Monday, April 27, 2009

"Top # Lists"

OK, so the newest facebook thing that everyone is doing is the Top 5 lists.. a nice break from the the what color of sadness are you and what celebrity do you stalk the most quizzes. However, I have always had real problem with Top Lists. They are so arbitrary and, for me at least, never final. In games, film and music I always have things I consider my favorites, but assigning them rank, or narrowing them down to a small few is impossible for me. I could make top 10 lists by genre and probably still not be satisfied with my lists.

So with all that complaining done, I present my Top 10 games of all time list, and I do so with this full disclaimer. Most of these games will always be in my favorites list, their order or even their ascension into the top 10 however are probably never guaranteed (Mafia probably being the exception here. So I present my List in the upper corner of this blog, and will explain my decisions a couple of games at a time. So please, comment on my choices and provide some of your own. I wanna here from my friends out there.

Betrayal at Krondor - Sierra/Dynamix
Betrayal at Krondor is a game I have purchased twice in my lifetime. Once up release on original diskettes and then again later in the 90's for the CD version will full CD music tracks. Some of my friends know my fondness for Gaming Scores/Soundtrack, and the themes on Krondor are some of my favorites. Krondor runs perfectly on Dosbox. For those who don't know, Dosbox almost fully emulates a DOS installation, complete with Soundblaster Pro/16 and VGA emulation. A Little tweaking and beta-running with give you Gravis Ultrasound or Roland MT-32 Emulation as well.

Krondor plays out like a fantasy novel, and indeed was based of the writings of Raymond Feist.
The game is in an RPG in pseudo-3d. The upgradeable stats include, armor-crafting (the ability to repair armor), lock picking and even barding, which allowed a character to attempt to play music once a chapter at local inns for money. The combat was turn and tile-based on a flat plane.
The game is fairly long at 9 chapters (this of course depends on your exploring, which should take awhile for the full experience.) Krondor is a great game and highly recommended and rated.

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven - Illusion Softworks/Gathering of Developers
Often mislabled as being a Grand Theft Auto period clone, Mafia was a more serious, realistic and plot-driven piece than GTA was, something the GTA series has tried to remedy over the last few iterations. Mafia found a way to present an homage to the best gangster media over the years without feeling like they were ripping them off. The game is faithful to the time period in architectural style, weapons, vehicles (even the speed of them which some players complained of) and the music. Again music here is key for me, to providing an "authentic" experience. The score is amazing, and the licensed music, dominated by Django Reinhardt, is an excellent addition. Reinhardt's music is some of my favorite of the Jazz genre.

Mafia is an over the shoulder shooter and driver, and it works here. First person would have taken the focus of the story, which focuses on Tommy Angelo's rise through the ranks of the mafia from beginnings as a cab driver. Again here the story borders on the cliche due to the homage factor, but never falls over that edge that it straddles. Play this one before the long-awaited sequel Mafia II comes out nearing the end of this year. The original entry really pushed the graphics envelope in 2002, and the sequel looks looks like it will do the same.

Now playing: Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta!
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still a Long way to go...

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by: Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.