Friday, April 22, 2011

Session Roundup #11

Now it is time to see if Das Kainenchen actually remembers what all she's played over the past er... two weeks? The main contenders are Mage: The Awakening, Eclipse, Spiral Knights, and Portal 2, the co-op in particular.

Thursday: Mage, "No Justice like Mob Justice." -- Good session... our crazy Russian Obrimos fell into a trap set by Banishers, traded some gunfire, and wound up calling the rest of us in to help check it out. We're still all getting used to this whole Being Mages thing, but I got to use quite a lot of my awesome mind magic, so that was cool and wicked for me. Last session, we had some complications with in-character conflict, and issues what arise when premise threat actually seems like the natural thing to do-- for example, when you've all just awakened, and you're not all sure how much of the "I've got powers now" people ought to buy into. Fortunately, it got worked out, so that was good.

Eclipse-- A very odd event for Eclipse; the combat was problematic and filled with safety/rules calls, but the political plot, especially for the Aliens (non-humans) was really good. Now, if only the Imperials (my culture) could find a way out of the various kinds (some of it self-induced) of bitchery we're all embroiled in...

...Which leads me to think about politics in LARPs, and how to keep the pressure on. It's really easy to have the goals be either too nebulous and disconnected with the local matters (hey, there's this political hoo-ha on some other planet that you might care about, except that it doesn't have anything to do with anything that will ever be on screen) or too huge (OMG, the Empire is collapsing). I am not yet sure what the solution is, except to mention that keeping the overall scale small is probably a good time. That is to say-- dozens of worlds, not hundreds, and certainly not We-Lose-Billions-In-A-Rounding-Error.

That all said, I had a lot of fun, and fought much better than I was afraid I would, after 3 months of being a lazy ass.

Spiral Knights: Episode One in Games To Play With the Boyfriend All Together And Stuff! Made by the Puzzle Pirates people (Three Rings); Spiral Knights is somewhere between Gauntlet and Legend of Zelda in gameplay style. You play-- surprise!-- a little cartoon knight running around these clockwork mazes looking for exits, and getting material to craft better gear. In the meantime, you can cut down all the grass and trees. There's hp for monsters, which makes it less Linklike, but dude, health is the familiar little heart icons. Up to 4 players can do a dungeon at once; teams are assigned first-come-first-served, or you can join a friend who has gone down before you. It's a little iffy on how to get like, one chosen person and a couple of extra random people; I am hoping they make this easier in future, because the higher levels SUCK. Also, this is another example of Microtransactions taking over the world-- their mechanic is called Energy, which you need in order to go down more levels, craft items, and resurrect inside a level. Though your buddies can rez you too, with half their own life. Neither Shieldhaven or I have actually spent Real Dollaz on this game yet; we'll see what happens, as we're having quite a lot of fun doing levels together.

Portal 2 (co-op): And here's Episode Two, Throwback Edition? Remember sitting on your couch with your buddies in front of the Nintendo back in the day, playing Contra or (in the N64 days) split-screen Goldeneye? Yeah, that. You play Atlas and P-Body, two robots performing tests at the whim of GLaDOS. The potential for griefing is there, but I think it'd be more tempting in the online, remote version, rather than when you're sitting next to the person you're playing with. And the emotes when you want to celebrate solving part of a test are really cool-- shame that they seriously piss off GLaDOS. And boy, does she do everything in her power to drive a wedge between the players... mostly praising one and shaming the other. Shieldhaven was somewhat unamused by her digs at his little blue robot guy.

Speaking of which, as of this writing, Shieldhaven has beaten the single player game, but I have not. And I'd better do something about that, because he's seriously starting to creep up on my gamerscore. Can't have that now, can we?

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