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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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in which i rant on nothing actually relevant to anyone
children of dune - leto 1
Cracked.com - apparently the place I can actually spend eight hours surfing when the servers go down. I mean, doing this with wikipedia at least gave me like, plausible deniability in that it was semi-educational and you know, I was getting in good with the Illuminati, but I'm much less copasetic laughing hard enough to get the attention of my boss.

Why are they so hilarious?

However, The 7 Commandments All Video Games Should Obey, oh my God, yes.

Let me explain.

I own a babygamer, aka Child. I used to spend quality time myself in seven hour stretches in Final Fantasy VII, not to mention a childhood of Zeldas and Marios and whatever I could get my hands on that would fit with a ColecoVision, Atari, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Playstation, Playstation 2, 3, Wii, X-Box 360 we are your fucking audience, get it? The thing is, parenthood did not change this--children are useful for bringing one beverages and helping you keep track items in the dungeons, seriously, gamers take note, kids are excellent slave labor. I cannot recommend this highly enough once they understand single word verbal commands and have good enough hand-eye coordination to get things from the fridge, mmkay?

However, let me tell you about Final Fantasy VII, in which I took my discs and tried to break them in a hysterical fit because you kept making me do stupid shit for hours. I am willing to put in the time to get the gear to kill the thing and explore the continent. But if I have to redo it five times because you want to extend your gameplay and had to travel epic lengths of continent on unreliable little mule-like creatures while three quarters of my team was dead to get to the goddamn save points, fuck it, I found Voyager fanfiction.

Seriously. That's how I ended up in fandom. Which is a life lesson we can all learn from. Throw your CDs at the wall, join PTF and ASC, three months later, you are writing about the crew of Voyager being infected with parasites and writing highly awkward porn.

I am not saying there was a Golden Age here, I am saying my thirteen year old beat Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST in under three weeks, and I won't talk about Assassin's Creed because that was money not well spent. There is a pile devoted to the Modern Warfare franchise that hurts me. There is a reason a lot of people who otherwise kept spreadsheets and whose children learned how to use a controller and a keyboard before they could speak full sentences get hot for Wii Play, Wii Sports, and goddamn Farmville. Sure, they are repetitious and make us wonder what kind of people we've become, but they didn't make me ride stupid little mule-things that kicked me off when I was almost at the save point just to watch me die as dawn broke across the horizon (in real time). After six hours of gameplay. Before my Human Sexuality test. Also, Wii Bowling rocks. (I do not play Farmville. I wish it to burn to the ground. My mother and several coworkers of multi-ethnic groups of various ages up to eighty spend quality time worrying in chat about their fields. I have never seen anything more terrifying. Then they ask me to gift them with a nail. This has to stop.)

Which is part of the reason I refused to go near anything game related. Every time I am tempted? I remember those mule-things. And wtf about Ariel? THAT WAS SO NOT ON.

To be fair, I am badly tempted by the new Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I am not giving in, but I am saying, I may have more than once stroked it lovingly and thought about teh nightmares I would have should I want to sleep (which I'd be playing, so I wouldn't).

Speaking of, anyone have any recs for games that he will not a.) finish in two weeks and make me hate the gaming industry and b.) be bored with? I'd like something with a storyline, but FPS is fine as long as there is a neat assortment of weapons and something vaguely resembling a strategy. Any platform is fine but PC. We have burned through Halo, Modern Warfare, anything with the word "Assassin" in it, and he refuses Star Wars for reasons that don't make sense but have something to do with Anakin being a douche (which I guess actually does make sense).

I was going to suggest Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. They don't have Anakin in it. Actually, it takes place a few thousand years before the empire. They're world spanning, can be played as both a light side/dark side way. Have three different types of character to play. Has a great character build (meaning, you can be more than just some white guy.) I don't know if his Star Wars hatred has only to do with stuff that does include Anakin...or if it's Star Wars in general.

Mass Effect (1 and 2) was something my ex loved. (He mainly plays Madden)

No Anakin is a high selling point. *thoughtful* And I feel like a failure as a parent that he's moved away from Star Wars. *adds to list*

Ooh, Mass Effect. Will look that one up.

How about Mass Effect/Mass Effect II? Dragon Age:Origins? <-- OMG NERDGASM

Okay, two for that one. Noting that down for research this weekend.

For the Mario franchise (up to everything they put out for the Super Nintendo), my dad used my sisters and I to chart the location of EVERY ITEM FOR EVERY LEVEL EVER. People wonder where I get my sick love of graph paper and maps--EXHIBIT A, PEOPLE! Children are EXCELLENT slave labor when it means you'll let them watch 10 hours of TV at a stretch (and occasionally play).

My Mom did that for Zelda! We had graph paper and each one was devoted to a map with symbols created for what we found in each room. Me and Child were doing this for Mom on freaking Zelda: Windwaker, no lie.

It's impressive how she got us to ignore cartoons for this.

my video gaming experience is sadly at least one console generation out of date but still

The mule things were chocobos. I'm just sayin'.

My favorite game ever was Vagrant Story, but I think it's hard to find these days and it's a mature enough storyline that it might not make sense to him, since I forget how old he is. (Not be inappropriate, just not make much sense.) If that won't be a problem, though, man, that game fucking rocks, even if the costume design is sort of like fetish night at the SCA, and there's plenty of weapon dinking.

Have you ever played Ico? Great puzzlesolving there, even if it only winds up being about 15 hours of gameplay. Plus it manages to take the videogame staple of Powerless Character You Must Defend (the princess is in another castle!) to the extreme, in that Yorda needs to literally be dragged around by the hand, and yet not only do you not hate her for it, you somehow wind up apologizing to her out loud every time you accidentally move too quickly and she stumbles. I do not know how they managed it, omg. No weapons in that, though -- it's a puzzle-solving RPG. (With fabulous atmosphere. Like, I wanted to vid it.)

Final Fantasy Tactics has the best character class system in the universe, and, hysterically, the absolute worst translation/localization ever. Like, to the point where bad translation is named "Daravonese" in the gaming community, after Professor Daravon, the character who does the in-game tutorials and who apparently got the short end of the translation-team-time stick. (Although I think they may have fixed that when they re-released the game.) The advantage of FFT is that its random battles are just as interesting/engaging/epic as the plot battles, so you can happily meander along for 200+ hours just fighting random battles, leveling up, and plotting your job classes. (I, uh, may have been known to do complex spreadsheets to maximize my teams.) The storyline is one of those things where it's going along just fine with a detailed political-intrigue plotline and then in the fourth act SUDDENLY MAGICAL APOCALYPSE OUT OF NOWHERE, but it's endearing nonetheless.

I was recently replaying Spyro the Dragon. It's the most adorable platformer in the world.

Re: my video gaming experience is sadly at least one console generation out of date but still

Goddamn chocobos. Little bucking-you-off-to-die bastards.

I am seriously intrigued on Ico and FFT--both of those sound fun.

The last two Zeldas are pretty damn neat. Twlight Princess and Ocarana of time I think? I'd say then there's that one with the insanity meter, have to look up the name, darkness something. Eternal Darkness! That one has 4 different game plays!

We have those--somewehre? I think Mom and Child played Twilight Princess concurrently while I did the mapping, if I remember correctly.

To be fair, I am badly tempted by the new Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I am not giving in, but I am saying, I may have more than once stroked it lovingly and thought about teh nightmares I would have should I want to sleep (which I'd be playing, so I wouldn't).

Video games give me hives. I think I actually quit after Duckhunt when I was practically a toddler and started learning how to swear, it made me *that* agitated. Even Mario Kart is asthma-inducing for me.

However, my roommate spent something like two months spooning Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I remember, because the love between the two of them was extremely awkward and he got really fucking twitchy when I suggested that he put the game away for a few minutes and actually talk to real-life people or get some fresh air or something. Do with this information what you will. I'm just putting this out there as reasons for or against you giving into Silent Hill.

Duckhunt was evil, okay? Evil. Aim totally did not matter--that game was trying to drive people insane.

I admit, the trailer makes me queasy. I just don't see this going much better than how I currently react when reminded of The Ring, but this time, in video game form.

I'd add my vote for Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, for Knights of the Old Republic (No Anakin, and no douche and NO JAR JAR! Just the awesome of being a Jedi.). Kingdom Hearts maybe as well.

Am slogging my way through FFXIII at the moment and if nothing else, there is nothing repetitive about it, as they've evidently got rid of many of the side quests and it's fairly linear, all about the story and strategy out the kazoo.

I was looking at FFXIII! It looks amazing!

My housemate thirds fourths Mass Effect. I stopped playing video games back in the twilight age of N64 because of all seven commandments mentioned (I really don't deal well with lack of closure to my quests).

Now I stick to the Sims 2 and brain games for the DS, but I kind of miss plot.

*fails editing*

Edited at 2010-03-17 12:18 am (UTC)

Yes, this. P3's graphics and the Wiimotes for the Wii however are seriously tempting. Though granted, I also just like waving the Wiimote around a lot.

Ever heard of Tales of Symphonia? I think it's worth about 50 or 60 hours of plot time, plus whatever you want to put in with random battles.

It's a fantasy role playing type game, and full of plot twists. It's awesome, and I actually wouldn't be surprised if you had heard about it.

Also, Hi! You don't know me. I lurk, but I didn't want to give up a chance to talk about this game.

It sounds familiar, but I've bene reading review sites. I am a fan of the plot twist.

Also hi! Welcome! Feel free to comment anytime!

If you really want a game you can lose hours and hours and hours in, there's two that come to mind: Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (I recommend the Shivering Isles version 'cause Sheogorath's a nut) and it's scifi geek of a younger brother, Fallout 3. The latter has some fairly adult themes, but the way you describe your son he seems pretty mature and level-headed, so it's up to you.

I also have to throw in the Dragon Age: Origins suggestion. It's fun, has a fantastic cast of characters, and in-game same-sex relationships for the win, with two bisexual main characters who are detailed characters with a lot of depth to them.

And if you want something silly but will have you coming back again and again to try and beat your high score just a LITTLE MORE DAMNIT! I cannot recommend the Katamari series enough.

I know you said no PC, but if that ever changes, Civilizations, Starcraft, and Age of Mythology/Age of Empires have yet to let me down.

And um, considering your past experiences I'm not going to mention that I'm 50 hours into Final Fantasy XIII and just about reached the halfway point... Nope, not going to mention it at all.

Anakin is a douche, let's be fair.

And HOMG PORTAL I LOVE THEEEEEEE! (and then there will be cake!) ((this brought to you by #6 on the linked list))

So far this list is like a huge giant WORD because wow, some of these are WHY I DO NOT PLAY GAMES. Seriously, guys, hello.

THANK YOU FOR LINKING THIS. Exxxcceeeeeellllent.

We don't own a console here, and we really should. I mean, I don't actually want to spend time or energy on video gaming, but I do miss things like Zelda and Mario and Katamari (:DDD) and Pikmin and Portal - why yes, I do like things which are low-stress and brightly colored and FUCKING FUN. I also like Super Smash Bros and used to enjoy Soul Caliber II. *nostalgic*

Honestly, the Wii is the most cost-effective console in history and so much fun for casual and quick loading games. I can see why gamers prefer P3 and X-Box, but for quick fun and for playing with multiple players and friends (and my family), it's the best. We've run tournaments with my sister, bil, and the rest of the family. I am totes looking forward to karaoke night and we have two new games just for it.

Also, Zelda. I mean, that alone would have made me get the Wii. But the fact they have so many fun games also helped hugely.

Hi, I can't pass up a video game post without sticking my nose in. : )

I'm not sure how old your kid is, but I love the God of War series. It's fun, easily playable, and it's really pretty to just watch. It has extreme amounts of blood, gore, some nudity, and awesome cut scenes of needlessly violent killing sprees. It's a combination button masher, puzzles, and finding the objects that are shiny. There are parts in the first two where you get Kratos to have (off screen) sex for experience points by pushing the correct buttons at the correct times. He can probably finish each game (there are three now and the first two just went on sale for $30 together on PS3) in two weeks, but there are some extras available once you beat it the first time, and a range of difficulty settings.

Dragon Age: Origins is really awesome, but there was a lot of talking and plot going on with short bouts of gore and violence. There are several parts that are so funny, and the characters have random conversations while exploring. It's one of those games built on strategy where instead of button mashing, you're supposed to pause and set of the next move for all four of the playable characters in the group. I didn't, I just set the game on the easiest setting and mashed away. There are six different origin stories to start the game off with and lots of different choices to make during game play. So you can replay it a lot to find out all the different endings possible. There are four romance options a straight girl, a straight guy, a bi girl and a bi guy which adds a little bit more spice to the game. Dragon Age: Awakenings just came out today, but I've been playing God of War III instead.

basically anything bioware ever did, and also fable.

SECONDED. If you're into RPGs, you HAVE to play Fable. That game delighted me for so, so long. You can play over and over and make it different each time!! \o/

I wish I could rec Okami (Wii) but child will probably end up bored with it, and will likely finish it within 2 weeks. But! It is the most ridiculously pretty game I have ever seen. I tend to run around in circles just to watch the flowers bloom in the wake of the wolf. It's like a moving Japanese watercolor painting. BONUS: it is old and obscure enough that you can get it for cheaps.

I second the FFX rec! (Though I wish Square/Enix created a version that was Japanese voice with English subs...)

Seconded on Okami! It's not difficult but it's *gorgeous*.

Mass Effect, Mass Effect! The stuff you do in ME1 really counts in ME2. Otoh, ME1 is a 70-hour game. I don't know if that is a lot, or not very much time, in game-land. I do know that ME is one of the few games I really enjoy. :)