This week has been all about two things. I’ll address the less wonderful one first.
Luxor 2. Or, as I like to childishly refer to it, Luxor Poo.
I don’t go for these Match-3 style games much; they’re generally not puzzley enough to be a decent puzzle game, and generally feel too chancey to make me feel like I’m progressing. Or getting anything “productive” done. And yes, I know my entire hobby is largely a massive time-sink and, had it not been for a midlife-crisis-esque plunge back into the gaming pool, I could be spending my evening hours swotting up on the next hot bit of ephemeral technology du jour, hopefully making myself ultra-employable. But I’ve already got a job that I can just about get my head around, so I’m not really sure it’s a great loss.
Given my self-imposed lot in life is to climb this mountain of games to a competent degree, I like to feel like there’s always some progression. It’s always nice to be able to measure things, create projections, determine that there is an end-point and that it will be met. But games that have chance as a central ingredient throw a spanner into the works there: sometimes Lady Luck will bless you with good fortune, enabling you to tear a hole in the outstanding progress; other times will leave you gnawing your own lip in frustration.
Last week I ranted about how much I hated the presence of chance in GTA: Chinatown Wars; as punishment (I guess… what else could it be?) I decided to celebrate the conclusion of that piece of shit game by starting another that I had every expectation of loathing: Luxor 2, a cross between Space Invaders and Zuma. And I fucking hate Zuma. But start it I did and, after a brief flurry of gettable Achievements, I settled into the groove of beating all 88 levels at each of three difficulties.
That’s a lot of levels. Even at one a night, that’s… bloody ages.
Early going was swift, hoofing through the levels with cack-handed button mashing. Five levels per weeknight felt doable. But then extra colours were introduced, my simplistic gameplan fell to pieces, and… Level 7-4 stopped me dead.
For three days.
And then I got into Lady Luck’s good books; she gave me a wink, lifted her skirt a little, and showed me a different approach. BAM – I’m through, but with gritted teeth. Where I was feeling – dare I say it – joy before, revelling in the steady progress, now most of my gameplay was taking place close to the failure point, the ominous “you’ve nearly fucked it” music creating apprehensive chants in my head. I’m constantly on edge, minutes feel like hours, and the only moments of pleasure are coming from the successful completion of a level. And, even better, when I score enough points to advance a rank. I’m currently on Easy Level 11-5, rank “Goods Counter”, but I admit to leaping up and in celebration when I attained “Donkey Washer”.
So – Luxor 2. Milking it for what I can get. Will never finish it on Hard, or even Normal. But I’ll keep on plugging on.
The other game that I’ll never finish is Bayonetta, the other focus of my gaming time this week. Extended play of the 360 demo leads me to believe that I don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of beating this game on anything other than the easiest difficulty levels; I don’t have the background in DMC-ish action to be able to discern the action in a way that enables me to respond to it. It looks beautiful, of course, but the combo system has my thumb flailing (go on, close your eyes and imagine a flailing thumb… ewwwww) and, after walking through the level in Easy mode, I was summarily trounced on Normal. Still a Day One purchase for me through, especially with Australia getting a cool special edition :)
A couple more parting shots: my New Year’s Resolutions have been playing on my mind a lot lately. Mainly because I’m absolutely stuffed if I can meet them. I’ll still try and give ’em a shot though… if I can pull myself away from Luxor.
I also mentioned above that I chose Luxor 2 as punishment for having played GTA: CW; not strictly true. In all honesty, I looked at my completion percentage over on MyGamercard.net and saw that it was approaching my all-time high of 91.83% (which was 15520 of a possible 16900… that should tell you how long ago that occurred). Knowing that I had three unplayed games in the offing (Luxor 2, Boom Boom Rocket, and Feeding Frenzy), I decided to take the hit on my percentage early, so as to not set myself a tricky new goal. I’d rather tackle the old goal with all my penalties on the table. At the same time, I didn’t want to drop below 90%.
That’s how I tick. That’s a demonstration of the fucked up machinations of my mind. You can stop reading now ;)