Nov 30, 1998 - Dec 4, 1998

As we enter the final act of 1998, I wonder if lightning can strike twice. One game has already come from out of nowhere this year to rock the gaming landscape. Sure, Half-Life carried the time-worn Sierra pedigree, but these new cats called "Valve" may have just been lucky. Is it possible that yet another complete unknown -- in this case a company known as "BioWare," whose pedigree to date is the completely forgettable Shattered Steel -- can come to the rescue of the ailing CRPG genre in the same way that Half-Life seems to have breathed new life into the largely dull landscape of FPS games (see: Sin)?

The likely answer is: definitely not.

Maybe it's just the lingering memory of the X Files movie, but I Want to Believe that this week's Baldur's Gate is a harbinger of things to come. Tragically, I'm having trouble imagining that suddenly D&D and computers are going to get all chocolate and peanut butter with each other after such a long, depressing drought, particularly in the hands of this upstart BioWare. The most I can manage to hope for at this point is that Baldur's Gate is an entertaining distraction. I don't expect Gold Box quality, but it'll be nice to dabble with Magic Missiles and saving throws on my computer again.

Either way, I don't want close out what's been an amazing year with skepticism or pessimism. I could comfortably hang my hat on any year that provides games like Half-Life, Unreal, Grim Fandango and Fallout 2. I know there are a number of you who will add StarCraft to that list, and so for you it's a pretty good week with the release of the Brood War expansion pack. I don't count myself among your cult, ever the Warcraft 2 purist that I am, but I recognize that it's something of a big-deal release. Add to that an inventive shooter called Thief that also releases this week, and there's a lot of possibility hitting the shelves, if not so much certainty.

Going back to my desire to end on a positive theme, I'm going to give the nod for Game of the Week to Baldur's Gate. Hopefully years down the road we'll be talking about this moment as the year when role playing games became popular again. Hell, living in a state that just elected Jesse Ventura, I gotta believe anything is possible.

Comments

KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage.

Pssh... whatever, here's a real cutting edge website:
The future!

Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage. ;)

And FFVII wasn't as good as VI anyway.

Man what a great year for some all time classic games.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage. ;)

But have you seen the trailers? It looks so pretty! So very, very pretty.

cube wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage. ;)

And FFVII wasn't as good as VI anyway.

Judging by the recently released PC version of said game (this Playstation fad will never last and so I'm not buying into it) you are clearly wrong. Here are the reasons:

1.) FFVI had one cartridge, FFVII has four CDs. That's right, four. It's also much more megabytes, but I guess that's too technical for you console lovers. Suffice to say, CD has an almost infinite capacity, so FFVII is four times the infinity.

2.) FFVI came out for Nintendo, which is a kid's console. By porting FFVII to PC they shown how more mature this installment in the series really is. By not porting the previous ones they have shown how unimportant those are.

3.) FFVII is in 3D, which is one more D than FFVI. By making the graphics almost lifelike they ensured that FFVII will remain fully accessible to all future generations.

I also predict that the next installments will be done for PCs only, as the consoles are vastly inferior to them.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage. ;)

But have you seen the trailers? It looks so pretty! So very, very pretty.

I hear there's time travel in it. Seems oddly fitting.

Guys, Thief is from the people who made System Shock and Ultima Underworld. Why isn't it game of the week? The Gold Box was great and all, but there are only so many times you can retread the same tired fantasy clichés. The guys at Looking Glass Studios are making some of the most original, forward-thinking games today.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

BRING ON FINAL FANTASY 8 ALREADY!

I have this strange feeling it'll full of emo suckage. ;)

But have you seen the trailers? It looks so pretty! So very, very pretty.

I hear they're revolutionizing this one! Yep, a decade from now the innovative 'Junction' system will be an integral part of every single video game ever.

The podcast better be done in your 1998 voices.

The Dreamcast will be the most dominant console ever produced. Write it down, baby.

These games are all stupid. Full-Motion Video is the way of the future.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Guys, Thief is from the people who made System Shock and Ultima Underworld. Why isn't it game of the week? The Gold Box was great and all, but there are only so many times you can retread the same tired fantasy clichés. The guys at Looking Glass Studios are making some of the most original, forward-thinking games today.

I agree with your last sentence completely, those guys were awesome. I just want to nitpick and point out that Baldur's Gate, et al, are not the Gold Box series, they are the Infinity engine series. The Gold Box series was the decade earlier SSI products, Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, et al. Given my avatar, please allow me this well-intentioned, public-service-minded nitpick.

I think he's saying that the Gold Box games pretty much covered D&D, so there's not a lot of opportunity for this Baldur's Gate game to compare well. I don't think he's saying it _is_ a Gold Box game. I know that I wasn't implying that.

Elysium wrote:

I think he's saying that the Gold Box games pretty much covered D&D, so there's not a lot of opportunity for this Baldur's Gate game to compare well. I don't think he's saying it _is_ a Gold Box game. I know that I wasn't implying that.

Pssh.. I'm still waiting for a sequel to Pools of Darkness. Needs more epic!

But will it run on my computer?

Steve Jobs keeps saying that Mac gaming is about to take off, but it seems like Marathon is still the only Mac game worth playing. (And the PC-compatibility I paid extra for is practically useless.)

WTF? I get in a time machine, and it drops me off five years after the prime of my life?

I want my money back, you shysters!

On the bright side, Everquest does come out next year. Maybe I can get into the beta test.

Elysium wrote:

I think he's saying that the Gold Box games pretty much covered D&D, so there's not a lot of opportunity for this Baldur's Gate game to compare well. I don't think he's saying it _is_ a Gold Box game. I know that I wasn't implying that.

Yes.

The sheer power of this Voodoo AGP card shows that these guys are going to be the graphic card leaders for a long, long time.

I regret nothing!!!

November 1998? Been married two months and probably not gaming all that much. For Boogle!

KaterinLHC wrote:

So, the site redesign is nice and all. But I gotta say, I really miss those old flickering torches up at the top. And why doesn't the pointer have the sparkle-trail behind it anymore? *sigh*

Seems to be a work in progress, in which case they really need to put the animated construction GIFs back up.
IMAGE(http://www.animatedgif.net/underconstruction/5consbar2_e0.gif)

Grumpicus wrote:

November 1998? Been married two months and probably not gaming all that much. For Boogle! :D

For a 10 year old? Creepy much?

Tanglebones wrote:

Pssh... whatever, here's a real cutting edge website:
The future!

I should have known better.

Grumpicus wrote:

November 1998? Been married two months and probably not gaming all that much. For Boogle! :D

5 months here, gaming bunches.

Hello 1998-self! Get busy, do things, play games! In two years you will have a child and there will be NO MORE TIME!

Oh and do enjoy Thief, you will only later realize how amazing that game was. And in two years (when you won't have any time anymore) there will be this little game called Deus Ex, go get it!

Tanglebones wrote:

Pssh... whatever, here's a real cutting edge website:
The future!

I can't stop this feeling
deep inside of me.
Girl, you just don't realize
what you do to me.

Come to think of it...if it's '98, I don't have a job. What am I doing on a site for gamers with jobs?

Ah yes, here we are in the year 1998. Remember three years ago, when I got laid for the first time? I sure do. Alas, she is gone now, because I am stupid.

I need to get going though, I have classes over at the Sterling campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

After that, I am heading up to Maryland to visit my buddy Gabe. We've been talking into a tape recorder, pretending to do our own radio show. It's a lot of fun. Gabe thinks we should take the show to the internet, but I told him no one wants to listen to a bunch of nerds pretending to do a radio show on the internet. That will never work.

Sorry, I have no idea what "MMO" means.

juv3nal wrote:

Come to think of it...if it's '98, I don't have a job. What am I doing on a site for gamers with jobs?

I was going to say that I just quit Dell a week ago, but it looks like I still have a year to go. Crap!