Weekly Little Big Planet: twilight hours

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Violet Sundown is a goofy mishmash of a community level. It’s good. It works well and is sufficiently challenging. The music is nifty. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. It just feels like a mishmash of styles and gameplay. Which is fine, especially when it delivers one particularly fine element.

Epiphany.

This may be an incidental benefit, but while playing Violet Sundown I became aware of how well I’m getting to know this game. It was a simple moment when I couldn’t quite make a jump and realized that I needed a grappling hook. Duh. Somehow in hurrying my sackboy along I’d missed picking up a grappling hook. Not an easy thing to miss. I ran back and there it was. I’d missed it. The simple realization that I was so quickly aware that I’d missed it pleased me. I know this game. This is pleasing.

As it turns out, not knowing is pleasing too…

After the jump, the best thing I played this week

This one is going to be a quick one, especially for those of you who used to the subterranean part of this LBP column. I’m usually not shy about taking my time to get to the point, but the weird demands of summer’s second act force me to cut to the chase this time around. Kid out of school. Looming vacation. Dear friend about to move across the country. All of these conspire to teach me for once to be brief. I’m sure two weeks from now I’ll return to form, but for now, right to the point.

I played the longest board game of my life the other night.

Those of you who grew up playing board games, real hardcore board games, will probably find this less than notable. Those of you who spent untold hours of your teenage years around a table with your friends immersed in role-playing games will probably scoff. I’ve come to board games only lately, and a strict Christian upbringing kept me from the world of Dungeons and Dragons. So while a seven-hour session playing a board game may seem like a mere stint to you, to me it is a marathon.

A glorious marathon.

I played my first game of Twilight Imperium the other night. Um…wow.

Seven hours. About that. This included an excellent tutorial, I should say. A tutorial by a friend of mine who is the absolute best at teaching games. I’ve never played a single game for seven hours. Once again…wow. Seven hours and we didn’t even finish because dawn came and smacked us in the face.

Best thing of all: I got it. I got the game. I grokked it. However you want to put it, it worked for me. This is one of those titles that has been looming over me for years, looming in a way that almost felt like a threat. A game I figured would be beyond me. Dominions 3. Dwarf Fortress. There are folks who are used to these games. To me they seem daunting. Twilight Imperium used to be daunting.

No more.

Mostly. I mean, the hour commitment is still daunting. Don’t get me wrong. Only now I understand it. I grasp the parameters. And I understand why a friend of ours threw a minor fit when we told him the next day that we’d started playing the game at ten at night. Next time, I’m setting aside a Saturday. A whole Saturday. Because this time I barely got into any decent space battles. And this is, again, with seven hours of playing the game. I got my ass kicked in one crappy space battle. One. That was it. Next time…next time will be epic. Next time I’m going to be careful about building my fleet of spaceships. Next time I’m going to build an empire. And please, oh please let me draw the L1Z1X Mindnet again, because I’m kind of addicted to building those dreadnoughts. Is it weird that I’m suddenly thinking dreadnoughts are sexy?

Seven hours. Messes with your head.

Next time, I’m telling you…epic.

Click here for the previous Weekly Little Big Planet

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