Spirit of Compassion

On a cloudless night west of Gwaren, two figures met in the darkness. The two men clutched their cloaks tightly around themselves against the night’s chill, their breath rising in the moonlight. “Wintermarch is fast approaching, Captain,” said Ser Presten, breaking the silence at last. “If your man does not return soon, I fear we will celebrate the First Day in the forest.”

Ser Kellin laughed. “You are not normally one so prone to hyperbole, Knight-Commander. You truly must hate the cold. It is a wonder that you ever chose to move so close to the sea. Gwaren nights set a chill to one’s bones even in the midst of Solace.”

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Dragon Age Fanfiction Contest Winners Announced

Hey everyone,

BioWare recently held a fanfiction writing contest to celebrate the launch of lead-writer David Gaider’s new book, Dragon Age: Asunder. Gaider and the “Writers Pit” at BioWare personally read through roughly 400 entries including my own and hand-picked their favorite twenty. The top five are to receive signed copies of the new novel, and the winning entry by Kilyra (BioWare community alias) titled “Last Strands of Childhood” earned him/her a slew of Dragon Age II themed gear from Razer.

Ever since I made my submission to the contest at the beginning of January, I have been checking the BioWare blog and social site religiously. I’ll admit that I even got my hopes up. In fact, I was all but certain that I would crack the top 5. Today, however, I am reminded of the importance of humility. There’s always the next writing contest. In the meantime, I’m going to read over some of the winning entries. I’ll also be posting my own entry for your reading pleasure. I would truly appreciate any feedback that my readers would be willing to offer.

At Long Last, Lands of Lore Lands on GOG.com

I promise that I will never probably never again alliterate so much in a future article headline. The excitement of today’s new release on GOG.com simply has me giddy. As you may (but probably don’t) remember, I got my hopes up for a re-release of Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny back in August when Good Old Games announced that they had secured a partnership with EA Games. I have since checked the site religiously on Tuesdays and Thursdays for news of the games release. This morning, at 5:30 AM my eyes happily landed on an announcement that not only has GOG.com released LOL2, they have packaged it with the original title, Throne of Chaos, and priced the package at the killer deal of $5.99. As is always the case with GOG, the title is free from DRM and remains permanently in one’s account after the purchase is made.

While I will be (re)purchasing the title as soon as my next paycheck rolls around, the true irony–and I use the word in a colloquial sense rather than a literary one–is that the game has arrived just days after Skyrim, which has and will continue to absorb every minute of time that I have to spare for the coming months. In fact,  if I can pry my self from the world of Nirn for an hour or so, I will be typing up a review of the latest Elder Scrolls title for all of you to enjoy. For those of you looking for a fantasy RPG fix who aren’t able to purchase Skyrim or simply do not have any interest in the title, head over to GOG.com right now and pick up one of Westwood Studios’ greatest.

One of the Best Games I Never Played has Finally Come to PSN

I’m a little slow on the upkeep, but I felt like I should announce to my legions of readers that Kotaku just reported that Chrono Cross, one of the best RPGs originally released for the original PlayStation, is now available for purchase on PSN. As someone who never actually owned a PlayStation, I missed out on the game when it was released back in ’98. Money’s tight now, but this is certainly something I will have to look forward to once I have finished with Skyrim. So in a year or so.

Coincidentally, I have been listening to the Chrono Cross soundtrack via YouTube a lot lately. I know it’s strange, listening to the soundtrack of a game I’ve never played, but I think it is a testament to the quality of the game’s music. I’ve recently fallen in love with this cover of one of the games more famous numbers . . .

 

Top Favorite Games

In spite of an earlier statement that I made to the effect of, I don’t want to rank my favorite games in any particular order because it reduces the quality of the game to a trivial numerical standard, the impending release of Skyrim has me constantly thinking about how I would arrange such a list. Look for a list coming to the site soon as I steal moments of free time to rank them when I can. If you would like to post one of your own, please do so in the comment section below.

UPDATE 1: I should clarify that this is to be a list of my favorite games ranked from 1-10 as opposed to what I deem to be the greatest games of all time. That’s a big enough difference to spare me the label of hypocrite, right?

UPDATE 2: Here’s a rough first draft (definitely subject to change):

  1. Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (PC)
  2. Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2)
  3. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)
  4. Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Sega Saturn)
  5. The Curse of Monkey Island (PC)
  6. Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)
  7. Baldur’s Gate II (PC)
  8. Mass Effect (Xbox 360)
  9. Warcraft III (PC)
  10. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1, although I played it originally on PC)

Just a quick update

It’s been a while since I had the chance to write anything on the ol’ blog, so I thought I’d shout out a quick update. I upgraded my PC last night with a second Radeon HD 5750 and was very happy to see that the Witcher 2 ran on high in 1080p without any drop in frame rate (something my PC was unable of really doing before). It’s not a gaming behemoth, but it should handle Skyrim nicely in the coming weeks.

On a side note, I am planning to post a series of short stories that I’m working on to the blog under a new section of the page. The stories are intended to create some context for a novel I’d like to pen by developing main characters, settings, etc. As I have envisioned it, the novel will be of the fantasy genre, but shouldn’t come off as another LOTR clone.

Hypothetical Question

In my youth, my friends and I used to enjoy posing binary hypothetical questions to one another. The deeper and more thought-provoking the better, although there were always a few throw-aways. For instance, would you rather have the power to fly or invisibility? It’s neither all that thought-provoking nor original, but it’s fun to think about, no? It’s been a while since I thought about a good one, but a thought crossed my mind which I think I would like to incorporate into a writing project I’m working on for school. I thought I’d seek some input from the visitors that sometimes get lost in Google and end up in my site by mistake (because those are really my only readers).

So here goes, given the opportunity to start your life over at a moment in your past and assuming that you could choose to either change decisions you made in your past or simply relive them, would you choose to take your current memories with you, or would you opt to leave them behind (or ahead, as I guess is more appropriate here)? Keep in mind, altering a past life-choice could potentially change everything. You could lose all that you hold dear today. Maintaining your memory of how things could have been and were might be torturous. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Other Married Gamer in our Home

A good friend of mine lent me his copy of Assassin’s Creed 2 a while back, and I’ve finally found the time to really sink my teeth into it. While I enjoyed the first game a great deal, its more redundant features certainly wore on me as time went by. When AC2 originally came out, I was interested in giving the franchise another shot, but time had become too precious a commodity for the title.

Time is still a precious commodity, but I have thankfully found enough of it to unwind with a good game now and then. Ubisoft really did go the extra mile with AC2 by improving upon just about every facet of the original. I’m nearly through the game now, and I’m excited to give Brotherhood a shot before the next sequel, Revelations, becomes available this fall.

As it turns out, someone else in my house has found enjoyment with the title, my wife. She’s not the type of person one would normally consider a “gamer,” although she’s certainly enjoyed her share of Mario and some more casual titles (especially Plants vs. Zombies). Whenever I have attempted to introduce her to a more hardcore title such as Mass Effect, her interest has almost immediately diminished once she found that she couldn’t jump in the game. Assassin’s Creed, however, is a franchise built upon mobility and as such, it seems right up her alley. This past week, I enjoyed giving her game advice from work (she works much earlier than I do) via text while she stealthily rid Renaissance Italy of Templar conspirators.

I think we all feel a certain euphoria in sharing our interests with the people we love. The dearer that interest, the more fun it is to share it. It’s that feeling which drives us to brag about our taste in music, literature, movies, or sports to everyone we know. I doubt that my wife and I will be diving into Skyrim together this fall, but it sure is a blast to see her taste even a sample of what it is that I love so much about games.

Good Old Games to Release More EA Classics

While I was disappointed to see that old-school PC game digital marketplace, GOG.com, had not yet released a title this morning, my disappointment quickly turned to excitement with their announcement that a slew of classic EA titles will be released starting this Thursday. GOG always does a great job of building anticipation for the release of games that are sometimes decades old, and I simply can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Lands of Lore, or Red Alert 2, ooh, or Generals, or pretty much anything by Westwood, or Black and White, or . . .

 

Check it out here: http://www.gog.com/en/news/back_to_the_old_school_with_ea_classics