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Archive for August, 2009

A Hollow Victory

This is part of an ongoing series to view the first post click here.

The big day

I remember the moment I knew I wasn’t going to like the competitions. It was when I discovered that my horse Murder wasn’t allowed to compete because she was a girl. I’d bred her, named her, cared for her and gone riding through the countryside with her. We were a team, sisters. Of course if I knew the first thing about equestrian I would have realised that you ride stallions in competition. Perhaps the game should have told me that before it was too late.

As it was I was stuck trying to tame a wild horse I couldn’t care less about.

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This is part of an ongoing series to view the first post click here.

Breathe that mountain air

The critical reception of all horse riding games falls into one of two camps. Either laughing derision that little girls would want to play a game about horses or a condescending “Well it’s okay forĀ little girls but it’s actually a rubbish game” attitude. I’m not saying that those opinions don’t have some truth to them but I do think it’s entirely possible to make an excellent game about horse riding.

Because at the end of the day a horse riding game has to be about the horse riding and in this respect Imagine: Champion Rider delivers. Mostly.

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This is part of an ongoing series, to view the first post click here.

Romantic

One of the first things you’ll do in Imagine: Champion Rider is breed a horse. It involves selecting a Mare and a Stallion and letting them go at it. Once mother nature has done her thing you get to tweak the results. Don’t like the colour of it’s mane? Well you can adjust that. Find the colouring of the hair just above the hooves isn’t to your liking? Go to town playing with your options.

But the horse is always going to be created from the traits of it’s parents. For example I wanted to breed a gargantuan horse as black as sin but because I only had access to one black horse I had to settle for a dark cocoa coloured mount. Was I disappointed? A little but it does give you incentive to tame the wild horses you find later, believe me if I run across a majestic black stallion his arse is mine. All in all it’s not a bad system and is something say the Sims, which just mashes up the parents features and doesn’t allow any player control, could learn from.

But before your new foal becomes a full grown adult you’ll need to groom her and it’s a pain in the arse.

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OMG_HORSIE!!!

Recently, while playing The Elder Scolls: Oblivion it occurred to me that the thing I enjoy most about that game is riding a horse around a lushly detailed virtual world. Actually it’s not an uncommon feeling in the gaming community. Mount and Blade, Ocarina of Time and Shadow of the Colossus have all received high praise for their horse riding elements.

Then it occurred to me that if I was going to play a glorified Horsie simulator I may as well play the real deal. Now I know you’ve always secretly wanted to know the ins and outs of the growing Horse Riding genre but were too afraid to purchase one because the pretty girl at EB might suddenly think you’re “a gay”. But don’t worry for I’m here to lay some knowledge on you.

But with so many options which game should I pick?

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Box Art

I want you to understand something, if you suddenly discovered time travel, used it to visit twelve year old me and asked him what his favourite game was he would tell you Space Quest IV. If asked why he’d probably shrug his shoulders and say that it’s got an awesome story, it’s really funny and he likes games with puzzles. Twelve year old me was a bit of a jackarse.

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Why Digital Kicks?

ChemReliant

Kick is momentary freedom from the claims of the aging, cautious, nagging, frightened flesh – Willaim S. Burroughs

When I was a kid games magazines used to measure a game’s worth by how habit forming it was. Good games got you hooked, great games were addictive. We don’t talk like that any more.

Which is a shame because when they’re at their best games are a lot like drugs. They can provide ecstasy, excitement and escape. Sometimes they leave us ragged and broken, but we keep coming back for more. The come down is usually not as bad.

Games are the ultimate kick.

But now we want to be respectable, now we want to be mainstream. Maybe one day we actually will be, but I can’t help feel we’ll be missing something when we get there.

Anyway this blog will be home to various videogame related content. From reviews of classic games to Let’s Plays of whatever I’m enjoying. If I find something that amuses me I might even throw a link to it and if something makes me angry I’ll probably vent about it.

So stick around.

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