Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Space Quest IV: Roller derby

(This is part of my journey playing through Space Quest IV. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

aa1Aha!  I now have the Space Quest IV hint book, which means that this game is all but won the EZ-mode way, right?  Well… not so much, since (in-game) I’m not playing Space Quest IV, but Space Quest X.  At least it’s an amusing parody of the actual hint books that Sierra would sell back then.  It was a much more expensive and less porn-ridden internet for our generation.

aa2Among the semi-amusing entries is half of a time pod code to our next location.  I assume that I’ll be combining this with the half-code I got from the dead Sequel Police’s gum wrapper from earlier.

aa3I still haven’t plundered all of the depths of the Galaxy Galleria, so Roger spends some time getting acquainted with the arcade.  While there are a lot of fun-looking games, all but one are occupied.  The empty one?  Ms. Astro Chicken!

aa4The sequel to Astro Chicken is both easier to play and more enjoyable.  Basically, you just click to move up and down as you fly (astro chickens, unlike their terrestrial cousins, can fly), as well as click to lob eggs at enemies.  It’s amusing enough and thankfully not as necessary to the plot as its ancestor was.

It was about here that I found out that the game only allows for 20 save game files, citing a lack of disc save space.  Either this game was truly progressive in having 1GB saves, or someone overlooked the march of technology when coming up with that hard limit.

aa5Uh oh, it’s the sequel police!  A new time pod appears and Roger quickly (or… slowly, since that’s how he rolls) books it out of there.

aa6Possibly sensing a police lockdown, all of the shops in the mall have closed.  Roger ducks into the center roller rink as his last and only hope.  He gets shot dead, not too surprising.  C’mon, ya janitorial meatsack.  Let’s get moving!

Evading the police by floating through the skate-o-rama is absolutely brutal and one of the more notorious parts of the game.  It’s not as if there’s a hard sequence to learn but it’s doable; because of the way that SQ4 used computers’ cpus for timing issues, it just makes it impossible to pass.  Trust me, I tried everything from slowing down the game to declocking the artificial CPU, but no matter what, I’d get shot within a couple of seconds of entering the zero G skating rink.

Eventually, I had to cheat — there was no other way — and download a saved game that got me past this section.  It really chafed to do so, so let’s just pretend that Roger used his natural dexterity to evade the sequel police and hop into their time pod.

gg1Where to next?  I think the answer might surprise you!

Posted in WildStar

WildStar tomorrow!

sypNo, I’m not going to be one of those people who is planning to wake up at 3am eastern to be one of the first people into WildStar.  Probably not going to be.  Probably.  I enjoy my sleep more, and I hate being groggy on a launch day.  So I’d rather sleep in a bit, wake up, and have at it.  Plus, what if you get up that early and the servers crash, or Carbine has to take the game offline for a bit, or what have you?

Apart from not really knowing what’s going on with our guild (if there will be one), I’m more or less ready.  I’m rolling a Mordesh Medic/Scientist on the Evinora server, so if you land there give Syp a hello!

My initial plans are to really take it easy, soak it in, and get used to the game.  My knowledge and experience from beta was deliberately kept limited, so as to preserve the nature of discovery.  Making money, leveling up, working on my path, and looking forward to getting my housing plot will probably constitute the “goals” of my first week in the game.

There’s the additional joy of getting to open a couple (few?) dozen boom boxes, the beta bonuses (hoverboard and costume set), and all of the goodies from the deluxe edition pre-order.  Having a “free” house and extra storage space will probably come in very handy during these first days.

Overall?  I’m just excited.  I’m not as worked up as I’ve gotten for some other launches, mostly because I’ve put a tight lid on thinking about WildStar too much and have filled my gaming hours with other pursuits.  But come the game’s start, I’m giving myself permission to dive in deep.  I hope it’ll be great.  I trust that the good will vastly outweigh the bad.  I’m not expecting WoW 2, but I am depending on a solid-to-exceptional title that will reveal itself to be a wealth of story, experiences, and fun systems.  It’s going to be goofy and colorful — and it’ll be mine to plunder.

Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Space Quest IV: Shopping spree at the Galaxy Galleria

(This is part of my journey playing through Space Quest IV. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

On the downside, Roger has been abandonded by his never-was wife and he has no pants.  On the upside, Roger’s at the funnest place in the universe with a stolen credit card. Let’s get shopping!

hz1A moving walkway takes Roger on a loop around the mall, which is pretty cool for getting your bearings.  This store, by the way, used to be “Radio Shock” in the original version (I’m playing the voice-enriched CD-ROM version).  Legal threats prompted the store name change.  I think it’s actually better, don’t you?

hz2First things first: Roger needs new threads.  He swings by the Big and Tall store, where a snooty robotic salesperson helps him with a new look.  Well, it’s actually the same old look, only with pants restored.  Whatever, at least now I’m less embarrassed to be seen with this guy.

hz3Oh hey look, it’s our old friend!  No, not this guy, I’ve never seen him before.  But the place is Monolith Burger, that greasy joint from Space Quest III.  And with that help wanted sign, it looks as though Roger’s fondest wishes are about to come true…

hz4It looks as though I’m in for another arcade sequence to earn some cash, but in a lovely twist, the game offers me a way to wimp out.  This warning disclaimer made my day.  The game gives me the cash and abruptly informs me that I’m about to be fired.  Then I’m fired.

My former boss of the past 20 seconds tosses his cigar butt down and a light bulb goes off in my head.  You see, I never played Space Quest IV, I know that, but this whole game is registering some major deja vu anyway.  I think I figured it out at this point: I probably read through some guide book or the official Space Quest Companion back when I was a kid.  I did that a lot, read manuals and walkthroughs.

Roger tries to use the ATM card, but the machine doesn’t think he looks anything like a girl.  Hm.  A girl, huh?  Is this one of those silly, contrived excuses to get dressed up in drag?  Oh, it is!

hz5Well, never let it be said that I pass up opportunities to cross-dress in video games.  The salesbot here mocks and belittles me for it, but hey, I look HOT.  I am totally pulling this off!

hz6They laughed when I wore that wig out of the store.  Well, who’s laughing now?  WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?  Me!  Me is laughing, with $2,001 stolen Buckazoids!

hz7Flush with funds, Roger goes next door to Software Excess, which has been wiped out except for a bargain bin.  It looks as though there are a few parody titles in here, including Boom (Loom), Cluck Egger’s Advanced Chicken Simulator (Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Simulator) and Sim Sim (Sim City).  Oh, and there’s a Space Quest IV hint book!  Huh.  That *could* come in handy.  Yoink!

hz8I’ve been trying to get that stupid dog in the basket since minute one of this game!  I must have this book.

hz9This is pretty hilarious for all-new reasons.  12 gigabytes must have sounded HUGE back in the early 90s.  Now it’s a small MMO.  Also, did they screw up the Roman numerals there or am I dreaming?

So are you wondering what the hint book says?  Well, tune in tomorrow!

Posted in General

Question: Who plays for the first time on launch day anymore?

This has been ping-ponging through my head this week.  There’s usually early access/head start, which is granted (typically) by merely pre-ordering the product, and that becomes the de facto launch.  But then there’s the “official” launch day, which always seems like pointless semantics to me.  Who, exactly, is playing for the very first time on launch day?  Is it someone who picked up the game between the end of the pre-order/start of the early access and the launch day?  All those people in a three-day window?  Do we really see just a massive influx of new folks on launch day anymore?  I don’t think we do.

Head starters aren’t really getting ahead of the pack the way that some players might think.  They’re in the thick of the pack.  They’re just not getting left behind.  And head start IS launch.  Launch day is a cheap marketing ploy to get two press releases out within the same week saying (twice) that the game has released.  Maybe studios should add a “tardy access” period too and cram in a third launch a week later.

Posted in Guild Wars

A girl and her quaggan pirate pal

gw985After my whinging yesterday about hitting the 80s wall in Guild Wars 2, I broke down and… played my guardian.  For like ten minutes.  Maybe this class is a fount of excitement later on, but dang is it boring from the get-go.  It’s like watching an aged baseball player take very slow swings at underhand pitches.  The coolest thing was seeing, for the first time, what my heritage armor skins looked like with heavy armor.  Man, the minimal effort it took to get that heritage armor really paid off; having a “free” set of skins is a blessing for the early game.

So feeling all quirky, I dumped my guardian and rolled up a brand-new engineer.  I never do this, folks.  I never roll the same class twice unless, for some reason, I’ve deleted that character to restart.  But no, here in GW2 I have two engies looking at me on the character screen as if to say, “Are you mental?”

Maybe.  Maybe I am.

I know I can respec my 80 engineer pretty easy, but she’s always felt like a flametank to me and the game doesn’t support saving multiple builds, so flametank she’ll stay.  And a perverse part of me wants to see if I can level this class better this time around.  With all of the trait and skill changes as of late, it’ll undoubtedly be a slightly different experience.  Plus, the game for me is mapping — and I would just rather do that with this class, at least for the moment.

Man, I explain myself a lot on this blog.  A Syp apologist, I am.

It was pretty fun to play her.  I pulled out one of my old Guild Wars 1 names and gave it to her: Syp Tsunami.  Then I splurged to give her a new hairdo (her previous ponytail was clipping badly through her shield when it was slung over her back) and picked up the new quaggan mini 3-pack.  Because HOW COULD I NOT.  There’s a pirate quaggan, a girl quaggan with a bow, and a quaggan that looks like he’s trying to be a daredevil for the circus.  I don’t regret getting them, although I soon thought, “Man, I should’ve spent those gems on another bag slot!”

The plan with her while mapping is two-fold: To play her as a pistol/pistol or pistol/shield fighter with a strong emphasis on turrets (which got serious love with the feature pack), and to level up cooking and leatherworking.  My bank is brimming with mats, so why not?  In fact, I got three levels in two minutes from crafting (with a booster), hitting level 11 before I logged out for the night.

Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Space Quest IV: Space Quest X

(This is part of my journey playing through Space Quest IV. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

est1Space Quest III isn’t where we want to be unless we like death, so let’s reload and punch in a few random codes.  On the third try, Roger vanishes from Space Quest XII and lands in Space Quest X: Latex Babes of Estros (a pun on Infocom’s 1986 “Leather Goddesses of Phobos” text adventure game).

est2It doesn’t take very long before Roger’s explorations of this planet are halted by Air Pterodactyl’s nonstop flight to the Nest of Doom.  While I can appreciate the detailed animations on these… cut scenes?  I guess?  I think the artist who drew them made Roger look far more dopey than he should.  Like his face is constantly melting.

est3The bad news is that Roger is in a giant bird’s nest.  The good news is that the pterodactyle also drops a member of the Sequel Police onto the nest, where he gets impaled and becomes easy to loot.  Plus, if Roger has no qualms about cannibalism, it’s a free lunch!


Dropping down from the nest, Roger finds himself in another predicament: He’s surrounded by swimsuit-clad, speargun-toting women out for his blood.  This is when you have to remember that the game was made very close to the 80s instead of 2014, although these women would probably have a job today being the poster kittens for MMO box art.est5

Play Evony, my lord!

Er… actuallly, this is Zondra and boy is she ticked at Roger!  She claims that Roger left her at the altar, something that hasn’t happened for our Roger but who knows with future Roger!  Time travel, such a headache.est6

Instead of zapping him, the ladies take him back to their underwater base where they begin to torture Roger by shaving off his leg hair.  Again, I want to point out how poorly Roger is drawn here, almost as if he’s a different character altogether.  est7

Fortunately for Roger, a giant sea slug arises from the depths and sends the girls packing.  Roger uses the chair’s pants-dissolving lazers to blast the tentacles, then tosses an oxygen tank into the creature’s mouth.  That does it and all is forgiven (by the girls, not the sea slug).  Roger is A-OK by Zondra now, although she won’t marry him.est8

Jumping back into SQXII, Vohaul’s holographic head gets confirmation that Roger is indeed time jumping.  It’s a pretty pointless scene.est9To reward Roger and reinforce all manner of stereotypes, the girls take him to the Galaxy Galleria mall.  Remember: 80s and malls were never far apart.  The girls see a sale and quickly ditch Roger, who ends up standing there in his underwear like a maroon.

Posted in Guild Wars

Hitting the 80 wall in Guild Wars 2

Today or tomorrow I’ll most likely ding 80 on my third character in Guild Wars 2, my Necromancer.  I’m actually kind of dreading it and have had my mind turn to flights of fancy involving either other alts or sticking only to my Engineer main.

Even in a game that does a lot to lessen the impact, there’s still a wall that one hits when you reach the level cap.  Sure, there’s plenty left to do: mapping, crafting, earning endless new skill points, making money, living story progress, achievement hunting, dungeon running, and so forth.  But 80 signifies the end of part of your character’s growth, mostly in power and trait points.  OK, I guess it’s primarily a psychological block in this game, but I still can’t help but feel that a level 80 is less “fun” to play than one that still has the level mountain to climb.

It could also be that the 80 wall offers a convenient excuse to sit back and take a long look at what I’ve been doing.  Do I like the Necro?  I do… but I see its flaws, too.  I always yearn for something new and different, after having spent so much time with just this one character.  Will it really be worth it to fully map the world on this character past 80?  Do I want to spend my laurels and crafting mats getting this character geared up to ascended?

I’m not sure.  In a perverse way, I kind of want to roll a new Engineer even though I’d be trotting over the same ground that I’ve already done with my main.  That’s part of the effects that the 80 wall has on me.

Posted in General

A small pet peeve

I really dislike it when people in groups, even PUGs, refer to you and others by their role or class instead of names.  Yes, it might be more practical (especially considering how weird some of the names can be), but it makes me feel devalued as a person, pigeonholed into what I can do instead of who I am.  Also?  “Syp” is not very hard to type.  Three letters.  That’s shorter than most class names.  You’re welcome.

Posted in Nostalgia Lane

Space Quest IV: I’ve been slimed

(This is part of my journey playing through Space Quest IV. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

Well Roger, you dolt, you’re indirectly responsible for the apocolypse by antagonizing the one intergalactic super-villain who had the means and motive to bring about the end of Xenon.  The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Click.  I’m going to click all the things.  Let’s start with that sewer door there.

sew1The second that Roger enters the Xenon sewers, the door slams shut behind him and he’s, for better or worse, stuck there.  Gee, hope I have all of the items that I need!  I’m not sure if Space Quest IV has advanced beyond the point of providing lovely dead ends in the game, but my experiences with the first two titles have me concerned.

sew2As Roger casually strolls around the sewer, an undulating puddle of slime oozes toward him.  Might as well scoop that stuff up in case I hit a Ghostbusters convention!  I think I’ll name you Slimer Jr.

sew3The sewer portion isn’t too long, and before you know it, Roger is poking his head out of a manhole to see a mysterious ship land and little blue-and-black guys exit out.  I’m guessing this isn’t the birthday party that I ordered, either.

That’s my ticket outta this dump!

sew4Roger scurries aboard the patrol ship, and by “scurries” I mean “he slowly ambles up to the landing gear and crawls into a small compartment.”  Took me five tries to do this without getting zapped by the cops.  The ship takes off into the red sunset and goes into that massive structure that’s dominating the landscape.

sew5This here is the headquarters for the Sequel Police, and Roger overhears them saying that they just completed a scan of the Labion section of Space Quest II.  Dude, I was just there!  Like two weeks ago!  Nimbly, by which I mean “so slow you think he wanted to get shot,” Roger jumps into a time pod.

sew6Don’t know this language?  Don’t care!  Hit buttons at random!  What’s the worst that can happen when the world’s already come to such a horrible end?

This is pretty funny: I hit random gibberish and then narrator starts enthusiastically telling you about how everything is revving up and you’re going to jump into time and then… nothing happens.  The music fizzles out too.

Finally, I get a code that works!

sew7Huh… deja vu.  Something about this place that looks awfully familiar…

sew8Oh yeah!  This is the place that melts you without special underwear.  Well, drat.