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Tag Archives: video games

Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero

The Hero's Quest and Quest for Glory covers.

The Hero’s Quest and Quest for Glory covers.

You may have seen a post I did about Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire. How did it get to be #2? Well, this post tells you how. When I first played this game, it was called “Hero’s Quest I: So You Want To Be A Hero.” At the same time, there was a board game (which I also owned) called “Hero Quest.” A trademark dispute with the makers of the board game eventually made Sierra (the publisher) change the name of the series to “Quest for Glory.” These were very different times: EGA graphics (16-colour), VGA (256-colour) at best, and these games were distributed on floppy disks. Well, Hero’s Quest came with 5.25s and 3.5s, and was eventually released on CD (wow!) so it wasn’t that archaic I guess (sarcasm!). Still, it was definitely a different time. It was a time when the term “Animated 3D Adventure Game” meant series like King’s Quest and Space Quest (which probably rivaled the Monkey Island series for comedy). 3D meant that your character could walk “behind” bushes and trees… wow! It was different enough time that a video game company was pushed around by a board game company – I doubt the board game industry has the same clout today they once had. Today, games like Assassin’s Creed III sell 3.5 million copies in the first week they’re offered, and Starcraft is a spectator sport!

No matter how it was released or what name it was called, Lori and Corey Cole did an absolutely marvelous job of inventing a classic and now borderline legendary adventure game.  When I heard that they were going to get back into game design and that it would have something to do with being a hero, I absolutely had to sink my teeth back into this original and best Quest for Glory game.

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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – book review

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.  Don’t read my lame post, go buy this book and read it instead.

I have to stop reading the same sets of books and branch out some more, otherwise I might never read another book like Ready Player One (by Ernest Cline) again. I got it for my birthday last year on Kindle, and when I finally got around to reading it, I found I couldn’t put it down. It called out to the child in me who grew up in the 1980s, it called out to the video gamer in me, it called out to the geek in me; this book was not deep in any way, but it was a shout-out to everything that was awesome in the 1980s and a love letter to anyone who was born in the late 1970s to enjoy it. It proved to me ultimately and was a cry for justice that the virtuous geek is truly the greatest hero humanity has ever produced.

You should just stop reading this review now and go get the book.

No, seriously; did you not read my last statement?  Go read the book.

The book is set in the future, in the year 2044. Things are not good for the human race. Resources are scarce, most of the population is poor, and in many parts of the world anarchy reigns over the establishment, which pretty much exists in name only. Entire cities worth of underprivileged people live in communities called stacks, which are row upon row of mobile homes, stacked on top of each other in sketchy frames.  They are a fire department’s worst nightmare.  They are the residents’ worst nightmare.  They are the reality of the world that people live in.

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Assassin’s Creed – So Far

My buddy Raul got me Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for my birthday last year. I really had no idea about these games except that they seemed to be quite popular. I didn’t even know who made them (Ubisoft Montreal). Well, when everyone went home after the dinner we’d invited them to on my birthday, I put it in the PS3 and took a look. I didn’t come out until about 3:30 in the morning. 3:30 in the morning is nothing really all that special or crazy, but it is a little bold when you have a 2-year-old to match your morning wake-up time with!

Spoiler alert: I do spoil a bit of the overarching story in this write-up; so if you want to play them and get the surprises, don’t read this and play the games first.

The Assassin’s Creed series follows the centuries-spanning conflict between the Assassins and the Templars. In general, the Assassins view themselves as defenders of peace and more importantly free-will, and the Templars view themselves as perveyors of peace through control. So, Templars would force peace by abolishing all religion to end all wars, where Assassins would – no matter their beliefs – defend all religions even at the expense of holy wars happening so that people still have free-will to choose. In each game in the franchise, you get to explore history through the eyes of an assassin in a particular historical era.  Historically, the Assissins and the Templars were real groups, whose interactions are documented in lots of places, including this book. One of the really great strengths in the series is the real history woven around the games, and they stick to it as much as they can and have you dealing with real people from the eras.

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Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire

Video games have gotten big.  Role playing and adventure games have gotten even bigger.  With character attributes and equipment and free world exploration with infinite side-quests and massive online communities of people playing vastly different characters in the same online worlds, it’s hard to sometimes remember the roots of today’s masterpieces.  Now hey, I’m not not complaining about where we’re at now, or yearning for a simpler time and “the way things used to be;”  I’m having a ball playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood right now.  Some of today’s games defy reality with how good they look (take this past week’s Skyrim as an example)!  Still, back in the day, there were Sierra’s adventure games.  I loved them all, the great questing in King’s Quest, the comic space antics of Space Quest, and even the slightly ridiculous adult overtures of Leisure Suit Larry.

Look out, this hero comes ready for the fight!

One series stood out above the rest, though, as far as Sierra’s games go.  I loved the Quest for Glory series.  They were ground-breaking:  easy to get into, fun and excellent plots, character stats you could train, equipment to acquire, and a branched story line depending on what class of character (fighter, thief or magic user) you chose.  They even had day/night cycles to contend with!  The possibilities were (at the time) seemingly endless.  So imagine how happy I was when I found AGD Interactive’s remake of the classic desert adventure Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire!  In this second installment of the franchise, you re-assume the persona of the ridiculously blonde-haired anonymous hero from where he left off in Quest for Glory I, on his way to the desert city of Shapeir in search of new adventures.  I mean, the brave hero pretty much defeated everything that was bad or dangerous in Spielburg, a guy could get bored hanging out there with nothing to do!  Thankfully, some of the folks he helped out turned him on to some problems they’ve been having in their homeland, and the hero takes a magic carpet ride to see where fate will take him!

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Lego Pirates of the Caribbean

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean rules. Get this game.

As we were finishing our last Lego adventure (Lego Star Wars III), we were seriously holding high hopes about Lego Pirates of the Caribbean.  Why?  Because Lego Star Wars III was so awful.  Bad levels, really annoying quests to get to 100%, and it just plain was not as much fun as the original Lego Star Wars (the Complete Saga).  As general fans of the Lego movie adaptation video games, we really wanted Lego Pirates to be good.  It was sitting there, unopened as we fought our way through that Star Wars fiasco, but we couldn’t just give it up, admit defeat and move on.  The reward, my friends, was triumphant.

While one of my main complaints about Lego Star Wars III was that the general mayhem smash-em-up bonus levels was something we really missed, and while Lego Pirates didn’t end up having much of that either, it was such a far superior game that we didn’t even notice.  Lego Pirates is all around just a blast to play, and yeah, I wouldn’t be writing this unless we’d gotten to 100% complete.  Not only that, but we got all the PS3 trophies that are built into the game, something we’ve not worked with before as our Lego game-play to this point has been on Wii.  We are now in the process of collecting the other Lego games for PS3, because they look a lot better and feel a lot better there!  So, fun replay value down the road.

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Lego Star Wars III

Lego Star Wars III

Well geez, it’s been an aeon since I last posted anything.  Things have been busy, and I’ll put a bunch of that up here.

One of the things we’ve been busy with is video games.  Read me, we were busy, darn it.  We’ve been playing Lego Star Wars III through on the Wii.  We’re kind of addicted to these Lego games, they really are a lot of fun.

We were really excited (and surprised, to be honest) that another Lego Star Wars game was coming out.  Excited is obvious, but we were a little surprised because the last Lego game covered all six Movies (if you count the prequels as movies).  The plot of this game came from the Clone Wars animated show.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t watch any of the Clone Wars, or maybe it’s because the game itself was a little weird, but we didn’t enjoy this game as much as Lego Star Wars:  The Complete Saga.  That’s not to say we didn’t like the game – it definitely had its moments – but there seemed to be a lot more tedium involved in completing this one to 100% (anything less in a Lego game would be unacceptable) that made it a little less enjoyable. Read more of this post