This week, Epic Games and Apple have been embroiled in a pull no punches exciting legal battle over something called Fortnite.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. I used an Apple once for about half an hour, wondering where all the buttons were. I’ve also never played Fortnite. With a full time job and two children I certainly don’t have time to try a battle royale that takes two weeks to play.
Apparently, from what I’ve heard, one of the megalithic companies with all of the money wants a slightly larger cut of money from the other megalithic company with all of the money, but the first megalithic company with all of the money wants to keep it.
So now you’re all caught up, here’s what we’ve all been up to.
We’re back on a roll! Two editions of Our Week in Games in a row, we’ve certainly got this video games journalism business down to a T. I mentioned last week that I had come to the end of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and that I had picked up Assassin’s Creed III in its place. I’m barely more than two hours in, still free running around Boston as Captain Kenway’s son, a slightly boring fella called Haytham. I don’t see what the hate is all about at the moment, but maybe that’s just because it’s a bit of an oddity after my Black Flag adventures to be exploring a locale which isn’t full of sun, sea and pirates. As I work through it, I’m sure I’ll share more thoughts over the course of our OWIG’s.
I haven’t played much this past week, but after writing my OWIG entry last Friday night, I settled into weekend of Football Manager and The Outer Wilds. Now, I’ll be saving my thoughts on Obsidian’s space-faring RPG for larger piece, but getting back into the groove of Football Manager with Ronnie O’Sullivan’s march to another title at the Crucible made for a pleasant weekend. The last time I played by Haverfordwest save in earnest, I came a bit unglued at the start of my fourth season. Having turned my team professional before finances would have reasonably permitted, I was in a financial crunch and running short of defenders. But during the snooker I kept at it, and despite a long stretch of nearly a dozen games without a victory, I broke that unwanted record and resumed my fight to qualify for a European spot.
It’s just a shame that my regular Football Manager antics can’t be replicated in the real world, and there’s a clear and present danger that the Cymru Premier will lose one of its European qualification spots for the 2021/22 season. That will shake up the Welsh football pyramid and already I am starting to ponder how it might change how I approach my usual travails in the Welsh leagues…and that’s without considering the impact Covid-19 will have on the development of the next game in the series, or how Sports Interactive portay the virus and the impact it has had on the sport.
There’s a fun By Your Numbers post from Sports Interactive highlighting the success of Football Manager 2020, and I’ve contributed to a few of those stats myself. Sadly, not with as many trophies as I would have liked!
After a rather long vacancy from my gaming calander Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally made it’s way back into my plans.
I first started playing close to release day on Xbox back in 2018 but only managed 15 hours before letting it slip into the backlog. The recent release on PC made me think of starting it up again and I’ve already broken that 15 hour mark so I’m feeling optomistic that I’ll actually get some decent time out of it this time around.
I’ve also been scratching my indie itch with Epistory – Typing Chronicles. I enjoyed my time with this typing, adventure game but alas my speed typing skills are just not up to par and I had to concede defeat after four hours. I feel like it improved my speed a little however so that’s a bonus!
There’s also been Tarkov, there is always Tarkov!
Minesweeper. Seriously. OK, wait, wait, wait! I’m being serious!
As you may know, I quite like Escape From Tarkov. I’m playing it to death in this wipe, again, and although I’m getting close to this wipes ennui I’m not there yet. So I was wracking my brain to try to think what I could add to this when it struck me; Minesweeper. And it’s not as stupid as it sounds.
For my day-job I’m a Biotech-Scientist. I work with very complex proteins, amassing and analysing heaps of highly complex data and spend a worrying amount of time filling-in regulatory forms and documentation. It requires a LOT of concentration. At the office/lab it’s easier to enter this head-space as It’s a ‘known’ work environment and you automatically enter the correct mindset on sitting down. COVID however has kibosh’d that; I spend the majority of my time either working at home on my kitchen table, or upstairs at my Gaming PC. It’s WAAAAY harder to concentrate when you’re surrounded by ‘home’ stuff. Particularly so if you’re at the desk you usually ‘game’ at.
So I’ve only gone and done a mind-hack on myself…. Given I know extended periods of concentration are going to be challenging (doubly so as the kids aren’t at school at the moment), I’m limiting myself to 25 minute chunks, and then I play 2 games of minesweeper. I do this on the hardest setting, and have no do-overs. This (given my inherent competitive streak) forces me to pay attention and really think about the moves, which has the side-effect of forcing me to stop thinking about work, if only briefly.
I’ve found this brief 3-4 minute break (I’ll occasionally have the kettle boiling at the same time) is enough to refresh me mentally, ensuring that the next 25 minutes are productive. Now I have to be strict and not just have ‘one more game’, but it’s working surprisingly well. If you’re in a similar situation and struggling to concentrate… maybe fire up that old ‘windows classic’ and see how it goes…
Plus, helps that I’m pretty good at it.
With the world still wobbling at the edge of destruction neatly sandwiched between a cruel, amoral viral outbreak and a cruel, amoral American president, this week I felt like I needed a little cheering up.
Luckily, West of Loathing is one of the most hilarious experiences I’ve ever played. While its mechanics lack a lot of depth and combat is somewhat mediocre, if you go into a crudely drawn game of stick-men cowboys expecting Pillars of Eternity then you probably need to re-evaluate your sense of perspective.
Exploring the desert on the back of Tina, my spectral horse, I’ve lied my way through poker games, fought circus clowns and arrested a gang of pickled ghosts.
I can’t be sure, but this is definitely exactly what the Wild West was like.
Another week, another failure. I now see the inherent brilliance of the Our Week in Games column – and Chris’ unrepentant cruelty.
Last week I denounced myself for a failure to play Röki and, after a similarly stunted stretch of days, I must again do the same. I can just imagine Chris shaking his head as he reads these pitiful words. Chris, I’m sorry. Do you hear me? I’m sorry.
It’s been fairly busy for me work-wise, so gaming’s had to take a bit of a back seat, but I did venture into Overwatch’s summer games event for a few evenings. It’s the first time I’ve played since the beginning of the year, having committed to it fairly religiously since 2016. I’m one of those cranks who loves Lucioball and is a sucker for pretty new skins, so plenty of fun was had. I am left wondering, though, how much longer the game can sustain itself before Overwatch 2 lands – a project which Blizzard has been fairly quiet about since the announcement last year. We’ll see, but I imagine the current desire to play the game will subside soon enough…or when they remove Lucioball…
I’ve also jumped back into Thief: Deadly Shadows for an upcoming editorial we’ve got planned. I’m pretty excited about it! The Thief series is near and dear to my heart, and Deadly Shadows has never quite received the acclaim it justly deserves.
As for next week, well, it’s gonna be Röki. It’s genuinely gonna be Röki. Just you watch.