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All I Want For Xmas

December 18th, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Me

This time of the year is crazy. We all know about the shopping, the cooking, the travel (for some). I’ve also had some deadlines to meet and games to catch up on for my seasonal wrap-up. So I (once again) apologize for my silence.

My gift list is usually pretty short since I’m not an acquisitive sort. My wife has been wondering what I want for my birthday and that was eight months to go – that sort of demonstrates how low personal trinkets are on my list. Besides, we’ve been married for over a decade. She should know by now, right?

Since I’ve been conditioned to believe in Christmas miracles, here’s a list of things that would make my holiday bright and full of smiles not induced by egg nog.

1) A Release Date For Spore – I usually don’t put much stock in the “countdown to release” stuff, and everyone wants to see Spore. But the more I see of it (especially the long spread in this month’s PCGamer), the less sure I am that it is real. Can you really do all this stuff smoothly in a single game? A release date beyond the vague Q2 2008 would make me a little more confident that the most brilliant designer still working in the business still has it.

2) A Wii – Yeah, yeah, get in line. But the thing is, I think this might actually help bridge the small divide that keeps my non-gaming friends from really appreciating what I do. The big problem I have with the Xbox 360 (a wonderful gaming console) is that it really isn’t social. It targets a certain market and aside from some of the lighter XBLA stuff, it’s pretty hardcore stuff. Even the sports games are hardcore. And I doubt an Early Americas historian is going to leap at Halo. Wii Bowling on the other hand…

3) An end to Senior Wii Stories – I hate the mainstream media’s coverage of games. It’s terrible. And the non-stop stories about how America’s seniors are turning to the Wii are terrible. I know I’m supposed to be happy that this coverage brings games to non-gamers and isn’t about how Viva Pinata players are beating up classmates, but the point has been made. Over and over and over. Besides, granny is playing a Wii that could belong to me.

4) Money – OK, this is a little selfish, too. But GMT Games has announced two more expansions to the Commands and Colors game. So if I want the core plus the three expansions, I need almost as much as I would need for a Wii. Having seen the Commands and Colors game in action, it’s really impressive. And very attractive. This would be sixty battles, many of them based on a lot of conjecture. Having just finished reading a two volume biography of Pompey, it would be nice to see his brilliance represented, though I’m not hopeful that his victory over Mithridates makes an appearance.

5) Success for friends
– I have friends and colleagues who are undertaking new enterprises or pursuing career goals or beginning new stages in their lives. If this holiday season leads to lots of good news from them, then my stocking will feel stuffed.

Expect sporadic updates for the next week or so until the holiday rush slows down.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Natus

    Yes, GMT has me in its black grip, too. I am slowing down on my P-500’s, though, and only pre-ordering games that I think need the support to get through publication. With C&C:A (the best of the series), I already own expansion #1 of which I’ve played very little. And considering the space, I’m wondering how many expansions I need of this game. It’s not like I’m playing every month.

    Can you give the particulars of the Pompey bio, Troy? That sounds great!

  • Troy

    The Pompey bio is by Peter Greenhalgh and is, like a lot of this sort of stuff, out of print. The first volume (Roman Alexander) is harder to find at a reasonable price than the second (Republican Prince) but both are worth a look if you’re not familiar with the man. Considering there are two or three new Caesar bios every year, there are few surprises there.

    The books aren’t great. Like many biographers, he is too in love with his subject to admit that Pompey was well out of his element in forum politics and was outmaneuvered by the Catonian/Metellan factions regularly and his account of the Catilinian conspiracy is muddled.

    His discussion of Pompey’s grand strategy in the civil war, however, is very convincing and his description of the settlement of Rome’s Eastern provinces is very thorough.

    The broad outlines are more easily found in Plutarch and Appian, but if you’ve got some money to burn, it’s worth scouring Abebooks for the books.

  • Dave Long

    All I want for Christmas is the willpower to stop buying games when I don’t have time to play them.

    For the entire holiday season I’ve been telling people that I really don’t need any more games as Christmas presents. I don’t have time to play the ones I have. Yet, that’s what they know I enjoy so when all is said and done I’ll probably end up with at least three of them dropping onto the stack of titles that grows yearly. I don’t usually get anything from publishers anymore so every one of these things was purchased either by myself or others. What a waste.

    To top it off, most of my recent gaming time is spent in World of Warcraft. So really, there’s even less time for new games than ever before.

  • Natus

    Thanks, Troy, for the info. And thanks, Dave, for reminding me that I’m spending WAY too much time this holiday season WoW-ing and I don’t even have a toon at 60 yet (not to mention 70). Even if this game is a glorified hamster-wheel, those who’ve levelled their tunes as far as they can go have at least something to show for it. And games from eons long ago that I haven’t yet explored like HoI: Doomsday, Dominions 3, and AoW:SM sit there sullenly, glaring at me.

  • Dave Long

    I’m finding that WoW is a lot more than a hamster wheel. While I don’t like it when people get all hung up on the numbers game, that part of it is actually super entertaining, right next to all the cool lore and nifty places.

    There’s so much to see and do in WoW and the “story” of my character grows with each passing day.

    So if I don’t get back to all these other games for awhile, I’m ok with that. My 66 Paladin has given me a ton of entertainment.

    It still would be nice to get like six more hours in a day though. :D