Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What's Your Story? - Lars-Erik

I haven't had as much time to play and write this week as I would have liked (something to do with turning 36 a few days ago), so in the absence of a post, I have a long-awaited What's Your Story submission! I was actually a little shocked when it arrived in my inbox, as I couldn't believe we hadn't already done one before. Without further ado, please make welcome our beloved sponsor and current companion leader...Lars-Erik!

 
Lars-Erik: Not really how I pictured him, but then I've not met many Norwegians

My home country is... Norway, land of the midnight sun.

My age is... Uh, now I have to count...31, 32, 33. 33? 33.

The first adventure game I played was... I truly can't remember. There are hazy memories of playing a few of the Quest-series, such as Space Quest and Police Quest, but as I was always pretty far behind technologically I would guess Zork or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was some of the first I played due to being stuck with my old monochrome monitor. I didn't play any of them when they came out though. When talking to other people today I feel pretty old because I remember further back than the first Halo and Counter-Strike, but I was only four when King's Quest came out and didn't learn English until even later. So I know I didn't play them at that age, but when I did start to play them I played quite a few in a fairly short period of time.

My favourite adventure game is... Do I have to pick just one? My first thought is Grim Fandango. Brilliant setting, unique art direction, fantastic soundtrack, excellent puzzles and a story that keeps on giving. And then there's Tex Murphy: Under a Killing Moon. Yes, I know it's a FMV game, but it really works. A dystopian setting with a down-on-his-luck PI, awesome jazzy noir soundtrack and unforgettable characters, I don't know how many times I've played that one. And as soon as I think that, Full Throttle pops into my mind. Again, great setting, fantastic soundtrack (The Gone Jackals have a permanent playlist on my phone), great voice acting (Mark Hamill!), great puzzles, but a bit short. And for the honorable mention award, Rama. It's based on the book by Arthur C. Clarke, which also appears in the game whenever you die. It has a great story, interesting setting, excellent characters and gives you a real feeling of exploration and the unfamiliar. Forced choice? Grim Fandango.

 
Not even the great Grim Fandango could stop the genre from a (temporary) death in the late 90s.

When I'm not playing games I like to... read books, make food, listen to music. New experiences call to me all the time, so I always jump cuisines in my food and genres in books and music. My "library" consists mostly of fantasy, sci-fi, documentaries, comedy and crime, and right now I'm on a horror spree. Musically the genres I listen to most is classic rock and blues, but I rotate through most kinds of rock, funk, smooth jazz, a bit of country, soul, electronica, some pop, a smidgen of folk, a bit of classical music and some more esoteric genres. In fact, every summer I catch an open air opera performance on an island in the Oslofjord. On current rotation are 80's glam metal band Dokken, blues prodigy Joe Bonamassa, classicist Philip Glass and Tex Murphy soundtracks as we're playing through Mean Streets.

I like my games in (a box, digital format)... I hate myself for saying this, but digital. I do love my big box games though, as long as there are extras with them. A big card board box with just a disc in it is boring, a big box with a huge manual, maybe a map or other stuff is awesome. My Rama box came with a copy of the novel, all 500 pages of glory. Baldur's Gate came with a map. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective came with a set of custom correct era newspapers that you needed to reference during the game. And on top there were the wonderful manuals which didn't just give you the information needed to play the game but also set the mood and let you step into the game world on the bus home from the shop before you could play it. Now though, with the lack of anything but the disc, I prefer digital. No reason to fill up my shelves just to have an empty box with a disc in it.

 
The Baldur's Gate series had fantastic packaging. I even bought the collector's edition for part II, which is probably the only time I've ever done that

The thing I miss about old games is... me. There was a time I could put on a game and just lose myself for hours. It gave me an opportunity to escape the wear and tear of everyday school and family. Nowadays I just can't seem to find the same feeling of blocking everything else out and not even registering what time it is. Five minutes after starting playing the cats want food, or I have to take the garbage out, or I get a message from work stating that some system or other is down. Or if nothing interrupts, there's just a million things going on in the back of my mind. On a less personal level, I miss the abundance of world building and creative flow when everything was new and fresh.

The best thing about modern games is... their ability to accurately portray the vision of the designers and writers. Although sometimes classic games benefited immensely from having limited resources, forcing them to distil the essence of the game down to its purest form. With modern capabilities the artists can more freely create, the sound and music can be high fidelity instead of bleeps and bloops, we can have full voice acting instead of four lines of badly drawn text, and fullscreen movie quality cutscenes instead of a picture with some text on it.

The one TV show I never miss is... Sherlock, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. Again I'm drawn to setting, story and the feeling of "something else".

 
I need very little excuse to post another Daenerys image. This show gets better and better!

If I could see any band live it would be... In a fantasy setting, I'd have to go The Beatles. Or maybe the Traveling Wilburys, even though they never had played any concerts. Realistically, maybe Chickenfoot.

My favourite movie is... I feel kind of shallow regarding the movies I like. I was a kid in the 80s, and can't get past all the fantastic trilogies out there. Just consider; Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, what an amazing period. Still, there are some really good newer movies too. Jurassic Park, Blues Brothers (not exactly new though), Lord of the Rings, the Dark Knight trilogy, plenty of newer super hero movies. I'm also a huge fan of western style animations, both hand drawn and CGI. Robin Hood, Chicken Run, Wall-E, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, The Jungle Book etc. The World's Fastest Indian is superb even though it's outside of my normal viewing preferences. But if I had to pick just one to keep, I'd go with the first Back to the Future.

One interesting thing about me is... Can't think of anything much. Considering the theme of this blog, I guess this might fit the question; Although I have more experience in adventure games, I do actually prefer playing great RPG's. There's just something about being so integrated in the story elements that really speak to me.  Saying that though, I'm not contributing much on the CRPG Addict's blog, even though I read it constantly. RPG's are just more personal to me, my story, my experience and my way of playing. That's probably why I chose the games I did on the adventure game question. All of them have great stories and fantastic settings. Don't get me wrong, I love adventure games and have played many more adventures than RPG's. But for an hour of relaxation, it's more tempting to fire up Skyrim on my 360 than Syberia. On the other hand, I've played Under a Killing Moon a number of times for every time I've played through Morrowind. So maybe I don't know myself as well as I think?

 
I feel exactly the same Lars-Erik and my favourite game experiences have generally been RPGs.

If anyone else wants to send their What's Your Story responses through and get 20 CAPs in the process, please send them to theadventuregamer@gmail.com.

7 comments:

  1. Blues Brothers: Best movie
    Fastest Indian: Best NZ movie
    well done Lars-Erik

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  2. I have a question for you Lars-Erik. I've always felt an attraction to Norway, mostly due to the fact a lot of my favourite bands come from there, but also because of the natural beauty it offers (this goes for Scandinavia in general).

    Do you feel the images and general perception of Norway that comes up when Googling Norway are representative of your country? Would you offer any reservations to someone interested in travelling there?

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    1. That's a really good question.
      If you do a Google image search of just Norway, what pops up is mostly either Lofoten from the northern part of Norway and Geiranger fjord from the western part. For a bit more balanced picture, you can try adding the word "typical" to the image search, which will give you a bit more than just the same images again and again.

      It is a beautiful country yes, but can also be harsh and demanding. The northern part of Norway is at the same latitude as Siberia (but the Gulf stream makes the climate much more pleasant), and the southern at the same latitude as Scotland.

      As far as nature goes; with just 5 million people we have a population density lower than New Zealand, so huge areas of Norway are undisturbed where nature does its own thing.

      For reservations, there are just two things to remember; it's really expensive. A quick bit of research estimates that generally prices are about 30-50% higher than in Australia. ( http://www.mytravelcost.com/Australia/compare-with-Norway/ )
      The other part is the lack of night life and things to do. A couple I know from London came over to see what Oslo is all about, and the verdict was "beautiful, expensive, and boring". They didn't visit for the nature though, which is what we've got to show off I think.

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  3. Yeah, I can't wait until Trickster gets to Tex Murphy. I watched a playthrough of it. Nice little story there, cool and funny without being "Adventure game zany"

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    1. Yes, they really hit the spot with Under a Killing Moon. We're almost there, only 108 games to go!

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  4. In Kickstarter news: The Realm was unsuccessful, but AR-K has been funded.

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    1. Thankfully Atomhawk and Lantern are going to retry the Kickstarter for The Realm later this year, after they have brushed up on their project-selling skills.

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