Video Games? Me? Portal and Artemis SBS

I have never been extensively into video games. Not since SNES, anyway. It just seemed to me that things became too complex. By the time I figured out how to use the controller to do what I needed to do I was on to another part of the game. And the games began looking more like movies, bombarding the senses and making my adrenaline jump too much. I haven’t had any real joy playing a video game since Goldeneye, until I played Portal.


Portal is a beautiful game. I don’t mean that it has the most amazing graphics. I mean its an amazing game. Its easy to use the controls, its not about playing with your adrenaline (though there are heart pounding levels), and its challenging without needing 30 hours of game play to master. In short, its a game. And its wonderful. I hope the popularity of Portal communicates to game makers that if they are looking to reach a larger audience, that is outside the 18-25 year old range that can afford to spend 30+ hours a week playing a game, this should be the model game.

PS: Yes, I know I’m way late to the Portal party. Yes, I know there is a Portal 2. Haven’t gotten there yet. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere.


Artemis SBS also has my attention, but not necessarily as a video game. So I’m not a video gamer. But I am a Trekkie. Ever since I discovered Star Trek RPGs, I can remember being dissatisfied with playing them, because you weren’t really running a starship, you weren’t really fighting against anything. You were just making up stories. But now, now you can sit at a station on the bridge of a starship and fight an enemy fleet!

Meet Artemis SBS. It runs on a server, and you connect your own PC, netbook, or tablet to the server, choose your station, and your off! I think the night we gathered at a friends house to play was the best gaming night I’ve been to in a long time. I played helm first, flying around the sector, and trying to get the hang of Warp 4 (which easily blows you buy everything in the game). Then I tried the Science station, which feeds information about the enemy ships to Weapons and the Helm. This is what all the RPGs I’ve ever been a part of have wished they could be.

Now I want to build my own console. I could go two ways with it, just buying a low cost Android tablet and build something around it, maybe including a USB joystick if I take the helm again. But there’s something tantalizing about trying out something with the Mini Android PC, attaching it to a screen and keyboard built into a console. Then as things need updating, I would only have to replace the mini pc, and not get a new tablet or have to rework the console.

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