X-Com, old and new

Seen as you love X-Com and I recently (Easter) picked up X-Com UFO Defense off Steam… You automatically win. It’s became my favourite franchise (Aside from Apocalypse, I keep watching LPers play it but it just doesn’t catch my interest in the slightest) I cannot wait for Xenonauts and the XCOM Enemy Unknown game made by Firaxis! What upsets me is there is not enough people who know what X-Com is. :(

I know, right?  It’s the best game.  The best game.  And such a tricky one to help first-timer folks cross the gap on once you’ve gotten their attention, because as fantastic a game as it is, it was still sort of a quirky budget title from 1994 with lots of weird little idiosyncrasies and basically zero tutorial or hand-holding: just, okay, here you are, in charge of an upstart agency with limited resources against an unspecified threat.  Aaaaand go.

Which, as a long-time fan, it’s easy to forgive or even to just forget about.  And I’ve tried a couple times to get friends into it after the fact with mixed results. 

If you’ve got someone who already has that oldschool PC gaming background, who is sort of simpatico already about the level of expectations for these older games, it’s not so bad.  They sort of know what they’re getting into, they’ll put up with some “what is even happening here?” bullshit for an hour or two on the strength of your recommendation.

But someone raised on more modern, mature game productions where nobody reads the manual (what manual?) and everybody plays through the tutorial because that’s how the game teaches you about itself, X-Com is just a brick wall, a total slap in the face.  And it runs at a horrible low resolution that doesn’t even scale right on a widescreen monitor.  And it is paced weird.  And it is really hard.  And so on.  It can be a tough sell.

So I’m pretty excited about both Xenonauts and Firaxis’ Enemy Unknown.  Not just for myself (though I’m am ridiculously excited, especially about the former) but for all the folks who I’d like to introduce X-Com to but who I suspect don’t have the patience or the context to dig into the weird dated wonderful lo-res gem that is the original.  These newer games should be a whole lot more accessible to J. Random Gamer, and that’s great.  And then maybe they’ll want to go back for the original!

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Also, folks?  You wonderful Mapstalgia readers?  The queue is empty!  Forever it is in danger of emptiness, and lately that danger has been sitting around mostly being realized.

So, time to draw something.  Time to draw it up and save it or scan it or photograph it or describe it in a short written essay and submit it to Mapstalgia.  You’re the engine that makes this car go, so let’s hit the road!

– Josh

You liked X-Com? Go pre-order Xenonauts!

I may have mentioned this game before, medical but as a huge huge fan of the original X-Com games from way back in the mid-90s, health I’ve been thrilled to death by the ongoing development of indie crew Goldhawk Interactive’s Xenonauts, see a really solid attempt at doing a faithful modern remake of the old strategy-and-tactics alien invasion defense game.

I pre-ordered it a while back.  (Before it was popular.  I am an X-Com remake hipster.)  And it’s looking really, really great.  If you’ve played X-Com, you know why this is exciting.  If you haven’t, you can play an alpha build public demo available at their Kickstarter page.

And they’ve just launched a “help us finish this game off and make it amazing” initiative on Kickstarter.  And if you like deep, compelling, you-are-gonna-lose-some-guys gameplay that mixes creepy tactical turn-based isometric combat with high-level save-the-world strategic base planning and research, you should go throw your twenty bucks at a pre-order.  Because OMG. 

Oh.  Muh.  Guh.

Ten thousand followers! Submit a map!

At some point over the weekend, viagra sale the odometer rolled over into the big five digits: Mapstalgia’s got over 10,000 followers now.

That’s crazy!  It’s nuts!  I don’t know what to say, other than I guess people really like video game maps drawn from memory.  Which is great, because I know I do.

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Speaking of maps: I need y’all to draw some (or lego some, or condiment some, or watercolor some, or whatever works for you).  This site runs on submissions, and my submission queue is empty!

So put something together and submit it to Mapstalgia.  Dare a friend!  Make your kid do one!  Make your parents do one!  This is creative fun, and everybody could use a little more creative fun in their life.

A big thanks as always to the folks who have submitted in the past, whether as a quick one-off thing or as a repeat submitter.  This is a very fun blog to run, and it’s because of all the weird and wonderful bits of memory you all have taken the time to share with me and all of Mapstalgia’s readers.  You rule.  Keep ‘em coming.

And if you’ve got thoughts or questions about the site, about what could be better or different, about possible new art challenges I could run, to share a fun written memory about video games, etc: please feel free to write me a the contact form.

Here’s to another ten thousand. 

– Josh

Mapstalgia challenge: Zelda Time

The first Mapstalgia challenge, viagra saleFirst Screen”, see went off smashingly (you can check out all the entries so far, prostate and feel free to send your own in as well), and now the submission queue is empty as well, so it’s just about time for another challenge.

And so, Zelda. Draw up some Zelda memories.  That awesome dungeon.  That one room you hated.  Your vague conception of what this “Tri-Force” stuff you’ve heard about is.  Do something that speaks to whatever Zelda means to you.

You may be a super-fan, you may have played the original a couple times back in 1986, you may loathe the franchise with every fiber of your being.  But you have some notion or memory of Zelda.  So run with it, and submit it to the blog.

First Screen details

In the First Screen Challenge, prostate do you mean the first screen like the start screen or main menu of the game or the first thing you see when you start the game?

Yes!  It’s open to interpretation.  If the menu for a given game is more memorable for you than the actual “I just started, drugstore there’s my guy!” screen that starts game play, feel free to draw the menu.  Heck, draw both!

Mapstalgia challenge: First Screen

Greeting, health Mapstalgiacs!  The queue is close to empty, hospital so it’s time to ask for more maps, ask and I thought I’d mix it up with a specific challenge:

Draw the first screen of a game, strictly from memory

I’m flexible with how you interpret that, but the spirit of the idea is that first moment or two, dumped fresh into a game world. 

As always, it can be detailed or not so much, you can use pen-and-napkin or MS Paint or draw in the dirt with a stick and take a picture or whatever medium works for you.  Just do it from memory and send it on in!

Tell your friends!  Dare your parents!  Passive-aggressively question your twitter followers’ ability to accomplish the task!  Variety’s great, so the more the merrier.

Hello, Mashable types! Submit a map!

Very nice little bit on Mashable this afternoon talking with me about Mapstalgia.  Thanks, sick Matt!  Hello, cialis readers in the greater Mashosphere!

Mapstalgia runs on user submissions, ambulance which means you (yes, specifically you) ought to sit down and draw a map of what you can remember from a video game and send that thing in!  It doesn’t have to be fancy or even particularly accurate, it just needs to be what you remember.

I’m All Outta Maps, I’m So Lost Without You

For the first time in over a month since the blog launched, sale and 369 posts later, I’ve finally actually caught up with the submission queue.  It is straight up empty!  Exhausted!  Not a map to scrape up, no matter how hard I try.  If this doesn’t change, I may have to start a band and name it Map Supply.

So: time to draw some more maps, Mapstalgiacs.  According to tumblr there’s close to three thousand of you following the blog now, so I know most of you haven’t yet sat down and put pen to paper (or mouse to MS Paint, or pastry icing bag to novelty wedding cake, or whatever), but I bet some of you keeping thinking about it.  Like, hmm, maybe I should do that.  At some point.  Eventually. 

Well, no time like the present.  Remember!  It doesn’t have to be fancy or impressive or well drawn (most of us are neither artists nor memory wizards, after all), it just needs to be what you can put together from memory.  Just draw it up and upload it to the site.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

I’ve got a couple ideas for what might turn into a weekly “draw THIS specifically” theme challenge / double dog dare that I may roll out after the weekend as well; if you have any specific ideas for that or for the blog in general, or if you’ve got burning questions or neat games-and-maps/memories links you think Mapstalgia’s readers should know about, feel free to drop me a line at the Ask Me Anything page.

Josh Millard – (I Don’t Know If I Love You But) I Like Like You a Lot

Josh Millard – (I Don’t Know If I Love You But) I Like Like You a Lot

Please forgive the personal indulgence:  this has nothing to do with anything, except that one of the things I like to do with my time when I’m not collecting video game maps is write and record music, and it’s Valentine’s Day and I wrote a made a silly little song, and it’s called I Like Like You A Lot.  And here it is!

If you like the whole music thing, feel free to check out my big old musical archive (and badly neglected music blog), music.joshmillard.com.  I recorded an album called Inchoatery a couple years ago, and an awful lot of other stuff besides.

But that’s enough of that!  Back to the maps.