Saturday Morning Gaming: Added Value
A million years ago, games came out on cartridges. That’s it. That was the game. It was like that for more than a decade. When the Game Genie came out, it was a revelation. Holy cow! We can change the game!
Heck, when computer games first did their thing, you played the game off of the disk. While there were a ton of hex editors out there, it was a very good way to wreck your scenario disk in Wizardry to try to give yourself a decent helm. (Want a blast from the past? Check this out.)
By the time that we switched from floppies to hard drives, games were a little more robust (not that you couldn’t wreck a game on a CD, just that you were mostly limited to physical means of doing so) but we were sort of back to the cartridge at that point. The game you got? That’s the game you got.
Until, one day, PC Gaming Magazine included a CD. It had demos on it… and, more importantly, IT HAD ADDITIONAL LEVELS FOR DOOM. Holy crap.
This was right around the time that only students would have email accounts and right before AOL hit the big time so a lot of these files got passed around hand to hand, like contraband. Sure, we all knew the guy who had a computer WITH a modem and we scheduled our time with him carefully. Pay him with Twix bars and if you wanted to use his CD burner, you had to give him the blank CDs. He wasn’t falling for that again.
And THEN everybody got online and everything went to heck. Video games started getting sent out unfinished and the first thing you had to do when you booted it up was connect to the server and download the patch for it. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor was downright unplayable and did you the service of deleting some of your other files for uninstalling it. Temple of Elemental Evil was broke out the door and it took three huge patches to get it to a playable state. (Heck, it’s still being patched.) On the upside, though, the patches did get it to a playable state… so there’s that.
But this has some upsides too…for example, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines came out a buggy mess, but the patches not only turned it playable, the original developers of the game have worked with the game community and they’ve issued out unofficial patches that unlock previously hidden content (a new patch came out LAST WEEK). (For example, in the original game, you were limited to the seven clans… in the patched version, you can play each clan with a different background. For example, you can play a Toreador Starving Artist (bonus to perception, limitations on appearance) or a Well Educated Ventrue (bonuses to many skills, but hard limits on how high you can raise intimidation). The game just keeps getting better and better and better. And it’s all thanks to the fact that it remains malleable even 16 years after coming out in stores.
Well, it’s in that vein that I’m pleased to say that both Monster Train and Griftlands have added additional play modes. You can now do a “Challenge of the Day” kinda thing. They assign you some lop-sided hand to play and the fun is in figuring out how to best leverage the skills you’ve been given and work around the hobbling they’ve done to you.
For example, today’s challenge is an Umbra/Melting Remnant challenge and you get two cards every time you draft one, the position of all units in the train shuffle after combat, and friendly and enemy units get +5/+10 damage/hitpoints and the Pyre gets +10 damage. The other day, I played one that said that if a creature died, it was removed from your deck. Given that I was playing with Melting Remnants, this made the game end pretty quickly.
But, hey, the original game mode is still there. This is just a fun challenge to come back to and, get this, this is additional content handed out for free.
And that’s something that was unthinkable back in the cartridge days.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is Monster Train)