#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Favourite Childhood Video Games

Pokemon-Red-Blue-Yellow

When I did my favourite video game post it got me thinking about how much my taste in games changed over time and the games I used to play when I was younger and then maybe grew out of so this weeks Six for Sunday post is all about some of my favourite video games I played while I was growing up.

1. Pokemon
I think my generation was the first to really grow up with Pokemon and I’ve lost count of how many games and Pokemon there actually are now. When I think of Pokemon I remember being able to name all 150 and watching the very first episode of the animated show and being confused that Ash was a boy and that I had been pronouncing Pikachu’s name wrong. I can’t even imagine the amount of hours I spent playing these games as a kid or playing the trading card game etc, it was a great time and it was one of  the first gaming experiences I’d had that involved friend and gave me something I found I had in common with others my age.

2. Warcraft 3
Warcraft 3 was the very first video game I played on the PC. My dad had downloaded it after discovering Age of Empires, which I liked watching him play (and would later lose countless hours in making up stories about Joan of Arc…) and he asked if I wanted to play it, I wasn’t sure but said yes becasue there were elves in it apparently. I started playing through the story campaign and was just totally and completley enthralled, I’d never played anything like it and I loved that it was stratgeic, you had specific goals, all the characters were voice acted and it just completley sucked me in to this new world. This was about the time my parents decided to give me time restrictions after falling asleep at the computer after trying to stay up and play later (nothing has changed, I still do this now). Warcraft 3 is a game I still love to play today and Blizzard is relaucnhing it with Warcraft 3 “Reforged” this year and I’m beyong excited.

3. Guitar Hero etc
I wasn’t too sure about putting this one but actually it fits into the favourite game when I was a kid category in much the same way as the others it’s just a fairly different kind of game. For those who may have never heard of or played guitar hero it came with a plastic guitar with coloured buttons on the frets and you had to play them in time to the song you were playing in the correct order displayed on screen, think dance mat but with your fingers on a plastic guitar. Its seriously additctive. I’m not even sure where our copy of guitar hero 3 came from but my and my little brother started playing it in the evening of one Christmas day years and  years ago, we played the “story mode” and realised we didn’t have a memory card so just decided to keep playing until we were done. If memory serves we finshed around 4 the next morning and when we finally looked away from the screen everything kept moving. I love karoke and for some weird reason at school I loved performing in any way shape or form and for me this was another version of that and I think the primary reason I learned to play bass guitar.

 4. Xena: Warrior Princess 
This was the first video game I ever completed. I am not a completionist by any means, heck I’ve never finished a Final Fantasy game and in the two years since Andromeda came out I STILL haven’t finished it so this feels like it was a pretty big thing for me. It’s one of the earliest video games I remember playing that I really got into and I loved that I could be Xena, who, along with Sailor Moon I was obsessed with. The graphics although somehow bearable then are painful to look at now and it was a little repetative but I loved every moment of it and really enjoyed the different tactics you had to use to defeat certain bosses and that it usually took a little skill instead of just button mashing to do so. I think this game might have really had a massive impact on the games I went on to play as an adult.

5. Hercules
This is another silly one that I played the life out of. I think we got a demo disc with a few levels on that me and my brother played to death before our parents brought us the full game (probably becsue they were sick of us playing the same level over and over). I ADORED the disney Hercules film (at one point I knew every single damn line) and this mostly side scroller type of game was the same story and you had to play through it. It had the same voice actors (mainly becasue all the lines were taken from the film), all the songs, clips from the film and all the level music was taken from and inspired by what was already in the film. It was such a fun game and I’ll always remember it.

6. Diablo 2
Ah another Blizzard game, I’m sure this shocks no-one. I think this was another one my Dad may have downloaded (the days of napster and limewire were hell for our poor old computer because my dad would just download ALL of the games. I did later purchase W3 and Diablo 2 legitamatley though and do not encourage pirating games in any way!) and I remember not being keen on it at first becasue it seemed too dark and gritty for me but for some reason I ended up playing it anyway and it turns out I find dungeon crawlers REALLY addictive. I liked the idea of collecting loot and then constantly updating and improving your items as you went along with the honest to gods goodness of just mashing that mouse button to death and when you really got some traction going it feels like you’re unstoppable. This game also featured a lot of things I enjoyed from other games as well as a phenomenal soundtrack, an interesting story, a degree of character customisastion (you could choose your class), fun and challenging boss mechanics AND it was insanely replayable. I was over the moon when Diablo 3 was announced and although I play that when I have a Diablo itch to scratch now I’ll always love Diablo 2.

Do you have any favourite games you can remember from when you were younger? Do you have any favourites? Do you still play any now?

book reviews, spoiler free

Before the Storm Review

36467381Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Rating: XXXX

Published: June 12th by Titan BooksTitan Books

“… but we cannot go back to happier times. We can only live in the present, and right now that present is painful.”
Taking place after the climactic events of Shadows of Argus, World of Warcraft: Before the Storm tells the story of what awaits the heroes of the Horde and the Alliance in the wake of their struggle against the demonic Burning Legion.
Anyone who knows me knows I play the video game World of Warcraft and have done for over ten years. In August the game will be getting another new expansion and as is tradition this means we get a new book before hand to tie together the end of events at the end of the previous expansion (Legion) and the new (Battle for Azeroth). As I always am for these books I’ve been super hyped, but even more so with the promise of a POV from the current Warchief of the Horde, The Dark Lady herself, Sylvanas Windrunner, a character who has always been intriguing to me. Not to mention this book is written by Christie Golden who’s work I absoloutley adore so this book was an insta buy no questions asked buy.
As I thought would happen I completley devoured this book. In World of Warcraft you choose one of two factions and even though I started Alliance I moved over to Horde to play with my friends but with recent in game events have been leaning back towards the alliance which is a fairly big change, this book has totally added to my ingame experience and thoughts on my faction which is one of my favourite things about these books that are linked to a video game, they enhance what you already get with the game while being good books in general. As far as I’m aware the book leads up to the content will we get in game on July 24th (today) so I knew I wanted to read it beore then turns out I finished this in a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down.
Before the Storm focuses very much on it’s characters more than it’s events (although there is a very important one) which is great for a look into their motivations and thoughts. In the case of Sylvanas it seems she is going down a route we all knew in our hearts she was taking but now getting a front row seat to it is painful but I think the logical path for her arc. I am glad that we’re seeing some more light (haha…you’ll get this if you’ve read the book) shone on the Forsaken (undead) characters as it’s a race I’ve never been interested to play much in game and I think they’re important to know more about, especially with the events in the upcoming expansion cinematic we’ve seen.
I was super happy that we got to see inside The Netherlight Temple as well, the Priest class order hall taken direct from Legion and addressing the fact that both factions work together peacefully which was something I enjoyed seeing in the last expanion and something that needed explaining as this next one is about the opposite, instead of workin together to fight the Legion we are back at each others throats. The one thing I will say that bothered me however is that even after this book I still don’t know why war breaks out between the factions again. We see events that could strain the relationships yes but certainly not enough I feel to reengage in a war that neither side want and I assume the events we will begin to see in game from today will explain.
The book was thougherly enjoyable but unlike some of the other books I don’t feel it completely stands on its own, this may be becasue of the lack of actual events happening or maybe the speed I read it but it felt a bit more like a short story or noevella than a novel (but no less enjoyable for it). This book acts as a great insight however into the minds of our faction leaders and other notable characters as well as some utter world changing events that happen towards the end of this book. Before the Storm acts as a perfect prequel to the events to come ingame in a few days and although it didn’t completley tear my heart out like a lot of Christies other novels I had a great time reading it and would reccomend it to anyone who plays World of Warcaft without a hesitation.
P.S Christie Golden I better see a certain Goblin and Gnome somewhere this expansion!