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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Managed to "finish" Spore, although I was up until 2am playing. The two caveats to that are (1) I'm not sure you can finish it as you can just roam around the galaxy ad infinitum, although I finished all the missions and got the maximum experience (2) I did use a money cheat, simply because the "grind" part of the game was really tedious, and from using the cheat I could see that it would have just get worse!

Overall the game was quite fun, although I think the comments I made before still hold true. It feels like you rush through the early stages into the space element, which then would potentially drag on for hundreds of hours. You also need to have an immaculate strategy in the space stage, from what I can tell by reading around*, to make it less painful. If you don't get that strategy right from the start then you're going to get bored.

*Reading the game forums, at least the ones related to Spore, was a mixture of bemusing and saddening because the folks posting on them were such arseholes. Although it's probably a mixture of teenage boys, I can't help but think that there's probably a few anally retentive** thirtysomethings on there who are snorting with delight over someone posting something that they can then rip to shreds - something that was a valid question in the first place, but not from someone who analyses every aspect of a game, nor wants to.

**Anally retentive doesn't quite capture how to describe these sort of people, in fact it doesn't really capture it at all. The term I'm looking for escapes me for the moment, but I'm sure you can imagine the type. I was going to use the stereotypes of "lives with his parents" and "doesn't get out much" but seeing as I was doing both of those a few years ago and (hopefully!) was not like the above it seems an unfair stereotype to use ;-) Anyway, I digress...

In other news, I played Crisis briefly, despite the 1.2 patch managing to break SecuROM which in turn stopped me from playing the game! Gotta love copy protection that also hits legitimate customers. Ironically I headed over to GameCopyWorld.com and got the crack, although sent EA's customer service a polite "how do I play the game when your patch breaks it" email.

Crysis itself was definitely quicker than before, but I still think the framerate was somewhere around 10-15fps @ 1400x1050. My machine is probably still missing the low end grunt, but I can't afford to upgrade for a while. It's pretty amazing that it has lasted me this long, although Spore flew. Anyway, I hadn't finished Crysis so there's something more there to be had, although I didn't have the patience for the sneak-around-die-and-reload-ad-nauseum gameplay yesterday.

I get the feeling we're in the pre-Christmas games lull, as there's very little of interest at the moment (I very nearly bought Space Siege without having looked at the reviews first, and am glad I checked first!). A quick squiz at Metacritic's latest scores for the 360, PC (and PS3) reinforce the games lull. This is doubly bad for us gaming oldies because, as something like Spore emphasised, it's really hard to find something that's even partly unique and interesting, without giving too much deja vu.

And in non-games related news, we're off to Mum and Dad's today. My sister and family are paying a visit, and as she's booked up with various social events until the end of September it is the last chance we'll have to see my nephews before their birthdays in a week or so***. I'm all set to buy them Lego, but the kits I like that are around the right price are out of stock at Argos. I might pay Fleet's Woolworths a visit on the way. Jo has intimated that she would rather they have Brain Training for the DS, which they're apparently both getting for their birthday. I suspect I'll get them both, as I think Lego's a better brain trainer! Assuming I can find any at the right price...

***On reflection, I'm a bit surprised that Jo didn't keep next weekend free. Isn't it the norm that families attend to celebrate the birthdays of other family members, particularly when they're kids? Hum.

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So what spec is your computer? My sturdy workhorse is approaching its fourth birthday and I think the only upgrade I've given it was another 19" monitor (so run a dual-monitor display) back in 2006. From time to time I think about replacing it maybe by 2010, but there's another year's use in it yet. I also feel the need to get a longer lifespan from it than I did my previous computer, which I made last me just over four years (October 2000 to January 2005)!

I only ever buy budget-priced games so this means I don't need to be anywhere near the bleeding edge of technology. Spore sounds dangerously time-sucking....

So what spec is your computer?

Athlon XP3000+, which having just checked I bought 3.5 years ago. It's got around 1.5TB of storage across a mixture of young and old hard disks. I did upgrade the RAM a few months back which might help, currently at 4GB.

My sturdy workhorse is approaching its fourth birthday

That's good going!...

I also feel the need to get a longer lifespan from it than I did my previous computer, which I made last me just over four years (October 2000 to January 2005)!

Heh, so got a competition going with yourself? ;-)

I only ever buy budget-priced games so this means I don't need to be anywhere near the bleeding edge of technology.

Yep, it's the latest games that really push the requirement, although I don't think Spore is *that* heavygoing. Crysis is though!

Spore sounds dangerously time-sucking....

Yep, the last phase of the game certainly is. I could have sat for weeks doing the grind of trading and resource mining, but I rarely have the patience for it any more, or perhaps more so I'm not sure that classes as entertainment any more.

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