The evenings are drawing in, the frequency of days in which I complain about the heat is gradually reducing, and the frequency of rainy days in which I revel but pretend to despair of is on the rise. To celebrate, my wife, dog, and I are currently on holiday in Wales enjoying the beautiful countryside, coastline, and weather wrapped up in the comfort of a small cabin complete with log fire.
It’s a welcome break from the pace of August which followed an equally hectic July. I moved jobs at the start of the month which involved a mad dash of trying to wrap up various bits of project in a kind of ‘duct taping over the cracks and passing it on’ sort of way. This past month has proven to be equally busy on that side of things with lots of learning and getting to grips with the project; it still feels like early days, but hopefully the pace will settle soon and it helps that I’m quite enthusiastic about the content of the project.
I mentioned in the last editorial that I’m cutting myself a bit of slack as far as blogging schedule is concerned. Even finding time to pull together one post a week can be tricky, but all being said it’s been a productive month. I’ve also been chipping away (albeit very very slowly) at my super secret fiction project. Part of the reason I decided to allow my blogging schedule to slide was to give myself a bit of writing freedom to work on other things when I’m in a writing mood rather than feeling like a slave to coming up with my normal blisteringly-hot quality of blog post…
… unfortunately I most want to begin writing at about midnight when I should be falling asleep in order to stay functional for my normal working day; It’s a conundrum. Naturally I’m a night person, but over the past decade or so I’ve trained myself (even more so in recent years now that I have a lengthy commute) to wake up and function well enough to get me to my desk on time and make coffee.
Given my sporadic activity I’d also like to thank everyone who reads for sticking with me. My own blog reading has been lax recently, I know that I haven’t been quite as active on that front, but I try to keep up when I can.
August also saw my birthday which involved a pilgrimage to Arcade Club (in Bury, just north of Manchester) to spend an evening playing their collection of retro arcade machines and pinball tables. I can thoroughly recommend it if you’re ever in the area. It’s great value with all the machines set to free play and features a great cross section spanning many decades. It’s difficult to pull out highlights, but the Addams Family pinball machine, introducing my wife to Point Blank, and a strange Kodo-drum-type rhythm game all stand out in my memory.
August Wrap Up
I kicked the month off with what turned out to be a fairly controversial piece about genres with entry barriers. The post was thrown together pretty quickly as a reaction to some lamenting thoughts that I’d been having about not being very good at 2D fighting games despite sinking many hours into Street Fighter II over the years. It was interesting to see a number of comments along the lines of “oh yeah, I totally agree… apart from genre X which happens to be a personal favourite of mine and is really accessible if you play [insert title here]”. I never really meant the post to be much more than a light-hearted poke at some of the stereotypical aspects of the particular genres that can give newcomers trouble. Either way it seemed to get people talking which was pretty cool.
Following that all this month’s posts have been related to the other birthday news which was my lovely Wife bought me a HTC Vive (*Insert party sound effect*). Exploring the VR world has been great fun, and I’ve a number of other posts brewing in the back of my mind to look at various aspects of it. Aside from being very impressed with the hardware and sense of immersion, I’ve nonetheless been left with a sense that this is still a platform looking for a “must have” title with many of the current best experiences being short with a tech-demo-ey feel them; I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any must-play recommendations for me.
My first HTC Vive post was my usual awkward attempt at a hardware/first impressions post. Which I guess was functional enough, but if you want the TLDR version it is “You need to drill holes in the wall to set it up”.
Following that I settled in to the most substantial VR experience I’ve tried so far: Arizona Sunshine. It is a game that promises a simple concept and delivers it, and assuming that you don’t expect anything more than VR zombie shooting action, you won’t be disappointed.
Finally I gave my thoughts on retro spy themed escape room thing: I Expect you to Die. Which is well worth the time if you’re looking for a fun VR puzzler despite it all being quite a short experience.
Looking Ahead to September
Ok, so … This editorial is late which means there’s not that much of September left, but I covered all that at the beginning. As I said I’m hoping to give a few more VR themed posts a shot in the near future as I’ve been pushing through a number of different titles that involve me flailing about my lounge with a silly visor on. One of the more interesting has been PayDay 2 VR. Playing a gamer that I’m pretty familiar with in VR has pout an entirely new … and energetic… spin on that morally dubious bank-heisting shooter (although my knees are not thanking me for enthusiastic ducking behind cover).
I’ve also been replaying Metal Gear Solid on PS1; there has been a good chunk of twitter activity about the title given its 20th birthday, and as one of my favourite PS1 titles it seemed like a good time to revisit, so maybe I’ll write something about that experience.
Happy September All!