Archives for July 2017

Weekend Gaming, Doomguy Style

Did you know that the protaganist of the DOOM series is just called “Doomguy“? Sure, he’s nameless, but he’s supposed to be referred to as Doomguy. I was equally as disappointed as I assume you are when I found out. Doomguy? What’s next, Haloman? Diablodude?

But who cares, because DOOM is free this weekend on Steam and is also on sale for 50% off, which means the Buttonmashing crew is going to be doing some DOOM multiplayer this weekend. We had a discussion earlier this week in Slack whether or not there should be co-op play in DOOM. We decided that DOOM is most definitely a single-player experience. Doomguy is a loner, Dotti. But that doesn’t mean DOOM multiplayer can’t be something that deserves a chance. Just don’t get your single-player campaign mixed into my multiplayer fun.

The “Steam Backlog” experiment from a couple weeks ago hit a slight snag. I got too involved with DOOM to really play anything else. But if there’s time this weekend to pull away from DOOM, I hope to get something else installed and played. But I have a feeling the majority of my gametime will be spent in DOOM.

So what are you playing this weekend?

On Steam Sales and Backlogs

The most recent Summer Steam Sale has come and gone, and in its wake are numerous Steam libraries overflowing with games, probably more than will be possible for one person to play. We’ll all chuckle and joke about our growing “Piles of Shame”.

I didn’t pick up a single thing in this most recent sale, which is a first for me. I can usually convince myself I might as well pick something up. It’s on sale, after all! That got me thinking about past sales and the number of games currently gathering dust in my library.

Click to Embiggenify

As far as I can tell, you can’t sort your Steam Library on “Date Purchased”, but you can sort it on the date you last played each game. If you have purchased, but not actually played, a game in your library, the last played date is preceded by the word “New”, meaning it hasn’t even been installed. As I looked through my library of almost 200 games, it looks like the Winter 2012 Steam Sale was the most fruitful for me. In the interest of space, I’ll just link thumbnails of some of the items I picked up in that sale:

There are some “Triple-A” titles here, including Darksiders and Sim City 4, but I’ve also got some titles I don’t even remember buying. Larva Mortus? Grotesque Tactics?

I know what this is. I recognize the signs. I’ve watched enough A&E to know: This is HOARDING.

Digital hoarding.

I’ve seen enough episodes of Hoarders to know that I’m hoarding these games. It’s almost become a badge of honor to have all these games in my library. “Look how silly it is! I’ve got all these games I’ll never play!” Justifications like “they were on sale” and “it was cheaper to buy all the DLC together” slightly ease the discomfort. Don’t even get me started on Humble Bundles. They have contributed to this mess just as much as Steam Sales.

The argument could be made that digital hoarding isn’t hurting anything. There aren’t cockroaches in my kitchen because I never installed Future Wars. But that title is there, in my library list, like a wedge in my brain every time I look at that list. It just sticks in there, nagging me with a sense of disappointment. Disappointment in myself that I still haven’t loaded up this thing that I paid for and disappointment in my lack of willpower in purchasing the trash in the first place. (Note that this post is not a reflection of the quality of the unplayed games in my library. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t played them.)

So as we kick of “Hate Tony Week” (everyone hates me once a year when the wife and kids are gone for summer camps and I have 5 uninterrupted evenings with as much gaming as I can manage) I’m going to take a hatchet to my “backlog”. My Pile of Shame will be turned into a Massacre of Bad Games. In between sessions of Doom, Dota, and Overwatch, I’m going to ruthlessly eradicate large swaths of my library. I’ll give them all a fair shake, but my time has become too valuable and too scarce to waste on bad games. So I’m going to install some of these games, give them a chance and if they don’t make the cut they get the axe. No longer worthy to take up a spot in the list, they will be banished.

And I will no longer feel guilty about hoarding them.

Weekend Gaming – SOMA

SOMA is what it’s like when its done properly.

The dark, dank atmosphere and overall persistent sense of foreboding and anxiety are so well done that it is very easy to hand your psyche over to the game, to place you directly under its spell.

For the first few hours of gametime, I kept on wanting to compare it to Alien:Isolation. Both games share a few of the same user-defined tags ala “Horror”, “Sci-Fi” “Atmosphere”. And both games fulfill these same roles very, very well.

But the further I progressed in SOMA the more it diverged from Alien:Isolation.

Where Alien:Isolation is instinctive and deathly tense, SOMA takes a more cerebral approach. Where the basic premise of A:I is ‘survive. get out.’, SOMA digs in like a philosophical tick. Both games are without a doubt engaging, but SOMA possess far more lasting power than A:I.

Progress in SOMA finds the player moving deeper and deeper. Deeper in the physical sense of its oceanic setting, and deeper in the sense of its philosophical queries. It is a game whose narrative works at multiple levels of meaning. Taking a step back to ask oneself “What do you think?” has a magnitude of implications – Perhaps, maddeningly, horrifically so.

SOMA is no slim fable. Measured benchmarks in progress may answer one question but will blast open another pressure lock, flooding the player with more inquiries and dilemmas. Player engagement is nurtured by posing meaningful questions about the self, intelligence, happiness, ignorance. And the way SOMA twists these themes in and out of each other is incredible.

I look forward to completing the journey this weekend. With the way the game has presented itself thus far, I am anticipating a conclusion that will blow what I think is my mind out of the back of what I think is my skull.

What are you playing this weekend?

July Releases

Happy 4th of July to all our American readers out there, and happy July Releases to the rest of you! Nintendo Switch Owners (“Switchers”?) have something to look forward to this month with the release of Splatoon 2, but other than that, there’s not a ton that really jumps out at me. I’ll give Fortnite a looksie and Pyre has my attention given its lineage of Bastion and Transistor, but not much else is on my radar.

On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of July 10th

Week of July 17th

Week of July 24th


Nintendo Switch

Week of July 17th


Nintendo 3DS

Week of July 24th


PC

Week of July 3rd
Grimoire : Heralds of the Winged Exemplar

Week of July 10th
Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two
Wild Guns Reloaded
Numberline 2
Electronics Circuits Simulator

Week of July 17th
Pinball Wicked
Children of Zodiarcs
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Gigantic
Aporia: Beyond The Valley

Week of July 24th
Pyre
Aven Colony
Strike Vector EX
The Low Road

Week of July 31st
Supreme Ruler The Great War
Tacoma


Sony Playstation 4

Week of July 10th

Week of July 17th

Week of July 24th

Week of July 31st


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of July 31st


What are you picking up this month?

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