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Tycho / on Fri, May 1 2009 at 12:00 am

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The Fivefold Mother

Cable problems are a fundamental part of the human condition, but even in a chorus of the damned Gabriel’s cries pierce the din.  His relationship with technology has always been a briar maze, one I have done my best to hack down, though this was a much simpler task when our computers occupied the same room.  These days he must contend with Tech Support, which I understand has been outsourced to Gehenna.

I’ve just received a review copy of Dokapon Journey, a multiplayer hybrid of RPG and Board Games which I’m tempted to grant a preemptive ten out of ten.  Outside of this, the occasional evening of Gears absorbed for nostalgia purposes, and a boss in The Last Remnant which is apparently invulnerable and quite possibly immortal, there’s no retail software on my plate.  Every night is spent in further investigation of two quote unquote free games:  Free Realms and Battlefield Heroes.

You can play Free Realms now if you want, provided you have a PC.  It’s more or less Progress Quest, sure, but it’s progress out along a number of activities that is largely player directed.  Some of the minigames are “minigames,” in the pejorative sense, not games so much as the reptilian twitching which accompanies the death of the brain.  Some of them are cool.  The card game, as I suggested before, is emphatically not bullshit - and independent of purchasing cards, something not everyone is willing to do, you can traverse a series of quests that dish up cards as their quest reward.  The game is also beautiful, which doesn’t hurt.  It was built to run anywhere, but if you spin this thing up on a machine designed for the latest titles this thing isn’t fucking around.  It’s sharp.

I can’t remember the status of the NDA on the Battlefield Heroes beta, and frankly I don’t give a shit re: this sort of ritual.  They can’t revoke my press credentials because I don’t have any, and I got my key like anybody else would.  What they could do, the only thing that really matters to me, is revoke my access to the beta.  I really, really don’t want that.  Maybe that will do, as far as a preview goes.

“Free” games have stigma associated with them, and not just because of a lower perceived value: put succinctly, they tended to be worse than other games.  When I launch these applications I occasionally feel a twinge, as though (to maximize my service to you) I should be investing my time in “real” products.  If the purpose of our leisure time is to generate amusement, though - and these games certainly do that, at levels matching or exceeding their premium counterparts - then perhaps I am not engaged in something like sin.

(CW)TB out.  

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