Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What's Your Story? - Andy_Panthro

It's been ages since I published a What's Your Story post. I still have a bunch in my mailbox to get through, although there are a few in there that I haven't heard from in a long time. I can't be sure whether they're still reading, so let's find out! Calling on The Mad Gamer, Killias2, Troy, HunterZ and Crash. There's also an entry from someone whose name I won't mention as it appears to be his real name. The initials are JLM. Apologies if you have commented recently and I overlooked it, but please let me know if you're still around.

Right, today we welcome to the microphone...Andy_Panthro!


Andy_Panthro: I'm really not sure what I'm looking at here. Perhaps Andy can explain?

My home country is… England, The North: Living and working in and around Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

My age is… 29 and a half (Ed: he may very well be 30 by now!)

The first adventure game I played was… King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown. I'd played a few games by that point, mostly stuff like Monster Math and Alley Cat, on my Dad's Amstrad PP16. That would be in about 1988, so I was around 5 years old, and we got a lot of our games second hand (which is why they were older ones) and through... other means. For much of my youth we were living in places were legal games retailers didn't exist, and you couldn't get much in the way of postage either. But my Dad was very interested in new technology, and games were often the best way of testing the limits of new computers (still are I guess).


Where it all started for many of us

My favourite adventure game is… There's two I'd mention here, both from Sierra and both from the same era. I've played through them numerous times, but only once with the voice packs: Space Quest IV and Quest for Glory IV. I tried to decide which one I preferred most, but they both have different qualities that set them apart. SQIV had it's time-travel plot, sci-fi humour and some really great artwork. QFGIV had it's Lovecraft-themed horror-parodying, great characters and of course the variety of class-specific content. I really feel I'm under-selling them both, but to praise them too much would lead me into spoiler territory for the blog, so I'll wait and comment at length on them in the future!


Space Quest IV: The first SQ game on the list that I haven't played. Looks great!

When I’m not playing games I like to… There are a few things I could say here, but I suppose the main one would be film - to say I've watched a lot would be understating it a little. Of course, I'm not quite into hardcore film critic territory, but I'm working on it!

I like my games in (a box, digital format)… I used to say "box", but it's been a rather long time since we got the likes of the Ultima big boxes, which came with little tokens, cloth maps, proper manuals and the like. These days it's hard to get around the convenience and price of digital distribution, and I tend to visit GOG, Gamersgate and Steam with perhaps a little too much regularity!


They don't make them like this anymore!

The thing I miss about old games is… Not sure I miss that much really, since the majority of the games I played when I was younger are still available (in one way or another) today. There was a certain spirit of adventure back then, when it was so new and boundaries were being pushed all the time, and it would be nice to revisit that. However, indie gaming and smaller publishers (like Paradox) do seem to be taking that place.

The best thing about modern games is… Graphics/GUI: While modern games can sometimes be lacking in many respects, certainly the graphical improvements of the 3D era are impressive. But it's the GUI that gets the big mention, these days it's often far more clear what everything does and you generally get less clutter. As much as I enjoy the Ultima Underworld interface from a visual point of view, it's massive restriction of the viewing area would never be tolerated these days!

The one TV show I never miss is… In the past it's been Babylon 5, LOST, House (and more, I watch a lot of TV!), but at the moment it's Game of Thrones. I'm constantly tempted to read the books, but I don't know if I'd appreciate the differences between them and the TV series. The only thing that bugs me about it is the constant deaths of interesting characters! I got into it slowly, only really watching for Sean Bean, but now I'm hooked. Very much looking forward to the big season 2 finale.


Lost: I'd like to watch this series one day, but I've heard the ending is crappy

If I could see any band live it would be… I listen to a lot of music (couldn't face my commute to/from work without it), but I'm not really one for live music. I'd quite like to see OK GO though.
My favourite movie is… Amazingly difficult question, every time I think of one film I can think of another I like just as much. I'm just going to say Total Recall (obviously the classic Arnie one, haven't seen the new one yet). It's got some great action, comedy and a really interesting plot. There are plenty more worthy films out there, but Total Recall is one of a group of films I've seen so many times I could probably re-make it from memory.

Arnie really did rock when I was a kid!

One interesting thing about me is… I'm the creator of an Ultima-themed Minecraft Texture Pack (available at http://inspired.ultimacodex.com/andy-panthros-ultima-textures-for-minecraft/ ) Shameless plug I know! It all began because I didn't like the clay texture (wasn't visible enough), and then I decided to replace other textures and items, and decided on the Ultima theme, as it's always been a favourite series of mine.

It looks like you put some serious effort into this. Respect!

If anyone else wants to send their answers and get 20 CAPs, please send them to theadventuregamer@gmail.com.

28 comments:

  1. Just added another Kickstarter adventure game to the list. Devil's Cove has 14 days left to be funded. It looks pretty stylish, dark and high budget, although it does remind me of the Hidden Object games that are the rave on tablets at the moment.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/313725596/devils-cove-adventure-game?ref=live

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    1. Looks really cool, but with just 14 days left and only $6k out of $185k pledged it needs a minor miracle to get funded.
      There are just too many promising KS projects lately...

      By the way: The FAQs definitely state that it will NOT be a Hidden Object game! :-)

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    2. Yeah, it looks dead and buried. Shame!

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  2. Well the picture looks to me like a low-rank space invader reading the news at work while holding a cup with a picture of his boss (a top-row space invader, no less!)

    I remember my first SQIV copy -- ten 5 1/4" floppies! Launched it, and already the background effects on the title screen blew me away. It was smashing. Then again, after a diet of CGA + internal speaker, even Prince of Persia on a VGA with Sound Blaster was enough to almost draw tears of joy...

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    1. I will never forget the day I first played Prince of Persia. It was simply amazing! It never seemed to matter to me that I was completely rubbish at that game!

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    2. Charles is mostly right, but there is a reason for it all! I've been a member over at Abandonia for quite a while (and done a few reviews, including for Quest For Glory IV, currently working on Premier Manager 2). Anyway, there's a project called "Abandoned Times", a publication made by some hard-working Abandonia folks. I offered to make a bit of art for it, but only ended up with a work-in-progress, which ended up as my avatar! More info on Abandoned Times (and their two issues) here: http://www.abandonia.com/en/abandonia-times

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  3. I'm still here. Just in lurk mode.

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    1. Hi!

      Be prepared to come out of lurk mode very soon. ;)

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  4. As an update on the favourite TV shows, I'm currently watching Twin Peaks (most of the way through season 2). Amazing series, full of funny and weird moments with a fantastic cast.

    I could also add in Castle, Dexter, True Blood, Person of Interest, Alphas, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and so much more (I really do watch a lot of TV, I should possibly get out more).

    Of course the biggest news is the return of Red Dwarf, which has been surprisingly good (after the rather poor Back To Earth).

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    1. I'm loving Dexter at the moment. Incredibly brave show with top writing!

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    2. Season 1 of Dexter will always remain my favourite, even if there have been some fantastic episodes through the rest. As the series continues it requires increasing amounts of suspension of disbelief!

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    3. Andy, have you tried old Doctor Who yet? Like pre-1990? I tend to prefer it to the post-2005 show.

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  5. A new kickstarter is on the way - this time from friends of The Adventure Gamer - Corey and Lori Cole - it begins October 19.

    http://www.rpgwatch.com/show/newsbit?newsbit=20679

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    1. That should be interesting! I'm sure I'll be more than willing to throw a few dollars towards it, much like I did for the QFG-inspired Quest for Infamy.

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  6. I find it supremely interesting how many readers here are into film. I wonder if there is a direct appeal of adventure games to those of us who like to see and observe, as opposed to the more "direct" interaction of, say, an FPS. In other words, are adventure games the most cinematic of game genres?

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    1. I'm not sure they can match an FPS for cinematic qualities though. I can't think of an adventure game that comes close to something like Bioshock or Half-Life on that front.

      Or have I been playing too many old games and forgotten what more modern adventure games are like?

      Personally I think it's more likely to be a general gamer thing. People into gaming would also enjoy everything that movies have to offer, particularly but not restricted to genre movies. I could just as easily be blogging my way through every important horror or science fiction movie as playing through adventure games.

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    2. Well, the most film-like adventure games I can think of would be from Lucasarts: The Dig and Full Throttle. Not quite cinematic (except in their cutscenes), but they certainly had a lot of film influences.

      Also, I recall comparing Police Quest 2 to a cop show.

      However, the winner in my mind for most film-like genre has to go to the modern/console action RPG. Games like Mass Effect, The Witcher 2 and so on have a very cinematic style. ME even has a "film grain" video effect option!

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    3. Don't forget the Gabriel Knights and Tex Murphys.

      Following your blog (and the CRPG Addicts) has really opened my eyes to how important story is for me. It's not that I don't play (and enjoy) games without story, but it's much easier for me to drop games and skip out of them if there's no good story in them, much as for movies.

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  7. Ah, I remember SQIV. The first game that royally screwed me. There's an easy way to dead-end the game early on and you won't know it until MUCH later. It was my first foray into VGA and I do love the Space Quest series. I remember mail-ordering it and anxiously awaiting it. It arrived and the intro was mesmerizing!

    On another note, I just finished watching Lost for the first time. I think it's easier to follow the threads when you can watch an episode an evening as opposed to every week, sometimes with breaks and months between seasons. Every last question is NOT answered, but the ending was satisfying to me. I found a good explanation (among many) that worked for me and enjoyed the series very much.

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    1. There's only one potential dead-end I can think of (potential spoilers): Jura lbh svefg trg va gur gvzr znpuvar, lbh unir gb jevgr qbja gur pbqr fb lbh pna erghea, ohg vg vf cbffvoyr nygubhtu qvssvphyg, gb thrff gung pbqr.

      I totally agree with your Lost comment, the DVDs are great (especially all the extras, including the hidden ones). I still don't like the last couple of episodes though. As I was watching originally, I kept checking the "Wild Mass Guessing" page on TVTropes, and there's a potential explanation on there for the island and everything which was amazing. I kinda wish the writers had just copied it.

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    2. Yup, that's the dead end I was thinking of. I never tried to guess it. It's not the same every time you play so you can't look it up.

      I'm not sure which theory on the Wild Mass Guessing page you like.

      This is the one I like. Massive spoilers, obviously: http://ericknowsitall.com/ultimate-lost-theory/

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    3. Cool. I've bookmarked that site to read later.

      I'm one of the people who really enjoyed Lost until the ending. I was having a great time trying to work out what the mystery was.

      Then the ending showed me that gurl jrer whfg znxvat vg hc nf gurl jrag nybat engure guna tenqhnyyl tvivat zr pyhrf gb n pbafvfgrag zlfgrel.

      Oh well, I had fun while it lasted, but it's not something I can imagine watching again or recommending to others.

      But maybe after reading that theory I'll change my tune. :)

      I did like this take on what the ending missed out on though...

      http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6099973/unanswered-lost-questions

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    4. That's a shame, TBD. I hate when writers do that. Except Andrew Hussie, who writes Homestuck. Vg'f uneq gb gryy ubj zhpu sylvat ol gur frng bs uvf cnagf ur qbrf.

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  8. HEY, you should do these more often! We've got a bunch of new people around, you need to get one this!

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    1. Also, even if they leave the community you should put up their old article in memory of their contributions back in those early days.

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  9. Oh sorry, I skipped this post, having no idea that I was called. :-) Nevertheless I still read your blog sometimes with few days delay... ;-)

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  10. Did you consider adding murders in space to your list?

    It's a 'unique' game, mainly for it's copy protection (and the narrative structure too)

    The copy protect makes use of objects (real objects) inside the case as elements of ingame puzzles.

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    1. Hi Paulo. I'm afraid I've had to limit the amount of games on the list by enforcing a selection criteria of sorts. There are literally thousands of adventure games out there!

      While it does sound interesting, Murder in Space doesn't meet any of that criteria, having only 3 votes on Moby Games and not being part of the Notable Graphic Adventure Games list on Wikipedia.

      If someone adds it to the Wikilist, then at least readers would have the option to spend CAPs to get it added to the playlist. I'm not sure it's all that notable though.

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