Gameplay Blog #11 – A Semi-Binge Week to Finish

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.

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