock, Deathspank, and Homefront. I am going to try to have a full plan for what I am going to play the rest of the year done by the end of this month.
Here is the list of some of the games I am looking forward to in 2011:
- Mass Effect 3 – This is definitely my most anticipated game of the year. I have a bad habit of not finishing games but I have finished both 1 and 2. In fact, I had a hard time playing anything else for a while after finishing 2 because it was so good.
- Portal 2 – I don’t really know what to say about this one. It’s a sequel to Portal created by Valve. Sign me up!
- Rage – Obviously this game looks amazing. I am really hopeful that this will be id Software’s return to form in the FPS genre. They have done great stuff in the past so I’m hopeful this will be great as well.
- Homefront – The intriguing part of this game for me is the setting. It refreshing to see a game that’s not trying to be ultra-realistic or ultra-set-in-space.
- Bulletstorm – I’ve started looking forward to this because of Weekend Confirmed. They mentioned this as the game people waiting for Duke Nukem Forever would appreciate. Sounds like fun so I’ll be checking it out.
- Dragon Age 2 – This one is a little strange for me. I am looking forward to it but haven’t actually finished the first game yet. Actually, I haven’t really even started it. My anticipation is mostly about it being an RPG from Bioware that is going to borrow from Mass Effect. Sounds like a winning formula to me.
What do you think? What games are your most anticipated?
There are several games in my catalog I have never finished. I tend to buy more games than I have time to play. Every once in a while I will look through my games and pick one to finish. This time that game is BioShock.
I am actually a little embarrased I haven’t finished this game yet. I am a huge fan of FPS games and BioShock is one of the best released in the last several years. I also own 3 copies of it. I did only pay a total of $15 for all those copies combined but it’s time that I got my money’s worth out of it.
So BioShock is the first featured game here at K & M tavern. The goal is to be finished with it by the end of January. Let’s hit it!
Welcome to K & M Tavern! This site is built to be a book club type site for PC Gamers.
The idea for this site began to take form in the fall of 2009. I read about the last 3 books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. They were going to come out in the fall of 2009, 2010 and 2011. It had been a while since I read through that series so I thought it would be a good time to start over. I would read through them with the goal of being ready for the last one when it came out.
I started to think about a website I could build to chronicle my journey through the books. Other people could come to the site and participate as well. I would write my thoughts of each book and allow others to do the same.
I also started thinking about doing this for Diablo 1 and 2. Blizzard is working on Diablo 3 so I thought I would play through 1 and 2 while blogging about my experience. As I thought about that, I realized there are several other games I would want to do that with as well. I decided I did not want to pigeon-hole myself into just a Diablo-themed site.
So the basic idea was to have a site that would allow me to write about my experiences reading different books or playing different games. Other people would be able to see what I wrote and comment on it. They would also be able to write about their own experiences. Hopefully it would grow into a whole community of people reading or playing PC games and sharing their experiences.