Friday, April 15, 2016

Computer to Console to Computer

This is really a continuation of my previous blog where I noted that I started computer gaming as a substitute for playing Dungeons & Dragons.  Of course, that meant I played RPGs.  And at that time, it meant that I played western RPGs.  During those years in the early 1990's I didn't keep up with everything gaming.  I didn't own a console of my own (well, anything newer than an Atari 2600) but I played with friends on their consoles.  So, I was surprised when a friend told me about a type of RPG that was played on consoles, one that I hadn't heard of - a JRPG!  What?!?  Of course I had to try it.

I tried it, and I was surprised that I did not like it.  I was as surprised as my friend; it was a highly rated and hugely popular JRPG.  I tried to like it, but if you have to try to like something there is something wrong.  I just couldn't get over the fact that I couldn't create my own character.  That was half the fun of playing an RPG!  I would spend forever creating a character.  Depending on the RPG, I could choose my appearance, class, race, sex, alignment, abilities, skills, religion, and I would have a backstory in mind.  Sometimes, I would just create a starter character to see how the game played out before I created my "real" character because not all warriors play the same and a mage is not a wizard just as a druid is not a cleric.  It seemed like in a JRPG, you were dumped into a character and there wasn't much roleplaying to it.

I couldn't tell you how many times I was ripped out of the game by a dialog or action choice.  When the image I had in my head of my character did not correspond to the options given.  This only seemed to happen in a console JRPG.  I don't remember playing a western RPG on my computer in which the game came to a complete stop as I said to myself, "I wouldn't say this.  I wouldn't do that."  Sometimes I would have to pause for a significant length of time, hours or even days, before I could bring my head around to having my character take the best of two (or more) bad choices.  I hated that and it took the fun out of the game for me.

So, I stuck with computer gaming.  That is until the newer consoles came out and wonderful RPGs were available.  But that is the topic of another blog.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A History

Here is just a little history - my history - my gaming history. OK, so here goes ...

Pong came out when I was a teen. The first time I played it was at a family get-together in a pizza place during the 1970's. I loved it! But soon after I joined the military and went to college, and I didn't have much time while for gaming while getting established in my career.  When things calmed down a bit, I bought an Atari 2600 gaming system and of course, I got Pong.  Asteroids, Space Invaders, and a multitude of others soon followed. I played as much as I could, and ended up with a relatively small video game collection.

Then I found a new love - TSR's Dungeons and Dragons, the original table top role playing game.  At the time, it was still a new game and I remember all the negativity the media associated with the game.  But that didn't bother me.  I was still in the military and a few like-minded individuals and I formed a group.  We created characters and had grand adventures!  Sessions would end up lasting all night.  We had a wonderful dungeon master who was able to think on the fly and was able to improvise.  My favorite memory was a fight in a magic shop after an adventure.  It was just supposed to be an interlude to reequip but instead, ending up eclipsing anything that had occurred before.

Then personal computers first came out. I spent weeks deciding between the merits of the two top contenders of the day - the Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe,  After debating the pros and cons for hours with friends, I ended up with one of the first Apple IIe's. What a great system!  My first computer game did not have any graphics, it was the text-only adventure game Infidel!  I had to map out where I was, using paper and pencil, as the game progressed!

infidel.jpg infidel picture by swerdnagrl22

Even to this day, I don't think anything can compare to a text-only game.  It was a perfect combination of reading a book and playing a video game.  The lack of graphics seemed to enhance the experience.  It just allowed your imagination to establish the world, in a way that is still unique.  I remember getting stuck in a game. Not knowing what to do, I typed "Throw my hands up in the air" and the game responding "Your hands go flying over the tree". Zork, Sorcerer and Moonmist joined my collection of text-only games.  However, I eventually graduated to games with graphics! True, they were only black and white (or black and green, depending on which computer I used). The first time I played a video game all night long was while sitting on alert in the military. My navigator and I traded playing levels on Lode Runner. There were no saves, if you used up all your lives, you had to start over from the beginning.

loderunner.jpg lode runner picture by swerdnagrl22

Then I got out of the military, and my forays into the world of D&D ended.  I hesitated to find a new group; I was extremely shy.  But my days of adventuring weren't over - role playing games graduated to computer gaming!   My favorite was Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord and I remember having to buy graph paper so I could once again make my own map. That was just the start of my love for old school computer RPG's. 

wizardry.jpg wizardry picture by swerdnagrl22

I ended up playing all three of the Wizardry games which eventually led to Might and Magic series, which after many years led to series of games like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.  Since then, I have played racing games, platformers, point-and-click adventures, puzzle games, first person shooters and strategy games. I have played handhelds, consoles and, of course, computers. I having been gaming for more years than many people who read this have been alive.  Boy!  Do I feel old.

Well, that is my early history of playing computer/video games.  In the next couple of days, I will chronicle my more recent adventures in gaming. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

No Luck in SWTOR

Ever since pre-launch in Star Wars: The Old Republic I have had the worst luck, especially with early access.  Every attempt to play in early access has been thwarted by something: computer problems, internet problems, download issues, or bugs in the game.  Most recently, Chapter 10 was bugged and no one could start early access on time.

Today, early access to Chapter 11 began.  And wouldn't you know it, I have problems!  My Sith marauder, Sa'die, was sent to Zakuul to try to recruit Aric Jorgan, the leader of Havoc Squad.  Well, it didn't go well.  Aric Jorgan was running around in his skivvies playing with a pretend gun.  Then he disappeared.  He even refuses to show up at the rendezvous point.  I guess he realized he wasn't wearing any clothes and is too embarrassed to show his face.  Or Havoc Squad realized that their leader had cracked and sent him for psychiatric evaluation.  So sad, really.

Sa'die in her war gear

Well, I was finally able to shake the mission loose and reset everything.  Aric Jorgan has found his closet and was able to get dressed!  I started Chapter 11 over and was very happy. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hats of the Old Republic Part VI

Well, this will be my last "Hats" post for a while.  I want to find some fun ones before I do another blog on this topic; not  just head pieces I have in my inventory.

This is an interesting bit of headgear; it doubles as a painter's accessory - maybe something to dry a brush.

Remnant Arkanian Bounty Hunter
This one looks like Marvin the Martian with a severe case of deadly underbite.

Remnant Resurrected Bounty Hunter

The last two I found rather boring.  They weren't good enough to want to equip, but not awful enough to show off.  I am not sure if I will keep them or not.  I will have to decide if having a complete collection is important enough.

Remnant Arkanian Knight        and        Remnant Dreadguard Trooper

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hats of the Old Republic Part V

So many hats and so little... fashion.  I thought that it was time for more legacy headgear.  I decided to highlight the ugliest in this blog.

Today's first one reminds me of a baby pyramid head from Silent Hill 2.

Remnant Arkanian Warrior
The second piece of headgear another from the insect collection.

Remnant Dreadquard Agent
Number three in today's blog is inspired by an old-fashioned light bulb.

Remnant Underworld Warrior
And the last entry in today's blog must be my least favorite, ever!  I really dislike this one.  No wait! I need to be completely hones, I hate this one.  What is it supposed to be?  Curse of  the welding mummy?

Remnant Underworld Bounty Hunter

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hats of the Old Republic Part IV

Oh, it has been ages since I did a Hats of the Old Republic post!  My sweetie and I are still playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Four years later and we have still have ugly headgear, but new and improved.  We now have Legacy gear that we can pass to any of our alts.

This first one is a nice, basic helmet.  Not too bad.
Imperial Battle Ace pilot helmet

The second one is the other Imperial pilot helmet.  Not bad looking but it looks heavy and overwhelming.

Imperial Covert pilot helmet
Number three on today's list gives Sa'die a "lich" look, especially since I have the head slot color coordinated with the chest piece she is wearing.  The pinkish color makes it look like the skin has been peeled away.  Now, that makes me think "Ewww".

Remnant Yavin Inquisitor's Headgear
This last one on today's blog is my favorite out of this bunch.  This look is reminiscent of the original 1980's terminator.  I like the violet lighting feature on the side.

Remnant Yavin Warrior

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Just Wanted an Appointment

I have never liked going to the doctor and over the years it has gotten worse.  I get so anxious that when I finally get in the doctor’s office, my mind goes blank and my response to questions is either “Things are okay” or “I am fine”.  I am great at delaying and putting things off.  But I finally found a primary care doctor that I really like and trust so I decided to quit procrastinating and seek medical treatment for a condition that bothers me.  I had an appointment with him yesterday and he took a lot of extra time to discuss things with me.  My doctor wants me to get an ultrasound done, then go see two specialists, and then we will discuss the next step.

So, today I was determined!  My motto was “Get it done!”  I picked up the phone to call and schedule the diagnostic study.  I paused the TV and called the phone number on the referral.  A polite man answers the phone and gets all my information: full name, birthdate, complete address, phone number and insurance carrier.  Then he tells me they don’t schedule that particular procedure and he would have to transfer me.  I got his name and the number he was transferring me to “just in case… ”, and shortly thereafter I was speaking to polite woman.  We go through the whole routine again (name, birthdate, etc.) and once more I am informed that I have the wrong number, they don’t schedule that study, and I will have to be transferred.  This process happened again and again.  Sometimes I was able to get the person’s name.  Sometimes I was able to get the number they were transferring me to.  Some of the people I spoke with were great – polite and very helpful.  But some of them were rude and not the least bit obliging.  Usually, the transfer went just fine but several times I was disconnected from the system.

After thirty minutes and two rude people in a row, I started to get upset (one person insisted I was not in the system and the other said she couldn’t schedule the ultrasound without the order number even though I told her I had it on my copy and I could read it to her).  I was transferred one more time and the woman who I spoke with was polite and helpful but she would have to transfer me again!  “Just in case” I got the phone number and it was the same one I started with!  I lost it.  My hands started shaking and my voice got all quivery, and I told her I was really upset.  I told her that I had already called that number and they just transferred me.  I told her that all I wanted to do was get the diagnostic study scheduled.

She apologized profusely but had to put me on hold.  When she got back on the phone she told me that even though she didn’t handle the scheduling of the requested procedure, she would take care of it.  Once again I give all my information and, ta-da, I am scheduled for next week!  Now that was a great example of good customer service.  When I finally hung up the DVR on my TV said 40 minutes and 39 seconds had passed!  No wonder dealing with the medical community causes anxiety!