Survival Guide for the Next Few Months

August 22nd, 2008

survival guide in china

As I explained in the previous article I shall be embarking on my Chinese exchange early next week. Even though I plan on immersing myself right into the Chinese culture, I still need my ‘me’ time to relax. Which is why I have been preparing to continue my hobby while overseas. Here’s what I’ve done:

My main thrust of gaming will come from whatever I can squeeze into my aging, graphic-cardless laptop. I am fortunate in that there are plenty of wide holes in my PC gaming collection (and I have a twin with PC games to fill those holes). You see,  I usually regard PC games as a optional second preference to the consoles. I throw them on the list of “I’ll get around to it someday” games along with collecting all the 386 Pokemon and so forth.

Getting games onto my machine actually involves numerous different methods of installation (that’s the PC for ya) so let me run through some of them and what games I plan on taking as they will undoubtedly influence what I’ll write about in the coming months.

Plain Installs

Ultimate Quake spearheads this category and is the only games, or should I say series of games which will install straight to the HDD requiring no CD. I’ve play perhaps too much Quake with my friends in the past few years but I’ve never finished the single player campaigns. My PC port of Resident Evil 3 (yes, as you may have guessed I am going back and playing the whole series) also installed straight to HDD although I did rip an image of the CD first.


Having friends that would turn socially inept on playing any game that ends in ‘craft’, I have naturally been turned off from everything Blizzard for years. My brother has pleaded with me to change by mind and embrace the phenomenon and so I will, with Warcraft III, Starcraft and their respective expansions being patched to my PC.

CD Dumps

I remember seeing a trailer for Grim Fandango back in 1998 and being floored by its creative visuals which enhanced the already familiar style of humour (see Monkey Island). And then I forgot about it for a decade. I look forward to savoring the clever delights of Grim Fandango while away with lots of commentary to follow. Famed RPG/FPS hybrid Deus ex is also dumped to my HDD. As is my favourite RTS – Age of Empires 2 which I have already stuck hundreds of hours into since it came out but never in single player. I am also trying to dump GTAIII-GTA: San Andreas as each game still has patches on incomplete parts.


I usually steer clear of emulation but considering the high cost in buying games like Terranigma or Secret of Mana as well as the unavailability of Lufia and the Fortress of Doom , Kirby Dream Land 3 and EarthBound–yes, all SNES games–I have gained a new tolerance of emulation. I’m holding off from playing those games, at least for the moment and instead I plan on playing the original two Secret of Monkey Island games through ScummVM since I own them but could never finish them as a kid. Oh that and my Amiga 500 won’t output to the TV as well.

secret of monkey island title


While the above games will all offer expectedly high quality experiences, I’m actually more interested in the indie productions. Having jumped the gun on myself, I launched into downloading a handful of indie games a few days ago. That’s fine, I was planning on retrieving some games before I left anyways. After a quick test to see if they’d work , I decided to keep playing and ended up finishing everything that I downloaded.

Each game was such a fascinating experience that I felt compulsed to keep playing, even if I finished the game. I have already written up my impressions of these games and will undoubtedly be playing and discussing more indie over the next few months.

Last Words

This is the outline of my Survival Guide. I hope to also participate in more some of the popular online Chinese games in internet cafes, try out the arcades and participate in some traditional games. My main concern is getting settled at the right campus (still don’t know!) and then once that’s sorted, I hope begin my studies into Chinese gaming culture (as well as the actual language study and all that, of course).

All of that as well as the games listed above should be keeping me occupied for the six months and hopefully beyond if I can tie the second scholarship in.