My journey through Bioshock

As a father of two, there is very little time for me to feed my gaming addiction. My hardcore gamer status has moved from applied to theoretical. The time I do get to spend playing games typically involves kids being around, on top of, or nearby me. The games almost always have Mario or Link in them. We put a self imposed ban on violent video game playing in the house while the kids are present and awake. In other words, I can only play games like Bioshock or Call of Duty 4 when the kids are sleeping or out of the house.

Due to this painful but necessary restriction, I have had an extremely long battle for time to play Bioshock. I’m proud to say that after a long and trying year of avoiding game reviews, spoilers, sequel announcements and anything else that may give away parts of the game I have finally beaten it.

My lengthy save game timeline for Bioshock

The hardest part about having so little time to play, at least for single player games, is that the time between gaming sessions can be weeks if not months. When I would finally have time to play, it would be hard even remembering where I left off in the story. At one point in the game–obtaining the code to unlock the elevator in Olympus Heights–it took hours of searching before I realized I already had the code in a previous log entry. When your time is precious it can be very frustrating wasting it on remedial tasks like this. Sure I could have cheated and looked up the code on the internet, but I have a pledge never to obtain outside help until I have completed a game on my own.

I am extremely impressed with how solid of a game Bioshock is. The story is phenomenal and the game was so reminiscent of System Shock 2 that I felt right at home while playing it. I’d love to play through it again to take the evil path–harvesting the little sisters instead of rescuing them–but I don’t know if I can wait another year to see what that end game will be like.

Say goodbye to your discs for old Blizzard games

I love Blizzard entertainment. They know how to make a game with so much replay value that even ten years after its release, people are still playing it. I have many fond memories of gaming with my friends in Warcraft II, Warcraft III, Starcraft, and Diablo II. Now there’s even more love to go around because Blizzard has added the ability to download these old games so that you can install them without swapping discs.

Additionally, Blizzard released patches for all these games (1.12 for Diablo II, 1.15.2 for Starcraft, 1.20e for Warcraft III) which let you play without a CD. This is an unprecedented move in the gaming industry. While most companies are trying harder to increase the DRM on their games with disc verification, Blizzard is removing discs from the picture entirely. I really hope more companies take this route because going into my disc case to find a disc for a game I want to play is a real pain.

Head over to the Blizzard store and register an account (if you don’t have one already). Once you have verified your email address you can visit the games section under My Account Controls. From there you can enter your retail CD key for any Blizzard games you own which are supported:

Which game keys can I attach to my Blizzard Account?
The following games are supported by the Games page at this time:

  • StarCraft
  • StarCraft Battlechest
  • StarCraft Anthology
  • Warcraft III
  • Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
  • Warcraft Battlechest
  • Diablo II
  • Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
  • Diablo II Battlechest

— Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Each one you add will give you a banner that offers a download link:

Starcraft Anthology registered

From here you can download an executable file that, when launched, will begin downloading your game installer via BitTorrent:

Starcraft Download

If you are having difficulty with the downloader, you can look for help at Blizzard support.

Once your download is complete you will have a full blown installer which contains all the data necessary to install the game without discs:

Starcraft Installer

In addition, you will be given a new 26 digit product key that will be used to install the game. You can obtain this key by selecting the view game key link on the game banner as seen on your My Game Downloads page. Thank you Blizzard!

Diablo 3 announcement resurrects Diablo 2

Hearing the announcement that Diablo 3 is in the works completely threw the gaming world for a loop. This has been a very well kept secret by Blizzard in that their first announcement of the game also showcased a 19 minute gameplay video which showed a game that already looked well polished and feature complete. After watching the video three times in a row, I decided to resurrect my copy of Diablo 2 to get my mind back in the Diablo universe in preparation.

After installing Diablo 2 and the Lord of Destruction expansion pack, I created a new account, made a Sorceress character, and immediately looked for a rush (where a high level character completes quests for you allowing you to get rushed through the game rapidly). While playing I posed the question to my fellow Diablo players; “Who here is just getting back into Diablo 2 after hearing about Diablo 3?” Everyone in the game replied “Me!” The same could be said for players in nearly every game I joined.

Fast forward from the announcement to now and I find myself with a level 87 Sorceress and about five mule characters full of items, runes and gems. It’s great fun for a game that is 8 years old. Have you just gotten back into Diablo 2 after hearing about Diablo 3? Leave a comment and let us know.