Category Archives: Other games

Generalul & Heroes of Might and Magic 3

1999… The year i entered highschool, and the year Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was launched, more than 15 years ago 😛 In the summer holiday, just before classes started, i played this game almost every day, learning all there was to it, spending countless hours on the campaign (that seemed very difficult to complete at first) and the scenarios versus the ai. Multiplayer consisted of hot-seat with friends, as it was still one or two years before i would get dial-up internet, and even then i didn’t play it online for a long time. No worries, i more than made up for that years later, and even now, with the HD version of Heroes 3 that just launched on Steam this month.

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I never cared much for the graphics & stuff, for me the important thing is the multiplayer Steam support, that can bring an excellent game back to life. Sure, people still play the GOG Complete Edition but that requires some other programs installed, like Hamachi, and some meddling with them in order to make the game work. The game looks great, can be played at high resolutions, but from the start, was bugged by a lot of problems concerning multiplayer. Some were fixed, some not, but i must say i played a lot since the first day, despite the hardships. A regular game, on a medium-large map with at least 4 players, can take up to 10 hours, and in some cases even longer, although usually some drop/leave and their places are taken by ai’s, leaving the remaining ones to battle among themselves.

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Great gaming moments (1)

Every gamer had them, great battles won, a boss fight that took hours and countless loads to win, epic win streaks, a char that ruled the server in a mmo, you name it…

I, Generalul, remember a lot of these instances, where i lived the finest moments of gaming. I’ll stick to pc games, and the beginning of the love affair between me and them, starting in 1998 with my 6×86 cyrix 🙂 Starcraft (yeah, the first one :P) was about to be launched and a demo was released, demo that i installed from Level magazine’s cd. The moment i played that game i was shocked at what the “pc master race” can offer, that i can benefit so much from this. I always loved strategy games, when i was a child i often played with toy soldiers, and now i got to control them in a fantastic sf background story. The demo level had 3 unique levels, not found in the full version, and for that moment, they were all i had before i would get my hands on a pirated starcraft cd (in those days piracy was an abstract concept in Romania, as you could buy cracked software from stores right in the town center :P), thanks to our bulgarian buddies. I played those levels all over again, i got to learn the maps by heart, i knew the lines spoken by every unit, i experimented different aproaches to the missions, i was… in heaven ^^ I would have friends come over and marvel along side me at this digital wonder.

Still, that wasn’t the most played demo in this gamer’s life, but the one of ARSENAL: Taste but power. That game was also a RTS, made by an obscure french company, TacticalSoft, and i got it from a magazine’s cd borrowed from a friend. The game was all that a strategy fan like me could wish, with land, air and sea units, upgrades, random map generators etc. I loved it from the spot and i played it furiously. You had acces to a few campaign missions, but the skirmishes vs the ai were the main attraction. There was one thing though, you were limited to a few units, as the others and the unique ones were available only in the full version. As i had no way of getting that back then i had to make do with the units i had, and i became so good at that game that eventually i was able to beat several computers, allied against me, that had acces to the full tech tree. Epic moments i tell, you epic!

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Oldies but goodies: Generalul’s first games

My first contact with the video game world came via a HC-91 spectrum, where i had to wait for the game to load via cassete player. 😛 If you remember those times you can consider yourself old my friend, but also a true veteran. I remember all too well the times the game didn’t load properly and i had to rewind and start all over again, and in time i learned to know just by the sound patterns if there will be an error or not. There were many games that i enjoyed back then, and some of their names sound familiar to some even today, like Elite and Dizzy. Nether Earth and Austerlitz were the precursors of the RTS and TBS games that i will later play and at that time they were unique and fascinated me entirely. I would play them all over again, trying new strategies, new aproaches

For those who are nostalgic about that period, or for those who don’t know what they missed, here you can find an online emulator that let’s you play a lot of those games:
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/games/index.html

Some years later followed a Terminator console, that i enjoyed for a time, beofore getting my first pc. The graphics weren’t much better than what the HC games had, and the gameplay and depth was much shallow indeed. Still, i enjoyed it as the dual controllers allowed me to play with others more easily and the load time was 0.

I received my first computer when i was in the 8th grade, a Cyrix 6X86 233 MHz with a Virge 1 or 2 Mb video memory and 16 Mb of Ram, and the first games i played there were Wolfenstein, Jack Jazzrabbit and the demo’s from Level magasine’s CD. I was crazy about KKND, Diablo – Hellfire and my love, Panzer General.

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Ofcourse, my apetite for strategies grew larger, and i discovered Warcraft, C&C, Red Alert and the ruler of them all, the one and only STARCRAFT! Like in the other cases, i remember playing the 3 unique missions from the demo again and again, and being totally enchanted by the world Blizzard created. Later i would go to internet cafe’s and duel other Starcraft lovers, either on Lan or Battlenet games. I loved those days, and i will always cherish those moments. I also spent countless hours playing Spellcross, an underdog TBS where you controlled modern day human armies against orcs and magic wielders that invaded Earth. Total Annihilation was also on my list, along with hundreds others.

It might sound a clisee, but back in the days, the games were BETTER, the graphics didn’t matter that much as the gameplay, and there was an unique feeling about most of the titles that were launched, not like today when we have Fifa 100, NFS x10 and many sequels that lack personality…

A few years after i had the pc i managed to connect to the internet via a dial-up modem 😛 and then the world really opened up. By trial & error i understood how things work and how to fix both software and hardware problems, ability that was proven to serve me well in life up to this point. I am quite proud of one particular moment, when i stood an entire day to find and then download a game that i liked a lot and was near impossible to find, A.R.S.E.N.A.L. – Taste the power. It was about 80 mb, but still, it took more than 8 hours to get it, along with various other fixes that made it work. Yeah, it was pirated all right 😛

Over time, as i had the financial possibilities, i would upgrade my rig so that i was able to play most of the games that came out, but, as i have said, finding good games wasn’t as easy as it once was, as our espectations grew exponentially as well. About the 9 Dragons period and more recent games, in another post!

Gaming in 2014

Happy new year guys and thanks for following Generalul!

What will 2014 bring? Well, for once since i had a lot of work at www.comanda-caricaturi.ro i didn’t have much time to play Starcraft 2 in December, and when i did, i experienced another new game from Blizz, Hearthstone. Here is an example of a noob me, playing with the help of a more experienced player, Outlaw (mainly Romanian cast):

And i’ve also taken an interest in Dota 2, where i’ll soon stream some of the games there.

Still, Starcraft 2 isn’t out of the picture, and i will find the time to rape those pesky noobs on the ladder and in some online cups, playing random as usuall 😛

Until then:

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What i play besides Starcraft

Starcraft 2 is the master of all games, but it comes a time when we have to take a break from all those complex strategies and sharp micro and just play a less demanding game. Even if i am not a pro player at Starcraft, i do focus at doing my best when i play 1v1 ladder, and that takes a lot of concentration. I don’t need that as much in other games, where there is no rank and i can also watch tv while i’m playing for example.

So, what to i play when i don’t rape nubz on the Starcraft ladder? Well, i try new games from time to time, and ones even take over my time a few days in a row. A recent one is Battle Worlds: Kronos, a turn based strategy that brings to life the best of Panzer General & Battle Isle, those amazing games that i played while growing up. In this case i played the campaign until it was done, but the multiplayer isn’t so appealing and competitive as in Starcraft. And even if it was, i would still stick to my main love, HOTS 😛

Another time consuming game that i return to periodically is another Blizzard title, Diablo 3. I have a paragon 55 Barbarian on softcore (played a lot in the early days, when it was HARD and the new level system wasn’t introduced) and a 20+ Bard on Hardcore as well (after i lost one at a similar level due to the fucking lag). I do enjoy a good hack & slash from time to time, solo or with some friends and i await the Reaper of Souls expansion next year 😛

Don’t Starve is also a great survival game, that i played since it was in beta, and it’s a great experience everytime:

Recently i started playing Dota 2, and i must admit, raping nubz there is a lot of fun, especially when playing in a team with friends. The downside is that sometimes, while playing solo i get some lousy partners that insist of feeding the other team 😛 Losing with a 50-20 isn’t as much fun 🙂

About gaming and perfect moments

We all have some moments in life where we remember we were truly happy (even if we didn’t acknoledged this at that time) and we would like to relive them or even recreate that atmosphere as much as possible. Ofcourse, there are some common things: our first love, the first kiss, passing an admittance exam and so on but there are some other special moments, less ordinary.

For me one of this moments can easily be one of the days spent at my grandparents house playing late into the night at the computer. When i was in highschool the internet was a luxury and the speed was measured in a few tens of kb/sec at best, not in tens of even hundreds of mb like now. Besides the internet cafe’s and gaming halls, i was the happy owner of a modem through witch i connected to the net using the landline phone and Xnet (veterans know :P). The cost was enormous during daytime so i had to wait for 22:00, for the night prices of Romtelecom, that lasted until 7 AM.

As i said the speed was terrible but from time to time i managed to play some Broodwar or Majesty with a friend and the rest of time was dedicated to downloading music, games, pictures, navigating, Mirc & stuff. There were games i played late into the night, having by my side a glass of milk with coco or a mineral water. I would sometimes hear the crickets in the garden, while i was moving my divisions in Panzer General, defending from or controling the zergling swarms in Starcraft or saving humanity from the orcs in Spellcross. Now you can buy/download any game in a few seconds, but many are just a feast of colours and explosions and don’t have the “soul” of the games of 2000 and so. I didn’t need stunning graphics, spectacular effects worth tens of millions or online achievments, nobody could get me away from the pc when i started a Heroes 3 campaign, an Incubation mission or a NFS 🙂 Those were the times i had no worries, no bank payments, no taxes and i didn’t have to think all the time what steps i should take for my business to survive the economic crisis and much, much more…

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The perfect moment then, but the same as the others that would come, was eclipsed by other wishes, turmoils of the moment, essentially all kinds of meaningless stuff. Strange though, as we never seem to learn from this and we are eternally unhappy. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now when i will remember this period, even this moment, when i am free to write on my blogs will be a perfect moment as well 🙂