The Trials of the Obsessive/Compulsive

A mere fortnight after privately declaring that I would post something – anything – at least once a week, I slipped. For the best part of a month. A frantic cocktail of work and work managed to dismember my plans whilst allowing a tantalising morsel of time each day to get my game on. As such, there’s been a bit of playing, but no writing.

Let’s redress the balance, shall we? This is the first of (hopefully) many updates that will outline exactly what I’m up to – what I’m playing, how I’m progressing.

After I had a blitz of game completion (Space Giraffe, E4, and Dig Dug all falling in quick succession) I thought it appropriate to start clearing my backlog. So I turned my attention to the very first Xbox 360 game I ever played, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. It’s always annoyed me that I’m not better at this than I am – it’s the type of twitch gaming I love, and the graphical aesthetic appeals to me no end. But I’ll be buggered if I can consistently get reasonable scores; a mere 60 GS is all Geommie Wars has coughed up, with a high score around 570,000. The aim, then, is to practise until I can up the score, and get at least another Achievement before the end of the year; the “nine lives” Achievement looks like the target, since a first life of 450,000 would hit the target.

After not having played Geommie Wars for at least six months, first signs looked good – I seemed to see the playfield clearer than I ever had before, and somehow manage to zip in amongst the swarms of baddies in ways that genuinely excited me. Within a day or two, I’d bumped my high score to 620,000. A few more days yielded one extraordinary (for me) game that was constant panic, bumping the high up to 930,000. And yet, the best first life score remains tapped at about 350,000, and further progress has been limited – scores greater than half-a-million are becoming more common, but not frequent enough. Lots more practise required.

At the same time I nominated Geommie Wars, I also chose Lumines Live – I figured that concentrating on two such different games at once would provide sufficient variety. And Lumines is another of those games that I really want to be able to love – and, truth be told, I wasn’t sure I had enjoyed my first excursions with the game at all. Something about the structure of the game – most likely the timeline – had rubbed me the wrong way, and the 50 GS I’d gleaned from the game seemed forced. I really didn’t like it, yet felt like I should – bloody hell, I loved all the other games Miz had touched, why not this one?

No matter – I committed to improving my return of Achievements from Lumines. And a few days of practise yielded the remaining lower-tier Time Attack Achievements; another day or two of punishing the Base skins gained me a complete lap. 100 GS; half-way there. But the higher-tier Time Attack Achievements are renowned for being hellishly difficult, and I’m struggling to hit a half-million points for the last score-based Achievement. Not only that, in-game stats tell me that I’ve only unlocked 70% of the skins! This game will be the end of me :}

So – two games on the go. Both pretty tough, but that’s OK.

And then a friend mentioned that he was selling Stranger’s Wrath for the original Xbox. This had been on my “must play someday” list (yes – another list), so a quick visit to Paypal and it was on its way to me. Bloody hell, it’s impressive. Really impressive. But somewhere along the way I forgot to pick up a rather important item from the shop… a shop that’s no longer open. So I’m important-item-less. Granted, it’s not critical, but I’m pottering around thinking life would be much easier with this item. Regardless – I’m loving this game, with it’s mixture of gruff charm and freedom-of-movement, and looking forward to playing it at every opportunity.

So – that’s three games on the go. Then another friend decides to put in an order at DVDCrave… “can I piggyback on that order?”

And suddenly I’ve got Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in my DS and – whaddayaknow – I’m away from home on work for a week.

What an ace game. Four solid nights of play in, and I’m loving it to bits. The problem is, I know there’s more work-based travel in my future, so I’m trying (desperately) not to play it at every opportunity.

Anyway – I get home from that week away, and there’s a shrink-wrapped copy of Super Mario Galaxy sitting there, waiting for me.

So – my plan of two-games-on-the-go has ballooned somewhat… there’s now five. And I’m loving Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Yes, even Lumines.

Hopefully, future posts will include details of progress in these five games… and others. There’s untold delights in Killer 7 that I’m looking forward to over the Christmas break, a bit of Halo 3 with the lads, I just got a PS1 memory card allowing me to hammer N2O, and Psychonauts is available on Xbox Live now…

What a great time to be a gamer. What a shit time to be an O/C Gamer ;)

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