This is our Independence Day! And not the kind where aliens come down to Earth and blow up the White House and other national landmarks. At least I hope.
The first weekend in July is the time when those of us in the United States celebrate the fact that we broke away from formerly-evil-now-best-friend England to form our own country. We wanted to drink coffee instead of tea, play football instead of soccer, watch NASCAR instead of road rallies, and I don't think anyone ever really understood cricket.
And it just so happens that this means we get a three day weekend. I would advise everyone to use their time wisely by catching up on the latest and greatest games. Sure, take some time to grill a hot dog or two if you can, but take some time and really treat yourself to some serious game play. You might even end up solving a game.
Putting the finishing touches on a game is kind of like celebrating Independence Day, since you are probably going to be saving a virtual world. I'll list some of my greatest accomplishments in this area, and perhaps it will bring back some fruitful memories for you as well.
Just last night I was up till three in the morning putting the finishing touches on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Yes, my better half is away for the week so I don't have anyone to tell me to go to bed early. Now Vice City is free from corruption, replaced by an even worse corruption led by me and Tommy Vercetti. They say in Miami it will never snow, but now it snows all day for sixty dollars a gram! (rip-off credits to the Miami Vice sound track for this one)
Of course I liberated Morrowind a while ago. That dismal dreary swamp and sand-filled world (and now snow with Bloodmoon) no longer has to worry about Dregoth Ur and his minions terrorizing them from his red mountain citadel. And talk about fireworks. When that volcano went up at the end and destroyed the giant battle statue they were building, it kind of put the July 4th show at The National Mall to shame. Of course DC does not have any lava, so they are at a natural disadvantage. Happy July 4th to all those newly free peoples of Morrowind. Now all you have to worry about is the thousands of bandits and monsters that stalk your lands. Sleep well.
Good old bald bar-coded Agent 47 was able to liberate his secret hideout in Hitman 2 a while back on the final mission for that game. Here is a little hint to would-be assassins. When you are breaking into the lair of the most violent psychopathic hitman to ever be created, do yourself a favor and don't leave his garden shed and his arsenal unguarded. Otherwise you end up on the wrong side of a really, really big pyrotechnics display, the last you will ever see. Man was that final mission really satisfying. Forget about stealth for once, it was all about using the guns with the biggest bullets and the highest fire rates.
The multi-system galaxy of Freelancer was liberated recently as well. Leave it up to an old privateer to save the various world governments from a powerful enemy that really had humanity back against the wall. Now if you will just leave me alone so I can get back to my illicit smuggling operation, everyone will have a happy July. I might even break out a few cases of what's in the ship's hold for you if you space lawmen play nice.
Features Editor Greg Crowe recently liberated the world of Crash Bandicoot from the Wrath of Cortex after playing for over a year. I actually got to see him put the final touches on the game. The look on his face when landing the final, comical blow, was priceless. I'm told that the world of Crash has several Independence Days actually, since the evil doctor and his minions are always re-conquering the world in sequel after sequel. But at least they are free for now. Crash should take lessons from Tommy Vercetti, because his opponents don't ever come back, unless it's in a House of the Dead game or something. Put down the fruit cannon and pick up an M4. But then again, like Star Wars, if you kill your adversary then you will be unemployed. (rip-off credits to Weird Al for that one)
There are a few worlds that remain oppressed. I got so frustrated with Ring of Red that I stopped playing it, and we are talking about a first generation PS2 title. I did find a way to defeat their asinine save system where you could only save at the end of a level. (You could actually save in the middle of a battle but when you loaded the game it would erase that save.) I guess they wanted the game to be difficult, but playing a battle for five hours and then getting killed in the last five minutes because of a "surprise" they decided to put in is not my idea of a good time. I simply bought a second memory card. Then I save the game to one card and make a duplicate copy to the backup. Then if I want to play from that point, I simply copy it back over and play from there. Still, it's a bit of chore. But don't think I don't feel bad about leaving that game world oppressed. Perhaps this holiday I will save them once and for all.
Everyone here at GiN wishes everyone a great weekend. And here is hoping that you will experience the joys of many simultaneous Independence Days as you liberate your own game worlds.