Monday, May 29, 2006

I was complaining to June about the lack of PC games available in the stores these days. Or rather, the lack of titles I was interested in. It's funny that back when I didn't have any money, I wanted to buy the whole shelf. Today, with some measure of spending power, I'm just staring at the shelf, eyes glazed.

What's on the shelf these days? Let's see... shoot-em-ups and wargames in 1st person and 3rd; the Sims and its myriad expansion packs; driving games (some allowing shootouts between cars); Myst spinoffs and knockoffs; and some budget puzzlers and re-releases for the nostalgic. Been there done that.

Wonder if my tastes have changed, or if there really isn't anything new out there any more?

Disappointed, I did some surfing and found a couple of things that managed to amuse me for a while. Zuma from Shockwave, a match-the-coloured-balls-and-make-them-disappear-before-they-overwhelm-you game with an Aztec theme can be played for free online. It offers some quick-thinking action, though the online version tends to be limited and repetitve after a while.

I also found a little treasure (subjectively speaking). AGD Interactive appears to have taken over the license of the original "King's Quest" series. They've remade this antique -- no make that "pioneering" -- graphic adventure game and re-released KQ1 and KQ2 in VGA format. For you whippersnappers out there, that means moving sprites on flat background only and no system-sucking 3D polygonal whizz-bang-crash nonsense. They've even added in a music track and a speech pack to make the games more up-to-date, say c.1995.

I'm not saying games of the past were "better" than they are now. Graham, our avatar, is seriously lacking in intelligence and pathfinding ability. He walks off ledges, cliffs, beanstalks; drowns and gets crushed by falling rocks all too easily, which means we have to baby-step him through the more dangerous environments to prevent a reload scenario. I was clicking and yawning my way through KQ1 yesterday and I'm still only about halfway thorough. But if I was going to be bored anyway, I might as well be bored for free.

... I'm getting old.

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