Tag: Wing Commander

500 Words on Elite Dangerous

Courtesy Frontier Development

When I finally get home from long commutes down to and back from the home in which my start-up employer operates, I tend to be tired and mentally drained. It’s difficult for me to muster the juices I need to fuel my writing — a fact I try not to be too hard on myself over. Still, between the fatigue and my growing disgust over the situation in this country and on this planet, I prefer to wind down my day by going to space.

For a while, this was facilitated through Star Trek Online. Star Trek is one of my favorite sci-fi universes, and I’ve met some wonderful people there. However, I slowly came to realize that in terms of gameplay, I was unfulfilled. Like all MMOs, the world is mostly static; no matter how many times to beat up a certain enemy faction, the missions in which you do so never change. It’s hard to feel like you’re having an impact on the world around you. There’s still a hard divide between your reality and that of the game world, unlike something like Skyrim.

Then, I started playing Elite Dangerous.

Digging out my old Attack 3 joystick and G13 game pad, I quickly found myself immersed in one of the best space sims I’ve ever played. A few years ago I played through a few Wing Commander games for charity, and when I was younger, spent hours upon hours in Elite Plus and Wing Commander: Privateer. In addition to the nostalgic feeling of having my hands on a “throttle” and stick, the more I play the game, the more incentive I feel to keep playing. The galaxy is truly vast, with a plethora of options of how to play. Trading, combat, mining, exploration, even hauling tourists to exotic locales — all of these are profitable ways to make your mark on the galaxy. And you can truly make a mark; the game’s background sim and Powerplay functionality mean that if you choose to, you can influence system control, shifts in allegiance, and even the course of superpowers.

I’m trying a bit of everything. My Commander has made his way far from his home system, has joined up with a like-minded group of spacefarers, and I’m fictionalizing the journey. I’m finding more and more ways to make my time in space more rewarding, more immersive, and more challenging. I’m upgrading my joystick, adding voice commands, and I’m very much looking forward to earning enough cash to fund true exploration endeavors to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. I also want to contribute more to the cause of Princess Aisling Duval, the only member of the galactic superpowers outspoken on the idea that owning people is inherently wrong.

The only drawback, so far, is a relative lack of roleplaying. However, I know that storytellers are out there. I hope we’ll run into one another eventually.

Space is, after all, quite big.

Which is why I can lose myself in it for a while.

On Fridays I write 500 words.

Extra Life 2012 Aftermath

Courtesy Origin/EA/Me.

THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in, tweeted, and donated!

Donations Raised: $162

Kitties Fragged: 413

Notable Kills:
Dakhath nar Sihkag aka “Deathstroke”
Khajja nar Ja’targk aka “The Machine”, “The Fang”
Bakhtosh nar Kiranka aka “Redclaw”
Kur aka “Human-Killer”

Fighters Wrecked: 85

I’m still recovering from the weekend, I think. Regular posts resume tomorrow.

Fighter pilot needs tea badly.

Operation Extra Life

Courtesy Origin/EA/Me.


On 20th Oct. 2012, a very special mission will be undertaken. For the first time in almost two decades, veteran Terran Confederation pilot Josh Loomis will don his pressure suit and step into the cockpit of a fighter craft to do battle with the ruthless Kilrathi invasion forces, to protect humanity and raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

We are calling this operation Extra Life.

Last year, Operation Extra Life raised more than 1.2 million dollars to save kids, but in 2012 our goals, just like the needs of the kids we serve, are much, much higher.You could say they are as high as the sky. And beyond it is where we will fly, lighting up interstellar space with laser fire and rocket exhaust.

For 24 hours beginning at 1000 hours Eastern Standard time, the operation will play through the adventures of our intrepid pilots as chronicled in the Wing Commander series. The simulation will begin with the first iteration, and continue through each one as long as the operation goes on. The operation will be chronicled, live-Tweeted, and possibly even streamed. Updates on this to follow.

The best part is that you can help. Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation please click the “Support This Participant” button on this page. Your donation is tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids back home.

Do your part! Tune in to the operation! Contribute if you can! YOUR PLANET NEEDS YOU!


Donation page

Extra Life Update

Courtesy EA.  I think they own everything now.

First of all, I want to thank everybody who voted. I know that LA Noire got the most votes, and while I do still want to play that game, a poster on the Escapist made an excellent point:

I doubt half the voters here even understand what Wing Commander was back in the day.

Before Wing Commander, story was sparse in video gaming outside of, say, role-playing or adventure games. The most story you got out of an action piece like Doom was some scrolling text and maybe a fullscreen splash image. I still remember the Doom marine cradling the head of his beloved bunny while glaring at the flaming pits of Hell.

Wing Commander changed that. Not only does it have a story, but its story has multiple paths to multiple endings. Losing a mission sucked, but was not a failure state; the game carried on, just as it would in a real conflict, with all of the ramifications included in failure. Crew mates died, and never came back. Those things stick with you.

Moreso than anything else, I want to see how the writing holds up. I’m curious if I can get it to work with a game pad, rather than shelling out for a joystick or struggling with mouse and keyboard. And I feel compelled to introduce a new generation of gamers to the joys and frustrations of the space sim, just in case the old warhorse is put out to pasture forever.

So Wing Commander it is. More details to follow. I will post a link to my Extra Life page once it’s ready, and gird my loins for the 20th. It’ll be a long day, but a fun one.

Incoming Extra Life

Courtesy Extra Life

The time is quickly approaching. In less than a month, I will be stockpiling almonds, dried fruit, chocolate, tea, and a great deal of bottled water for a lengthy, arduous, and draining ordeal. It is my intention to stay in this very chair as much as possible, for at least 24 hours, all in the name of children’s health in the city of Philadelphia.

Thankfully, I’ll be playing video games the whole time.

Yes, Extra Life is coming soon! Last year I pulled it off successfully, playing Alpha Protocol and other games (if memory serves, things got weird after hour 16 or so) for 24 hours and raising $250 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This year, I will be representing CHOP once again, and since I missed out on an opportunity to play Guild Wars 2 as part of a group, I’ll be doing my own thing for the second year in a row.

But which game to play? I’ve given serious consideration to a couple and narrowed my choices down somewhat. I’m not going to do any multiplayer games as waiting in queues is not playing. I also would like to have some sort of live, social component to the gameplay. At the very least liveblogging via Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, and possibly streaming with Twitch. But I can iron out those details in the weeks to come. First and foremost, here are my top picks for Extra Life 2012.

Wing Commander (and sequels?)

I have to wonder if this old favorite is as good as I remember it being. Space flight sims are few and far between these days, and Wing Commander still boasts a dynamic, branching storyline, interesting and well-rounded characters, and evolving combat that simulate experiences like those from Battlestar Galactica. I want to see if the game (and, time permitting, at least its first sequel) stand the test of time.

LA Noire

This has been on my “to-play” list for a very long time. I’m torn between it and the Assassin’s Creed games I haven’t played yet (Brotherhood & Revelations) but I think LA Noire wins due to the style of the period and the prospect of thinking my way through interrogation scenes. Not to mention the fun of people yelling at me when I let a suspect go or start smacking a witness around. It would tie in nicely to those detective novellas I’m writing. Sadly, LA Noire has no vampires in it. That I’m aware of, at least.

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013

I already started up the campaign for this game, but I do have the expansion, the rest of the main story, both revenge campaigns, Challenges, Planechase, and general deck management dickery to do. Of course if I run out of all of that stuff I can break my “no live games” rule and just play Magic Online to fill out the time.

Painkiller HD

If anything is liable to keep me awake for 24 hours straight, it’s blasting legions of the damned with a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning.


If you’re not aware of this little indy gem, you should check out these video looks at the game. It’s a Rogue-like game, hardcore in its approach, with permadeath, random events, surprisingly intense combat, and interesting decision-making. Plus I may let people name the characters on new ships! Then cackle when fan favorites bite the dust. Remember, it’s for the kids.

XCOM Enemy Unknown

I talked about this yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited to play the full game. However, I’d hold off on touching it at all if this is the way I decide to go. Oh, I’ll pre-order it regardless, but I won’t play it until the event begins.

So. Want to help me out?

The poll you’re seeing to your right includes the above games. If you like, you can pick one for me to play on October 20th! I’ll make my decision and lay out a plan of attack next week, in addition to updating my Extra Life profile and giving you all the information you need to donate, tune in, and watch me slowly destroy myself in the name of video games and charity. It should be loads of fun!

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