Tag Archives: knights of the old republic

March 2012 update

Wow, a lot has happened in a month.

Finished replaying Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: How Many Subtitles Can We Add. I played TSL with the Restored Content Mod (1.7), and, because of it, the game was amazingly good–better than the first one, even. I played these to remind myself of the references that I’d been seeing in Star Wars: The Old Republic back in Dec/Jan, but since finishing those two games, I haven’t really had much time to hop back into SWtOR.

Instead, I went to the Digital Media and Learning conference, March 1-3 in San Francisco. It was good, but the most progressive and interesting stuff came from panel talks and hallway conversations, imho, not the keynote or plenary sessions. I think this has to do with who I am, as the main events were a lot of proselytizing to teachers and policy makers. While the conference was happening, I started a Google doc to take DML 2012 collaborative notes (like the previous two years and at other conferences I attend). This year, we got some pretty good coverage (thanks to Cathy Tran and Kat Schenke).

Hung out in San Francisco *during* Game Developers Conference, March 5-9, and, as luck would have it, someone gave me their pass on Wednesday since they were leaving early. I totally squandered it and mainly went to the expo, but I did see a really great talk by Rich Lemarchand. The energy at GDC put DML to shame, and surprisingly, the innovative game play and talks that I did go to I felt were better and more substantial than those at DML. Too bad, it costs 17 times more to go to GDC than DML.

Was introduced to Draw Something, the mobile game where you and a friend guess what each other are drawing, kind of like Pictionary. I love how it’s encouraging a lot of people who don’t normally “do art” draw and be creative. It’s pretty much taken over as my idle activity of choice, leaving my twitter feed languishing.

Played Mass Effect 3, March 11-18. (Massive) spoiler warning!!!



Spoilerz aheadz!



There’s a bit of controversy over the ending. I thought the ending took away player agency in a way that was dissatisfactory, not letting me make choices that I thought Commander Shepard would make. (The most awesome rewrite of the ending is, by contrast, very satisfactory, and I’ll pretend that’s how it ended.) The synthesis ending is completely bizarrely space magic. And when I think about the whole game, I am a little disappointed that so much of if felt like I was just hitting a button to continue to watch the cutscenes play out. In many cases, there wasn’t really a choice to make, and most of the cutscenes felt like Bioware was just dotting Is and crossing Ts, methodically tying up loose ends from the previous two games.

These activities and events have basically prevented me from attending to my inbox, and it will take me a while to go through everything I marked with a star to check out later.


more thoughts about KotOR

It’s pretty amazing how much I’d forgotten. I remembered the CCG mini-game Pazaak, but I’d forgotten the first Knights of the Old Republic had podracing. For some reason I thought that was part of the sequel. And, man, I gotta say… the podracing line of quests on the first planet, Taris, so that you can win Bastila, the Jedi-turned-slave, is so freakin ridiculous. That sentence is freakin ridiculous. Podracing. Slavegirl. Taris (and rakghouls). All of that.

Plus, during it, the crazy wookiee, Zaalbar, swears a life oath to you because you unlocked a door. And it wasn’t even your character who unlocked it; it was his bff, Mission Vao. But noooo… he sees you like he swallowed some Love Potion #9 and swears to stay by your side forever. That must have been some door.

Zaalbar: Oh, yes, I had a life, full of hopes and dreams, but then that door came along and I fell into deep despair. I was just about to kill myself by repeatedly Ram Manning that door. Then you came along. Then you came along, and I will never leave your side. I hereby swear a life oath to you, having no idea if you’re an upstanding guy or not, knowing NOTHING about you, I swear a life oath to you.

Zaalbar (4 seconds later): Wait a sec, Mission. Where did you come from? Oh, you’re the one who unlocked that door? DAMMIT!!!

Actually, this reminds me about something in SWTOR. During certain cutscenes in the trooper storyline, various NPCs say, “you did it all by yourself!” and you reply “I’m a one-woman army!” all the while… hello? your companion is standing *right* *there*!

Anyway, KotOR. There’s also a man-the-turrets mini-game when you first get on the Millenium Ebon Hawk. Clearly Bioware was taking iconic scenes from the movies and threw them in the game with podracing and the turrets and the fastest ship in the galaxy knock off. No idea where Pazaak came from, but that’s really the only mini-game I like.

So, this game was a great game. It got about 94% on gamerankings. It had a lot of stuff in it that was amazing. Yet I’m encountering stuff I think is crazy ridiculous. Maybe if it didn’t have these inclusions, it would have been closer to 98%. Or maybe back then these things didn’t irk like they do now. Or maybe the main story (despite the Taris beginnings) is just as awesome as I remember. And maybe I’ll actually finish this play through, so I can answer that question!

thoughts about Knights of the Old Republic

Yes, that’s the original Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR), not the new MMO, The Old Republic (SWTOR).

From Games

Some of you may know that KotOR was an influential game in steering me to become a PhD student looking at cooperation collaboration and teamwork in (online) games. Anyway, I decided to reinstall it, throw in some mods, and check it out, now that I’ve played SWTOR for a while. Here’s some really brief notes:

  • Low poly count and textures. The extent of this surprised me. I remembered it being much more detailed, but that was back then… It’s not as bad as playing Deus Ex these days, at least.
  • Sparsely populated, so… no change, really.
  • You can actually talk to everyone and get a line of banter, it seems. There’s even just people who’ll engage in a one-line dialog with you. Nice flavor.
  • I like that it isn’t clear who are quest givers.
  • I love how NPCs appear as recurring characters who you just sort of chance upon at first, like Cordo, the bountyhunter, or Mission Vao. You see them in a scene but then have hardly any interaction with them until later in the game. Lots of foreshadowing or “here’s some info and set-ups, which we won’t tell you when they come together for something bigger or if they’re just flavor.” I like the unpredictable nature of it… uncertain nature of it.