Thursday, September 30, 2010

For the Glory of the Mother Netherlands

Civilization 5 has been out for about a week now, and it seems to be rather disliked by the circles I frequent. I've long been a fan of turn-based strategy, and I was highly disappointed to learn that Civ 5 will not run on my toaster oven of a computer. Not THAT disappointed, since popular opinion seems to peg it as the most dumbed down and buggy installment of the series yet. But with all the attention it's getting, I was still driven to head back to earlier days.


MUCH earlier days.

It's rarely placed on a pedestal like Civilization 2, but it is my firm belief that Sid Meier's Colonization is one of his best games. The commodity-based economic system is like something out of Settlers, and it works brilliantly here. Selling goods like fur coats, cigars, and rum to your mother country is your primary source of income, and there's a manufacturing chain for each one. Particularly notable is the manufacture of muskets, which is the only practical way to arm your colonists and defend your colonies. Firearms can be imported from Europe, but the cost quickly becomes astronomical.


The game OOZES personality, which is one of the major failing points of the remake. 640x480 graphics or not, you can't compare stale, stagnant status boxes with a smug aristocrat extending his pinky ring for you to kiss when he raises your taxes. The BGM is tinny-sounding midi, but the period songs are as much of an earworm as anything contemporary.


Perhaps the greatest failure here is the difficulty. The ideal victory condition is to successfully rebel against your mother country, fighting off their expeditionary forces and becoming a new country. This is easy with even a minimum of preparation. The beginning stages of the game can be rough on the higher difficulty settings, but once you've established a foothold, the New World is your oyster. Whether to trade with Indians or genocide them, whether to hold your ground with statesman or soldiers, the game is an incredible trip 500 years back in time, and it has aged supremely well in my opinion. Interestingly enough, Montezuma is absolutely docile in this game and his historical conquerors the Spanish are the warmongers you have to watch out for.


I wholly recommend snatching this lost gem up if you're feeling disillusioned with the latest entry in the Civilization series.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm so casual I shit Zuma spheres

I can't play the mainstream Touhou games. I can do them decently at first, even clearing the first two stages on Lunatic, but then my focus starts to wane. After that, it doesn't matter what the difficulty's on. I dodge into bullets, stop seeing patterns and never hit my bomb key in time, if I even remember I have them.

Now, the spin-offs I can do. The Phantasmagorias and the photography games are by far my favorites and also the only ones I can make respectable progress in. I also just think they're straight up more fun. Considering the draw of the Touhou games are the bosses, having big long segments shooting up fairies and ghosts is a waste of time. Instead of that, boss battles could be the whole stage long and be more dynamic, with the "true" fight only beginning at the end of the stage.

But maybe I'm just a adult-ADD ridden faggot and don't know what I'm talking about.

In the end, I'll still play them all and try to beat them, even going so far as taking 15-minute breaks in between stages, just because I enjoy Touhou. I enjoy the characters: who they are, who they aren't, and who fans deliberately believe them to be. I'm not certain I could ever enjoy this type of game without them, although admittedly I did play the hell out of Raptor when I was younger.

Fuck yeah. Between that, Rise of the Triad and Descent, being ten was awesome.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh my stars and garters I've been commercialized

Shit. Holy shit. Holy fuck. I'm not a gigantic fan of mainstream shounen, mostly because that would make me a gigantic faggot by default, but I've been following One Piece and it's about to come out of hiatus, with the story picking up after a two year timeskip.

I am so damn tempted to check the spoilers. I don't want to, but they're there, including the new character designs. I swear to god, One Piece is like my Doctor Who. It's the one thing I don't feel any shame about being a huge fan of, despite it being one of the things I probably should.

Yeah, in between typing these paragraphs, I gave in and checked them. No willpower here people. Anyway, shit's AMAZING ARGH I CAME EVERYWHERE.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trying to be relevant

I don't get a lot of free time, but when I do get it I spend a great deal playing an MMO. I look through all the other blogs and I can see some MMOs being listed, like Aion or some obscure 2D free-to-play game, and I realize that there's an atmosphere here that I'm going to disturb when I say what it is I play.

World of Warcraft.

This is the part where I duck away from all the thrown shoes and rotten tomatoes, but it's honestly fun. I enjoy the cartoonish art style. It's a decent balance between the ultra-shiny, refined graphics of other MMOs that take themselves more seriously, and the goofy sprites of the less serious ones. Plus, they also forgo high poly models in favor of fantastic texture work, which means the game is friendly to my eons-old computer.

I love this machinima animation to death, by the way. Yeah, that's right, I like it when someone takes something terribly, painfully western and adds a weeaboo touch.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


There's an "official" Touhou anime in the works.

Watch it be worse than the unofficial ones.

Seriously, you see stuff get uploaded to Youtube and Nicovideo every day that's more creative than anything a company has produced, if not outright better. It's amazing (and a little intimidating) how accessible editing technology is these days, that just about any loser can saturate the internet with a video of their favorite underaged girl in a frilly dress dancing and it can get millions of views. I'm dating myself but I feel almost wasted when I look at these people and find out they're 14 or 16, and here I was entertaining the idea of learning how to program at age 20 with no prior experience.


She's not underaged but you get the point.

I suppose in the end I'm actually pretty satisfied with only being a consumer in this creative subculture. Which is why I'm starting this; so I can sit and talk about it. And other things. Maybe.