Although far from being a Grinch, I’m not a very Christmas-spirited person. Becoming more and more distant (in both sense of the word) from the people I usually socialize with at the various seasonal family-friend gatherings, as well as never been really close with my parents, the pre-new-years have lost much of its excitement. The idea of gift receiving and giving has long lost its appeal. With my serious choiring days behind me, there are no more holiday tourings with the Centennial Jazz Choir crew, either.
It may be sad, but I mostly keep to myself this time of the year. Of course, that dosen’t mean I avoid the festivities: there are tons of good food and company that I do enjoy. It’s just that these weeks, for me, tend to be quiet time, occasionally interrupted by long, multi-family pot-luck dinners parties that usually continue late in to the night.
I’ve mostly kept myself occupied with games since my workterm ended, as the bloody rain and late-rises have all but prevented me from enjoying anymore trail time on my bike. Also, a disturbing lack of large, flat, and level areas close to my place of living, covered or otherwise, has prevented me from any further progress of learning to ride only one wheel.
The Legend of Zelda: The Mask of Majora was first on my list, as I had just completed The Ocarina of Time. Unfortunately, due to a bug with the emulator I’m using, a crucial game item does not function properly, and I am prevented from getting further into the game. I eventually gave up on it, and almost completed Ocarina of Time for a second time, putting it down before actually doing so when the task of collecting everything became boring.
Next, I discovered Darwinia, created by Introversion Software. Despite the rave reviews it received from several major and reputable gaming websites and magazines, I found it to be quite a dissapointment. Populus in a computer is probably the most appropriate way to describe it, although it is far less entertaining than any of the god-games the late Bullfrog has created.
Albeit not a short game, I still completed it in under four days; there was probably around 20 hours of play time, including the 3 hours I lost due to a game crash that resulted in a restart. With only a handful of unlockable features, ridiculously long research times (maxing out the researches would probably have added at least 5 hours of waiting), and repetitive gameplay, the only reason I actually managed to complete the game is because I was expecting more. The story line, although slightly interesting, is not without
plot holes and parts of it are just silly when you’re actually familiar with computing science and areas of AI.
Although a map editor is provided (unlocked after you complete the storyline), as well as having support for mods, I just don’t see any replay values in Darwinia. To add insult to injury, unlike the title leads you to believe, there is no evolution of AI or anything vaguely related to the things a particular bearded man is famous for discovering. Although I must point out that genociding little red
Evil Darwinians did somewhat remind me of natural selection, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing hundres of little guys being blown up by grenades.
I’m glad I decided to torrent this indie title first instead of actually investing money in it.
Speaking of indie games, I’ve decided to dust off my copy of Starscape and give it another spin, this time in wine. Unfortuantely, being a DirectX game, it fails to launch under wine. Although I was successful in playing it under Cedega, a bug, either with Cedega or the later versions of Starscape, prevents any game data, key bindings included, from being saved, practically ruining its campaign mode. Fortunately, however, the game’s arcade modes are still quite enjoyable, and accessible without having to complete any of the storyline.
So, that covers my last week.
Tomorrow—or, rather, later tonight—I’m off to hang with some of the old choir crew at The Celler, followed by more get-togethers and new year festivities. I am very much looking forward to it all.