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Gaming: April 2011’s Games

It’s time for each of April’s round-up posts, a quick overview and assessment of all the entertainment I consumed during the month. Having finally been on time enough last month to make goals this is the first proper opportunity to see whether I was able to meet them. This month kicked off with film, then books, and now it’s time for April’s games.

Plenty of room for this month's participants.

Image sources: Trip and some creepers. The Combine came from a personal screenshot.

The image should make it clear that this month has far fewer games to cover. In fact, this is probably the easiest gaming round-up I’ll ever have to make for the blog, short of a theoretical month where I don’t actually play any games. If anything I spent more time gaming in April in any other, just spending that time on, well, one game in particular. Read on:

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360)

Progress: Played many more chapters, ongoing.

I blogged about this twice more in April already, here and here (with all posts accessible through this tag link), and actually haven’t played it since I made that last post. That most recent post expressed a little more frustration than the previous ones due to a couple of issues, but it wasn’t serious enough to get me to stop playing. The game has just been temporarily shunted aside.

Minecraft (PC)

Progress: Played many, many, many, many hours, ongoing.

Minecraft is of course the game that consumed me this month, as I already mentioned in this post. It really is an incredible game, a proper sandbox experience. I still intend to put some posts together so I won’t go overboard here, but I really have been able to lose myself in building projects and mining operations to find the necessary resources.

My nephew is also playing it and his approach is very different to mine, constantly making new worlds every time he has a new idea or finishes a project (or simply grows bored of it), whereas I’m still on my very first world and am constantly adding to it, steadily advancing further and further from my starting location and home base. I used a tool that generates an isometric map of your Minecraft world to get a look at my home and I’ve had a humbling lack of impact on it even in my small corner. Each world is big enough that I don’t see any need to keep generating new ones. This is my home now. This is Bengland.

Synergy - Half-Life 2 (PC)

After the lacklustre co-op session of Resistance: Fall of Man last month I tried to find something better to play with my nephew. I ended up going for a game that isn’t even co-op in its default state, Half-Life 2, but the nature of PC gaming means that it’s something that has been added via the Synergy mod (which is available free through Steam). It’s a game I want my nephew to play because it really is one of the best games ever made, but while he’s finished Portal by himself he’s never been able to get through Half-Life 2‘s rather long introductory sequence (where it’s all scene-setting without any combat and isn’t exactly engrossing for him, being only nine years old).

One of the major reasons I think he’ll like it is because of the gravity gun, as he adores playing with game physics and Half-Life 2 still remains a stellar example of them being implemented well. Even in this initial session (Minecraft has currently derailed this as well) we ended up spending more time playing with the physics than progressing the story, and really had a lot of fun. In fact I intend to put up a post about that as well, assuming I can get away from Minecraft for long enough.

*****

April Verdict

Quality – Well Minecraft is a real contender for my game of the year 2011 (it technically releases at the end of the year), Half-Life 2 is possibly the greatest game ever made and Enslaved is pretty good. So the upside of playing less games is that it’s easier to make them all good ones.

Quantity – Obviously the quantity of different games played was way, way down thanks to the dominance of Minecraft, but I’m pretty confident that I spent more time gaming in April than any other this year.

TimelinessHalf-Life 2 is a few years old now, being a 2004 release, but Enslaved is from last year and Minecraft is a 2011 game that technically hasn’t even released yet.

Platform Bias – This was the PC’s month, racking up dozens of hours. The 360 had a couple of hours through Enslaved but the PS3 and Wii had none at all.

Newness – I’ll count all three games as new experiences, seeing as two are ones I’m working through for the first time and the other is being played in a new way.

Goals – I only had one goal for April and I said ‘It should be fairly easy to stick to that’:

  1. Keep to my recently established schedule (two of every four non-work days on a new game, one on Dragon Age: Origins and one on timesinks Fallout 3 or The Sims 3)Failed

I failed that spectacularly, in fact. I guess technically Minecraft is both a new game and a timesink so it could almost count for three of those four days, but I wasn’t treating it as part of the schedule and should write this one off as a failure. The goal will carry through to next month, though I’m sure there will still be plenty of Minecraft.

In fact I could get more specific and say I’d like to finish Enslaved: Odyssey to the West in May as I likely don’t have that much more story to go. I won’t say I want to start Deadly Premonition during the month because I think I’ll watch all of Twin Peaks first (both of which were purchased in April) as some people have said it adds to the experience, but if I do get my schedule back on track that means I could do with getting one new game to fill the gap. Portal 2, perhaps? We’ll see what happens.

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  1. May 5, 2011 at 15:24

    Thanks for the Pingback. By the way evtron.com, the place where you got your image source from, were not creepers. =D

  1. May 5, 2011 at 15:05

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