Using Games to Finish Stories

Four soldiers in a desert landscape with a mountain backdrop.
Image Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/24/ghost-recon-wildlands-hands-on-with-the-future-of-military-shooters

So, this is one of those video game posts that do from time to time. Some times I do them while playing the game, some times I do them to point out the glitches, some times I do them to point out broader practices in the video game industry, and some times I do them just because they are fun or rewarding or have some sort of meaningful accomplishment for me.

For me, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands falls into this latter category.

A Year of Wildlands

The game is one that I’ve been playing for about a year–I got it for Christmas 2017. I’ve played it pretty much every weekend for a year. I wanted it for a while and I asked for it. It was a good story, but I didn’t think that I would finish it, but it turns out that after assidously playing it for a year, I finished it in late Oct./early November. I’ll do a Mini-Review for it soon, but today I just wanted to talk about the power of making an accomplishment.

Today, I finally “got back on the horse” and wrote part 1 (of 3) of a Revision to an older project entitled, “Rocket-Man.” I’ve submitted that story several times, but it has never been sold. I went back and reworked the character and the situation.

The Key to Writing (for me) is the Key to Gaming

So, today I just tried to do what I did when I played Wildlands. I found a day to try to write. Today I have class, but I have time after the class where I can simply sit down and draft. That’s what I’m doing. I have 3 projects currently on the hopper (4 if you count the graphic novel), but my goal is to completely finish one project by writing them in 3 stages (beginning, middle, and end) and then moving on to the next one. However, I’m going to do this on a weekly basis. I know I should probably be using this time to read (& I hope using it in this way doesn’t come back to bite me in March), but I really feel useless if I don’t write. A writer writes and by putting 2-3 hours on a project (with music) and without distractions (such as video game systems, tv, and the like), I’m able to be as productive on my stories as I am when I game. Hopefully, in a year’s time, my diligence will pay off (as it did with Wildlands and I’ll be able to share successes with you in this blog.

One More Thing . . .

I was going to close the blog out, but happened to click on an email that I receive monthly from Playstation that tracks my gaming time and number of gaming “trophies” (accomplishments in games) for the month and for December, I logged 43 hours of online gameplay and earned 19 trophies. Now this is well above my average of 4-5 hours on a Saturday afternoon/evening for about 20 hours a month, but just think of all the projects that I could write if I devoted the time that I do for gaming, or more importantly, what I could accomplish in my school related endeavors with the same amount of time. I used to do that for reading–now I just need to get there for school work and writing.

The only problem I see is that somewhere in there, I’ve got to find time for sleeping. ūüėČ

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story ‚Äď 2nd Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Project Star (Sci-Fi Short-Story -1st Draft)
  • Current Work-in-Progress: Ship of Shadows (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel ‚Äď Script, Issue # 2, Currently on Script Page 32)
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One Day a Week Gamer

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 12
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 3 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Drafting a Graphic Novel Page on one day and then writing the page on an alternate day.
Actual¬†= Finished page 12 on¬†Ship of Shadows and then finished a “Rough Draft” page where I wrote out a rough draft for page 13.¬† I actually think that I did page 12 already and sent it to the artist who agreed to work on this project with me, but I think that somehow it got lost/deleted from the¬†Simplenote app somehow.¬† Anyway, I did it over again and I’m working on new material.¬† Think I might outline/rough draft a screenplay version as I go along, but haven’t yet decided if that is a good idea or not.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: I started this a while ago as a book that I was reading just before bedtime, but I didn’t really make much headway. ¬†I restarted it and I’ve just finished the introductory character generation section and I’m now moving on to the skills section and will be soon moving into the “lore” section. ¬†This is a revamp (rules 2.0) of an old school British RPG from the 1980s. ¬†Updated for modern times, this fairly short book still gives a great set of rules, game system, and lore that I hope will serve as inspiration for new sci-fi works in my own writing life.
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII¬†is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Six Days of Gaming Down into One

I used to game on a regular basis.¬† All the time that I worked at the¬†Library and as a¬†teacher, I have taken an hour or two after work (usually after dinner or just before bed) and played a video game or two.¬† I didn’t often game for that long, but I didn’t need to as I was only using the gaming to wind down from the day.¬† For instance, as much as people denigrate¬†Knack for the¬†Playstation 4, I played it over and over during the first year of the¬†PS4‘s¬†lifetime because it was one of the few games out at the time, but I only played it for an hour or two after school.¬† However, even with just that short amount of time, I was able to play it through six (!) times total and to get the¬†Platinum Trophy for it.¬† My point is that even with a short amount of gaming time in one day, over time (six days) it actually is an impressive amount of time in order to make progress in games. Now that I’m in school, however, I don’t actually get to game except on the weekend and it really is affecting how quickly I can get through my¬†backlog.

Longer and Longer Games

I think part of my issue is that not only is my gaming time seriously curtailed, but also that games are getting longer.¬† Video game publishers do not like the “used game” market, so longer, more complex open world games, while giving value to players who want these longer games, also have the consequence of taking players longer to finish and keeps the games out of the “market,” so they have a vested interest in creating longer and longer games (i.e., game extension).¬† Now don’t get me wrong, I love single player games, I like cooperative games, and I tolerate (for the most part) multiplayer games, but long games just to claim that your game is long, doesn’t necessarily make it a¬†good game.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

I’ve been playing this game since late February/early March and while it is a good game, it has outstayed its welcome.¬† My goal with games is to see the credits roll, but even after all this time, I still have several territories left to “liberate” that have a 5 star difficulty (the hardest difficulty in the game).¬† I’ve not looked at how many hours I’ve put into the game, but if¬†Sony does a year-end summary as they did last year, I fully expect that it will be the longest game with a 100+ hours invested (so far).

You might ask, then, why are you still playing?¬† Well, last year I put over 120 hours into¬†Mass Effect Andromeda, but I didn’t do anything with it.¬† This year, I want to write scholarship on every game that I play as I’ve pretty much decided that I’m specializing in¬†Video Game Rhetoric and New Media as one of my two specialty areas.¬† It would be an absolute tragedy to have spent all of this time playing the game, but without being able to use it for school too–remember, work smarter, not harder.¬† ¬†Ah, well, I guess I’ll just have to power through until the end.

So, maybe I’ll be able to give you a Mini-Review of the game in a month or two (or three or four or five or . . .)

Well, that’s all I have time for today.¬† Have a great day!

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

 

 

Game Mode On: Artificial Game Extension

ghostrecon_tier1_gamespot

Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands Tier 1 Mode. Image Source: Gamespot

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Independence Word Count: @4000 words (+203 words)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Goal = 121 words (5000 words by July 1).  Currently at approximately, 4800 words
Actual = 500 words Monday & Wednesday morning/. ¬†So, Monday night I managed to hit my¬†Scrivener goal of 127 words, but didn’t make my¬†250¬†word goal. ¬†I was too tired to¬†work on this Tuesday night, but did work on it 4th of July (morning) and got about¬†

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3)
    Finished this last night. ¬†I’ll write up my impressions of this title and post it for a blog entry next week. ¬†Look out for it.
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
    Lingua¬†Fractal:¬†A Rhetoric book that details the convergence of Rhetoric and Technology and how they interact in today’s world. ¬†Finished a Book Review for it on Friday for class.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

Reading two or three chapters in Oathbringer every day.¬† I really shouldn’t be, but it is so good, that I generally read it while eating dinner (and then I go back out to the library to do reading for school).¬† ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII¬†is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Games Played on June 30th

Hello, and welcome to my inaugural weekly post on the games that I’m playing on the weekend (really Saturdays as I don’t really have time in graduate school to devote the entire weekend to gaming). ¬†I’m going to try to position this as a “bonus” post that goes up on a Saturdays in order to fill out my goal of posting six (6) days a week. ¬†This post will 1) highlight some of the games I’m (currently) working my way through (i.e., playing), 2) offer criticisms and trends that I see based on the actual gameplay and 3) highlight avenues of scholarship that I’m currently pursuing as a rhetoric scholar in video games. ¬†Yes, I know the last one if fairly “nerdy,” but it may spark other rhetoricians to cover games that I’m not going to cover (for instance, while I might get a¬†Switch and cover¬†Nintendo games at some point, I don’t intend to¬†ever own a¬†Microsoft console and will¬†not be covering/featuring¬†Microsoft¬†games (not until they completely overhaul their corporate culture, at any rate, something that I don’t see happening in the near or far future, but I digress). ¬†Most of the games I¬†will be focusing on will be¬†Sony exclusive games or 3rd party games that are on the¬†PlayStation format.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

So, this one is vexing to me. ¬†I like this game, but I feel that it has gone on waaaaayyyy too long. ¬†It is an open world game and it has this conceit that you have to take down Sicarios in the open world to get to the main villain. ¬†However, what it does to extend gameplay is that it has a rating of up to 5 levels for each region and each region is rated 1 to 5. ¬†I’ve worked by way through the game and I’m currently in the last of the ‚Öė difficulty regions, and will be moving on to the 5/5 regions soon. ¬†The problem is that not only does the difficulty spike, but the game adds in an external¬†Tier system that forces the game’s difficulty even higher if you want to move up to the highest “level” so not only do the regions become harder, but so too does the game itself. ¬†This slows down progress immensely and makes it difficult to progress through the game. ¬†I’ve been playing this one since February and it has delayed me from getting back to¬†Horizon Zero Dawn, The Witcher 3,¬†and into¬†another¬†Ubisoft game,¬†Watch Dogs 2. ¬†I don’t mind a “meaty” game, but this trend towards extending gameplay just to keep players from playing other games is annoying a best.

Until Dawn

So, let’s establish something right from the outset: I don’t really like horror. ¬†I like tension, I like action, I like drama, but I don’t really like horror. ¬†Yes, I will sometimes dabble in that genre, but usually it has to be fairly mild, the original TV version of¬†Stephen King’s It, and of¬†James Herbert’s novels, some of¬†Dan Simmons novels¬†(specifically the “horror” ones) among others are somethings that I enjoy. ¬†Right now, I’m playing¬†Until Dawn by¬†Supermassive Games for the¬†Playstation 4 (PS4 Exclusive), and it is seriously creeping me out. ¬†It uses ALL of the horror movie “tropes” to try to elicit “jump scares” from the player (and with me it is succeeding big time!). ¬†Stingers, dark environments, limited viewpoints, etc., they’re all there. ¬†If horror is your thing, then you¬†have to try this game.

Basically, the story revolves around these teens who reunite after a tragedy occurred one year ago. ¬†Like an 80’s horror movie, you’re tasked with controlling one or two of the teens and trying to make story decisions that will keep them alive. ¬†Well, I’m not doing so great. ¬†The character that I have just got surprised by a wolf/large dog after having to have his fingers amputated to get out a trap. ¬†I’ve lost at least two teens so far (and if the wolf is any indication, its about to be three!). ¬†The graphics are very well done–while there are times when “uncanny valley” does affect the character models, but only slightly and not enough to take me out of the game (just enough to notice it).

I’d really like to put this game in conversation with¬†Scream. ¬†While older, the¬†Scream series has many of the same tropes, but¬†Scream is self-aware in a way that¬†Until Dawn isn’t, even though¬†UD is a newer game. ¬†I’d really like to examine both how those tropes play out in the two works and why the game’s developer,¬†Supermassive chose to minimize/ignore some of the newer, self-awareness of the conventions of the horror genre. ¬†Right now, horror as a genre, is making a resurgence, and I might even (if I have the courage) to add in more and newer examples in the horror genre (It,¬†Get Out,¬†and even¬†A Quiet Place–as much as I’ve railed against it) to examine the rhetorical nature of¬†UD.

Costume Quest 2

This a smaller title and it is a one that is based on monsters taking over halloween. ¬†It features simplified combat and a fun art style. ¬†The story is also pretty good as well. ¬†It doesn’t look like it will be a very long game, but it does look like it will be a quality game. I’m trying to get through some of the “free” games that I’ve acquired through¬†Playstation Plus. ¬†I’ve got about 30 smaller games that I’ve downloaded over the past three years and I’ve not really played them, so this is my attempt to try to eliminate my backlog of games. ¬†I’m about halfway through (as best I can tell) and I’m having fun with it even though it is starting to get challenging. ¬†Looking forward to seeing how it ends.

Well, that’s all for this week–have a good weekend!

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

 

E3 2018 Conferences Review

E3

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 3365 (+324)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

Changed the way I write. ¬†I moved back to¬†Scrivener in order to utilize the word count tracking feature in the program. ¬†I tried to find a web version (& I did), but it seemed silly to try to¬†wrangle three different websites when I have an all-in-one solution in¬†Scrivener. ¬†Once I did, I was able to to get writing done. ¬†I also¬†reconfigured my workspace so let’s see if that helps.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Daily (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Oathbringer¬†by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novel, Stormlight Archive Book 3) (somewhere in 700s in terms of page count–more than half way finished.)
  • For School:
    Rhetoric in the European Tradition by Thomas Conley (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer¬†over the summer break before classes started again, but¬†BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on¬†Oathbringer. ¬†I finally found a copy at MTSU‚Äôslibrary and I‚Äôm reading it now.¬† ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I‚Äôve had in my collection for sometime‚ÄďI‚Äôve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Game Mode On (What I’m Playing); Updated Weekly (Mondays)

  • Tom Clancy‚Äôs Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft Multi-platform): Open World, Third Person Tactical Shooter‚ÄďAbout ¬ĺth of the way through. ¬†Special Ops/Military combat in a fictional Bolivia taken over by a Mexican drug cartel.

    Still working my way through–I’m trying to clear out a province a week, but because I’m catching up from¬†E3 so I only got to clear about¬†¬Ĺ of the province I’m currently working on. ¬†I was planning on finishing that province today, but I have far too much to do today, so I’m not going to get to play it next week.
  • Until Dawn (Sony PS4 Exclusive): Third Person, Horror‚Äď branching storyline game that features a variety of choices that affect the outcome of the story using a system call the ‚ÄúButterfly Effect.‚ÄĚI got further along, but now I have a decision to make: do I let the “creepy” best friend die, or do I let the character’s potential girlfriend die. ¬†I decided to stop right there.

Bethesda

Fairly disappointed in¬†Bethesda’s conference as the games that I really want to play are¬†Starfield and the next¬†Elder Scrolls game,¬†Elder Scrolls VI. ¬†Both were teased with basically an environment and a logo, but did not show anything even remotely like a cinematic or gameplay. ¬†They are also at least another year, probably two years away. ¬†Their main game this year was¬†Fallout 76, an online game in the¬†Fallout¬†universe. ¬†That means that there have been (or will be when¬†F76 comes out)¬†two games in the¬†Fallout universe this generation and¬†none in the¬†Elder Scrolls universe. ¬†While I don’t begrudge other players their¬†Fallout high, I’m not really a¬†Fallout¬†player. ¬†I’m intrigued by¬†Starfield as it is a new IP in what seems to be a Sci-Fi (spacefaring) setting, but as it is an unknown quantity, it is hard to get too excited for it.

C

6/19/18 Edit: I forgot that¬†Bethesda¬†also released a trailer and gameplay for the game¬†Rage 2.¬† Having played the first¬†Rage, I found it fairly interesting so I’m looking forward to this game, so I’m raising the score from its original¬†C- to¬†C.

Square Enix

So, the new¬†Tomb Raider¬†game,¬†Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks pretty good as did the trailer for a new IP called¬†The Quiet Man. ¬†I’m also interested in the new¬†Dragon Quest game as I’ve not yet played a game in that series. ¬†Still, it was a short conference (half and hour) and its main claim to fame,¬†Kingdom Hearts III, already had a trailer to drop before¬†E3 started, so it was a bit of a let down.

C

Ubisoft

I though¬†Ubisoft had a particularly good showing. ¬†Their conference was fun and had a lot of energy and they had a mix of games that I’m interested in playing among the ones that I’m not all that interested in. ¬†The Division 2, The Crew 2,¬†and¬†Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are all games that I’m looking forward to playing, although I’m one¬†Assassin’s Creed¬†game behind and I need to catch up.

B+

Sony

So, Sony showed the best games and gave the most detailed look at their upcoming portfolio for their various studios/projects, but they only went into detail about four games: The Last of Us, Part 2, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushumia, and Spider-Man.  Each of these projects got an extended look and they all look fantastic.  The problem is that Sony only showed these four major games (in addition to several lesser trailers with Control being the highlight of these trailers).  None of these games are listed as coming later than 2019 (although a couple had no date whatsoever, but I have a feeling they will also be 2019 games).

I’m guessing (and¬†ONLY guessing) that¬†Sony’s strange conference is due to the fact they will probably be “reloading” in 2020 with “next generation” games (perhaps even hardware–aka the “PS5”–as the system will be six years old in 2019 and seven years old in 2020).¬† My best guess is that 2019 will be the last major “swan song” for major releases for the¬†PS4.¬† Bold prediction, perhaps, but that is the only thing that makes sense given both the age of the console and the paucity of gaming announcements at¬†Sony’s conference.

B- (A- for the in-depth look at the games, but C for the overall showcase in general).

Winner

Ubisoft–while I didn’t like all the games Ubisoft debuted, they had the most eclectic mix, the strongest conference, and provided the most fun out of all the¬†E3 Press Conferences¬†that I watched.¬† Hopefully,¬†Sony¬†will get there act together next year (hopefully, with¬†next generation games/hardware)

Sidney




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The Crew 2: Beta Impressions

crew2_steamcommunity_dotcom

The Crew 2 Cover Art (Racer with car, boat, and motorcycles with U.S. landscapes in the background).  Image Source: Steamcommunity.com

Word Count

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 3041 (+613)
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

So I managed a whopping 613 (!) words today.  I wrote for longer than I planned (about 20 mins longer than I planned), but I got into a real groove once I got the ship names down.  This is a first draft, but right now, I really like the way it is coming together.  Now, I need to stop and read for school.  

Currently Reading

  • For Fun: Edgedancer¬†by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy Novella)
  • For School: Rhetoric in the European Tradition by Thomas Conley (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
  • For Research/Personal Development: Great Aircraft of WWII¬†by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)

I wanted to read Oathbringer¬†over the summer break before classes started again, but¬†BS said that it might be helpful to read a Novella entitled, Edgedancer, before starting on¬†Oathbringer. ¬†I finally found a copy at MTSU’s library and I’m reading it now. ¬†X¬†gives a history of Rhetoric. ¬†It’s a book that I have¬†to read for my History of Rhetoric class. ¬†Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover. ¬†Now, with¬†Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

First Impressions

After getting into and playing¬†The Crew 2¬†Beta this weekend, I thought I’d give some general, overall impressions–nothing major as it is still a Beta after all and things¬†could conceivably change (not likely, as the game is due to release in under a month and it still has to be “locked down” to be manufactured on the disc). ¬†Still, as longtime readers will know that¬†The Crew 2 is one of the games that I was most looking forward to at last year’s¬†E3. ¬†I really liked the original game even though it only got mediocre reviews (mostly due to the average “revenge” story and not necessarily next-gen graphics) and I find myself “tooling” around the “open world” of the U.S. map on a regular basis.

The Crew, Upgraded

Long story short, I liked the¬†Beta. ¬†Basically, this seems like a really upgraded version of the original game. ¬†Strange to hear it described this way, perhaps, as it¬†is a sequel, but the game plays much more like the first game, but with the added disciplines of¬†air racing and¬†boat racing. ¬†The air racing sections means that you can fly over the entire map of the highly condensed map of the U.S. and they’ve taken creative liberties with the American waterway system so that you can essentially boat the length of the U.S. just as you can drive it, so essentially you can drive, fly, or boat in their sandbox. ¬†It effectively triples the “sandbox” in which you play the game–instead of just driving, now you can drive, boat, or fly around the map.

Not Perfect, However

So, I was planning on buying this one as a “reward” for myself for getting through my June classes as it releases on¬†June 29th and my classes end on¬†July 6. ¬†I may still get it, but after playing the¬†Beta it isn’t a slam dunk as it was before for this reason:¬†The Map is EXACTLY the same!¬† After playing the original game for so long, I have the majority of the map memorized, so I can tell that they’ve not changed their original road structure significantly based on my time with the beta. ¬†Now, to be honest, they revealed this when they revealed the game, but it seemed like they were upgrading the map (roads) for the additional modes, so I thought they’d change the road system and add new cities, but that’s not what they’ve done. ¬†They¬†did upgrade the graphics and added in a more robust river system (& it looks like the events are¬†greatly expanded), but the¬†road system &¬†cities are¬†exactly the same as the first game. ¬†I was hoping to visit new cities and drive on new roads–for instance, a greatly truncated Nashville, Tennessee and Chattanooga Tennessee are in the game, but not Atlanta, Georgia. ¬†Now, I’m all about my home city (Chattanooga) being in the game, but realistically, Atlanta is a major metropolitan area that rivals New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Dallas as a major component in the country. ¬†It is essentially the “New York” of the South and deserves to be in the game. ¬†However,¬†The Crew 2 still does enough new things that I’m excited to see the new interpretations of the places that I’ve already seen a ton of times in the original game. ¬†I’m just not sure if it is worth full price based on the fact that the road system is pretty much the same–still, I¬†will be getting this game, but I have to decide if it is worth an immediate summer purchase, or if it would be better as a “Christmas” game.

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Show Us The Gameplay!

Show-me-the-money_socialsuitenet

Tom Cruise with the dialogue caption: “Show me the money!”¬† Image Source: The Social C Suite (http://thesocialcsuite.net/show-me-the-money/)

  • Project Paradise Word Count: 357
  • Project Skye Word Count: 1617
  • Project Independence Word Count: 2357¬†
  • Project Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel Page Count: 12

I haven’t written anything as of yet–I wanted to do the blog post first and get it out before the long holiday weekend (U.S.).¬† Hopefully, if I don’t write today, I’ll be able to write at least 250 words over the 3 day weekend–that’s my goal, at least.¬† Let’s see on Tuesday if I can actually make it happen.

Games, Games, Games

Okay, so for the most part, my blog entries for the past two weeks have centered (mostly) around my writing endeavors as I try my best to find the best way to navigate the Work, Life, Writing Balance.¬† I’m actually going to veer a hard left today and move more into video games and gaming for the next two weeks.¬† Don’t worry, I’m still going to update the word counts and give a brief description of how the writing is going, but as¬†E3 approaches, I want to shift focus just a bit for a while to cover some aspects of gaming that are intriguing.¬† Sometimes, like today, the writing and gaming will intersect (at least tangentially), but not always.¬† Just wanted to give you a head’s-up about where the blog is headed in the next couple of weeks.¬† Oh, I should mention that sometime in the near future, I’ll (hopefully, *fingers crossed*) be seeing¬†Thor Raganarok¬†in the near future & I’ll post here and update my Favorite¬†Marvel Movies¬†post when I do.

Gamplay is King

So, today I watch a trailer for a game called¬†Earthfall (aha, tricked you, didn’t I.¬† Gamers are all up in arms about a “little” game called¬†Battlefield V at the moment–I’ll actually cover that at a later date–maybe).¬† However, as you can see from the trailer below, the game looks to be a 4 person cooperative shooter against aliens.¬† The problem is that is all I can gather from the trailer.¬† As there is no actual “gameplay,” it is hard to decide if I should put it on my “radar” or not.¬† Is it a 1st person or 3rd person shooter, is it online only or is there a single player component (campaign), what does the moment-to-moment gameplay look like, etc.?¬† ¬†Yes, yes, I know that I simply google it and find out all of this information, but the¬†point I’m trying to make is that I shouldn’t have to.¬† If you want me to purchase your game, show me (in gameplay) why I should do so.

We should be past creating a trailer, but not releasing any information about, especially since the game releases on¬†July 13th, which is less than 2 months away (and knowing that a game goes “gold”–i.e., features “locked in” so that the discs can be pressed and shipped to retailers or downloaded for purchase doesn’t inspire confidence).¬† ¬†At most, show one trailer–the trailer below is the 2nd major one, and then start showing gameplay.¬† Even if they reveal gameplay at¬†E3 in about two weeks time, I’m going to have to wait on reviews because, like movies, when companies aren’t confident that their product is good, they’ll often hold off releasing detailed information on the product until the last minute, hoping to “trick” consumers into seeing it/purchasing it¬†before the initial waves of bad reviews start to flood in.

How to Do it Right!

So, last year, a racing game called¬†The Crew 2 caught my eye.¬† It is the sequel to¬†The Crew,¬†a game I loved and sunk hours into over the past two years since its release.¬†¬†The Crew 2 did have a trailer, but it has also consistently released gameplay elements, showing off the various parts of the game.¬† They’ve released so much that I’ve had to put it on media “blackout” so that I don’t see too much of the game and spoil the surprises of the new things that they’ve added.

As I know what¬†The Crew 2 is and what its gameplay looks like, I’m all in and willing to invest my hard earned money “sight unseen” in it because I’ve seen enough gameplay of the new game and I’ve played enough of the old game to know that this new game will be right up my ally.¬† Also, as it comes out¬†June 29th and my classes end on July 3, this will make the perfect “getting through your summer classes” gift to myself.¬†¬†Earthfall might have also been included in this transaction had they shown more gameplay, but as it stands, I’ll probably pick up¬†God of War instead and (if the reviews are good), pick up¬†Earthfall on sale around Christmas time.

To any developers (or future developers) who may stumble across this blog post, please remember–“Gameplay is King!”

Have a great weekend, and for those in the U.S., have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Sidney




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What’s on my Bookshelf? Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag for the PS4

Sorry, but this blog post won’t be extremely detailed today. ¬†I’m feeling under the weather today with a bit of a fever and sore throat.

Assassin’s Creed Series

So, I own all of the major in-line¬†Assassin Creed games. ¬†I bought the¬†first¬†Assassin’s Creed game when it came out for the¬†Playstation 3 and marveled at its brilliance. ¬†And then I couldn’t figure out how to play it as I’d never really played an¬†open-world game before. ¬†I had to¬†play¬†InFamous, a superhero open-world game to figure it out. ¬†Once I did so,¬†Assassin’s Creed II was released and I’ve finished every game in the¬†mainline series to date (haven’t gotten¬†AC: Origins yet–the latest one).

A Pirate’s Life

So, many people consider¬†Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to be a “pirate simulator.” ¬†It gives you a pretty good approximation of being a pirate with sailing, swashbuckling, and boarding ships, all with the backdrop of¬†Assassin’s Creed¬†lore in the Caribbean setting. ¬†While not my favorite¬†AC game, it was still enjoyable. ¬†I didn’t really like the ending, but it was still an enjoyable experience. ¬†I would rate it a¬†B if I had to grade it (not my favorite, but definitely above average).

Too Many Side Activities

Much of the problem lies in the fact of the “Ubification”¬†of the game–too much stuff to do in order to pad the game’s playtime. ¬†I wouldn’t mind finding the “sea chanties” for the crew to sing as the ship sailed along, but having to “chase” them down, only to have them reset if they “got away” is one of many “tasks” that just exists to waste time, so that 1) you play that game–and only that game–for a long period of time, and 2) along with that, as long as you’re playing the game, you’re not trading it in or giving it friends, etc. ¬†Every since¬†AC III, expansion of game-time has been a primary staple of¬†AC games.

Anyway, I don’t want to badmouth the game. ¬†I think that it is a very good game that I’m proud to have on my bookshelf.

Sidney


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