A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Operation Game Collection 2

I've got some time to kill before dinner but not enough time for videogames. So let's keep this party rolling!

Today's RPG selection is:

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Game Summary: Its an RPG designed to do pretty much any sort of Zombie themed RPG campaign you can think of. Uses the Unisystem which can also be seen in the Buffy and Angel RPGs, and a couple of niche RPGs nobody really cares about. (Terra Primate and Witchcraft.) Its also got D20 rules in the back if you have bad taste in RPGs.

1: Amount I play it.
Low. I ran like 1 session over 2-3 weeks back in 03-04 sometime thereabouts. I have no contact with the people I played with.

2: Desire to play it.
Low. The mechanics did not thrill me, and I can honestly use other better systems and just take the fluff sections and transplant it into an RPG system I do like. I could try rereading it, but I have lots more on my plate before I give a second look to a game nobody cares about.

3: Popularity in my area.
N/A. Outside of my one game I have never heard anyone ever talk about this game or even care about it. Even online its barely talked about.

4: Amount I own.
Low. I own the core rulesbook. I might have gotten the GM screen but I forget if I did or not. I remember not being able to find the dang thing though. Course its only ever been stocked in a single store..

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low. Their sourcebooks sound cool and all, but were overpriced for small softbacks and as mentioned the game rules do not thrill me.

6: In Print?
As far as I know, yes.

My 2nd Boardgame/CCG entry is:

(Advanced) Squad Leader

Game Summary: Squad Leader is the legendary hex and chit World War 2 wargame. Advanced Squad Leader is the infamously complex revision/spinoff game. Its so complex its got 3 starter sets available that only make it stupidly complex instead of absurdly so.

1: Amount I play it.
Low. I played it once in 2005.

2: Desire to play it.
Medium. I've read both the Advanced Starter Kit and the Squad Leader rules multiple times in hopes of playing. Seeing the above obviously shows how well that is working for me. I even gave a now ex friend the first Starter Kit for a nice Christmas present in hopes we could both read the 12 pages of rules and learn the game together but he claimed to never have the time. Mysteriously he was capable of playing inane web games and finishing the later Harry Potter books in under a week or so. Hmm....

3: Popularity in my area.
Low. I know there were people a few years back playing. Gamers being the insular spergy douches they are, and New England being even more comprised of insularity and douchiness, (Unless you want to talk about the Red Sox or Patriots which seem to be the vast majority of discussion on anything in my region of the US) I have not been able to find any active players. Or really even where to look. Few places even stock the games any more outside of online.

4: Amount I own.
Medium. I own the 3 Advanced Starter Kits, map sheets bought on clearance, some magazines with more scenarios, a couple full ASL products I got cheap, and the original Squad Leader from Ebay. Its barely in Medium ownership category, but it IS over a Ben Franklin.

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low. The odds of me getting to play it are somewhere between Jack and Squat as far as I can tell. Outside of the wargames magazine that has some scenarios which they eventually post on the current publisher's website I am pretty well set. Squad Leader stands alone well, I have TONS of the mounted geomorphic hex maps (which get used in other games too), and I doubt the Starter Kit line is gonna expand. And if it does given the resources most wargame publishers have, it will be one 20-40 dollar boxed set every 1 1/2 to 4 years. I can handle that.

6: In Print?
Squad Leader is not in print (which is a crime IMHO), but the ASL Starter Kits are. Its publisher (Multi Man Publishing) keeps running out of their print runs but they keep bringing them back in stock. Full on ASL is in print but lots of it goes out of print for months if not years. Meaning the one full on area of ASL I would like to investigate (Pacific Front) is undoable as the Japanese force rules have been OOP for years now, and the two US sets (General US forces and US Marine Corps) go in and out of print with massive regularity.

And finally, this installment's miniatures selection is:

Epic Scale Warhammer 40K.

Game Summary: Epic Warhammer 40K is like 3-4 different rules sets for 6mm scale battles in the Warhammer 40K universe, allowing for massive robot "Titan" units, hordes of infantry, and masses of tanks to go PEW PEW at each other. My favorite is Space Marine/Titan Legions which is 2 editions OOP though there is a continuing fan project based around it called NetEpic.

1: Amount I play it.
Low. I played Titan Legions rules Epic ONCE. In 2005. I bought my first miniatures in 96. I did try the god awful 3rd edition rules in 98-99 but they sucked horribly.

2: Desire to play it.
High. I like the game system, I like the models, I like the 40K universe. Sadly, I am one of the few.

3: Popularity in my area.
Low. I am sure someone is into it someplace. I've seen a few people with Epic models for the various editions, and have heard others claim the game is active. But I will be damned if I can find anyone to play.

4: Amount I own.
Medium. I have 2 massive armies for the game in the edition I want to play in.

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low. Outside of some of the older stuff from the Titan Legions era, I have more than enough for any game I would wish to play. I do keep my eyes open for the odd cheap deal on Ebay though.

6: In Print?
My edition not really outside of a well organized and long running fan project. The current edition is in print, though in a niche format.

A Little Bit About Ultima, the Electronic RPG Series I Love the Most!

I'm a huge Ultima fan, though these days I am a bit of a heretical one. (Because I dislike 7 and love 1 and 5 the most.)

To me Ultima was possibly the best series of RPGs ever made for most of its life. Each game was more alive and more advanced than its predecessor even though in the end it helped kill the series. Each game had these wonderful boxes filled with full color maps usually made of cloth, an amazing faux leather covered rulesbook with stunning woodcut like art by Denis Loubet that was 80-90% fluff, the gameplay mechanics and stuff on a handy card, and of course the usually gorgeous cover art which was usually also done by Mr. Loubet.

Unlike many RPGs Ultima was about being a noble hero just because it was the right thing to do. But you had freedom to go on murder sprees or be a raging klepto even if most of them wouldn't let you complete the game doing so. Most of the games returned you to a mostly familiar land. It was like a trip to an amusement park where you got to meet old friends and help get the Tilt a Whirl back in shape every generation or so.

They were just so damned magical its hard to explain to people who are used to the kind of mindblowing graphics our modern systems pump out these days.

I will go through the Ultimas as I see em and hope it'll help a bit to anyone who wants to go through them, or just understand the history of the electronic RPG that isn't Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.

Akalabeth: Its stupid and irrelevant. Don't bother with it. Basically a dungeon crawl designed for Apple 2s in the late 70s. There is a PC port, but I forget if its for Dos or Windows.

Ultima 1: The game that turned me into an RPG gamer dork. (Or at least the biggest culprit..) Its a mixture of sandbox exploration and a light grind for money and XPs. Overworld is top down tiles, dungeons are 3d wireframe. It has a semi realtime mode (If you do nothing after a minute or so the game treats it like you passed your action for the turn. Bad when surrounded by monsters in a dungeon!), and an action space sim mode in the middle. If you can get it working, Ultima 1 is best played on Dosbox. Second choice is the C64 version from the mid-late 80s on an emulator. Its actually a pretty fun quick and dirty RPG. Mapping and magic are largely irrelevant. There are few locations you NEED to know, and the drawn maps pretty much cover everything. Spells are usually purchased and largely useless outside of the ones that make ladders to go up and down floors. Dungeons are largely places to gain Hit Points and kill a few quest monsters. Don't bother mapping, just bring some spells to get to whichever level you want to fight on. Each dungeon merely has a different layout made irrelevant via said ladder spells.

Ultima 2: The game I missed in its day or even when I was playing every Ultima my C64 could run. Its like U1 except U1 got a nifty revamped rerelease in the mid-late 80s. Ultima 2 never did. Its the link technologically between 1 and 3. You can probably avoid it entirely. Dosbox with the PC port and some of the fanmade graphics tweaks to ease the CGA graphics pain are available if you must play it.

Ultima 3: Probably THE Ultima from a historical perspective. Its the one that with Wizardry got the Japanese developers to begin their own RPGs. Except Ultima and Wizardry were classy and such. First party Ultima, and dungeon mapping really matters. Overall the game is basically a large grind with less than 2 hours of actual questing if you know what to do. (Sort of like U1, except killing things is basically most of U1's quests.) If you like making RPG parties and killing beasties its still kinda fun. Best versions are the NES version on an emulator, or the Macintosh shareware edition from Lairware. I'm responsible for the NES tileset being implemented onto it.

Ultima 4: The most popular and well respected of the Ultimas. Its a mixture of exploration, monster bashing, and clever text adventure like conversations with a touch of puzzle solving. Its like 3 only much bigger, a far more involved set of quest objectives, and you get a massive 8 player party in most versions.
Best version to play would be XU4, a fan made patch to run the sucker in most major OSes. Includes improved graphics, the music, and most of the bells & whistles. The NES version isn't bad if you are a graphics whore and hate typing words to NPCs. But you drop down to a smaller party.

Ultima 5: My personal favorite. Much deeper story. Much better and realistic world. Vastly improved combat system. Best art design on the C64 for a tile based RPG. If you wish to play one classic Ultima this is it. Best version: U5 on Dosbox or the C64 version which has less colorful graphics but in my mind prettier ones if you like your primitive 8 bit computer RPG sprites. Japan got some amazing ports on their computer systems though.

Ultima 6: First non Apple 2 designed Ultima. Its mostly a primitive version of what U7 would be. Its evolved from U5, but its got a weird mix of more modern and old school design decisions. Best version is probably the PC version on Dosbox.

Ultima 7: The game most modern discussions of Ultima consider to be the greatest of the series. I found it to be technically amazing, yet from a gameplay standpoint it kind of bites. It turns combat into a sucky unfun RTS thing, managing your party inventory is even more annoying than it was in 6, and you have to deal with feeding your bad AI band as they whine at you every 5 minutes fpr more chow. Best version is probably running it through the fan made Exult program.

Ultima 7 Part 2: Its more U7 with a few interface tweaks and slightly improved graphics. I barely played this one, mostly as Computer Gaming World's Scorpia tore its' story a goatce sized asshole and it made me suspicious of it. But as I am an Ultima whore I bought it. I think you can play it through Exult if you want.

Ultima 8: Its like U7 but you only have your single character to control and its more arcade like. Story largely seems to be a continuation of U7 Part 2 in that it mostly sucks and isn't properly Ultimaish. Best version is Landstalker on the Sega Genesis or Wii VC. Seriously. U8 isn't really worth it. Landstalker does the same basic isometric action RPG thing as U8 except its light years better. I guess you could run U8 with Dosbox if you are a masochist. I am not sure the fanmade sourceport ever made it out.

Ultima 9: Take the continuing sucky story of the EA owned era Ultimas and turn it into a bad 3D Zelda game. Like U7 to this game's date it was technically amazing, but gameplay and story were pretty horrid.
Best version is your favorite 3d Zelda game. Its the same thing only better and its not barfing over what was the KING of electronic RPGs. Tripe like this is why Final Fantasy is the RPG most gamers talk about now. (Except for the bitter RPGcodex/NMA types who talk more about Fallout 3 because they can't stop sperging over it, especially since its popular and well liked.) Last time I checked it still ran on XP if you really must play it. Just read a Let's Play and avoid it. Its too heartbreaking.

Non main bit Ultimas:

Savage Empire and Martian Dreams: These games use the U6 engine for a pulp Lost World and Victorian Trip to Mars tale. If you like U6 but wanted dinosaurs or that Smashing Pumpkins video meeting an RPG they are worth it. Sadly I never got Savage Empire as by the time I had a PC instead of a C64 I could only find it on 5 1/4 floppies and my Tandy 486 25 was 3.5 only. Dosbox is your friend here.

Underworlds: Like proto Elder Scrolls games, except the worlds are WAAAY smaller and manageable. If you liked the first 2 Elder Scrolls titles (Arena and Daggerfall) the Underworlds are their more fun daddies. Again, use Dosbox.

The Game Boy games: Only played the second one (which had a SNES version) a loong time ago. Its basically an action puzzler using the Ultima tileset and a rough Ultima theme. You can safely pass. Or use your Super Gameboy SNES thingie, a Gameboy emulator, or your Gameboy original compatible portable Nintendo game player. Hint: Itll say Gameboy on it most likely.

Mines of Mt Drash: A Vic 20 only game that actual copies sell for absurdly high amounts. Its some sort of action adventure only apparently sucky. Use a Vic 20 emulator if you need to play it.

Ultima Online: Its like Ultima 7 only with prettier/uglier graphics depending on your thoughts on SVGA vs VGA and the associated palettes. Its much more playable than U7 outside of it being a filthy MMORPG. Many people say it was better when it was Grand Theft Britannia but once they actually put in a player killer switch it really became fun. Best actual roleplaying I have done in an online game. I still want someone to hack this into an Ultima 7-9 total conversion and fix the story beats plus put in a decent party AI.

A final thought on running the Ultimas: Most Ultimas were on multiple machines, some of which were only in Japan. Even though they were English made games. Many groups have been working on either remakes, source ports, or modern OS executables for years. Most of these projects never make it out sadly. But its a testament to how GOOD and important the Ultima series was that so many people even try.

And just so I can show it off, my small shrine to Ultima:

My Shrine to Ultima

We see the Ultima 9 Dragon edition which has all the previous Ultimas on a bonus disk plus documentation. Its in a stupidly large box, but nice to put FAQs and printed out maps from online in there. The original edition of Ultima Online, with the 2nd Age upgrade disk and manual in it. The Ultima Online that caused great wailing and gnashing of teeth (Renaissance) as no longer could bored teenagers and anti social basement dwellers happily PK anyone trying to play an Ultima online RPG like it was an actual Ultima. Ultima 4 Amiga version which I got for 5 bucks and happily ripped open just to luxuriate in the glories of the awesome packaging and goodies that used to be in every Ultima. We also see Ultima Underworld 2, 2 versions of Ultima 8, the NES version of Ultima 3, a collection of hintbooks including the wonderfully sublime Official Book of Ultima. Some of the other EA Classics Gold Box releases are hiding in the Dragon Edition U9 box. Because its large. (Note I do not keep the EA PSP collection with a bastardized U7 on it near the shrine. It would taint it.)

Wow. That was fun! I wished I could better put into words what Ultima means to me. Its not about graphics, its not really about nostalgia as my life at the time was mighty awful. But there is some spark, some soul to this series so few games have. It captured my imagination. If people wonder why I hate Electronic Arts, its how their hand is behind the fall of this once legendary series, and their continued disrespect of it since.

But I still remember Ultima. With luck this will cause some of you readers out there to look into the series and maybe fall in love with it yourself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Space Hulk Mission 1-1 Comic Report

Noble servants of the Emperor, heretics, mutants, and deviant Xeno scum:

With information coming out about about new derelicts intruding upon our most glorious Imperium, it has caused at least one chapter to go out in search of these Hulks to cleanse them of the mutant, the heretic, the unclean.

This report should be inspiration enough to ensure all loyal servants of the Emperor do their duty and join in our most holy crusade of righteousness:






Now do you doubt?

For the true servant of the Emperor there IS no doubt.

(Dammit.. didn't notice the frakked up text box on page 5. Oh well.. its late. Its not that bad.)

OOC: In case you haven't heard Games Workshop has announced the return of Space Hulk, with a 3rd edition boxed set due for a limited release time only on September 5th. For 99 dollars. It looks to be based more off of 1st edition Space Hulk, bringing back the sand timer, and including some AMAZING sculpts in the box. Which weighs 4 kilograms or so. Nearly 8 pounds in box. 20+ Genestealers including a Broodlord, 12 Space Marine Terminators including a Librarian, Thunder Hammer, Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer, and Lightning Claw equipped troopers. It looks amazing and I couldn't help but order it. Which made me pull out my unplayed copy of 2nd edition. A little wash to finish up some Genestealers, and it was time to play!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Operation Game Collection 1

Since I have some time to kill why don't I get this puppy started?

My first RPG entry is:
Legend of the Five Rings

Game Summary: Legend of the Five Rings is an RPG in a fantasy world. The land the game takes place in is Rokugan, a fantasy Japan almost. PCs are Samurai, Shugenja, Ninjas and such. The quickest idea to explain the game and its setting is to take 1 part World of Darkness (politics and factions), 1 part Warhammer (evil corrupted realm of nasty things trying to kill and corrupt everyone else), and 1 part Kurosawa films (the Samurai and other asian elements).

1: Amount I play it.
N/A. I don't actually OWN the rules to this RPG.

2: Desire to play it.
N/A. I need to... own the game to see if I like its mechanics and all.

3: Popularity in my area.
Low. I am sure someone is into it someplace. The minis game and the CCG in the same universe had a fanbase of some kind.

4: Amount I own.
Medium, but I paid Low. I played the CCG and the decidedly UNFUN minis game (Clan War) back in the late 90s and fell in love with the universe and backstory. Outside of 1 book at MSRP every other book I own was bought at a substantial discount. I got so many of them I kind of want to get the game itself instead of just supplements.

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low. Ebay and Noble Knight games have what I think I actually need for a game. The GM's kit with Screen, the rulesbook for the edition I want, and the 2 or 3 sourcebooks from the line I want even if I never play just to read for the fluff.

6: In Print?
Yes, but No in the edition I want and have stuff for. Currently L5R is in its 3rd edition Revised incarnation with the game's fluff (aka story and background), but the books I have are for the original 1st edition of the game, as are the books I still want. And why pay 40 or so for the current rulesbook when the one I want can be had for 10? Plus the story era I care about is contemporary with that edition of the rules.

Miniatures entry 1 is:
Uncharted Seas

Game Summary: Uncharted Seas is a recent miniatures game involving fantasy naval ship combat. I have done a blog entry or 2 on the game so go look it up. (Sorry I have no idea how to get Blogger to let URLs actually work so why cut n paste text you can't click on anyhow? I'm lazy!) Its a great game and the developers seem insistent on upgrading it.

1: Amount I play it.
Medium. I've actually played it within the last 6 months. Twice even!

2: Desire to play it.
High. I really like this game. Its fast, fun, and strategic.

3: Popularity in my area.
Low. I know really only of one group who plays it, who are out of my driving range really.

4: Amount I own.
Medium. The game is relatively cheap, so I own 2 fleets of ships and the rulesbook. Its a little over 100 bucks, but not by much. I might actually have spent in Low category, but I will call it Medium anyhow.

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low. Its not all that popular yet, no stores actually stock the damned game yet, and I really don't NEED anything else outside of maybe under 60 bucks of ships to fill out my 2 factions. Or less for the 2 existing factions and get the newest faction as well because its an Undead fleet. WITH ZOMBIE WHALES.

6: In Print?
Yes. I have the previous edition of the rules which is getting revamped, but it currently seems as if they are putting up all the rules from the new book online. The thing is they have done this so much they all but need to make a new rulesbook!

My first Board/CCG/Card entry is:

Game Summary: Munchkin is a quick and dirty silly fun themed card game where players compete to level up by fighting monsters, getting treasure, and generally behaving like retarded power gamers in every RPG campaign ever. The game has endless expansions for almost every major RPG genre type out there. And somehow the truly mad can integrate them all.

1: Amount I play it.
Low. Maybe once a year if not less.

2: Desire to play it.
Low. While its amusing and kind of fun as a quickie game, its joke wears thin FAST and every version plays like every other one. Plus apparently it makes so much money for its publisher (Steve Jackson Games) that they ignore their better games like Ogre and Car Wars to just keep pumping out more of the same for it. Which makes me want to play it less in a childish form of protest.

3: Popularity in my area.
Medium. Its a rather popular game and quite a few people like and play it. But being a card game its not like there are big organized playgroups.

4: Amount I own.
Low. I bought Star Munchkin for 25, and a friend of mine I haven't seen in 5 years or so now let me hold on to the original fantasy and the Kung Fu versions as collateral so he could borrow Halo. I'm not sure which of us got the worse end of that deal...

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
N/A. I don't want any more. 10 bucks for a few more jokes in Star Munchkin isn't worth it. I could go see a movie or buy a Transformer or something. Plus its a moral thing as I wish to encourage Steve Jackson Games to make more Ogre and Car Wars and not the endless line of samey average card games with cute pictures and nerd humor on them. Seriously. Every version of Munchkin is basically the same game with new pictures and words on them.

6: In Print?
Yes. Oh god is it in print. Fantasy Munchkin has like 7 dedicated expansion sets plus one that easily lets it link to other Munchkin core games.

Another New Project I Won't Actually Finish: Operation Game Collection

What is this magical project that will get a flurry of posting and eventually end with a wet fart?

Well its one I have had for many moons. Its a general summary of what games I own, how often I play them, how much I want to play them, what I have for the game, and what I still want to buy for it.

I will try at least once a week, if not more to cover one RPG, one Minis game, and one card/board/CCG title. I have so many games I could go on for months doing it. I will probably just do 10 or so installments, maybe more. I shall let the whims of fate and nerd ADD determine how far I go with it.

I will talk a little about the game, my thoughts on the game, and why or why not I plan on wasting more money I probably shouldn't on the game.

To help speed things along, there will be a category list, with 3 values, Low, Medium, and High. (Plus the odd N/A where needed. Like N/A for category 1 means I have never actually played it.)

The categories:

1: Amount I play it.
Low would mean less than once every 6 months, Medium at least once every 3-6 months, High at least once every other month. One can't decide what to do with a game if one doesn't keep stock of how much it gets played.

2: Desire to play it.
Low means maybe once every 6 months or so, Medium every 3-6 months, High at least every other month. Just because you get to own a game doesn't mean you get to play it as much as you want.

3: Popularity in my area.
Low means I seem to be the only person who likes the game in my region. Medium means there are a few known scattered groups, High means almost every local group knows it and plays it. Sadly most of my games are in the Low or Medium category.

4: Amount I own.
Low means under 100 dollars retail of stuff. Medium means from 100-300 dollars. High is anything over 300 big ones. Keeping track of what you have is another thing to consider. Given the other 3 above categories it brings to light how much you might want to keep buying.

5: Stuff I may still want to buy.
Low means under 100 dollars. Medium 100-300. High is over 300. Am I set on the game? Do I have such an inane love I want MOOOORE? Am I basically done with that game system as far as wasting money on it?

6: In Print?
This is either Yes or No. But by "In Print" I mean is the edition I own and play the one in print? In many cases I am happy with a previous edition and see no need to upgrade. In others one either has to upgrade or it happens so seamlessly as to really not matter. (Like Magic the Gathering. I may be still using 4-15 year old cards by this point, but I am still playing under the current ruleset. Some games like that and Warhammer 40K basically just tweak the rules anyhow.)

If multiple editions of a game system are so different as to be entirely different games and I play them, I will bring that up as well.

Sadly I do not have the readership of Jamie Mal, the adorable Leigh Alexander, or that crazy SOB from Uruguay but I would like to see comments on these updates. Add in your own ratings to the above to the games I do that you have. Or take my project and do it yourself on your own blog.

We may all learn something. Even the gaming companies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saving in Videogames

Over at Gamespite, one of the blog's writers put up a rather interesting discussion on saving in videogames.

Here was my thoughts on the matter, with my usual "taking a forum/blog reply and tweaking it for content on my own blog" thing.

For those of you who don't know, most video and computer games limit where you can save your progress. From games that make you go for HOURS without a save point, games that let you save anywhere you want (usually destroying all immersion and danger to the player should they have the lack of restraint to save every few seconds), to games with a Quicksave/Suspend function that allows you to make a temporary save that is usually erased when you return, keeping the desired challenge, but allowing for people with limited free time to actually play and enjoy a game on their schedule.

The article poster brought up how it should be more player friendly given the increasing average age of game players and how the 35 year old average person doesn't have the amount of free time a 15 year old no life kid on summer vacation does. (I was one of those people even with my mother having tons of pointless chores and home maintenance to do. Only one car in the household, and my father worked 2 jobs. Most of my friends had sports, 2 divorced parents to split their time with, or other activities to do. I did not. I still do not have much of a life and thanks to my job I generally have a decent amount of free time, but I still have plenty to do, and lots of interests, as this blog and my endless pile of unplayed games and unfinished projects attests to.)

I pretty much agree. I don't have the time or interest for many 50 hour epics anymore, much less ones that won't let me save whenever I damn well feel like it. With multigig SD cards and 20 or more gig hard drives (20 being TEENY now. And I remember when 120 meg HDs were the stuff of kings..) there is no excuse for at least a quicksave slot.

We got into this "save when we tell you its ok to save" thing in the early computer years when developers were either trying to save disk space or attempting to put in some challenge. And even back on the C64 some games had generous save areas (like Ultima which pretty much let you save whenever you were on the overworld map), or savestate cartridges that allowed you to snapshot. And as we all know, Japanese creators are nothing if not hidebound traditionalists who will happily regurgitate the same idea even if its a bad one provided "its the way things have always been done", which lead to the designers telling us when we can save.

I would prefer more fair hard saves than an instantly erased quicksave though. A 2+ hour dungeon in Breath of Fire 2 on the GBA CRASHED at nearly the end of it. I just could not go back after that.

Yes I know hardsaves just cause some players to cheese their way through a game, but so what? It makes Fire Emblem games playable instead of the endless frustration in playing it perfect they would otherwise be. It allows players to explore and take risks they otherwise would not in fear of a game over. (Hi Wizardry and Etrian Odyssey!)

I think the lack of an in mission save is what hurt Operation Darkness on the 360. I think its a wonderful game, but so many people and reviewers seem to loathe it. The fact most missions are 40-90 minutes long with no save and a VERY small margin of error (usually 1-7 members of your team cannot die or its Game Over, even if you have a way to revive them...) is probably the reason why. Add in the fact many battles seem to have surprise reinforcements that can totally hose what was a winning battle until that point and it just leads to player frustration.

Developers keep designing games for the no life teenager who is happy to spend dozens of hours playing a game and going for 100% unlock.

The problem is the market has evolved where a sizable percentage of the playerbase isn't interested in this style of play, and they can't be due to time restraints even if they might be!

Give us the choice. Even make save types an option for the game like difficulty level is. I can save anywhere I want in Doom, but to kill some time (because I had 40 minutes after a disastrous Operation Darkness mission) I decided to play an Ironman mode game on Ultraviolence to see how far I could make it before dying. I CHOSE not to use saves outside of one when it was bed time. Why force it on the player?

I made it to Episode 1 Level 6 before my Space Marine finally fell to a room packed with monsters. Got trapped in a double sized alcove and some Spectre Demons ate me. It was freaking awesome. But would I love Doom the way I do if it only played Ironman style? Hell no.

But I CHOSE to play it that way as a challenge, and thus had no irritation and frustration about it.

Its 2009. The PLAYERS deserve to choose how to play the game, not some overworked and underpaid developers.


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