Sunday, February 21, 2016

2015: My Gaming Year In Review

2015 was not a banner year for me gaming-wise.  Compared to all of last year, I've already finished 2/3 as many games less than two full months into 2016. I can blame the slow gameplay of the second half of the year on crazy overtime at work. But even on days when I got off work on time, I just felt drained, with very little desire to do much of anything. I rarely even had energy to sit and watch a movie for two hours, much less play a game that requires active interaction. And don't get me started on my lack of drawing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

2014: My Gaming Year In Review

Wow, it's already May and I'm just now getting around to my 2014 gaming recap. I've sat down to write this blog entry several times, but I either get distracted by other things or simply can't gather up enough energy to make the effort. Sadly, that's a pretty accurate reflection of my gaming these days.

So, I'll jump right to the stats before something else comes along...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sitting This One Out: Pre-Sequel Apathy

Borderlands 2 is one of my favorite games of last generation. If pressed to make such a decision, I'd probably say it was tied with Saints Row The Third for the top spot on my list. Between the 360 and PS3 versions, I spent over 300 hours on Pandora. Only the Elder Scrolls games brought me anywhere close to those numbers.

And yet, with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel releasing this week, I feel my interest in the new title to be next to zero.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 2013 in Games

So much for blogging more... This is the first blog entry I've made in two months, since I resolved to write more to get the most out of my new computer. But I suppose the new year give me a new opportunity to try again. I'm not going to make a fancy declaration, just a casual determination to have the most productive year ever. And since this blog only received less than 20 entries in two years, it really shouldn't be too difficult to surpass that. We shall see, of course.

Looking back at 2013, it was pretty productive clearing out my backlog. A little too productive, perhaps...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stepping Away From The Big Reviews

I love making comics. I enjoy obsessively playing video games. I like writing so much, I often have a stupid grin on my face while I'm typing at my computer. And I relish any opportunity to discuss video games.

So why did the prospect of writing another in-depth review of a video game derail my motivation so much that I had to take a lengthy hiatus from my creative endeavors?

Perhaps it's my straight-forward approach to the subject matter. I set out to avoid the snarky writing that's a staple of the internet era. As a result, I wrote reviews that were devoid of much excitement. I don't regret taking my reviews seriously, but maybe it was too much against my nature.

I always struggled with the level of information I included when drafting a simple game analysis. I know it's not my job to explain every feature in a game, but was I giving enough info to justify why I love or hate it so much? Do I need to spell out every aspect of a funky new multiplayer mode if I'm just going to dismiss the addition with a written shrug? I'm naturally long-winded in my writing; brevity is something I've awkwardly attempted to juggle for years, usually failing spectacularly. These reviews brought out the worst case of rambling I've contracted in a long while. For every sentence of information I added, I felt I needed two more to be consistently thorough in my reporting. This caused a seemingly endless loop of revisions to rearrange earlier paragraphs now that I had decided to expand on concepts I had already touched upon.

This process dragged out the writing process so much that it became the main source of delays in my comics. I could play a video game, be inspired for a comic idea, draw the full comic and then... it would sit there. The process of arranging my thoughts into a complete and somewhat-concise review sometimes took longer than all the other steps combined. Often the looming dread of having to organize my thoughts would be enough to stutter my creative impulses, to make me not even want to play games. It just had to stop. I had to stop.

So that's where I stopped. But I miss the comics. I started drawing Those Games We Play as a way to fuse my passions of playing games and making comics. And I'm going to return to making the comics, and they'll remain  focused on games like they always have been. But the full length reviews are out. I'm sticking with the 3-4 sentence blurb reviews that accompany the comic strip, but none of the over-long blog types. That's definitely not to say I'm out of the rambling-blog business, far from it! I have a lot of video game related topics to passionately babble on about. Especially with the Next Generation of consoles arriving next week. I want to reflect back upon the last few years of gaming, about lessons learned, about changes to my gaming habits, and about my hopes for a bright, glimmering future. From time to time I may even write something that essentially an in-depth review, but only when I'm emotionally invested in the subject and not just because it's my routine.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Video Game Review - Star Trek (2013)

Although I enjoy the movies, and was a big fan of the Deep Space Nine television series, I don't really have much experience with Star Trek video games. I played Legacy on the 360 a few years ago, and found it to be rather dull, with sluggish, awkward space navigation. I also have faded memories of shooting geometric shapes vaguely resembling Klingon Birds of Prey in a Star Trek game on my parents' Vectrex. That was the game with the giant Space Sombrero, right? Regardless, I didn't bring much enthusiasm with me to this creatively-titled new Star Trek game.

Licensed games are always at their worst when they tie into a movie, as they're usually locked into a production schedule to match the film's release date. You'd be hard pressed to find such a game that couldn't greatly benefit from a few more months of work. But here's a game that could have used a trip back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Video Game Review - Bioshock Infinite

The original Bioshock was an amazing game. It was incredibly immersive and had plot twists that left me speechless. The creepy atmosphere was so well-crafted that my horror-movie-loving girlfriend refused to be in the room while I played it because Rapture's residents freaked her out with their insane ramblings. The sequel focused more on the action rather than the story, which was a wise decision as trying to recapture the original game's uniqueness would have been folly. Bioshock is back, but with a new setting, and a chance to strike a new chord in gaming history.

The story seems rather straightforward; the protagonist, Booker, is sent on a mission to free Elizabeth from her fairy tale imprisonment in a tower, part of the not-so-perfect society that exists in the cloud-based city of Columbia. The phrase "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt" is intertwined in the story as much as "Would you kindly" was part of the first Bioshock. When you finally meet up with Elizabeth, you begin a rocky relationship filled with compelling conversation and useful scavenging. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about escorting Elizabeth through the increasingly violent streets: she's a boon, rather than a burden, even during combat. Not only can she pick locks and open magical "tears" to provide useful objects, she'll also find money and ammo to help you out in your time of need. And best of all, she manages to stay out of harm's way while bullets are flying. When the game separates you from her, you will definitely miss her presence.