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Vol. 2, Issue 4
November 30, 1999

Birth of a Gamer:

Myth II
(My First Foray Back Into Gaming)

by Heather "elki" Haselkorn



irst off, I just want to thank you guys for all of the great e-mails last week. I feel so loved! Anyway, let's turn to the real business at hand:

Myth II was the first game I'd played in about two and a half years. It was also the first game in which I've ever had to run a tutorial before playing. Although I consider myself an animal lover (and a former vegetarian), I experienced a sick pleasure at blowing up the chickens in the barnyard. I figured if the rest of the game were like this, I'd have no problems! That's where I made my first mistake. Someone had already told me that the original Myth was hard enough to be unplayable, and that Myth II was only slightly easier. Still, I thought, how hard could it be?

Before I get into that, I just want to give into some childlike awe. I had never seen a game in 3D before, so when I first started playing, I just couldn't figure out what to do. I was so used to games that scrolled either vertically or horizontally that I couldn't get used to the illusion of actually moving forward or backward. It was a little disconcerting. And the graphics stunned me. I could move the camera in, out, around, take an aerial view of my troops or come in close-up right over their heads. And in addition to the main action, there are also leaves falling from trees, and birds and butterflies flitting around. It was breathtaking!

Once I began to play, I immediately learned my first lesson about gaming: Much as I love my PowerBook, a track pad is not an ideal gaming tool. The time it took to run my finger across the pad and then click with my thumb really slowed things down. For example, whenever I was ambushed it would take so long to select my knights and bowmen that I'd inevitably lose quite a few of them. Sometimes it seemed as though I spent more time listening to my computer shout "Casualty! Casualty!" than I did actually playing the game. But anyway, as I expected, the first three maps were fairly easy and I finished them all by the second try. I don't remember much about the first map, other than finishing it very quickly (full disclosure: I played on the easiest setting). The soldiers jumping up and down at the end of a level, shouting "Yay! We did it!" is just the funniest thing in the world. And the monsters and other nasty things that come at you are actually very cute. Maybe they are supposed to strike terror into the hearts of my knights, but I just have to laugh at them.

The second level provides even more visual pleasure. It's dark and gloomy and the rain comes down steadily and my troop has to trudge through streams and muddy forest into an abandoned graveyard to save some prisoners. At this point I was still trying to work the camera and I kept getting lost whenever I tried to look too far beyond where my soldiers were standing. But I managed to finish it, and while my soldiers were shouting "Yay!" at the end, I couldn't help but join them (with my cat staring at me disapprovingly from the other side of the room).

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Birth of a Gamer is © 1999 Heather Haselkorn. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.