Thursday, March 10, 2011

Biobreak Games

I wrote earlier how I'm not feeling the whole new "arcade" concept (nice try with that Game Room thing Microsoft; was an interesting idea but I'm not paying real money to spend in my friends' fake arcade). That's not to say I disregard the whole genre of the so-called "shallow" games. Quite the opposite.

I call them my guilty pleasures. Mike would come home to find me wrapped in a ball of cloth in the couch, a controller and a remote hidden somewhere under the layers, an overflowing ashtray on the arm of the couch. I would grin mischeviously at him and he'd ask "have you been sitting there all day playing that instead of going to school?" to which I would reply with a sound "YESH!" and proceeded to throw my head back, stomp my feet and laugh manically.

They were (and still are) my guilty pleasures. Hours of my life were shamefully spent on both handhelds, consoles and desktops on games with -3 story depth, -1 learning curve, +9 replayability. Some of those I promoted to legends among our group, us eventually taking weekends off just to finish them and play them together.

I played Lumines first on the PSP. I loved it so much I ended up buying it for the 360 as well. I played Lumines on the subway, I played Lumines at school. I played Lumines in bed, I played Lumines on a stool. Which reminds me: Mike likes to tell people that he once found me in the bathroom with a blanket over my knees and an ice cream bowl playing Lumines. I keep telling them the ice cream part is a lie. I'm not winning. I would play Lumines so often and for so long I'd have to pause the game to rub my eyes so I could see again. I would talk his ear off how there was this one stage that actually said "Ray Liotta" when you made a square and he'd roll his eyes at me disapprovingly. I conquered all the achievements for the 360 version in 2 hours.

I first discovered Puzzle Quest when my PSP's battery died and I turned to one of our DSs. I was immediately hooked. Here was an RPG game that took pity of me and my lack of combat skills. "Here, have Bejewelled instead!" I finished it three times and renegated all other games for around a month or so. Mike would point and laugh at me for my poor taste in RPGs. I glared at him with that specific glare that whispers:

I proceeded to prove him wrong. "Try it," I said simply. One of our friends had too and he had become a slave to the gems just as I had. Reluctantly he accepted and he ended up finishing the game too. Puzzle Quest has a pathetic excuse of a story (there is bad guy trying to rule world! You have sword and kill things with puzzles kthxbye) but who the hell gives a shit. You had a little citadel to upgrade, minigames (which were nothing but variants of the battle system) to unlock new spells, train mounts and forge items. You could even make a few choices that affected how the game played out. It was a great bathroom game. It still is.

Honeycomb Beat, Polarium, Soukoban 2

The first two we went through as a threesome (sounds kinkier than it actually was), using our combined intellect to get through the puzzle modes. Soukoban 2 was played in bed, when we'd exhausted cat videos on youtube and were up to date on fails. We were going through a revival of games I had been dumbfound as a young girl by one of those Super 108 in One cartridges for the Game Boy. There were, in all honesty, only about 20 games in that thing and even those who featured a saving feature didn'te because, well, the cartridge was full with the other 107 copies of games. It has close to 10 versions of Battle City (my mom was the real Battle City player. Man did she go at it...) the only difference between them being the name of the file and how many lives you started with.
There were a lot of those games we tried, including Heiankyo Alien, but Soukoban 2 was a lost gem. Man, did we have fun back then, just pushing boxes on top of dots. It doesn't take much to entertain us, us or anyone for that matter, if you're in the right mindset. If your mind's legs are spread right open, ready to be entertained. Which ours were.

Nowadays I just play Governor of Poker. Not as exciting as Lumines or Phoenix Wright, but its just enough to keep me entertained while not addictive enough that I'll take dessert with me.

And while I've definitely played enough Rift lately to have a level 28 Cleric and a level 15 Mage, I don't have much to say about it, or maybe not just yet. Or maybe I just don't have enough screenshots to make me feel comfortable about the subject.

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