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Category Archives: Pre-play

I am back!

Yes, it’s quite true!

Having been on hiatus for the better part of summer and feeling generally sick of this blog, I’ve finally found something exciting to write about. Minecraft started it all. Yes, Minecraft. The best game you’ve never played. It’s a game where you’re a blocky little man, chopping and picking blocks of materials and placing them out again in various square positions making yourself houses, bridges, railroad tracks, castles, watchtowers,  the Starship Enterprise, giant dicks, whatever your imagination can muster, really.

It’s ugly. Terribly much so. But it’s charming. It’s lego. You spend your days(in the game) gathering materials, building, excavating and crafting. And the nights. God, the nights. You spend them in your makeshift shelter, or in your castle, or in a safe spot in your mines. But not out in the open. Because the monsters are there. And they all want you to die.

It’s a cozy setup. There is no ultimate reward other than satisfaction for making a huge castle or a vagina canyon. You can’t win the game. But it’s easy to fall into a sort of building trance where all that goes into the making of a structure becomes the sole purpose of it all. Here is some of my work:

My safe haven. The gravity defying house in the sky. I even built a railroad-track in the sky from the house to another floating island. The furnace cart that is supposed to push my carts are however much too weak, so the distance would be traveled quicker by foot. The point remains however. I made a railroad.

It’s all pretty swell.

Anyways. The thing about Minecraft is that is has recently generated quite an internet buzz. I’m proud to say that I got on the train before websites like Penny-Arcade decided to show it off. So I’ve got a lot of internet cool in me. But people who get this game shoved in the face tend to think: “What the fuck is this shit?” Because it looks like, well, shit. But, considering the fact that it progressively generates new random terrain for ever step you take into an unexplored direction, for an infinity no less. It’s not that ugly. You can’t afford a computer that can process every block of information that is contained in every square under and above ground, if it’s rendered in the Crysis engine. You might even find your computer stressed to the limit with the graphics as they are in the game right now. Because it can get BIG.

Anyways. Ignoring the game based on looks is a big mistake. Because it’s an awesome experience. And for 10 dollars it’s got a great dollar per hour of fun ratio. This general arrogance that’s directed towards the game for its more shallow flaws got me thinking of another super ugly game that is supposed to be awesome. Dwarf Fortress.

Yes. That is how Dwarf Fortress looks without mods. It’s a game about an expedition of dwarves arriving at some place. And then you take control and make them do stuff. Like building dick monuments, making mines, or whatever you can do. As far as I can understand, at least. It’s open ended in the same way as Minecraft, but somewhat more complex. Your dwarves will starve, they will get eaten by monsters, etc. etc. It’s supposed to be hard. So I am gonna try it. And I’m gonna blog about it.

My first post in the series will detail my first attempt at Dwarf Fortress. Without using any tutorials. Wish me luck. Or rather wish my dwarves luck. I fear they will need it.

There’s a special place in my heart for the Final Fantasy series. I must have been around 10-years-old when Final Fantasy VII hit the shelves in Finland. My friend, not yet a fan of RPGs, got it for the Playstation around the time of release. This was back in the day when the television channels of Sweden still featured a show or two about video games. So I recall having seen the game being previewed in one of them. I thought it looked awesome. Although I had no idea how it awesome it would prove to be.

Everyone with a solid career in gaming will recall that one game which glued you and a couple of friends to the television screen, no one minding that you weren’t the one playing. Final Fantasy VII was for me that game. I remember sitting at my friend’s house just staring and helping out translating the dialogue that was heavily featured in the game (remember, we were 10-years-old). This was my first true encounter with an RPG. It introduced a whole new layer to gaming, really. The games we’d played before were about high scores and shooting stuff. And suddenly, here was a game that wanted to tell a story. A game that more than anything wanted you to see the protagonists through to the ending, not for the sake of any scores or glory, but because you needed to save their world.

Final Fantasy VII was for me and many others the stepping stone into RPGs. Me and a particular group of friends became literally obsessed with them afterwards. After the discovery of the Final Fantasy franchise (I regard it as a franchise much like McDonalds these days) we started searching for the earlier games. The number 7 in the title hinted that there’d been a little bit more going on before the release of this fantastic game, and it’s safe to say we were, through the dubious system of emulation, eager to explore the previous installments. Thus followed a period of Final Fantasy frenzy.

This was many many years ago. And the games we played during that tumultuous time of hormones and pimples were mostly fantastic (Final Fantasy VI springs to mind).  In 2001 something changed in the series I loved so much, but more on that later.

This post is just a collection of thoughts before I move on to play Final Fantasy XIII. I had some gripes about the game initially, pondering to myself whether or not I should buy it. But in the end I deigned it be best I give it a shot so I can give my honest opinion on the game. I intend to write more on the change of the Final Fantasy series later, and perhaps draw a few lines between these changes and the game I’ll be playing.

/Erik