Bezdar Weekly #1

As a means to flex my blogging muscles, I started a weekly wrap-up of various things that came to my mind, games I’ve been playing, and random rambling on arbitrary topics. I’ll let the thing flow freely and see if some format will emerge eventually.

For the bulk of the week, I struggled with the nastiest cold I’ve ever caught. It wasn’t even Covid, just one of those random anonymous viruses that you catch freely by the dozens each winter. I cracked the jackpot and got the nastiest one—what a lucky fella! Anyway, the state of limbolike conscience and a running nose that made me think that a fucking glacier was melting somewhere inside my head made me appreciate Godspeed You! Black Emperor even more than ever before. Sick music for sick people. While their classic albums will never be topped, Luciferian Towers and G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! are a pure delight. Especially when your mind is exhausted and disorientated. Yet, for the track of the week, I’ll go with Mladic from their 2012 album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! So heavy and cold sounding that it perfectly suits my overall condition for most of this week.

Speaking of music, the menu track of Space Crusade kicks so much ass that I’ve spent more than twelve minutes just listening to it twice before starting to play the game. The built-in audio capture in DosBox is very welcome in such cases. Regarding the game itself, it’s the first-ever videogame adaptation of Warhammer 40k tabletop, and it seems pretty close mechanically to its source. I’m not entirely sure about it, though—albeit loving dearly the setting and the universe, my only live contact with Warhammer 40k tabletop was jumping into the Games Workshop store while visiting London last summer. Game’s manual states that the rules are almost one-to-one, except that the computer handles the dice.

Kickass music from Space Crusade!

Anyway, Space Crusade is one of those games I would have adored if I had been born a couple of years earlier—my taste was formed by more modern-ish games like X-Com: UFO Defence. Space Crusade feels shallow, simple, and frustratingly slow in comparison. The main thing in common is the chances to hit something—my squad commander was engaged once in a fascinating hand-to-hand skirmish with some ork that lasted four turns while none of the combatants hit each other. Another marine’s heavy bolter put the poor, exhausted ork out of his misery.

Space Crusade can be played simultaneously by three players via hotseat. This can rescue any game—it depends on the quantity and quality of beer. Especially if the menu music track is such a bloody hit!

Additionally, I’ve played Age of Empires. The original one. It plays nicely on Win10 without any difficulties whatsoever. But should it be played? I was very skeptical regarding the Definitive Edition when it was released on Microsoft Store. Who buys games from Microsoft Store?! But then it made its way to Steam, and I bought it.

I am sincerely glad that I did! As stated in the title, AoE Definitive Edition is the definitive edition of Age of Empires. It’s basically the same game with modern graphics and a couple of new units, but the essential thing is QoL improvements, without which any RTS is unplayable for me. Unit queueing, option to select idle villagers, rally points, etc. But for AoE specifically—automatic farm reseeding. The lack of these things makes the original game redundant.

The only thing that Definitive Edition is missing is the option to play with the old graphics. Not that the new version is ugly, but for the sake of wholesomeness. I still believe that modern remasters are welcome if they allow you to feel the original—The Monkey Island Special Edition dilogy and C&C Remastered Collection are examples of remasters done right. Age of Empires: Definitive Edition replaces the original without preserving it, and it’s a shame. Apart from that, the game is scratching my RTS itch so rigorously that I won’t stop playing it until I beat all of the campaigns.
Or until I’ll decide to check what’s the deal with the Definitive Edition of the game’s sequel. Age of Empires 2 originally had all of those QoL improvements stated above, so I don’t expect much from the remaster.

Finally, I’ve blown the dust from my Retroid Pocket 2. I consider this a better purchase for portable gaming than Nintendo Switch. It’s cheap, it’s on Android, and it doesn’t charge you monthly for playing the same ROMs of ancient games. It also reminds me that I was a much more skillful player when I was six years old. Felix the Cat, Megaman, Darkwing Duck, Contra—I’ve beaten all those games on my Chinese-cloned version of NES, no sweat. Nowadays, I suck relentlessly. It’s a humbling experience that is needed by everyone from time to time.

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