Homeworld Remastered

I am obscenely excited about the release of a computer game I’ve already played. Two computer games, in fact:  collectively the ‘Homeworld’ series. I know, I’m a man-child. Why am I excited about this? How does a blend of nostalgia, storytelling and a history of excellence strike you? Clearly it strikes me. Homeworld GuidestoneHomeworld was ultimately a simple concept. A fractured people living on a barren, desert world find an ancient, ruined starship buried in the sands. Within it they find a variety of things, the most important of which was a fractured carving of a galaxy, with a two points highlighted: their current world, Kharak, and another, distant point near the galaxy’s core marked ‘home’. Inspired, the discovery unites their people. It takes them 60 years to design and build a starship to venture forth, using technology from the old ship combined with new research, to discover their origins. Homeworld MothershipTo boil Homeworld down into so few words, however, does it a great disservice. The first half-hour of Homeworld was the first time I was moved by a computer game. The soundtrack was a haunting rendition of Barber’s ‘Agnus Dei‘ (it’s beautiful, click that link and let it play in the background) which I went back and recorded from the game. I still have that exact recording. The graphics, primitive by modern standards, were glorious, and gave a real impression of floating in the vast expanse of the void. Driven by a strong storyline, challenging gameplay and surprisingly good characterisation for a fleet of ships, Homeworld set a bar in space-based strategy that has never been surpassed. It made quite an impression. Then came Homeworld 2: another magnificent effort, and it was gorgeous. I mean, look at it, even by today’s standards.Homeworld 2 screenThat from a game that’s over a decade old. It was the kind of game that even when you were losing you could just drink in the vista, the expanse of space, and the ambience of the (consistently wonderful) soundtrack. I installed both Homeworlds on every PC I had until first one, then the other was no longer compatible with modern day operating systems. Then, I tried various compatibility tools to try and keep them running, until all of those failed. And then I was sad. Now both have been remade, faithful to the old (we are led to believe, but they did things like get the original voice actors back in which is reassuring). Updated graphics, but the same epic storyline with the same immersive gameplay that made the originals so spectacular. It’s been long enough that I do not remember anything beyond the shape of the storyline, and I am excited to rediscover it. I’m excited to relive that experience that was so striking so many years ago, and to see if it passes muster. I’m excited, period.

screen-captureThe Mothership is standing by.

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