Hidden far away in the great unknown realm that is my MacBook Pro's hard drive, I came across a very large image titled "List of Worthwhile DOS Games" that I found. I copied it to my HD and meant to skim it later that day, but for whatever reason, I didn't.
Flash forward over a year (judging from the date it says it was added to my computer) I finally skimmed over the list, and it was rather interesting, containing a large list of DOS games that were influential in some way or another on the early version of PC gaming. Being me with f- all to do, I decided I wanted to play every single one of them, and share my findings on the blog along with my opinions of each.
Here's the list, which came out to 107 games of various genres, which I will hit sequentially over a long period of time (this will occupy me for at least a year, perhaps more), since I've got better to do than post all 107 games in one week or so and monopolise (read: spam) the blog. Don't worry, I won't do each one in individual posts, I'll group them up into bundles of five, which would narrow the list down to twenty-one blog posts.
Here's the list, with a break every five games to show roughly what will be covered:
6. Battle Chess
16. Command and Conquer
31. Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon
36. Grand Theft Auto
41. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream
46. Jazz Jackrabbit
51. Little Big Adventure Relentless: Thinsen's Adventure
56. Master of Magic
61. Out of This World: AKA Another World
66. Realms of the Arkania Trilogy
71. Scorched Earth
76. Star Wars: Tie Fighter
86. The Dig
91. MI2: Lechuck's Revenge
96. Transport Tycoon Deluxe
101. Wacky Wheels
Was it necessary to post such a large list of games, rather than reveal them as I decided to play them? Probably not, but I did.
Well, I have decided to compile a guide on various ways to role-play in games like The Elder Scrolls, because I was bored and there is no rule saying I can't do it.
There are many different opinions on roleplaying, spanning various forums, but to be entirely honest, I think most of them are terrible. Take, for example, UESP's Roleplaying section for Oblivion: There are a large variety of different jobs/lifestyles you can role-play having, but even then, to me, they are nothing but make believe jobs you can do, and they don't necessarily create a real person, like what I like doing in my TES role-plays. That is what this is about… Creating a real person, not just giving your old level 50 character something to do at the end of your play through with him. Of course, this is strictly my opinion, and if it's not suited for you, then feel free to ignore me
Also, whereas other role-play examples I've seen say "you need this race, this skill set, this whatever", I don't do that. At no point in this guide will you see me tell you what you need to do. The choice is all up to you!
One last thing… although it isn't at all necessary, I like to make my roleplaying end when I die the first time. You don't have to do it, it's just something to throw out to make it more interesting. You're much more likely to be careful under the possibility of dying.
Let me conclude this by saying that while the examples and mods contained within are for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, virtually every technique mentioned can be applied to another game --albeit with different mods if you want to play modded.
For the purposes of this guide, I will create five sections detailing different things I look at when I role-play, and I will close the guide off with a character that I used in Morrowind, and carried over into Oblivion. (Each section, however, just to prove the point, will use a Redguard warrior named Jarren.)
Defining Your Personality: Who is your character?
When I start a new role-play, I like to sit down and create a backstory for the character. What motivated him to visit this new land? To leave behind his family, his friends, his home?
A good character would have a motivation for what he's doing. A life goal that he wants to achieve. Of course, it needs to be moderately realistic if you want to have any hope of achieving it. Or, you could have a character who would strive his whole life to become Emperor of all of Tamriel, only to end in failure (actually, there may be a mod, although I can't remember).
EX. Jarren has just arrived in Cyrodiil. He used to be a city guard for a town in Hammerfell, although bandits overran the guards and plundered the city. With his family dead, he boarded the first boat for Cyrodiil, and he has landed in Anvil. As a former guard, he can't stand to see injustice, so wants to travel Cyrodiil performing charity work for the beggars and defeat any bandits/marauders he can find.
As you can see, he came with a goal, a reason to be in the province and something that you can strive for achieving. Jarren would be the kind of person who would selflessly give his life and all his possessions for the good of the people.
Another thing I like to look at is hobbies. What does my character like to do in his free time? He quite obviously can't fight bandits 24/7 or he might come to resent being the good person that he is.
It can be something small like having a drink in the tavern with his friends, or it could be something bigger like exploring Ayleid ruins that he finds when he is not busy. Or, is the character partial to dressing a certain way and having a certain appearance to the public? There are an infinite number of possible things that could be done, so the option is up to you how to pass the time.
Jarren likes to read. His mother was a school teacher, so books were always around him, and he likes to read history. So, while he is out exploring, if he sees a good history book that he hasn't read, he will pick it up and hold on to it so that he can read while he is relaxing in his room after a hard day of adventuring. He also likes to do some hunting while he is taking a break from adventuring, but still in the field.
Is there a person your character despises? Someone he hates to be around or outright wants dead? Or is there a particular food, deity, or object that he finds repulsive?
Again, whatever you want it to be.
Our friend Jarren dislikes lawbreaking, so he will go out of his way to find the culprit and have them atone for their sins. He also isn't a fan of ham, because when he was younger, he ate some bad meat that got his really sick, so he won't eat it or carry it with him, even for resale.
Does the character has a weakness? Something that he is forever seeking, like an addiction? Perhaps he is an alcoholic or drug addict and will blow away his money on whatever alcohol or skooma he can find? Or, does he have a favorite snack or sweet tooth that needs candy?
Jarren loves to eat sweet cakes. While he won't blow his money on them or spend it if he can't afford it, he doesn't mind having a sweet cake once in a while.
NPC Interactions: Races, Genders, Factions, etc
How does your character plan to handle himself around other people? Is he friendly to everyone, or is there a race he just despises? Is he sexist or is he partial to a particular faction? This section won't be long and detailed like the previous, as everything is being left to you to decide (just like before), so I'll just cut to my example.
For example, Jarren is not particularly bothered by anyone based on race, having a few friends in each of the races. He has a healthy relationship with the Guards of Cyrodiil, being an ex guard himself, but he tries to bust Thieves and he actively attempts to kill assassins, as he believes killing for profit is one of the most dishonorable crimes you can commit.
Actual class creation is further down the list in my ordering, because we aren't going for power gaming and efficient classing, we are going for what would make sense for a character, which is why we've established who Jarren is first.
While a warrior would stereotypically be proficient in numerous styles of combat, Jarren isn't. He is more into being agile in combat and he is very charismatic when he is in town speaking to the beggars and the general population. We will list Jarren's two Attributes as Agility and Personality.
As for his skill set: The city guard have trained him tone proficient with swords and shields, and he taught himself how to move in furs and leather armor while hunting with a short bow, and all the outdoor activity has made him fairly athletic. He also has minimal field training in Alchemy, since he would have to make his own potions and poisons while out in the field hunting to ensure a merciful kill. As a guard and public face for the people, he is a decent speaker, so Speechcraft would be one of his skills.
Blade, Block, Marksman, Light Armor, Alchemy, Speechcraft, Athletics
As you can see, it's probably not the most efficient class ever, and there won't be a lot of 5X multipliers at level-ups, but given his past, this is what makes sense. Of course, this is just my example, and if your character's background would dictate a more efficient character or a less efficient character, then that is your decision to make.
Ways to Increase Realism
Here is a short list of things I like to do to increase realism, as a character wouldn't strive for his goals non-stop. This is not a complete list, rather, these are examples of things that you can do to improve your experience in roleplaying.
1. Stop to eat at least 2 (ideally 3) meals a day
2. Take breaks when traveling long distances (unless you have an incredibly urgent task, you wouldn't ride from Anvil to Leyawiin in one shot.)
3. Maybe stop for a swim in a river you find (remove clothing, wouldn't want it to get wet, would we?)
4. Stop and sit under a tree or in a campsite when night falls and you can't reach town.
5. Stop in towns you see, and go have a break to go shopping or interact with the citizens
Treat animals like you would in real life
6. A horse or following dog companion would get tired after the long travels, so you should give them a break too, or maybe throw a piece of food on the ground and wait for an hour to simulate resting and them eating
7. You couldn't realistically carry 20 sets of armor, even if you can carry 500 pounds of weight, because armor is huge. (Or any item; think realistically when you're gathering loot)
Mods I Like
Alternate Start By Boat
Hunger and Thirst Survival
Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul and Martigen's Monster Mod
Breydon Sarethi: My Morrowind and Oblivion role-play character
Breydon Sarethi is a nephew of Councilor Sarethi of House Redoran, but he was never the fighter type, opting to do more magical studies. Rather than join House Redoran, he's joined the Telvanni. Aryon has accepted him as a willing pupil, but Athyn Sarethi is a more than a little upset that his nephew chose to become a selfish, xenophobic Telvanni Mouth. So, in order to avoid any family troubles, Breydon avoids Redoran territory as much as he can.
As for his studies, he has no particular magical specialties (I use a little bit of all types of magic) and he is nearly useless with a blade (I carry a small steel shortsword as backup, otherwise I am pure magic).
When he is out traveling, he wears a plain travelers robe and shoes, otherwise, he tries to dress really fancy. He isn't a fan of armor.
He went to Vivec once to go to the bookstore in the Foreign Quarter, and he fell in love with the city. He always makes time to stay in town for a few days and wander around.
His favorite subject to study is the ancient residents of Tamriel (he stops to investigate EVERY Dwemer ruin in Vvardenfell and every Ayleid ruin in Cyrodiil, and if he can't he remembers and hits it when he finds free time). He is an avid reader and collects all kinds of books to keep in his home, and he hates the Argonians with a passion, because they are smelly swamp lizards. (Breydon hates the swamps of SW Vvardenfell and never was a fan of those scaly tales) If he can get away with it, he will try and kill any free lizards he finds so he can rid Vvardenfell of them and have the rest enslaved and put in their places.
He isn't particularly religious, but every couple of days, he will visit a Tribunal Temple for prayer and solitude.
He is indifferent to the presence of the Empire. While he doesn't hate the outlanders, he doesn't go out of his way to be friends with him.
Lastly, he isn't an addict (yet), but he loves to have some skooma once every few weeks.
Eventually, Breydon decided that to further his knowledge, he needed to travel and see more of Tamriel, so he set off on a boat for the Imperial City to visit the Arcane University, gather books, study, and eventually explore the Ayleid ruins.
He is largely the same six years later, except that he can't visit the Tribunal Temple when he isn't in Morrowind. He now just likes to relax in the shade and reflect after long morning walks.
Two posts within days of each other! Won't happen again, but this is something I've been pondering recently: Why do we play games? In fact, this could apply to many things, such as movies, music, books, and so on. I've always been curious what is so enthralling about modern media?
Ever since art, ranging from painting to books to movies and games, there has always been an effort to put you into the world that piece wants to convey. At first, games were popular as a novelty, then as they became more mainstream and used to kill time, were used more and more often, and some people can spend hours at a time at a game. Why is that?
For me, and I am sure that many people agree with me, the reason I game or listen to that perfect song that tells the perfect story, or re-read that well written novel is because I want to escape.
Escapism. To lose myself in a world of fantasy that is far from what the normal world would present to me. To experience a novel life not experienced normally and to be what I want to be and live how I want to. To escape from the mundane, and become the supernatural. Even the worst case scenario in a video game still portrays a certain... Feeling. It's one of those hard to explain things, that you know is there, but can't logically explain. It's a beautiful, yet strange concept, being able to plug in to another world and be told a story alongside a series of pixels and code lines that make up a poor smith or a king, and feel like you belong.
I know what I want to say, but I am half asleep and wanting beer, so I probably don't make sense, and I definitely don't know how to say this. I normally close my posts to comments because of spam and stuff, but I'll leave them open. I am curious why people play games, why we seek escapism over real life, and so on and so forth.
The various inebriating substances are calling me, so I'm out for a while. Later.
Hey, UESP blog readers! Another sporadic post from me. This time, we're rambling about Splinter Cell: Conviction, a game I find really bloody amazing.
If you don't know, the premise of the Splinter Cell franchise is that there is a top secret agency in the United States government known as Third Echelon, and in every game you're the top Splinter Cell, Sam Fisher. Splinter Cells, in short, are highly trained field operatives trained in stealth and infiltration… A ghost who doesn't officially exist.
I've been a fan of Splinter Cell since the original was released, and I've loved every single game. Of course, I like the stealth genre, and games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid have naturally amused me.
On to the purpose of this post. I've seen a lot of people complain about Conviction. Primarily about the lack of traditional stealth-based aspects, like the ability to move bodies, have fancy gear, and perform "Split jumps", and other moves. Conviction, as a game, is a lot faster and deadlier than the previous instalments, with new moves like "Mark and Execute", where, after a melee takedown, you gain the ability to "Mark" enemies, and at the touch of a button, Fisher will begin a really fast execution of every single one of them, using his Centre-Axis-Relock gun handling. Fast and deadly. One shot is a kill every time with M&E.
The biggest complaint that I've seen is that Fisher can't pick up and move bodies after he's taken them out, similar to in the other games. The most "movement" you get is if you grab someone alive and drag them around as a human shield, before you perform a take down.
At the start of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, the game before Conviction, Fisher's daughter Sarah was killed in a hit and run while he was out on assignment for Third Echelon. After Double Agent, Fisher leaves Third Echelon to learn what happened to his daughter. In Conviction, he's driven by revenge in the first mission to learn about the truth of Sarah's death, then he's caught by Echelon and sent out by Grim to uncover an EMP threat against the United States president.
When you think about it, would Fisher care about stealth? He's got nothing to lose after finding out that he's been lied to by Third Echelon to keep him from being compromised during the story. He's not going to be concerned about being careful. The rule book has been thrown out, and he's his own man on his own mission. Grim is an ally of convenience, essentially. He's doing this for Sarah, and he says several times in the game to Grim, "if you cross me, I'll kill you". I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.
These advanced stealth moves, I hear, make a return in the latest game, Blacklist, which came out recently, though I've not played it yet, and can't say on my own. At this point, I'd assume things are normal again. Fisher's an infiltration agent for the US again, his daughter's alive, and reunited with him.
Honestly, I think that the Conviction story, for what the story was about, did better because of the lack of the traditional "Splinter Cell moves". While I am in the crowd who missed those advanced moves from the older games, I feel that the absence of them in Conviction was necessary to help push on the story and give that feeling of aggression and anger that Fisher felt towards Grim and Third Echelon as he was manipulated into this conspiracy that took the life of his daughter.
Plagiarism of the UESP's content is a big problem. Please see our articles on common mistakes and copyright ownership. Basic rule of thumb: if you weren't the one who added some original content here, you don't have the right to take that content and publish it as your own somewhere else. It's just that simple. The rest of this is too long; don't read.
When I'm not monitoring the recent changes to the UESP or making
It is hard to do it right. Harder than it looks. This stuff doesn't just appear out of thin air. It's thanks to labors of love from people like me.
Occasionally, I check other wikis dedicated to documenting The Elder Scrolls and discover that someone else is taking credit for my words. Not Bethesda's words. My words. Instead of putting in the same efforts I did, these people decide it's far easier to essentially copy and paste onto other wikis the things I've worked so hard to put together. I'm sure it is much easier for them. Stealing is typically a lot easier than creating.
Now, to preface, I love The Imperial Library. It's not really a wiki, but I want to make clear that their contributors have not inspired this rant. Their out-of-game information is often summarized on the UESP (always giving them credit, of course). I've directed UESP readers to visit their site even if it wasn't strictly necessary to do so, such as here and the comment here, because any UESP user would benefit from a trip to TIL (so long as they can properly distinguish between in-game works, out-of-game works by developers, and pure fan fiction). I think the two sites have complementary strengths and weaknesses, and I've certainly never had to worry about anyone there plagiarizing work from the UESP.
I also don't have a problem with online videos about Elder Scrolls lore which basically lift parts (or even all) of their scripts from the UESP. I love watching them, and it's kind of a thrill to realize that a well-made video is quoting something I've written. I'm happy to indirectly assist the makers. Some other UESP editors might feel differently, but these videos aren't in direct competition with the UESP, either. We're not a video-hosting site. They're in a different media format, and their works are usually transformative enough that I don't think there's a real plagiarism issue. And, if anything, watching a video about TES will often give a viewer the urge to visit a site like the UESP to corroborate some things or to delve more deeply into a topic, so these videos probably benefit the UESP indirectly.
However, the case is entirely different when someone else decides to take my work and claim it as their own on a competitor wiki. It has happened many times before. To the best of my knowledge, it's very rare for a UESP contributor to take something from another wiki without permission. I've seen it happen maybe once in the more than two years I've spent here. Content on the UESP, however, is quite frequently added to other wikis. Most recently, I saw that a plagiarist on another site had received a formal award for his efforts - which were in large part actually my efforts for several different pages here. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but who wants to be flattered in the first place? It's uncomfortable. But I digress. Point is:
"This is not 'Nam. There are rules."