SFTC Mach II: Jazz Odyssey

1.  Since I decided to shut up the other day, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  And one of the things I’ve been considering is to widen the scope of this blog to cover books, films and music.  (Well, film not as much, as I don’t get that much of an opportunity to see new films in theaters, what with the kid and all – but perhaps looking at older movies that have been on my to-do list for some time.)   I’m interesting in doing this if only because sometimes (like right now, actually) I get down on games, and when I’m down I tend not to write, and I’d much rather be writing than not.  Like:  I’d much rather talk about how much I enjoyed reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot instead of how much I’m not enjoying playing Shadow of Mordor.

I’ll also be posting recommended reading links more often, rather than hoarding them in a GoogleDoc for the end of the year.  I ran across 2 necessary links yesterday, for example, that I highly recommend:

2.  Regarding the aforementioned Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:  I can’t recall how it was recommended to me, but in any event I’m really glad I picked it up.  It’s ostensibly a paranoid sci-fi thriller about espionage, secret knowledge and post-government corporate cabals gathering all of our private data, but it’s also quite charmingly written and features 3 broken protagonists that I related to a lot more strongly than I’d anticipated.  It’s not necessarily poetically written, but I did get a lot of mileage out of my Kindle’s “highlight” feature – there’s a bunch of really wonderful, insightful, deeply resonating passages that struck me deeply.  From descriptions of ceiling fans:

“There was a ceiling fan in her two-room flat; it was on now. But it whorled and kerchonked around at such an unstable and idiotic rate that what it gave in breeze it took back in worry.”

to descriptions of regret:

There is a club for these people, the people who have waited outside the burning houses knowing that they will not go back in and knowing that the not-going-back-in will ruin them.

to achingly heartbreaking professions of love:

How long do you think a weak-minded addict will stay on the shelf? Because that day you walked in? That day I saw you? I swear, my heart slowed and my breath came easier. All that rabbiting I do—it just stopped. Not stopped by like magic, but stopped with reason. You are as strange and amazing as anything my stupid little brain has ever come up with, and you are from outside of it. You have no idea what great news that is. And I’m going to lift some copy here, but there is a time for everything, that day and night here you were the still point of the turning world, and I knew for sure that I had a place in it. That place is next to you…

I really am quite sure that there is something we’re supposed to do together, that there is more that is supposed to go on between us. Aren’t you? Isn’t there a held breath in your life right now? I’ve missed a few boats already, and I really don’t want to miss this one too. I realize that in that metaphor or analogy or whatever, you are a boat. That doesn’t really quite get what I mean, because I am also a boat. We are both boats and we are both passengers. We should not miss each other.

3.  As for music:  I highly, highly recommend the new Flying Lotus album “You’re Dead”.  I don’t yet know how to fully articulate my feelings about it; it has a density and depth that defies my attempts to describe it, which really just means I need another few dozen listens before I can wrap my head around it.  But if you’re already predisposed to what Flying Lotus does, then you’ve probably already picked it up.

4.  As we approach the end of 2014, I’m no longer as intimidated by the game release schedule as I thought I’d be.  By my count, there’s really only 4 AAA must-plays left on my list, a few indie/downloadable things I’m most likely buying close to day one, and a bunch of curiosities that I may or may not get to in an expedient fashion.

The Must-Plays:

  • Civilization: Beyond Earth
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity (heretofore named AssUnit)
  • Far Cry 4
  • Dragon Age Inquisition

The Indies/Downloadables:

  • Geometry Wars 3
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

The Curiosities:

  • Evil Within
  • Vib Ribbon (almost bought this the other day for the Vita, actually)
  • Costume Quest 2
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (which I’m almost certainly buying if it’s in a Steam Sale)
  • Driveclub (whenever the PS+ version is finally out, at any rate)
  • Little Big Planet 3 (if my kid likes watching it, I might keep it)
  • The Crew

It also should be noted that if Sunset Overdrive reviews well, and if the Halo boxset isn’t terrible, then I’m probably getting an Xbox One.  I’m still kinda tempted to maybe wait a little longer and see if Microsoft comes out with a redesign – considering that they’ve already cut out the Kinect, it’s not totally unreasonable to think that they might come out with a newer box featuring better optimized specs – but I probably won’t be able to wait that long.  I’m still itching to play Forza Horizon 2 and I’d like to be able to try it while there’s still a strong player base.

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