Tag: shadow of mordor

Weekend Recap: Noodling Around

MUSIC:  If we’re judging the new album’s progress solely by how much I’m uploading to my Google Drive folder every week, then obviously I’ve slowed down rather considerably since February.  But I’m still working / thinking / contemplating / scribbling down lyrics whenever they pop into my head, nearly every day.

My beta listeners might disagree with my analysis, but as of right now, out of the 20-odd demos I’ve uploaded, I’ve narrowed my attentions down to 10 of them.  One of those 10 is a brand-new thing I recorded the other night, which I was tempted to upload and share immediately after I bounced it to mp3, even though I probably shouldn’t.  I really like it, but I also am fully aware that it’s a nearly 5-minute-long guitar noodle, similar to the looping stuff I was doing about 15 years ago; and if it were to actually make the cut and appear on the album, I’d be doing some drastic edits in order make it a bit less self-indulgent.   (Ironically, this is why I’m tempted to post the original version in all its noodle-tastic glory, given that it’s almost certainly not remaining in its current form.)

I’ve also reached the inevitable crippling self-doubt phase, which is what happens when I listen to these demos too many times and end up either (a) hating them or (b) getting too attached to their rough-draft imperfections and wanting to keep them as is.  That second part is also why it’s hard to make second drafts out of these things sometimes; even though it’s a relatively minor thing to simply cut/paste sections over a few measures to insert some extra time for a verse or whatever, I’ve gotten so used to how these things already sound that even though the adjustment makes the song better, I don’t like it as much.

I might need to take some time away from the demos and simply listen to this stuff in my head for a while.

I also might go ahead and post this new thing anyway, or at least a little snippet of it.


BOOKS:  I realize I haven’t talked about what I’m reading in a while; I’ve been slowly going through David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet for the last few weeks; last night I started Part 3.  I was always apprehensive about starting it (which is why it’s been in my backlog for as long as it’s been), given that I’m not particularly drawn towards historical fiction, especially in an era that I have absolutely no prior knowledge of (in this book’s case, the Dutch/Japanese trade of the very late 1700s).  But Mitchell is still a hell of a writer, and I suspect that his reasons for setting this book in this very specific period and place will make sense, and in any event it’s very cool to see characters from his other books show up in this one.


FILM:  I don’t usually talk about movies in this blog, if only because I simply don’t have the time to consume film the way I used to.  But I did want to take a few minutes to talk about Interstellar, which the wife and I finally saw over the weekend.  I’ve been a devout Christopher Nolan fan ever since Memento exploded my brain – that’s one of the few films I’ve bothered to see in a theater twice – and I’ve enjoyed everything he’s made ever since, despite their varied flaws.  (My biggest problem with Inception, besides the fact that it gave me a panic attack when I saw it in the theater, is that there’s no character development in any line of dialogue; everything’s flat and expository and it’s a credit to his actors that you feel anything at all towards them; a similar line of attack could be levied towards the Batman films, too.)  In any case, I’d heard mixed things towards “Interstellar” but I knew I had to see it for myself anyway, and so I did, and I absolutely loved it.  It’s not without its flaws (though I wouldn’t dream of taking issue with its science; it’s out of my depth anyway, and whether or not it’s 100% scientifically accurate is somewhat besides the point, I think) and I saw certain twists coming, but I still gasped at their reveal, and I can’t help but admit that Matthew McConaughey (an actor I’m not terribly fond of) was really, really, really good.

Side note:  in the wake of the Marvin Gaye/Robin Thicke lawsuit and the troubling precedent it could set, I can’t help but think that Philip Glass could sue the pants off of Hans Zimmer for essentially ripping off Glass’s soundtrack for Koyaanisqatsi.  Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the “Interstellar” soundtrack immensely; it just sounded somewhat familiar to me, and then I listened to it on Spotify and realized why.


GAMES:  Lots to talk about.

1.  I finished The Order: 1886.  I stand by my earlier faint praise, though now that it’s all over I can see why people would be disappointed:

  • The game’s premise is still very intriguing – the Knights of the Round Table are quasi-immortal knights currently engaged in a war with vampires – but nothing particularly interesting is done with that premise.
  • For all the game’s cinematic aspirations, it doesn’t stick the landing at all.
  • Any game, film or book that contains a scene between adversaries that has a variation of the line “We’re not so different, you and I” is now getting docked a full point in my arbitrary and non-existent rating system.
  • The combat system never really evolves.  You mostly fight human soldiers, usually head on although there are some stealth sequences here and there; maybe three or four times you fight some beasties, who have a much different attack pattern; and then I think there are two “boss” fights against these monsters which are mostly QTE-enhanced.  I don’t hate QTEs as much as most people, but I don’t necessarily like them all that much either; I don’t mind them here, but that’s also because they don’t pop up all that often.  (That said, the very last shot in the game has a QTE prompt in the dead center of the screen, which robs the moment of whatever gravitas it was aiming for.)
  • The “hidden collectible” aspect of the game is dumb and underdeveloped and a waste of time.

But:  it is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s relatively bug-free (which is very impressive in today’s AAA space), and I think a sequel could be something truly special, if it’s done right.

2.  During this weekend’s 2K sale on Steam, I ended up buying both Civilization Beyond Earth and Sid Meier’s Starships.  I keep forgetting that I need to be in certain moods in order to really get into Civ games, and I was not in those moods this weekend.

3.  On a whim, I decided to get back into Shadow of Mordor, which I’d put aside a few months back.  Decided to start over, from the very beginning, to remember how to play it properly.  Lo and behold, I’m enjoying it about a thousand times more than I did the first time; I don’t know what happened to my brain between then and now, but something about it finally clicked, and now I’m really enjoying it.  I’m also much better at it this time around, for whatever reason; the first time I was getting my ass kicked left and right, but in this second go-round I’m holding my own much better.

4.  My almost-2-year-old son is infatuated with the Lego Movie – and given that I enjoy it as well, I don’t mind him watching it over and over again.  So I decided that this would be as good a time as any to replay the game again, if only so that he could control Emmet directly.  The game is still buggy as hell, but whatever – if Henry wants Emmet to jump, Emmet jumps, and he gets quite a kick out of it.  (Also, my dog Lily is an expert-level photobomber.)

press x for ethics in game journalism
press x for ethics in game journalism

The Rest Of The Year

I seem to have picked up a number of new followers over the last few weeks, ever since I decided to expand the scope of this blog’s subject matter.  For those of you new to the blog, hello!  I’m glad to have you here.  That being said, today’s post is probably going to be of very little interest to you; for today is, more or less, the beginning of the fall videogame release deluge, and you might as well know what you’re going to be in for, if you’re coming here on a regular basis.

I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again because, well, why not:  I am not a professional game journalist, and the readership of this blog is relatively small, and yet despite all this I still feel compelled to play as many of the big game releases as I can, if only so that I can talk about everything in short bursts that are not nearly as insightful and helpful as if I actually sat down and focused on one thing at a time; this comes out of a desire to be part of the larger conversation about games, even if I am but a tiny voice in the throng of much more well-informed speakers.

As it happens, I’d originally started writing this post yesterday afternoon, listing (in order of priority) the games I planned on playing for the rest of 2014. This list, of course, contains no critical insight; I’m putting it here so that (a) I can remember what’s coming up, and (b) you might have an idea of what I’m going to be writing about over the coming weeks.

But after this morning’s astonishingly good reviews for Dragon Age Inquisition and this afternoon’s equally astonishingly disappointing reviews for Assassin’s Creed Unity, the list has gone all sideways on me.

So, then:  here’s what’s coming up.

  1. Assassin’s Creed Unity (PS4) – Thank God I was able to successfully cancel my pre-order – of the super-deluxe edition, no less.  That being said, the rental copy is still on its way, and so I’m probably going to at least try it out for a few hours, time permitting.  I am wary of this franchise; it was a slow and steady climb that peaked for me with Brotherhood, fell apart completely between Revelations and AC3, and somehow was built back up with last year’s Black Flag.  I’m glad to hear that the last-gen Rogue is getting better reviews, though my 360 is dead and my PS3 is in a similarly unplayable state.
  2. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4) – Meanwhile, holy shit, have you seen the reviews this has been getting?  I was a bit on the fence about this one – the first game didn’t really appeal to me, and the second one played a bit better but had some very significant and unfortunate flaws – but WOW.  When I need a long, deep RPG to sink my teeth into this winter, I’ll be very grateful to have this one around.
  3. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4) – I felt conflicted buying the HD conversion, because I find the story abhorrent and – well, look, I’ve already written about it.  But at the end of the day, I still have a greater affection for the world than I do for the narrative, and so being able to explore it again on my own terms is a far more appealing prospect.  Maybe I’ll even muck around with the online side of things a bit more, who knows.  And some of the forthcoming single-player content sounds intriguing – like that murder mystery bit, which is a nice knowing nod to L.A. Noire.
  4. Far Cry 4 (PS4) – Given Ubisoft’s worrying track record when it comes to next-gen AAA titles this year, I’m not necessarily holding my breath.  But I already pre-ordered it, so, I guess I’m stuck with it.  I’m not necessarily feeling as conflicted about it as I was with Far Cry 3 (which coupled my already-heavy shooter fatigue with the heavy, sorrowful feelings I had regarding the Newtown massacre), but I haven’t been paying a great deal of attention to the preview coverage, either.   
  5. Little Big Planet 3 (PS4) – I’m renting this one, and this might very well mark the first time I let my 19-month-old son put his hands on a game controller.  I have a fondness for the franchise because how can you not, it’s the cutest goddamned thing you’ve ever seen, but let’s be honest – the platforming can be a bit fussy and floaty, and I’ve never really given the creation tools much of a go.
  6. continue playing Forza Horizon 2 (XBO) – I don’t know that I’ll ever 100% it, but I plan on keeping this in the rotation for as long as it continues to be entertaining, and given that I’ve been putting 2-3 hours into it every day without getting tired of it, it’s going to stay in the rotation.
  7. continue Sunset Overdrive (XBO) – This has taken a back seat to Forza, obviously.  I haven’t forgotten about it, but I don’t know that it’ll be high on my to-do list, either.  (Ironic, too, given that the Sunset Overdrive bundle is the Xbox One bundle I’d had my eye on in the first place.)
  8. try to finish Shadow of Mordor (PS4) – I expect this game to rank pretty high on the various GOTY lists that will start going up at the end of the year, but it never quite did anything for me.  I don’t want to give up on it, necessarily, but I had a hard time staying with it and it’s been so long since I picked it up that I may just have to start over from scratch.
  9. try to finish Mind: Path of Thalamus (PC)
  10. try to finish The Talos Principle (PC) – These two are very enjoyable (though somewhat obtuse) puzzle games, but I’ve gotten to the point in both of them where I’m just not quite smart enough to advance.
  11. maybe try the Halo collection (XBO) – You can’t beat the price, but:  I was never the biggest fan of the campaigns, and I’d wager that the main reason this is coming out at all is so that hard-core Halo fans can continue to play their favorite maps on their new console.  I suck at competitive Halo, so the pull isn’t quite there.

Weekend Recap: foliage

1.  We were away for a wedding this weekend, and so there isn’t much going on in the way of SFTC-relevant posting.  But I must reiterate how wonderful it is to be away from the internet these days.  No hashtags, no doxxing, no bullshit; just a few beautiful autumn days with good friends, free of day job worries and parental responsibilities.

2.  I’ve been down on the Xbox One a lot on this blog, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want one; even though I’m really happy with my PS4, I’m still an Xbox fanboy at heart, and I’ve been hoping for something to push me over the edge (and being able to import all of my Pinball FX2 tables from the 360, while much appreciated, wasn’t quite enough.)  As it happens, Microsoft’s finally delivered the one-two punch I needed:  both Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 have been getting good-to-great reviews, and now Microsoft has announced a temporary $50 price cut starting this weekend.  Would it surprise you to learn, then, that all of my dreams last night were about buying an Xbox One?

3.  So last week I said I’d been debating putting Alien Isolation down, and last night I finally made the decision to pull the plug.  I think I’m about halfway through it; I’m currently in the level where I’m trying to access the APOLLO core, and I had to turn in all my weaponry, and all the Working Joes are immune to EMP mines.  The “turn in all your weapons” trope felt a little contrived, frankly, and progressing through the level was becoming more frustrating than anything else, and I don’t particularly care about the game’s fiction to keep butting my head against the wall.  I’ve kept my save file just in case I get the itch to finish it down the road, but I sent the disc back to GameFly and, for the moment, I’m considering myself done with it.

4.  This means that, barring a spontaneous Xbox One purchase this weekend, I’ve got a little bit of time to try and get back into Shadow of Mordor before this year’s final 3 AAA GOTY contenders arrive in November (i.e., Assassin’s Creed Unity (or “AssUnit”), Far Cry 4, and Dragon Age Inquisition).  It’s been so long since I last tried playing it that I might as well start over from scratch – I don’t think I was that far into it, and hopefully I’ll now have an easier time figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do.

5.  I didn’t quite know what to read after getting turned upside down by The Bone Clocks last week; I’d started reading John Le Carre’s A Perfect Spy but that’s not exactly a palate cleanser.  So, instead, I started Annihilation, the first book in the “Southern Reach trilogy” by Jeff VanderMeer.  And that was, in fact, the correct choice.  Each book in the trilogy is incredibly short (at least when compared to everything else I’ve been reading lately); I think it only took me 2 days to finish that first book (and I had a busy weekend).  I’m now 3 chapters into the 2nd book, Authority, and I’m hooked.

The First Few Hours: Shadow of Mordor

This is all true:  tomorrow morning we’re getting the heck outta Dodge for a few days, but my brain is already there.  I’m unplugging from the internet, Twitter, social media, gaming, Clicker Heroes, and just thinking about it is making me impatient.  I’m even debating keeping my phone in airplane mode (even though we’re driving).  The only technology I’m considering packing is my Kindle and maybe my iPad (and the latter is mostly for the kid’s sake).

I’m gonna try to write about Shadow of Mordor anyway.

The title of this post is misleading, I should say right off the bat – I’m probably only an hour into it at most.  Per the advice of reviews/Twitfriends, I’m sticking to the main story and maintaining a stealthy approach, so I’ve only done the first 3 missions and nothing on the side.  I’m glad I took that advice, because the game doesn’t really present itself as necessitating a stealth-first approach (regardless of the tutorial where you press [] to kiss your wife ).

SoM_Kiss

 

If anything, the game’s first impression immediately brings both Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham games to mind, where you want to dive into a group of orcs and lay waste (all while carefully pressing the counter button when prompted).  Doing so in the early going promptly gets you killed, though, and getting killed makes the orc who killed you more powerful, and at this point we’ve all heard about the Nemesis system.  I very quickly stopped jumping into the fray and started switching up my tactics, and the game is pleasant enough at handling that sort of recon/stealth action, and so once I realized how I was supposed to play it, I started relaxing a bit.

There’s a lot to focus on in the early going.  There’s the nemesis system; there’s the main story but also side quests; there’s hidden artifacts (which you have to be in elf-form to discover, which took me a while to figure out); there’s orcs you can brand to gain intel (I accidentally stealth killed one of them by mistake… oops); there’s a weapon upgrade system (which involves runes you only get from killing enemies) and an ability upgrade system; there’s also flower picking (?!) and various environmental quests that go along with the flower picking (!?); and by a certain point I was feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff I had to learn, all on top of each other.  It’s the sort of situation where I know I’ll understand all this stuff in a few more hours of playtime, when the tutorials slow down, but it feels rather hasty and almost clumsy in the early going.

That being said, I’m grateful for a number of things that I’d forgotten I’d missed after spending so many hours with Destiny:

  • the ability to pause at any given moment
  • the ability to keep playing if my internet (or if PSN) goes down
  • the ability to read game lore WITHOUT HAVING TO USE A GODDAMNED iPHONE APP OMGWTFBBQ

I’m looking forward to getting back to it; I just hope I haven’t forgotten everything by the time I get back online.

 

 

Random Ramblings: October edition

1.  What I’m about to write may very well turn you off from reading this site for the rest of your internet-using life, but it’s the honest-to-goodness truth:  I have never been a fan of Halloween.  I love fall foliage, I love the baseball playoffs, I love wearing warm sweaters, I love that it’s finally decorative gourd season, I really love candy, and I am hopeful that I will finally find a halfway decent gluten-free pumpkin pie this year.  But Halloween has never been my bag.

There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the older kids in my suburban neighborhood really got into the pre-Halloween vandalism routine, and even as a little kid it kinda pissed me off to find eggs and toilet paper all over the trees, driveways and mailboxes of my street.  Halloween is “scary”, sure, but this felt legitimately dangerous and personal.  This eventually put me off trick-or-treating altogether, and the honest truth is that I was happier handing candy out than I was going out and begging for it.

The second is that I was terrible at costumes.  Had no brain for it, no passion for it, and while my mom tried her darnedest, I never quite got the hang of it.

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All this being said, I am determined to prevent my curmudgeonly attitude from rubbing off on my kid.  If he wants to enjoy Halloween, I will put my big-boy pants on and make sure he has as much fun as he can.

2.  I got impatient and decided to buy the digital download version of Shadow of Mordor yesterday afternoon, but it had only downloaded about 68% of itself when I finally got a chance to turn on my PS4.  This ultimately meant that I could only play the first 10 minutes – the early tutorial, right up to the delayed title screen – before the game kicked me back to the main menu.  Obviously I can’t offer much in the way of impressions, though I will echo Carolyn Petit’s annoyed and astute observation that, yet again, a woman has to die so that the (male) hero has something to do.  Someone else on twitter also pointed out (and I’m sorry I can’t remember who) that it’s only the wife whose death is shown on screen – the camera moves away from the necks of the son and the father.

3.  So I ended up going back to Destiny, where I puttered around for an hour or two; ran some patrols, cashed in quite a few bounties, and finally started 2 exotic weapon quests.  (One quest requires me to visit the weekend merchant; as I’m away this weekend, that’ll have to be postponed for another week.)  As it’d been a while since my last visit, I wasn’t consumed with any particular feeling towards it (beyond impatience at SoM’s slow download progress – and I’m sure that being online in Destiny held up the works considerably, too), and so I was able to turn off my brain for a bit and just shoot things to death.  Destiny is a much better experience when you have no expectations and don’t care that nothing makes any narrative, logical sense.  Indeed, this is why it can be pleasurable to zone out to Diablo 3, too; you relax and elect to simply concentrate on your mechanics and technique and before you know it a few hours have gone by.  The bummer of it all is that even after the few hours I sunk in, I still didn’t pick up any gear with keeping, which is why it can be hard to not feel like I’m literally killing time.

4.  Speaking of mindless grinding and killing time, it’s been 3 days and I am fully addicted to Clicker Heroes, this year’s edition of Cookie Clicker.  I urge you to be careful of clicking that link.   If you have already clicked that link and are in the throes of paralysis as I am, well:  I’ve gotten to level 100 and ascended, and now I’m already up to level 50 on my second run, and the whole goddamned thing is absurd and I don’t understand why it’s so compelling and I need to switch my tab over to make sure I’m properly leveled up please god help

On The Outside, Looking In

far side dog

I’m in a weird head space today, where I’m wanting to write about games and such but I haven’t turned on any of my consoles since the middle of last week.  It’s not just that I’ve been busy, or out of town (both of which are true); it’s also simply that I’ve been exhausted.  I’d thought about popping in Destiny for a little while last night, but the day had already run pretty long by the time I had access to the TV, and I ended up passing out before 9:00 pm.  (Here’s an oft-repeated but still you-don’t-understand-until-it-happens-to-you truth about parenting:  there is no such thing as sleeping in.  At this point, I’d honestly consider waking up at 7:00 am a goddamned tropical vacation.)

And truth be told, I’m still in a weird head space about Destiny, too.  I’m stuck at level 21 and by this point I’d imagine that most of the people on my PSN friends list are way beyond me; I was already 2-3 levels behind when I was playing on a regular basis, and by now I’m sure they’re at 27-29, which means that I can’t run strikes with them with any hope of being effective, and I’m afraid that they won’t bother running strikes with me unless they’re feeling extra generous with their time; I mean, why bother doing level 20 strikes when you can get better gear playing at your own level?  This is why Destiny’s post-20 leveling system bums me out, at least when compared to Diablo 3 – I can take my level 70 Monk into a friend’s low-level game and still pick up decent gear at a steady clip (even if it’s all ultimately salvage), whereas in Destiny, even shooting at a Loot Cave for an hour doesn’t necessarily give you a strong return on your time investment.

And yet, given the absence of something else to play right now*, I still kinda want to jump in and play.  Before I left this past weekend I’d manage to finish 2 of those limited-time Queen bounties, and I’d like to be able to do a few more (and maybe even cash in a Queen Mission) before the event closes.  Even if I can’t get that far, though, there’s still a part of me that would like to be able to do a few strikes, hopefully get lucky with some drops, and gain a level or two before finally giving up in favor of the rest of the fall release schedule.  There’s just enough in Destiny’s post-cap endgame that makes me want to stay engaged.

That said, a larger part of this pull I’m feeling is that Destiny is still what most of my gaming friends and the community at large are talking about.  For better and/or worse, it’s dominated the Twitterverse ever since its release, and with each passing hour that I’m offline, I’m feeling further and further removed from the conversation.

As Patrick Klepek wrote in this weekend’s GB column, “Social Gaming and the Fear of Missing Out“:

With an hour to spare last week, I hopped online and started completing some bounties, one of the easiest ways to stack experience while playing. Two friends joined up, and helped me grind through what amounted to little more than fetch quests and shooting galleries for an hour. Even though our actions were hardly engaging, the act of doing them together was tremendous fun, if only a glorified chat room.

Once the bounties were cashed in, though, my friends were debating the next move. All of them were well past level 20, though, which meant the content I was playing through couldn’t help them meaningfully advance their equipment. Even though I was the party leader, I was the one who had to leave, forced to venture out on my own again. I hopped into a nearby strike, got myself assigned to a few random players, and went to it. We won. Some stuff dropped. But it wasn’t the same. There was only silence.

Granted, none of this is Destiny’s fault. To the contrary, it’s what Bungie wants, what these games thrive on. You could argue the existence of a loot vault, a void in which players shot mindlessly for hours, says more about what Destiny gets wrong than what it gets right. But that would be missing the point. These collective experiences, even when driven by exploitations of code, are entirely the point. These marks in time wouldn’t be possible in single-player. Individualized watercooler moments from the night discussed at the office the next day become shared experiences given more power from the group ownership.

I’ve been struggling with managing this Fear of Missing Out for a long time, I think.  It’s probably the primary force behind this blog; if I can’t get paid to write about the games I play, well, I still want to play as much as I can and write about it and talk about it with other people who are in on the conversation.  I love games, I love thinking about games, and when a game this huge is out and occupying so much of our collective brains, I want to be able to dive in to the conversation and contribute in a meaningful way.  It’s no fun being on the outside looking in.

Ironically, it’s this same Fear of Missing Out that will make it a bit easier for me to pull myself away from Destiny once I get my hands on Shadow of Mordor, even if, due to Gamefly’s mailing schedule, I won’t get my hands on it until Thursday (and, because of family stuff, won’t get any meaningful playtime with it until next Monday night, post-Gotham).  Hell, I’m even tempted to just say fuck it and order the digital version of SoM so I can at least get some quality time with it before I leave town this weekend.

It is what it is, I suppose.  In the meantime I’ve got Clicker Heroes running in the background and I suppose the less said about that the better.


*  Even given my aforementioned lack of free time and a relative shortage of expendable income, I nearly pulled the trigger on The Vanishing of Ethan Carter yesterday.  But then I learned that there’s a PS4 version due next year.  Now, my PC is a few years old and can make certain games look quite nice – and it passes the minimum specs according to Can You Run It? – but everything I’ve heard about VoEC is that it’s one of the most gorgeous games ever made.  So as much as it hurts to wait, I’m tempted to hold out for the PS4 version, which I know will look better than what my PC can currently do.  There’s no current date on the PS4 version beyond a vague “some point in 2015“, though, so you can probably guess that this will come down to a rigged coin flip.

Random Ramblings of a Sad Bastard

1.  For various reasons, but mostly due to utter exhaustion, I’ve not played much of anything this week, and thus I’ve not written anything here.  But it should be noted that my day job has sort-of put me on notice that I spend too much time on the internet, and so you should know that this blog be somewhat dark for the foreseeable future.  The timing is terrible, of course, given that this gaming year is finally about to get interesting, and I’ll do what I can to keep writing; but a man’s gotta pay his bills, and The Man takes precedence in this case.

2.  Everything I said above is true (about why I’ve not played anything), but I’ll also say that ever since I hit the level cap in Destiny – and then saw what I had to do to level beyond – I must admit to feeling a bit repelled.  I’ll cop to putting in some time at the Loot Cave; and I’ll also cop to feeling a slight twinge of something when I heard that Bungie patched it out; and I’ll even admit that there’s a part of me that kinda wants to check out the new one.  But it’s a hollow sort of feeling, at the end of the day; I’m not being rewarded for any acts of heroism or prowess, but because I had the stamina to fire bullets into a cave for an hour without having to pause.  I’d much rather play strike playlists and get rewarded that way, but the results speak for themselves; I got more quality loot from 45 minutes at the Cave than I did in 2 hours worth of strikes.  And if the goal of the endgame is loot, then why not shoot at a cave?  Eh, the whole thing just makes me tired and angry.

3.  I almost bought an Xbox One earlier this week; Microsoft had sent me a special email that offered me 50,000 Reward Points if I bought one within a certain time period.  Beyond not knowing what Reward Points are (as I thought Microsoft had moved beyond their proprietary currency in favor of real US money), I didn’t, and I’m still not sure if I will or not – the jury’s still out on Sunset Overdrive, and that’s probably the bundle I’d buy.  But there’s a part of me that’s really itching to play Forza Horizon 2.  Furthermore,  I’m a little peeved that nobody seems to be reviewing the 360 version.  I’m getting the 360 version via Gamefly next week, but I’m almost positive that I’ll be playing it alone; I’m pretty sure that almost all of my 360 friends have upgraded to the One.  Oh well.

4.  Speaking of next week, I’ll also be receiving a rental copy of Shadow of Mordor, which is getting surprisingly great reviews.  Unfortunately, the way Gamefly works, I probably won’t be receiving it until Thursday, and I’ll be out of town until the following Monday, so basically I won’t be playing anything interesting until the week of October 7.

5.  I also really really really want to check out The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but due to money/time issues, I probably can’t get to it as soon as I’d like.

This has been your weekly sad bastard update.

Also:  I’m on Ello as jervonyc.  But, as mentioned in #1 above, I don’t know how much I’ll actually be there.  Still, if you happen to get an invite, look me up.