Monthly Archives: December 2013

Used to be Hardcore

I’ve been wondering lately if the X-Box 360 is the last console I’m ever going to own.  I have to confess to a lack of enthusiasm over the X-Bone and the PS4, and it’s mainly because of the sort of gamer I have become and the sorts of games that are marketed as console games today.  The idea that I would fail to keep up with console gaming is a little disturbing to me, since I have continuously owned a console of one sort or another (sometimes more than one) since the SNES.  But there it is.

I talked here about how, as gaming becomes a more integral part of our way of life (what scholars call the rise of ludic culture), different kinds of games seem to be connected more tightly to different mediums of play.  Cross-overs do still happen of course, but it’s becoming common for a game, for example the up-coming Dragon Age: Inqusition, to have its main iteration on one device, and then supplementary games on other devices, tailored to those devices and the way people use them.   Console gaming for example has solidified into “hardcore”, a certain family of games aimed at someone who thinks about themselves in a certain way.

The only modern console games that can really hold my attention over a long period of time, and thus the only ones I consider worth playing, are fighting games (and more specifically, Street Fighter games), and sandbox games (again, more specifically, Elder Scrolls games).  I have a love-hate relationship with Elder Scrolls games though: I love the freedom and the ability to tailor your character, but I hate the clunky combat.  Hate it.  Why can’t it be good?

I don’t care at all about shooters any more, if I ever did beyond a party game with my friends and family.  Borderlands is fun for solo play but I lose interest at about level 20.  I like to think I like C-RPGs with good stories, but apparently I actually don’t.  I haven’t got past about seven hours of play in one since Dragon Age: Origins, so let’s be honest here: they interest me at the beginning but can’t hold my attention.  Never cared about racing games (I can’t drive, remember?), or sport games.  Annualised franchises make me feel rebellious.  Oh, you expect me to buy that just because?  Good luck mate…

So am I really going to buy a five to six-hundred dollar console, that spies on me, just to play the next generation of Street Fighter a few times a year?  That would not be a very wise thing to do, and I am at least trying to get through my life a little wiser than I was at the beginning.

Till next time, have a safe and happy holiday, if you have a holiday.  In fact how about I just wish a blanket safety and happiness to everyone?

James

Driving and Smashing

I just finished painting and weathering an MDF building I got from BP Laser Terrain.  It looks pretty damn good if do say so myself, but unfortunately I dropped it on the way to photograph it, and it smashed.

So as soon as I rebuild it I’ll put up some pictures.  This happens to me so often I just have to laugh, really.  I hold my finished model up to the light, basking in the fruits of my labour, and then suddenly it’s on the floor in pain-stakingly painted bits.  Tragic.

Also, I’ve made a resolution to finally get my driver’s license.  Not having one may not seem all that strange to anyone reading this who lives in Europe or even the US, but in Australia it’s a rite of passage to learn to drive.  A lot of people do it as soon as they legally can (16) and pretty much everyone can drive by the time they are in their mid-twenties.  The distances between our towns (and within them) make it difficult to just up and go somewhere when you feel like it unless you can drive.

There are lots of reasons I never learned, and for once “being contrary” isn’t actually one of them.  I’ve always felt it was a sort of discipline to have to rely on my own two feet and my wits to get to places.  And I’m certainly fitter than many people my age, without ever setting foot in a gym or playing sport.

But it’s starting to seem a bit selfish to rely on my not-wife to drive me when necessary, now that we have a kid and a busier life.

More importantly, I never get to play Infinity because my local store is an hour-long bus ride away and my gamer friends only want to play Warhammer 40k.  Although one of them just announced that he’s quitting, so that’s a good sign.  If I could drive I could go and join in, and even entice others perhaps…

Some Philosophy

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, and I haven’t done any gaming besides D&D, which is still going well.

What I have been doing is reading a lot.  One of the things I’m reading right now is the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: the mighty Roman emperor who was also a philosopher of the stoic school.  There’s a lot to admire in there.  This passage in particular made me think of the last post I made, and the problem I was having with wanting praise for my creations and measuring myself against others:

Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was – no better and no worse. This applies, I think, even to “beautiful” things in ordinary life – physical objects, artworks. Does anything genuinely beautiful need supplementing? No more than justice does – or truth, or kindness, or humility. Are any of those improved by being praised? Or damaged by contempt? Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it? Or gold, or ivory, or purple? Lyres? Knives? Flowers? Bushes?

And speaking of beauty and stoic philosophy, here’s Lana Del Rey singing a song about mortality and seizing the moment:

Till next time,

James