Naked...Have Rock...Not Afraid To Use It

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Happy Weekend TAY!

Finally some nice cool fall weather in my neck of the woods. I don’t like the heat, so it is always nice when I can finally go outside without feeling like I am melting.

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Last week I had gaming attention issues, which rarely happens to me. This meant that I ended up putting in a small bit of time into several different games.

The biggest accomplishment last week was knocking Far Cry 4 off my backlog. I had a fantastic time with the game and while the storylines didn’t resolve themselves quite the way I would have liked, the overall experience was amazing. I still have the two single player DLCs to attack, but I’ll leave those for a bit to avoid getting burnt out on a good thing. If you haven’t played either Far Cry 4 or Far Cry 3, I’d highly recommend checking them out. Far Cry 4 suffers a little from feeling like a similar game to Far Cry 3 but it is such a great trip that I didn’t mind. Frankly, I was happy to be back in that world and with those physics.

After Far Cry 4 I wasn’t quite sure what to play, so I figured I would get Rune Classic up and running to hopefully join in on the TAY Game Night next week. I played Rune when it originally came out in 2000 for PC and didn’t really recall the game at all. I did remember liking it, though the lack of specific memories means it didn’t make much of an impression on me. So I ended up fairly surprised when I found myself playing enough of the single player game to get me to the halfway point. I didn’t expect to be drawn into the game at all after the cringeworthy low-tech intro sequence.

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Rune Classic isn’t going to impress players any longer but it is still fun and works well mechanically despite the AI warts. JollyBoots was mentioning last week that he was playing Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines and that he found it strange and jarring to revisit older games with their complete lack of handholding. I’m finding the same experience in Rune Classic and I’m a little sad we somehow lost our way in modern gaming. It is refreshing to leave it up to the player to figure out where to go and what to do next. I guess I really should try out the Dark Souls games and see if that fills this void.

Rune’s level design isn’t at all complex by today’s standard but I’ve found myself backtracking many times because I’ve missed something. I’ve been longing for those bursts of joy when you finally get “unstuck” in older games. The whole experience is about your own abilities instead of simply following waypoints and having someone tell you constantly where to go next.

I can’t really recommend Rune Classic as a single player game since it hasn’t aged well enough to appeal to most people (though you should grab it on PC and come play the multiplayer with us next week). However, if you are a student of game development it is likely worth the trip just to see a game that left it all up to the player (and there is some great level design in there as well). Rune definitely could use a reboot, there is some good meat on those bones.

Last Thursday, while I was helping my son with some math homework, I decided to register my last bunch of Humble Bundle codes. One code was for Rust. I didn’t mean to start playing it, honestly I didn’t, but now that I have started...I’m having trouble stopping. I have always been excited to check out Rust. I love the idea of a desperate survival game with Minecraft-like mechanics that includes a social component. Rust doesn’t disappoint.

You start Rust naked and armed only with a torch and a rock. The torch is your initial source of light and a big “I’m here, come kill me” signal. The rock is a rudimentary all-around weapon and tool. You can chop down a tree slowly with a rock. You can break up other rocks with your rock. You can also sneak up (naked) behind other people (preferably other naked people) and brain them with your rock. Not my proudest moment, but those other naked people might have something I want.

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As you play for a while, you start to unlock different items. While death means you lose everything, the unlocks remain available to your character on that specific server. This allows your subsequent respawns to move more rapidly towards more advanced weaponry and structures. Much like Minecraft, once you build a bed you are then able to respawn at that specific location. Hopefully this location is a house that you’ve constructed and that you’ve squirreled away some items as a nest egg for your eventual demise and rebirth. However, dwelling destruction and looting seems to be a popular pastime in Rust. I’ve returned to my house on several occasions to find most of it destroyed and all my worldly possessions gone.

I’m really enjoying Rust, though I know part of this is the sheer novelty of the unique gameplay. I love watching how people behave in this microcosm; it is our own Lord Of The Flies experiment. Clearly, one component I am missing is friends. Two naked people with rocks are far more imposing than one.

I’ve fallen for many of the noob traps. My first betrayal was a heavily armoured woman who said (via voice) “Don’t run, I won’t kill you!”. Of course I paused, which resulted in being speared through the gut. The funny part was listening to her apologise as she continued to loot me in the midst of my screaming death throes.

The other moment that sticks out is being mortally wounded by a more advanced player. They just took the resources from my inventory and then healed me so I would not die. Clearly this person is farming other players for resources instead of wasting time collecting them. A brilliant strategy if you ask me. By not killing me, I was free to continue collecting resources again with all my tools intact and likely still weak (comparatively) for the next time the advanced player came around for harvest time.

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I’m looking forward to more Rust this weekend, but I have to make sure to go back and finish off Rune Classic before that sits too long. Now that my family is over the latest cold going around my kid’s school, I’m hoping we will have a chance for some Rock Band 4 this weekend.

Sunday is a gaming convention in my city. We aren’t a big city and this is the first time for this type of thing. My family is planning to go to show support and see what it is like. Currently, it looks like just a lot of vendors. I’ll try and share some pictures next weekend.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?