Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My friends are a good influence on me

With all the holiday games coming out this season I don't think I know of any friends that can afford them all. And nobody likes buying a game because of the hype only to find it's a dud once they start playing it. That's why some of my friends have been talking about one of them buying a game, playing it, and then letting everyone else know 1) whether it's worth the full price as new, 2) wait until it's cheaper, 3) rent it, or 4) stay as far away from it as you can get. This process only works as long as you trust your friends and have the same taste in game. Or, if not, know what your tastes are and how those differ from your friends. And that got me thinking about the games I've picked up from the influence of my friends.

There are a lot of games that I picked up because of my brother dain bramage. But those games, and the "why"'s of how I got them I'll save for a later post. This will be about my friends online so all of these games will be "newer" compared to what dain influenced me with.

The first game my friends influenced me to get was Gears of War. I can't tell you how many times I was playing Star Wars Battlefront on my original Xbox when Cleelost and eventually El Sand Dog would send me invites to play that game. It was one I considered getting but it would require me to buy an Xbox 360 and I wanted to wait as long as I could before I did that. I eventually caved and bought the game and system and the rest, they say, is history.

I watched dain play Chromehounds many times with CyberWrat and Zenra Nukenin and while I enjoyed watching I never thought I would play it because it was so far out of my comfort zone. One day, for some reason, dain had me sit in for him while he did something else. I didn't know what I was doing but Cyber, Zenra and everyone else in the squad didn't mind. They were nice, courteous, and very understanding of a noobie that not only didn't know how to play the game but wasn't all that interested in playing it either. That soon changed.

I found a cheap copy of the game and joined the squad myself. I had a steep learning curve but they never minded when I couldn't help or contribute to the team. They constantly offered advice and parts and helped me build a hound that would fit my style of game play. Because of that I learned to like the game (I wouldn't go so far as to say I love it) and I made some great friends and strengthened the bonds with existing ones.

When it comes to racing games I prefer cart racing to realistic racing. If I want to see/do that I could just go out on the freeway. Cyber recommended Burnout Revenge as a realistic type game with some cart racing type elements to it. I saw him play the game many times and when I found a cheap copy I bought it. Instead of just trying to race, the game offers the chance and reward of hitting people or doing spectacular jumps and crashes. Not very realistic, but also not very cart racing style either. I liked the game and I still enjoy playing it today. Unfortunately I lost all my saves and rankings when my stuff got stolen so now I'm starting from scratch again.

I can't tell you how many days I saw Quality JimBeam and Genghis Khan and c5ride playing Fallout 3. I heard about the game but since I haven't done well in open world games in the past I wasn't itching to play this game. After countless hours of listening to them harp about the game's virtues I decided to get it myself. While I didn't get far in the game outside the vault (another stolen casualty) I really did like the time I spent playing it so much so that I pre-ordered Fallout: New Vegas. It takes a lot of me to play a game very little but like it enough to pre-order the sequel. I'm looking forward to F:NV now if I could just find the time to finish the first one.

I also remember when Marvel Ultimate Alliance came out. All my friends were excited about getting to play their favorite comic book heroes. I have comic books, but they're all Star Wars ones. I've never been into the other comic book heroes. Although I do remember watching a cartoon on TV with the Wonder Kids ("wonder twin powers activate") but I don't remember what show that was. I had several friends get that game and play it a lot. I wasn't really going to get it but Hell Weasell and G Sneaka wouldn't take no for an answer. They kept telling me about the game, comparing it to other games I might have played, and I think they might even have guaranteed I would like it. So I bought it.

By the time I got around to buying it most of my friends have moved on from that game. But Weasell and Sneaka have played with me while I work my way through the game. And they were right. I do like the game.

One game I knew nothing about before it came out, and very little about once it did, was Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. I saw Genghis play this for hours on end. He said he's probably played it for 100 hours yet still hasn't advanced the main story line. He was doing nothing but side quests. When I asked him about it he said it's like an open world Balder's Gate style game. Different, but close enough for my understanding. He said you'd put in hours and hours in the game and it would well worth the price. And I'm for getting my money worth on a game. He also warned me that I would need to spend large chunks of time playing it instead of short 10-15 sessions I usually get in games.

This was one of the hardest games for me to find, but when I did, it was a reasonable price so I got it. It took some times getting familiar with the menu system and map settings but I was just starting to like the game when it was stolen. One day I'm going to make sure I don't have anything to do and I'm just going to sit down and play this game. I'm sure I won't get far in the story with all those side quest, but I know I'll love every minute of it.

The hardest game for me to find, once I decided to get it, was also the game that took the most convincing and the longest time before I got it. That was Civilization Revolution.

I remember playing the demo when the game first came out but I just couldn't get a handle on the game. I deleted the demo and never thought about the game again. That was until QJB started playing it constantly not too long ago. When I asked him about the game what he told me about it didn't match up with the demo I had played many months (or years?) earlier so I didn't put the two ideas together. Based on his comments I decided to download the demo and found out I had already done so, but still didn't connect the dots. Once the game started however, I realized this was the one that I felt was trying to show me the game in gibberish. My first playthrough of my second download of this demo didn't go so well. I talked to QJB about it and he gave me pointers and tips about the game. I tried the demo again and things started to make sense. I think I played through the demo several times each time wanting to play a little bit more than what the demo offered because I was getting interested in the game. So I decided to buy it.

Unfortunately this was the hardest game to find. I did find it once but when I opened the case there was no booklet inside. I've implemented a policy that I won't buy a used game unless the booklet is included. I just like having a layout of the button/controls just in case I forget. I know I can find that information in the game but it's easier to read sometimes from the booklet. I think it took me two months to find a copy of this game (booklet included) after going into every GameStop between work and home several times a week (there are 6 stores nearby my house or on the way home from work).

Even after I got the game and started to play the full version I realized there was still a lot of stuff I didn't understand about the game. Thankfully QJB provided great "after purchase customer service" and walked me through a lot of the game. This turned out to be a game that sucked several hours out of my game time without me even noticing. I was warned about that, but I didn't believe it. Now I know better.

In addition to disk games there have been a few Arcade games that I've picked up from the recommendations of friends.

Death Spank is one of them. Sneaka said the humor in it was twisted and wrong . . . and that I would love it. How could you pass up something like that. Although I've had some problems in the game, he was right about the humor. And all my other friends who played it said it matches Sneaka's sense of humor . . . and they were right too.

I also picked up Monday Night Combat because of Sneaka. I'm not very good at it and I only know how to play the assault character type but it's the camaraderie of playing with friends that I like the most of that game. And the times when I get sneaky and kill someone. I am getting better at that.

I picked up Battlefield 1943 based on a suggestion from Evil Ric. I had been getting burned out on Call of Duty games but he said this game was different. It was and it wasn't. I never played it as much as my other friends so now I've left alone to get that "play 100 games" achievements which is actually harder now because the game has gotten so laggy.

I picked up Gin Rummy to play with Zenra and because I'm a huge gin rummy fan. It's nice to sit and play a game and have a civil and polite conversation with someone. I wished more of my friends had a copy of that game so we could all play it like we all played Uno back in the day.

I also picked up SpyGlass Board Games based on some conversations with Kralon. I like playing chess, checkers and othello (reversi in that game) but I wasn't sure if the price was worth it. It has been, except for the fact that I can't seem to beat the AI in checkers so I can get that last achievement.

I might not like my friends talking about games I have and spoiling the plot for me but I do listen to them when they talk about the games I don't have. Sometimes I pick them up and sometimes I don't. I think Red Dead Redemption is a game I never will get because of what my friends said about it and the fact my friends now know what types of games I like and don't like. They said I wouldn't like the open world aspect of it.

I consider all of this advise and influence good on me and my gaming. I've picked up games I probably wouldn't have paid attention to otherwise. Unfortunately my friend's advice is a bad influence on my bank account. Maybe I should start sending them the bill when I pick up a game they recommend. I wonder if they would stop recommending games if I did that. I wonder what hidden gems I would miss out because of that.


Helll Weasell said...

This is why Beamer and I started trading games in the first place. We wanted to play some of the games that the other had but didn't want to put out the $$$ for it. Our first swap: I sent him Velvet Assassin and he sent me Civ Rev. As it turned out, neither of us cared for the game we were sent and it only cost us a little postage to send them back. I actually just sent him my copy of Bioshock 2 because he had already traded it in but wanted to play the new DLC that came out.

With the proliferation of quality games hitting the shelves this holiday season, I'm having a hard time keeping up both time-wise and financially. I'm keeping an eye on the trade-in deals at EB Games to help finance my addiction.

You and I spoke about this before so you know that you are more than welcome to get in on the game exchange.

Pengwenn said...

So you want me to give my babies away to a stranger? Will I ever see them again? Will they miss me? Will they resent me because I sent them away for awhile? Will they remember me when they return home? Will they like your place better than mine?

I've got a lot to think about. If there's something you've got that I might be interested in I might ask. And if there's something I've got you'd like to try ask about it. Of course if I send it off to you that might just be the game I start dying to play.

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