Friday, November 30, 2012

All I Wanted to Do Was Play Nancy Drew

Yesterday, I wrote about how I have been putting my attention on "casual" games more and more lately. Excited by the post, I decided to start with the Nancy Drew series of games. There are some twenty (maybe even thirty now) titles in the series. It seemed a good idea to me to simply start with the first game! The very first Nancy Drew title is subtitled Secrets Can Kill and looked fairly promising. At least, if you listen to Nancy Drew game diehards, they seem to say the originals are the best.

The original game is not available on Steam (only the Remastered version). Thankfully, I already had it available to me so I went to work installing it. It didn't work, so my next step was to go to Her Interactive's website to see if they could help. Now, they did give tips for running their games on Windows 7 but it still wasn't working. What was my next step? Install a Windows 95 virtual machine!

The first two games are apparently the hardest to run on modern machines. As they were made for early Windows systems, it seemed to me that 95 was my best bet. It's actually harder than you might think to install an old operating system, though. I have a disc-based version of the OS, but it initially only sold as lots and lots of floppy discs. My current machine doesn't even have floppy drives but thankfully it's incredibly easy to create virtual discs and drives.

Either way, I'm not going to get too much into the installation process, but I did it, although certain features were unable to be installed. I put the game in and installed it perfectly. Unfortunately, when the time came to run it gave me the same error received from my modern Windows 7! The error is that the game cannot pump sound through my speakers. It seemed to me I could make it work on 95 because you can set up different audio methods and whatnot to better recreate the actual environment. However, I was unable to find out how to install them, even though Windows detected the old school sound option.

In the end, I was unable to get the game to run. Maybe later I'll try to learn how to properly install 95... Or I could just play the Remastered version.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Think I'm Turning "Casual"

Video games have been my go-to hobby for as long as I can remember. Basically all my earliest memories revolve not around school or family but playing Atari 2600 and Apple IIe games. I don't remember everything about them, but little moments like being mystified by the Apple command line being used to call up games are easy to visualize even now.

I never really classified myself "hardcore" in the typical sense as that makes people think of Call of Duty or whatever FPS is in vogue at the time. However, I definitely have felt very hardcore when reflecting on my gaming habits. If nothing else, I think anyone who manages to collect some 2,000 video games and maintain them must have some serious interest in the hobby. But lately I've really started to shift toward liking games I never would have cared much about before.

During the latest Steam sale I loaded up my wishlist with items that would make me really happy to buy. Obviously it was initially too much, so my actual cart of digital goodies was whittled down until only a few were left. The main things I struggled with purchasing/putting away were the Nancy Drew, Mumbo Jumbo, and Popcap bundles. Nancy Drew games are basically adventure games but for a certain type of crowd. As such, they're fairly easy experiences overall. My interest in Mumbo Jumbo came from wanting to play simple games like Luxor but also hidden object games like the Midnight Mysteries series. All of these games are decidedly "casual".

Even when playing Persona 4 Golden for Vita I've been taking a very simplified approach. Setting the easiest difficulty available and letting most battles play out automatically, I really have little to worry about in the game aside from listening to the story unfold. In a way, it makes me nervous to see my game play style as well as interests change, but on the other hand, does it really matter? As long as I'm happy with what I play then I don't think it does. It's a bit odd that titles like Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, and others are no longer enticing me, but I'm sure I will still get around to them. Just for now, when I need something to play it will probably be much simpler fare.

This, too, I think has complicated my personal blogging. Between writing reviews of more (serious?) games for sites, I leave myself time for easy, casual titles. But who wants to hear about my time spent playing Criminal Minds' hidden object game? Perhaps seeking out such easy gaming experiences is a reaction to the forced nature of reviewing. Either way, I'm curious... Are "casual" games something that anyone really wants to hear about? If I were asked this question a year ago I'd say no, but you'd be surprised at how good some of them can be.
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