Chris Livingston: Blame games
So... am I the only one who watched that montage video shown at the White House meeting about violence in games and thought ‘Um… yeah, I've seen and done way worse things in games than anything contained in this video. Whatever intern slapped this montage together in 20 minutes didn't know what the hell they were doing.’
Maybe the fact that the video could have easily been more violent isn't the thing I should be criticizing. Maybe I should be focusing on the fact that studies haven't shown any connection between violence in games and real-world violence. Maybe I should say this is the same bullshit scapegoating we've seen again and again from politicians. But it's Friday, I'm tired, and I don't feel like writing a serious examination of anything, so I'll just say that montage pales in comparison to the things I do in GTA 5 when I'm in a bad mood.
Fraser Brown: Failure to deliver
I’ve been enjoying my little breaks in Bohemia, riding across the countryside as Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s bumbling protagonist, Henry. I get drunk with my best pal, Lord Whatshisface, and then spend an hour or two chasing rabbits and boars on my horse, Pebbles. An abundance of bugs and incredibly bad performance in towns and cities is really putting a damper on my adventures, however, and the patch keeps getting delayed.
Initially, the patch was going to appear a fortnight after launch. Then early last week. Then later last week. Then this week. On March 6, Warhorse tweeted that it couldn’t guarantee a specific date. Shortly after that, Daniel Vávra tweeted a new ETA: this week. Again. There’s still time left, and it looks like it might be almost ready, so I hope that I’ll be back on my horse, drunkenly riding into trees today. I won’t hold my breath, though.
And just after I finish writing this… it finally arrives. Right then, I’m off to find Pebbles and Lord Whatshisface.
Tyler Wilde: Into the Recycle Bin
I know Into the Breach is a great strategy game. I can feel its genius in how my decision making slows over the course of a mission, and in the way I want to cry when it all goes wrong. But I don't like playing it. I'd rather pop open a game of chess, where at least I know I'll lose.
What separates Into The Breach from chess (aside from it being about mechs) is that, in chess, one sacrifices pieces en route to one victory condition: capture the king. You win or lose (or stalemate, but let's ignore that for now), after which none of your sacrificed pieces matter. Into The Breach, on the other hand, just notes how many civilians my incompetence killed and which objectives I failed and moves on. For whatever reason, this infuriates me (with myself). I think I'd rather just lose, really lose, than continue a campaign full of botches.
I recognize that the point of Into the Breach is not just to take the 'correct' action at all times, but to live with errors and inevitable losses, to react to them and salvage bad situations—as it is in XCOM, and lots of strategy games. And I recognize that it's brilliant at that. For whatever reason (a combination of them, surely, including the art and the way enemies telegraph actions), playing Into The Breach just demoralizes me too thoroughly for me to enjoy it. I hate knowing a game is great while at the same time feeling zero desire to play it.
Samuel Roberts: Crashed out
I don't want to hate on Crash Bandicoot—those games were actually pretty good platformers back when the genre was in a pretty formative stage, and they later led to Naughty Dog's far superior Jak & Daxter on PS2. I can't get too excited about the remake landing on PS4, however. Some things are best left in the '90s, and while the population of my country doesn't seem to agree, I don't miss the '90s so much that I need to be reminded when the remastered trilogy arrives on PC.
How much '90s nostalgia do you need in your life? I mean, I'm watching all the good Simpsons episodes at the moment and regularly enjoy Seal's greatest hits album. I can draw the line at a cartoon animal in trousers.
James Davenport: Final Final Fantasy
God damnit. I was having a great time taking pictures of the local cactus people in Final Fantasy 15, but four hours in and it’ll crash at every other save point. I can manually save, but during autosaves in main story missions and at certain campsites I get kicked to the desktop immediately. As far as I can tell it’s not a widespread issue, so finding as solution has been a nightmare.
It’s a major bummer because it’s a pretty port otherwise, and I’ve been digging the emphasis on camaraderie and sightseeing. And killing big birds. If you were having the same problem, let me know what you did to fix it. I’m desperate. I can’t let my cactus photography project go unfinished.
Andy Kelly: Screen burn
If you, like me, have a 4K monitor, you'll know the frustration of loading a game, only for it to be stuck in the top-left corner of your desktop or seeing only half the image filling the screen. It's a fairly common problem, but easily (well, usually) fixed by going into the game in question's compatibility settings in Windows and checking 'disable fullscreen optimizations' or 'override high DPI scaling'. But, uh, should I have to, in the space year 2018?
Surely a lot of gamers must be using 4K panels these days, yet so many games need to be tinkered with to work. There are bigger problems in the world, and some that don't have ANY solutions. But it's a small quality of life frustration that I wish someone at Microsoft would deal with. There might be some complicated reason why it's not as easy as that. I'm no tech guy. But I'm hoping, on the off chance, someone sees this and decides to take action. Please. It’ll save me literally seconds every year, and every second counts. Cheers.