Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.
It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, continuing with Q2: April through June or The Rainy Season.
P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.
Starlit Adventures (PS4) 📅
A colorful and fun, free-to-play puzzler. It was a nice little diversion for a few hours until I hit the please-pay-for-better-scores paywall.
April was Retro Month! (PlayStation 1 & 2)
After my Dad picked up a free CRT TV I went a little heavy on old PlayStation games. I softmodded my PS2 and ripped all of the Bust A Move rhythm games to the hard drive. Muscle memory and nostalgia fueled me through all four Bust A Move games (U.S. and Japanese versions) and I also squeezed in an hour with Runabout.
I picked up a copy of Pitfall 3D from a friend on Instagram and finally gave the game all the attention it deserved… which wasn’t a lot. Like Contra, I couldn’t hang without a cheat code to give me more lives but I *did* physically get through the entire game. Ultimately, it wasn’t that memorable outside of Bruce Campbell’s one-liners but I’m glad I finally saw it through.
Finally, with Ace Combat 7 looming in the distance (and Ace Combat Infinity officially dead by this point) I set out to run through the entire series. In April I managed to play Air Combat for the very first time outside of demo discs. Coming from the arcades, it’s fairly plain and straightforward but they sure blew it out for Ace Combat 2. It might be my favorite entry in the series and establishes most of the style and feel of future titles.
Also played in April: Mad Max (PS4), Q*bert: Rebooted (PS4), Trackmania Turbo (PS4)
Ace Combat 4 (PS2)
I skipped Ace Combat 3 on my marathon because the U.S. version was stripped of most of the story content and I didn’t have the time to figure out the English fan patch that was recently released. Instead, I jumped to Ace 4, probably the tops of the series for me with outrageous speed and missions that have brought me to tears, seriously.
Ace Combat 5 (PS2)
Ace 5 was another one that was all new to me. I’ve had it for years but maybe I needed a little more time between Ace 4 and 5 because I just had to look up a mission list to separate the two. Nevertheless, it was more solid flying and shooting with even more anime sci-fi layered on top of its real-world planes.
Unfortunately, this is as far as the Ace Combat playthrough made it. I still have Ace Combat 0, 6, and Assault Horizon to get through before Ace 7 hits!
State of Decay 2 (Xbox One) 📅
With a laptop unable to run the game, I returned to the Xbox One for the first time in years! State of Decay 2 brought more and more of what I loved about the original and I spent nearly 60 hours slaying, upgrading, and managing my little communes of survivors. It didn’t hook me nearly as much as the first game but it’s well recommended in my book!
Also played in May:Banished (PC), Mercenaries (Xbox)
XCOM 2 (PS4)
As much as I have loved XCOM, all the changes that I saw in XCOM 2 rubbed me the wrong way. It also launched with a lot of bugs so I put it out of mind until it was literally given to me as part of PlayStation Plus in June. I begrudgingly started it up but even without the highly acclaimed War of the Chosen expansion I was quickly hooked.
The classic tension and expletive-inducing A.I. had my nerves on edge, and the Quick Load button at the ready. There’s still some janky edges but I was having a great time in the early Summer wrangling my ragtag band of survivors. It just got put on hold once Katy lured me back to…
Grand Theft Auto Online (PS4)
Who needs stressful and genius strategy when you can run simple missions ad nauseum to watch meters fill up!? Katy and I ventured back into GTA Online for most of the Summer and it was a blast: playing with friends, discovering all the systems that Rockstar has added over the years, and causing mayhem for the NPCs of Los Santos. It was a load of fun and a game we’ll probably dip back into again in 2019.
Also played in June: Trials Fusion (PS4)