Thanks to a recent 24 hour deal on Steam, I have a suddenly renewed interest in PC gaming. Nothing new or cutting edge, but just sitting down with a mouse and keyboard and playing something from my past. True, a few recent games on GoG, for example, Wing Commander IV, have made me want to sit at they keyboard and get lost in some Sci-Fi, but nothing beats the classics like the first person shooters from id Software.
id is the company who really birthed and gave rise to the first person shooter genre. And when Steam had a short lived sale to get every game they ever made for fifty dollars, I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night to buy it! I randomly crave a classic like Wolfenstein 3D, or DooM II, or even a newer title like Quake IV is sometimes called on to quench an unexplained thirst. And Steam is the platform that is giving me more hope for PC gaming. I moved back to consoles because I was tired of keeping up with the hardware demands of modern PC gaming. But with Steam I can play my classics with convenient access to newer titles. I didn’t intend for this to become a commercial for Steam, but I have a feeling that my id Software collection, along with my Half-Life Game of the Year Edition & Half-Life 2 bundles, and all of the instant and constant access to those titles may, may just start to swing me gently back towards a forgotten friend: gaming on my PC.
A couple of years ago, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released. This game was the beginning of Marvel Comics’ rebirth in the video games industry. There had been some decent games (Marvel Ultimate Alliance), and there had been some crap (every other Spider-Man game in recent years, with some exceptions) before then. But when I played X-Men Origins Wolverine, I found myself replaying it over and over. The story was alright, engaging enough, but the game play mechanics and the violence levels really let everyone know the game was not your run of the mill “fun for the whole family, lets make a buck off the movie franchise” tie-in game. The game made you feel like a bad ass. The mechanics were simple, it was an old school beatem up brawler, but with long leaps, visceral thrashing, and adamantium claws. More recently, the Captain America: Super Soldier game was released. Now, I’ll admit I’m behind the times finally getting to it (several months late at this point), but I’m already hurting when I see it in bargain bins. It’s a fantastic title, with relatively good graphics, far voice acting, and (once again) EXCELLENT gameplay.
What the games lack in some triple-A game franchise appeal, they more than make up for in being down right good games. For anyone shying away from comic book or movie tie in video games, I have to say don’t stray too far away. You might want to give them another look (especially at their discounted prices). You may find something that surprises you.
A few weeks ago, what I thought was just a short term sale turned about to be a price drop for some of the ‘greatest hit’ Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7. You can now get Angry Birds, Max and the Magic Marker, Toy Soldier, and severl other great games at their new reduced price: 99 cents!
A not-always-easy-to-find page was put up on Xbox.com celebrating the price drop. Head in to the Windows Phone Marketplace and find yourself some deals!
It’s that time of year. Were it not for gems and a few well placed downloadable releases, we would be drowning in boredom. Fez and Trials Evolution have saved the sanity of most people (though neither really tickles my fancy), Skullgirls has woken fighting gamers from their slumber, and World Gone Sour has at least put a smile on my face. But Everything else, for me, is just trying to catch up on old titles. Games I got tired of playing I’m giving another go (still having a hard time getting through Alice: Madness Returns, though…), and games that I got distracted from with too much other stuff going on I’m finally getting back to (Halo: CE Anniversary Edition).
But this is that time of year, and I hope you’ve noticed the pattern by now, where everyone bunkers down, gets tight lipped, and doesn’t discuss much. News stops breaking, games stop releasing, and we’re stuck playing mediocre-at-best titles for a few months while everybody out there tries to wait until PAX and E3 to “blow your mind” with their brand new game! Big and small studios alike, we’re stuck waiting for the next big thing.
Although, I must admit, this year is more promising than the last several. Fans of the first Prototype will have something to play again, soon. Max Payne is bringing bullet-time back in vogue (here’s hoping the film noir style pays a visit, as well). Minecraft will find a new home on the Xbox 360 and Starhawk will keep PS3 owners flying high. And every person who owned a PC during the 1990’s probably remembers playing some iteration of Diablo and may just be excited to hear that the third installment is finally about to arrive. Although it’s certainly not a drought of gaming, many of these titles do appeal to niche audiences. Here’s hoping that something is coming down the line for you.