Gaming on Vacation
Thursday, February 14, 2008| Posted by Matthew Nyquist
‘Allo, you bloody yanks. RurouniQ here, writing to you from Great Britain. (Although if it’s so Great, why did the US win the Revolutionary War?) Yes, that’s right, I’m in the UK. I will tell you now, things are quite different here… and at the same time, not really that different. It’s like walking some kind of Star Trek alternate reality, because things are just similar enough to be familiar, but different enough to be strange. Imagine suddenly waking up and everyone’s speaking English, everything is written in English, but all the buildings are different.
The journey here was actually a bit problematic… I had a layover in Newark, and right there I should have known there’d be trouble; any stop in New Jersey has got to have at least a little bit of disaster involved. The flight to Newark was delayed because of a crazy snowstorm, and even after we took off, landing was delayed and we had to circle the airport a few times. We finally landed only to find out the flight to England was also delayed, and we wouldn’t end up taking off until 2 AM, a delay of 5 hours. I finally arrive in Bristol, only to find out my luggage has been lost. On top of that, I was now late for my train. The good news is that they’ve already delivered one of my bags, and they went ahead and accepted my late train ticket at no extra charge.
There are two lessons I’ve learned through this ordeal. One, always take what you really need in your carryon luggage. Two, if you’re a gamer and you’re taking an overseas flight, you need a portable gaming device, probably a DS. I don’t say this to slight the PSP in any way, but rather because you’ll need the battery life. Between the constant waits I had and the traveling itself, I used a good 10 hours of DS battery, if not more, and there’s no way a PSP could compete with that. Hell, I barely had enough battery life on my iPod to use it after my DS finally ran out.
Thankfully, I had plenty of games to keep me company. Contra 4 is HARD, even on Easy. Granted, I only played it twice, but I still only got to Level 7. Orcs and Elves is also a very worthwhile game. It’s a little different from anything else (unless you’ve played the Doom RPG); it’s essentially a turn-based first-person RPG, and much better than Doom RPG, although it does take a while to obtain any weapons other than a standard sword and wand.
The game I had the most fun with on the trip, however, was (appropriately) an import. Jump Ultimate Stars is the sequel to Jump Super Stars, and if you’ve never heard of either one, it’s basically a 4-player fighting game with TONS of anime and manga characters. Bleach, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakushou, Bobobobo Bobobo, Shaman King, Black Cat, Saint Seiya… These are just some of the titles that have playable characters, and then there are plenty of other ones that have assist characters only. On top of this, the gameplay is actually pretty good. The unlock system is a lot easier to work than the previous game if you have no Japanese reading skill, but unfortunately the party formation system requires some whereas the previous game did not.
If you’re not into importing fighting games, there are still plenty of other DS games that could take an entire trip, like the new Zelda and Final Fantasy III, not to mention the other games I talked about earlier. The sad part is that my computer is not working with the internet here (apparently Intel Macs don’t like USB modems), so there shall be no WoW for me for three weeks. Oh well, there won’t be much time for it anyway… Speaking of which, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cuddle and eat chocolates with my significant other. Happy Valentine’s Day, you girl-less feebs!