Happening now on GameLuv

The IGF 2015 Finalists are up, my work has begun

010915-igf

In 2014 I wasn’t going to dig through all of the hundreds of entries in the Independent Games Festival but I slowly started looking over the contestants and wound up doing just that. This year I knew the finalists were going to be announced in January and I was almost looking forward to the gargantuan spectacle. They did not disappoint.

Down from last year’s record-breaking total, 639 games is still an impressive collection of work to peruse. It helps when 40% of the games are entries I’ve seen in previous years, 20% are Oculus Rift games that I’ll never play, 10% are “competitive multiplayer arena fighters”, and another 20% involve cards, card collecting, or are social experiences. That leaves 10% with the potential to be right up my alley so there’s been a lot of glancing and moving on. Two days in and I’m over halfway through but I’ve already got 45 games on my short list. With another 45 (or more) to be added before the end, it’s narrowing things down to my traditional Top Twenty list that will take some time.

As usual, I’ll leave the link here and encourage everyone to take a look. I’m sure our tastes and interests differ wildly so don’t just take my word for it.

My Top Five of 2014

of2014-top5

No other game in 2014 could touch the sprawling, bewildering sense of amazement and discovery of ArcheAge. Yes it’s my first real MMO experience but it’s far more than just a Warcraft clone. Katy and I spent straight weeks playing with new revelations every day about how crafting works, how farming can be more efficient, how to build vehicles and more. I reached the level cap largely from gathering resources and farming while dodging PvP ambushes. It went on and on until I finally hit the limits of what I could do without a guild or large raid group. Three hundred hours in and I practically quit, cold turkey. I’ll never forget some of those stories I’ve told here on GameLuv and others that were so much more mundane and special.

For those who still don’t understand the obsession with Earth Defense Force, let me sum it up like this: It’s my Borderlands. EDF is all about the next loot drop; the next gun that may be the best thing in the game but is probably something really silly and useless. Earth Defense Force 2025 mixes up the 2017 campaign and adds its own arc for a ridiculous total of 85 missions. New enemies, bigger playfields and character classes that are absolutely unique are what kept Katy and I coming back for over 170 hours. … I kinda can’t wait until we decide to play some more!

I’m not a big fan of mobile games but I am a big fan of Trials so when the free-to-play Trials Frontier hit Android I installed it but didn’t expect much. Yes, it’s full of mobile game “features” like limited energy and repetitive grinding but it’s such a great and massive Trials game I didn’t really care. I was at it every day for months, racing new and unique tracks, setting faster lap times and, yes, grinding for mats to upgrade bike parts. It also has a bunch of NPCs that give you quests and while that was weird at first I kinda miss it when I play other Trials games now. I eventually ran up against the infamous Trials difficulty curve and gave up the struggle but it was months of fun up to then.

How is this so captivating?

How is this so captivating?

Watch Dogs was never going to live up to the next-gen hype that was piled on its shoulders. I was let down too by Ubisoft’s mish-mash of Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto but there were some parts I found captivating. The hacking mechanic enabled me to play like a poltergeist setting up “accidents” while watching from an invisible vantage point. It also revealed the personal lives of Chicago’s populace through simple, touching and sometimes disturbing little vignettes. It made for a unique open world feel and it kept me going right through the abysmal story to keep hackin’ around for about 80 hours.

I didn’t put these games in ranked order this year but I did limit myself to five so the fifth slot is just as important as the first. As such, I’ve been debating with myself for weeks now over the winner. Sunset Overdrive is genuinely funny and plays like combat-Tony-Hawk but SpinTires is a wholly unique experience and in the end, it wins. It’s the digital equivalent of playing with toy trucks as a kid, turning the simple act of getting stuck in the mud into an imaginative and open ended challenge. I’ve felt more accomplishment in moving a truck 100 feet than I have in completing entire other games. It doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous to look at and simulates terrain deformation and water unlike any other game.

My Bottom Five of 2014

of2014-bottom5

I could never have predicted it but 2014 was perfectly bookended by two big 3DS bummers. Bright and early in January I was excited about Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder because I love the little plug-in pal and his disturbing world of characters. But this 3DS game — ergh! The photo mechanic is neat but the 3DS camera outputs the worst garbage and all the minigames you play in between are either immensely infuriating or just boring. The final blow is Chibi-Robo’s battery mechanic which requires you to plug in and recharge after every little thing you do. I can’t believe how big of disappointment this game turned out to be.

I cannot actively recall playing Strider 2014 so I’ll just copy and paste this summation from my Done Playing post: A few thousand button presses and a minimum of concentration is all it takes to blaze through in 4 or 5 hours. It’s all flashes, explosions and wonky mechanics and while that is Strider in a nutshell, this 2014 edition isn’t as memorable as either a Strider game or a Metroidvania game.

So excited was I for a spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon that I denied all claims that Crimson Dragon was terrible until I finally played it myself. Thankfully it was a “free” Xbox Game with Gold but even still it wanted more money from me. Littered with time-limited boosts and daily energy meters — oh god, they made it a full price free-to-play monstrosity! All that aside it requires a lot of grinding on past levels and it just wasn’t much fun to play.

I didn't even have to make this image myself

Shame of the Year winner ‘Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder’ with trophy

Maybe I can come around on The Sun at Night down the road. Its alternate history world that stars the augmented Russian space dog, Laika, is the kind of weird I get into. It’s also an interesting and sprawling Metroidvania style game with quests and loads of upgrades. But that first night with it, wrangling its peculiar controls, getting past the lengthy text introductions and then having it all reset when I died was a terrible shock. I couldn’t put my hands on it again for the rest of the year… but maybe in 2015?

Come December and we’re back where we started with another downloadable 3DS game I was excited for. Yumi’s Odd Odyssey (otherwise known as Umihara Kawase) has been flirting with a Western release for years and it finally happened. I put it off until it was on sale for $10 but, ya know, maybe even that’s a little steep. The game is tough and requires an expert understanding of its rope physics to fling your character around perilous and abstract 2D levels. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was faster to reload and reset but it moves at the plodding pace of the Super Famicom original. We’re talking Super Meat Boy levels of start-to-death time with 10+ seconds of waiting to give it another go. I came back and made some progress but the first boss fight is more than enough for me. I’m done.

Of 2014: The Best Old Games I Discovered

of2014-old

I finally brought my six year collection of GameFan magazines out of my parents’ basement and re-read them all in 2014. This sent me down numerous rabbit holes, rekindled my interest in tons of games and reminded me about things I’d long forgotten. This also helped keep my YouTube channel active as I bought and played several old games. Many others I just watched longplays of and created gif sets on tumblr.

hydlide 1The best of the bunch was Virtual Hydlide. It’s a game I immediately ignored when I was a teenager because it looks horrendous. Nineteen years later, though, its mysteries and roguelike gameplay had me smitten and I recorded — ahem — 13 videos of it.

Big Ol’ Bass 2 is a game I discovered thanks to virtual pal, Peter Skerritt. After much confusion over the series’ naming conventions I finally got to dig into the most bizarre fishing game ever. Jennifer Clam, Editor-in-Chief of World Monster Graphics, sends you on quests to catch the world’s most exotic fish… so she can eat them? It seems like she wants to eat them all. It is fantastically weird and I still aim to do a serious longplay recording some day.

I never owned a Game Gear and assumed a piddly 2D cart called Virtua Fighter Animation could never live up to the 3D power of the series. I was surprised to find it playable and even more surprised to find it fun and full of Engrish-y cutscenes that follow the Virtua Fighter anime. It was immensely gif-able.

heart2I don’t enjoy playing traditional adventure games but I sure do like watching them! Alien Virus and Heart of Darkness are two games I’m sure I glanced right over as a kid but in 2014 they were interesting, beautiful and weird for all the right reasons. Alien Virus was 2014’s BioForge, an adventure game of typical sci-fi tropes that somehow wrapped itself around my heart. Broken English that’s sometimes surprisingly poetic accompanies low rent voice acting and art. How did it win me over? I have no idea.

Heart of Darkness is a game I remember ignoring as a kid, never realizing it was Eric Chahi’s follow up to Out of this World. As such the animation remains fluid and impressive to this day where the story and pacing have suffered a lot. Its artistry impressed me enough sixteen years later to gif the hell out of it and make it into this very short list.

Of 2014: The Most Played Games

of2014-mostplayed

Everybody sing along!
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
how do you measure, measure a game?

In quick saves, in swear words
In retries, in Achievement pop-ups
*trails off humming*

I spent so much time with a few of these games in 2014 that I literally could call them ‘Seasons of Games’. Here’s a little recap of each, and no more showtune analogies, promise.

of2014-mostplayed2

ArcheAge (Somewhere over 300 hours)
My first real foray into an MMORPG and it was a glorious, deep diving sinkhole for something like 50 straight days. Farming, crafting, questing, exploring, boating; it just kept revealing nuances about how all the thousands of components came together. I ultimately hit the end of what I could do solo and, to a lesser degree, my tolerance for unprovoked PvP deaths.

Earth Defense Force 2027 (170 hours)
This was almost entirely split-screen co-op with Katy. We played through the game’s 85 missions at least four times on various difficulty settings with different classes. The daily regimen of hammering all the controller buttons eventually wore down my hands and we moved on but there’s still loads to do!

Watch Dogs (73 hours)
Yes, I honestly liked Watch Dogs. I played it as stealthy as possible, shooting only when it was a last resort and setting off “accidents” to keep my Aiden’s conscience clear. It didn’t impact the story but I had more fun executing elaborate plans and prying into the private lives of Chicago’s citizens. There’s some powerful, disturbing and funny stuff to find if you go hacking.

Bravely Default (63 hours – 51 in-game, 12 demo)
For a game that found its way onto my Bottom Five list I sure did play a lot of it! I enjoyed leveling up the various job classes and strategizing the way they interact and enhance each other. But by hour 40 I was bored to death with the typical Final Fantasy dialog, the unbelievable characterizations and the spike in difficulty. I couldn’t even be bothered to finish it because the story bottomed out and I’d had my fill of the gameplay.

Prison Architect  (Tied for 39 hours)
How could I play this early access game that doesn’t even have a defined “win state” for nearly 40 hours? Because you get to design and lay out your own prisons! It’s like SimCity in microcosm with concerns for water pressure and the load on your electric grid. One thing SimCity never had: naked shower beatdowns! The wrinkles that a realistic prison population introduce are as compelling to handle as they are disturbing.

Dragon Age Inquisition (Tied for 39 hours)
Did it take 39 hours to confirm I still don’t like Dragon Age or did I just fall into the Hinterlands trap like a lot of other people? I will say this is the closest I’ve come to enjoying the series and I could’ve played more but the combat turned me right off. Spazzy and unreliable A.I. teammates made me feel more like a daycare teacher than the Herald of Andraste I’m supposed to be.

Of 2014: The ‘You Beta believe it’s not yet a game’ List

of2014-beta

I’ve tried to stay away from betas and early access games but nowadays you can’t help but stumble into them. Maybe it’s a marketing promotion or a free key passed around by friends. Maybe you get an invite for being an Xbox Gold or PlayStation Plus member. Maybe there’s just a good (pre)sale on Steam. Despite my efforts I wound up playing more of these than I expected to in 2014. Here’s a little about each.

 

of2014-beta

Beta: It’s just another word for ‘Timed Demo’

The Crew beta
Ubisoft blew it! A free-form racing game across the United States with no loading from coast to coast; and they gave it all away in the beta. All I ever needed out of this game was to recreate the Cannonball Run, and I did, and then I was done playing the beta. The actual game seems neat as well but the emphasis on multiplayer spoils it for me.

Destiny beta
I managed to get into the beta for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox One and the difference between them was a surprisingly minute amount of fidelity. They both played identically and ran just as smoothly with only higher resolution textures making a difference. This was the closest I got to being swayed by a beta into buying the full game but I was already bored by the time I got to the moon.

Titanfall beta
I love the world, the acrobatic gameplay and the giant mechs slamming onto the battlefield. It’s the playing that bums me out. It’s just another tiny arena where you mindlessly, endlessly shoot other people. I tried to explore the space available but some people just don’t care about architectural appreciation.

 

of2014-early

Early Access: Play the game you just paid to help finish

Neo Scavenger Early Access
I played the demo of this game endlessly and finally bought into the Early Access version when it was in a bundle. I’m rubbish at surviving this game’s hardcore, hard science world but like any good randomized roguelike it only makes me want to try again (and again and again). It’s still not “finished” but what is there is substantial, I actually had to make sure it was even still Early Access.

Nom Nom Galaxy Early Access
I love the idea of focusing the resource gathering and crafting of Terraria on a larger gameplay mechanic. It’s all about streamlining the production of soup to beat out the competition. It’s the kind of mundane excitement that I can really get behind but like most of these games I’ve only dabbled until it’s farther along.

Prison Architect Early Access
Another pre-sale bundle buy, this is the one beta/early access game I’ve spent the most time with; around 30 hours to be more precise. Being a simulation game makes it easier as I’m building everything from nothing and not exploring already built content. It’s missing some core motivational features (campaigns, progress, Achievements, etc) but the basics are there to instill loads of stress and accomplishment.

Starbound Early Access
A sci-fi Terraria with interplanetary travel? I was sold the instant I heard the description and it’s still one of the few games I’ve backed. I’m still waiting for it to be more Final but I did jump into the beta build a few times. I’ve kept up with the development blog and though people seem to think the game has stalled I’m happy to wait. It just doesn’t make for any interesting stories to write in this recap.

Viscera Cleanup Detail Early Access
There is something supremely clever and oddly appealing about being the janitor that comes in behind the rampaging sci-fi hero. It wasn’t a kickstarter thing but I put down money as quickly as possible to pre-order this one. A year and a half later and I’m still waiting for it to be final before I put my heart into mopping up ludicrous gibs.

 

 

Of 2014: The Most Watched Videos (on my Channel)

of2014-youtube

With over 168,000 views in 2014, my YouTube channel is more popular than GameLuv has ever been. I should probably be turning every post I make into a video but text is way easier to bang out and I don’t have a “camera ready” personality. So, with very little shame I present the “winners” for ‘Most Watched YouTube Videos (on my channel)’.

Battletanx “Snuggle Bear” Nintendo 64 Commercial (5,252 views)

For a video that was up for just over half the year, this commercial for a largely forgotten Nintendo 64 game sure drew the views. Is it because it’s only 35 seconds long? Is it because the thumbnail sports a plush, cuddly rip-off of the Snuggle brand Snuggle Bear? Or is this game more fondly remembered than I thought? I wish I knew because I’d love to post more videos this popular in 2015!

Body Harvest Pt. 01: Greece, Stage 01 (3,045 views)

I think a lot of people came to this one out of curiosity. I’m no expert on collective consciousness but it seems like the word is slowly spreading on this proto-Grand Theft Auto game and people want to take a look. But they don’t want to look for too long; the other 9 parts of the series only have 3,000 views collectively and the count trails off as it gets to the end.

Special mention goes to Part 10 for being my most commented video of 2014. This is where I get stumped by the game and give up playing, disappointing all who had come so far to see an ending. Maybe some day I’ll cheat my way through it and put an end to this black mark on my name. Eh, maybe.

More Split Screen Earth Defense Force 2025! (2,855 views)

I have no idea why this video was so popular! Katy’s videos combined barely gathered 700 views but this 50-minute chunk of us playing split screen with a crummy headset between us nearly hit 3,000. Such are the mysteries of YouTube view counts.

The New Tetris (2,195 views)

Now this one I totally understand. The New Tetris is the best Tetris in my opinion and if people didn’t come snapping at it to see its hot visuals then they stayed around for its amazing soundtrack. I wasn’t able to monetize it but the music is just too good to cut out in order to make a few pennies.

Action! Adventure! Shortcuts! It’s Beetle Adventure Racing (1,931 views)

This is another one I completely understand because 1) Beetle Adventure Racing is outstanding and 2) people really want new arcade racing fun. The real mystery here is why it got 241 views on August 5th when it was published five months earlier with an average of eight views a day. Was it reddit? It was probably reddit.

Of 2014: The “Free” Games

of2014-free

One thing I tried to do in 2014 was come up with a better term for the games you get when you keep a paid membership to a service.  Calling them “free” games and putting a major emphasis on the quotations is the easiest but it isn’t being totally honest. Rights-limited-access Games, no. Fringe Benefit Games, no. I dunno, I guess we just keep calling them “free” and everyone agrees that we all know they aren’t really “free”.

Despite finally getting some goods from Microsoft, 2014’s “free” games weren’t all that great. They basically served as confirmation that I didn’t like a bunch of games I was curious about. Aside from Binding of Isaac I won’t be re-upping my memberships to hold onto access to many of these games. Here’s just a quick thought on each as I run down the list of all the “free” games I played.

Ooh! What if we call them Gimme Games? No? No.

of2014-freexbox

Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Chariot
Another pleasant indie puzzle platformer. Played alone it’s not so much fun so I stopped.

Crimson Dragon
All the fun of a Panzer Dragoon game crippled by the constant nagging of modern free-to-play design; microtransactions, limiting “energy” and repetitive grinding.

Deadlight
Love the art style and setting but the control never feels reliable enough to enjoy the dressing.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
The analog sticks stand in well for the traditional motion controls and the game presents an enjoyable, if mild, physics-powered puzzle platformer.

Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut
A sterile and boring space shooter with all the fun of anime nonsense for a story.

Super Time Force
Neat time mechanic and internet humor. Despite being only a few hours long it still felt like it overstayed its welcome.

Volgarr the Viking
Yup, that’s Rastan alright! A great, punishing throwback of an arcade game.

of2014-freeps

PlayStation 3 and Vita

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
1000% more secrets! I like everything they did with this long-in-development expansion… except for the music.

Borderlands 2
More like Bored– eh, you get the joke. I don’t like Borderlands.

Doki-Doki Universe
A unique adventure game akin to Scribblenauts or LittleBigPlanet. You might learn something about yourself too.

Luftrausers
Not as bad as I initially felt about it, it’s a decent way to kill 35 seconds and maybe unlock something new.

Muramasa Rebirth
Umm, just not my thing anymore. Loved the art though.

My Singing Monsters
Sculpting a tune over a series of days was neat. Ultimately just another F2P “game” I bored of quickly.

Puppeteer
Ultra gorgeous art, frustrating control. Really a shame because I wanted to dive deep into this one.

Quiet Please
An enjoyably simple adventure game with an appreciably simple goal.

Smart As…
… an idiot. This game made me feel pretty dumb. It also took way too long to load and restart.

TkX
That sure is Tempest. I’m no good at Tempest.

Unit 13
Almost up to snuff with the action of a Splinter Cell or Metal Gear, this Vita launch game is pretty bland and I dropped it pretty quickly.

 

 

 

Of 2014: The Bundle List

of2014-bundle

I don’t have a bundle problem! Ok, I might… a little, but I don’t think it’s as bad as it is for some folks. All told, this sprawling list of 117 games only cost me about $30. The really shameful part is that I only played the 25 highlighted games but I did give away a bunch of codes on the GameLuv Google+ page. In fact, there might still be some free codes tucked away in the list down below!

Of the ones I did play it was the Humble Japan Bundle that I was most pleased with. None of the three games (One Way Heroics, Unholy Heights, Gigantic Army) lasted terribly long but each was a fun experience I knew nothing about. I even posted about Gigantic Army, persuading readers to check it out before the bundle ended.

I was also happy to finally play Type:Rider which tells the oft-ignored history of typography and fonts through a mostly enjoyable 2D platformer. I got to check out The Bureau: XCOM Declassified which could’ve been on par with Mass Effect 2 if it hadn’t had so much trouble in development. I died over and over and over in the full version of Neo Scavenger, a game I’ve played the demo of countless times. And I finally got to dig into Prison Architect. It needs to be a complete game but what’s there is surprisingly fun to build and wrangle.

Groupee

  • Blood of the werewolf
  • Gateways
  • q.u.b.e.

Humble Bundle

  • Alpha Prime
  • Antichamber
  • Arma 2
  • Arma gold
  • Arma tactics
  • Beatbuddy
  • Bioshock (gifted, to you!)
  • Bit.Trip Runner (gifted)
  • Bridge Constructor
  • Bridge Project
  • Broken Sword 2
  • Dreamcast Collection
  • Dungeons of Dredmor complete
  • Dust
  • Euro Truck Simulator
  • Fez
  • Giana Sisters (gifted)
  • Gigantic Army
  • Gone Home (gifted, right now!)
  • Guacamelee
  • Gunpoint (gifted)
  • Hack Slash Loot
  • Hammerwatch
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
  • Luftrausers
  • Magical Diary (gifted)
  • Monaco
  • Monaco (gifted)
  • Neo Scavenger
  • NiGHTS
  • Offspring Fling (gifted)
  • OlliOlli
  • One Way Heroics
  • Papers Please
  • Paranautical activity
  • Pinball FX2 tables: Civil War, Balance of the Force
    Excalibur, Mars (OMG, gift for you!), Doctor Strange, Captain America
  • Prison Architect
  • Race the Sun
  • Ravensword: Shadowlands (gifted)
  • Sequence
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Starseed Pilgrim
  • SteamWorld Dig
  • Symphony
  • Take on Helicopters
  • Teleglitch
  • The Bridge
  • The Bureau
  • The Darkness 2
  • The Swapper
  • Tower of Guns
  • Trainz Simulator 12
  • Type:Rider
  • UFO
  • Unholy Heights
  • Wildlife Park 3

IndieGameStand

  • Derrick the Deathfin

Blink Bundle

  • Archon Classic
  • Blockland
  • Eldritch
  • Gnomoria
  • Hero of the Kingdom (gifted)
  • I have no Mouth… (gifted)
  • Influx
  • Light of Altair (gifted)
  • Lilly Looking Through
  • Mutant Mudds Deluxe
  • Sideway New York

Indie Gala

  • 1000 Amps
  • Aeon Command
  • Arcane Worlds
  • BeatBuddy (gifted)
  • Dead Hungry Diner
  • Depth Hunter
  • Dinner Date
  • dUpLicity
  • Famaze
  • Flight of the Icarus
  • Hippocampal
  • Lucius
  • Megabyte Punch
  • Mini Moto Racing EVO
  • Night Shift
  • Pressure
  • Puddle
  • QbQbQb
  • Rise of Flight +DLC
  • Saturday Morning RPG
  • Shad’O
  • Solar Flux
  • Storm in a Teacup
  • Super Cyborg
  • The Ship
  • The Sun at Night
  • Victory: The Age of Racing
  • War on Folvos
  • Where Angels Cry

Bundle Stars

  • Adventure Park
  • CT Special Forces
  • Fortix 2 (gifted)
  • Gomo
  • Gray Matter
  • Hotel Collector’s Edition
  • Infinite Space 3
  • QuestRun
  • Rescue: Everyday Heroes
  • Zooloretto

Indie Royale

  • BeatBlasters III
  • Corporate Lifestyle Simulator/Zombies.
  • Dead Bits (gifted)
  • Etherlords I and Etherlords II (gifted)
  • Farm For Your Life
  • Legends of Aethereus
  • Soul Gambler (gifted)

Of 2014: The Most Next-Gen Things I Did

of2014-nextgen

While we’ll never live in the future we sold ourselves on in the past, 2014 did provide some impressive strides toward a magical sci-fi world.

of2014-nextgen2

Xbox Play
The most useful of these advancements has been the reliability of the phrase “Xbox Play”. I can now resume a movie while walking back into the room with hands full of food and drink. The other voice commands still feel flaky and I don’t find them that useful but the play and pause phrases have been indispensable.

Fast Moves and Fifteen Year Old Games
I played a digital version of a European copy of a 15 year old game that let me emulate swapping out music CDs, sold 100% legit from Sony. I’m happy to finally own Vib-Ribbon but even beyond the game it’s great to see Sony able to make it all happen in the span of a few months. It makes me hopeful for quicker turnarounds on everything going forward; old game re-releases, indie games and AAA’s alike.

Everything IS Connected
When we were kids we all wondered why “Sega tapes don’t work on a Nintendo”. That miraculous cross-console box is still a dream but I did do an amazing cross-platform thing in 2014. Playing from an app on my phone I was able to pose as the collective police force of Chicago in Watch Dogs against players on five different platforms. Beyond the platforms it was amazing to interact with other players in an entirely different, controller-less way and still have a major impact on the experience.

Not every next-gen thing I did was a positive

HDistractions
It used to be you could tell which doors you could and couldn’t open by their textures. Door with a modeled knob: open it. Door with a knob drawn onto a low resolution texture: keep moving. Watch Dogs was my first experience with this in 2014 and it led me down almost every alley, pointlessly trying to open every door like it was the first time I’d played a 3D action game.

VR is Real… and I can’t see it
I finally got to try out the Oculus Rift… and it made me pretty sick and didn’t do much for me. When it comes to strapping a screen to your face I may fall into the disabled gamer category as my eyes don’t focus correctly up close. Eye strain doesn’t leave much time to appreciate that VR is finally real but maybe a future version of the hardware will help. It’s neat but not necessary in my life.