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Tycho / on Wed, Jan 7 2004 at 4:00 am

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It Is So Very Cold

Gabe’s computer was powerful fucked up, and with the freak snowfall we had I couldn’t get over there - so if you see only pencils and not newfangled hues, that’s the reason.  Point is, we play Mario Kart as much as possible.  You might actually know the guy who bailed on me - Zach Stroum, a.k.a. Durandal, who does Shaw Island and American Animetion.  I was, however, able to pull in an alternate - and the ensuing ruckus cemented my belief that we had chosen our number six game in wisdom.

It’s good in ways that you would have to play it to understand, but there are some elements that can be elaborated on.  Earlier versions of the game had more amusing battle modes, that is a point I will readily concede.  The Bomb mode ain’t bad, maybe I’ll grow into it.  On the other hand, the racing so pristine as to inspire a sonnet. 

When setting it up for LAN play the first time, if you’re coming from a PC or maybe an Xbox you might be startled at how primitive the interface is.  You can Start Game, you can Change Options, and you can break the connection.  As mentioned in reviews you might have read, you can’t choose your characters or cars.  This mystified us at first.  It seemed like if they could invent a console, make it networkable, and then write a racing game, they were probably smart enough to make a menu inside that game that would let you choose whether or not you were a turtle.  I’m used to options, options, and more options, and the lack of them resounded. 

After you play for a while, you completely forget about it.  When you hit Start Game, you’re thrown right into a race with a car weight you might be unfamiliar with and character you might not have chosen yourself.  They’re different every time.  It wasn’t until these choices were taken out of our hands that I realized how much time gets spent fucking arguing about those choices under ordinary circumstances.  You’d have it here, too, if they let you choose - shit along the lines of “Chain Chomps are cheap,” or “You always take that Bullet Bill Car.”  But there’s none of that.  Sometimes you get a lucky draw.  It never lasts from round to round, and you certainly can’t be thought any less of for it.  The whining when we used to have Halo parties was unbearable, of the “You’re using the pistol too much, stop using the pistol” school.  It’s the sort of thing that makes you not want to have Halo Parties anymore, an eventuality which quickly coalesced into an outcome.  By accident or by design, removing these decisions lubricates the experience. 

Don’t think I’m just coming up with some florid way to praise Nintendo for what is (in actuality) some oversight on their part.  If they needed to be excoriated, I would apply the necessary heat - independent of my deep emotional attachment.  For example, I’m about to stick it to Bioware.

I obtained Hordes Of The Underdark with the full intention of playing through it on a LAN this weekend, only to find out that you can’t actually do that in their multiplayer roleplaying game.  You can hit Bioware’s forum here for their reasoning, and you can also hit this other thread for a few workarounds.  Then, you can hit your head on the edge of your desk over and over again.  Eventually, if you strike continually and with diligence, you will reduce your own IQ to a level where this bullshit makes some sense.       

If I’m going to play an RPG all by lonesome, let’s be clear:  it’s sure as fuck not going to be based on Neverwinter Goddamn Nights.  I don’t doubt that Hordes of the Underdark is very, very nice.  Shadows of Undrentide was so good it made me forget the lukewarm presentation and tolerable UI that game delivers, and that’s the nicest thing you can say about it.  But I play those games because they’re the Goddamn multiplayer version of Dungeons and Dragons, and I’m not the only one who does that so don’t waste your time imagining such a specious universe.

I like Bioware, they make really good games in my opinion - but this is just stupid, the fact that players have invented a few ways to fix it doesn’t make it okay.  Make it right.         

Also, for the love of God download that new Splinter Cell trailer.  No, it’s not the one people keep calling a new trailer when it’s just the old one in a new resolution or without the fucking sound.  As usual, AIX has a great torrent going.

(CW)TB out.

who cares what games we choose

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