Given that this is a place for me to un-brain much of what rattles around in my head regarding games, it’s not much of a wonder that my posting frequency fluctuates. I’ve mentioned previously that, in the gentle run-up to this blogging experiment, I passed that large billboard proclaiming “Have a Schedule!” more than once; and like an, oh so tempting, ‘Little Chef’ I took the offramp, lined up for the free lollipop and forgot exactly where I was going with this metaphor*. My ‘schedule’ is broadly one post per week, hitting a minimum of 3 posts a month, but work and personal life (all good stuff involving rings and suits) is getting busy; so this opening paragraph is a broad statement of “Posting Frequency May Fluctuate Over the Next Few Months”, directed at anyone following this blog… and whilst I’m on the subject, thanks for following this blog – one of the most excellent things about blogging has been the engagement of other bloggers, both like minded in gaming preference, or simply reading about the persuasions of others in their digital pursuits…
… ok, on with the the show…
I often read about people’s “unplayed pile”; you know, those games that sit by the TV that you picked up cheap, or because they were in a deal… or because they looked really good but you were still finishing playing something else then you weren’t in the mood for something that intense so you started playing Spelunky again and now your hands hurt. I don’t have an unplayed pile; being solely in the digital (and largely Steam) domain, my unplayed pile is un-ironically my ‘favorites’ list. As good as certain aspects of Steam are, Valve really havn’t nailed that category option yet; classifying any other way tends to be fiddly, but adding to favorites just pops it handily at the top of the list… so ‘favorites’ is where they all go. I try not to let that list get too numerous; they have at least a ‘line at bingo’ odds of being played, rather than ‘OMG! The latest Sonic game is amazing’ odds.
Kentucky Route Zero
KR0 has been a resident of the ‘favorites’ list pretty much since the release of act 1… So many years ago. This five episode masterpiece has so far been well worth the wait, and given that there have been recent rumblings of activity in the Cardboard Computer volcano that another episode may erupt at any moment (bringing the total up to four), it’s not surprising that I need it right there, up top, to easily check. It’s a title about which I am irrationally patient with the developers; the development schedule has slipped to the point that people are starting to question if it is even a game, or some kind of performance art conceptual piece (claims hotly refuted by the normally shy team). Maybe one day I’ll blog about it, but I doubt I’ll ever posses the grammatical dexterity needed to describe this somber, darkly funny, exploration of the idea of a journey in all its complexity, blurring the lines between dreams and reality.
The Well Red Mage did a solid review covering most of the ‘why’ this has lingered so long on the list… the only reason it hasn’t been stamped, debriefed, and filed is because I havn’t completed it… and with each passing second I feel the ability to do so draining from me. ‘Alien: Isolation’ is difficult – even when I was really in the zone with it… some months since I put it down at a tricky part and moved on to something else I’m basically caught in a perpetual loop of “Ooohh.. how do I do this again… menu… look around… oh… Alien….“. It’s stuck around on the list because I’m not willing to let it slip finally through my fingers as “un-achieved”. As I’ve mentioned before; it’s a rare thing when a game truly captures the feeling of a film and for that it deserves to be complete.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Get it? .. like ‘Sole Suspect’… but Soul… because the protagonist is a ghost. From the back cover blurb this felt like a good choice for me; I like mysteries, I like exploration games, and the film noir vibe is an added bonus. One suitably dark, rainy night I fired it up hoping for an evening of mystery and intrigue but instead found that I was on the trail of a whole pile of ‘Meh’… so now it’s on the list; stuck in a kind of limbo because I’m not sure if I was as indifferent to it as I thought, or if it caught me on the wrong evening. It’s strange though, every time I’m looking for something to play, my cursor seems to be repelled by this entry on the list… maybe I should just cut my losses and accept my snap-initial-judgement.
Making my top 5 list of 2015, Cities: Skylines reinvigorated the enthusiasm I once had for city builders around the time that ‘Sim City 2000’ was a thing. It’s been on the list for some time now and I havn’t invested much time in it this year… having said that, I don’t feel like I’m quite done with it. I’d like to splash out for the snowfall DLC and make an alpine wonderland, or try my hand at the modding/workshop/building design aspects to the game… or even just spend more time watching the sun set over a smoothly running metropolis, clean wind turbines gently rotating against the clouds, diligent workers scurrying home on a fast efficient mass transit system… trying to ignore the bodies piling up due to a crematorium shortfall…
Recent online Wednesdays have been dominated by ‘Rust’… our own private server because honestly everyone on the public servers are $!*£’s. It’s a curious game and attracted attention for its nudity, magnified by the random assignment of race and sex, but at its heart it is… well… erm, I’m not sure what it is. The survival (assuming there’s not someone naked from the waist down shooting you with an AK whilst you brandish a rock) is not tricky; the amount of water and food I currently have ingame should allow me to open a small bistro and keep everyone from killing me with my patented deer steaks (which taste like chicken). On the other hand, the crafting feels limited compared to what I’ve seen of Minecraft or Terraria. It really does seem like a game made for people to be $!*£’s to each other…
Lara Craft and the Guardian of Light
LCatGoL … wow, that’s not much of an abbreviation; how about just GoL… GoL is a co-op isometric dungeon exploring adventure, and is fun for some lazy gaming. My partner & I have had some laughs playing it, mostly battling with some awkward teamwork mechanics, and I’d like to complete it – if we can get it to run stably for more than 5 mins. The last couple of times we’ve fired it up we’ve abandoned play due to frequent disconnects and it’s been proverbially gathering dust whilst other co-op fun has come and gone.
.. bought recently on impulse… I don’t understand what’s going on… the first golf game I played was on the ZX spectrum many years ago… I also got pretty good at Greg Norman’s golf on Atari ST… this isn’t like either of those…
Still just about lingering around on the list is DOOM; having completed the single player a few weeks ago it’s been just… there, and I’ve yet to relegate it to the standard ‘occasional play’ list. I’ve dabbled with the multiplayer which pretty much re-enforces the opinions I had of it in Beta, but nothing else has really rumbled along in the meantime, so there it sits…
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter
(See earlier comments about mystery) I liked Crimes & Punishments; the Sherlock Holmes series has gradually been gathering pace and despite the odd complaint that Holmes isn’t quite as depicted (in terms of attitude) in the novels, C&P was a solid title… so solid that the next addition is pre-purchased and waiting installation. Looking forward to stepping back into Victorian London once more… the game is afoot… sorry… couldn’t resist…
So that’s it, a brief glimpse into my favorites list; what’s on your list? do you even have a list? how do you decide what to play?
*Yes… it’s a similie, because I used ‘like’ at the start of the sentence