Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Hat Trick, Kitchen Gaming, and Heroes  

Games: I scored a nice hat trick this morning, something that I don't do very often.

Monkey King: the Legend Begins - Wii

Going through the stack of stuff that I have from GameFly, I popped in Monkey King: the Legend Begins and got through the entire game in about 45 minutes. It was funny because I had no idea what sort of title it was when I put it in my queue, so it was a nice surprise to find out that it was a side-scrolling shooter. I knocked out the review in about 20 minutes, and put it through the review submission process in another five, and from start to finish I got everything done in the well under two hours. I love it when that happens.

Mega Man 9 - PS3/Wii/360 (download only)

Hargrada: In response to the question in the comment you left, I downloaded Mega Man 9 on the PS3. I was literally moments away from getting it for the Wii, but then I remembered that my unit’s memory is getting a little full, and since there's been no word from Nintendo on what they're going to do about it, I figured I should probably stick it on the PS3 since I’ve still got tons and tons of storage left there. Graphically, it looks just fine to my eye, nice and crisp. Truth be told though, I only played it for about half an hour… it completely kicked my ass, and I wasn't in the right frame of mind to put in as much effort as is necessary with something as old-school is this. I'll definitely come back to it later, but in all honesty, I don't really miss the days when titles were as lethal to the player as this one is. It's been a long time since I had to polish of my skills to this level. It makes me tired.

Order Up! - Wii

Also, I just started Order Up! For the Wii. I'm liking it a lot and I find it to be quite clever in the way that it differentiates itself from the other cooking games on the market. Having assistance in the kitchen to take over some of the menial tasks helps a great deal, and I like the way the game wants you to juggle multiple things at once, just like you would in a real kitchen. I don't mean to brag, but I'm no slouch when it comes to whipping up a meal in real life, so I can appreciate some of the finer points here. I'm a little concerned that it might become too repetitive, but it's still a thumbs up at this point.

Don't be so excited... You haven't won me back over yet.

TV: I know I'm probably a little late in bringing this up, but I just watched the Heroes season premiere last night (yay DVR) and I don't think that the writers are back on track.

I loved season one, and thought that taken as a whole, it was a pretty amazing piece of television. I loved how they took "normal" characters and sort of walked them through the experience of suddenly gaining superpowers. Great, great stuff.

The unexpectedly truncated season two was pretty lame, as the common consensus agrees. I didn't like the new characters, I didn't like the things that were happening, and overall it definitely felt like things were going astray.

Season three was supposedly the result of the writers hearing the feedback from disappointed fans and getting everything back to where it needed to be, but after watching the new two hour kickoff, I'm just not feeling it. More than anything, the sense of wonder and amazement seems to be completely gone… Hiro is sort of caught up in searching for a quest like he was last season, Claire is all of a sudden filled with angst and despair over the fact that she may likely live forever (and that’s a bad thing?!?) and the plot with Peter, Nathan, and their mom is now becoming so dark and overcomplicated that I feel like I need a playbook and some antidepressants to keep up with it.

Honestly, I don't think the series needs to be one giant twisted knot of complex plot threads… I’d be perfectly content watching a season of the Heroes going after the villains that escaped from the underground complex without another predictable “save the world/future” theme running through. Besides, it's fun just to see characters with powers doing things that I'm sure most of us that have dreamed of at one time or another. The occasional conflict or bad guy is just icing on the cake.

Writing: Although I had "finished” Speaking in Forked Tongues a while ago, there were still a few things about it that I felt needed some tweaking. The funny thing is that the issues that were bugging me were not things that my test readers had brought up or objected to-- it was more like I didn't feel things were tied up as tightly as I wanted them to be. I guess the biggest problem in my mind was that needed to establish a certain set of rules that were going to be immutable for the span of the trilogy, and if I didn't nail them right the first time, it was going to completely screw up everything that would come afterwards.

I don't want to put my foot in my mouth, but I now think that I've got it nailed.

A little more tweaking here in there, maybe a slightly different spin on the end, and the book is going out for the second major round of submissions. Whee!

What next?

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2 comments: to “ A Hat Trick, Kitchen Gaming, and Heroes

  • Anonymous


    I didn't find the first season of Heroes to be all that great outside of the first batch of episodes (whole thing fell apart badly after the cheerleader was saved).

    I always appreciate a challenging game as long as it's not a cheap challenge. In Mega Man 9 I can see exactly what I did wrong when I die and do something different to avoid another death (move faster, jump sooner or later, etc). The game also becomes easier the farther you get, and not just because you memorized the levels. All the weapons you earn become highly useful outside of the boss battles and since you don't lose screws (money) when you die, you can buy useful power-ups to help out. My first try through the concrete man stage felt almost impossible, but after earning nearly all of the other bosses weapons it's a cake walk.

    I'm almost certain this one will make it somewhere on my top ten list this year.


    I hear ya... I need to get back to MM9 sooner rather than later. This has definitely been the year for old-school challenge, I think. MM9, Shiren, Etrian Odyssey... this is some hard work! = )