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Tycho / on Fri, Jul 30 2010 at 12:00 am

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Blood And Oil, Part Four

Blood And Oil.  Part Four.  One more to go.

I met a guy from DigiPen many years ago - eventually he quit the school, but found his way into the industry regardless.  Before meeting him, I thought that Starcraft was a game where you built up your defenses and then teched up to the weird shit and then fought your opponent in the middle of the map somewhere.  Watching him play that game - a game I owned, and played, and thought I knew - practically ruined the genre for me.

I wouldn’t see shit like that again until the first Blizzcon, watching what YellOw could do on a screen substantially taller than a house.  The game they’re playing looks the same as the one we have, and the controls are the same, but it is not the same game - it is OCD masquerading as recreation.  Knowing that those people are out there, the Others, who don’t move units so much as vibrate them, makes me wish this was one of those products where the single player and the multiplayer installed separately.  It also makes me wonder to what extent Starcraft’s multiplayer can be reviewed.  Every game has its complexities, its rituals, and secrets it reveals only to the faithful, but most games aren’t founded on a tripartite asymmetry alongside incredibly granular control.

I’m enjoying the Single Player quite well, it was clearly very expensive to make, and stakes out a context independent of the multiplayer by transforming the tech race of an individual round into a series of interesting, often binary choices.  I also like that Battle.net is kind enough to store my single player progress between machines, though why I’d want to play that game on an iMac after I’ve seen it on the thrumming obelisk I have at home is beyond me.  Attempting to tick the settings anywhere past the recommended level results in Crashtown Races sing this song/all the doo dah day, or at any rate the better part of the day.

It’s a lot of crashing, in any event.

It doesn’t entirely matter, though, when Gabe is across the room on this own machine, and we are - the two of us - beating on a single “Easy” A.I. Zerg opponent, just as we did when we still lived in the same apartment.  They say you can’t go home again, but you can, actually, if your home is an imaginary world infested with xenomorphs.  I was under the impression that the genre had moved past this and into squads, cover, and co-op.  Maybe it has.  But what they’ve done here - that is, to realize a worthy nostalgia that doesn’t merely trade on sentimentality - bears itself with a regal charm.  

New episode of PATV is up, the last of this “season.”  Indeed, it is the Season Finale, and wraps things up about as well as is humanly possible.  We start filming the next season almost immediately, but in the interim we’ve got bonus Blams and a selection of lean cuts from awesome video people you’re probably familiar with.  The best part?  It works with the eyes you already have.

(CW)TB out.

 


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