Looking Forward

Yesterday, I said ‘goodbye’ to 2017 by writing a post about the best game I played last year. Now, the time has become to welcome give the new year a proper welcome. What’s better than doing it by making a little LIST?

Let’s start with the simple part and draw a proper backlog of games I haven’t finished yet. Of course, the minimum to count it as finished is reaching at least one ending and publishing a proper Just Finished post.

In no particular order:

Eisenhorn: Xenos

Gunpoint

Sunless Sea (nope, 700 hours wasn’t enough)

WH40k: Space Marine

Rain World

Skyrim

Volgarr The Viking

GTA V

Fallout New Vegas (of course)

Verdun (it’s a multiplayer FPS so I’ll just get level 100 of experience and quit)

Jalopy

Mad Max

Firewatch

The Final Station

That’s it. Maybe I should start with the last two games because I’ve essentially finished them already and all that remains is writing damn end posts to get rid of them.

Then there are some games, mostly classics, I’m planning to try out – some of them already waiting in the limbo which is my Steam library.

Half-Life 2

System Shock

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Portal

Max Payne 3

This War Of Mine

Wings! Remastered Edition

LIMBO

So much for the list. My most important goal, however, is to completely change my attitude as a player, just as I mentioned in one of the Creative Christmas posts. I seriously need it to become less competitive, focused on score and achievements, and more reflective, enjoying the plot, characters, mechanics, visuals, and so on. Hopefully, the new approach will allow me to appreciate and enjoy games more, maybe take a new, broader perspective, and therefore become a better player. Quite exciting and so much to look forward to in the new year.

 

 

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Creative Christmas: Looking Back

Kim’s festive challenge ends today. The final task she gave to her faithful followers was:

You wake up the following morning, hungover but happy – you have an entire day of gaming ahead of you. You start thinking back over the video games you played during 2017; what was your game of the year?

Well, this is not a hard question.

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That’s right, 2017 was the year when I played Fallout New Vegas for the first time. A classic. A masterpiece. A monument to human creativity and imagination. This isn’t only my opinion because NV remains popular even 7 years after its release; I constantly see discussions and memes about the game on various social media platforms and new mods keep appearing almost every day.

There are so many reasons why I love New Vegas that I should make a separate post to list them all – and it would be a very long post – so just let me name two of them. First, it’s the post-apocalyptic desert setting which makes wandering through the Mojave a wonderfully relaxing experience, especially when I’m able to play heavy stoner or psychedelic rock as a custom soundtrack. Second, the modding community has been able to add tonnes of high-quality content. Just trying to find and play the best mods will probably take me another year and I’m so happy about it.

That’s it! The Creative Christmas is over. Now I would like to say it loud: Thank you very much, Kim! Your competition was an excellent idea and a very interesting experience. If you ever start a similar thing in the coming year, please let me know and I will gladly join you!

Creative Christmas: Things To Do In 2018

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On the last day of the year 2017, Kim asks the penultimate question in her Creative Christmas challenge:

Midnight eventually rolls around, which means it’s now time to pick a New Year gaming resolution to see you through the next 12 months. What’s your choice for 2018?

The answer to this one is very easy.

Make Playing Vidya Fun Again

The most important reflection on my gaming behaviour in the past year is that I treat games too seriously. All too often I’m obsessed with finishing every task or quest, finding all secrets, getting all Steam achievements, playing at the highest difficulty level, etc. Eventually, what was supposed to be a pleasant hobby turns into a chore and I become bitter and disappointed. No more! Now I’m planning to simply enjoy games and take a more relaxed approach. Which leads to the second resolution…

Expand Your Horizons

There are so many classic titles I have never touched due to the reasons described above. Now when I’m about to change my approach, I will finally have more time to install and play some games which have been waiting in my library forever, like Half-Life 2. Hopefully, this will help me become a wiser gamer and blogger.

Appreciate Your Fellow Bloggers

With shame, I must admit that I’m bad at being mutuals with other blogs. Too many times I just skim through a post and click the Like button without adding any meaningful commentary or advice. But I promise I will change that and become your Best Blogging Friend ever!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Creative Christmas: Memories, Treasured Memories

Better late than never. I joined the Later Levels’ Christmas collaboration literally in the last possible moment. Kim had this excellent to run a writing marathon about Christmas and video games. Twelve days, twelve different questions. The one for today is:

You’re wrapping presents while listening to cheesy festive tunes, and start to reminisce about holidays past. What’s your favourite Christmas gaming memory?

My memory is a real Christmas miracle: a story about finding a copy of a game which was virtually impossible to buy in my country. I played the demo version of Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall for many happy hours and you can imagine how I felt when I learned that I would not be able to get the full game just because nobody sold it in Poland. Then, just a few days before the Christmas, I found a box with the tormented King Lysandus on the cover in a small computer store located near my home town’s main bus station.  When I think about it now, it seems almost impossible, but someone owning a tiny business in a poor Eastern European mining town was actually bold enough to have the game shipped from Britain.

Daggerfall Lutris

Source: lutris.net

Since my parents have always been rather reluctant to buy video games as gifts, I had to spend my entire pocket money to get it. And then I was sitting in my quiet. warm room on Christmas, with heavy snowfall outside, and directing the steps of my player character through the snowy streets of the titular city. With the wonderful winter tune playing from the speakers and perfect quietness inside me.

Every year, I feel the temptation to relieve this experience. Every year, the fear of disappointment stops me from installing Daggerfall again. There is no way back into the childhood but hey, at least we still have the memories.

New Vegas: Via Crucis

Imagine a scene Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western: a man dragging a corpse along a road in the middle of a post-apocalyptic desert. A woman clad in power armour walks at his side, chattering about weather, food and the last Deathclaw they shot together. A sudden cut and you can see a sweating face of the man — who’s clearly in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Next scene: the couple and their mutilated baggage meet a military patrol under the wall of a civilian airport, which clearly had been turned into a military stronghold. The man gives the troopers a begging look while the carcass, wearing the same uniform as they are wearing, drags him down to the ground. The armed men pretend that he isn’t there. After a prolonged silence, he sighs and begins to walk away while his female companion stays back and enjoys a casual chat with the troopers.

The unfortunate couple (or trio, depending on how you look at it) is assaulted by a pack of ragged bandits. The man quickly drops his burden and reaches for his weapon. After a brief shoot out, everything is quiet. The tormented corpse has a few more bullet holes and after-laser burnings.

The funeral party finally reaches the gates of the encampment. He points at th corpse, but the chief guard simply shakes his head. The man freezes, then frowns and finally drops his hands.

A few quick shots showing the protagonists going back exactly the same way. Finally they arrive at the ruined outpost where they had picked up the corpse in the first place. Near to it, there’s a couple of soldiers waiting behind a barricade. They receive the corpse and put it behind the sandbags. Some words are exchanged. The stranger and his steel-wearing companion slowly walk towards the sunset. A final shot at his face, eyes closed, lip corners dropping. Then a big THE END and credits.

To sum it up, it was one of the strangest and most enjoyable quests I’ve ever finished in the Fallout series.

The real story is somewhat bland: a female NCR soldier asks you to find the remains of her husband who had been kidnapped by some raiders. The task is simple: find the cluster of ruined buildings they are hiding in, shoot or stab them, disarm some mines, get the trooper’s remnants. The interesting part begins now, because it’s an unmarked quest so you don’t get a marker on your map and must know your destination. It gets even better when you realise that you can’t just pick up the corpse and add it to your equipment. Instead, you are forced to drag it behind you using the Hold button. No fast travel allowed, of course.

Maybe this will sound ridiculous, but after a moment of frustration I began to have fun with this bugged quest. This was the moment I really realised that New Vegas is a masterpiece.

Why?

It’s been more than three years. Maybe it’s time to answer the simple question: Why am I doing this?

This blog. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Or maybe it’s a bit more. The origins were humble: I created it to note down every game I managed to complete. And then I went down the slippery slope, because I thought that I may be a good idea to add a few screenshots which I found particularly memorable. Or beautiful, because such things are possible in the video games world.

Then I decided that images may be not enough. Why not turn it into my personal sketchbook where I would write down my thoughts and impressions? Capture the precious moments when video games seem to be more than just a waste of time.

What can you expect?

A very personal take on the games I play. I don’t write reviews, but I rather like to write down what I think about the game I’m currently playing.

Genres? Most likely, you will find platformers, especially the cinematic subgenre, and cRPGs here. The former because as an abandoned child of the Amiga age, I feel very comfortable in 2D surroundings. The latter because as a hopeless fan of fantasy and SF books (although a very picky one) I like to wear somebody else’s skin. Usually, I avoid multiplayer shooters and big strategy games, but if the WW2-era Italian Army appears there, I’ll probably play it and write about how I’m delighted was.

Indie and experimental games are another thing in my book. From time to time I will an intricate and intriguing little thing on that wonderful site or even the good ole Newgrounds, play for a while, and then share my experience.

Generally, there’s no single factor deciding which game I choose. It may be a well-recognised classic or an obscure and perhaps mediocre title which captures my attention. Maybe it’s the soundtrack, or the particular setting, or the visual style, or maybe the game is just so silly that I’m tempted to try it. Be prepared for surprises.

Needless to say, I love interaction, even if this blog is supposed to be written mainly for the purpose of introspection. Comments? Criticism? Jokes? Mockery even? All are welcome. And if you just happen to have your own vidya blog, chances are that you’ll win over a faithful follower.

Weekly: Pale Grey Sky

As much as I love Roman numerals, it’s time to become more creative and try to invent titles for my weekly reports.

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This may sound really weird, but I discovered that GTA V is becoming one of my designated Autumn games, just like it was with San Andreas. When the landscape behind my windows looks like the set of a Tarkovsky’s film, I find it comforting to immerse myself in the twisted landscape of California, and even the violent action and crazy cults don’t spoil the mood. Fortunately, I finally managed to overcome my unhealthy perfectionism and actually began to enjoy the game after I gave up my obsession of finishing every mission with Gold rating — which is quite stressful, time-consuming and simply boring.

(maybe I should write an entire post about playing in Autumn. just give me some time)

Big things are happening! I finally returned to strategy games after a very long break. Again, it was a Steam sale which tempted me into buying Crusader Kings 2. My first playthrough is staying on the safe side and I’m playing the ruler of Iceland. Since I’m isolated from invaders, it plays like a family drama, finding a proper spouse for my child and fending off jealous courtiers being my jarl’s main concerns.

Goals: since I have a dozen of unfinished sketches in my virtual WordPress drawer, it’s time to finish and publish them before October 1. Wish me luck.