World of Warcraft has matured a lot since I saw it two years ago at E3, and what I hear from the more loquacious testers is that even in its alpha state it has more content than they’ve ever seen in a (whatever acronym for Massively Multiplayer games the cool kids are using now). I’d like to believe that, because I’m one of the faithful, but Everquest has at least forty expansions out - one of which takes place entirely on the surface of a turnip, where players can do the the sorts of things a person on a turnip would do. I guess the turnip is evil? I don’t really play EQ.
When talking about Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II last week, I implied that you would be hitting things in the game for “about ten hours,” a total time estimate that was based on this Gamespot review. About eight hours into it at that point, I assumed that based on that data I pretty much had it on the run and decided to press on come hell or high water. At four in the morning, now twenty hours into it, I wondered what the fuck that review was talking about. Ten hours? I’m not screwing around in some dark cave, pausing to appreciate each bioluminescent fungus - I’m in there to do a fucking job. If some sahuagin shaman steps up to me, as they are wont to do, they get their hearts kicked out. I give mer-men no quarter. We’ve even got a spell called Haste, which essentially means we play the game twice as fast - careening between encounters, resolving conflicts, and grabbing loot before it hits the ground. Every review I’ve read puts the time to complete it at 12 hours or less, which (just so we’re clear) represents half of the game’s content. Half. I just wanted to make sure I spoke to that erroneous initial time estimate. You’ll have to forgive me for trying to correlate the things said in game reviews with any genuine event.
We finally got four cubes together in one place, and if there is a word to describe the experience of sixteen player Mario Kart, I don’t know it. I also don’t know how what we planned as a six person, three kart event mushroomed into this eighteen person powwow. One guy brought a television, we had a projector in another room, and four hours had passed before I regained the faculties to reckon time. I was exhausted, too - I mentioned something about that fact when Double Dash took sixth in the We’re Rights. This is because one tends to race with their entire body when playing the game, chest tight, fully present moment to moment. Getting that many people and that much technology synchronized was almost ridiculously complex, akin to building a starfaring vessel with only your feet. It was a touchstone social gaming experience, though, one that makes pubbing from server seem anonymous and empty by comparison. It makes other games seem like methadone.
Metroid: Zero Mission was going to be a straightforward facelift of the original game for the GBA, at least, that’s the impression they labored to project at E3 - apparently that’s not quite true. My friend Jason wrote up a bunch of stuff based on a conference call he was recently in on for his site eToychest, which I visit along with my other dailies. Actually, looks like he has a Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles US review up there, too. He has all kinds of shit.
it glittered and it gleamed