Thursday, March 3, 2011

Theme Hospital: "You Have Conquered This Realm!"

Original post title: "Rift: Sorry, Completely Forgot About You"

Ok, first of all, the screenshot folder is aptly called "screenshots" and it's just inside the main Rift game folder. If you can't find that, just open your Rift desktop shortcut properties and see where it points to. Now stop Googling it, jeez...

I got home yesterday and I decided I'd play a little Theme Hospital before dinner. This had a lot to do with my first post and the nostalgia I felt when I looked back at my past. I had the .iso in my work flash drive (which I downloaded after I discovered my original copy is probably still in a box at my mother's) but I can do fuck all with no admin privileges; I even tried using DOSBox Portable to no avail. So I plugged it in my laptop, put a blanket over my knees, searched around for my small mouse (which my cat has tried several times to separate from the USB plug) and I mounted and installed.
Need more janitors, stat!
Surprisingly, the game looked just as I remembered it, down to the midi soundtrack. The graphics were even better than what I was hoping, mostly due to the fact that my computer back in the late 90s was everything but top of the line. This only added to the fun I ended up having.

The game revolves around, as the name implies, running a successfull hospital. To do so you have to manage your alloted terrain and build GP's offices, general diagnosis, X-ray rooms, clinics, pharmacies and place benches, heaters, KitKat vending machines (that serve soft drinks) and pretty plants. You also need to hire doctors, nurses a receptionist and handymen. You need to research treatments, diagnosis equipment, drug efficiency. You need to train your doctors and prioritize either watering the plants or mopping up vomit. You build facilities to cure illnesses like Gut Rot, Spare Ribs, Slack Tongue and Bloaty Head. And when you finally meet your quotas, you leave that hospital and start anew at a more challenging site.

Micromanagement is the word and the game manages to be just difficult enough to keep you wanting to get better without completely frustrating you and your efforts. At length I finally asked "oh God, what time is it?" It was nearing 2:00 am. I had completely forgotten about Rift, grinding, questing and pig skinning.

All this vomit, they do not approve.
So what does this say abour Rift? I'll tell you what it says about me. It says that the main reason, by far, that I have purhcased Rift is my guild. I probably wouldn't have bothered if not for them. I have a "fantasy game" hole in my heart that always needs to be filled but that would've been taken care of when Dragon Age 2 comes knocking. I have no real MMO need, at least not anymore. I just didn't want to lose touch with all the friends I made in that guild and so I slugged over to Rift. Again, it's not that I don't like the game or that it's too daunting. No, it's just that I don't get excited thinking about it, I don't desperately want to go home just to play it. I do, however, feel like going home to play a bit more Theme Hospital, see if I can finally beat the game after all these years.

I will be playing Rift tonight, though. I don't want to be left behind. I try and make excuses for the game. It's an MMO, it would be a bad thing if it got you that hooked, you'd never get a life; you're supposed to be playing this for a long time, better not to exhaust things to do so quickly. Bad excuses that. I got that hooked on WAR in the beggining. I'd cringe and frown and moan all day because I wanted to go home and play it. And if I play enough Rift that I exhaust things to do, the game suffers from a severe lack of content because I could never play that much, I don't have the time, my life doesn't function that way.

I'm still waiting to find that one thing about Rift that makes me love it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed but I'm not getting my hopes up. Right now, it's like settling for a tuna sandwich when what you really want is grilled salmon.

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