Je Retourne! (Part 2)

And so, after 6 weeks away from this blog, I returned – only to be shipped off to site for work. And site, in this case, was north-of-nowhere in Karratha, living in a project camp – the likes of which I’ve never encountered before. With nothing on the cards except working 12-hour days, eat at the mess (not as bad as I’d feared), and drink at the cheap wet-mess, the few hours up my sleeve every night were available to catch up on all the video podcasts I’d been downloading in the last five years… and to get a spot of gaming in.

The thing is, I wasn’t about to drag a console up to a mining site – which left me with the DS and the PC to choose from. I started off with my much-belated attack on Tim Schafer’s Full Throttle. Created prior to the glorious Grim Fandango, I was expecting clever writing, silly puzzles, and an all-round solid package – after all, Fandango gave me four full solid days of delight. But, whilst the writing lived up to its end of the deal (creating caricatures which managed to feel solid, with a splendidly quippy script), I found the SCUMM-based puzzles to be of the “click everywhere and hope” variety. In particular, the final section of the game unfortunately lingers in my memory, because its key was to click (essentially) offscreen – and that type of trick shits me right off. Couple annoying puzzles with a short game (something like ten hours, I reckon), and you can colour me – sadly – disappointed. It may have been just worth the ten bucks it cost me, if only to see Schafer’s progression… but Grim Fandango also only cost ten bucks, and is oodles better in every respect.

A day of airplanes and airports had me home for three days over Easter and, desperate for some retail therapy, I picked up a new Nintendo DSi. The new matte finish feels lovely in the hand, but is tempered by the fact that the serial number sticker breaks up the finish under my fingers; despite some reservations with the new interface, it’s proven itself to be a great acquisition… although I recently found the receipt for my original DS – AU$188, whereas three years later the DSi was AU$299. And, as I’ve previously mentioned, the very idea of a freebie game horrifies me – despite trying to barter for some Points Cards instead, I had to plump for Sight Training; another blight on The List, though hopefully not a long-lasting one. The DSi has also got me looking at Electroplankton and Rub Rabbits again, too…

Finally, one of the videos I consumed whilst on-site was a “History of Zelda” documentary (acquired, possibly dodgily, through Zentendo). Seemingly released around the same time as Wind Waker, it features interviews with a bunch of Nintendo fans and luminaries (including Shigsy himself, and Eiji Aonuma – who, I was somewhat disappointed to discover, directed both Majora’s and Wind Waker). And it’s a great doco, but it had the effect of stoking the flames of passion for Zelda again… and so, on Easter Saturday, I broke out my Limited Edition of Wind Waker, popped the bonus disc in the Wii, and started playing through both Ocarina (again) and Master Quest, side-by-side… and I admit to being surprised just how much harder Master Quest is compared to the original: even the very first dungeon offers a significant challenge. So, with essentially two Ocarina playthroughs being attempted at the same time, and further opportunities for work-related travel in the near future, it’s pretty safe to say that the rest of April is taken care of, game-wise. And May. And probably June, too. Bloody Gerudo archery.

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