Got Game? April '06 Feature - The Next Level

Got Game? April '06

Find out what we've been playing this Spring.

Article by TNL Staff (Email)
April 19th 2006, 07:05AM

James Cunningham

Obsession is rarely a thing I expect to happen, and sure enough I was caught by surprise this month with Oblivion. I took advantage of a nice trade-in deal to snag it cheap, only to find out that the cost in lost sleep would be greater than any cash outlay. Staying up until 6 a.m. for a week straight wasn't part of my plan for April, but Oblivion forced it out of me no matter how many times I looked at my watch while playing.

"Just let me finish this dungeon", I thought. "I'll drag this loot back to town and cash in, then finish up for the day." No, the only proper method of disengagement from Oblivion is a quick tap of the F5 key (quicksave on the PC version), then run away and don't look back. Of course, starting up again tomorrow would be easier if I was better situated, so maybe five more minutes...

So what's been taking up all this time in Oblivion's land of Cyrodiil? Well, at 60+ hours so far I've been to a total of three towns, looted every ruin I've come across, improved skills, performed quests, slain innumerable creatures, climbed mountains, and just taken in the sights. It's a fantasy vacation with in my computer, and I'm going to see every nook and cranny the land has to offer before I'm done. Which, at this rate, should be in a few hundred hours.

Civilized man can't live on Oblivion alone, though, so other distractions have worked their way into my schedule as well. Helped in part by a faulty power supply that's put PC gaming on hold for a few days, I've started playing Odama. Despite the lackluster reviews it's received I'm having a good time, batting the deadly giant sphere around and crushing all in its path. The microphone is required for issuing troop commands, though, and I've always had trouble talking to hardware. It's the reason I put up Nintendogs after two days of play. There's something about speaking to a game that feels creepily soulless to me, in ways that are hard to explain. Still, I like my oddball gaming so maybe Odama will be the one to teach me that it's ok to chat with the inanimate.

In other news, I finally, after all these years, got an import-friendly PS2. Firing up my one non-US game, the vertical shooter XII Stag, felt like more than just a brief session with arcade goodness. It was a harbinger of things to come, like insane platformers or Zombies vs. Ambulances. Instead of the provincial tastes of just one continent and the artificial restraints Sony puts on it, I've got the entire world's supply of PS2 games to choose from. It's a great feeling to look at something and have the only barrier be language, and if the game comes out in Europe even that won't matter. Now that I think on it, I wonder if I can find Gregory Horror Show? I can hear my bank account whimpering from here.

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