Happy new year all! I hope you all had an excellent festive holiday and enjoyed welcoming in 2018 however you celebrated. I’m lucky enough this year to have been able to extend my break so I’m still in vacation mode and very very behind on blog reading (to which I apologise to my fellow bloggers), particularly those who participated in the excellent ‘Creative Christmas’ event orchestrated by Later Levels; I’m looking forward to catching up over the next few weeks.
The new year is always a fun gaming time; the evenings are still dark here in the UK and there’s usually (as there is this year) a backlog of games from the festive Steam sale(s) and Christmas gifts eagerly waiting to be played. I’m still splitting my gaming time between the PC and the Nintendo Switch with the latter carrying with it rumours of some exciting developments in the next month, or so Adventure Rules would have us believe.
New year is also traditionally a time to leap into some new pyjamas and try something different. I don’t recall purposefully setting off on a mission of discovery this time last year, but looking back, my programming adventures with the Arduboy would certainly fit the bill of ‘new thing I tried for the new year’. For this year I’m still on the fence about the ‘new thing’ that I might want to give a go, but given the enjoyment I had from crafting some (albeit very short) fictional writing for the ‘Blogger Blitz’ event last year, I’m considering some kind of fiction writing as something I’d like to have a go at turning my hand to. Whether or not this will appear here at any point in the future will likely depend on how it turns out and if I have the courage necessary to hit the post button.
For Your Reading Pleasure, the December Summation…
As I predicted in my last editorial, this got pretty busy over the festive period, but I did manage to stick to my once a week posting schedule. Early in the month I tried a neat little indie title, ‘Prototype Mansion‘ which I’m eagerly keeping an eye on for future developments as I’m still a sucker for that retro-survival-horror vibe. I also spent a chunk of time playing the indie title ‘iUBES:2‘ after the developer kindly gifted me a copy to check out. I’m still toying with what to do with that experience. RTS isn’t my usual comfort zone but there are aspects to the game, specifically how ‘multiplayer’ is approached, that are quite innovative and tackle one of the big problems with indie multiplayer; how do you get enough of a player-base to maintain the experience?
I also continued my playing spree in the tranquil island setting of ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’, finally managing to get some of the Wednesday evening online group interested in playing a few rounds. I think overall it was well received and hopefully we’ll have the chance to do a little more of it early on this year. My extended infatuation manifested in me answering the question of how many players do you need to keep the servers ticking over… it seems player numbers were on my mind this month. A friend of mine pointed out that I should maybe have considered an exponential decay model (rather than my ugly 5th order polynomial), but I can’t get over the feeling that it wouldn’t have captured the difference between that early match fall off and steady mid-match decline. Either way I think that it would be very interesting to see how the player number changed with the shrinking of the zones, but this would need a much more accurate way of collecting player number data and ideally also the ingame play area… so if anyone clever wants to work out how to do that feel free…
As always December is a month of ‘Best of Year’ lists, and I compiled my ‘top 5 games that I played in 2017‘ post around the 20th … so really it’s the ‘Top 5 Games I Played from 20th December 2016 to the Same Date 2017″, but that’s an even less catchy title than the one I went with. This list didn’t take into consideration ‘Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ which I technically did play before the end of 2017, but I did nevertheless write down my thoughts on that pirate adventure… and don’t worry, it will be in consideration for next year’s list to keep everything fair. I also wrapped up ‘Wolfenstein II’ close to the end of the year, but unlike its predecessor it left me disappointed and oddly reflective of the year we’ve just had.
Looking ahead to January 2018
I received for Christmas (and have already played the main chunk of) ‘Super Mario Odyssey’ on Nintendo Switch which I’m enjoying, but somehow isn’t quite what I expected. I think following the epic sprawling landscape of BOTW I was expecting similar in the latest Mario title (yeah, I don’t know how it would have worked). I was also gifted the bizarre party game compilation ‘1,2,Switch’ which has already provided a good evening of entertainment, and now with some extra controllers my Wife has picked up Overcooked (to add it to the copy of Overcooked we have for PC).
On the PC side of gaming I still have yet to touch the latest ‘Life is Strange’, final episodes of ‘Telltale’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy’, or ‘Sam & Max Hit the Road’. It looks as though I’ll need to get in to an Adventure frame of mind and try to fire up some of those in the coming month. I was also gifted a copy of the intriguing ‘Near Death’ which I’m avoiding looking up too much for fear of spoiling… sometimes it’s good to just take someone’s recommendation and go in cold … literally I believe…
So that’s it for January’s editorial, once again I hope everyone has an excellent 2018 and do many fantastic things with the year. Thank-you for reading!