Summer is my new video game season. When I was a kid, it was year round. Dennis and I puzzled our way through more games on an all-nighter than I care to count. My brother and sister and I co-oped on quite a few as well. After Freshman year of college, things slowed down quite a bit and almost disappeared in grad school. I remember trying to play a bit of the Game Cube Legend of Zelda and realizing just how rusty I'd gotten. The first couple years of marriage continued the trend until I got sick and my wife and I discovered Peasant's Quest. Suddenly we realized this stuff could be fun. Now the wife and I devote a little time each summer to working our way through one of the Myst games and I pick something to work through on my own as well. Back in the saddle. Ye-haw.
This year, my wife surprised me with Starcraft II at Christmas so I got started a little early. I bit that off in little 30 minute segments on Saturdays and wrapped it up at the beginning of vacation (I love the fact that the game comes in 20-60 minute segments which are perfect for those of us who are adults and have jobs, families, and other interests). On a whim, then, I decided to try something a little different from my normal fare. I decided to enter into the world of action-RPGs. At first, I assumed that meant Diablo. After a consultation with my friend, the game guru, I decided that old Diablo might be a bit too time consuming to qualify as summer fun. Then I checked our Torchlight, but that was made by the same people. Then I remembered something Chappy Graaf Spee had shown me years ago, a little game from a company called Iron Lore: Titan Quest. Amazon was selling it in a "gold edition" with its sequel and all the patches for eight bucks so I figured: why not (nota bene: I think I may have snagged the last copy. Sorry!)
Now, here's why this game intrigued me: it's an action-RPG set in Ancient Greece. You get to build up a hero of epic proportions and then go and like out your Persiod fantasies mulching titans. This is the video game I would have made if I designed video games. You even encounter rhapsodists in the towns who will recite the Homeric hymns. Fun. Fun. Fun. I should also add that it has a gentle learning curve and lots of good item drops so that you can play through without spending loads of time leveling up your character (very good for us old fogies with other things to do). The designers also took their time to make the sets fell as authentic as possible. Dovetail this with the fact that I'm working through two books by Robin Lane Fox ("Traveling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer" and "Alexander") and one by Oswyn Murry ("Early Greece") this summer and you've got a wonderful little combo for Greek scholar fun! Read about how Euboeans may have contributed to forming the legend of the titans and then go womp on some titans. See pictures of Dark Age armor and then equip some ad bash things. Life is just richer with an M.A. in Ancient History.