Man oh man oh man oh man. I re-read my last blog entry, and I swear I knew what I was trying to say I just could explain it for the life of me. The real point of that entry is that you should go and read Embassytown, because it is a stunning book of speculative fiction.
As I mentioned on my SOCIAL NETWORKING I’ve re-installed Might and Magic VI. My brother, I am sure, will remember this game; over the summer in New Mexico one year Jason and I ravenously devoured this game. We searched high and low for items of power, avidly read every bit of quest text, tried to figure out the best ways to approach each foe, and got surprised every time we discovered a new feature of the game. We even went so far as to look up advice and tips on the internet. That’s where we stumbled across it, the thing that would forever alter and ruin our experiences with Might and Magic as a franchise: the trainers. For those who don’t quite get what I mean, a trainer is a program that edits certain files of the video game, adjusting pretty much any parameter you would like to adjust. This means that you could go in, start a new party, and then edit them to have pretty much any stat that you could ever want them to have, even to the point where you could make Knights (who have no MP) actually be able to cast magic. It considerably broke the game. And due to the way the inventory worked (with true or false flags) you could even flag items to appear in a character’s inventory.
So Jason and I leaped into the game with the most broken party to ever exist. Blasters, artifact weapons and armor, all the spells I could ever need, and maxed skills in everything. Max gold. Max food. We were gods among men. And we tore that game apart.
Then we stopped caring.
There was just no more challenge to it. When you could walk into a room, hold down A, and waves of enemies would fall like rows of chaff, it took the fun out of it. But it was so great to be able to look at your characters and say “Yeah, he looks fucking awesome.” But that’s it, that’s all the enjoyment we got out of the game. We didn’t care about the quests, we didn’t care about the challenge, we didn’t care about anything but looking pretty. And so we moved on. I can’t remember to what, but we eventually got tired of playing Might and Magic VI.
And then a few years later I got Might and Magic VII. I started up a party, poked around a little, and then jumped on the WWWs and looked for a trainer, found one, and broke the game wide open. I enjoyed my time with VII, to be sure, but I also rapidly got tired of it. What was the point of being able to fly away from the starting island literally seconds after I got there? The only thing I got any amusement out of was the built in card game (which eventually lead me to play Magic the Gathering; but I digress) and once I’d beaten the AI a few dozen times even that stopped amusing me.
Fast forward to the end of my high school years, and the Might and Magic Platinum collection comes out. It’s Windows 95 compatible Might and Magic VI – IX, on an eight disc set. I’d skipped Might and Magic VIII completely, and didn’t even know that IX existed. I had to have it. I went on eBay and bought it with no delay, and awaited it eagerly in the mail. As soon as I got it, I took off to my room with the discs for VIII and, since it was summer, my brother was home and he took IX. And I did *the same thing*. I looked up a trainer, and I loaded it, and I broke the game. Just ripped it wide open. In fact, I spent so much time breaking this game apart that I don’t even remember the game itself: I just remember tearing it a new asshole. My brother, trooper that he be, managed to stay with Might and Magic IX all the way to the bitter end, and I applaud him for that. But, he later admitted to me that he only did so simply because the game was so horrible no one could figure out how to make a trainer for it; broken code is broken.
And I thought that was the end of my time with Might and Magic.
I occasionally re-installed it, but it just sat on my desktop and I never did anything with it.
Here we are, in 2011. I have graphical capabilities that can display characters with movements almost as precise as a real human could make, full HD sound and picture, and I reinstall Might and Magic VI. On an absolute whim. This time, though, no trainers. I’m doing it the hard way. I think I’m going to give Might and Magic VI, VII, and VIII the chance that I never gave them in their youth.
And I’m going to love every second of it.