Hand-Held Gaming, revisited

So tonight The Hubbs & I did someting we have not done together in a long time: went to EB Games and spent money. Emphasis is mainly on the word “together”.

I noticed the other night that since I’ve acquired the iPad, I no longer play games on either my Gameboy or PSPGo. (Yes, I realize all the cool kids call it a DS/DSi/ and now a soon-to-be 3DS, but I’m rather attached to calling things by the name they were originally released with, so it will always remain a Gameboy in my heart and in my referencing.) Even playing on the PS3 or Wii is a pretty rare occurance for me nowadays. On that note, Little Big Planet 2 finally came out last week, so I’ve been playing a little bit here and there on my own. I do miss playing LBP with Baby Bro, though. I swear, this game is made for multi-player fun. I’ve never laughed as much or as hard with any game as I had with the original LBP. I’m hoping the second game offers just as much enjoyment in that department as the first.

Having received an email from Nintendo the other night, announcing its newest, soon-to-be member to the Gameboy family, I kind of got all wistful and doe-eyed. Ooooh… Pretty! Shiny! Tuuuuurquoise!

Both the Gameboy and the PSP were my mainstay gaming systems to keep me occupied during my waits in doctors’ offices — the Gameboy, primarily, but I still like the shininess of the PSP. I suppose since I’m currently spending less time in offices nowadays (a good thing!), I don’t think much about the need for gaming to keep me sane during multiple(!) hours long waits.

Thinking about it, that kind of made me sad. Because honestly, I don’t game on the iPad at all. I just don’t feel like it’s a “proper” gaming device. Sure, it has games that you can buy and yes, it does have some pretty stunning graphics capabilities, but I just don’t get a thrill of gaming on it. It holds absolutely zero interest for me. The purpose of ~my~ iPad is reading, recipe searching, and watching youtube videos on various subjects. As embarassing as that last observation is, personally, it’s what comprises most of my time spent with the iPad if I’m not firmly engrossed in my blog readings of the day.

The games on this, in my opinion, are just short-term time killers while you’re in the midst of waiting for something else — you know, sudoku, cross-words, search words. Even Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds and all the ridiculous sushi/burger/cupcake shop games, as fun, popular and cute as they are, they’re still designed for relatively short game play, to kill time. Yes, prolonged gaming is possible, but there’s no real plot, no story with a definitive ending (happy or sad), no long term goal to accomplish, no… nothing.

So tonight, I decided I needed to look into buying me some new Gameboy games. I had no idea what was currently on the market (and still don’t, in fact) and just figured I’d pick up something that might be interesting and out of my ordinary gaming genre. Lemme tell you, there are still some rather crappy genres out there that I just don’t understand… But then again, I am probably guaranteed NOT to be the Gameboy’s target market audience.

Still, I am rather curious as to why some genres even exist. Yes, a Gameboy’s small and rather portable, but how is that helpful for a yoga “game”? The one niche market I really don’t understand still is that of the fitness coach/weight loss games. I don’t see how you can exercise with a Gameboy in hand. Has anyone really attempted to learn downward dog with a Gameboy screen?? But I digress…

Tonight I picked up two new, to me, games that are completey different than my normal run of things: Lux-Pain and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.

As most people are aware, I am not an RPG player, which is exactly what GS:DD is. I fail exceedingly well at these types of games, which is very embarassing, since 10 year olds can easily get the knack for them. For some reason, I just don’t find it terribly appealing to have to deal with all sorts of character stats, equipment management, special talent abilities and the like. You’d think that with my penchant for micro-management, RPGs would actually be right up my alley, but no, it is not.

So why did I pick up the game, then? I really wanted to give the genre another chance and see what people enjoy getting out of this gaming experience. Both my brothers, The Hubbs and even Dad, are totally into the RPG thing. Obviously with various degrees of gaming enjoyment between them, but the key is that they derive great pleasure from the experience of it. Even though I play WoW, I do not relish having to decipher what all the stats mean on a particular piece of equipment just to dress my mage up pretty. My goals at the most basic level, involve opening up maps to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations… and do some flower picking along the way :P

I guess I never really saw RPGs as story-telling games and I think that may be where I was mis-informed. I always just saw it as a game where you dress your character up in as pretty an outfit as you can with the greatest specs (both my brothers and my Dad have the tendency to make girls their primary heroes… and they say boys don’t like to play dress-up. Hah, they lie!), kill big bad scary monsters and collect coin-age, with a pretty high probability of dying. Repeatedly, thrown in for good measure. I’ve found out it’s the dying that frustrates me the most.

So anyhow, there is story telling to be had with RPGs and I am very curious to know and understand how that pans out for me. Yea, I’m like WAY behind the times considering there’s the whole massive Final Fantasy world out there and has been for years (or might be seen as eons, to some) but I guess it’s better late than never to try out something new, right?

As for Lux-Pain, it definitely falls under the category of story telling. I guess I would call it more of an interactive, animated novel with a couple of actions required on the gamer’s part thrown in just cuz. I do use the term “actions” as opposed to “puzzles” for this game because there’s really not much thought to it. I believe one website described it more as “lottery ticket scratching”.

The reviews for Lux-Pain aren’t that stellar, I found out after the fact, and it’s because of things like failure to do proper integration of text and speech segments in the game. If you can get past the weirdness of text and speech not matching up, the story is kinda neat, if rather… disturbing. I’m not a person that finds pleasure in things like death, group suicides and scary stories, so again, I’m not entirely sure how I came to pick this game up. I will try to play it as far as I can to get a feel for this kind of game, but that’s assuming I don’t get upsetting dreams, first. If I do, all bets are off and I’m just gonna cut my losses and sell it back to EB Games.

I have somewhat reserved, but secretly high, hopes that I will enjoy this kind of story-telling game. If there’s a real story to follow and some proper puzzles thrown in for good measure, I’m all over that. I guess I’m kind of hoping it will be more like the pc games I used to play when I was growing up that seemed to have fallen out of favour for the now exceedingly popular RPGs, sports, driving and shoot-em-up games.

The one thing I noticed tonight in my game search, is that game boxes tell you nothing of what the game supposed to be about and that drives me absolutely batty. From that observation alone, the fact that I picked up anything at all tonight, even with a huge lack of insightful direction, is rather impressive.

3 thoughts on “Hand-Held Gaming, revisited

  1. So I’ve got a pretty profound love/hate relationship with RPG’s for a variety of reasons, though I sorta lean towards your likings because I appreciate RPG’s for the experience and not so much the XP.
    Having been one of the Final Fantasy VII generation, my love of the genere took off as RPG’s became realized into the grand stories that board gaming could only prior dream about. What I loved about D&D and Starfleet Battles wasn’t so much the stats or the points as much as the encounters, though I realize one was dependent on another.
    When RPG’s started hitting computers, I was happy because all of the rote tasks, rolls, and statistics became eliminated, and as graphics and sound started getting better, so did storytelling, and at the time, Final Fantasy VII was the ultimate experience.
    I can’t tell you how big of a geeky boner I got when I picked up Bahamut Zero and did my first summon with him as the demon zoomed it’s way from whatever part of the Ether it lived in, to have him unleash an orbital blast of epic proportions onto whatever poor pack of wankers I was I felt like vaporizing at the time.
    It’s experiences like that which draws me back to RPG’s despite many games now becoming a seemingly endless series of bashing rats, snakes, and Marlboros; I could give a crap about ultimate weapons or the bazillion miniquests that I left behind as much as I just want to see how the stories end, the grand boss battles, and most definitely the Summons, though Final Fantasy seems to be toning them down more and more for hot WoW styled mano a mano combat.

    1. TeaseMeGirl

      See that’s the thing — I am looking for story and I am looking for… I dunno… something resembling intellectual stimulation? Would that be a good way of explaining it?
      Table top D&D playing (or however it’s properly termed) is something that I enjoy, though that too, I am also rather shy about in my abilities to properly play in a group setting, no matter how excellent the DM/GM is and my fellow party members are. So when WoW came out, it was rather awesome. I could still have that group gaming feeling (regardless of if I actually played in a party or not) without all the fiddly bits like you mentioned.
      And ya, when my mage would totally annihilate whole packs of creatures, I totally got jazzed by that. WoW has unfortunately taken away a lot of the creativity and spell variety combos with a character in favour of PVP, which I am SO. NOT. INTO. Makes me sad.
      The story telling in WoW is decent… I am under the assumption that a lot of people just click through their quests to advance to the next level. And I admit, it’s a lot of reading, and I too just click through stuff after awhile if I’ve been at things for a few too many hours ;)

      1. I get that about the storytelling as well…unfortunately I’m way too instant gratification to deal with reading scrolling text vs watching a cinematic, though Final Fantasy games still manage a pretty decent balance between watching movies and reading dialogue without getting to heavy or tiring.
        And as much as I enjoy watching a Summon execute it’s Ultimate attack the first few times, you can only enjoy watching a 9999 point overkill so many times before you mind goes “OKAY…I GET IT…YOU’RE A BADASS GOD…ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE ANHILLATION…”

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