Tag Archive: Nostalgia

The Pain and Suffering of EQ (Happy Birthday!)

Makes it memorable for us old MMOers. The dying breed. Consider this story from the EQ boards:

Unrest was and might still be one of my very favorite places in the entire game.  I had SO much fun there back in the day that even when I should have been far, far away I was still in the basement grinding lt.blues because I just didn’t want to leave.  My Rogue became “Uber” for the first time there with his bloodstained mantle, tunic, Dwarven Work Boots and Jagged Band.  I made good friends there, several of whom I keep in touch with to this very day although they haven’t played in years.  It was a true bonding experience.  No PoK or Nexus in those days.  We had to walk all the way from Qeynos to Freeport dodging Giants and Bandits and all manner of Griffs and other nasty things.  We trod through Highpass and then, after racing past the Orcs and Gnolls, we emerged into the dreaded Kithicor,  Everyone died but my rogue who dragged his friends corpses to the commonlands ZL where they looted and we continued on our way.  Then on to Freeport, boats, islands, more boats, into Butcherblock, Dagnor’s Cauldron with more nasty things to dodge and then, at long last, the Estate of Unrest.  Just getting there was epic in and of it’s self.  It took us all friday night after work, and most of saturday and sunday as well.  We bound at the entrance and stayed there.  We started the trek in single digits and emerged as mighty twenty somethings.  To this day the entire journey to and final departure from the Estate of Unrest colors the glass through which I see the game of Everquest.

Mack

Most EQ players have those stories. I won’t rehash mine (but parts of it is linked in the post below from the good old days!) but needless to say everyone who recalls what was good about EQ recalls something challenging, unavoidable, or painful – and how they overcame it with friends and/or random strangers. Community of course is the word, and not the same kind we are building these days. And that is also ok, because our sense of community with Facebook and Global connections has also changed. Uphill both ways, so to speak.

I am a terrible boyfriend of EQ. The last time I remembered to wish her Happy Birthday was in 2009. Regardless, she will always love me back as long as I log in. And she doesn’t even want presents anymore, just attention. So once again, on her birthday, and say thank you to how EQ shaped my life (online – and a bit otherwise too) and glad she is still out there being her.

I’ll visit soon.

Tell Me What You Want (What You Really, Really, Want)

I think MMO nostalgia makes us funny people. Just yesterday I was thinking about EQ and the amazing times had there with people I still consider ‘amazing’. Hell, I even went to my first ever guild message boards (circa 1999) after a 3 year hiatus to go say “hi” and see who was still kicking around and posting (long after the guild being retired). Funny enough there were people still poking their heads around there from time to time.

Of course, that led to a EQ1 trial download, and boy, is that game ever ugly. After dying to starter mobs a couple of times (yes, that’s right, starter mobs can kill you!) and running out of mana halfway through my second fight, I had to laugh at myself. This was the world that made me fall in love with MMO’s and the concept that gaming can reach a far greater audience than a saved game file on my hard drive. It had slightly less graphical appeal than minecraft. I lasted all of fifteen minutes before logging off, promising myself to actually give it a fair shot when I had more time, and left to go read some blogs.

My first MMO was EQ, then DAOC, then WoW. I played pretty much every MMO in between in either beta tests, short stints, or trials, but those three are the only three that captured my playtime for any significant period. All three are very different, of course, and are as reflective of a time period than anything to do with MMO.

What do we want from a MMO? Hard to figure that part out when I’m not even sure I know what *I* want. My off the cuff response to ‘what does Isey want from a MMO’ is pretty quick and easy to answer:

“A non-instanced, strategically paced, skill based, single world, sandbox style, relationship conducive, emotional driven fantasy world that I can enjoy in chunks of one hour (or less) two to three times a week (or when family/work time allows).”

Long answer, I love the thoughts behind this guy, and this guy, although it’s hard to envision how the three would combine into an actual playable game (and I could easily link another half dozen bloggers who write about games I would play).

Ok! Easy enough. Let’s get to work on that.. wait a minute.. does that really sound so good?

A lot of the systems and styles us fogeys keep discussing and clamoring for are things that have been already been dismissed in current and future game design as ‘quality of life’ improvements. As much as I say (and think), I want that 30 minute boat ride to Freeport, or having to speak in different languages to a complete stranger on that boat to improve my Erudite (15) language skill, it’s easy to remember fondly but harder to actually play that way again. That 30 minutes would be half (or all) of a current play session for me.

And, while I can sit here and write about the systems, styles, and innovations I want (or think I want) from a MMO, the systems themselves do not really matter. I want a MMO that can illicit the emotion of the games I used to love. And  I’m not sure that is entirely possible, but still remain hopeful.

What I do know is that in 10 years from now I probably won’t be searching down my old WoW guilds to see if anyone is still kicking around.

Continuing My Excellence in Game Breaking News

Tyson winking at you was scary back then, too

Tyson winking at you was scary back then, too

So much to get excited about, I’m not sure where to begin.

With that in mind I will begin here.

Released in the late 80’s (1987?) Mike Tyson’s Punch Out was a game on the SNES that my friends and I played for hours on end. It was a classic. Ah the memories.

The 2009 version, besides fun new Wii controls (disclaimer: I haven’t bought this yet.) Enjoys an expected graphics update.

I don’t even like boxing as a sport – but the game was so much fun. Sadly, without playing the game I am not here to review – just share in my excitement for the upgrade and then ponder a question that has been asked many times before: What games would you love to see “updated”? And as a follow-up – can the magic of a couple decades old game be recaptured with today’s tech and design differences?

Time for my top 3? Glad you asked.

3. Privateer (1994)

Be your own Han Solo, run missions, fight in space sims, buy/sell/kill? Yes thank you. Missions felt oft-repeated, but with today’s tech and design I would like to think this would be the easiest of games to update and make super cool. Could probably even Multiplayer it – or, (shudder) Massively Multiplayer it. Great part was there was a main story line, but you could freely stray from it to do an endless stream of side missions

 

Where is Chewbacca?

Where is Chewbacca?

2. Star Control 2 (1992)

I didn’t ever know, or figure out, how to win this game. I just explored and played and played and played. Diplomacy, gathering, and combat components as I ventured out to save the earth from slavery. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, in case you are thinking of picking it up to give it a whirl.

 

The fate of the earth is in on your highly pixelated ship.

The fate of the earth rests on your highly pixelated ship.

1. X-Com (1993)

‘Nuff said.

Resource, Research, Team Managment and turn based combat. Pure Joy – and a great challenge.

 

All ur base are belong to you

All ur base are belong to you

I know those are easy picks, but I wonder how Punchout (2009) will fare both on it’s own merits and the nostalgia merits. I wonder if PC gaming will go the route of Hollywood and start remaking old classics for revenue. I certainly wouldn’t complain – Although I am half afraid to pick any of these titles back up for fear of let down. What was great 10-20 years ago, may not feel so spectacular now.

What are your favorites?