Playing Games Past Their Prime

In gaming, there remains something special about cracking open a fresh, new game on day one and playing it along with everyone else in the world. In the past, that “world” might have only consisted of a small group of friends; nowadays, when we play a new game, the literal “world” plays with us. This I contemplated recently on Virtual Bastion, particularly as much of my present gaming has been spent in the past. Is there something to be said of playing games past their prime?


I’m about to type something that might prove…irksome.


I don’t get Shadow of the Colossus.

Oh, I heard that gasp! alright. But hear me out. I’ve only just started the game and have taken down a mere four colossi. It took me three of them to really understand the controls and tactics of the game, so I feel like I’m off to a slow start anyway. I see where the story’s going, but it’s far too early to know exactly where it’ll lead. And it’s is a really gorgeous game, so I’m not balking at its look or style. It’s just…well, it doesn’t feel terribly compelling at this point, because all I’ve done so far is find colossi and take them down. And while the battles with them have been amazingly intense, I feel like I must be missing something.

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What is an RPG without the “R” and the “P”? [Part 1 of 2]

This past March, in the few weeks leading up to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s release, I opted to take on the challenge of playing through as as much of the original trilogy as I could. But with time being short, and those games being long, I was faced with only one choice: speed(ish) runs! (Relatively speaking.) With rules, of course. (Otherwise there was no way in hell I was going to be able to reign myself in!) Surprisingly, I managed to make it through both ME 1 and 2, and I documented my progress on Virtual Bastion. Here’s part 1 of my 2-part post.


Image by Flick user mrwynd (CC BY 2.0)

When I decided at the beginning of March that yes, okay, I’d invest in Mass Effect: Andromeda, I thought that it might be fun to play through what I could of the original trilogy before Andromeda was released. But with my gaming time being limited, and with upwards of a several dozen hours, if not more, required for each game, I knew that there was no way I could complete any of the games to their fullest extents in just a couple weeks. It was a quandary.

But then, I thought, what if I didn’t complete the games to their fullest extents? What if I only played through each game’s main story? Having never put less than a standard work-week’s time into any of my playthroughs of any of the individual Mass Effect titles, I thought it could…

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A gaming update, updated!

A few months back, I offered up a round-up of games that I had recently played or been playing. It was good; I liked it. It made me feel much more accomplished than I thought it would. And I think it’s something I’m going to try to do every few months, or thereabouts. (Probably without the “Play or Pass” references, unless I picked up something based off that series specifically.) Starting with this poorly titled post. Maybe I’ll come up with something snazzier eventually. Maybe not. I really don’t know. And as you can see, I’m having a damn near awful time with this introduction, so let’s just let on with the games, shall we?

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Easy Mode is Better Played Than Debated

During a recent review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here. Here’s one from around February 2013 in which I mused over playing games on “easy.”

Last week, Kotaku released an brief but interesting article on “very easy” games modes. It’s a quick read if you just want to pop over there.  It’s okay — I’ll wait.

Maybe All Games Should Have a ‘Very Easy” Mode

Um.  You still…? Forget it, forget it. Here’s the jist — a reader contacted author with idea that Ni No Kuni’s developer, Studio Ghibli, should release a “very easy” mode patch in order to make the game more accessible to, in this case, his girlfriend. Author pondered this and then asked:

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Mission [JRPG]: A new year, a new game project

Thank Kotaku. Now if you could just give me all the time in the world...
Thanks, Kotaku. Now if you could just give me all the time in the world…

Last year I dove head first into something that was brand new for me: a “follow me as I play” project of sorts in which I tackled my very first Pokemon game, Pokemon LeafGreen. The whole process was extremely rewarding as it provided me with not only a great gaming experience, but also opportunities to reach out to a slightly different and expanded audience. (As well, the project really opened my eyes to the universe that is Pokemon, and I’m currently having a blast plodding along in Pokemon Emerald.) Once I was done with LeafGreen, I almost immediately started formulating thoughts for another game play series. As there’s nothing less than a semi-infinite plethora of games old and new that have slipped my gaze over the years, a mountain of games came to mind. Even so, I kept placing one game at its apex: Chrono Trigger.

Continue reading “Mission [JRPG]: A new year, a new game project”

Deleting the Fluff; Playing with Passion

I’ll admit it. For awhile there I was really into playing games on my tablet. I had lots of games from which to choose, and that number seemed to grow weekly every time I logged into Google Play. All it took was the re-introduction of Xenoblade Chronicles to make me take a long, hard look at the direction in which my gaming life was going. I covered this journey to redemption (or maybe “redemption”) in the following post for United We Game.


If I was placed under duress to name one amazing aspect of modern gaming, (because there are many) it would be accessibility. Simply put, one need not stray far from common technologies to access video games. They are available through consoles, desktops, laptops, streaming devices (i.e. Roku), tablets, and phones. And perhaps most importantly, a good many available games are FREE. Well…make that “free,” at least in some cases.

When I first got a phone that was capable for playing games, I loaded it to the brim with free fodder like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Same thing happened when I got my first tablet. Only with the tablet, I expanded my game gobbling to include paid titles as well as freemium games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. And I was happy. I was happy to have nothing less than…

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Retro Bound?

A few months ago, before Dragon Age: Inquisition came rambling along and Bayonetta hooked me with merely a glance, I considered a possible gaming future that was rooted in the past. I thought that in order for me to really stick with gaming as a perpetual hobby, I might have to focus less on the here-and-now in gaming and more on the overlooked gems of generations gone by. These inklings culminated in the post below that I wrote for United We Game. Despite the fact that I’m playing recent games now, I wouldn’t call these thoughts quelled. If anything, my desire to head back before moving directly forward is stronger than ever. Though it is humming along quietly in the backseat while I take on dragons and witches. Because, priorities.


Image by Flickr user kylebaker Image by Flickr user kylebaker

As the beginning of 2014, you know how many games for which I was so incredibly excited I was counting down the minutes to the released dates? Exactly zero. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to a few games (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and Fable Anniversary, for example), or that I was oblivious to the release of the likes of Titanfall, Thief, or other big budget titles. It’s just that nothing new really lit up all my gaming cylinders.

So here we are nine months later, and only one game has me all a’jittery – Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s the only game this year that I’ve even thought of pre-ordering. And if I do get it, well…it’s still an if. (Though I probably will get it.)

Lately, I’ve been much more…

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Standing at the Crossroads with JRPGs

Recently on Geek Force Network, I made a terrible admittance. I don’t like JRPGs as much as I think I should. I’ve tried and nominally succeeded and tried and mostly failed to work them into my gaming routine over the years, but I’ve tended to keep them at arms length due to what I perceive as overwhelming complexity. Many JRPGs require a certain level of devotion up front in order for the player to properly latch onto the story, the controls, and the gameplay in general. Anything less and the game becomes a hard-to-remember slog through intricate but forgotten plots filled with interesting but forgotten characters. Why do I think I NEED JRPGs in order to be a well-rounded gamer? I really don’t know, and I can’t say I answered that question in this post. But writing it made me feel more certain about one thing: I should quit over analyzing and just play! 🙂

Geek Force Network

The other day I did an incredibly rare thing – I purchased a video game on a whim, without any forethought or questioning, without any rhyme or reason. In all my years of gaming, the act of purchasing a game has never been something I’ve taken lightly. I tend to play it close to the chest when buying games, preferring to stick with franchises I know and trust or games that I’ve thoroughly read up on and believe are worth my hard earned sixty dollars. But in the case of this very capricious choice, I went against my own rules and sensibilities.

No need to hold on to your butts here; the game I purchased wasn’t anything all that far-flung, just Final Fantasy XIII-2. Yep, that’s all, simply a Final Fantasy game. I turned on the Xbox, noticed its little sale ad on the homepage, and made the purchase…

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