Gaming Over the Weekend

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So, this weekend, I didn’t really do a whole lot of gaming, but I did get in some gaming to help with the work-life balance.  I only played three games this weekend, so I’ll talk about each one below.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

So, this was the first game that I played this weekend and I tried to do one main story mission and a couple of side missions.  I’m slowly closing in on the end of the game, but the super high difficulty that I’m currently playing at in the game world means that I go down with only two or three hits, so I have to play it pretty slowly and tactically (which, I’m sure is the reason why the game designers required me to move to this difficulty to continue to get in-game rewards for completing actions).  Without this artificial spike in difficulty, I would have been close to finishing (if not already finished).  As it is, I’m about halfway through this province, with 2 or three provinces left, not including side missions, of which I have about 2-3 in each of the game’s 10+ provinces. Hopefully, even at this reduced pace, I should finish the game sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving and I can move on and give my time fully to another game.

Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4 Exclusive)

This one is an open world game in which you get to play as Spider-Man (& Peter Parker).  Those who have followed the blog know that Spider-Man is my favorite Marvel hero and they do him justice in this game.  The animations are spectacular (pardon the pun) and the story (even in the beginning) is amazing (again, pardon the pun).  Insomniac Studios has redeemed themselves in my eyes for their X-Box exclusive game Sunset Overddrive and their lackluster game Fuse, both of which turned me against them, but with the soft reboot of Ratchet and Clank and now, Marvel’s Spider-Man (both PS4 exclusives), I’m now back in their camp.  I’d love for them to cement a partnership with Sony, but I think they are too independent for that to happen.  However, the Spider-Man game is simple Astonishing (again, pardon the pun), from suits, to gameplay, to everything, this game if filled with Spider-Man lore.  I can’t wait to play more!

The Crew

This game is a guilty pleasure for me in that I’ve finished it and I’ve done all that I intend to do with it in terms of gameplay, story, exploration, etc.  However, I just love cruising around the truncated map of the U.S. for some reason.  My original love of the game didn’t come from the story which wasn’t great, but wasn’t as bad as many made it out to be (a revenge fantasy of sorts, against an enemy who killed the protagonist’s brother to take over his number one position in the car gang the brother started.  The kid brother did time for the crime that he didn’t commit and so he joins the gang to go after this killer once he gets out.  Typical story that you’ve seen a million times before.  What I loved about the game, however, is the “exploration” that you get to do in the game.  I love driving the roads to see what’s out there, off the beaten path.  That’s what I’m looking forward to in the sequel, The Crew 2 whenever I get it.  Still, there’s just something about driving those roads, even though I already know what’s around the corner, that still compels me to pull it out and play it for an hour or two each weekend.

Well, that’s it for this weekend–hopefully, I’ll be able to report a more diverse group of games next week (fingers crossed).  Have a good day!

Sidney




  • Current Work-in-Progress: The Independent (Sci-Fi Short-Story – 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 – Script, Issue #1, Currently on Script Page 25)

 

 

 

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Game Mode On: Weekend Gaming (3 Aug. 2018)

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Man with a Playstation 4 controller in his hand looking at a Playstation 4 Menu Screen. Image Source: YouTube.com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MZ1Hn260SQ)

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

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 23 (+1)
    Goal = 3 Pages a week. 20/20 Pages (for artist). 23/32 pages (for completion of 1st issue)
    Actual = 2/5 Pages done so far this week.
    Wrote a story page last night. Reorganized the project so that it shows Issue 1. Also started putting down Acts and Scenes for a Screenplay version of the story.
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, think that I have the two characters–a brother and a sister who are on the opposite sides of the issue.  Still, no Writing so far). Need to find a place to work in revisions–I can draft new material just fine, but I don’t seem to have any time to work on “drafting” revisions.

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.
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 5 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 6 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Wrote out a fairly extensive list of possible research topics to explore from chapter 5. Really intriguing book.
  • 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’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.

So, this weekend I’m hoping to do a little gaming (fingers crossed), but before I do, I wanted to update you all on my gaming efforts last week. Before I do that, however, I also want to note that this is the first Saturday of the month.  I will be sending my artist the comic book script pages that I’ve done so far and will be sending it to him (along with a collaboration agreement which he asked for–although he did ask for it after we send the proposal to the publisher but I found one that I really like). And now, on to the games:

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

So I didn’t really get very far on this one–I was able to do a couple of “Main Story missions, but didn’t really get to do much in the way of the “side missions.” I have one “main” mission remaining and then it is only the side missions for that province and then I should be finished with that particular province.  I estimate that I’ll have about 5-6 more provinces (all 5 star difficulty) remaining, but unfortunately, only playing once a week, there’s only so much that I can get done on such a large (& long) game.

Final Fantasy XV

It really is true–when I get stuck on a game, that’s my brain’s way of telling me to take a break. I failed the mission that had me stumped a couple of more times (mostly due to boneheaded mistakes on my part & relearning the game’s controls), but I was able to get past that mission and back into the open world. There was another fairly long “side” mission that became available and I almost took it, but decided that I’d been away from the story long enough, so I wanted to do the story and (hopefully) come back to it a little later. I was surprised because I spent the better part of a day trying to get past that mission the last time I played.

Call of Duty WWII

Finished this game (single player) a while back, but I try to dip into the multiplayer (Team Deathmatch) once a week just to try to keep up my CoD skills. I’m probably going to be playing this game for a while because I’m not planning on buying Call of Duty: Black Ops IV (I refuse to use Treyarch’s inane numbering IIII for IV. Not only is it moronic, it also confuses the issue–I’ll probably use 4 from now on when referring to it). I’m not buying the new CoD because I’m not buying multiplayer only games anymore–it must have a single player component to rate a purchase and this one is foregoing the single player mode.

Costume Quest 2

So, I made significant progress on this game. I keep feeling that I’m close to the end on this game. It is actually a larger game than it seems. I now have a “younger version” of the antagonist in my party and I assume the younger version will have a hand in reclaiming/defeating the older version, but I’m not sure when that’s going to happen in terms of the narrative, so I’ll just keep trucking along until I see the End Credits screen. Hopefully I close, but if not, it is an enjoyable game and not a slog, unlike Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.

Well, that’s all I have time for right now, so I’ll talk to you next week! Have a good weekend and happy gaming/writing!

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Finished Ratchet and Clank (2016): How It “Re-Visions” the Original Game

 

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Ratchet & Clank (2016) Box Cover Art with Ratchet and Clank standing on a planetoid. Image Source: Amazon.com 

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

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 19 (+2)
    Goal = 5 Pages a week.
    Actual = 3/5 Pages done so far this week. I added a page to the 1st issue last night.

  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, No Writing so far)

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: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
  • 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’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.

Insomniac Games and the Ratchet and Clank Universe

Last Saturday, while I was feverishly trying to find and coral a “structure” for my paper that I needed to turn in Sunday, I finished a game called Ratchet and Clank. While it is for the PlayStation 4, it is a “re-imagining” of the original game which debuted on PlayStation 2. I actually could have finished it the week prior, but held off on the final boss fight as it looked fairly complex and I’d already been playing for a while and was starting to get frustrated by the boss fight. I’m glad I took a break because the boss fight was nearly as hard as I’d first envisioned and I beat it after about half an hour.

Re-imaging = Re-visioning

So, one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this here and now was because of my previous post on drafts and revisions. Ratchet and Clank (2016), (which will be referred to now on as R&C 2016) represents one way (a great way, in my opinion) of “re-seeing” a work to make it much better. There was a R&C animated movie that debuted with this game and while this game was released to take advantage of the movie, it still was very much its own creation. One of the things that I liked that the designers did was “translate” the game for modern audiences (gamers). Games, their systems, and what gamers expected in 2016 is markedly different than what they expected in 2002 when the first R&C was released. Insomniac, the makers of the R&C series, understood this and revised their game to bring it in line with modern expectations of gaming. In essence, they looked at the advantages of the new technologies they had available to them and used those to their advantage when shaping the new game. The core storyline of the R&C 2016 game is the same as the original R&C game, but the controls, graphics, effects, and music & sounds have all been upgraded to such a level that it doesn’t feel like a “remaster,” but an entirely new game.

Re-visioning Leads the Way

This is what I hope to accomplish with my writing projects and my new process of going through the outline/rough draft, 1st draft, & revision draft stages. Something that remains true to the original vision of the story that I had in mind and that excited me when I originally wrote it, but that, by using techniques and experiences that I learned/engaged with since the original story was written, I can create something that retains the flavor of the old, but is light years beyond the old. Re-visioning, or simply revision has that power. Through revision, one can shape a story and mold it into something beautiful. The problem with revision is that it can be ever on-going. There has to be a point when it comes to a stop so that one can market it and move on to other projects and ideas. For me, I’ve stopped the process too soon, ending at the first draft stage and not really going back to “re-vision”/revise the project as deeply as I could. I’m hoping that 3 really strong passes at a story will help me 1) get past the 1st draft on the market syndrome that I’ve fallen into in the recent years, and 2) not get stuck in the mode of continuous revisions, however, where I keep picking at it and picking at it, while not actually submitting the stories.

Sorry for such a long blog entry–perhaps it will make up for the one I missed yesterday. Will try to get back on a regular schedule as soon as my schedule becomes a little more regular.  Have a good day.

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Game Mode On–Costume Quest 2

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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 13 on Ship of Shadows.  
I didn’t really feel like working on the rough draft for page 14.  I just added in page 13 from the rough draft–expanding and clarifying the dialogue and description before calling it a night (sorry, but I was tired).  Still, so far I completed 2 of the 3 pages I had as a goal for this week.  

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’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.

Do You Like Candy?

So this post was originally going to be something far different (a bit of a rant about oligopolies), but I decided that it would be more far more fun to talk about games–I can always do a mini-rant another day 🙂

No, today I wanted to talk about candy–virtual candy, yes–but candy nonetheless.  There is a smaller game that I played over the past weekend called Costume Quest 2 that I really enjoyed.  In many ways, it is a really simple game that is both quite enjoyable and deeper than one might expect on first blush.

Don’t Rot Your Teeth

What happens when you mix a Dentist who hates Halloween and who has monsters and machines to outlaw the holiday with a light RPG with hero characters who derive their power from their Halloween costumes.  While it is a sequel, it is a game that one can pick up and play without having played the previous entry in the series.

One of the reasons that I like the series (having played both games) is the sense of whimsy that the game exhibits in both its game-play and its narrative.  The game is at once laugh out loud funny and sublimely droll at the same time.  For instance, one of the choices of “costumes” for the children’s powers is the “Candy Corn” costume, a costume based on that ignoble staple of Halloween candies.  I never much cared for “Candy Corn” as it was way too sweet and saccharine for my taste buds, but the game play mechanic of the costume is sublime.  Essentially, any of the kids that have the “Candy Corn” costume equipped is forbidden from attacking and instead of attacking, the attack “phrase” is replaced by some snarky comment, such as “Candy Corn has nothing to prove,” or “Candy Corn doesn’t get paid enough,” or “Candy Corn doesn’t listen to the haters.”  Even if I’ve seen the phrase before, whatever phrase that gets used never fails to bring a smile to my face.  Here is a listing of “Candy Corn Phrases”–one word of warning, however, try not to drink water while reading these!

Candy, Candy, Candy, Candy, CANDY, CANDY, CANDY

So the above line is taken from an old Garfield Halloween special that only aired a few times in the late 80s at the height of the Garfield’s popularity.  This game has that same feel to it in that it starts slow, but once you understand the simple game play mechanics, it is very addictive and makes you want to finish it just to see how the narrative will rap up.  Again, this story isn’t amazing or anything, but the fact that the game play is simple, attack, defend, or use a “special ability” and exploration along with (very) light puzzle-solving makes it an fun game for children and an eye-rollingly droll game for teens/adults.

If you come across this one at any point (either via Steam or on the consoles), I highly suggest giving this one a try, even if it is only for an afternoon.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly it’ll get its hooks into you.

Have a great weekend!

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

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’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.

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




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

 

 

Game Mode On: Artificial Game Extension

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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 FractalA 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’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.

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 ⅘ 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 (ItGet 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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“. . . Went and Spent the Money to Make to that Happen”

E3_Videogames_Guide

Images of a several games, a couple of which appeared on Microsoft’s E3 stage.  Image Source: Videogames.Guide

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 400s in terms of page count–probably reading too much based on my schoolwork, but it is so good.)
  • For School:
    Rhetoric in the European Tradition by Thomas Conley (A Book on the History of Rhetoric)
    Rereading the Sophists: Another book on the history of Rhetoric (finished–had to read this in two (2)! days.
    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’slibrary and I’m reading it now.  X gives a history of Rhetoric.  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.

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

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft Multi-platform): Open World, Third Person Tactical Shooter–About ¾th 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 ½ 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– branching storyline game that features a variety of choices that affect the outcome of the story using a system call the “Butterfly Effect.”

    I 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.

“A Display of Dominance”

So, I’m just going to go ahead and say it without any preamble–I didn’t really enjoy this year’s E3.  By now, I’ve watched all of the major conferences (except the PC Gaming Show as even though I have a Steam Account, my computer isn’t “beefy” enough to run these modern games) and I have to say that this year’s E3 was far more lackluster than usual.  In my next post, I’ll give sort of a breakdown (mini-mini review of them) and then I’ll probably do one or two posts a week highlighting games that I really like until I run out out of games that I’m personally interested in.  The general consensus is that Microsoft (aka Micro$oft) won E3 (presentation-wise), although Sony and the other companies had better games.

“With a Ton of ‘Big Names,’ even if none of them–very few of them–are exclusive to our platform”

So, this was the comment (as are ALL comments that are in this post) of the Giant Bomb contributors as the “Talked Over” Sony’s E3 Showcase.   While they tend to be a jaded bunch, they are also industry veterans who have worked in the games media industry before so I generally like their perspective (not always though, but in most cases, their commentary is pretty good).  They noted what I noted a long time ago.  Any time Microsoft feels threatened, they just pull out their proverbial “checkbook” and just start writing checks to cover their deficiencies.  Most people don’t notice (or don’t care) as they just want to back a “winner.”

Buying Your Way to Success

So, Sony has had to build up their 1st party studios.  Yes, they acquired them and brought them into the fold, but the difference is that Sony liked their work enough to bring them in, not because they already had successful IPs, but because they make/made good games.  Sony makes an “investment” where Microsoft is just looking to buy a successful IP.  It worked with Halo and Gears of War and they tried the same strategy earlier this generation with Titanfall (Xbox exclusive) and Rise of the Tombraider (1 Year Excusive), but because of their crappy business model at the beginning of the generation, Sony’s lead in console sales made it financial suicide not to release a PS4 version of a game (hence the reason we got Titanfall 2 on the PS4 and Shadow of the Tombraider without the Xbox exclusivity period).  In many ways, Microsoft is like the sports team who can “buy” a competitive team that will win the world series, while Sony is the team who “invests” in a “farm system” and helps them become successful.  Sony will close studios if they don’t perform (Evolution Studios), but they haven’t needed to purchase any studios in years based on the strength of the talent they’ve invested in earlier.  So, its like a baseball team that “buys” its way to a championship vs a baseball team that has had to work hard to get to the championship and hit it out of the park.

I have theories on why Sony chose to do things the way they did, but more on that later.  Have a good day!

Sidney




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