So I guess we’re doing these things once a month now, even though the series is called “This week I Played”. That makes no damn sense. Who is running this ridiculous website?
On a more positive note, these posts now have a proper category so they aren’t clogging up the category I use for general announcements. So if you wanted to archive binge though these thingsFor some unimaginable reason., you can do that now.
I didn’t play a lot of games this “week”, though. My time with Cities Skylines is winding down. I still have a city I’m tinkering with, but it’s mostly for screenshots. I’m currently writing another video / essay on what I think the developers should do for Skylines 2, so I need to fire it up now and again for footage.
Now that the mania has passed, I can see what an odd patchwork the game is after 5 years of DLC. Each DLC added a new self-contained set of mechanics that don’t interact with any of the others. For example, the Snowfall expansion gives you snowy cities, but that doesn’t work with the Natural Disasters DLC to allow for weather-based disasters like blizzards.
On a practical level I can understand why this is the case. It would be prohibitively difficult to make a series of DLC packs that worked well in isolation AND inter-operated seamlessly with any possible combination of the other dozen or so expansions. It would make testing and debugging a nightmare. So every DLC is just a little self-contained sim within your city, and the only way they feed into the base game is to create or mitigate traffic. You can run a park, a university, or an industrial district within your city, but these systems have no synergy.
I seem to relapse with this game every 18 to 24 months or so. I wonder if Skylines 2 will be out before the next time I get the city-building fever?
I’m between major games at the moment. Borderlands 3 and DOOM Eternal are behind, and I don’t see anything interesting on the horizon. Bloodlines 2 doesn’t even have a release date yet. Same goes for Watch Dogs: Legion, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, and Kerbal Space Program 2. Most of these games refuse to commit to a specific date besides “maybe sometime in 2020, I dunno, we’ll see”. I guess we can blame this on the ongoing T-virus pandemic. Cyberpunk 2077 has a proper release date, but that’s still four months away.
What about the Final Fantasy VII Remake, you ask? My younger brother is a HUGE fan of the original. I’m just a casual fan. I liked it, but it wasn’t a defining moment of my adolescence. I’d feel horribly guilty if I played the game before him, so I lent him my PS4. So that game will have to wait for later this year. Same goes for Last of Us 2, if they ever get around to releasing that.
I don’t have any VR gear, which means I didn’t get to play Half-Life: Alyx. I’m delighted the game got a good reception, though. It’s nice to know Valve hasn’t lost their touch, even if I won’t get to play this thing anytime soon.
Marvel’s Avengers is holding to their September release date. I was only planning on getting Marvel’s Avengers because I expecting it was going to be an object of ridicule as a sort of aimless, nobody-asked-for-this, corporate-mandated project. But now it looks like everyone involved has accepted that their fate is to be crushed under the neon-trimmed wheels of Cyberpunk. So instead of everyone mocking it, it will probably come and go without anyone noticing.
Whatever. That works too.
I can’t imagine what’s going to happen when this zombie plague blows over and the publishers start releasing stuff again. The end-of-year stuff is already enough of a traffic jam, but this is going to be insane. Even if we’re lucky and the wheels of industry begin turning next month, that means all of these delayed games are going to land in the September-November window. September puts you up against Cyberpunk 2077, which is not where you want your game to be after months of delays. At the other end, anything beyond November will arrive too late for Christmas and the end-of-year awards.
On top of all of that is the concern that people aren’t going to have a lot of disposable income after this mess, so consumers might be pickier than usual and sales will probably be a little lower across the board. I have no idea what I’d do if I was running one of the big publishers right now.
- Release ASAP, and fail because nobody has any money and everyone is talking about Cyberpunk?
- Release in the September-November window, and have your game buried in the deluge?
- Push your game into 2021, thus crowding all the games you had scheduled for then?
Yes, I realize the T-virus has caused more serious problems than delaying the release of a few games, but it’s still interesting to speculate what’s going to happen around this hobby in the next six months.
Caution: I Have Created More Music
The lack of games means I’ve fallen back into my old habits and begun making music again. Which means the time has come for me to inflict another track on you.
I’m starting to realize that my music is the Vogon Poetry of EDM. That’s fine. Like Antonio Salieri, I’m mad at the world for the extreme mismatch between my ambitions and my talent. As luck would have it, my lack of skill gives me the perfect tool with which to punish the lot of you. You are now obligated to listen to this track in order to feel my wrath:
If the world won’t love me, then it will fear me. I have plenty more tepid and unimaginative EDM where that came from.
So what’s your story? What have you been playing for the last few weeks? Anything good? Terrible? What are you looking forward to, besides normalcy?
 For some unimaginable reason.
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It seems like a simple question, but it turns out everyone has a different idea of right and wrong in the digital world.
Could Have Been Great
Here are four games that could have been much better with just a little more work.
Quakecon Keynote 2013 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
A look at the main Borderlands games. What works, what doesn't, and where the series can go from here.
The Best of 2016
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2016.