Lately I've been thinking a bit about the difference between sex and violence in our society, but I think I'll save that for next time. Truth is that I just couldn't be bothered right now to get stuck into something that should by all accounts be an obvious assessment of something so ordinary. The world works in messed up ways, which is one way of saying that the world kind of sucks sometimes.
There's a short list somewhere of super hype crazes that I completely missed out growing up. I never knew what a Pokémon was until recently, I've never played a Metal Gear game, and I've never played either a Metroid, or Castlevania game. It's funny how even though I've been playing games since the 80s, there are some major mainstream holes in my experience.
This will be posted a little late due to some technical difficulties, which is kind of cool because it fits with this week's theme. I've been getting to know technology again, and reaffirming how enjoyable it can be.
Having a large backlog of games to get through means that every now and then you come across something that you wish you'd found much earlier. It's the whole reason I'm determined to play every game I have access to, because there's no telling how many gems are hidden away in the pile.
I should probably attempt to draw a link between existential tangents and the pursuit of creative practice. At least then I can make excuses for why I tend to go off the rails a bit in these posts and get all abstract up in this blog.
Why has our society evolved to a state where sexual themes are feared more than violence? The other night I started watching The Revenant, which is a good movie, but there's a scene near the beginning (minor spoilers ahoy) where Leonardo DiCaprio's character gets mauled by a bear. The scene was shot really well and with subtle effects and camera trickery, it really looks like this massive bear is tearing into the man. Bones are broken, flesh ripped open, and it's altogether a brutal depiction of violence.
Much like the Farming Simulator series, Euro Truck Simulator 2 has to deal with being a decent simulator game amongst a gallery of jank. Thankfully though, there's enough simulation here to make it interesting, while cutting back on some of the more tedious aspects of driving a truck around Europe.
How many times do we need to be smacked in the head with the harsh realities of life before we stop looking up?
The world of mobile ports to other platforms is often fraught with bad controls, poor optimisation, and a long list of other complaints that make them barely worth considering. Often it's because the process adds a bunch of clunky patches in an effort to make it work, while ultimately distilling out the very thing that made it fun in the first place.
Faces are pretty cool, don't you think? They're all so detailed and full of interesting language that we are hard wired to interpret and connect with. I love it whenever I hear a thing about how as humans, we're pre-disposed to see faces in random configurations of shapes. Turns out that it's useful for us to recognise two eyes and a mouth when we're out in the wild; especially the ones that want to eat us.
When I started writing these posts about games, I knew I'd be looking at a bunch of older titles that may not be all that relevant anymore. This was never meant to be a blog about the cutting edge new releases, but I didn't think I'd be writing about a game so close to the release of its sequel. I almost figured I'd wait until I'd played the next version, but this game is so damn good, I couldn't help myself.
Seems I've been playing a few mobile ports lately, which could reveal an improvement of mobile games, or perhaps a better understanding of how to port mobile games to PC. A while ago it seemed like every mobile port was guaranteed to be garbage, but it's hard to deny that developers have learned from past mistakes and there are some cool titles available if you look hard enough.
I'll probably give it a post eventually, but one of my favourite games of all time is The Tiny Bang Story. It's a simple little game that mixes solving puzzles with finding hidden objects, but it's all about the presentation. In a game with such simple gameplay, there's loads of room for beautiful art and music to tie the experience together and The Tiny Bang Story does this without ever uttering a word of dialogue, written or otherwise.
After spending a while indulging the random tangents that enter my head, I think it's probably best to try and bring it all back down to earth. I mean, the reason I indulge any thought process, is that I feel it's worth exploring, as it influences the work. Sure, this is meant to focus on developing creativity and art, but I think it's hard to do that without acknowledging the environment that surrounds us.
As I write this, it feels like every second game that gets released on Steam is some form of survival game. The flavour of the year is battle royale, or at least early access open world games where you need to keep track of a hunger stat or something. Before that it was exclusively zombie games, and before that the dreaded simulator.
There aren't many genres that invoke a noticeable cringe from me when they're mentioned, but "puzzle platformer" sits among the very top of the list. Even without the puzzles, I'm averse to platforming a lot of the time, despite the occasional exception to the rule.
Before we had DLC and digitally distributed patches, there was a wonderful thing called an "expansion pack". These were like dreams come true after you'd sunk countless hours into that game you'd saved up for and gingerly cracked the box to get inside. Loading up an expansion felt like finding a treasure trove of extra gameplay that had somehow always been there, just hidden away and waiting for permission to exist and entertain.
Earlier this week I spent a moment stopped in my tracks thinking about the difference between two binary descriptors. Honestly, I can't remember what the words were, but they might as well have been anything as it sparked a thought excursion into the world of binary relationships in language where no middle identifier exists; so let's ramble.
I was a late-comer to the whole "god-game" thing, as I never played the classics like Populous or Black & White. It might be a bit of a stretch to call it a god-game, but the first one I remember playing would probably be Spore. Unironically, the god-game I've probably spent the most time with has been the utter failure of Godus, which I enjoyed right up until it stopped going anywhere and was abandoned by its creators.
I'm really enjoying these experimental little games from accomplished developers that are tiny examples of a good idea that probably could never be expanded on. Before playing the wonderful Subsurface Circular, I unironically got my hands on Edmund McMillon's experiment; Fingered.