The Other Universes in My Life

All over the place.

That’s what I am, apparently. You can’t call me prolific, but you can call me wide-ranging. I write about comics, music, books, writing, video games. I write science fiction, westerns, erotica disguised as splatterpunk, steampunk disguised as contemporary Christian commentary.

I have a title for me: mediocre virtuoso

I do a lot of things just well enough to prove that I do them. I know Marvel, but not DC. I know Chinese history, but not European. I can tell you that its raining like a cow that pisses in French, but I could not ask directions to a bathroom in Paris. I can tear up a piano or bass in 5/8, but I can’t play in a band that prefers 4/4.

I’m not great at anything, but I’m convincingly adequate in everything.

That’s why I’m good at trivia.

But let’s depart:

I haven’t written about games in a while.

I am currently enjoying Star Trek Online. Why? Because its Star Trek, and I am a starship captain. Well-constructed MMO with engaging PvP and PvE, robust end-game content, and cooperative group progression? I have no idea and I don’t care. I’m the captain of a Science Vessel: The U.S.S. Acheron. I love this game.

On consoles, I’ve got quite a few games I’m in the middle of. I just purchased Aliens: Colonial Marines, and while the cutscenes are atrocious, MIND-BOGGLING ATROCIOUS, I think this game captures the feel of the movies in spectacular fashion. I die. I die lots. That’s what should happen when a human takes on a swarm of xenomorphs. If you don’t die, you’re not playing the game right. I’ve watched Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus enough in the past few months (try like every night before bed) to know if it does justice. It does.

And let me jump off here for a moment and point out that there is a definite direction that video games should go in the future and it has more to do with immersion than score or rank. I don’t outright hate cooperative or competitive multiplayer, but I prefer exploring Skyrim to deathmatches. While I’m sure there is a huge cross-section of the gaming community that lives for hardcore gaming for bragging rights, I find it no different than other competitive sport. I don’t prefer it. Ah, geeks, what happened to your escapist ways? You spent your entire youth taking beatings, verbal and physical, from those that live for competition and play to win, and you become the same monster. Live the game! If a game has a weak story, I can’t find the worth in playing it. The moment a game turns to the typical run-and-gun repetition without a convincing story, I stop playing it. I’ve stopped playing Borderlands, Halo, Gears of War, Assassins’ Creed, all the CoDs, and many, many more. Why? Because the story and the opportunity for immersion is non-existent or just apes what has been done before. This is why I’m stepping back out of WoW … again. Pre-BC it was the difficulty that made it worth playing. It felt realistic because you had to figure things out on your own AND the story and lore was entertaining. Now, I feel like someone’s holding my hand through a tour of Azeroth. I can’t even MAKE bad decisions in that game anymore.

I’m getting away from my original intentions here. Back to Aliens: Colonial Marines. I feel immersed in it during the gameplay. It’s a winner in my book.

Skyrim still beckons me occasionally. Past the main quest now, I tend to just wander looking for random encounters and side quests. I still prefer not to fast travel, and I don’t ever use a horse.

I say I don’t like competitive sport, but I have a soft spot for hockey. My player just got drafted first out of the Canadian junior leagues and starts for the Florida Panthers. Eh.

Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 4 still have a draw for me. Open-worlds and sandbox play are my absolute favorite. Anything else just seems like a rail-shooter. Red Dead Redemption is one of my all-time favorite games.

Still on console, but jumping back a few generations, I’m playing through the Metroid Prime Trilogy and Ocarina of Time on Wii. Haven’t gone far in either, but I love the nostalgia. Last year I played and beat the original NES Zelda I and II, plus Link’s Awakening for GBA, and A Link to the Past for SNES. I also played Final Fantasy I-VI, but got bogged down in Final Fantasy VII after PC issues. I may return to the series one day. Also, in the emulation universe, I’ve started playing through NES roms A-Z. I’m currently on Adventure Island. Yeah, I beat 8 Eyes. I did. Seriously. What? Of course I used save states. Pshaw.

Back to PC, in addition to Star Trek Online, I’ve got toons on WoW (which, as I said, I’m abandoning), Guild Wars 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. SW:TOR has its good points. I love the story and the immersion, but again the typical MMO fare is making it slightly boring. I think I would have rather had a KotOR III, as well.

Also getting attention from me on PC are Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Spore, and Freelancer. Classic games that I can’t abandon.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to:

Elder Scrolls Online – Come on, you know you’re nervous about this, too. It’s one thing to build a fantastic open-world single player game, but the transition to an MMO is going to be rocky. It has potential though. Love the universe, not sure about sharing it with others.

Star Citizen – If you don’t know what this is, get in the know. I grew up on Chris Roberts games. My Hobbes was never a stuffed tiger. Chris Roberts is back and building a giant space game again. I still play Freelancer, and about a year ago I dished out $120 for a copy of The Kilrathi Saga. I donated to the kickstarter campaign (which was ridiculously successful). We may not see the game until 2014, but I’ll be there at alpha. Oh yeah. Check out Star Citizen at www.robertsspaceindustries.com

Wildstar – It’s sci-fi, it’s MMO. That’s all I know, and possibly all I need to know.

The next Xbox – I abandoned Microsoft about a decade ago due to social pressure. Since then, I’ve had more complaints about Apple, Linux, Android, Sony, Nintendo, and just about everything NOT Microsoft, than I ever expected. I’ll never stray again. I have a Windows Phone and I love it. I love Windows 8, and have loved every Microsoft OS since 3.1. How is that possible? I gave them a chance and learned to make them mine. And I will remain loyal until the Microsoft Robots with the faulty security loopholes enslave me. I WILL have the new Xbox.

GTA5 – Again, if its truly open-world, then I’m sure I’ll like it, though I’m ready for an open character in this series. The three-way story in this one has me slightly nervous.

Mass Effect – No details yet. I look forward to this with about as much excitement/trepidation as Star Wars VII.

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