I love to study warfare and history in general, play with LEGOs, watch almost anything Sci-Fi, and experiment with various mods. I am a board game designer in spare time, when I'm not recording/editing the Matt & Zach Show or doing stuff with the gaming makeshift clan known as JSSG. My main project right now is March of the Reds; a strategy/tactical card game based on what would happen if the Cold War went hot in 1989. Also, Please refrain from profanity on my page, thank you! If you see a "Vadronus Prime" running around, that's my alternate gamer-tag. (Long version of Vader91 really) The Free Voice from Vegas Itself!
There are many games out there, and I am proud to say that I play many of them. Be it with dice, controllers, or a mouse; I am a gamer, no doubt about it. Over the years I have amassed a mighty collection, each game meaning something to me. There are games that confuse me (R.U.S.E.), there are games that bore me (Space Marine), and there are games that disappointed me (Binding of Issac). Now of course where there is bad, there is also good. Games I enjoy the few times I play them (Trackmania 2), games that surprised me (Dawn of War), and games I can always pull out and play no matter my mood (Minecraft).
However, as many may notice, there are games I truly love. Some (Skeybar) even claim I am addicted to them (and he may not be too wrong). The games that pulled me in so deep I can’t get out. There are several games that you’ll see me play on an almost daily basis; Fallout New Vegas, Empire at War, Command & Conquer 3 (with Tiberium Essence of course!), and most prominently Team Fortress 2.
However, as of late, a new game has risen to be alongside the giants. A new experience I am stuck to playing, and I doubt I’ll leave it anytime soon. That game is the small Indie title called FTL: Faster Then Light.
When MattmanDude bought me this game during the Steam Sale, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve seen bits of the game across the web but nothing to give me a good idea of what I would be doing. So I installed it (of which took 3 minutes) and started it up. On first appearance the game looked small and quaint; simplistic graphics and an 80’s style techno-retro soundtrack playing softly in the background. I played the tutorial and found the controls straight forward. The gameplay wasn’t flashy but it did what it needed to do.
Then I started a new game.
I found myself in command of the Kestrel; a Serenity-esque starship with a crew of 3 humies and some basic weapons. After assigning my little pixelated crew to their tiny consoles I fired up my hyperdrive and headed towards the nearest beacon. My first star system and a ship that needed some fuel to get home. Being a goodie two-shoes I parted some gas and prepared to make way. Then I landed in the lap of a pirate. Going to a mental red alert I armed my little laser cannon and missile launcher. We sat staring at each other while the weapons charged. Luckily my weapons were faster and I got off the first shot, laser blinking off the enemy’s shields and my missile veering off course. Great, my tactical officer is cross-eyed. Then the pirate returned the favor, firing a similar array of ordnance. Since apparently I got my shield generator from the 99 cent planet, the enemy laser quickly depleted my barriers while a torpedo put a new window in my life support room. Sending my engineer to fix the leak I ordered another barrage. This time our missile landed in their shield generator while the laser disabled their weapons. A few more exchanged of laser fire and I had my first destroyed ship under my belt.
Then I jumped into a star going through a minstrel cycle and found my ship turned into the USS Inferno, toasting my crew. Well, things escalated quite quickly didn’t it?
This defeat did not deter me, I went and tried again. And again. And again. Every time I think my ship was set for life before dying to some random event. One time I finally reach the end, the goal the game wanted me to reach. Thinking I finally won, I then received a new objective; destroy the enemy flagship.
Wait…. What? I just went through Hell and a Half to get this stupid data to you and now you want me to engage the enemy head on? You’re a bunch of loonies!
After my grumble I went ahead and hunted down this flagship. The “good guys” were nice enough to fix my ship (which was nearly dead when I got there mind you) but left me with no proper firepower. I then see it; a monster of a vessel nearly double my size and triple my firepower. I was dead within 30 seconds.
So I learned that FTL is hard, unforgiving, and had a tendency to kick you in the nether regions on the roll of a virtual die. However did I quit? Surprisingly no. I jumped back in, fired up the warp core and went for round 35. I was hooked. I couldn’t win, but I was having the time of my life. I truly felt like Picard or Reynolds, faced with life or death situations that could make me rich or send me to the scrap yard. The simple universe the game offered was fascinating to explore; encountering the Klingon-like Rock folk, Romulan Rip-off Zoltans, or the Jabba-wannabe Slugs. And of course the Mantis men, nightmare fuel that love to board and rip my poor crew a new one. Every round felt like a story, and no 2 rounds were the same.
I eventually did find a way to defeat the endgame Flagship (thank you cloaking devices and friendly Mantis Men) and almost got high on endorphin release. I beat the game.
Then what did I do?
I jumped back in!
In a conclusion, FTL is challenging but insanely fun for folk like me. The simplistic looks hide a truly deep game. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good adventure without paying a crap ton of money or needing a NASA-level computer.
Of course, while I’m writing this, another game that Matt bought me (what a nice feller, thanks mate!) is installing. Oblivion. Will this game have the same effect on me as FTL has currently? Only time will tell.
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