Forgive the cryptic title, I feel it almost works on many levels. I have just returned from eight days in Fiji and an isolation from technology. Well there was technology; there was wireless internet at the resort, but I wasn’t willing to pay $40 for the WEP key, considering I had only my N95 and PSP to browse with. And I actually began to enjoy my time-out, I quickly lost my need (and want) to be plugged in.
I enjoyed my time abroad and unplugged, but I did succumb to boredom; I get impatient playing the first 15 minutes of Doom 3, eagerly awaiting the pistol – how do you think I feel waiting eight days, or 192 hours without a single firefight or confrontation.
The location was inspired and well designed, we’re talking beyond COD4 levels of polish. Unfortunately I couldn’t thoroughly test the AI. Locals roamed around, much as they do in Fallout 3; you’re never exactly sure where you’ll find someone. Their pathfinding was good, but I’m still not sure if they’d utilise cover or teamwork in a battle.
From the beach of our island we could see a couple of neighbouring islands, one containing a small village. There was a short stone path heading inland of the island that we had to follow to get to our bure, assumably masking a loading screen. The drunk physics were even better than GTAIV’s and many of the sidequests made use of these.
I’ll stop now with the comparison between real and virtual existence; next time I break the law they’ll probably pin me for living in a fantasy world, no longer able to tell my PS3 controller from a handgun.
It was a last minute decision, and really leaving it that late was a delusion; I had packed my PSP – so despite the absence of a console or TV I managed to get my game on. I spent a majority of my time playing and studying emulated classics. Replaying a game from my past is always an odd experience, I remember most of them fondly, and often they’re still great fun to play. Other times, I scratch my head as to how I ever enjoyed such hacked together crap.
The Terminator, a game I owned (own?) on Master System was honestly too difficult for me as a kid. I could only manage to finish the first level, in fact I rarely saw the second. The game had an odd charm, really it was a standard side scroll shooter, but The Terminator broke the formula by giving the player grenades as their primary weapon rather than a gun. It’s simple, but it was enough to change the flow of combat. Enemies still used guns with fast moving bullets; new strategy had to be developed to deal with enemies who had a more effective weapon than you. Replaying this game on my PSP, the difficulty level and asymmetrical combat remained.. for the first level.
After reaching level 2, the player attains a machine gun and the game becomes a very basic, very boring and very easy run n gun shooter.
I grew tired with the games on my PSP and tried to do some reading. I spent half an hour one evening browsing Sacred Games, some sort of Indian Tom Clancy – I stumbled onto the rather vibrant description of a man, drunk and near unconsciousness, being cut into pieces: arms off first, then his legs.
I closed the book and didn’t touch it again – reading the content made me feel uncomfortable and I chose not to revisit it. The book was internationally acclaimed; a recommendation from The Australian was included on the back cover. I thought, if I ever played a video game that made me feel this way, I’d choose to stop playing it. A moment later I realised, we don’t get to make that choice in Australia.