What I’ve Been Playing Lately

So, I’ve been enjoying games in a different way lately. Before, I would often pick one game and obsessively play it until completion. Recently, I’ve actually started multiple games, and I’ve begun playing through each one in brief intervals. While this appears to have slowed down the progression on my backlog, I actually think it’s helping in some ways. I’m playing more games in general than I have in the past, and I’m finding that I’m actually moving closer to completion on multiple games all at the same time, which is leading to a few interesting observations in my general writing.

So, let’s talk about a few of them. The following are some of the games I’ve been playing over the past few weeks, and some brief thoughts on the experiences.

Celeste – Ah Celeste, you enigmatic monster. I actually beat the main story of this game over a year ago, but about a month ago, I decided to finally 100-percent the game. So far, I have collected all of the B-Side tapes, most of the strawberries, and all but one crystal heart. I’ve been moving through the levels in order, and I’m currently collecting all of the strawberries and each crystal piece in Chapter 7, “The Summit.” I can only play some of the harder screens for brief periods though, as the Switch controller hurts my hands if I play too long. I’ve watched one or two of the C-Sides, and I think they may be the one thing that pushes me to buy a Pro Controller.

The Messenger – I love this game. I’m nearing the end game on this one, and I’m really enjoying the exploration aspect of the second half of the game. I read some reviews that said the second half was the weaker of the two, but I’ve really had fun revisiting each level and seeing what’s new and changed after the time shift. I do wish there were a few more bosses in the latter half of the game, as the bosses were my favorite part of the first half. But, overall, I’m really getting a kick out of this one.

Caesar III – I’m complete and utter crap at strategy games, especially city-building games. That said, I am trying to make my way through this unforgiving strategy game from the late ’90s. At the moment, I am about halfway through the peaceful campaign, and I’m enjoying it. I think I would enjoy it a bit more, though, if I had any resemblance of a strategic bone in my body. Learning and practice can only take you so far, I think. I did get my wife hooked on this one, and it turns out she’s much better at it than I am. So, that’s interesting. I have some additional thoughts on this one I’ll be publishing in an upcoming essay.

Sanitarium – Woof, this adventure horror game from the mid 90’s is rough. Not the actual gameplay, which is quite good. The puzzles are fun and atmospheric, and I feel like they are all fairly intuitive. That said, its treatment of mental health leaves a lot to be desired. I have many many thoughts on this, and I fully intend to write them down at some point. At the moment though, my playthrough is fairly slow-going, as I appear to be writing notes more than I am actually playing the game.

What’s coming up?

Since I’m approaching the final end game for some of these games, I fully intend to pick up on a few of the following games and hopefully make some strides on them in the coming weeks.

Dark Souls – I don’t know if I actually enjoy this game. I’m playing it, because I want to experience it. And I do enjoy the atmosphere and graphical design. The controls are just such jank, though. I’m of the firm belief that if the game had a semi-decent control scheme, it wouldn’t have nearly the reputation for difficulty that it historically has had. Currently, I am only a few hours into this one. I’ve found the blacksmith and opened up my first shortcut back to Firelink Shrine.

Hollow Knight – Now, this game is hella fun. I’ve only beaten the first two areas, but I’m finding the challenge great and the design real cool. I’m very pleased with this one so far.

Saturday Morning RPG – I’m roughly halfway through this one, and I’m not yet sure what to think. I have taken issue with overt nostalgia in the past, and this game appears to be an egregious offender. That said, hyper-nostalgia is kind of its ethos. It’s right there in the name. Can I fault them for going balls to the wall on this one?

So, what about you? Anything caught your fancy lately?

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