There was almost no gaming for me to report this week; only on Friday did I recover from perhaps a little too much Mario Galaxy the previous week, and start a completely new instance of Panzer Dragoon Orta. Two playthroughs have been completed, and I’m dropping into the groove of it again – figuring out Gene Bases, boss tactics, all the fun stuff.
And it’s not hard to become immersed in the world of Orta – it’s absolutely beautiful, with the original Xbox upscaling to widescreen component with ease. The sound, too, is delightful, and the gameplay’s tighter than a gnat’s chuff. I’m loving it (again) so far, and can’t wait to start cranking the difficulty and push my play into more defensive directions.
Last year saw me bullied via PictoChat by a bunch of youngsters; this year, my advancing years were highlighted in the Retro Gaming Panel. The younger members of the audience mercilessly mocked older games that actually were piquing my interest, and their constant stream of criticism and loud-mouthed buffoonery just made me feel sad. Apart from that, though, the panel itself was pretty good, covering a handful of consoles from the nineties (including the CD-32 & PC Engine), though the Jaguar section was a little soft – Cybermorph and Aliens vs Predator? No T2K or Zero 5?
The gaming side of AVCon is getting bigger and better – as well as the plethora of consoles set up for free play: current gen all evenly represented, with a smattering of older consoles (NES, SNES, Dreamcast, N64) for nostalgia, and a bunch of booths for music games (Donkey Konga – or one of its ilk – got a fair old hammering all weekend). The LAN setup was pretty big, too, though I saw the odd connection errors during Quake III(!) play. The Indie games room was a bit of a gem – they had a massive amount of space, and with the increasing popularity of gaming on the iPhone and XBLIG, there were a couple of really professional looking titles on display. Look out for inCline on the iPhone… it’s a one-touch game (like Canabalt) that feels absolutely wonderful. Should be in the App Store in a couple of weeks, they reckon.
Yes, I splurged on anime and manga again; but at least I indulged in sweet, sweet irony by making sure that Halo Legends was the first Blu-Ray I ever purchased. Didn’t attend either cosplay competition, but I did see an amazing Midna (from Zelda: Twilight Princess) wandering the halls.
And… that’s about my week. Next week: more Orta! More Crackdown 2! And, perhaps, the start of the only thing approaching a JRPG I have outstanding… Chrono Trigger…