Author: John Markley

John Markley is a writer from Illinois. He writes the video game commentary/humor site Pointless Side Quest and also blogs about science fiction and fantasy at Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic. His other interests include history, science, heavy metal, anime, movies, speaking of himself in the third person, and awkward, uncomfortable conversation.

Memories of Wing Commander

There aren’t many things from my youth that I truly miss, but one of the members of that elite group is the space combat flight simulator game. Once quite common, they are all but unknown today, and that’s a shame. For me, personally, my regret at the genre’s passing is about much more than the fact that I’ll never get to play Freespace 3. (Though that is also a source of nigh-overwhelming anguish, obviously.) My own first encounter with the genre was one of the things that really expanded my ideas of what a video game could be.

RPGs I didn’t get to play: The 8-bit years

I had the bad timing to become a console RPG fan at the dawn of the 1990s. This was originally due to a promotional gimmick run by Nintendo Power magazine in which they gave away a free copy of the game Dragon Warrior to new subscribers. My friends were bored to tears by it, but for me- a kid with extremely poor hand-eye coordination and an affinity for planning, strategy, and numbers- it was ideal.

Setting the mood: Mass Effect 3 Take Earth Back trailer

Bioware recently put out a new trailer for Mass Effect 3, entitled “Take Earth Back.” I quite liked it, and it’s a nice example of how a trailer like this can be effective that’s worth taking a closer look at.

Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer that actually interests me

I’m not typically a fan of online multiplayer modes in games. I’m not suited for it; I’m generally not very competitive, not very social, and I just find a well-designed single player scenario much more enjoyable than the frantic chaos of the typical online deathmatch. I’m also, at least where he genres that dominate that sort of gameplay, such as first-person shooters and fighting games, are concerned- just not that good, and I’m not particularly interested in spending time being stomped into dust over and over again by opponents I have no chance against.

Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy XIII -2 from Square Enix is coming out at the end of this month, continuing the story of Lightning and the other characters from Final Fantasy XIII and the world they inhabit. And I’m genuinely saddened to realize that I don’t really care. It’s a strange feeling.

RPGs I never got to play: The 16-bit era

Last time, we had a look at a few of the 8-bit Japanese role-playing games that, due to the cruel realities of the 1980s video game market, never made it to America. Sadly, the dawning of the 16-bit age did not change this state of affairs.

The Revival of Classic 2-D Action Games

One of the less appreciated benefits of the ubiquitous online connections in the current generation of consoles is that it has helped to resuscitate some types of classic gameplay that had all but vanished over the prior two console generations.