After a questionable marketing stunt (in which they pretended the site was shutting down), digital distributor Good Old Games has ended its two year beta period. For those who don't know, Good Old Games (or GOG) provides old PC games DRM-free and configured to work on modern systems, as well as releasing free bonus content (such as soundtracks) with each game.
The site's 'relaunch' brought the release of Baldur's Gate, signaling the much anticipated acquisition of Atari-Hasbro licensed titles. Today this release was followed up with Planescape: Torment, considered by many to be one of the best cRPGs in existence.
Alright, enough blog posts about APB recently. Here's something different. This story takes place - uh... a long time ago - in Morrowind (duh) on the original Xbox (unfortunately, those loading times sucked).
I traveled north from Vos, on some long forgotten mission. As I neared the sea, a fantastic Deadric ruin appeared on the horizon. I was a spellsword, primarily a mage but often reliant on my powerful summoned dagger. I had stolen a full set of priceless glass armor from the Mage's Guild by magically picking the lock, slowly loosing loyalty with them as I rose in rank with House Telvani. I felt unstoppable as I neared a mysterious Deadric ruin for the very first time.
Among the spires roamed a few of the ruin's inhabitants: Scamps and the dinosaur-like Clanfear. Smiling, I summoned a Clanfear minion of my own before casting a fireball at the nearest monster guarding the ruins. Summoning my dagger I charged in, and before long I was once again alone, standing at the entrance to the ruin.
With a deep breath I entered the ruins. Before me the path spiraled downward. As I rounded the corner a Dremora blocked my path. I efficiently dispatched of him. So far this didn't seem so bad. Finally I reached the bottom of the ramp. Before me the path was covered with water, but what took my breath away was on the other side. A massive statue of a Deadra Lord rose before me. I was only brought back to reality when a spell whizzed past my head, cast by an angry Deadra worshiper.
I quickly crossed into the room and took out the worshipers. Finally, the Deadric treasure stash was mine! If only it was that easy. As I lifted a Deadra Heart from the alter I heard a noise behind me. Turning, I swallowed as I realized a Dremora Lord had just appeared in the room, and he didn't look happy. I was running low on resources and I knew that this would be the most formidable challenge yet. Bravely I cast every spell I could and quickly slashed with my dagger. The fight seemed to go on for ages. I was almost continuously chugging my ever-dwindling supply of health potions. When it seemed like it was all over, the killing blow connected and the Dremora fell to the ground. I cautiously gathered the rest of the treasures and left the dungeon. It was not an experience I would soon forget.
This is an example of true immersion in a game, something that seems to be getting rarer these days - as much as I played Oblivion, I never had an experience that approached this one. I never did 'complete ' Morrowind, mostly due to very long loading times on the Xbox, though I have now been slowly making progress back through it on the PC.
Comment Question: Have you ever been *really* immersed in a game such that the experience almost felt 'real'?
(Or: The Sun is Very Dark: Tale of a D&D N00bie)
A couple years ago, I became interested in playing dungeons and dragons. There were a few reasons for this, perhaps the first was Site Admin Lelldorianx - sorry, can't keep typing that - STEVE talking about playing D&D each week. When Wizards of the Coast released the Penny Arcade D&D podcasts (RIP Aofel) my interest peaked. Without ever having played, I was missing a key part of being a gamer. As a result, last summer I played my first D&D encounter online with Steve as the DM. It was a simple encounter without much story, a kobold ambush, but it was definitely fun, and lasted long into the night. He promised a full campaign, but the summer ended, and neither of us had the time.
Yesterday your favorite site admin came up to me. Well, actually, he messaged me on steam chat. The conversation went something like this:
"Hi Space_man!" he said.
"Hi site admin Lelldorianx" I said. "How are you doing?
He replied, "The blog on my website isn't working properly. Could you help me troubleshoot it Space_man?"
"Ok site admin Lelldorianx" I answered.
Subsequently troubleshooting took place and the blog was fixed.
"Wow, you fixed it site admin Lelldorianx!" I said. "Maybe I should make a blog now!"
"Yes, Space_man, commence blogging" he replied.
"Ok" I said. "But what should I blog about?"
"EVERUTHING IN UNIVERSE" he replied. And he was right.
The EA Store is currently hosting a promotional deal that can get you $20 off of any game over $40 (OK, fine, technically $39.95). By using the super-secret coupon code (PAXEAST842) you can get a nice discount. If you feel like buying more than one game, get them in separate orders and continue using the same code. The deal is likely to end around the time PAX East does. Need some help picking a game to use this for? I've done it for you:
BF:BC2 is already $10 off, so it works out to $20
ME2 on sale for slightly less than $40, so to get it you'll have to add something else. Cheapest is probably the $5 ME1 Pinnacle Station DLC, otherwise there are quite a few $10 games, you might be able to find one that's semi-decent to add.
Dragon Age: Origins
Crysis Maximum pack, if you feel like benchmarking.
There is a note in the EA store terms that says the ability to download only lasts a year. People who have bought games previously have confirmed that they can still download over a year later, however this may no longer be the case. It is recommended that if you buy something, you back-up the install files someplace safe.
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