Gaming Update: Halloween 2016

Videogame-wise, here’s what I’ve been up to in the last few months and what I’m planning for the next few months:

In August, I got a stomach flu and stayed home from work for about four days. During that time of coughing and blowing my nos constantly, I decided to play through one of my favorite games of all time — Mass Effect 1 — and I did. I played a little Mass Effect 3 afterward, but that killed my Mass Effect craving.

That kind of started me on a series of very short-lived video game phases. Next in line was Left 4 Dead. I come back to that one every once in a while; it’s a game that will never totally become irrelevant, because it’s such a flawless, fun multiplayer experience. BUT, I have an inherit distaste for zombies and trolls. So that phase lasted only about five days.

Next up was Cities: Skylines, the most absorbing game I think I’ve ever played. I was so involved in the controlling traffic aspect of my city, I was starting to think about it at work and drawing rough ideas for road plans on post-it notes… It got to the point where I had to uninstall it because I wasn’t thinking about anything else. That phase lasted another four or five days.

Next was Mad Max. I bought this for the PS4, because it was cheap and I was in the mood to a explore a new open world. It turned out to be very satisfying in that regard. Though, the game got old quick, and my phase lasted about three days. I have a lot of thoughts about the game and want to post a review soon.

After that, I got back into Fallout 4 for some ungodly reason. I think it was because I recently discovered a stash of Fallout 4 memes and they reminded me about all the goofiness and fun. I had an idea for a new settlement construction, so I went in to try that out… It ended up being a whole big ordeal, because I ended up liking the new settlement so much, that I decided to make it my main settlement, which meant transferring all the contents of my storage boxes across the map one fast-travel at a time and setting my little hub to cool-down after missions. I seriously spend more time doing that junk than actually going on missions… It’s dumb, and I’m dumb for enjoying it so much.

Fallout 4 is a funny thing, because for the last several months, I had decided that there was nothing left to do in that game. Any time I load it up, I spend 20% of the time exploring the same areas I’ve been already because I can’t find any new missions, and I spend 80% of the time effing around with my settlements and/or dressing my followers up in various attire. I don’t know why I do that because followers are mostly worthless, and settlements are only cool in my imagination. There’s nothing in the game to tell you “hey, you built an awesome settlement!” So every time I try to play this game, I end up feeling like I’m just hanging around a dead end. I’ve already reached the dead end; I’m there, and I’m just walking around in circles expecting another trail to open up, but of course it never does…

…Until the most recent time I played. I was finished designing and decorating my new central hub settlement, and I decided to go out exploring just to experience that sensation where I can come “back home” to my settlement. As it turned out, I stayed out there for about four hours of real-world time, no fast travel or anything. The path I wound up on ended up taking me to all these locations I had not cleared out yet; some of which had very organic stories attached to them… First I found a camp ground with linked audio logs scattered around, then I found a giant dam that was cool, then a flooded town with a mystery to unlock, then a raider settlement under a highway, then a school where you learn about a pink-goo conspiracy… I ran into a mirelurk queen and eventually wound up and this giant-ass Gunner settlement that lead to some awesome combat environments… All of these places I had never been before, and all of them I stumbled upon by my own accord. My point is, it actually felt candid and organic, which is how the exploration in Fallout is meant to feel. After all this time believing that feeling was gone from this game, it proves me wrong. I was very pleasantly surprised, and now I’m thinking there may be potential left in this game yet… It just might be hard to find sometimes.

Moving on…

Despite having bought a few little games from the Steam Halloween sale, I’m going to cool down my video game play for a while. I am anticipating the release of a couple big games in the coming months, and I have a lot of stuff to do before I’ll feel comfortable enough to spend time with them. I’m trying to build a life for myself here. I have dreams, I have goals… That being said, I started playing Oxenfree last night. FML.

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