Monday, May 29, 2006

The Gates of OBSESSION

Who doesn't have an Elder Scrolls obsession right now? Jumping around to nearly every gaming blog I know, it's obvious that Oblivion is the hot ticket addiction item right now. Then again, maybe I don't spend enough time on Nintendo fanboy sites.

This is a paragraph about alchemy.

Yes, I'm a collector. Running hither and thither from quest to quest, I take every mushroom, flower, and loaf of bread I can find. I bring them back to the little trunk in the corner of my house. And when I need levels in alchemy, I come home and brew up little potions using my fancy calcinator. And when I need levels in mercantilism, I sell my favorite shopkeeper all the complicated and obscure treats I've concocted.

This is a paragraph about power-levelling.

There is little more satisfying than a perfect level. 5 in strength, 5 in intelligence, 5 in endurance. Yes, I keep careful tally. (And wish every day that I had distributed my major skills a tad bit more evenly.)

This is a paragraph about friendship.

I should also mention that I'm playing through the game with a friend. It's a wonderful pairing because we're both being meticulous (and ridiculous) about levelling. And because we both have things that we love doing. He can spend an hour taking hits at Goblin Jim's, while I can't get enough of racking up completed quests. I love finding the last piece for his set of elven armor and he loves procuring my journeyman-level alchemy equipment. And we both spend too much time making sure we've scoured every crevice of a dungeon. Plus, it's a lot easier to put 10 hours a day into a game if someone else can hold the controller for a while.

And if you're an Oblivion fan and haven't yet seen Calyber FD's brilliant Oblivimari post... well, you should.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Nintendo Monde!!

I love spontaneity! It's so incredible to be able to throw prudence to the wind and do something fun and entirely selfish every once in a while. And that's how I ended up on the second floor at Nintendo World in NYC watching the pre-E3 Nintendo press conference. Is there anything better than gruff, "cool" frat boys cheering over Yoshi's Island 2?

Trip to NY and Ruminations on Sony

Mike and I left for New York Monday night and stayed with his friend's parents in CT. The trip down was fun and music-filled, highlighted by phone calls to our friends keeping us updated on the Sony press conference. It was all smiles, including the greasy late night pizza. Until we heard about the ridiculous hijack Sony pulled.

Now, I might just be a cynical Nintendo fangirl. And it may be true that I've been gradually losing faith in PlayStation. But this controller business is nonsense. To announce a delay and blame it on the Blue Ray technology... then to turn around and unveil a weak rip-off version of the sexy, innovative Wii-mote... I know I sound like every other bitter Nintendo fan out there, but it just seemed a little uncouth. Unsavory. Uncool. The sort of thing we've come to expect from the evil Microsoft. But is Sony so desperate to maintain their hold? I definitely had a gut reaction of f**k this. I might still buy the thing, but it will only be out of a sick need to experience the industry as a whole. Then again, I still haven't bought a PSP.

To Rockefeller Center!

Metro-North is a lovely thing. And the MTA. We arrived at Nintendo World in plenty of time to secure a nice little spot in line. Mike got us McDonald's for breakfast and we chilled with the fanboys, played some Kart over Wi-Fi, and talked about the gaming world. I also spent some time browsing around the store, which I had never been in before. It's such a beautiful mecca of all things Nintendo. And who doesn't want to watch 20-year-old college boys playing DDR: Mario Remix?

I also loved seeing the bits and pieces of Nintendo past on display. Old consoles, games, paraphernalia. It's so funny how NES gear can make me get emotional.

The Press Conference

When it finally came time to head into the store, the line got tense. There was worry that not everyone in line would get in. And you know how mob mentality can get. But we slipped in pretty early (yay good spot in line!), got our little Wii lapel pin, and headed upstairs to get premium floor space.

The conference itself was everything I had hoped for. Feeling the buzz of excitement as the time drew near. Experiencing the thrill of every scrap of game footage and every announcement. It's like seeing a film with a cult following at the midnight opening. Every line is funnier, sadder, or more thrilling. Serenity was like that. People cheered for Miyamoto and Reggie and pretty much everyone else who walked on stage. The frat boys were as excited about Metroid and Mario Galaxy as they were about Yoshi's Island 2.

And everyone in the room was drooling at the prospect of hands-on time with the Revolution. The live "tennis" match was fantastic. Will there ever be another console as perfectly suited to the party atmosphere? I know Mike was disappointed with a lot of the gameplay footage, but I still can't help feeling the thrill of Nintendo running through my veins. Wii launch couldn't come soon enough.

We didn't stay for the tournaments (opted for a walk around the city, Central Park, and tickets to Sweeney Todd), but it was great to just soak in the atmosphere.

In essence...

I love Nintendo. They would have to make a lot of mistakes before I lose faith in them. And despite all the debates raging across the internet, I am excited for the coming season. So many games and consoles to love and adore. I can't wait to fish.