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Video games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

Media Monday #205: Chuck, Darksiders, Wildstar and more

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I didn’t get around to a normal blog post last week, quickly devolving to old patterns again. But I’ll make up for it this week. Last week was full of exhausting work, prep time for Saturday’s Pathfinder game and a catastrophic playtest of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game that I will have to blog about another time, because, gee. First though, it’s Media Monday #205.

  1. Ah, so adorable, those two.

    Ah, so adorable, those two.

    Not just recently I have a certain weakness for nerdy TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, because before I rooted for Leonard and his hot blonde chick, I rooted for Chuck and Sarah Walker. I could really wax poetic how much I love this TV show and once we’re done with TBBT on Netflix, it’s time to watch Chuck again. It’s got Chuck, the adorable nerd, who accidentally gets an important database full of government secrets downloaded to his brain, from then on requiring protection by NSA and FBI. I laughed, and worried, and cried. This action-drama-comedy show had it all. Admittedly, it’s got its weaknesses, but season 1 is such a fun ride, and season 2 really blew my fucking mind. It gets weaker after that and ultimately has one of the saddest endings ever, but I love the whole package. If you have never watched it, just give it a try on Netflix or whatever other TV streaming you do.
  2. Darksiders is somewhat intense in its design which I enjoy on the one hand but have come to despise on the other. I enjoy the intense atmosphere of the first chapter, which is pretty much Diablo-esque, and I don’t mind the blood and gore because a) the monsters are demons and devils from Hell and b) none of it has been particularly gross. But the intensity has its downside when minibosses and chapter bosses are a drastic increase in difficulty. I have been stuck on Tiamat for over a week now, there’s no mid-game adjustment of difficulty, and I might throw the PS3 controller against the wall one of these days. Ugh. Ever had a game you love until you get stuck? That’s where I am with Darksiders at the moment.
  3. logoIn my opinion ____ was doomed to fail, because ____ . – If I listened to the majorities out there talking about MMOs, Wildstar was doomed to fail but I don’t think so. No one plays subscription games anymore (other than WoW and FFXIV apparently), too hardcore, not fun enough, etc. I am still sticking with it that Wildstar is a fantastic theme-park game, and I was totally excited to make it my number one game back then. Then it launched, I played until my stalker was level 35ish or so, and then I stopped logging in. Not because it wasn’t fun, but because I couldn’t keep up anymore. Liore put it excellently in her post about Wildstar going F2P: “I suppose that most of us found ourselves in the same situation — fans of the game in theory, but not able to make the effort in practice”. I really wanted to give it my all, but I don’t have the time and the energy to commit to any MMO that much anymore. I sincerely hope the transition will mean an influx of new players and ultimately cash. It’s a fun game, the devs at launch were amazing and really upfront (something current Blizzard devs could have learned from), and I will probably go back. For a while at least.
  4. never-unprepared-cover-250wThe huge allure of pen&paper RPGs for me at this point in my life is nearly inexplicable. It’s really time-intensive, all the prep time alone has led to me currently reading a guide to GM prepping. As an adult, it’s really hard to find a day that all seven people are available and ready to have their game face on. Then you find out someone in your campaign would rather play a different game, etc. etc. And yet, despite all the obstacles and the time-consuming hobby that it is, I wish I could do it way more often. Maybe I am just crazy.
  5. I would enjoy Final Fantasy XIV even more, if I had more of a weakness for J-RPGs or Japanese entertainment in general. As pretty as the game is, some of the very Japanese shticks (to me) rub me the wrong way. What’s with the insanely young faces and the white hair on so many characters? Why always the upskirt looks? The early outfit of my lancer was embarrassing to me. I feel like I am missing references or something because I haven’t played a single JRPG game in my life. It’s really a miracle I enjoyed the game as much as I did. Still on a break though, not feeling MMOs at all, and the impending expansion doesn’t help because I am far behind for that anyhow. It just seems that with all the dungeons the main story requires it will get a lot harder to get those done once everyone is leveling in the expansion.
  6. ____ did better movies, but ____. – I am skipping that question, because I am really not a giant movie buff and might have to start rephrasing some of those Media Monday bits to steer clear of movies.
  7. Generally, I enjoy movies best that either have incredible plot twists like The Usual Suspects or are so bombastic that you simply have to watch them in a movie theater. The last one of those I watched was Inception. As I have mentioned before, I would really like to watch more movies and I think that’s one of the media goals I have this year. Watch more movies at the theater. Rar.

4 Comments

  1. I’ve never been a huge fan of JRPGs myself except for Pokemon and, well, Final Fantasy. I’m not sure why; something about a lot of them just aren’t my style.

    I never did try WildStar but I always got the impression that it was for people a lot more “hardcore” than I am! I know that’s the audience they’re going for but I also think it scares a lot of people off.

    • I think Carbine realized their mistake by now. The hardcore will never be enough players to keep a game afloat. Content needs to be approachable by everyone. I like how FFXIV has done that, though it is a really grindy game. As for Wildstar, it’s fun, it’s cartoonish, it has the best housing ever. I hope F2P will help introduce those aspects to more people.

  2. As a long time gamemaster/dungeonmaster/keeper/etc I can tell you #4 is something you’ll struggle with for forever, whether its 7 people or 3. Best thing I can say is that you’ll get more experience dealing with it and figure out what you can handle in terms of absenteeism. There is the rare system (like Gumshoe) that builds in rules to help the host deal with this, but its never not fun (especially when they miss the climax you’ve been building to for 6 months).

    Your player who wants to have a different game should step up and volunteer to run it. I can’t say what it would do for you, but personally I get some of my best ideas for running games when I’m playing in someone else’s campaign.

    • There’s actually a book on Drivethru RPG that deals with what happens to characters whose players didn’t make it, Called Away. It’s on my wishlist, I only haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet.

      As for the ideas part, I am currently playing in another campaign as well, and it’s cool, though I haven’t gotten a lot of inspiration from it yet. It makes me excited to run my own game though, for what it’s worth.

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