The Game, It Compels Me #1

There are things in video games that just must be done.  At times these compulsions are things we all do, at times they are things each individual just HAS to do.  They sweep the range from sublime to ridiculous.  And I love them. 

In Monster Hunter, you are hunting monsters.  No brainer, right?  You can then take those monsters, carve items off of them and use those items to create/upgrade your weapons and armor.  The better the armor and weapons, the tougher the monsters you can defeat and carve for items to make better armor and weapons.  What makes this cycle fun is the challenge of defeating each individual monster with its unique fighting style and types of damage, including monsters that poison you or spit fireballs at you. 

Each monster has bits and pieces of it that can be damaged.  You can break off tusks, claws, damage wings, even lop off tails.  And that’s where the fun begins.

Say hello to the Royal Ludroth.  He’s a cute, little, squishy, yellow, newt-like croc of a monster.  With a spongey neck.  Yes, an actual sponge.  It soaks up water and makes his water attacks more powerful.  And yes, you just want to grab him and squish him, when he’s not whiping you with that tail.  Ugh, that tail.  He rolls over you and spins around and lashes you with that tail.  If you stand in the right spot he won’t hit you, but you will likely take damage from that attack every time you fight him.  

Ok, so he’s a big squishy monster

I personally like to use dual blades, so my fighter will be right there at him trying to slash him with my own spin attacks.  I’m not a tanker, so my attacks tend to be from the sides or the back or under the belly of tall beasties.  Which puts me in perfect position for the thing that must be done.  We must lop off the Royal Ludroth’s tail.  Must, must, must.  It is the most satisfying tail sever of the game.  Oh sure, we’ll go after the tail on any monster that can have their tail severed, but nothing is as important as getting the R. Ludroth’s tail to go flying.  No other monster looks as hillarious with his tail missing.  And the R. Ludroth keeps trying to whip us with his tail.  But he can’t. 

We like to call him stubby. 

E3 and the Kids and Me

Ah E3.  I once bore a small desire to be able to go to E3 someday.  The idea of seeing new games, playing new demos, watching the presentations from the creators of some of my favorite games sounded like a fangirl’s dream.  After the kids came along, I even thought how fun it would be to dress them up in cosplay and go with them as these little mini versions of their favorite characters.  After all, my first kid was adorable in his mini-Link costume for his first Halloween.  Not that I really want to take the time to make more costumes.  Halloween is about my limit.  But I would still get all excited when the news of what new games were coming out and what demos got shown and like any good fangirl I would read all the news and watch as much as I could about the games being developed and what characters or series were getting reboots or updates.  

But let me tell you something.  After you have kids and they get wind of new games coming out nothing can match their exhausting enthusiasm for every single flipping new thing.  And then you have to choose, do I get all excited with them, like “OMG yes! A new Zelda game!”  Or do you go into “no comment” or “pretend I didn’t hear it” mode with a game that you know no one in your house will be playing either anytime soon or ever for that matter (I am so tired of 2D side scrollers thank you very much).  Or do you groan inside “Ugh, another Skylander game.  What’s this one about?  How many skylanders can I get away with not buying?  Will this be the year the kids finally give it up?”  Or do you straight up tell them, “There is no way anyone here is playing Grand Theft Auto and let me give you the detailed list of why.”

Nowadays, the kids pretty much know my tolerances.  They can tell mostly off the bat which games I will not have in the house (guns, crime, horror), which games I won’t share their enthusiasm for but will get them if their interested (You-kai Watch is a good example), and which games I would go into total fangirl mode anytime they are mentioned (I still have hope for Psychonauts).  And that makes things easier.  They also are at an in between age where I still mostly control the access that media has to them. So they don’t get tweets about new stuff, they don’t watch Twitch, they don’t even get the news from news stations and websites without it being filtered through me.  But when they want to know about something, we’ll all go look it up together.  If I mentioned E3, I’m not even sure they would know what it is in its entirety, even though I’m sure the name would be familiar.  I suppose this is the year to rectify that.   

Sometimes it’s hard to give up the position of being the first one to know what’s coming. They are still kids after all and they are going to be gushing fountains of “I know more than you and let me tell you all about it” as soon as I clue them in to where the information is.  But maybe I’ll wait a few more days.  As busy as life can be with kids, I don’t have the time to play every game that catches my eye.  I’ve gotten more discerning with that I will spend my time with.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to finish another Final Fantasy game in all its glory.  I can’t always grind through enough gameplay to buy and level up all the weapons in a Ratchet and Clank game.  I have definitely limited my own knowledge of what’s out there as a protection for my fangirl side.  So she won’t get excited and then disappointed about what she doesn’t have time for. 

That’s not to say we don’t find out about new games.  It’s just that at my house, E3 looks a lot like scrolling through the coming soon videos in the Nintendo e-shop. 

Since I mentioned that, here’s the game I absolutely have to get when it comes out.  Eeeee!  It looks so good!!

Ever Oasis trailer

Media Silence

Nintendo released a new trailer for the now named new LoZ game.  Which I watched with bated breath. We have seen bits and bobs come out before for this game. And as always, it has made us very excited for what’s coming.  As it gets closer (and it has been coming for a while now), more news will be released, more people and bloggers will take any scrap of information and smear it all over the Internet. And this is when I go into media selience mode.

Allow me to explain. 

All Zelda games take a while to be developed and released.  And they will always be delayed. No one even cares. Because anyone who loves LoZ wants it to be the best it can be.  We will always patiently and excitedly wait to be blown away once again by this series.  Sure there was disappointment when the first pictures of Windwaker came out and our promised Adult Link was replaced with what is now referred to as Toon Link (hate that nickname btw). When we played the game, however, we were stunned and fascinated and enraptured by the wonderful game that perfectly fit with the art style that we were given. 

Yes, we have heard that this new game has new elements and newly evolved game play and a free and open field where the gamer is trusted to find their own way in the game. If you hadn’t sussed this out on your own, let me spell it out for you, because you need to understand.  The people who make LoZ truly think the best of their gamers.  They take us for intelligent, thoughtful, kind, whip smart, commonsensical, brilliant, compassionate, patient, self motivated, persistant, and so many other good qualities people.  So born out of the confidence of what kind of people we are, they work their very best to give us a game we will enjoy, be challenged by, be excited and moved and enlightened by, and play the snot out of.  

And I trust them. Whatever direction they have moved their games forward towards has always been amazing.  And creative. And genius.  Every bit of innovation from the lost woods, to the ocarina, to the flipping upside down of dungeons, to walking on ceilings and on the bottom of lakes, to the pulling down enemies flying in the sky with new weapons, to dungeons where time changes what works and what doesn’t, to bowling bombs, to Zelda participating in fights, to enemies learning new tricks, to the remote used as a sword and so many more, I welcome them all. I have never not been surprised and amazed at what they ask us to do. The dungeons are so complex and fun that I can come back to games and have forgotten where to go or how to defeat a dungeon and it’s never because you had to do something boring or banal like memorize a map or a series of choices. It’s because they are clever. You never regret replaying a LoZ game. It’s the perfect combination of puzzle, enemy fighting, and seek and find.  And when you finish, you will be wholly satisfied. Proud of yourself, enamored of the creators, allied with other gamers who also played the game, and delightedly waiting for the next game to start peeking out at you from under the curtain it’s being developed behind. 

So listen.  Please don’t spoil it for me.  Don’t send me links to people’s blogs or send me funny pictures off imgur. Don’t send me Nintendo’s tweets or someone’s tumblr page. Don’t tell me anything. Not one whisper. Not even one breath. I won’t read it.  I won’t look at it. I won’t hear it.  And when the game is in my hands, don’t expect to hear from me right away, because I won’t spoil it for you either.  

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild