I’m afraid that if you read this site and listen to the Diecast, then this week’s column is going to feel like a ripoff. It’s basically a more organized version of the monologue I’ve been doing on how “furniture shapes platform decisions” followed by “if it’s not shaped by furniture, it’s shaped by the people you live with”.
Speaking of the people you live with…
Our family just got a Wii U. I’d post my thoughts on it, but aside from, “Wow this is charming!” I can’t offer any insight. My oldest daughter has decided that now is the time to do the 100% run-through of Harvest Moon that she’s always wanted to do. So our Wii U has spent the last 12 days playing what seems to be the most tedious Wii game ever devised.
It’s a game about growing crops and animals, but also about friendship or somesuch piffle. It’s got more repetitive grind than any Final Fantasy I’ve ever seen, it requires more exhaustive Wiki-reading than the most obtuse Minecraft mods, and the relevant locations are spread out over an expanse of mostly gameplay-free space, requiring long walks between often-repeated tasks. Add in some unskippable interludes, repetitive dialog, and an interface that’s too concerned with looking cute rather than giving you convenient access to the terrifying volumes of resources and information you’re dealing with, and you have a game designed to devour your time before demanding also your sanity.
Over the past week I’ve watched my daughter research the wiki and build up an impressive collection of handwritten notes. On one hand, I want to be the cranky old dad and boot her off the couch so someone else can use the new console. On the other hand, I find myself looking back on the notes and maps I made for Eye of the Beholder and thinking, “Yeah. It’s about time she worked for a game. You know back in my day…”
So I don’t know much about the Wii U yet. I’ll report back when she relinquishes control.
The Best of 2014
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2014.
Shamus Plays LOTRO
As someone who loves Tolkein lore and despises silly MMO quests, this game left me deeply conflicted.
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
Zenimax vs. Facebook
This series explores the troubled history of VR and the strange lawsuit between Zenimax publishing and Facebook.
What was the problem with the Playstation 3 hardware and why did Sony build it that way?