Here's a little something about me: I love point-and-click adventure games. However, I'm not particularly versed in the genre, so to speak. I'm like that kid who says he's a huge fan of a band, when in reality he's only actually heard a couple of tracks off of a greatest hits album. The first two Broken Sword games, Shadow of the Templars and The Smoking Mirror, respectively, are two games that defined my childhood. If I were to make one, they would both appear pretty high in a list of my favourite games of all time. They're two games that I know like the back of my hand, having played through them many, many times throughout the years. Anyone who has an interest in classic point-and-clicks who hasn't played them, should play them. My bias aside, they're generally considered to be among the best classic adventure games ever made, the first in particular often finding itself in best-of lists.

"Life went on around me, but the explosion was to change my life forever."

Point-and-click adventure games are among the few types of video games that, in my opinion, generally age pretty well. Good 2D art will always age better than bad 3D graphics, and there's not much room for improvement on the basic point-and-click gameplay of classic adventure games. And because the main focus of adventure games is the story, which obviously doesn't "age" in the same way that other aspects of a game would, means that adventure games are generally much easier to enjoy years down the line. With other types of games, playing them after they've aged isn't always easy, due to the lack of gameplay features and innovations that've come since and that we're used to and often can't look past. Not to mention the old-looking graphics in the case of 3D games (go back and look at some early 3D games from the mid-to-late-90s, that shit ain't pretty). Adventure games generally don't have that problem.

So, why haven't I played all that many adventure games? Truth is, I have no idea. Another thing about me: I love a game with a compelling story, which makes it all the more strange I have played all that many of these games, what with compelling stories being the main focus of them. This is something I plan to correct, with a reasonable number of point-and-click adventures sitting on my massive backlog of games.

In fact, I've already started. I played through Beneath a Steel Sky last week, a very highly revered game by Revolution, the same dudes who made those Broken Sword games I love so much. Because of that, I figured it would be a good place to start. That and the fact the game has been completely free since around 2004 or so. I would like to pick up a physical copy at some point, since I love having physical copies of games. The day gaming becomes purely digital will be a sad, sad day. But that's a story for another day.

The plot and setting are of BaSS is pretty different than that of Broken Sword, although Revolution's charm and humour are definitely there. Steel Sky is set somewhere in a dystopian future in Australia, where most of the NPCs have ridiculous British accents. The game is worth playing for that alone. Some of the voice acting is absolutely hilarious. While the scope of the game is pretty limited compared to their later offerings (Steel Sky only being Revolution's second release, after Lure of the Temptress, another game on my hit-list), the world is surprisingly well realised, even if the majority of the game only takes place in a handful of different areas.

The game isn't terribly long, but then again, most classic adventure games (to my knowledge) aren't particularly long. I can plough through Broken Sword in a couple of hours tops. The puzzles in BaSS are also pretty well done as well. Not super-easy, but not so hard that they make my primitive brain struggle and resort to a guide. The game, for the most part, does a decent job explaining what you need to do to continue, which is good because, in a story-focused game, more often than not the only thing I want to do is see more story. So, I guess I could call that a recommendation. If you have any sort of interest in adventure games and you haven't played Beneath a Steel Sky, you really owe it to yourself to play it. And it is free, after all. Hard to argue at that price.

As for other games on my adventure hit-list? There's certainly quite a few. I bought the remake of The Secret of Monkey Island off XBLA way back when, and got a couple of hours into it, though never finished it, so I probably owe it to myself to see that one through, as well as the second game which got a similar makeover. I plan to get around to playing the games that Tim Schafer is known for as well: Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. I'm actually eyeing up a copy of Full Throttle on eBay at the moment, and I've been trying to get an original big-box copy of Grim Fandango, though the past couple auctions have slipped me by, and the buy-it-now listings are a little more pricey than I'm willing to pay right now. One day though. One day.

As for more modern day games, I'm a couple of hours into Gemini Rue, which was on sale a little while ago on Steam, and I'm definitely enjoying that, even if it does have a pretty clunky combat mechanic. I've heard great things about the Blackwell series by the same guys as well, so I'd love to check them out. I also want to play some of the games by Pendulo Studios. Giant Bomb recently did a Quick Look of Yesterday and that definitely looked like something I wanted to play and I hear their back catalogue is of similar quality.

Having said all that, I currently have a fucktonne of other, non-adventure games on my backlog as well, which I would love to get through. I haven't been doing all that much gaming lately, even with the amount of free-time I generally have. I'm often plagued by lack of motivation, and sometimes it's almost as if I enjoy reading and talking about video games more than I enjoy playing them.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

With the exception of that Call of Duty post (which was originally birthed from this post) I haven't put up anything on here for a while, so I figured it was high time I get something new up. Forgetting to keep them updated is what's killed the blogs I've had in the past, and I'm determined to keep this one going for as long as feasibly possible. So, this is for the most part going to be something of an update post, letting you know what I've been playing as of late.

And the answer to that is quite a lot.

I'm still knuckles deep in Mass Effect 3. I'm about 10 hours into a second playthrough, this time as a female sentinel (as opposed to my default male soldier). I can see why people are attracted to playing as FemShep: Jennifer Hale's voice work is pretty stellar, though I've never really agreed with the general opinion that her's surpasses Mark Meer's voice for male Shepard. At least, not in Mass Effect 3. It's been a long time since I played the original Mass Effect, so I can't comment on how good his VO was there, ME2 was fine, not bad, but not amazing, but he really seems to have come into his own on Mass Effect 3. Meer is definitely a talented voice artist (he also voices the Vorcha, as well as numerous smaller characters in the series).

So while I'm in the middle of a single player run, most of the my time with ME3 as of late has been with the multiplayer. It's fun. Very fun, in fact. I was a bit worried pre-launch, since the gaming world doesn't really need another take on wave-based survival co-op modes, but something about ME3's keeps me coming back. There aren't many co-op games that I can stand to play with strangers. And it's completely awesome with friends, with whom the vast majority of my time spent with it has been with. The unlock system, while it definitely has issues, is pretty awesome. The fact that BioWare made the unlocks system play like a collectible card game is ingenious, making it incredibly addicting. The temptation to throw real money to get them is embarrassingly high. Gotten get them packs.

I also at some point plan on playing through the original Mass Effect again. Whether or not I'll get around to it (or even getting around to finishing my current ME3 playthrough) is another story, since I have a bunch more games that I'm wanting to get through.

Two of those being Darksiders and Warhammer 40k: Space Marine. The former being a God of War style hacky-slashy action adventure game which a lot of people have likened to the Legend of Zelda, which was enough to get me intrigued. I've played through the first couple of hours and it's pretty fucking fun. The combat is pretty satisfying, the enemy and character designs are kinda awesome (with perhaps, the exception of War, the main character) and the voices are awesomely cheesy. It makes a nice change from all the shooty action I've been playing as of late. Space Marine is a game I was aware of before it launched last year, and I said to myself I would pick it up at some point after being thoroughly impressed by the demo for the game. Think Gears of War with no cover, more meleé and hoards of enemies. Oh, and hilariously stereotypical British accents. SPOICE MAHREENS.

On top of those two, I also have Rayman Origins and Halo Anniversary to play. The latter I've put a little time into, enough to complete the first level of the game. It looks... okay. The ability to change between regular old-ass Halo graphics and the updated ones on the fly is kinda cool. In regards to the updated graphics though, they obviously had some constraints they had to be limited to if they wanted the nostalgia-mode button to work, so I feel the game doesn't look as nice as it could've done. Reach is a better looking game, for sure. As for Rayman Origins... it's still in the shrink wrap. Sure looks pretty though.

And that's not even all the games I have going on right now. I've been putting a lot of time into the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3, after getting it to play with friends, since I don't have many people to play with on PC. There's also a whole bunch of older games I'm determined to play through as well: Beyond Good & Evil and Psychonauts are two that comes to mind. And on top of that, I'm also in the process of reading the Mass Effect novels, which are particularly enjoyable. So far anyway. I really want to check out the Halo and Gears of War novels at some point as well. I need excuses to read more.

Anyway, that'll do for today.

I was originally going to put this at the end of another post I was working on, but as I was writing it, I thought it probably deserved to be it's own post. I'm going to assume that you have at least some knowledge of the CoD scene on YouTube. If not, you can safely skip this post. The post I was originally working on, expect to see within a few days or so.

Hutch revealed that he is quitting. And I mean quitting quitting. He's quit his job at Machinima, he's moving back home from LA, he's not going to be posting videos at all and he's unlikely to be active very much at all on the Internet, whether it be on Twitter or elsewhere. He, for whatever reason, has decided it's time to bow out. I'm talking about this because, I, once upon a time, made Call of Duty YouTube videos. I stopped a few months ago, however, for a number of reasons. Mainly because I wasn't enjoying it any more, and I don't like the direction that the "community" has been heading in for a while now.

But Hutch was one of the good guys. He was the reason I originally started to make videos, and he was the reason a lot of people started to make videos. And, for better or worse, he's the reason the CoD scene on YouTube is as big as it is today. He wasn't the first to make CoD gameplay commentaries, but he was the one that popularised it. Hutch's quitting could (hopefully) be one of the nails in the coffin for the CoD scene on YouTube.

That's one of the reasons why I quit: I hate what the "community" has become. Back when I first started watching CoD videos on YouTube, the community was an actual community. There weren't a whole of people doing it, and the guys that were were faily close-nit; everyone knew everyone else, at least in some respect. Now, the community houses well over a million people. One million plus people is not a community. There are people who have Machinima contracts that have thousands of subscribers, that you will have never heard of, even though they're doing the exact same thing you are. That's how big it's gotten. And with the rise of Machinima and the insane growth of the scene, the focus turned from making videos because you loved making videos to money.

Take some of the bigger channels, WoodysGamertag is a good example. Compare his videos from two years ago to his videos now. Whenever I go to the front page of YouTube and see all the new videos from the people I'm subbed to, all you see is uncreative videos, with titles and thumbnails designed to grab your attention and get as many views as possible, simply so that person can make some money. Now, I have no problem with people making money off their videos, if said videos are actually well made and required effort to make, Stuart being the prime example. It just annoys me when I see people with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, putting up ugly videos that are creatively and intellectually bankrupt, yet getting thousands of views and making enough money to earn a living.

Actual content aside, the fact that some of the big names don't know, or are simply too lazy to make even the most basic steps to make their videos look good. To name a few names, Wings of Redemption, Blame Truth and xJawz are a few that are guilty of putting up videos that are just plain ugly. No colour correction, so everything is just bland and washed out; resampling not disabled, leading to their videos having awful ghosting due to the raw video and rendered output having different frame rates; and low bit-rates, making their videos, combined with the previous things, looking like a compressed ugly mess. Three different things, which take a combined 15 seconds to fix, and yet it makes your video look infinitely nicer. And that's without the boring, uninspired commentary, with them begging you to like and favourite their video. Looking at you, Blame Truth.

And that's why I quit YouTube. I wasn't big, I wasn't popular. I barely had 300 subscribers to my name. But it was something that, once upon a time, I used to really enjoy doing. And it's something Hutch used to enjoy as well, and while the reason he decided to quit is just all speculation, it's clear to see that he didn't have the same spark he had three years ago. The fact he decided to bow out at a high point is something that a few other people should probably think about doing.

Oh wait, no, because they haven't worked a day in their lives and will be fish out of water when the YouTube money dries up.