The Gaming Version of the Overlook Hotel

Now that I am firmly into a month without access to high speed internet and the ability to game online with the proper bandwidth I can give the world some observations from my time traveling relocation to 2004 while still being in 2018.  I must admit, my initial reaction as a gamer was less than thrilling.

shining
Offline gaming has got me like…

I have found that my overall gaming has dialed back exponentially.  Not only have I been playing less in general, I have also noticed that with a turtle speed wifi connection I have less inclination to turn on my console.  The fact that it takes me an absurd amount of time to download a simple patch for any game is enough to make me wish I had a proxy controller to throw in a fit of gamer rage.  Yet, there is something nice about seeing these limitations.  The first is that first person shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield aren’t even installed on my console.  In their place I have Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy and Borderlands – The Handsome Collection… both of which I purchased at bargain prices last week.  I will soon be replacing MLB 17 with MLB 18 on my PS4 as well (we will get into my reaction to their Online Franchise abandonment in the next article).

One observation about gaming without high speed internet is that you are forced to play hard copy games you already own that you may not have completed to this point.  For me, this means looking at Dark Souls 3, Shadow Warrior, The Last of Us, Shadow of Mordor, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Titanfall 2.

It leaves me feeling like an old man reflecting on my parents telling me as a kid that I didn’t need new games if I haven’t beat the games I have.  I suppose that is similar to the other observation I made in this new trip to the gaming stone age… I have been reading a lot more as well.  I am already quite the bibliophile, but now I basically get a chance to dive into the pile of books we finally managed to unpack and my wife sorted out in her wonderfully efficient manner.  Seriously, we have a small library right now and it doesn’t even start to touch the amount of books we still have in storage.  It’s a nice problem to have, I suppose.

The moral of this story is that while I am inconvenienced in one of my favorite hobbies I am not without other avenues to pursue my gaming.  Not to mention, it’s rather enjoyable to read some books I might otherwise leave on a shelf.  Whether it is your books or your games that have yet to be finished, you really need to take the opportunity to beat the games you have ignored when you do lose high speed internet.

 

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E3 Is Dead – Long Live Corporate Prosaicism

As we move past E3 2017 and into the second half of the year it is starting to feel more and more like gamers are reaching a similar jaded point to movie-goers.  Then again, maybe it’s the other way around – take a look at the box office numbers for a majority of movies anymore and you will see a similar downward spiral.

No matter how you look at it, the state of video games is still strong.  I feel like the trend of indie games has finally hit a downslope as there isn’t much out there that I am hearing about to make me think of some of the big hits we experienced a few years ago.

E3 came and went without giving me much pause this year.  The Xbox One X doesn’t impress me any more than the Nintendo Switch does with portable controllers.  It’s just a lot of ‘meh’ when it comes to my needs and general taste as a gamer.  Maybe it’s because I am a bit more difficult to impress as I get older.

The few games I am looking forward to that were either covered at E3 or are simply coming out soon are:

Shadow of the Colossus –

This was one of my favorite titles on PS2.  I fought the urge to buy it on PS3 simply because I didn’t have a lot invested in the system or my game library.  SotC was one of the most beautiful games I had played simply because it felt like I was walking through a misty dreamscape the entire time.  The idea that a world was there with giant bosses to hunt down and figure out on the fly made it all the more intriguing.

Wolfenstein 2 – The New Colossus (yes, another use of the word ‘colossus’) –

The New Order truly surprised me from a story perspective.  It included a lot of humor and some unsettling circumstances that made it fun to kill Nazi’s again (it doesn’t actually get old).  Wolfenstein was announced by Bethesda while they didn’t announce anything for a new Elder Scrolls game that wasn’t MMO related or money grab related with their newname for a paid mod system.  Wolfenstein looks like another game that will be fun as hell to play through.  My only wish is that it had some sort of multiplayer along the lines of the old PC game ‘Return To Castle Wolfenstein’.

Call of Duty – WWII –

I can’t help but find myself excited to play through this campaign.  Why?  Because there aren’t going to be stupid booster jumps and wall running.  There won’t be any sort of futuristic guns that can somehow shoot plasma charges or whatever the hell they have been doing since Advanced Warfare.  The multiplayer in COD has taken a back seat for me over the last few years.  Now that I have more important things to take care of or spend time doing, I really don’t care about my place on leaderboards.  I probably won’t buy this on day one, but I will certainly give it a try.

Crash Bandicoot – N Sane Trilogy –

My brother and I used to play the Crash Bandicoot all the time as kids on our PS1.  This game really has my nostalgia more than anything.  I think it might be something I wait to buy for some time simply because there isn’t anything ‘time sensitive’ about this game in my opinion.

 

I am on the fence with one of my annual purchases…

Madden 18 – Of the many things I am hoping for, it is the continued improvement of Connected Franchise Mode.  There are so many parts of the Madden experience that can be improved for fans of franchise mode that I find myself on the fence when it comes to disappointment or content with the progress.  The new cinematic mode ‘Longshot’ seems to be playing at the desires of Youtubers and their ilk.  I must say, it looked somewhat interesting, but if I want to play a story game I am going to stick with legit RPG’s and such.  Madden needs to stick to what it is trying to do the best – and that is making a strong simulation football game.  If you want to be honest about sports games at this point you will see that they are turning into microtransaction machines for their Ultimate Team modes far more than improving the actual game.  I can’t really blame them for bending to the whims of their corporate masters.  I can speak with my wallet and to that end, I have been siding with the growing numbers of people that wait to play these games until they come down in price or get them on eBay just to keep the money out of the publishers hand a bit more.

The other aspect of Madden that has all but turned me off completely is the community that EA Tiburon has generally focused on over the last few years.  I refuse to give these guys any sort of shout out or publicity – suffice to say that they all generally gather in a specific online sports gaming forum, run YouTube Channels, are a part of the ‘Game Changers’, live on Twitter, or a mix of all of those things. They seem to think they are experts when it comes to the game of football.  They also seem to grovel at the feet of EA Sports.  They will occasionally say something to make a point of false contention, but in the end – they are in this for their own motivations and have no reason to bite the hand that feeds them (monetarily, with free games, extra access, etc.).

Obviously this criticism comes off as me either being a hater or some sort of jealousy.  I am actually proof reading what I type down and try to remain honest and critical when it comes to my work as well.  My real beef with the Madden community is that it isn’t a functional community anymore.  The YouTube crowd and Madden Tournament crowd has destroyed this community.  The idea that there is almost literally no other football game for anyone to play goes further in destroying the community in terms of feedback, conversation, and synergy.  The ongoing monopoly is hampering creativity with Madden as well as MLB The Show.  When these games both have to copy the style of NBA 2K in order to bring something new to their games it would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.