So for the rest of this journal entry I think I'll just fill it out with all the things I've been meaning to put in over the last couple of months, but didn't for some reason or another. I might as well get them all down at once.
I've been playing a couple of games over the last few months that I'd been meaning to list, so here's a micro-review of the main ones I've tried out. Note I'm not exactly up-to-date with my playlist, given that I like to buy stuff that's half-price or cheaper!
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: I got this off e-bay because I wanted to study how the "paper" art style works in a game - it's fairly similar to what I want to do in my games - and because I heard the game was fairly good. I'm nearly at the end, and "fairly good" is an understatement; this is one of the best console RPGs I've ever played. I guess it's because I've always thought RPGs (and console RPGs) are a little bit silly, and so I like those games that don't take themselves too seriously. It's like the pantomime or vaudeville of RPGs, which works beautifilly. It also has a console RPG battle system that doesn't totally suck, which is extremely rare!
Space Colony: Wavinator suggested to try this last year as it was similar to my village simulator idea, so I decided to pick this one up out a bargain bin. It's a sort of cross between those base building games (what is the usual terminology for that SimCity/RollerCoaster Tycoon genre?) and the Sims, and it's actually not all that bad (although my opinion might be based on how it doesn't suffer from the usual batch of annoying glitches that most base building games are plagued with). It's fairly amusing to have a whole bunch of wacky characters interacting with each other in a space colony setting. It is a bit hard to balance the colonists relationships between each other and the maintaining of the base, especially with a dozen or so colonists. I suppose that's the point of the game, but the micromanagement is a bit annoying.
Evil Genius: Another bargain bin game. I've only tried this out last weekend, because I've always wanted to make a base building game based on evil lair construction and villainy. This is a game where you try to reenact the life of an evil Bond supergenius and take over the world. I love the style of this game, but the game is hampered by annoying bug with the video system where textures keep getting corrupted, making it impossible to view text info screens. It also seems to take forever to gather enough resources and evil henchmen to actually do anything. Also for some reason your base is crawling with investigators and tourists (??!), which your henchmen won't do anything with unless you explicitly tell them to. I guess I need to fix that damn glitch and play for a bit more to see if it's really any good.
Baldurs Gate II: Only mentioning this because of Archwizard's journal; I actually started playing through again earlier this year as a Fighter/Thief (a fair bit before Archwizard mentioned it, honest!) and am very slowly working my way through the game again. Not really a new game, since I've beaten it twice already, but it's still one of my favourite RPGs, so its worth hunting down if you are one of those rare RPG fans who hasn't played it yet.
Starscape Demo: I tried this out from the link in Poo Bear's journal to Moonpod. It's actually quite good; an arcade shooter with a sort of Star Control backing plot, from what I've seen. Annoyingly the demo doesn't have a load facility, so given I only have short play times to try this out I haven't got very far, but what I've seen impresses me a lot.
Doukutsu Monogatari (Cave Story): A SNES-style action-adventure platformer style game that's freeware. Definitely recommended if you haven't played it already!
Speaking of games, I've noticed there's a fair amount of buzz in both the forums and the journals about Oblivion. I've been interested in this game for a while, although more about its A.I. system than its graphics. However, for me since one of the main advantage of PC gaming over my Gamecube is the ability to buy games cheaply, I think I'll wait until the "Game of the Year" version with the expansion pack and numerous bug fixes is out in a year or two, like I did with Morrowind (actually finishing Morrowind will also be a prerequisite!). I also can't really afford the time to get sucked into another zillion hour plus open ended RPG right now.
However, I am wondering if the game A.I. really is as good as it was claimed. Do you get to care about the characters? I remember in Morrowind everyone seemed to be a clone of each other; it was very impersonal after a while. I also didn't like being mindless attacked by Cliff Racers with stupid pathfinding every ten damn feet (is that still in the game?)
Oh, and an indicator of whether the game will be playable on my Athlon 64 3000 with a Radeon 9700 Pro would be good too. Note that after 15 years of gaming with average or below average gaming PCs, my definition of "playable" does not mean "60 FPS all the time" but "technical issues don't hamper this game being fun".
Oh, and I haven't noticed anything on the Internet about Apple making an announcement about upgrading their line of iBooks, dagnabit!