Rediscovering Gaming

It’s been over ten years since I’ve done this.  Burned my eyes out on the screen.  Gotten so angry that I had to eat or pee that I had to restrain myself from physical violence. Noticed with unfocused disbelief that that odd light peeking through the window is — the sun? How long have I been at this?  Over forty hours over the course of four days, and that *doesn’t* include all the times I died.  And die I did, over and over and over.

I’ve been struggling against a semi-robotic Sith Lord who is not Darth Vader with the help of a life-indebted Wookie who is not Chewbacca, a cryptic elderly Jedi who is not Ben Kenobi, while zooming through the galaxy in an asymmetric, disk-shaped starship that is not the Millenium Falcon.  Discovering that, despite not being Luke Skywalker, I’m unexpectedly strong in the force, I’m taught its ways by a Jedi Council including a short green Jedi Master who is not Yoda.  I’ve flown a hovering vehicle that is not a Land Speeder across the dunes of Tatooine, and both fought and befriended Sand People who are not Fremen Hippies.  Along the way I’ve shot down countless enemy ships that are not Tie Fighters, killed bounty hunters who are not Boba Fett, and whacked so many Dark Jedi that light bulbs may soon be unnecessary galaxy-wide.  The first time through I was Very Good, and had the rod up my ass to prove it, and found it deeply satisfying.  Now I’m playing through again, taking every opportunity to be as Evil as possible, and so far it’s more difficult both literally and ethically.  I just realized that a character I had come to know in the previous run through won’t be part of my team this time. Why?  Because I fucking killed her.  And that bothers me, because, when I was Good, I Cared.

I guess there’s still some good in me somewhere, despite a display bar to the contrary.

Only those who have *not* played Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic could possibly not know what I’m talking about.  I’d heard great things about it for years, but never got play it, because the last console I owned was an original Nintendo Entertainment System.  But it just came out for iOS, so for a cool $10, I got it for my iPad, and have been obsessively Ignoring Reality ever since.

Despite quitting my corporate job just a few years ago to become an indie mobile game maker, I stopped playing video games seriously around the time of Unreal Tournament.  The idea that that’s over ten years ago is completely insane.  But it has been that long.  It’s not like I’ve been a complete teetotaler.  I’ve played more minor releases like Plants Vs. Zombie and a few others.  I’ve also played through some of my old favorites like Star Control 2 and Samuri Showdown 2 and Total Annihilation.  But in all that time, I haven’t *really* been gaming.  I haven’t *really* kept up with what was going on.  So I’m playing KOTOR like I’m stepping out of a time machine from Y2k, and *boy* am I fucking *impressed*.   Despite the fact that it couldn’t be a more hackneyed rehash of every Major Good Trope and Moment from the original three movies, it’s definitely among the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had.  And not only does it fucking rock, but it’s also fucking rock *solid*.  In my at least 50+ hours of gameplay on my iPad Mini, it’s never crashed or locked up *once*.  Not  a single fucking time.  And while that’s unbelievable on a platform like PC, it’s nearly impossible on iOS.  Add to that the fact that I was barely able to see a single major bug in the entire game, and I’d have to say it’s completely staggering.  As someone who did software testing for over five years, it has to be the single most stable, bug-free piece of highly complex software I’ve ever seen in my life.  Great job Bioware and Aspyr Media!

Holy Fucking Shit.  This reminds me of why I loved gaming.  This reminds me that I need, gaming wise, to Get Out More.  And, in about ten different ways, it inspires me to get off my ass and Make Some Games, so I can continue my new career instead of getting sucked back into the corporate machine like a bird into a jet engine.  So thank you, KOTOR team.  My ass is kicked, my retinas are burned, and I, yes *I*, am a Motherfucking Jedi Sorcerer.

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One Response to Rediscovering Gaming

  1. Scott Mauer says:

    I’m only just now realizing that it’s been 10 years since KOTOR itself came out on its original platform, and the graphics are just that outdated. I’m almost afraid to see how graphics are good on a modern platform now. 🙂

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