Archives for February 2006

EVE Online impressions

That's meWell, I’m currently in the middle of a mission in EVE and I’ve got a five-star gate jump to make, so now would be a good time to post some of my impressions of EVE Online.

That’s right. I’m blogging my impressions of EVE as I’m experiencing them. I’m hardcore like that. EVE is hands-off like that. (For now, I hope)

To be honest, I don’t know what to think about EVE yet. The game world is HUGE. I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game with so much real estate. I’m no astronaut, but if I was, I bet this is what space feels like. The game itself seems like it is very complex. The beginner tutorial took me about two hours to finish and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. The gameplay could probably be done without any graphics (TW2002!) but that would be a shame. The game is gorgeous.

Actual game play so far has been a mixed bag. Traveling has been boring, and there’s nothing you can do to make it any better (at least that I know of). You simply select your destination, hit auto-pilot, and you can walk away. I understand that when I start traveling in low security zones that I’ll have to be aware of my surroundings, but for now I simply chart my paths to be as safe as possible. Actual playing is a funny thing — other than the mission I’m currently doing, I’ve just been mining asteroids, which means I am not really doing anything. I warp to an asteroid belt, pick out a couple asteroids and I start mining. It takes me a few minutes to fill up my holds and then I go back to base, drop it off, rinse and repeat. The tutorial showed me how to do missions, but for I’ve mainly concentrated on mining and I’ve racked up a decent amount of ISK (EVE currency). I’ve already bought a new ship and am earning toward another one. It sounds boring, but I’m occupying myself with other things (blogging) while I’m mining. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, but I can’t explain it. The buttonWife think it’s lame that I say I’m playing a game that I’m not really playing, but I’m liking it so far.

Leveling up is another interesting thing. You don’t gain experience for doing anything. You just pick a skill and you train it. Then after a certain period of time, you gain the next level in that skill. So right now, I’m training for level 4 mining. I started it Saturday night and I should finish training it tonight. Training goes on, even if you’re not playing. I like that idea. It’s the grind without the grindstone.

All that being said, there’s a huge amount I haven’t experienced, but of the little I have, I like it. I’ll keep playing, giving it a couple weeks worth of trying it out. The weird thing is, if my laptop died tomorrow, I wouldn’t have a problem with walking away from EVE. It hasn’t gripped me yet. I’m going to give it some time, but we’ll see.

Currently downloading…

The EVE Online client. Deep down, I’m really hoping it’s a 21st century incarnation of TradeWars 2002, a game I loved to play on my local BBSes. Here’s to hoping!

Update: Why is picking a character name the hardest part of making a new character?

More:: Too tired to update much more. Finished the tutorial (LONG). Game looks amazing — there’s a lot to like, some things that I’m not too sure about, and traveling in this game is not exactly what I thought it would be. I fell asleep on the way home from my last mission. More later…

Halolympics

Flickr is fun, because you find things like this that make you laugh.

Some of the people I play Halo 2 would definitely medal in “CryBabying”. (Zing!)

(Update: After reading AFKGamer’s Flickr post, I decided to setup a Buttonmashing Flickr account so I don’t have to clutter my personal Flickr account with my gaming detritus)

It’s EVE eve!

Okay, that was weak.

I’ve decided to take the EVE Online plunge this weekend. I’m going to download the client sometime tomorrow and then give the game a whirl for the two week trial. I’ve long resisted paying a monthly fee for a game (even though I did it with Neocron), but I’ve already learned to justify it, if I decide to play past the two week freebie. If I buy a game a every couple months, that’s at least fifty bucks I’m dropping on a regular basis. If EVE is as good as I think it might be, it would only be forty bucks every three months, actually saving me money because I’m not buying other games. Yeah, that’s the ticket! EVE Online is a like a computer game coupon! The buttonWife will be so happy with all the money I’ll be saving!

I’m thinking about putting the game on the laptop, since I’ve heard there can be stretches of downtime while you’re doing certain things, so I want to free up the main PC while I’m playing. Then I can work on “The Queue” while I’m playing EVE. That blows my mind, man!

So if any of you buttonMashers have any tips/comments/suggestions (like “RUN! Don’t download this game!”) let me know. If you’re looking for someone to game with, drop me a line and I’ll look you up once I get in the game. I’m looking forward to it.

Kids don’t get to watch eye gougings anymore

Buttonmashing.com reader Bobster, always the helpful tipster, sent me a link to an article at Reason.com entitled Blood, Guts, and Entertainment: A sanguine take on sanguinary diversions. A great read, as most Reason articles are. The writer, Justin Pete, is reviewing the book Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment in which the author argues, “that violent entertainment is good, indeed necessary—a way to sublimate the vestigial primal urges left over from our hunter-gatherer days” and “our popular culture may be saturated with synthetic gore, but at least we don’t spend our leisure time watching real people have their eyes put out, their limbs pulverized, their sex organs amputated and their flesh torn to pieces with red-hot pincers.” Interesting claims, to say the least. While I don’t necessarily agree that we have “primal urges” to “sublimate,” I do think exploring violence in our culture (especially in the past) is a starting point to refute the hand wringing that goes on now. It seems that a lot of people decrying violence in the media ignore history, much to their convenience.

Justin sites example after example from the book of violence in past entertainment, in order to dispel the myth that “things were so much better (simpler, purer, cleaner, take your pick) before.” The idea that movies like Natural Born Killers couldn’t have been made in 1939 (the year of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind) is simply a fallacy:

Such a simplistic worldview conveniently forgets that 1939 also brought such films as Death Rides the Range, Six-Gun Rhythm, and The Man They Could Not Hang, advertised with the tagline, “Boris Karloff dares you to see this holocaust of horror!”

But, in the end, the conclusion that violence in the media is not directly responsible for violence of the partakers is never breached in the book. It’s a shame. We’ve said it here before, but no one seems to listen. Just because we enjoy violence in our games (or movies or books) doesn’t mean we wish to participate in it. Being entertained is enough for us. But, as Justin says

… the tweaking [Schechter] delivers to the world’s Chicken Littles —those like Gov. Blagojevich, who writes on safegamesillinois.org that “when kids play, they should play like children, not like gangland assassins”—is overdue. If violent entertainment is anything, it is a mirror held up to a violent culture. Eliminating these cultural reflections won’t do anything to alter the master image.