trust issues

First:  there are a bunch of things I want to write about, but it’s gonna be tough to find the time to write them.   The day job is particularly bananas this week as everybody’s trying to get caught up from last week’s insanity, and so finding consecutive free minutes with which to craft interesting sentences out of interesting thoughts will be few and far between.   Speaking of which, the fallout from Hurricane Sandy resulted in, among other things, me not receiving my copy of Need for Speed Most Wanted until today, and my rental copy of Assassin’s Creed 3 may very well have gotten lost in the mail.  Now, in the grand scheme of things, I am OBVIOUSLY extremely thankful and grateful that these are the only significant setbacks I’ve been dealing with, especially since there are so many of my fellow New Yorkers who are still without power, water, and (especially) heat.  Still, I’m going to want to be playing the hell out of these two games, and I’m going to have to find time to fit them both in – especially since Halo 4 comes out tomorrow.

Consider this a quick sketch of what I’d like to be posting about this week, if I can:

1.  Forza Horizon.  This has gotten the bulk of my playtime lately, and as such I’m curious to see how that will influence my time with Need for Speed, which I’m still thinking of as Burnout Paradise 1.5.  As for Horizon itself – it’s a marvel.  The only real negatives I can offer for the game are specifically aimed at all the stuff that isn’t directly tied to the driving experience itself – the radio personalities, the pre-race smack talk with your “rival”, the festival itself.  That’s all junk, basically, intended to give me a reason to keep driving – as if the driving itself weren’t enough.  Which it most certainly is.  And the game keeps rewarding me for driving, even if I’m just aimlessly hunting down the last few signs I haven’t crashed into, or the last 3 or 4 stretches of road I haven’t driven yet.  I’ll go into further detail when the opportunity arises, because the game deserves it.

2.  XCOM Enemy Unknown.  GAWD.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been so intimidated and afraid of a game that I’m enjoying the hell out of.  I can only play it in 30-minute chunks before the tension becomes too much.  AND I’M PLAYING IT ON EASY.  Last night I finally finished the Skeleton Key/Alien Base mission, which I suppose is the first real gauntlet I’ve had to run; those goddamned spider bastards wiped out half my crew.  And the only reason I finished with 3 guys alive instead of 2 is that I was able to snipe the psychic alien and get a critical hit, one-shot kill before he could damage the guy he’d mind-controlled.  I get it:  a vital and central component of the playing experience is that you’re going to lose some of your crew members, no matter how well you play (or how much you save-spam), and that losing those crew members is going to matter.  It’s going to hurt, and it’s going to suck.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, assholes.

3.  The most important thing that I want to get to – and man, I really hope I can find the time to do it – is in regards to this recent Eurogamer kerfuffle about games journalism, ethics, and trust.  Stephen Totilo just posted a pretty thorough article about this whole mess here, encompassing points of view from pretty much all sides of the spectrum, and I highly recommend checking it out.  For me, though – as an outsider looking in – this latest episode has prompted me to ask myself what it is I actually want out of the game journalism and criticism I read; and, as well, why I’d want to get into this business in the first place.   If I write nothing else this week, I sincerely hope I can write that post.

Here’s hoping your week goes smoother than mine.

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