Low Energy Gaming Week in Review

The past couple of weeks have been really trying at work. I’m in the process of training other developers, writing documentation, and frantically trying to tie up loose ends before moving to another project in May. It involves spending pretty much all day every day doing things that I’m not particularly good at, i.e. interacting with people, leading, making decisions, and generally trying to be a role model for everyone who stares at me with big round eyes wondering what to do after I’m gone. It feels a bit like acting in a play.

The point is that I haven’t had much energy for gaming. I haven’t given up on Black Desert Online per se, but I don’t login very often and I don’t do any offline activities which means that I’m falling farther and farther behind. It’s not a big deal of course since it doesn’t cost any money, but the less I play, the more I realize that I don’t “need” to play it and the less inclined I am to log back in. (To be honest, it’s hard to see what to do next even if you just want to go hit some monsters for a while, so I just stand there staring at the quest list for a while and then log out.)

BDO Harpy Castle

For the record, at last count I was level 33, and the last story location I saw was the harpy-infested Delphe Knight’s Castle. That was a pretty amazing place. I can’t think of any other MMORPG I’ve seen with such a visceral depiction of a battle zone. (Except that the harpies completely ignore you unless you attack them.)

Instead of the brain-draining BDO, often I’ve chosen to play more “lightweight” games like Far Cry Primal. I like the Far Cry games overall, and this one is definitely a refreshing change of pace, but it’s nowhere near the “survival” game I was hoping for. (One day I will publish a post on the essential ingredients a game needs in order to call itself a survival game.) Still, it’s fun, and doesn’t require much thinking.

Far Cry Primal

I tried to get into Terraria for a few days, but I still don’t understand why that game was so popular a while back. (Someday, after a future Steam sale, I will probably say the exact same thing about Stardew Valley.) I find the interface and controls very clunky. I generally dislike overhead or side-scrolling games where you move with WASD. As far as the look of the game, I kept waiting for Lemmings to drop in and start walking back and forth. Anyway I managed to dig a big hole and lengthen my playing time from about 30 minutes to about 2 hours.

This week, I also returned to another low-energy game I picked up on Steam for $5 last year: Enslaved. One day I’ll write a post on it, or post the videos I’ve been recording of it, or something. It’s a fun, Tomb Raider-eseque puzzle-solving, jumping, button-mashing game with a dumb story, but I find it charming.

The highlight of this past week by far was the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray. Coincidentally, a new Blu-ray player arrived at the same time, since, in this modern disposable world in which we live, it was far more convenient to buy a new player than to try to find and hook up my PS3. It’s the first time I’ve watched a Blu-ray in many, many years, and holy jeepers do those things look amazing compared to Netflix, Amazon Video, and the blotchy, grainy, distorted jumble of pixels known as Verizon FIOS Video-on-Demand. I recommend them. :)

2 thoughts on “Low Energy Gaming Week in Review”

  1. The more I learn of Black Desert and the more I read about games like Terraria and Stardew Valley, the more I am beginning to believe that sandbox gaming has little or nothing to do with entertainment as I understand the term. The whole concept of these management and trading sims seems to have far more in common with real life craft-based hobbies such as DIY or gardening or building models of famous buildings out of matchsticks than with art-based activities like reading, listening to music or watching movies.

    While I don’t mind spending the odd afternoon putting up shelves or an occasional day clearing the garden up, I’ve never been the sort of person who looks forward to doing that stuff for pleasure. It’s certainly easier to do it in virtuality, comfortably sat at the keyboard, but I start to think that if I’m going to pretend to do these chores I might as well get up and actually do some real ones instead. Since I don’t find them entertaining in themselves at least I might as well have the benefit of a tidier garden or a cleaner house.

    Although really I would prefer not to do these things either in the real OR the virtual. I’d rather be entertained and amused, preferably by the skill and talent of professionals. Making your entertainment has merit but I’d be the first to admit that there are countless thousands of people being paid to make entertainment for me who can all do a better job of it than I’m going to manage.

    1. I don’t think anyone has come up with a non-PR definition of a “sandbox” yet. :)

      The breaking point for me with in-game chores is whether the rewards are meaningful. Usually I like to be progressing toward something tangible, like learning to build X item so you can then do Y event, or use X item to improve my character, or something like that. If the only point for building X item is to sell it on the market or just admire it, then like you say, it loses me pretty fast.

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