We are half way through the launches of the new consoles with just the UK release of the PlayStation 4 to come. We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about the fifth birthday of The Reticule and our past generation in games. I hope you enjoyed those two articles. While today is a normal edition of Our Week in Games, as we enter December next week, we will start to take a look at Our Year in Games. For now, hit the break and enjoy.
Amid all the hullabloo about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I’ve quietly been getting to grips with my Wii U which I bought the other week from Game. It was a bargain of £3.87 thanks to a £50 trade-in uplift when I traded in my old Wii and the mass of store credit I had already built up. I bought the Wind Waker HD edition, but sadly I haven’t had the funds to purchase any further games for it. I can’t even play my old Super Mario Galaxy because I stupidly I left my spare Wii Remote and Nunchuck in the bag with the Wii when I traded it in. That is a bit of a bummer, but I have been having some fun with Wind Waker.
My previous Zelda experience amounts to a few hours playing Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask on my neighbour’s N64 when we were kids and Twilight Princess on my Wii. I was never able to really get into Twilight Princess and barely got out of the first training area. I had been hoping to get the New Super Mario Bros. Wii U bundle, but sadly that wasn’t in the deal with the £50 uplift so I agreed to Wind Waker initially wary that I might be making a huge mistake.
Fortunately I haven’t made a mistake in getting it, I’m still in the very early stages of the game, but I am already having so much fun with it. It doesn’t have cutting edge realistic graphics like Killzone or Ryse, rather it has bundles of character. The ability to play the game when in bed using the tablet is, frankly something that has been totally undersold by Nintendo in their marketing of the machine. I might have to write more on that another time.
It’s amazing what you take for granted in life. Some things can become so familiar that if they vanish you’ll find yourself struggling to cope, unable to even begin to contemplate them not being there any more.
I guess what I’m saying is that I really, really don’t like having a broken mouse wheel.
There was a time, or so I’m told, where mouse wheels weren’t a thing. A time when mice had balls. A time before trackball mice were finally driven into extinction for being the monstrosities they really are – I feel like I’ve been dragged back to that time, but there’s one problem; the games I’ve brought back with me really don’t want to be there.
Roll the mouse wheel, they say. Go on, roll it. Oh, you could use an obscure keyboard shortcut to achieve the same result, but I’d far rather you just, you know, rolled the mouse wheel.
Well I can’t. It’s dead. Kaput. It is an ex-wheel. There is absolutely nothing I can do to bring it back, except perhaps possibly buying a new mouse.
Wait, I’ll just do that.
I’ll spare everyone the tale of my recent hard drive woes (because “my mistake, should’ve been avoidable” just about covers it and makes for a dull fable) and instead I’ll enthuse about Desktop Dungeons.
It’s a quick-fire tile based roguelike where the single screen dungeons take no more than ten minutes to complete. There’s shades of puzzle/strategy game to it, in that resource management is king: from potions, to experience, even to unexplored sections of whatever cavern or catacomb you’re currently putting to fire(ball) and sword.
As anyone who played the original freeware version might recall, this careful use of blackspace is key. In many other dungeon running games you can have a nap on the spot and recuperate your health and mana, but no such luck for intrepid Desktop dungeoneers: here, exploring fresh tiles is abstracted as the downtime needed to have a bit of a breather. In other words, think of DD as turn-based, with the exception that walking across tiles you have already uncovered doesn’t advance the clock. It’s such a simple idea but enables a game that seems a cute fluffy little affair on the surface with an inner core of hideous, devious iron. Some of the challenges are hard with a capital… well, all four letters.
It took me multiple attempts to beat this one bloody vampire, and that was about as early in the game as it gets. I ended up doing it with a dwarven monk, of all things: as potential race/class combos go, that’s not even a particularly sensible and efficient one. Sometimes you just have a good run! The nature of a roguelike.
I’ve had one or two crashes, but mostly the only thing that costs me games is my own habit of clicking before thinking: and keep in mind that your every move is forecasted, so if the next action will result in your death you’ll know. And this still doesn’t stop me. It’s sad to think how many lives might have been saved in my oh-so-wittily-named kingdom of Deschtaup if only trying to commit suicide presented me with a “are you SURE you want to die?” prompt…