Monday, July 23, 2012

Rogue Games: Can I have a little more plot with that?

Rogue Games: Can I have a little more plot with that?

Since its advent, gaming has made a profound impact on the lives of those who’ve enjoyed it.  As the technology improved and the variety increased, gamer culture began to grow exponentially. In fact, it’s grown so much that it has been, irreversibly, intertwined with the mainstream. Proof and point: my very non-gaming parents bought a Wii two years back.

I didn’t grow up a gamer.  At least not like many of my generation did.  I didn’t own my first console until 2002 (I was in college)—and that was a N64, which I bought for Mario Kart. I added four more consoles soon after that, and then, of course, now I have my go-to's: Wii, PS3, and 3DS. My PSP no longer makes this list as it had a rather crushing accident with my foot.

Now, it’s not that I didn’t play on consoles as a kid. I have an aunt and uncle with nine kids; they have literally owned every console to come to America, and a lot of the rip-offs. However, in my house, kids were expected to go outside to play, not be in front of a TV. So after babysitting, swimming, fishing, exploring and general crazy kid stuff, I would spend hours on the computer at night.

For that reason, I got into PC games first. Granted, the ones I played were almost all educational. I remember playing the crap out of Oregon Trail, the Carmen Sandiego series, and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. What? This was the MSDOS age and I wasn’t even in double digits yet for my age.

Speaking of that, does anyone else remember Freddy’s Rescue Roundup? You had to go around rescuing chickens on platforms while trying not to be caught by whom I can only think are the farmers who own the chickens.

And like any good Family Guy episode, here’s a jump to something only slightly related from the set up:

The first time I played a rogue-like game was last month.

Eventually, once I was able to play the less than educational games, I gravitated to J-RPGs. Zelda: A Link to the Past (I love puns!) was actually the first in this genre I every played, and I loved it. What I enjoy about RPGs are the stories, so jumping into rogue-like games was a big shock for me.

I played two games on recommendation from Andrew, as a means of getting to know the genre: Hack, Slash, Loot and Legends of Yore. Both of which are fun games, in their own right; however, I kept craving that overarching story line. Because, while the exploring, questing, and desecrating tombs are all fun, the general lack of depth to the plot that jogs me the most.  It leaves a gap for the players, like myself, who became attached to other genres first.

And certainly, this isn't saying that rogue-like games aren't good games; it's quite the opposite. While I didn't have the connect I would with some games, Hack, Slash, Loot highly amused me. I couldn't sit there for hours playing it, but it was enough entertainment, even in just short bursts, to show that it was a good game and well constructed. I also enjoyed some of the game mechanics of Legends of Yore too.

When it comes down to it, rogue-like games probably aren’t for me, or at least pure ones. However, games are rarely fully one genre or another anymore, and I would be greatly interested in seeing a rogue game mixed in with other genres; then you can get all the fun of questing, with the added bonus of a plot to explain why we’ve decided that all those tombs just had to be vandalized.

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