Monday Morning Roundup

What happened this weekend? Not as much as last weekend. I’ll still try to make it interesting, though.

I started Iron Lore’s Titan Quest this weekend — well, started it again. I’ve own TQ and its expansion for years, but only played a few days before losing interest. Diablo III comes out in eight days, but I’m not picking that one up. I’ve never really gotten into action RPGs as a genre, but I know enough people who have that I wanted to give one a good try. The story’s forgettable, the environments are beautiful, the classes are entertaining, and I hit a centaur with a club so hard he went sailing at least fifty feet in the air, landing after I killed two other guys. That’s enough to warrant a second day.

I also started Magna Carta 2 this weekend, and it is also pretty engaging. While I’m not one to denigrate the storytelling in Japanese RPGs, I do understand that they tend to follow a lot of the same steps. My immediate counter to people who say that is to point out that 90% of Bioware games follow those same tropes, but I’m usually worked up into an unreasonable frustration at small-minded fanbases at that point and I don’t really handle it well. Regardless of my own personal damage, Magna Carta 2 is a serviceable JRPG with a pretty neat battle system and main characters voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, Michelle Ruff, Jamieson Price, and Yuri Lowenthal, so that’s wonderful.

I also played about five more hours of Hakuoki, which means there’s an update due sometime this week once I finish up a route tonight and then sort through what will likely be 900+ screenshots.

Jaz Rignall at Eurogamer wrote a story about how important 1991 was in video gaming. I read about the Super Nintendo in Nintendo Power, and I remember how excited I got about this incredible machine that was just over the horizon. I did not come from a rich family by any stretch of the imagination; we had an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, but we only had four games for it. Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Super Mario Brothers 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Exodus, a Bible-themed knockoff of another game. My neighbor had tons of games, so it was at his house that I beat Super Mario Brothers 3 and a bunch of others, and I also rented a lot of games from a little local place called Doug’s Video. When I read about the SNES, I knew I wanted one, but I knew I’d never get one as a gift. It cost $200. $200! That might as well have been Monopoly money to my ten-year-old self.

I saved my money for a full year. I asked for money for my birthday, and I got about $80 in checks and the like. My grandmother asked me what I was going to get with my money, and I said a Super Nintendo, when it came out in a year. When Christmas came, I took the money I got as gifts there and put it into the same jar in my room. Any change I found around the house, any dollar bills that fell out of pockets in the dryer, that all went in the jar. I believe it took me over a full year to save enough money to get it, but I took my $200 in cash to KB Toys in the Staunton Mall and bought myself a Super Nintendo with Super Mario World packed in. It was worth every penny.

SNES Concepts

Let’s all be grateful they changed the final design from that thing on the right, though.

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