Friday, July 27, 2012

A helping hand

I used to be able to talk about the same game over and over for days at a time. Perhaps I have become more conscious about repeating myself. RPG's, especially linear ones, makes it very difficult to find things to talk about without giving a blow by blow summary of the plot. I am not so concerned about spoilers, but I at least want to attempt to put down words that are not boring as shit to read, and that is exactly what a rote retelling of the previous evenings happenings in Tales of Graces f would be.

Take away the story and what is left? Well, I wandered around a desert area for a while, ran out of money, slogged through quite a few random encounters to try to earn it back, then saved at the obvious pre-boss fight save point. It doesn't sound like much fun when I put it that way, does it? I assure you, it was, and that means it is going to be very difficult to stop playing tonight to start Prototype 2. A few consecutive days and it has built up some gaming momentum, both is story and the progression of my characters' abilities. Stopping that, even for a day, makes it more difficult to go back.

This is not a new problem for RPGs, especially ones that do no have any sort of in game way to track quests and side missions. Open ended games like Skyrim are easy to take extended breaks from; all it takes is a visit to a menu and your destination is clearly labeled along with an explanation of what you are supposed to do when you get there. Linear RPGs usually offer no such crutch, and Tales of Graces f follows that trend with one amazing exception. At any point I can hit the right bumper on my controller and it offers up one line of explanation regarding the next task.

I could kiss whoever came up this idea on the mouth, regardless of their gender, age, or orientation. It is brilliant and far less intrusive than an AI in a bad shooter leading me around by the nose because it leaves it up to me to decide when I need a hint. If I missed a bit of dialogue or have been away from the game for a week and have lost my notes (I actually used to do this...) a simple button press is all it takes to jog my memory. It is exactly what the middle aged guy who has limited time but needs to fill all of it with as many games as possible who also falls asleep while playing and forgets what he was doing once in a while through no fault of his own, it was just the beer needs.

Not that I know anyone like that.

...

Work notes, just because I need to bent. Employee's laptop will not install windows update. It won't install anything. Event log give a specific event ID that repeats every five seconds. All Google searchers point to the same non-Microsoft sanctioned blog that provides a solution that does not work. The decision is made to do a repair install of Windows. That cooks for about two hours, then fails at the last step and rolls everything back.

Tell me again why I do this. Oh yeah, I need money. Curses.

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