Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Sandbox Challenge: Picking Grass

 I’ve now racked up around 9 hours of game-play in A Tale In The Desert- give or take a few.  Raptr isn’t properly tracking my hours so I’m adding them manually. It won’t matter in the end, however, as my trial will run out at 24 hours and that will be that.

So far I have managed to actually play in the sand- it’s one of the materials needed for brick-making, which is needed in construction. I also need straw, which comes from dried grass and so I’ve been picking grass. Loads of it. It’s tedious as hell. Maybe they should re-name the game to A Time Sink In The Desert because holy Bejeesus there’s a lot of them.

All that grass looked so harmless in the beginning.

I’m not hating on the game...yet. So far it is a refreshing change of pace and it really reminds me of a real-time-strategy game at this point. I’m dashing about madly collecting resources and building this and that. I’ve managed a house, which is part of the requirement for my first test. Tests, I guess, are much like quests. Once fulfilled you are rewarded with a level-up which allows access to more skills.

Not much to look at but unlike the real one I live in, it's all mine! Take that mortgage.
The different universities provide different quests and they also provide available skills (for your level) with different requirements so you are free to choose how you wish to proceed. Once uni may need pulley’s as a tuition fee for the repair skill, but another may need 500 grass. You can decide it you want to gather or craft.....but there is no combat. The only thing you get to kill is time and its going to be a mass-murder as far as I can see.

Ignoring the often repetitive nature of the game-play for a moment (picking grass is as much fun as watching it grow), the long-term problem I can foresee is one of incentive. As my playing partner pointed out: once we have a compound built and a camel breeding operation (presumably for fast transport of our avatars, and not for potential love interests because- as anyone from Wales or Co.Mayo will tell you- that’s what the sheep are going to be for) what’s the incentive to keep going? I know, I know, there are those who would argue that the creation is the incentive and I can see that. I enjoyed playing Tropico 3, for instance, on Sandbox mode just to see what I could get up to. Once I had filled the island (pretty much) and built all the cool high tech items I watched my mini-empire for awhile and then moved on.

I haven’t returned to the game since, but now that I think about it, I actually kind of fancy a go. Well, how’s that for counterproductive- getting an impulse to play a game while blogging about a different game. Do you think my gaming subconscious had been trying to get me to re-play Tropico? Interesting theory...well, okay, not really but we'll, when I get a chance to sit down tonight which button I double click- assuming of course I can ignore World of Tanks. I have a feeling that with my new headset inbound and the impending release of World of Tanks, Atid may get pushed aside. 

I would, however, like to get it done before May as I am being deployed on another Top Secret Mission for the overseers and I won’t have access to MMO’s. Now, now, don’t cry my friends. I will have access to good ‘ole tinternet so I will continue to blog and will use that time to jump into Oblivion IV which is next on my Sandbox list anyway. It’s all planned out, never fear, right down to the last obsessive detail.

I have been in prison cells that are more homey than this, but presumably I will get to spice it up. Maybe a calender so I can cross off the days until I am done, or a pail with some potato peelings, water, yeast and sugar and-oh, almost forgot- must carve a hole in the wall for my shank. Joseph, aka 'Ass Grabber Joe' has been eying me suspiciously in the shower of late.


  1. The only thing you get to kill is time and its going to be a mass-murder

    If they ever make a movie of ATitD that should be the tagline on the poster. Splendid stuff!