2017 Gaming Report

The more I play, the more I love videogames. I was worried when I got back into gaming a few years ago (after a 20+ year hiatus) that it would consume my life and keep me from writing/reading. But for the most part, it hasn’t. I still read and write about the same amount, and in fact there are things I’m learning from videogames that I believe are making me a better storyteller. If anything, I am watching less television and movies, but honestly I think the storytelling in some of these games is more compelling than a lot of tv, so I’m okay with that! Here’s what I played (and didn’t play) in 2017, and what I’m looking forward to.

Games completed (PlayStation):
Horizon Zero Dawn + Frozen Wilds DLC: LOVELOVELOVE everything about this: the amazing world, the mystery of the premise, the ROBOT DINOSAURS, Aloy in all her wounded snarky glory, the sidequests that all felt organic and meaningful, and the ending made me cry

Mass Effect Andromeda: I enjoyed this, but ?don’t feel a desire to replay. It was a fine game, but just not what I was hoping for based on the first trilogy. I did love many of the characters though! Especially Peebee and Jaal)

?What Remains of Edith Finch: Whoa. That Cannery scene is going to haunt me for a looong time. Really innovative and heart-wrenching overall.

Firewatch: So immersive! I loved the walkie-talkie mechanic, in particular, and the sense of isolation when I was out in the woods on my own. I was disappointed by the ending but loved everything else about it.

Uncharted: Like an action adventure movie in game form! I played this with Bob, trading off the controller. Ugh, that jetski section though! Most frustrated I’ve ever been in a game!

Uncharted 2: Ditto, but without the jetskis, yay!

Trine: Played this with my brother, and really enjoyed it! Fun, gorgeous magical setting, cool puzzles! There’s a plot too but I will admit I didn’t pay much attention to that element! I was too distracted by the giant glowing flowers and goblins…

?Games completed (Phone)?:
Oxenfree: I wish I’d played this on a larger screen– it’s available on console too– but it was still amazingly atmospheric and evocative and downright spooky. The soundtrack is amazing, and the sense of choices impacting the game is very satisfying.

Monument Valley 2: I love all the Escher-like puzzles, and the visuals are as gorgeous as in the first game. I especially love the color palettes.

A Normal Lost Phone: Intriguing storytelling, more like a novella than a game in some ways)

Another Lost Phone: Ditto, but I preferred the first one.

Games in progress:
Trine 2: Playing this with my brother; we are stuck at the final boss fight! But it’s just as cool and gorgeous as the first one.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice: I love so much about this one but it is so dark thematically, and makes me super-tense to play so I can only do it in small bits.

Dragon Age Inquisition: Third play, and I have no shame!

Dragon Age Origins: Second play, and I have no shame!

Divinity Original Sin: Occasionally playing with Bob; the tactics are fun and the world is vivid and intriguing. I’m very interested to see what the second game is like once it comes to PS4.

Uncharted 3: Playing with Bob, similar experience to the first two!

Old Man’s Journey: Another one that feels more like a visual story than a game. I am intrigued to see where it goes.

Games on hold:
Borderlands: Playing this with my brother, but we got sick of hunting skags.

Star Wars: KOTOR: I was enjoying it, but find it really hard to motivate myself to play on the PC upstairs at a desk when there’s a much more comfortable couch and console in the living room.

Games abandoned:
Life is Strange: It seemed like a perfect game for me but I just didn’t click with the characters and the gameplay was too slow for my taste.

Fallout 3: Too much busywork for me and the world doesn’t appeal.

Games on my to-play list for 2018:
Shadow of the Colossus: I never played the original version but the world looks like my sort of aesthetic.

Detroit Become Human: I’m a sucker for android rights stories.

Witcher 3: Based on reviews from folks I trust I think I will like this!

Wolfenstein 2: Bob is playing this now; I’ve heard such good things I’d like to try it myself.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins: I’ve never played AC but this one looks amazing– ancient Egypt!!!– and I’ve heard good things about the characters.

Tacoma: I loved Gone Home and this is by the same folks. But in space!

Final Fantasy XV: I’ve never played FF but would like to give it a try, and I’ve heard it rips your heart out, which I enjoy in a game…

I am ambivalent about Anthem. Much as I love Bioware in general, this new game hasn’t grabbed me yet based on the (admittedly few) glimpses I’ve had, and it feels like they are going in a direction that’s less interesting with the mechanics and story. But maybe as more information comes out it will appeal more!


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