Howdy, fine readers! Jarenth here: I’m back from the United States of America with a head full of stories, a stomach full of junk food, and no gifts. Well, I mean, I have some of those decorative flattened pennies if you want them.
In lieu of an actual new Indie Wonderland — the regular delivery of which will resume next week — I have for you, in this post, two Let’s Play-related snippets. First, I’ve updated the Let’s Play-section of our menu to contain a complete overview of Jarenth Plays XCOM. So if you’ve ever wanted to re-read your favourite ‘I fight aliens, fail, win sometimes’ episodes, it’s now more easy than ever.
And second, I’ve decided that now would be an excellent time to try my hand at another one of these Let’s Plays. This is actually something I want to talk about in more length, which is why it’s hidden after this section break. If you’re not interested in helping me decide which game to Jarenth-Plays next, you’re free to stop reading right now.
If you’re a long-time reader — or if you just read my other Let’s Plays for the first time, I’m not picky — you might remember that at the end of Warlock and XCOM both, I asked for input on the next game to play. Given that I’m only two games in, and that XCOM was sort of a bolt from the blue for me, I haven’t actually done anything with these reader suggestions yet. I’ve always intended to, though, and now that I’m semi-planning this new project…
I am, however, terrible at decision making. Doubly so when an appropriate answer doesn’t simply present itself to me. Can you guess where you guys come in?
Looking over the suggestions I’ve received — both in the comments and through other channels — I’ve identified three, let’s call them genres of LP-able game suggestions I could do. Each of them have their own benefits and downsides for the purposes of Let’s Playing, which I’ve outlined below. I know where my preferences lie, obviously, but I’d really like some input from you guys on this.
Turn-based strategy games: ‘Civilization’. Probably the most common type of answer. At least partially, no doubt, due to the fact that I’ve done two of these already. It’s a genre that works pretty well with the LP formula I’ve got going here, and it’s a genre of games I tend to like. I’m a little wary of doing just these kinds of games, but I’m not about to turn any good suggestions away.
Common suggestion one in this genre is Civilization V. It’s a game that would probably work pretty well: Warlock was basically Civ 5, But Different. And given that it’s just received a major content expansion, there’d be some interesting stuff to talk about even for a largely non-blind run. But this is also the rub: I’ve already played Civ 5. Not incredibly much, but enough to ensure that I know… well, more than I did with Warlock and XCOM. This could theoretically hamper my HAI GUYS WHAT’S GOING ON style of exploration and play.
Common suggestion two, almost the polar opposite, is Crusader Kings 2. It’s a game that, disregarding the stories, I know almost nothing about. This would probably make for interesting writing… it’s just too bad that, based on what I’ve seen from screenshots and reviews, the game doesn’t really grab me. I don’t know why, it just doesn’t have the same spark. I’ll play it if there’s a lot of demand, though: I’m always open to being surprised.
Personally, I’ve been eyeballing both Stardrive and Endless Space as possible candidates. I’ve heard some bad things about the latter, though, which makes me a little cautious. Any of you readers have any experience with these games?
Role-playing games: ‘Morrowind’. First up: I cannot actually do Morrowind. I don’t mean that in a technical perspective, and I’m not necessarily unwilling to do it either… it’s just that if I do a Let’s Play of Morrowind, it will very likely turn out pretty much identically to Rutskarn’s ‘In A Hostile Country’. Not with ill intent, mind you! It’s just that Rutskarn has been an incredible influence on my (online) writing style. There’s about six people I can directly identify as having influenced my budding in a tangible way, and Rutskarn is one of them. Me playing Morrowind would basically become me playing at Rutskarn playing Morrowind.
In A Hostile Country does, of course, provide ample evidence for the idea that a Let’s Play of this type can totally work. Which means I’m open to the idea. It would need to be a very particular type of game, though: contrast IAHC to that same Rutskarn’s later Skyrim works, which… well, I’ll let him say it.
Bottom line: I’m down for playing this kind of game, but it would need to be a game that has sufficient room for the player to leave their own mark. Something like Risen could totally work, for example… if I hadn’t played that to completion and then some already. But alternate suggestions are way welcome.
Action RPG (Loot-and-click’em-up) games: ‘Diablo’. This was probably the biggest surprise-genre for me to see, but it’s popped up quite a few times. Diablo 3, Torchlight II, Path of Exile…
The reason I’m surprised by these suggestions is because I don’t really see how a more narrative (text/screenshot) Let’s Play of these games would work. When I think about my Diablo experiences, the main thing that comes to mind is running circles around a large pillar, firing health-draining ghosts at Diablo while my little brother operated the potion controls. Which makes for a good watercooler story, but doesn’t really translate into Let’s Play territory very well.
Quick aside: I don’t work in audio. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I loathe listening to my own recorded voice. Yes, I know ‘everyone’ has that reaction, but that doesn’t change the fact that I cringe every time I hear ‘myself’ talk. Seriously, it’s like two stoners taped to a broken bass guitar. And since I’m ostensibly doing these LP things for fun…
I suppose there are possibilities for putting a more narrative spin on a text/screenshot clickfest LP. Something like a character diary? If the story is strong enough, I could probably do some interesting things from an almost pure fiction-writing perspective. A Let’s Play like that would be… well, light on the Let’s Play, and heavy on the fiction writing. It’d pretty much be fanfic with gameplay elements, actually.
Which could still be interesting.
I’ve played enough Path of Exile to know I don’t really enjoy it, but any other game would be open. Diablo 3, Torchlight II. Titan Quest, maybe? Or even that recent Van Helsing game.
So there you have it, reader. What would you like to see me play? Did I miss any good games, or genres? Or do you have some suggestions that are completely outside this mold? Please let me know in the comments! The more suggestions, the merrier; I don’t have any strict self-imposed time limit, though the longer I wait with playing and recording, the longer it’ll actually take to get the Let’s Play up and running.
It’s up to you.