Pikmin

November 14, 2012

All right, I guess I've been slacking a bit on blogging. Tried to do one a week, but then I got lazy.

But now there is resurgence! I'm getting pretty close to being done with Lazy Robots finally, churning out level designs that I think are pretty great.

But judging from the title I wrote down, I guess I want to talk about something else.

Occasionally I'll find myself at a used media store browsing old games. I usually end up there when I'm tired of listening to whatever CD I've been playing in my car for the last 6 months on a loop. So I look through the CDs, and then other stuff (hello Community season 2!) and maybe I end up buying a video game if it's cheap and I expect to get a lot of use out of it.

I had never played Pikmin before, but it seems to live in the collective gaming consciousness as something at least somewhat revered. Plus Captain Olimar is the best character in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, so I figured I should put some effort into discovering his roots.

Pikmin came out more than ten years ago, but let's back up just a couple years to when I picked up a game called Overlord (plus the expansion and sequel) from a Steam sale for a couple bucks and really got into it. The game is pretty great. You're some armored dude who runs around the countryside, commanding an army of minions to cause havoc and blow shit up. Little did I know, however, that the game's concept was building on something, refining almost every aspect of an old GameCube game.

So when I pop in Pikmin expecting something new and interesting, I get a very watered-down, tedious and frustrating version of Overlord. Of course, it's not Pikmin's fault. It came out first. It planted the flag. It was innovative and I respect what it did, but playing it just made me want to go back and play the more refined game that came out later (I never did finish Overlord 2...).

And I find myself in a weird quandary. I have some drive to play Pikmin. I paid for it, first of all, so there's some drive to get my money's worth. Plus, somehow I want to show it the respect that it deserves, like it's some sort of sentient being. Or maybe it's a desire to be a well-cultured gaming hipster, like going back and suffering through the original Final Fantasy so that you can say that you did, despite the fact that that game is horribly slow and boring.

I could go into specifics about how Pikmin has become out-dated and tedious by comparison (mostly related to how goddamned slow the Pikmin are, especially when carrying something), but I think my point is made.

I don't know. I think I'll give it another shot. We've gotta reassemble the ship after all, and escape this planet of adorably dangerous monsters.


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