Monday, May 21, 2018

Yoko Taro'd is a verb now

My goodness, was I in a mood over the weekend. I was between big games, cleaning up the backlog, looking for any reason to dismiss games. It did not matter what I played, I was not going to have a good time.

I started on Friday with Wild Gun Reloaded, a Switch remake of an SNES game that I thought was a home console port of an arcade game that I remember being quite good at. It isn't and, unlike that old arcade game, Wild Guns Reloaded is fucking hard. It was my intent to just abuse continues and see it through to the end but nope, continues return you to the first section of each stage. Each stage consists of at least three sections making the continues borderline useless.

Turning Wild Guns Reloaded off sent me into a brief personal crisis. I did not want to start anything new but there was nothing that I wanted to play for just an hour or so. I thumbed through my digital collection several times and came up empty. Out of desperation I watched the first episode of the first season of Black Mirror (the Netflix show, not the terrible game). The pig fucking came as a surprise but the rest of the episode was not bad.

Kingdom Come Deliverance was attempted on Saturday. I knew going in the game was going to annoy me. 'Realistic take on Elder Scrolls' does not inspire me with confidence. Sure enough, one of the first quests was to get money out of the town drunkard. He owed your father for a hammer and nails and had drank up the payment. He didn't have it so I walked into his house and found a locked chest. The game told me that I needed lockpicks and was kind enough to tell me who to talk to. A few minutes of walking and stilted olde english later I had four picks.

The lockpicking mechanic was different. Not bad, but different. I failed a few times. Four times to be precise. What I did not know was that each failure broke one of the picks. I screwed up a tutorial section bad enough to break the main quest (I think). If this is how the game is going to treat me in the first hour I am not going to give it the chance to fuck me ten hours from now. I refuse to be 'Yoko Taro'd' again.

Now thoroughly pissed I returned to the list. I don't remember purchasing What Remains of Edith Finch but I had heard that it was good if you enjoy walking sims. Walking and pressing X was the limit of the effort I could muster so I started it. And in two hours I had finished it.

What Remains of Edith Finch made me feel things. Happy, sad, shocked, it was all there. The section in the fish cannery was certainly effective, especially since living in my own head is something that I quite familiar with, but I found playing as a baby in a bath who you just know is going to drown to most difficult. Without spoiling too much, the Finches are an immigrant family who all manage to die in incredibly unlucky and terrible ways, save for Edith, who has returned to the family house in an attempt to learn her family's secrets. She finds diaries for each person chronicling their unlikely deaths, with each accompanied by a minigame.

Stripped to the base description it sound boring but it works. It also must be played in a single sitting. That baby section, though. Yikes.

Then I played Asemblance. If What Remains of Edith Finch is a good example of a walking sim then Asemblance is a bad one. It was boring, uninvolving, unclear and a waste of time. I got a false ending and that was good enough.

Then I started The Turing Test. It is a spin on Portal, sort of, and not bad. The puzzles require creativity without being obtuse and the voice acting and writing are better than they need to be. It is not finished but I do intend to return to it this evening.

And then I have no idea what I am going to do.

This inability to fill shorter amounts of free time is a side effect of my 'retirement' from fighting games. I do not like to start a new game on the same day as finishing one but I don't do anything with my evenings other than play games so I would jump online for some fights instead of going to bed early. This would more often than not go poorly, so I removed the stressor but not the symptom. Without a game to fall back on I find myself wandering through menus, looking for something that I have missed, hoping for a new bit of electronic smack to get me through the evening.

It's not an addiction, it's just the way I do things. It's why GameFly is a life and money saver. But when that fails me, or when *gasp* the backlog is no longer infinite I don't know what to do.

I don't play terrible games because I love them, I play them because I am afraid of running out of things to play. Walking away from games that suck is a new ability, and not a bad one, but it runs through the cushion faster than is comfortable.

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