Lent 2012: Worst Idea Ever

Seriously.

I spend all week struggling with all the “idle moments” urges to play an app on my phone for 5 minutes. I start twitching at work because of the standard work-related chaos that I usually relieve at the end of the day with a bit of Skyrim (or those idle moments with apps). It builds to a head until the whistle blows on Friday. It starts to fade, only to be completely eclipsed by a desire to spend a few lazy hours on Sunday playing Skyrim. Which I can’t do. Continue reading Lent 2012: Worst Idea Ever

Lent 2012: I take an arrow to the xBox

It’s that time of year again. You can keep your New Year Resolutions. Nobody ever expects to keep them. I’ll take Lent any day. what better time to battle a vice than when “everyone” is suffering through their own challenges alongside you and everyone expects to win?

This year I’m taking the bold step of giving up video games.

This may sound like a sacrifice more fitting of a 14 year old boy, but trust me, this is Up There for me. Continue reading Lent 2012: I take an arrow to the xBox

i miss my pc

there. i’ve said it. i can’t take it back now.

i didn’t think the lack of games would hurt quite this much. i went into the switch with a relatively open mind, all things considered. at the time i was playing diablo 2 on my pc, because nothing on the market could hold my interest or give me the fix that diablo 2 could. blizzard owns my gaming soul, and since they release games on both platforms at the same time, that was really no big deal. i would be giving up a lot of clones and wanna-bes, but really, is that much of a sacrifice? i didn’t think so, and for the most part i still don’t.

when i get a video game itch, i either need to create, catalogue, or destroy. rpgs, especially of the hack-n-slash variety, can meet either goal most (let’s say 75%?) of the time. i get to build characters, grow an inventory, tick off lists of accomplished goals via quests, and destroy pretty much every/anything that gets in my way while i do it. city builders work when i’m feeling a bit more create-y than destroy-y, and the sims will work when i’m feeling like more mindful destruction (less violence, more diabolical—heh. the sims are more diabolical than diablo ;).

i’m also a fan of pretty things, and things i can play with ryan, so a game can draw/keep me around with one of those, but that’s not really important right now.

the type of games i want are available on the mac. sure your choices are more limited, and unless it’s blizzard, your game will be behind the current offerings on a PC, but that was okay with me. there’s also every major console at our house, so i’m not too terribly limited.

i couldn’t have made the switch a year ago when i was hip-deep in City of Heroes, but since my “mmorpgs are not for me” epiphany (which pre-dated the mac by 3 months), and the fact that i’ve been able to entertain myself by writing more and more often, the gaming sacrifice seemed do-able, and for the last 4 months, has been.

but here’s where it gets murky.

i’ve been having a sims-specific craving for a couple of months. it comes and goes, and since it’s got elements of the create/destroy that i can meet with d2 it hasn’t been that bad. i could have picked up a copy of sims2 at any time, but i just could not justify spending $50 on a game when i have an exact copy of it sitting in my house. i was mostly intrigued by the college expansion, which i never bought for the PC, but coveted, and probably would have picked up when the next sims craving came around. my problem with the game is that the most interesting clothes/drama come as a teenager, but the time any character spends as a teenager is limited and the game just starts getting weird when you befriend a teen-townie and become an adult. the teen-townie keeps calling and saying “why don’t you call me any more” and all you can do is say “i’m an old man and you’ll never be anything but a little blond girl in pink boots. i’m sorry.” “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” “yeah, but i can’t even process that emotion for you any more. didn’t you see the icons?” the game even chides you for letting the friendship die off. it wants you to be a pedophile. it’s just warped. like when peterpan comes back for wendy and she’s a grandma.

woah, tangent. sorry about that. i mean, the whole thing’s been a tangent, really, but that was special.

so, um… anyway, i wasn’t going to drop the cash on the game when i knew it would only take a few days to get my fix, without at the very least the opportunity to complete the set with a university pack and for all i knew, that would never ever happen, or would take so damn long that sims 3 would be out for the pc and i’d be a bitter old woman, still playing d2 because mmorpgs had taken away any interest blizzard was ever going to have in making d3.

then a couple of weeks ago “they” announced that the university pack would be available in november for the mac. my brain said “yay christmas!” and that was about it.

until a couple of days ago, when i got a new gaming itch. d2 was meeting all the create/destroy/catalog needs i had except that it’s not pretty. it’s 6 years old and i’ve seen pretty much everything it has to offer. this doesn’t usually bother me, because, like i’ve said, the game owns my soul. this round, however, the game couldn’t keep up with my demands. i wanted pretty and i wanted more-different.

yes, i entertained the idea of WoW for a minute. maybe 2. but i know i don’t like mmorpgs, so it didn’t take long to convince limited-allowanced me that WoW would be a bad choice.

the other key anti-sims2 issue was all the user-created content. could i have access to the insane amounts of houses/clothes/people that are waiting for PC users to download off the sims website? this is important. i don’t understand why they even bother with putting sims on harddrive/internet-less platforms. if i was stuck with the 30 bizarre outfits that came with the game, and couldn’t mooch off the people who spent entirely too much time designing ballgowns and such, the game would lose soooooo much of its replay value.

so, last night i went to maxis’ sims site to make sure my mac version was compatible with all that stuff.

there is no mention of the mac version of the game on the sims site.

or on the main maxis site.

nothing in the support files.

nothing that even suggests a mac version of any game was ever anywhere.

ever.

they have a version of the game that you can play on a basic mobile phone and it has it’s own section on the sims site, but nothing about mac. i didn’t exist. my needs were so not-important there wasn’t even a courtesy link. they didn’t even want to try and sell me the game, and when a gaming company says “no thanks, we don’t want your discretionary income” your place in the world becomes very very clear.

i started to feel ill. i knew the game existed. i’d seen it on shelves.

i searched for it and found links to amazon to buy it, and for apple’s page about it.

that’s right. there are so few games for the operating system that they have their own pages on the os’s site. It is, in fact, the best place to go for information about the game. Can you imagine the ludicrousness of that sort of situation for the PC? When I looked at the game’s true manufacturer, i discovered aspyr.

it was much, much later in the evening when i realized that i had transposed the name around in my head. i saw “aspry,” and just thought it was a nonsense word. had i realized that the name meant “we can only hope to be as cool as what you really want” at the time, i may have curled up in a ball from the sad.

by the time i found the “macgamers” site, i was already so depressed i could barely stomach skimming the site for the information i was looking for. those sad, deluded little freaks.

anyway, aspyr takes all the games you know and love for PC and clones them. that’s why there’s a delay. it’s possible that aspyr does it’s own development, but for these sorts of things, there’s not a whole lot of support other than your basic “why won’t it run?” kinds of questions. after all 99% of the game is exactly the same. same interface, whatever.

it felt like buying a pair of pantyhose from an “almost perfect” outlet store.

eventually, i received enough confirmation that i could use the existing content, that i broke down and picked up the game. it may not last through the weekend, but it’ll be there waiting for me the next time i need a sim-fix and i won’t have to deal with a half hour of “you’re worthless” surfing to remind me of what i’d given up. and that’s really all i was after.

is that where our story ends?

of course not. that was just a warm-up that took on a life of its own.

the universe could not leave well enough alone. i got an email today telling me that CoH was going to let me back in for 5 whole days for free in hopes of luring me back in permanently. 5 days of playing around with all the new character creation stuff that’s appeared since i quit the game in february would have been great fun. getting a chance to be in the CoV beta for the character creation would have also really interesting.

but i can’t. i could rebuild the still-broke german piece of crap that was the catalyst for my mac-switch just to take advantage of these free things, but that idea makes me feel so…dirty.

still…i kinda miss my pc.

(this should be riddled with links, but i’m at work and links for gaming sites are a bad thing to hunt down)

you would think…

that if ever there was a game i could win/be better at than my husband by sheer innate ability alone it would be karaoke revolution. i mean honestly after years of years of him cleaning the floor with me on FPS and fighting games, even after i spend hours and hours trying to get competent in mouse-look or a single character’s fighting style so i can get past the blind luck of button mashing, i should just be able to walk up to this game and deliver the payback.

but…no.

it’s not that he’s a terrible singer or i’m so much better than he is. i think we both expected that the fact that i’ve had more (and recent-er) vocal training and my general familiarity with the music would give me an edge.

it looked, at first, that i was going to be the clear victor, but the points just didn’t line up that way when we stopped taking turns and started going head to head or signing duets.

it irritates the crap out of me. i mean, it wasn’t really bothering me in a pissy “i’m not playing with you any more!” kind of way since it meant we were both playing and singing together, but i did change my character to “salty jack” the pirate for a while ;)

and that was after the litany of “not really my fault” excuses i came up with. i was singing the harder part in the duet. i was “player one” so i started the unknown songs, giving him a chance to listen. his focusing on the notes and mumbling through the words was working to his scoring advantage, etc etc etc. i stopped vocalizing them after a while, because i realized what i was doing, but still. irritating.

i could get better than him. i could download all the songs into my ipod and practice so i knew the words and the music better. i could analyzing the game’s scoring mechanisms to “sing for points” instead of trying to make the noise coming out of my mouth as pleasing as possible.

but dammat! i shouldn’t have to!!! this game is about singing!