It’s been a while since I’ve done an out-of-topic blog post, but with the recent events I’ve talked a few times about the fact that I play games that have absolutely nothing to do with EVE, so I decided to write about them.
I grew up next to a Canadian Air Force base so plane geek since Day One. I’ve been interested in video games pretty much since Pong came out (yes, I’m that old), and in 1977 a certain movie had about the same effect on me as a sledgehammer has on italian crystalware. So since then I’ve been a Sci-Fi geek. Around the same time we had a local hero tearing up tracks in F1, so I became a racing geek. Fast-forward a few years later to about 1984. I was in high school at the time and I got hit by two particular freight trains : Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings… thank you sirs Gygax and Tolkien, I’m a fantasy geek now! So over the years the games that interested me were always close to those 4 major interests. Here are the main ones I play and why I love ‘em. Enjoy!
Flight Simulator 2004
Ever since I’ve started this blog I’ve been preaching about flying dangerously, and where better to do it than in a real world setting! My love of flying doesn’t just come from proximity to an airport full of jet fighters. There’s a branch of my family that produced a few bush pilots based out of the St.Lawrence river’s North Coast region. Out of my father’s uncles and cousins to be bitten by the flying bug, one of them, Lucien, was known to be the barn-storming nutcase. On a dare, he once flew under the power lines near his home of Sept-Iles :) While I myself never took the full flying lessons, I do love the crazy stunts that are only possible on a simulator, like landing too big a plane on too small a runway, flying under bridges, and of course my favorite, flying at rock-scraping level in the Grand Canyon in nothing less than a Eurofighter Typhoon, never going below 500 knots. Yes, it’s doable. Yes, I’ve crashed a few times learning the canyon, and yes, my settings are set to full realism except for fuel; running out would just suck :) I haven’t updated to the newer FSX because at first my computer wasn’t strong enough to run it. Now I could but there’s still so much fun to be had with the older one. The amount of stuff you can download, such as aircraft, scenery, terrain, tools, etc, is just mindboggling. And if you’re really serious you could spend A LOT of money because the better downloads are not free. Examples : Ultimate Terrain, the best terrain replacement package for FS2004, is 30$ USD for Canada/Alaska, and 35$ USD for USA. Some of the more realistic aircraft are close to 100$ and are meant for those hardcore simmers who build the realistic cockpits. And from there, the sky’s the limit, litterally!
Dangerous: the only way to fly !!!
From the skies to the pavement. This racing simulator is probably the most bang for the buck you can find in any kind of game, any genre, single-player, multi-player or MMO. All you need to do is download the full game that’s locked in demo mode, register it for 40$ USD, and from there you can install almost any track you can think of, plus some you can only dream about, and any racing series you can think of. You like F1? Almost every year is there from the 1950’s to present time (GP79 is just nuts!) is available. You prefer endurance LeMans-style racing? Covered. Not so sure about that « turning right » thing? There be stock cars. Drifting sideways on a mountain gravel road? Of course! 5y-old friendly? Karting? Lawnmower racing? Yep, all there! This game has a very active community and there are racing leagues for anyone from day-old noobs to grizzled old veterans, some of which are actually race car drivers. Yes this is another one where you could go nuts with money and build a realistic cockpit, and the better racing leagues have actual entry fees and pro purses. But even just by myself alone on a track, say the 20 mile long Nordschleife, this simulator is all fun!
Somewhere in Switzerland... in an alternate dimension
This one I’m a little bit sad to talk about. Before last Sunday I hadn’t logged in in a few weeks but it was long enough to get a really bad news : the game will die on New Year’s Eve, This is the second RPG to give me this surprise after I come back to it; Hellgate London was the first. But let’s do what the devs did and put sadness aside a minute; see, with the final update the devs put in a huge bomb in the middle of Townston (the game’s town of course) with a timer that’s set to go off at 23:59 on December 31st! This is the kind of dark humor Dungeon Runners was known for. It takes a little bit from Diablo, a little bit from WoW, and adds just enough goofiness to make it really funny. I mean, where else could you smite thine enemies with a Gargantuesque Pizza Cutter of the Malcontent Rhinoceros? I’m making the name up but I’ve seen even better ones… the Pizza Cutter IS a usable two-handed melee weapon though! The same thing goes for the armor, the quests, the universe, and everything. I haven’t been to Pwnston, the PvP town, yet, but I will have to pay a visit before that bomb goes off. The price was really good : I wanted an RPG just for the fun of running around and beating stuff up and came across this. It’s a free-to-play game with a monthly subscription of 5$ if you want premium membership. On the website they advertise the boxed game at 20$ which gives you 6 months of membership, but last July I found this box at an EB Games store for 5$. 5$, 6 months, the price was right so I jumped in. Too bad it’s gonna end soon because this game is a riot!
Me, my Bling Gnome, and the denizens of Townston
In 1995 I discovered the Battletech universe when I started hanging out at Montreal’s Virtual World center, and met someone you may know as Letrange. I went to his place and he showed me Mechwarrior II, and it was love at first sight… with the game of course! I’ve followed the franchise ever since, seen the ups and downs of FASA Industries and FASA Interactive, the Microsoft take-over, up to the current stuff being developped over at Mektek.com which is very promising. I have yet to re-install Mech4: Mercenaries with the Mektek 3 and Net Battletech mods since my hard drive failure last summer but this should be done fairly soon because last week’s announcement at Mektek was enough to make me yell « Seyla! » :) A few months ago Mektek took in the Assault Tech 1 devellopment team; AT1 is an effort to remake Mechwarrior II from scratch using modern-day graphics. On October 27th, the Open Beta for AT1 was released. Mektek also received the go-ahead to re-release Mechwarrior4: Mercenaries with the Mektek mod included, as a free game. And on Youtube there's a video of what would be the next Mechwarrior game, this time set in the 3025/Succession Wars timeline, and the graphics are just jaw-dropping with urban fighting, buildings collapsing, dangling wires from blown-off 'mech limbs, the works. Oh, and an Atlas :) Clearly, the Battletech universe is far from dead!
I couldn’t end this post without mentioning the game franchise that opened me the door to multiplayer gaming. I don’t log in very often so to say my Quaking is rusty would be the understatement of the century, but the fact that you can now play one of the best ever deathmatch games through your web browser is just amazing. Explaining this game to a neophyte couldn’t be simpler : point gun, find target to shoot. If it moves, shoot it. if it doesn’t move, shoot it some more. I don’t care how complex the newer games get, or how much prettier, there’s just nothing like pure deathmatch. Not even EVE PvP !!! Oh, did I offend someone? Wanna deathmatch? C ya on Q3DM6 >:)
Fly what you love