Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From flying to first downs

For the first time this year, I'm giving up on a game. That's sad, but I'm kind of glad that it's taken me six months to have that happen.

The casualty is Prototype. On the surface, karate kicking helicopters is awesome, as is elbow dropping tanks. But after around 10 hours, which is about halfway through, I realized that I spent most of the previous five hours of playing being very frustrated. I think that right now, I want something a little slower paced than Prototype's balls-to-the-wall karate kicking choppers and hacking dudes in half. Hopefully I'll be coming back to it in a few months.

What's usurping it? Blood Bowl. What is Blood Bowl? It's what geeks play instead of Madden.

The short version is that Blood Bowl is what you get if you take a really violent fantasy universe and have them play football. If the old Genesis game Mutant League Football rings a bell, well, that was a ripoff of Blood Bowl. It's very similar to football, except that there's no downs, killing players is a valid strategy, and having the play by play announcer say something like "The goblin looney Grimnak just pulled out his chainsaw, and is chasing the elf across the field and...OH! The crowd just threw a huge rock at Grimnak, knocking him unconscious! Now the rest of the fans are charging the field! They're going to have some trouble with that tree man!"

Of course, the whole thing plays out in turn-based format, because the video game is a faithful translation of the original board game. The real meat of it is playing in leagues, where your players can earn extra skills (or in the case of some teams, extra heads and limbs), injuries can knock players out for several games, and the road to the playoffs is paved with the bodies of your opponents.

So basically, it's just like rugby.

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