When people proclaim “life always gets in the way”, they are very wise in a pat way to say so. They also use the term “falls apart” or “crumbles” but it hasn’t really been like that in the last few months for me. It has been more like weird reconfiguration or fluid of “life”, if you will, poured into a radically different mold that I’m not sure how well it fits, yet. We will see, but I will certainly say that some tectonic shifts have not only prevented me from playing a lot of games, but also writing and thinking clearly. Luckily, this new mold is becoming a little more familiar and, even though it may change again soon, it’s what it is for now and allows more time for me to do things like write, which I actually enjoy.
Now for the hard part… I’m not sure what I will be playing for my next game. I have recently moved to a new place and the set up is not optimal. I do not have a couch and the television is hooked up in my bedroom for watching rather than in the living room where it should live. When I get a smaller monitor so I won’t be nose to screen with a 48” monitor the day of gaming will arrive. As of now, all options are open. To prevent this entry from becoming a thinly veiled “Sorry for not updating, guys. I promise I will soon…”, I will list some of my top candidates and why I am looking forward to them.
Avernum: Escape from the Pit
Over the past few years I have enjoyed the resurgence of the PC game cottage industry sector of one or two folks whose brains are 90% filled with coding tricks that are able to release a whole game themselves because they are insane (see Richard Garriott for a past example). Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software is one of these people who deserves all that backhanded praise. Even though he has been making games under the generic production studio name of Spiderweb Software for 20 years, I have just recently found out about his manic genius. Creating over 20 games BY HIMSELF and never ceasing work, Jeff’s well written and open storylines are very compelling for the three or four complete series he’s made.
Escape from the Pit is a remake of his game Avernum which is itself a remake of the game Exile. Whew… anyway, it’s a remake of a remake that is ‘modernized’ with more conveniences. I use quotes because it is much smoother than the original Avernum, but still carries the Ultima-esque aesthetic of exploration and obfuscated objectives. The sheer amount of discovery in the game and the quality of writing that I sampled by completing the first game of Jeff’s Geneforge series make this one of my top picks for the next game. Major downsides include time commitment and some possible ease of use issues.
If you haven’t heard of this Kickstarted game, then you are either still living under a rock or never ever play PC games. I have always loved the Fallout series and wanted the opportunity to go back and play Wasteland, which was its inspiration. The main thing I would need to remember is that Wasteland is NOT Fallout and will not feel exactly the same. In any case, I just want to experience an RPG that uses tech and guns instead of swords and boards. Speaking of that theme…
This may seem like the RPG hour, but I have had these things lined up and need to play a few. Another Kickstarted game, Shadowrun comes highly recommended by Gary Butterfield of Duckfeed fame. Cyberpunk, as with steampunk, is one of those things that I really like the idea of, but not the manifestation of fan-dom and some questionable literary pieces using their themes. I hope to play these in the near future, but only one may take the cake. As with Avernum, the major issues with these games are time constraints.
We’re talking the original here. I really love the concept of exploration and the kinetic action of jumping around looking for hidden passages and puzzles. I’m also wary of the aging of the game, but with this classic inspiring so many modern ones such as Uncharted, I really should give it a fair shake. Advantages of the game are a more casual pace with less time commitment, but technologically octogenarian control issues keep this one at arm’s length.
Euro Truck Simulator 2:
This is a very odd, but extremely appealing choice for me. As the game has no real goal other than deliver goods and drive down the road, this time in my life seems very fitting to place this experience. I have always enjoyed driving because it is relaxing and there is freedom in being able to turn down any road and see something from a different perspective. Unfortunately, living in Hong Kong, driving is very difficult as the drivers are the worst I have ever shared the road with and gas plus toll prices do not make Sunday cruises very viable. Enter Euro Truck Sim which can not only give that meditative experience I love, but also lets me do it in Europe and have the chance to churn, organize, and reproduce thoughts going through my head which has great writing potential. This one is another top contender along with Avernum.
Alright, I’ll say it: sorry I haven’t updated for a while. The good thing is I am feeling much more relaxed and work is pretty slow allowing for some deep thinking and more serious writing. Please join me later as I play [GAME TO BE ANNOUNCED].