At the fast rate video games are changing these days to the slow (becoming slower) wait between sequels, it’s a wonder that developers are able to keep us coming back for more fun with whatever set of characters to which we’ve become attached. Consider the Uncharted series. There was a mere two-year span between the releases of the first three games, and here we are waiting for Uncharted 4 to be unleashed next year, five years after Uncharted 3. (Granted, the first three games didn’t have to deal with the release of a new console.) Also consider titles like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed where you get a new game every year or two that essentially follow the model of “same game, different place.” Then you have games series that follow their own rules, like anything that might involve Mario. He’s got a whole empire of various games series bearing his name, some of which are related (Mario Party), some of which are revamps (nearly anything Mario Bros.), and others of which are complete one-offs (Mario Paint). And what about series like Final Fantasy? This year (July 12th) marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Final Fantasy on the NES in the United States, and fans were treated to the recent announcement of a Final Fantasy VII remake. Like, in a sense, the Legend of Zelda series, these games offer unique experience under the same brand. You get to spend time in somewhat familiar places with mostly familiar (and sometimes the same) people playing with familiar mechanics. But I’m not sure we’d agree upon whether or not everything that came after Final Fantasy (1990) or The Legend of Zelda (1986) were true sequels to those originals.
If I was placed under duress to name one amazing aspect of modern gaming, (because there are many) it would be accessibility. Simply put, one need not stray far from common technologies to access video games. They are available through consoles, desktops, laptops, streaming devices (i.e. Roku), tablets, and phones. And perhaps most importantly, a good many available games are FREE. Well…make that “free,” at least in some cases.
When I first got a phone that was capable for playing games, I loaded it to the brim with free fodder like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Same thing happened when I got my first tablet. Only with the tablet, I expanded my game gobbling to include paid titles as well as freemium games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. And I was happy. I was happy to have nothing less than a plethora of quick and easy games right at my fingertips for any occasion: my morning commute, waiting for an Xbox One game to load, or trying to ignore a “fun” family conversation. If you had seen my tablet just a couple weeks ago, you would have seen a full page of game icons. Because even if I didn’t really like one of the free games I had shamelessly installed, I still liked having it around just in case I changed my mind or got really, really, really bored.
I said “a couple weeks ago” because as of today, that home screen looks completely different.
This past weekend, I had the rare opportunity to spend a whopping three hours with video games! Not three hours broken into ten-minute segments. Not one hour in the morning, one hour in the afternoon, and one hour in the evening. But three consecutive hours, all in the stretch of a discretely lovely afternoon. It was a beautiful thing!
When that time period presented itself, my plan was to play several games. First I’d return to Metroid Prime for a bit. Then I’d catch up with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and then I’d hop onto the PC to see if I couldn’t finally complete LIMBO. Well let me tell you, those plans went right out the window when I started Metroid Prime.
Many of us know what it’s like to rage quit a game. You get to a certain point in a game where things get so dang frustrating, it takes every ounce of your being to maintain composure. But then, without warning, you crack. Maybe a controller gets thrown, maybe a console gets knocked over, and/or maybe you yell and scream a lot. However the rage quitting happens, the game that caused it is put into purgatory. Maybe it goes on the shelf to be internally mocked for awhile. Maybe it gets traded in for calmer pursuits. Or maybe, in the worst case, the game ends up destroyed, trashed, or otherwise maimed as to be rendered inoperable.
This is not where things stand with me and Metroid Prime. This game is a different kind of frustrating.
As the beginning of 2014, you know how many games for which I was so incredibly excited I was counting down the minutes to the released dates? Exactly zero. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to a few games (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and Fable Anniversary, for example), or that I was oblivious to the release of the likes of Titanfall, Thief, or other big budget titles. It’s just that nothing new really lit up all my gaming cylinders.
So here we are nine months later, and only one game has me all a’jittery – Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s the only game this year that I’ve even thought of pre-ordering. And if I do get it, well…it’s still an if. (Though I probably will get it.)
Lately, I’ve been much more interested in less current games: older Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games, as well many from generations long gone. It’s not that current games aren’t awesome and all, it’s just that…that…well… Continue reading Retro Bound?
As the summer gets rolling, my time with games grows thinner and thinner. Just this past weekend I turned on the ol’ 360 to play a little South Park: The Stick of Truth for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. I picked up a couple new games in Steam and put in a few minutes of gameplay, but I’ve no idea when I’ll next have any substantial time to become further frustrated with Guacamelee or return to whatever the heck I was doing in The Witcher. Summertime has been like that for me for awhile – gaming has to take a backseat to things like vacations, renovations, work, and life in general. I’m not complaining, I’m used to the cycle by now, and I’ve even come to welcome it, this time “off.” With summer generally being a time scant of new game releases, it’s sometimes spoken of as the time to get through the backlog. I’d say that’s about right – over the next couple months, when I do have opportunities to play, I’m not going to be seeking something new; rather I’m going to turn to that which I already have.
The way I play video games has changed drastically over the past few years. As I’ve alluded to in the past, I only have time play games on the weekends; and some weekends I don’t have time to play at all. I’m sometimes able to make up gaming time on holidays and extended (stay-at-home) vacations, but I generally play now anywhere from two to four hours a week. (It’s something that I’m still getting used to as only just a few years ago I was able to devote at least two hours a day to gaming.) Adding to my gaming time management issues is that fact that there’s another gamer in the house. We generally work it out so that we aren’t playing games on the same consoles at the same time, but sometimes games have to be set aside for one reason or another. Recently, I took time off from Grand Theft Auto V on the PS3 because of Beyond Two Souls. We rented the game and my husband played through it first, which was fine as I had a game to finish on the Xbox 360. (I wanted to play BTS, but figured I’d put it on hold until GTA V was finished.) A week later, figuring that I’d return to GTA V, my husband absolutely insisted that I had to play BTS. Since he doesn’t often rave about games, I knew that this game had to be something special, so I started it up. It took me a little longer to get through it that he did, but boy…was it worth it! I still don’t have any words yet to describe the experience, but it was an amazing. The experience, that is. The jury is still out on it being a good game. (More to come on that…someday.)