Category Archives: Gaming For The Non-gamer

The day Brandon encountered a petty trap.

demonwall4-bOur cousins had a Super Nintendo before us, but it wasn’t Super Mario World or Smash TV that captured my imagination. Final Fantasy IV (FF2 in the U.S.) was my first exposure to JRPGs.

I feel in love. The graphics were so good you could see the character get into bed. (In full armor, but who cares?)

And the gameplay? Wow. The plot of an epic fantasy with combat strategy akin to tabletop. Incredible. Beyond platforming and racing.

There was just one problem, though, after I finally got the game:

As usual, I was grounded.

Since I wasn’t into sports or sleepovers, “grounding” meant I couldn’t play video games. Even if I had a brand new one.

Fortunately, I had an ally: My brother Brandon. We came to an arrangement: If I couldn’t play the game, I at least wanted to see it played. Brandon was happy to oblige.

Break out the popcorn.

Brandon forged into the new frontier with me beside him. We laughed together at the jokes, mocked spoony dialog, collectively gasped at twists of plot.

Many of the bosses were jokes…others, not so much. This One Boss, though, I’ll remember ’til the day I die. Read More →

The reason SWTOR is winning more affection than Neverwinter.

The Reason

I’ve had the privilege to partake a Neverwinter buffet this weekend. It’s more compelling than I’d assumed from character creation. Cryptic delivered across the board.

The level of polish that’s free-to-play is astounding compared to the landscapes of yesteryear. Voice acting is the norm for Neverwinter, bringing it into the new era of MMOs.

I’ve had faith in Cryptic since playing Champions Online, which remains the best superhero gameplay available (sorry DC) and full of concessions for roleplayers.

Cryptic’s interpretation of the Neverwinter franchise is similarly action-packed, an odd feel for a D&D game. It’s a daring decision that pays off: Reticulated targeting and timing-based attacks make Neverwinter a fusion of traditional sword-and-sorcery with physical combat. Facing and positioning matter.

Neverwinter is full of other pleasant surprises: an elegant interface (despite limited customization), convenient keybinds (we’ve finally learned that players use Q before 7), period-appropriate music and a breathtaking game world.

So why do I keep returning to Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Read More →

The day I accidentally killed a Jedi Padawan.

Gaming for the Non-GamerAs my Jedi Sage alter ego, Lomerell, I was on a mission for the Republic:

A plague is afflicting Jedi Masters, clouding their minds with the dark side and driving them insane. I have learned a Force Shielding technique which cures the afflicted and protects them from future influence…when I can confront them directly.

On the planet Taris, I tracked down Jedi Master Cin Tykan, thus afflicted and threatening thousands of innocent lives. In fact, he threatened to destroy most of Taris’s much-needed restoration project.

Unfortunately, by the time I reached him, Tykan had been joined by his Padawin, Aris. She was a bright and talented pupil, who fully embraced the Light Side…until she allied with her plagued Master.

I find peace and serenity in the light, but I’m perhaps too quick to fire up my lightsaber. I don’t take kindly to threats, and sometimes convincing someone I could hurt them (even if I don’t plan to) is expedient.

When I confronted Master Tykan and his Padawan, I started calm, but they greeted me with bravado and threats. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I grew impatient. I don’t know whether I could have resolved the entire matter peaceably, but somehow I offended Tykan.

They both attacked. Read More →