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Shadow Era – my first time… (iPod/iPhone/iPad)

February 24, 2011

Here’s a small disclaimer before I start: I’m not a trading card game player. Some of the content of this article may deviate into the realms of cheap humour, possibly at the expense of some small degree of stereotyping and generalisation. If you are personally offended or insulted by anything in this article, please feel free to leave a comment. 

Somewhere out there, is a 30 year old goth virgin who will never see this screen.

Shadow Era is a free universal game. Because it’s free, I downloaded it to try it out. I already knew it was a trading card game, albeit without any actual physical trading cards, so I sort of knew roughly what to expect.

I can't tell how well I'm doing. If you know, just from this screen shot, maybe now would be a good time to take a bath.

It’s ‘online only’ at the moment, although it sounds as though the first update will include an offline mode. So currently, the first thing that you have to do is register by entering an email address and password. After that, you have to choose a hero character for your starter set of cards. Predictably, I chose this one:

A cute blonde mage in a minimal outfit. How did you guess?

Next, I had a look at all the menu options. The menu is cunningly hidden away behind something that looks like part of the screen border. Unless you pay close attention to the pop-up tips, you might miss this completely and never realise that there’s a menu there. I had the option to start playing the campaign or jump straight into a game against a real person. As I’m a complete noob I figure it’s probably advisable not to get into it with xxXDoomLordXxx or LadyFelicity just yet, and pick a fight with a random AI controlled card-meister instead.

Blanka from Street Fighter IV whacks my gorgeous bimbo with a big sword. Unfair!

Following the on-screen tutorial prompts, the first thing I have to do is choose a card to sacrifice in order to get resources in order to be able to play a card. See, at this point, I started fondly remembering how much fun it is to play videogames. With no real appreciation of the battle value of one card over another, I flicked sequentially through the few on offer in some vain attempt to determine which one to throw away. There were no cute girls on any of them so I went for some random bloke in glasses who apparently makes some kind of +2 contribution to an attribute the purpose of which I hadn’t the faintest notion.

Another degenerate loser smacks my girl. I know you can't get one in real life, but do you really have to beat up on trading card bimbos to get your jollies?

Having successfully thrown away a couple of cards, the game informed me that I could now play one into the arena of titanic battle, or whatever. Cool, here we go … erm …. Once again I was faced with the paralysis of complete ignorance. Does it really have to be this impenetrable? Feigning indifference, I casually sent a bloke with a sword into the fray. Well, not exactly fray, more like empty space with a card in it. Within seconds my opponent chose its own card which attacked my sword-bloke-card and beat it. Somehow. I don’t know how, I’m still learning the game, ok? Although actually, no, I’m not learning anything. 

Trust me, I could buy 50 packs and I'd still be crap at this game.

Five minutes and about 20 turns later, my heroic bimbo mage is dead and I’ve been defeated, apparently. It doesn’t really feel like a defeat because at no time did I know enough about what was going on to realise, or even mind, that I was losing. I figure that’s the appeal – spend half an hour gawking at scantily clad, unfeasibly breasted Sword n Sorcery bimbos and you won’t care whether you win or lose the card game either.  

I'm fairly sure this pack is a top seller.

Maybe I’ve missed the point. Perhaps this is what I should have been doing back in 1980 instead of playing Asteroids. What on earth was the appeal of Asteroids? No scantily clad women, no feral wombat-beasts, no +2 heal spells. Man, I must have been such a loser.

It's your worst nightmare - damage received is reduced by 1. OMG!!! Pwned!!!

For the large percentage of people who followed a link to get here, thinking this was going to be a serious article about chumps, goldfish, janky decks and maxing your tier one…. I’m very, very sorry. For you. 

iTunes lnk for the FREE game, Shadow Era 

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