Friday, July 28, 2006

French heat victim death count: 67

You know you have an eating problem when alchemy ingredients in Oblivion start to take on an air of toothsomenesss (it's true, I'm feeling hungry as I write this. I had to ask someone to bring me a packet of smoked salmon and a raspberry tartelette on the way home from work).

Is this an unforseen side effect of the game industry's unrelenting drive for realism? I couldn't possibly say, but I will make the comment that "violence" enjoys a disproportionate amount of attention from media effects researchers. With obesity fast becoming an epidemiological crisis, one would have thought that the above-mentioned effects in relation to food would have at least warranted a look-in.

(And I invite cynical readers to look up the word "toothsome" in the dictionary. I think you'll find that, as is usually the case with words that appear on this blog, it does exist, and that you are simply vocabularily-challenged. Perhaps you might consider taking out a subscription to Reader's Digest?)

And yet my relationship with food is neither here nor there, for the purpose of this post is to apologise for being neglectful of this blog of late. I've been "busy".

Tomorrow I go to Arcachon, an overpriced bourgeois coastal town on the Atlantic side of France: the perfect place to fritter away what money remains to me after having bought a computer powerful enough to play Oblivion . Happily, however, I will be taking some time to take in the sights and sounds of seaside internet cafes, from where I will be sure to upload photographs that expose the hyperbolic erroneousness of those displayed here.

In other news, hoards of sentimentalists and/or the under 10s have revenged themselves by amassing on the Elf Poll (see righthand column) to declare the grace and woodland-dwelling nature of Elves. Must we be passive-aggressively bullied into Elf tolerance?

Update: all raspberry tartelette furnishing bakeries are apparently closed for the holidays and cheap smoked trout (instead of the asked-for salmon) was mistakenly purchased. A humble repast awaits.


At 11:52 pm, Anonymous Mike said...

You seriously like Oblivion ?

At 7:15 pm, Blogger Kipper said...

Are you seriously questioning my liking Oblivion? How can one not like Oblivion?
Granted, it is full of elves, but like the readership of Playelf magazine I don't play it for the elves, I play it for the gameplay mechanics.

At 11:33 pm, Anonymous mike said...

Well, I was a fan from Morrowind, and I'm quite pissed of by the way they handled the experience/leveling and mainquest stuff.

In Morrowind there was this magical barrier that you could not pass through until later in the game, that maked you push forward in improving the character, do quests, unfold the story until you can get there finaly and get the final revelation.

In Oblivion I just did what I did in Morrowind: follow the main quest, until I got bored or too low level - in which case I go doing side quests and stuff until I'm up to going back to the main quest -, but no, I manage to go to Kvatch, and to go through an Oblivion gate, and kill numerous badies, including Daedra masters with big armors and stuff. And get back to tell the story to the useless stupid guards that were not even able to resist to small imps.

That's simply ridiculous, they spoiled the surprise. I don't want to be able to close an oblivion gate at Level 2 !!! And now well, all ennemies scale at the same level than me, so I keep getting problems with thieves on roads even at level 11+. I hate that.

They had a so nice engine, with nice graphics, it could have been everything I wanted it to be, and they miserably broke what I loved in the basic RPG genre: let me do the stuff the way I want, and let me be stronger if I want to be stronger. In Oblivion everything is smoothed out, that's flat, there's no challenge (or a constant level of challengeness), I don't have the satisfaction of getting back to kick the ass of a bad ogre that made me flee crying two level earlier. That's frustrating...

At 4:13 pm, Blogger Kipper said...

Yeah the level-based stuff makes things a bit too predictable in Oblivion. They had leveled creatures in Morrowind too but with a much more subtle way that seemed to work.

The main thing that disappoints me with Oblivion though is that Morrowind was much more challenging understand and explore - and parts of the world were really weird (like those snakey tree towns in the east and the ability to levitate over vast landscapes inhabited by wierd unexplained dwellings) and took ages to travel between. Oblivion's a bit too "accessible", as if it's been brightened up and de-weirded for casual gamers. Being able to zip around the world quickly for example - it's convenient but you lose your sense of orientation in time and space.

As you say, you can achieve a sense of mastery within the game too early on - both in terms of achievements and knowledge of the world. It feels less awe-inspiring than it should.


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