This week, the original G!
Video Games: Grandia
Whilst the Final Fantasy series introduced me to Japanese RPGs, Grandia represents my favourite entry in the genre. The story is really good, with each character being explored in turn. The game also doesn’t force characters to remain in your party beyond their narrative purpose. Characters leave when their story winds up, they don’t just stick around to take part in fights that are nothing to do with them. I like that. It feels more natural.
The game has a good sense of humour, too. Here is one of the ‘classic’ moments between the main characters, Justin and Feena:
Mechanically, the game is solid and the combat engine holds up well, particularly when it comes to magic. I used to replay this every year or so, but haven’t for at least four years now. I might make a point of going back to it sometime soon.
Board Games: Galaxy Trucker
There are bits of Galaxy Trucker that I love, and there are bits of Galaxy Trucker that I despise. I love building the ship. Using one hand, you flip over tiles, sorting through a pile of components, looking for the parts you want to put onto your board and create your own ship. This ship should be robust and able to take on a number of different challenges. It should be a thing of beauty with a logical design. It should be full of crew, bristling with lasers, protected by shields, propelled by engines and possessing enough space for whatever cargo you choose to transport.
It is rarely any of these things.
In Galaxy Trucker, you race against other players to build your ship, with the first player to complete their ship flipping a timer that dictates how long everyone else has to finish their ship. This bit of the game is awesome.
The rest of the game is frustrating as hell. You have built your ship and you now send it out into the cruel universe. At this point you pretty much lose all control of your destiny as you tackle a series of random events and try to get home in one piece. The purpose of these events are to test your ship. There is a clear purpose to this, I get that. I just don’t have to like it. Your ship will not arrive home intact. Your ship may not arrive home at all.
You should watch the guys at Sit Down and Shut Up playing Galaxy Trucker:
So yeah, great game, but very frustrating.
Role Playing Games: GURPS: Discworld
GURPS, or the Generic Universal RolePlaying System for the uninitiated, is a venerable system that was created by Steve Jackson Games way back in 1986. I’m going to be really blunt here and say that I have never actually played a game using GURPS, despite have owned this book for years. What I am looking at here is not so much the game itself, but rather this specific book.
It is a very nice book, full of flavour text, background info, Paul Kidby artwork and cool references. I don’t see myself using the GURPS system for any games of Discworld, but as a sourcebook or companion book, this is a wonderful publication. I’ve actually been playing around with pasting the Discworld theme onto other systems, such as Iron Kingdoms or Fiasco, but in each case it is this book that I turn to for help and inspiration. A worthwhile purchase for anyone who lives in that intersection where Discworld meets roleplay.
Anime: Gundam Wing
Right, full disclosure: it has been a long time since I have watched any Gundam Wing or Mobile Suit Gundam episodes, but I am including it here based entirely on sentimental recollections. This, to me, brings back the memories of watching anime on TV after school. It was this and Dragonball Z and Tenchi Muyo. I really want to watch some Gundam and Tenchi…
Back on topic! Gundam Wing is a sci-fi in which a group of pilots fly their big awesome flying mechs into combat against an oppressive government that just loves oppressively oppressing the oppressed colonies. The series has, as you can imagine, loads of hot mech-on-mech action as they battle it out to stop all the oppression.
My memories may be a bit fuzzy when it comes to the details, but I remember the action being really cool!
I think it’s H next…