For the first time in a few weeks, we don’t have any industry headlines to editorialise on. You can put the blame for that on our current Our Week in Games ghostwriter (hint, it’s Chris – Ed) having a massively busy week at work and not keeping track of gaming events at all.
But it’s a Sunday, so on with Our Week in Games.
The intro might have given things away, I haven’t had much time this week to play many games, or at least not to put much thought into the games that I have been playing. Picking up games that I don’t need to put any thought into perhaps explains some of the games I’ll be writing about today. Being so busy this week has sadly meant that I’ve only spent a few moments with indie top-down racer Circuit Superstars. Without a doubt it is something I want to take a proper look at when my mind is more focused.
I took the opportunity this week to briefly boot up Gran Turismo Sport on the old PlayStation 4, a title which I wrote a little bit about back in 2018. I only had time for a couple of races but it felt as good as ever to drag some GT beasts around the Red Bull Ring in Austria. What was noticeable was how dated the UI has become, with the text in the menus too small to comfortably read on the old 32″ TV from a distance. I might have to investigate whether I have space on the PlayStation 5 to install it. With the racing game juices flowing, I also found space on my laptop for Forza Horizon 4 so I can balance the GT track racing with the more relaxed open-world nature of Horizon.
Elsewhere in the theme of “games to play with my brain switched off” I’ve been working through Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey some more. I think Valhalla is a top-notch game, but there’s something more exotic about adventuring around ancient Greece than Viking England. There is an overwhelming amount of things to do in Odyssey, which is great for levelling up and acquiring new gear, but it can make it tricky to know where to focus your attention. That was one of the big joys of Valhalla that your quest line was tightly focused. But still, switching the brain off and soaking up the Greek weather in Odyssey keeps me happy.
This week heralded my daughter’s eighth birthday. I’m not the greatest thinker when it comes to presents, but this year she’s been asking for a game featuring our cocker spaniel, Winston. Not one to refuse a challenge, I opened up Gamemaker and got to work on a simple dog-walking simulator that will allow my daughter to play fetch, clean up poop and wander around a small park with a poorly animated depiction of our dog as a companion.
However, Winston’s not the most intelligent of animals, which has made programming his AI a surprising challenge. It’s relatively straight-forward to program something to perform perfectly every time, but throw a ball for my actual dog and nine times out of ten he’ll lose it in a bush or get distracted by a passing butterfly. It’s taken a long time to get the game to a point where the dog is truly an idiot, but now it’s nearly finished. He runs in circles and gets stuck on scenery. His legs still move when he’s staying still and every few seconds he’ll randomly lie down for no discernible reason.
It’s just like the real thing.
I find myself in a weird gaming position at the moment. It’s usually about this time of a given Tarkov wipe where I start to think about moving across to other games, yet I just haven’t had the urge yet. In fact, were it not for the excellent little Flowers in the Soil game, I’d be playing nothing else.
I’m simply enjoying the game more this wipe and while I can pin that down to a slight shift in my playstyle reaping huge rewards on the PvP side I still feel a little odd. It’s like…. I feel I should be playing other games. Spreading my wings a bit and seeing what else is out there.
But I’m having a blast. So why should I?
Is it normal to feel guilty for only playing one game, almost to the exclusion of all others? Am I an addict. Am I missing the point, or am I just maximising my enjoyment?
It’s a particular train of thought that hasn’t quite reached the station yet, but I’ll let you know my thoughts when it does eventually arrive….