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Or “An account of why I love this game” in a 3 part journal entry.

I’ve been Pokke village’s main hunter for a few weeks now.  That pretty much means I serve the snow covered, mountain top community by terminating pesky velociraptors and dragons.  I’m really starting to get into the role by this point, and some parts of the joy of the hunt are becoming second nature to me.  In any case, it’s high noon and I’m in the blazing hot desert.  I’d taken a contract the previous day to bring down a massive enemy hermit crab, known officially as the Daimyo Hermitaur.

The village has set up my base camp in a nice, shaded area surrounded by cavern walls, so I’m safe from the sun for now.  My make-shift armor, a patchwork of wyvern scales, monstrous ape fur, rare plant fibers, and experiences, fits like a glove.  The mid-day sky is as blue as it gets.  I check the village supply box for gear picked personally by the elder: someone who surely knows more about the fight ahead than I do.  There’s the normal desert care pack, the standard kit for dealing with particularly large critters, and…a box simply labeled “Bouncing Bombs.”  I’ll have to hold my breath on that one.

I should note that this isn’t my first attempt at bringing down this particular crustacean; once when I was a much less experienced hunter, I took a similar mission despite having never bested anything larger than a Giadrome.  At the time I ran headlong into the fray and got a sound thrashing thanks to my inexperience.  I’m determined to see this mission go differently.

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Valve‘s multiplayer darling Team Fortress 2 got yet another class update this Thursday, and I can quite honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever had the urge to throw a jar of my own waste at someone.

I might have to backpedal momentarily, though, for the unaware: it’s not outrage that’s brought me to this juncture, but instead the fact that Valve has now allowed us to do just that.  After unlocking* Saxton Hale’s patented “Jar-based karate”, players battling teams in fortresses as the sniper class now have the classy option to fling a marmalade jar full of urine at their advesaries.

Dreams do come true!

Player reactions have been kinda varied thus far, from mic hogs getting a good belly laugh about their “piss jars” to bemonocled socialites decrying “Crass humor?  In my Team Fortress!?”  In any case, it’s a bang-up update, and aside from the predictable deluge of spies (notably, they also recieved an update in the patch, but nothing as eyecatching as man-lemonade grenades)  and snipers clogging the pipes of gameplay like so many urine jars, the game is only better for it.  Valve also used the update as an excuse to get a free-to-play weekend out there, so we’ve seen many new and guest players doing the TF two step.

I can’t say having so many cloak-loving spies around for the time being is a such a bad thing anyway.  This weekend marked the first time I’ve donned an eyepatch and fired a grenade at a completely vacant room corner to be subsequently greeted, like a party popper full of people parts, with a shower of spy-limbs and blood.  Happy New Year, you invisible French bastard.  I love you.

In any case, I’m sure as hell looking forward to the day when the Valve weapon-unlocking fairy puts a jar of pee in my stocking.  Now back to pushing tiny carts.

* Valve’s new meaning for the word unlock now encompasses something more along the lines of “you get a random doodad for playing the game for a while“, and not so much, “you get a reward for snagging reasonable/unreasonable achievements, likely on a server for farming them up like so many potatoes.”  The best way out there to get your hands on Saxton Hale’s warm jars for the time being is to get to playing and cross your fingers!  More updates on the new system, which will include trading to facilitate a better spread of items, will hopefully come soon.

To those who are not indoctrinated, Prince of Persian Rug is a game about a fairly lazy tomb raider, and his all powerful female friend who does every bit of the work. Well, at least, that’s how I enjoy playing it.

Using a body-mapped system not too dissimilar to Assassin’s Creed, your four face buttons each correspond to some sort of action, and the context defines what action is performed in combat. Those options are Physical attack, Grab, Acrobatics, and Elika the Destroyer.  See, to make the game accessible, there are no punishments for anything, really. Thus you are capable of spectacularly taking that plunge into corruption, fully confident that your chiseled jaw will live to spout another quip. Your Deus ex Girlfriend machine saves you from everything, from falling, to crushed organs, to hepatitis… without even offering you the option of paying for your folly.

Lets just paint this one out

Shoots lasers
Can purge the holy lands of their destructive corruption

Has a mule, but he can’t find it
Is very good at misjudging distance and falling to his death
Slows down the woman who can teleport
Good moral support

No, wait, he’s also occasionally charming! Plus he gives piggy backs to Elika when she’s tired from saving him. Never the less, in honor of Elika, warrior princess, I have decided to play through the entire game with only the bare, bare, bare base number of times the prince is actually needed in combat. In my game, every boss is felled by me mashing the command Elika, light’s soldier. This becomes a point of comedy, since the prince will yell out “Okay, your turn,” or “now, attack it!”  What a lazy F%#k!


The Other Castle is a blog by video games, for video games. Wait, let me try that again. The Other Castle is a blog by a few nerd friends, about video games. As long as we're entertaining ourselves, there's a good chance somewhere out there, you might be getting a little kick out of reading this, too!



May 2009
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