Somehow, I’m Still Alive
Okay, that was a little bit dramatic.
I know I haven’t updated in quite awhile. Let’s see if we can rectify that.
Since moving into the new condo, and finally (more or less) finishing moving in, I’ve been trying to do three streams a week. The Tuesday night streams, at present, are trying to knock off the last few seconds before submitting a Golgo-13: Top Secret Episode run to SDA. Thursday nights tend to be practicing New Super Mario Bros. Wii, since I’ll be playing it for Awesome Games Done Quick 2013. I’m still about 10 minutes slower than I really want to be, although that would put me at not only marathon-ready status, but very close to, if not better than, the current SDA run.
The really interesting game that I’m streaming is the game I’m streaming during the weekends–the (In the US) cult-classic game EarthBound. This was the winner of the “What game should I stream?” poll that I ended, it turns out, a bit prematurely (I really should have looked at the Spree River map here before declaring myself done with Golgo-13; avoiding that ambush is why I continue working on getting the time even better). So far, I’m roughly halfway through the game.
One of the things about EarthBound that I didn’t appreciate as a teenager was the humor, the fourth-wall breaking, and just the motif of the game. The game take places in the modern-day, and you use weapons like baseball bats and frying pans to fight enemies like annoying revelers and abstract art (Yes, really). Gameplay-wise, the game had some very cool ideas too–if you’re strong enough, you can auto-win some battles, and depending on how you approach enemies on the world map, you can get in a preemptive attack (Or enemies can do the same to you). Earthbound, at least in the US, was one of the first games to have an encounter system that expansive.
One double-edged sword the game had was what I like to call its “Easy Button”. Basically, it’s a context-sensitive button that you push, and the game automatically decides if you were trying to Talk to someone or Check the area around you. A great idea, and one a lot of RPGs use today. The only issue is there’s one specific point where there’s a story trigger you have to “check”, near a person you can talk to…and the game decides that talking takes priority, even if you’re not facing the person the game decides you’re trying to talk to. It’s a minor thing in the big scheme of things, but that one minor issue briefly killed any love I had for the game to that point.
The other thing is that the game itself is sometimes less-than-totally-forthcoming about what to do next. Almost as if the game knows this, there are “hint” stations you can purchase hints from to get more guidance throughout EarthBound. I’m still not sure whether including the hand-holding in this fashion is brilliant commentary on the genre, or just a haphazard way of filling in the gaps in the narrative.
Still, I’m continuing to enjoy it, and will stream it again, probably next Saturday (Sunday is a Connecticon staff meeting). Tuesday, more Golgo.