Friday, 27 August 2010

Just a quick gaming fix?

Going on holiday is always fun because it means you get to leave the worries of reality behind you. This is also a reason why I like really getting into a game sometimes, when you can get completely absorbed by it and not notice the daylight turning to night around you until some un-thoughtful sod ruins the atmosphere by turning the lights on.

I certainly don’t feel an urgent need to take games on holiday with me, but it can be a nice time waster. I remember in the past having fun with the Pokemon titles, when just about everyone that was my age who I encountered also had a copy, allowing for trades and battles galore. Just lately however, I personally feel that the handheld market has been missing something, and I’m not entirely sure what it is.

I’ve had my clunky, unstylish original DS since they were first released(ish). It was originally purchased to help cope with a 25 hour coach trip to Italy, with my friends having had similar thoughts allowing for many hours of Super Mario 64 DS multiplayer.

Since then I had only bought two other games, Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros, both being alright, but nothing that I would pick up and play if in any situation other than a long journey. The levels of New Super Mario Bros just felt boring after the third run, with the crippling linearity of 2D meaning there was only really one direction to explore, with the occasional branch in the path taking you up or down, but not in a drastic way.

I’ve never been a huge fan of using the stylus as the main control method which is exactly why I never braved either Zelda DS game. Perhaps it’s me being closed minded but tapping and scribbling on the screen with the tenacity of a toddler with a crayon never really appealed.

I was pleasantly surprised on the holiday just past. On a whim I decided to buy Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars before I departed and I’m still playing it now. I have a stigma surrounding on the go gaming, that it’s just for a quick gaming fix and offers no really substance to get into. Chinatown Wars shattered this train of thought by incredibly being both a dip in and out casual affair and a decent, immersive game that could kill an hour or so. As it turns out, virtual drug dealing is almost as addictive as some of the very more-ish powders you can sniff or shoot (maybe).

With the 3DS hopefully seeing a release in the next six months, will this trend of engrossing games continue to appear. I don’t mean to use this word with disrespect to games on the current generation of DS, but it looks like we will start seeing some ‘proper’ games on Nintendo’s next handheld. A port of Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater for a start will definitely keep you hooked, with Hideo Kojima’s movie game fetish probably shining through that title.

Perhaps I’ve been too dismissive of handhelds as of late. Chinatown Wars has shown me what the little machine can do, so who knows what else I’ve missed on Nintendo’s little grey clam shell. Maybe I will look into Zelda after all.

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