Gameplay Statistics – Week 11

Monday, November 13, 2017 – Sunday, November 19, 2017

Days of the week in which games were played: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Total number of video games played: 2
Total video game duration: 12 hours
Communities involved: Group Project Team

Game Platform Duration
Crawl PC/Steam 3 hours
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen PC/Steam 9 hours

Total number of non-video games played: 0
Total non-video game duration: 0
Communities involved: 0
Number of supplemental game or game-related activities: 0

Tags: PC, XCOM, Crawl, Local Multiplayer


The Last Post

This week was a combination of one of my XCOM binge weeks and the week prior, where our project group played Crawl, an excellent local multiplayer experience. Karth is amazingly good at this game.  One could say frustratingly good at it.  The gameplay really brought out my competitive streak, which I have always believed a result of being the second-youngest of four brothers.  I was always trying to best my brothers, and I am quite vocal when I play games in this kind of environment (all in good fun, even when I’m cursing non-stop).

The Monsters Win

The Monsters Win

We managed to explore some of the rarer elements of the game.  Normally, when a boss fight happens, the ghost/monster players inhabit different portions of the boss monster and have to work together to defeat the hero.  If this happens three times successfully, the hero is consumed and lost forever.  We didn’t understand this at first, until we realized the following week that my character profile was gone, literally deleted from the game!!!  This game is now one of my all-time favourite party games, and will likely remain so for years to come.

The Return of the Completionist

The rest of the week was a grind, both at work and at play.  I am at the point in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen where I normally either stop playing a game because I haven’t had time to invest in it, or I grind out to the end.  Luckily for me, the latter came to pass.  The first few days of the week were insanely difficult levels which required many hours of tactical deliberation, saving, and loading.  At one point, I had to load my game back over two hours because I had saved myself into a dead-end where I would lose the avatar representation of my real life identity.  Normally, I wouldn’t have taken such a drastic step backwards.  But this guy I was losing was ME!  With my name, and my birthdate!  I didn’t want him to die, so I put the game down for the night and came back to an old save the next night.  Even this was drastic, because normally if I had to repeat so much gameplay I would just give up thinking that it’s not worth the effort.  This case was different because I have already invested well over 40 hours into this game.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw that effort away.

High-level characters

High-level characters

After those extremely challenging levels, things started to get better.  I defeated several more bosses and unique enemies.  The level of satisfaction gained by defeating challenging enemies at this point in the game, and the corresponding rewards that come with them, and are almost indescribable.

XCOM 2 Serpent Armour

Unique Serpent Armour – Miniboss reward

Gaming Conclusions

After hours of patience, I get a rush of adrenaline that lasts for almost an hour.  I am in the zone and feeling flow.  Why can’t games always be this good?  I look at my game library and the enormous pile of unplayed games and think, “I should play each and every one of them.”  That’s the curse of the completionist returning.  This is not a reasonable approach.  Other areas of my life are affected by this same completionist impetus.  I must finish my plate of food.  I must finish this novel which sucks.  I must finish this project that isn’t turning out well.  I had realized over the past few years that sometimes you just have let go and forgive yourself.  It’s okay to not eat the food.  It’s okay to not waste time with things that aren’t working out the way I planned.  Writing this blog, I have come to realize that this applies equally to games.  It’s okay to forget about a game.  You don’t have to reach the goal, especially if you’re bored!

XCOM 2 Hunter Chosen

I killed this guy this week.

Wow, what a relieving feeling.  There are so many corollaries to this revelation. It’s okay to be too tired to play.  It’s okay to not enjoy games as much as I used to!  It’s okay to go with the flow when it comes to pure entertainment.  I don’t always have to apply the same rigour and standards equally to my gaming life that I apply to my professional life.  After all, I probably got to where I am in my professional life by doing visa versa!  That is, applying the zeal and enthusiasm of my gaming over into my student and work life.  This blog has led me to seek answers to questions that have been nagging me for a long time, and I am glad to come to these realizations.  I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, when I spent 30+ hours a week playing games, and that’s perfectly fine.


Works Cited

Firaxis Games. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. 2K Games, 2017. Microsoft Windows. Computer Software.

Powerhoof. Crawl. Powerhoof, 2017. Multiple Platforms. Computer Software.

Gameplay Statistics – Week 10

Monday, November 6, 2017 – Sunday, November 12, 2017

Days of the week in which games were played: Tuesday
Total number of video games played: 1
Total video game duration: 3 hours
Communities involved: Group Project Team

Game Platform Duration
Crawl PC/Steam 3 hours

Total number of non-video games played: 0
Total non-video game duration: 0
Communities involved: N/A
Number of supplemental game or game-related activities: 0

Tags: PC, Crawl, Local Multiplayer


Perks of Groups Projects

This week was AWESOME!  Despite only playing three hours on a single night, it was a truly amazing three hours! Multiplayer games are just so much more enjoyable than the typical fair du jour.  Our group for the class project, Karth, Clask, and myself, had our kick-off meeting for our group project.  Afterwards, we got a chance to play a game I purchased a few months ago but haven’t had the opportunity to play yet.  This particular genre of game is one that I’ve been collecting for some time: local multiplayer.  Earlier this year, I expanded my controller collection to six (1 Xbox 360, 4 Xbox One, and 1 Steam Controller), specifically so I could play more of this type of game.  The game we played was called Crawl, and it’s a bit of an anomaly amongst multiplayer Steam games because it has no online support!  You can only play it in your living room!

Crawl Title Screen

Crawl Title Screen

The retro graphics in this game are charming, and the premise is quite unique as well.  Although a 4-player game, it starts with a brief single-player tutorial.  The game’s design features a macrabre, lovecraftian setting, with haunting music and a sinister voice narrating the opening sequence of the tutorial.

Once the tutorial is completed, we got right into it.  The opening sequence of the actual game features an opening onto a scene of horror and madness.  All four players must fight to the death, with the last man standing becoming the “hero.”  What an amazing concept.  The remaining three players manifest as ghosts, which can inhabit traps and summoning pentagrams sprawled throughout each level.  Before the game starts, each player chooses a god to worship, and this god determines the players monster set and progression trees.  I won’t go into too much more detail here because this is my blog and not an official game review, but when one of the monsters strikes a killing blow on the “hero,” the screen flashed “HUMANITY REGAINED” and then that player becomes the hero going forward.  Needless to say, the gameplay experience here is satisfying, engrossing, and beautiful in its simplicity (there are only two buttons plus the d-pad).  The boss fights are something else too.

I felt great playing this, and three hours flew past.  It was hard to sleep afterwards because it was so exciting.  I won a couple games and Karth is a natural at this style of gameplay, where the screen is a mess with action and rapid reactions and pattern recognition are richly rewarded.  We decided that we would play this game every night we met going forward.

Conclusion of the Game Screen

Me winning at Crawl

This was a striking difference than the last few weeks playing single-player games.  Having the social aspect added so much value to the experience, and it was easy to achieve a flow state while playing this game.  I actually spouted several curse words throughout the course of the gaming session, but they were all in good fun and jest.  It strikes me as important that the social component adds so much value to gaming for me.  I have noticed in the past, that even merely having someone else present while playing single-player games makes the experience more enjoyable.  Perhaps this is due to my extroverted personality and apparent need for social interaction.


Works Cited

Powerhoof. Crawl. Powerhoof, 2017. Multiple Platforms. Computer Software.

Gameplay Statistics – Week 9

Monday, October 30, 2017 – Sunday, November 5, 2017

Days of the week in which games were played: Tuesday
Total number of video games played: 1
Total video game duration: 4 hours
Communities involved: N/A

Game Platform Duration
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen PC/Steam 4 hours

Total number of non-video games played: 1 (Disc Golf)
Total non-video game duration: 3 hours
Communities involved: Colleagues
Number of supplemental game or game-related activities: 0

Tags: PC, XCOM, Disc Golf


One Night of Games

On Tuesday night I managed to get in a late binge of XCOM again.  At this point in the game, I’m just trying to beat it.  I’ve started to realize that 50+ hour games just no longer fit my lifestyle.  I wish there were more deep, exciting, engaging 15 hour games.  Games that I could beat in a weekend binge if I wanted to.  I felt good while I was playing, but unfortunately I stayed up too late and was sleepy at work the next day.  Probably not worth it in the end.  I really would like to beat it before the semester is out.  I hate leaving things incomplete and that’s a real problem for me because it often leads to wasting time with activities I am no longer interested in.

Disc Golf

Twice this week the weather was good enough to get out on the Bowen Park disc golf course.  This is a game I’ve been playing off-and-on for about 7 years now.  We have a world-class course here in Nanaimo.  I went with my colleague James from the Students’ Union and his step-son.  It was so much fun to get outside and throw the disc around.  I wasn’t too worried about my score because I hadn’t played in so long, and was just having a good time while also getting some exercise.  It reminded me that I need to get out more, especially during this time of year when it starts to get dark.


Works Cited

Firaxis Games. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. 2K Games, 2017. Microsoft Windows. Computer Software.

Gameplay Statistics – Week 8

Monday, October 23, 2017 – Sunday, October 29, 2017

Days of the week in which games were played: Saturday
Total number of video games played: 2
Total video game duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Communities involved: N/A

Game Platform Duration
Star Control 2/Ur-Quan Masters PC/Steam 30 min
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen PC/Steam 1 hour

Total number of non-video games played: 1
Total non-video game duration: 30 minutes (Fluxx)
Communities involved: Colleague and his girlfriend
Number of supplemental game or game-related activities: 1

Tags: PC, XCOM, Star Control, Fluxx


An Abysmal Modicum of Gameplay

This week I hardly had any time to play games at all again.  As was the case before, even when I had some free time to play, I didn’t have the motivation to do so.  It had been awhile since I picked up XCOM, so I played a little bit on Saturday afternoon.  I was distracted by more appealing activities in the form of getting another old game from my teenage years running.

Star Control

Steam advertisements caught my eye this week with the announcement of a new game in the Star Control franchise, Star Control: Origins.  They had a special pre-order price which I immediately took advantage of.  I bought a package that included older Star Control games like Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters.  This was an amazing space RPG that came out in the 1990s, and I played with great enthusiasm.  I immediately installed it, but was underwhelmed with the graphics and clunky gameplay.  I was tinkering with the game settings and wanted to know about the keyboard setup, so I did a quick google search and stumbled across a fan-made HD version of the same game which I immediately downloaded and installed.  WOW, this game looks great!

Star Control 2 Screenshot

Original Game on Steam Screenshot

 

Star Control 2 HD Screenshot

HD Remake Screenshot

I felt good about getting another piece of my past working on the PC, and decided to put it down for another time when I had more availability to play games.  It was a short week.  The main theme was a lack of effort on my part, I would rather just watch a movie or read a book.  Again, I think it’s because I’ve been so stressed out and just need complete relaxation.  One thing I’ve noticed about games as I get older is that not all of them are relaxing!!!


Works Cited

Czanik, Damon, et al. Ur-Quan Masters HD. Sourceforge, 2002 (Creative Commons). Microsoft Windows. Computer Software

Firaxis Games. XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. 2K Games, 2017. Microsoft Windows. Computer Software.

Toys for Bob. Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters. Accolade, 1992.  MS-DOS. Computer Software