A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Chilling Out with Games


With the end of the semester right around the corner (finals are next week for me), I’ve been looking all over to find games that help me just chill out. This past week has been Borderlands (the first one) and Civilization V (with a couple of honorable showings from a few other games that I’ll mention).

Aside from the initial PhysX issues Borderlands was having, it’s been running pretty flawlessly. I’ve made my way through the first zone of quests and I’m in the Dahl Headlands (I think that’s what it’s called). I’m having fun, but comparatively speaking to Borderlands 2, the game feels way emptier than I expected. I think this is a side effect of Borderlands 2 having fully voice acted quests. I wish I was kidding, but Borderlands is a much quieter game as a result of less chatter resulting from quests.

I never thought I’d admit it, but I miss Claptrap and his wub wub dubstep.

Yikes.

Anyway, Civilization V! I beat a game as Venice the other day through pure tourism. It was a marathon style game, I was on Settler difficulty (hey, I’m here to have fun, not get smeared against the wall), and it took me until around 2004 to beat the game. I’m looking forward to trying other civs (I’ve got several different multiplayer games with friends going on so I can do that) but right now my favorite game changers are Venice and the Shoshone. I have yet to get to the end of the tech tree these days, but I’m hoping to push through with a game as the Babylonians.

Now, the other games I’ve dabbled in.

Awesomenauts. They just introduced the new character Penny Fox. Normally (for deeply personal reasons) I despise foxes, but this one’s perfectly fine with me (maybe I’m moving on). Penny is extremely fun to play and is remarkably potent on the battlefield. I think she may supplant Ayla as my favorite, but it’s hard to say at this point since I’ve only played her on Practice mode with two bars of AI difficulty (it goes from 0 to 5). Yesterday I played through the entire list of characters, reinforcing my perspectives on several of them and surprising myself with how easy some of them are to play (Leon is definitely fun to play, Froggy G not so much, Voltar and Genji are equally irritating to me but I can win, Ted McPain is so cool). Further, the addition of the new announcer SUSI (Specialized Universal Secretary Interface) adds another level of humor to the game that I really enjoy. When swapping announcers, I noticed that there’s four, but three of them appear to sound the same. I wonder what’s up with that.

Redshirt. I tried this out for a few hours last night. Apparently developed by a single person, Redshirt is a Star Trek parody displayed through a Facebook parody called “Spacebook”. You manipulate social media and events to move through the careers available on the station, ultimately culminating in becoming the Commander’s personal assistant (or something). There’s two modes, Story and Endless, where Story seems to end after about 155 days or so. It’s not a bad game and it’s charming in its deceptively simple approach. I especially enjoy the away missions where people get murdered (often my entire team but me because I sacrificed someone on the other team) and as a result a lot of job openings pop up. One thing that happened last night was I accidentally got someone to ask for a relationship with me, but because I was seeking a relationship with another character (one of the little bonus things you can do) I turned him down. Ever since I turned him down, I worked to get him to like me again and then he asked me for a relationship again. Well, rather than deal with that, an away mission popped up and I had to choose someone to die instead of me. I chose him and didn’t feel an ounce of remorse. UNWANTED AFFECTION DEALT WITH IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER!

Also, side thing: I JUST figured out what was causing the power issues on my computer. Turns out there’s this thing called “Desktop Mode” on my battery icon and I have it on. It takes about 2 weeks to kick in and then it causes the system to ignore the charger while it depletes down to 50% and then it automatically charges back up. This is how it extends the life of the battery. Tragically, as a guy who does a lot of gaming, this can be perceived as an actual issue (two video cards suck up a lot of juice and the computer goes into some sort of panic mode). Whenever I reset the power, it treated it as resetting the Desktop Mode, so every two weeks it would kick in again and ignore the power supply. I have a choice now: cut off the desktop mode and just accept that my battery won’t last that long, or leave it in and just understand this will happen every now and again. I’ll figure it out.

Until next time!

– Thomas

P.S. Enjoy this video showcasing Penny Fox from Awesomenauts!

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