Just One More Go…

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you come across a new source of entertainment (book, movie, game, television series, music album, etc). It’s the holidays, and you have quite a few new things to experience, but you pick up this particular one to just “try out for a few minutes.”

Heh…

The next thing you know, you’ve lost hours (if not days) to this new activity, and you have no idea how. Somehow, it scratches some deep itch inside you, compels you to return again and again and again. You finally wrench yourself away to sleep, probably due to sheer exhaustion. But the next day you come back for more, and you lose even more time.

In other news, I may have a problem with roguelikes

What is a roguelike, you may ask? Well, it’s a genre of video games which share a number of attributes with an old 1980 ASCII game called Rogue. These features include random level generation (infinitely replayable) and permanent character death (don’t screw up). For some reason, this combination is like crack for me; I am compelled to keep trying over and over, repeatedly exploring, screwing up, starting over, and largely losing huge blocks of time.

My current fix is Rogue Legacy*, a game where you control a series of adventurers, each with a set of unique and humorous traits (like alektorophobia or nearsightedness) as they explore a haunted castle. When you inevitably die, the quest is taken up by your heir. You have the chance to spend gold found in the ever-shifting fortress to permanently upgrade you characters and equipment, giving your future selves a slightly less slim chance of success.

There are a few tweaks to the roguelike formula, some that I like, others that I don’t. One of the unlockables is the option to freeze the castle layout, so you can explore the same dungeon multiple times. This can be useful for practicing against bosses or finding treasure chests, but you get a penalty to gold. The one tweak that I don’t like (even though I can see that it makes sense for balance) is the inability to save your gold: each time you re-enter the castle, you lose whatever gold you haven’t spent on upgrades. Admittedly, this forces you to be more careful and get better, as later upgrades cost more.

What’s funny is I’m not that good at the game. Health pickups are rare, and I tend to forget that, making me careless. I’ll die repeatedly as I flail about, but I’ll be right back moments later to try again with the next heir. I’ve seriously lost at least a day and a half to this game.But don’t let that deter you. If random chance and blind luck sound like fun to you, you should totally try this game. I think I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth (it was on sale, but that’s a different/known issue). It’s on sale, and there’s a demo! I can also suggest Spelunky, if you prefer your masochism with a dose of bullwhips and fedoras instead of swords and wizard hats.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make a run or two before dinner. Ha, I crack myself up!

EDIT: Almost 3 hours later (I think), I am finally getting up from the computer.

 

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