So: what usually happens when I decide to start writing here is that I’ll have a few free minutes, I’ll start gathering my thoughts and start typing, and then BLAM – huge project arrives in my inbox. (Or, as another example: as I typed this last sentence, my boss showed up.) Last week, I got sidetracked by something else entirely: a huge storm, a power outage, a flooded basement.
The good news is that we only had about an inch and a half of water, which means that all my instruments and all my gaming stuff avoided getting damaged. But we lost 3 carpets, a lot of my son’s toys, a whole bunch of luggage that was stored in a utility closet, our Christmas tree, a fair amount of my wife’s tools from her reiki practice, and some other stuff – honestly, the last few days have been something of a blur.
And so now we are going to be several thousand dollars in the hole in terms of renovation and repair. We were able to find a floor repair service (thanks to our amazing neighbors) and so we’ve had a gigantic dehumidifier and several industrial-grade fans going non-stop since Friday; we have a contractor coming this evening to survey the basement and see about getting the walls/insulation replaced.
My wife and I are exhausted and stressed out, but I gotta say: the kid is handling it like a champ.
You know what’s been nice, though? It’s been nice to be away from the internet, and the news cycle, and all that shit. I desperately needed to unplug, and if it takes an act of God to get me unplugged, then so be it.
Anyway, as you might imagine, leisure time has been non-existent of late. The basement is off limits, so my wife and I are back to sharing the living room TV. I’ve been too frazzled to enjoy what I’m reading, and I’ve not had any opportunity to listen to music. During the power outage, I was actually using my Switch as a shitty flashlight because my iPhone was running out of juice.
That said, I’ve been using the Switch more and more, and I’m suddenly wanting it to get all the indie ports that used to show up on the Vita. Indeed, I’ve been starting to compile a list of stuff I’d like to see:
- XCOM / XCOM 2 / Invisible Inc.
- Mark of the Ninja
- Something – anything – from Rockstar. (And yes, I know about L.A. Noire, but that doesn’t quite count.) Ideally, and I know this is never happening, I’d love to see a port of GTA 4, but with the control scheme of GTA 5
- The 2.5D Assassin’s Creed games
- the Oddworld New & Tasty remake
- Sid Meier’s Pirates, or a port of the console-based Civ Rev game (not the iPhone version)
I also heard about the original Crackdown getting enhanced for Xbox One X; unfortunately my 4K TV is in the basement – and while it was well above the water line I haven’t had a chance to plug it in, so I’m just hoping it still works – but in any event, I can’t really see it in all its 4K HDR glory, but I did find my disc and gave it a quick spin, and yeah – that game is still kinda awesome.
It is awesome in the same way that Burnout Paradise HD is awesome – and yes, of course I bought the remake, and because (for some reason that I’ve since forgotten) I’m a member of EA Access, I was able to play it last night. Those games are both awesome because you can totally forget about the main path and just tool around looking for hidden stuff, and whether you’re picking up ability orbs or crashing through barriers, there’s a visceral rush that few other games have ever managed to achieve.
(Certain other elements of Burnout Paradise have not aged well, of course: DJ Atomica can fuck right off. But they have added some new songs to the soundtrack, including LCD Soundsystem’s “Us v Them” which is one of my favorite songs of all time.)
And in the meantime, I’m still finding myself tooling around in Assassin’s Creed Origins, because that game continues to feel right in my hands in a way that other, better games don’t – not even The Witcher 3. It doesn’t hurt that even after finishing the main campaign and sinking more than 60 hours into it, there’s still a ton of stuff to do, and a ton of question marks to uncover, and etc. That game continues to surprise and impress.