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Armchair General

May 8, 2010

So in the continued tradition of me writing for this blog, I am going to write about games on here that none of my writing cohorts really care much about. This game is: Civilization V and strategy gaming in general.


Like the Final Fantasy series, the Civilization series has had a defining impact on my lifelong gaming addiction.


The first strategy game I ever played was a SNES title which combined the building of an ancient town with trawling through a dungeon. You’d be building your town and via the story something would happen that would mean your character had to descend into a cave in order to defend said town against a threat. I was indifferent to the action parts; I loved the town building parts.


By the time I discovered Civilization 2 there was no turning back. After creating a civilization from horse drawn chariots to spaceships, jumping in pipes or collecting coins with a blue hedgehog wasn’t going to cut it for me. My eyes had been opened to a type of gaming that wasn’t based on an A to B storyline, or performing the same action repeatedly.


The Total War series further compounded upon this. Not only did Rome: Total War incorporate the building of one of the most renowned civilizations in existence, but it also included battles involving tens of thousands of troops all at your command.

In today’s attention deficit disorder gaming market, strategy games are continually marginalized. The PC is the perfect platform for them and it is here that Civilization 5 will end my social life in the 4th quarter of this year. Every time a new Civilization title is announced I get a warm sense of excitement in my nether regions. This recent offering looks beautiful and every day that goes by without new details is like torture to my soul. But alas, good things come to those who wait.


Final Final…Final Fantasy

March 11, 2010

I once loved the Final Fantasy series like a family member. A family member who I saw every couple of years and who provided me with hours upon hours of fun. I now liken the series to an ageing family member who is trying new “cool” things that are failing miserably and who I’m ashamed to say I once loved. I don’t invite them to my house anymore because I’m disappointed in their choices and am worried their presence will sully the good memories I hold so dear.

Yes, I’m being a tad melodramatic. But in a gaming market so distinctly lacking any manner of decent RPG, this betrayal strikes deep. In 1999 I played my first Final Fantasy game.

It was Final Fantasy VIII and it was beautiful. It came at the perfect time for me. I was slowly starting to prefer PC games because they had a more diverse spread of genres and I wanted to think strategically in games….not just jump on mushrooms and head butt bricks. Baldur’s Gate had come and gone and it had a ridiculous impact. A rich storyline, memorable characters and a battle system so deep most of its inner nerd filled workings were hidden from the player. I didn’t believe such a feat could be achieved on a system reserved for beat ‘em ups and platform titles. By this time I’d heard of Final Fantasy VII but hadn’t played it for any extensive period. My exact Final Fantasy timeline reads like this.

Final Fantasy VII: Played a handful of times, but didn’t really grab me. I’d felt like I joined the Final Fantasy party half way through and it seemed to suck all the buzz out of it.

Final Fantasy VIII: RPGing heaven. At first complex and daunting, but the most satisfying game to master.

Final Fantasy IX: Less good/memorable but still enjoyable. The last of the series before it jumped solely to ps2.

Final Fantasy X: Horrifically linear in parts with a horrible sub game (WTF was blitzball??) But a beautiful and engaging story nonetheless.

Final Fantasy XI: Online version of the series. Trying to install this on my PC somehow bugged my system to fuckery. Little did I know this marked the beginning of the end.

Final Fantasy XII: Abandonment of my much loved turn based battle system. I played through for a good 6-8 hours before realizing that I paid money for and was playing an actual piece of shit in disc form.

Final Fantasy XII-2: Words can’t express how much of a travesty this game was. Well they can but I don’t want to spend the rest of the blog swearing.


So this brings us to Final Fantasy XIII, which released a couple of days ago.

In regards this series I’m on a precipice. Half of what I’ve played I’ve loved and half of what I’ve played I’ve hated with a passion. I realize I’m counting out Final Fantasy tactics (which I did enjoy) but my bias towards handheld games means I can’t count it within bigger titles. Final Fantasy XIII is the decider for me and considering below average reviews my hopes aren’t high. The nostalgic part of me is holding onto the shred of hope that my long forgotten family member can pull it out of the bag…and be entertaining once more.

The tale of the cautious suspicious n00b

February 22, 2010

The irony of me writing for this blog is not lost on me in the slightest. I can imagine my friends sitting around devising this grand scheme and the conversation looking a little something like this:

Thatbrowngamer: So we’re decided on the gaming blog, do we ask Jason?

Inversepanda: Lol he knows nothing about games.

Thatbrowngamer: But he’ll only bitch and moan about being left out.

Inversepanda: Yeah true, plus his n00bity might be slightly amusing.

So here I am. One part (the least knowledgeable) of this joint blogging venture.

The irony of course is that for the past 7 months I have been even more out of the loop with regards games than usual. Having accepted an internship for a year in South America my access to gaming is somewhat limited. While other people are compiling lists of their most anticipated games to come I am looking forward to just seeing an Xbox and being able to touch my lovely PC inappropriately and whisper sweet nothings into her sockets. When I return to my sweaty gaming dungeon in June I will face the terrifying prospect of catching up with a year of gaming. If my family and friends thought they didn’t see me much while I was on the other side of the world it won’t compare to the first few weeks of me being back.

I am of course looking forward to the usual:

Jayquilla: Fucking hell this game is awesome.

Inversepanda: That’s so old, you’re such a n00b, stand away from me plskthx.

Thatbrowngamer: lololol he knows even less than before.

But alas ill cross that gaming bridge (and the trolls that are lurking underneath) when I come to it.