29 June 2007

How Much?!!!!

Okay I was wandering around the internet and came across a game that looked interesting. It is a strat RPG it looks like. What they call wargames these days, what we called D&D campaigns. The company that GMs is Incubus Designs. Now what first drew my attention was their ANNOYING site design. There is this menu thingy that covers stuff on the left side of the page. As you ALL know, I use Opera and a lot of sites do not support it.

So I open I.E. Same stuff. Hmm, so what is this game about? Looks interesting. Ahh I probably can't play it cause of the dial up issue. Oh whoa cool you send in moves by e-mail or snailmail. So the thoughts are running through my head when I notice the payment option on the menu. A lot of games are p2p (pay to play), others give paying players advantages. So I click on it - it tells me how to pay but not how much. So I look around more.

A new game starts end of June, seems they run 7 -15 days between turns. Again I think Cool. It makes sense if they are using snailmail. Hey a low tech game I can play maybe. FINALLY I find a note that says is a see appendix 3 for payment. So I wander over to appendix 3. First turn is free, - good, E-mail turns are £3.50 (approx $5.5 or 5.5 Euros or $7.00 USD) and postal turns are £4.

Now granted a turn is multiple orders like 45 or some amount, but they are processed once every 7-15 days. How many orders are countermanded in a typical game so neither side accomplished anything? So $14.00 to $28.00 a month for a mail in game? Hey I think WoW is too much at $12.00 a month plus 40.00 or so for the war chest. Not to mention I can't play it anyway on dialup. So no thanks guys. Game sounds neat. Site is annoying but the price is just too high for this old D&Der who still uses index cards, pencils and graph paper.

27 June 2007

Subduing Vista

A month and a half later and Vista and I are still locked in a struggle, I am not certain who will win. The short story is the old 98 machine died. I could not afford the machine I really wanted, so I bought one from Circuit City. Give me a few days and perhaps I will relate the entire saga of the machines. Some parts of it still sets my blood boiling. But here are some of the highlights of the battle on the gaming front:

Vista vs Darkstone Darkstone wins.

Vista vs Revanant Revanant wins (but display must be dropped to 16 to play)

Vista Vs. Final Fantasy VII Vista wins-so far I get to start a new game or load then screen turn black and stays that way.

Vista Vs Prince of Persia 3d PoP3d but Movies do not run so far

Vista vs Dungeon Keeper- Vista. Vista laughs at me. It tells me it installed but it did not.

Vista vs.Zmud- Zmud, but must run as administrator

Vista Vs Normality- Vista. It did not really even try. No directory made.

Vista Vs Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny-Vista It goes through everything makes a westwood chat directory even, but does not even begin to install Lands of Lore although it claims it does.

Vista vs THQ's Let's ride Dreamer-THQ Damn,I had hoped Vista would win that one. don't ask it's a long story. but it loaded.

Vista Vs Icewind Dale-Icewind Dale wins.

Note: Icewind Dale and Darkstone loaded first attempt with no tweaks,driver downloads or researching what was happening through the web or readme files. The rest all had issues that needed to be resolved during installation.So to all you Best Buy employees and others who spout the Microsoft Party line "of course your games will run fine on Vista with its ability to emulate older OSes" you know where you can put it.

22 June 2007

Roleplaying, what is it?

There are many forms of gaming. I would LIKE to say I have tried them all, but I can't - yet.

One of the lowest tech and highest imagination forms of gaming is Roleplaying. It comes in many forms from the old Let's Pretend game that children play to a sophisticated profession known as acting. Yet all are based upon one premise, you are pretending to be someone else.

So how do you do this? I'll let you in on a secret - you don't. What you DO is find an aspect of yourself and apply it to that character. I have found there are only two things most people cannot roleplay well in a game - what they cannot conceive as a possibility and what they do on a daily basis.

While the first point may seem obvious, it is a bit complicated. For example, There is a cardinal outside my window, I can concieve easily of the following, listening to it's song happily, muttering at it what do YOU have to be happy about, scaring it off, shooting it, reaching out ripping it's head off and eating it like a cat. Now in real like i am likely only to do the first three actions. The second three are things that would horrify me. So if I am playing a character that is the type of person I am NOT I might choose to roleplay out one of those last two actions. But there are other things that have not crossed my mind that I could do. These are teh ones I cannot roleplay.

Now expand that. Try to think of being a character that you have no concept of. Actually the one that comes to mind for me is a sunfish. How would I BE a realistic fish (Yes, this was once given to a group I was in as an exercise in a method acting course.) Ok what does a fish think about, I don't know, does it even think? Food I suppose, swimming. What makes a sunfish different from say a blue gill? I have no idea. In other words, I cannot roleplay a realistic sunfish because i have no experience with them.

Most people cannot effectively roleplay what they do on a daily basis, because it is what they do. Imagine narrating your day, literally step by step.

"I am awake, I lie in bed for a minute listening to the radio, What is that playing? Oh, it's Brahms. My feet hurt. I lay back in the pillow until the piece is over. When I hear the announcer say 'It's 7:00 and time for the news', I arise and get my clothing out of the drawers. I put on my panties and bra first then the pants and pullover shirt for work. I can't find my socks. I go to the laundry room and hunt through the dryer for a clean pair."

And so on, while a good writer can make that sound much better than I just did, they cannot make it any more interesting without delving into the psyche of the individual and taking the scene out of the realm of the immediate action which, unlike novels and stories, is not done in roleplay. Typing out step by step such actions as eating breakfast, driving to work, working, meetings, eating lunch, working some more, gossip around the water cooler with no juxtaposition of the abnormal mixed in with the normal bores most people. As a result, the person 'falls out of character' and into themselves and loses the sense of it being a game.

Now if one were to take that last example and insert an abonormal occurance for that setting, THAT opens up roleplay. If a band of vikings suddenly time warped into the office and started raiding, it would cause the writer of the ordinary day to find something in the character to deal with the situation. In short, roleplay is using what you know with your imagination and that of others to have fun.

Next time - Types of roleplaying games.