Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Lure of the Otherworld

I'm SO ready to explore these darkened streets.
I'm being even slower than usual on the blog these days, mostly because real life has so many demands on my time. And I'll tell you this, that getting one child means getting one child, but getting a second means getting at least ten. That's how it feels, anyway. Though I have to admit that I have found time for a few guilty pleasures over the last couple of weeks - I've played two tabletop RPG sessions using the Roll20 application - a brilliant substitution for a table when players live six-nine hours' drives apart and can only meet a couple of times a year, and I've fired up that old favorite computer RPG of mine, Baldur's Gate, the Enhanced Edition. I found myself suddenly immersed into the adventure again, and it's great fun seeing characters and locations from my favorite game again. 

Now, I believe the main reason I went back to Gate is because 2015 is really shaping up to be the Year of the Classic CRPG, and replaying that classic adventure is kind of like preparing for the fun to come; I normally don't play that much games, but a good CRPG can have me hooked from beginning to end. Tomorrow is the release date for Pillars of Eternity, virtually a sequel to the Gate games in terms of gameplay and style, so I am really excited about it. It is preloading right now into Steam, so it's ready for takeoff. Everything about it seems geared toward my tastes, so I can't help but feel this game can't disappoint (except for the fact that it may not run properly on my low-end computer, which would be typical, eh). However, the year will present even more old school nostalgia, with games like Tides of Numenara (which can count as a sequel to Planescape: Torment, another classic), Seven Dragon Saga (which promises to revive the glory of the old "Gold Box Games"), Serpent in the Staglands, Ultima Ascendant (a spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld), Dungeons of Aledorn and even more games of this kind - the more complex, deeper games that evoke the tabletop experience. And of course there will be a slew of more modern RPGs that I won't be able to run on this machine, so I will have to be content with Let's Play-videos on Youtube, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and (especially, perhaps) Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which is a must-buy for anyone interested in the "medieval" in George R.R. Martin's medieval fantasy works. 

In short, there will be a lot of interactive entertainment to manage in an already busy schedule. Most likely, I won't be able to run through all this stuff, but Pillars is a given - it just calls to me, and I must heed the call to adventure. And I'll be grumpy every time I have to save and exit because I need to come back to the real world. The good thing? When having fun in a simulated fantasy environment, it works like therapy. It makes the Long Wait just that little shorter. 

As for the reading of fantasy literature, I've been kind of slow with that as well. I'm about 150 pages or so into The Red Knight, and it's a strange book - sometimes it reaches Ice & Fire-levels of fun, and sometimes it goes to the other end of the scale, I guess where R.A. Salvatore and Terry Goodkind hang out. I'll post a review when done. The reading is slow because I have a physical copy of the novel (how things have changed!) - on the Kindle I'm currently re-reading Erikson's Deadhouse Gates, and - like Gardens of the Moon before it - it is at least thrice as entertaining on a re-read. Fantastic piece of work. So much detail. So much caringly crafted otherworld. Mm. 

Which means I've been low on Martinesque adventures, but I do plan to get to the "Captain of the Guards" on my A Feast with Dragons re-read sooner rather than later. Aero Hotah awaits! HO-TAH! What, just a couple of weeks until season five, you say? 
I have decided to boycott Game of Thrones! Me no want to be spoiled. And it has been confirmed that it will spoil. Boo!

Oh, and R.I.P. Terry Pratchett and A.J. Pero :-(

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