Entry for May 22, 2009: Gaming update

A few months ago, Janice and I rented some video games for our Nintendo Wii. Wii Music was decent, with a wide array of instruments and styles. Since Janice took piano and violin lessons growing up, I was at a disadvantage in figuring out the rhythms and controls. Still, we may eventually buy this game.

Star Wars: Clone Wars–Lightsaber Duels is based on the well-done Cartoon Network television show, the latest installment in George Lucas' space opera saga. The characters and audio clips are taken from that computer-animated series, which is a good tie-in for young audiences.

However, I found that the Wii Remote, or "Wiimote," didn't translate very well to the Jedi signature weapon, and the fights quickly became repetitive. Thus, I unfortunately can't recommend Lightsaber Duels, and I hope for a video game that isn't too complicated or require lots of time or expertise (as Soulcaliber IV and The Force Unleashed seem to).

For now, I'm happy with occasionally playing Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and the tabletop D20 Star Wars: Saga Edition role-playing game, but a well-done massively multiplayer online game (MMO) such as the upcoming Old Republic could lure me back to that galaxy far, far away. Of course, there's also a small spaceopera rival called Star Trek Online, which might get a boost in popularity from the recent film, even if the latter is a continuity reboot.

Speaking of MMOs, while I miss travel powers such as flight in City of Heroes ("CoH"), David I.S., Dexter V.H., and I enjoyed exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings Online ("LotRO"). I don't know whether I'll get as far as I did in CoH (28 out of 50 levels), but I have enough different characters right now to provide different perspectives and glimpses of locations, characters, and monsters from that classic fantasy setting.

Speaking of superheroes, there are a number of promising video games in the works, including DC Universe Online, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Champions Online. In the meantime, I have Lego Batman and Marvel Ultimate Alliance (for which a sequel is coming) to keep me busy. However, I've been using the Wii Fit more often lately, and reading comic books rather than playing games based on them.

Before my layoff and before Dave and Dex got busy with schoolwork, we played LotRO on Friday nights and/or Sunday mornings, while the rest of the "Dimensional Corps Online" supergroup has been logging into CoH on Tuesday evenings, among other times. Some of my other friends and former co-workers play the same MMOs, but on different servers.

In addition, my face-to-face D&D4e "Vanished Lands: the Faith-Based Initiative" fantasy role-playing group still meets most Mondays. That adventuring party has continued its quest for barbarian relics, defeating numerous ninjas in a Dwarven mountain citadel, creeping through a haunted forest, and defeating a witch and her minions in a strange pagoda.

Meanwhile, the Pathfinder: "Holy Steel" teleconferencing team has finally regained momentum on Sunday nights. That group is in Pi-Ramesses, capital of New Kingdom Egypt, attempting to exonerate its Paladin of charges of treason against Pharaoh Ramses II and fight the cult of Set.

The debate between supporters of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition and other rules systems such as Pathfinder has continued, and the current Boston-area gamers haven't yet shifted to the D20 Mutants & Masterminds 2 nd Ed. superheroic scenarios or Star Wars: Saga Edition. So many games, so little time!

Coming soon: Comics reviews, job news, and genre television!