Exploring Cave Story

Today’s post was originally going to be a Let’s Talk Gaming one. I’ve been thinking of making that a weekly series. Instead, this week I have something more positive to say about gaming. Actually, scratch that. Just one game. Singular, not plural. The largest part of the industry doesn’t deserve to be part of this level of praise.

See, I installed a game when I just got this computer, tested it to see if it’d work. It did, and I never looked at it again. Other shiny free stuff, some of it being of questionable origin, distracted me. In time, I forgot I even had this installed.

My external harddrive committed suicide last week. Maybe you remember me talking about that on the Twitterverse or even here on the blog. Pretty much all my files were on there. I don’t keep anything on this computer. It’s a cheap piece of shit. I expected it wouldn’t even last a year. It was just something to use to order a better computer online, which I never did. So everything I wanted to keep was on the external harddrive, and then it died. No more video, audio, games. No more nothing.

Except… I still had that one game. Somehow I completely forgot I had it installed.

I still had Cave Story.

This time, I was going to seriously play the game. See if it lives up to the hype. Three hours later I saved my game, turned it off and stared at the clock in the top-right corner of the screen. I thought I had only played for about 20 minutes. This hasn’t happened since the GameCube/PS2 era of gaming. This game sucked me in. Not many games this generation can do that.

Okay, so… Cave Story. How good is it? Let’s put it this way. If I can get a game even half as fun this generation, I’ll take back every bad thing I’ve said about gaming. Every single bad word, statement, thought. I really mean it.

There’s just something to that game that’s just magical. It’s as if Nintendo and Capcom tried making a Metroid game together near the end of the NES’s lifetime. It has a strong Metroid base, with a pinch of Castlevania and amazing boss battles and music that you’d expect from old school Capcom. It’s retro, yet still refreshing. It’s its own game, with its own feel. It’s just what I’ve felt has been missing for too long.

It deals with a lot of my pet peeves and major beefs with gaming a lot better than most titles do. Start-up time? You can start playing the game after starting it up almost  immediately. Tutorial?  No tutorials here, you just learn what to do and how to do it as you go along. Story? Doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay, but still interesting and fun enough to follow. Exploration? Almost always rewarded.

Considering the fact that I’m still playing through this game, almost a week after I started. I’d say its quite a lengthy one as well. At least, much more so than I expected.

One of my first big surprises with this game was with the weapon system it uses. Every weapon can get experience points. Get enough of them, the weapon levels up and increases in power. Level three is the maximum, and usually includes an extra feature to your shots. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil them, as finding out what the weapons can do is half the fun. When you get hit, your weapons lose experience, and yes, they can get downgraded. It’s an ingeniously simple concept that keeps you on your toes. Especially during boss battles. Just a few hits and you can feel like you’ve been crippled because your favorite weapon just got severely downgraded.

You know what’s really awesome about this game? It’s freeware. You can just download and play it. Legally. It’s also up for sale on the Wii as a WiiWare title. If you’re inclined to buy it, go ahead. I’d buy a title like this for the DS if it was released. I feel it’s worth my money a lot more than most titles on the market these days.

To think something like this was created by one guy. Not a major company. No development team. No big budget. Just one Japanese guy. He took five years to make it. Crafting the game. Balancing and perfecting it, and it shows. Okay, if you count the people that worked on the fan-made translations you’ll need to play the game if you don’t want to play it in Japanese, more people worked on it than just him. Still, it’s nothing short of amazing.

On Things Not Cave Story

I have stuff up for sale on eBay. I’m not linking it, it’ll do you no good. It’s all anime DVDs so far. They all have Dutch subtitles. No English. Hopefully I can sell these DVDs at a decent price. I’ll add more DVDs later today, some anime, some movies. There’s still a lot of things to sell, or at least, try to sell.

There was a discussion about how many vacation days I still have left at work. I didn’t get to use them all last year, and instead of getting paid they got carried over to this year. I have no idea how many days I have left because it’s all taken care of through some confusing system that doesn’t make much sense to me. After discussing it with my boss for a good three days, I still don’t know. She won’t tell me. I’m guessing they’re afraid I might actually start using them. Too bad, because I am going to use them, just to see how many I can take before I run out of them. It’s ridiculous, I know. But that’s just what life is around here.

In any case, I’ve got a boss to kill and a Cave to explore.

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