Posted in Fallen Earth

Fallen Earth: It’s like riding a post-apocalyptic bike

With all of the Fallout hoopla going on as of late — side story, I bumped into a guy at a park wearing a Fallout tee and I was like “cool shirt!” and he was like “hey have you heard of the new game?” and I was like “yeah, we should be best friends forever!” and he was like “i think i hear my wife calling my name…” — I’ve gotten into this weird and unexpected post-apocalyptic gaming vibe this month. Not only am I going through Fallout 4, but I reinstalled Fallen Earth, which you might remember from back when I was an absolute raving mad Fallen Earth fan who wouldn’t shut up about this game.

It wasn’t just Fallout 76, however. I’ve been meaning to revisit this game for a while, but its “barely hanging on” status under GamersFirst’s management was an effective repellent. And then last month, another company acquired GF and all of its games and started to make talk about rebuilding Fallen Earth. It’s actually kind of exciting, especially if you’ve always been rooting for this dark horse of an MMO.

So I figured it was time to go back, if only to say howdy and see if the magic is still there. I rolled up a new character (I don’t even think I know what my old account info is at this point) and jumped right into Sector One.

If you’ve never played (or even heard) of Fallen Earth before, it’s pretty much the closest thing we’ve had to a Fallout MMORPG for a long time now. It came out back in 2008 or so and wasn’t exactly a smash hit — more of a deep sleeper hit. It was messy and a little complicated and not always the best-looking or -animated game, but after I pushed myself to get to learn it, I found that it was a pretty amazing sandbox that let me live out my wasteland scavenger fantasies quite well.

Exploring and fighting and questing is all part of it, to be sure, but what makes Fallen Earth different than most MMOs is that it is highly, highly dependent on gathering and crafting as a core gameplay loop. Yes, this is the modern survival game genre done a while back, but it hit that sweet spot of what most post-apocalyptic gamers were seeking. We wanted to make our way in this harsh land.

Plus, you know me. I don’t really craft that much at all — except when it came to this game. Then, I couldn’t get enough of it. Fallen Earth’s crafting was addicting for three reasons:

  1. You could craft MOST anything in the game without having to specialize
  2. You actually used what you made
  3. You crafted in real-time (whether online or not) no matter where you were in the game

Seeing the crafting timer count down while I was doing other activities always felt satisfying, and I got a rush of that right when I started this character and was told to make bandages and ammo. The memories!

As I said, Fallen Earth can be messy. It’s a big, big world that has all sorts of weird respawn rates and camps of bad guys where the corpses pile up faster than they can dissolve. Sometimes you just get this old school clutter like above, but after a while, it becomes part of the game’s atmosphere. You can’t always pull one mob at a time or spend forever looting bad guys in safety.

It’s been years since I’ve played — about five at least, according to the last time I was blogging about it — so I really thought I would have forgotten everything. But I guess my brain’s long-term storage is still functioning and ticking along, because I had one of those memory cascades during the first half-hour of play. I remembered the sounds, the weird UI, the way to do combat, the crafting, the AP system… pretty much all of it. Just flooded right on back and I was in the swing of things.

And of course, when you play Fallen Earth, you have to stop every once in a while to gaze at the skybox and feel small and insignificant. Moon!

Back when I first started playing Fallen Earth, it took a long time before you were able to make and use guns (I think the default ranged weapon back then was a pathetic crossbow). Now the game dumps a wide selection of weapons in your inventory and lets you start shootouts the second you are able to craft ammo.

If you play, I strongly recommend ranged over melee for two reasons. First, you can do headshots for extra damage and that just rocks. Second, enemy mobs can literally be blown away (or back a few yards) when you deliver the killing shot. It’s a lot of fun.

In my short session, I also stumbled upon the vaults and was reminded of the quirky and limiting inventory system. You have weight and slot restrictions, and if you decide to dump stuff into vaults, you have to know which type you’re using, as some only work across a single sector (a large zone) and not the whole game.

Anyone else playing Fallen Earth or heading back? I saw some interest on Massively OP as of late and figured that I might not be the only one.

Posted in Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online: Storm clouds gather

Let’s face it: Deep Space Nine has seen much, much better days. But in a way, its better day also arrived with the new expansion, Victory is Life. Apparently the developers spent insane amounts of time and effort revamping the interiors to be as show-accurate as possible, which I’ll have to take their word about since I’m still only in Season 2. Hey, it’s HARD watching hour-long shows when you have four kids and always put gaming above TV time.

I do find it funny that the show has this obsession with baseball, as if that would be the sport that would survive to the 24th or 25th century. I mean, I like baseball, but it’s just such a random pick. You’d think that soccer or quidditch would have beat it out in popularity.

I spent some time touring the revamped DS9, which looked just as fine as the old one did (again, to my eyes). Good to know that even in the future, the Papyrus font endures. And is that Comic Sans?

No story here other than this little corridor offered me the chance to take one of my all-time favorite screenshots. LOVE. IT.

Anyway, let’s talk about this mission itself. Cryptic’s been billing this expansion as the closest thing to a Deep Space Nine sequel/movie/reunion that it’s ever going to get, and with 12 voice actors returning, I suppose that’s the truth. It’s been 25 years since the show first went on the air and 30 in-game years, so it’s been a while. Everyone’s older and settled into their new lives, but an old threat brings them back.

That’s how you do a reunion episode, by the way. You’ve got to reunite the band and come up with a reason why all of these people who had previously gone their separate ways would come back for one last ride. In this case, it’s the threat of the Hur’q, yet another faction of weird-looking bad guys that has the Dominion wetting its pants and other races concerned about unchecked aggression.

Really, I just want an expansion about the accordion-playing Klingon. Victory is Music.

I know Cryptic’s artists do the best they can with the models of the actors (aged forward three decades, of course), but some just look better than others. Bashir did not come off as well, with his huuuuuge forehead and weird beard. Odo looks more plasticy than normal, Kira’s got that goofy Bajoran headgear on, and the Ferengi… well, they look just as ugly as on the show. I suppose the artists were rushing through some projects to spend that extra bit of time on Chase Masterson’s model.

“Guys, she looks good enough as it is. Time to move on.”

“One more pass, Scott. I haven’t quite captured the transcendent beauty of her arches.”

“Go home. Your family misses you, man.”

“CHASE IS MY FAMILY NOW!”

Reunion aspect aside, the episode itself was mostly a prologue with your standard ground action and massive space battle. Actually, the space battle WAS really crazy. I kind of just park myself somewhere and fire at will while sending fighters out to swarm the bad guys, and that seems to work.

Posted in Retro Gaming

Alone in the Dark: Knock knock

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1992’s Alone in the Dark. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

I’m 42 years old. I shouldn’t still be scared — or at least intimidated by — a scary video game that I played back in 1992 but I am. I really am. I think it’s because Alone in the Dark was the first real horror game I ever experienced, and while it was pretty cool to go through, it also ended up scarring my psyche.

Similar to how I dealt with my lingering fear of System Shock 2, I figured the best way to get this out of my system (and generate a new retro gaming series) was just to play it. Anyone miss these playthroughs? Probably not, but that’s OK! They entertain me!

I don’t really know much of the video horror games prior to 1992, but I do know that Alone in the Dark marked a big step in the direction of what would become known as the “survival horror” genre. Essentially, this was a style of game where you were put in a frightening situation and made to feel vulnerable by being given a character that wasn’t especially fast, maneuverable, or a good fighter. In short, you were monster bait in the middle of Monster Central.

It was surprisingly effective.

Games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Amnesia all followed in this vein, but Alone in the Dark really pioneered a lot of the design elements. Yes, it has laughably crude and early polygon graphics (which were revolutionary on computers in 1992), but if you can get past it, you know what? Still downright creepy.

Even the introduction, which has my character investigating the suicide of a relative in the attic of his mansion, instantly put me back on edge. The sound design and music gets a lot of credit for this, as does the angles and that shot of a monster’s point-of-view looking out of a window at me as I approached.

Here’s where the fun begins. I start in the attic of this place, so already I’m in the thick of the house and can’t get out. Not easily, that is. To make matters more interesting, two monsters are coming into the room very shortly, so I had to move quickly… well, immediately to block their entrance.

Alone in the Dark functions as an adventure game with light fighting and stealth elements. So while your normal adventure game has you taking your time exploring every pixel of every room, these kinds of games have you doing so frantically, hoping that you won’t be caught and killed by the bad guy.

Wardrobe and chest moved, monsters blocked. Score one for Syp!

Should probably mention how hard it is to do anything in this game. It’s intentional, but moving and performing actions with this character is annoying. She turns and operates like a tank, and you have to go to a separate screen to activate commands and see your health. Fighting is even worse and I don’t want to try to describe it. Just trust me, it’s slow and awkward. It’s almost always better in this game if you can avoid fights.

Jeremy, the guy who killed himself, left his suicide in the attic. Now, what needs to be mentioned is that while the sound design is good, the voice acting is… what’s the term? Hilariously abysmal. I don’t recall there being voice acting in the version that I played back in the day, but man, they should not have added it. This guy reading the letter is so over-the-top, so bizarrely dramatic, that it had me laughing my head off. Seriously, go to 11:20 in this video and listen to this guy’s “acting.” Let me know what you think.

Down one floor and it’s time for room searching and item thieving! Because of the graphical style and limitations, there are no shadows or dark areas, so a bulk of the atmosphere is carried by the sound effects and the environment acting wonky (floors collapsing, doors closing mysteriously).

Oh, and I’m attacked by the POLYGONAL ZOMBIE FROM HELL! Always thought this guy looked like an anthropomorphic frog in a lounge suit, which is slightly less scary. Slightly more scary is the game’s combat system which is so very awkward to use. It took me a while, but I figured out how to win: You have to wait until the zombie starts its attack animation and take one tiny step back, then step forward and kick. Rinse and repeat.

By the way, when I died, the zombie was considerate enough to drag me all the way to an altar in the basement before the Game Over screen flashed.

Monsters abound on the second floor here. One goofy-looking bird thing jumps through a window in a neat POV moment. Then these purple scorpion dudes have to be defeated via mirrors. I think that the fact you can see so little of their details works well with this game, because your imagination fills in the gaps.

Alone in the Dark is very old school in its adventure game roots, which means that there are a LOT of “do one thing wrong and you’ll die instantly.” Like get too near to this ghost sitting in the chair here. She doesn’t like me much.

And yeah, it is weirdly creepy that this ghost lady is just sitting here looking at nothing.

Strange and unsettling angles are another survival horror staple and very much in effect here. And by the way, if you see anything with polygons, chances are it’s going to attack or kill you in some way.

Oh hai, bathtub jellyfish monster!

I actually felt a little bad taking out this haunted suit of armor by chucking a statuette at it. Poor guy was just standing his post, you know?

This is definitely the nicest room I’ve visited yet. Very peaceful and serene. Probably going to kill me ten ways from Sunday. Nearby, the kitchen has a pot of HUMAN REMAINS dun dun dunnn. This place really goes the extra effort to hit all of those horror tropes.

Now that I got the sword from the suit of armor, I’m a terror to the zombies. They can’t even get close before I cut them down. HI-KEEBA!

Remember that human flesh soup I picked up? Well it’s got a really funny use in the dining room. I put it on the table here and all five zombies in the room politely refrain from chowing down on me to sit in their chairs instead. The chairs are all pulled really far back from the table and no one is eating (most likely a restriction of the graphics and spacing here), but it’s still kind of humorous to watch.

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons Online

DDO: Roll 2d4 for breakdance skill

One weird thing that happened when our five- or six-person DDO group was forming is that half of us decided independently that they’d roll dragon characters. I did not get that memo; I went with the boring human. I don’t regret it, though.

Before we got going with our group session last week, we warmed up with some group breakdancing. I can only imagine the guards looking at us and thinking, “These are the future saviors of the world? We’re all doomed!”

I may have gotten carried away with barkskin. A little. A tad. But how can you not, when you have the ability to make everyone in the group look like living scabs?

I really didn’t have much else to do, since I have one whopping healing ability and no group buffs yet. We started running content on Reaper +2 difficulty, which was a first for me. That led us to a few close moments when some overeager frontrunners would take alpha strikes and watch 3/4ths of their health disappear almost immediately.

As I said in chat, that is one seriously scrawny dragon. I don’t feel fear and awe so much as light concern that it’s not getting a well-rounded diet. Then I realized that I was expressing care over a dragon and just walked out of there.

Gearing up has been weird, especially since I don’t know the Druid that well. I tried a longbow for a bit, but my character didn’t have that skill and thus couldn’t hit that much. Right now I’m going with a scimitar and shield, mostly for the bonuses and protection. It’s spell city for me otherwise.

I also had a facepalm moment when I got armor with healing bonuses and sold off my old one. When I put on the new and got into a dungeon, I saw that it “broke my druidic oath” and didn’t allow me to cast any spells at all. I didn’t know this was a thing, so it was either not casting spells or casting them naked. It was the breeziest dungeon I’ve ever run.

We powered our way through several Harbor quests, including the Butcher’s path. I’m still enjoying how easy and simple and straightforward these all are, but a little less thrilled about how dull they look. Can only stare at sewers and warehouses for so long, you know?

Posted in Music, Podcast

Battle Bards Episode 122: Happy town

In peaceful villages and bubbly burgs, you just know that there’s bound to be an abundance of happy music! Whenever the Battle Bards regroup to lick their wounds and drink the terrors away, they often find that happy town music is perfect to soothe jangled nerves and re-center one’s heroism. There’s plenty of those tunes in today’s episode, so recoup with them as they listen to the songs of the common folk.

Episode 122 show notes (show pagedirect download)

  • Intro (feat. “Kamasylvia Town” from Black Desert, “Medieval Village” from Runes of Magic, and “Colhen Theme” from Vindictus)
  • “Elysean Village” from Aion
  • “Townston” from Dungeon Runners
  • “Village Theme 3” from ArcheAge
  • “Magmeld Town” from Lineage II
  • “The Bells of Dale” from Lord of the Rings Online
  • “Mnene Village” from Echo of Soul
  • “Nunudito Town” from Lime Odyssey
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Listener Notes: Katriana, Rafael (Blade and Soul track), Alyn
  • Jukebox Picks: “Braxton Burks” from Johto Legends, “Main Theme” from There Came an Echo, and “Lost Soul” from BioShock
  • Outro (“Emerald Village” from Blade and Soul)
Posted in Fallout

Fallout 76: Generally happy, slightly worried

Like so many other friends that I saw on Twitter, I spent longer than expected watching the Bethesda showcase on Sunday night. Thought it might have been 45 minutes, hour tops, but that sucker kept on going for 1.5 hours as the company kept announcing countless games and updates. Some were pretty paltry, some huge, but really, I was just there for one title: Fallout 76.

I think it’s safe to say that no matter what they announced, unless it was a piddly battle royale thing, I’d be playing it. But what I was hoping for, crossing my fingers for, was to see Fallout 76 take a step toward that Fallout MMO that I’ve always wanted.

I got more than I expected, really. Bethesda angered some, bewildered others, and absolutely delighted me by announcing that Fallout 76 would be a completely online game in a persistent world with standard questing, socialization, co-op, crafting, base building, and the like. There will be “dozens” of players on each small server shard that can bounce to others, keeping the world from getting overpopulated while still allowing folks to team up and fight. Huge world, movable bases, nuclear strikes, West Virginia, country roads take me home.

I’ll admit that I was standing up and cheering when Bethesda went full-fledged MMO here. Sure, they might not call it one and we can argue about the definition, but in my eyes, it is. There’s always that segment of the gaming community that treats the idea of “MMOs” like it’s poo that ruins anything it touches, but to me it’s the opposite. It takes good things and makes them potentially better with other players, persistent worlds, continual growth, and so on. Tacking that on to one of my favorite RPG franchises is welcome news to my ears.

I really like the setting and timeframe, too. I think it’s a good move to pull back to an earlier time frame when the world isn’t as broken down after the bombs dropped, which means that it won’t be as ugly and sun-bleached. Still a wasteland, still the same scavenger gameplay loop, but in a more colorful and life-filled environment. West Virginia isn’t a typical setting for games either (or any sort of media, really), and I’m glad it’s getting a shot here. It’s an inspired idea for a setting, especially with some of its nuclear-related locales and the Appalachian mountains. Might be kind of difficult to traverse up and down hills all the time, but we’ll see how that goes.

My biggest reservation is the PvP. Bethesda was unapologetic about including it into the game and encouraging players to blow each other’s heads off, and that’s certainly an aspect of survival sandboxes that has never interested me. Like Moxie said on Twitter, I’d rather be cooperative than competitive with others.

Even though the studio spent almost a half-hour talking and showing this game, I feel that there are a lot more specifics that we need to learn, especially how solo/multiplayer/PvP/grouping works. Can I avoid PvP entirely? Will there be server options for that? What about private servers? Bethesda said that players can fully solo if they desire, but what does that mean? It’s open to a lot of interpretation and we really need clarification.

In any case, I now have a really big title to anticipate later this year and more incentive to play through the entirety of Fallout 4. What did you think about the Fallout 76 announcement?

Posted in Fallout

Fallout 4: Exterminate the world

You all know that I’m a big dork, but I seem bound and determined to prove it in interesting ways. Today’s example is right before you: I spent an evening taking pictures from Fallout 4, all while failing to realize that Flux had turned on my nighttime amber overlay. That is why these pictures look the way they do.

Anyway.

I couldn’t help it, with all of the Fallout 76 talk — I had to get back into Fallout 4! Maybe this is turning into the summer of single-player RPGs for me. Heaven knows I have enough of them to play and few that I’ve ever actually beaten. This will be my third attempt at Fallout 4, so we’ll see how it goes!

Even though I’ve played this game several times before, I still wanted to watch through all of the introductory sequences and take a bazillion screenshots. Amber screenshots. Also, I would totally buy that first-generation Pip Boy up there, even if it resulted in a fractured arm.

Sorry, Shaun, you’re still the creepiest, fakest-looking baby a video game developer has ever made. I’m not entirely convinced that you aren’t a toy that this husband and wife started projecting their maternal and paternal desires upon.

The part of me that plays Fallout Shelter saw this box and went “GRAB IT! IT CAN PROTECT THE THIRD LEVEL IN MY VAULT!”

Who wouldn’t want a Mr. Handy?

I still think that this opening is one of the most chillingly effective scenes in any video game I’ve played to date. Seeing that bomb go off and the shockwave rush toward you always freaks me out. In a good way, I suppose.

Vault 111 is really unsettling at the start. Being alone without a Pip Boy, decent weapon, or a radio station is about the most naked you’ll ever be in this game. On the flip side, posters like these kept my heart light.

And who wouldn’t want to sit down to play a fully functional game of Red Menace (aka “Copyright Infringement-Free Donkey Kong”)? For the record, I did play and beat a level. I felt that if the developers went through the trouble, it was the least I could do.

Anyway, this is my character, Betsy. I picked the name from a list of people that Codsworth would actually reference out loud. Plus, “Betsy” seemed like a very 1950s name. I’m still experimenting with third- vs. first-person as a playstyle and am shamelessly using the interactive Fallout 4 map to track my progress.

Got a non-Vault outfit and made friends with a dog! I’m all for having a companion, although it is occasionally disconcerting when I see movement off to the side and whirl about to prepare for an attack… and it’s just the dog. Also, he steals loot.

Love the nights over the wasteland. One positive about the end of the world? No light pollution!

Posted in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft: Is it worth having characters in both factions?

With about a month left until World of Warcraft delivers the pre-expansion patch (according to the community’s estimation), lots of people are scrambling to finish up content and get affairs in order for the expansion. I’ve got my two main characters ready to go, but as of late, I’ve been agonizing around one big question: Should I be spending this final month whipping a Horde alt into shape?

In other words, is it worth having characters in both factions these days? Every time I look at this question, I keep drawing up the same pros and cons and finding myself stalemated. Yes, it takes Syp to stalemate Syp — I am my own fiercest competition.

Initially, it seems like an “other faction” alt makes a lot of sense. You can experience unique content, areas, and flavor that lies on the other side. In Battle for Azeroth, there will be initial leveling zones dedicated to a single faction (at least at the start), not to mention specific scenarios (such as the pre-expansion one). Would be nice to see all of that.

Plus, for those of us who like variety, it’s refreshing to jump over to the other faction and experience a different angle and culture. I’ve mained Alliance characters for a long, long time, with only a couple of points in my World of Warcraft history being that involved with Horde.

Finally, having both sides will help with unlocking all of the alliance races — not to mention using them!

However convincing that may seem, the cons have their say as well. For a player who is devoted to making money, alternative-faction characters make it hard to transfer wealth. My Horde character cannot, to my knowledge, easily transfer goods or gold over to my Alliance character and help with saving up for Wow Tokens. At best, that Horde character will have to exist in a separate economic bubble and try to save up for a Token all by him or herself.

Another strong consideration is my guild. I’m not in a dual-faction guild, so my Horde character is with a different group of players altogether. Since I split my time between games, I am loathe to divide my attention in any single title between multiple guilds. Having the same guild across alts helps with maintaining and building relationships, not to mention jumping into group activities.

I guess the final con here is mere preference. I prefer the aesthetics and races of the Alliance, on the whole, to the Horde. I’m not as enthusiastic about the Horde faction, mostly because I don’t like barbarian-style huts and “brute force over elegance” style.

It’s all small peanuts, I know. I don’t even have to decide now, although with one month of nothing much else to do, it would seem a good time to focus down on a Horde alt if that was my intention. I really don’t enjoy how MMOs like this make factions less about pride, identity, and story and more about arbitrary walls to divide players and create inconvenience. When you’re in the Alliance ecosystem, it gets hard to invest in the Horde one — and vice-versa.

Posted in Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online: Survivor

As promised, I extracted the U.S.S. Firefly from Star Trek Online’s drydock this past weekend and took her out for her first mission in many months. I figured that with the new expansion launching this week, it just made the most sense to switch back to my highest-level character and ship that was mostly ready for it all.

To get back into this character/ship’s groove, I perused my mission list and noticed that I had missed this episode, which I guess was added a year or so ago. It turned out to be one of the better stories that I’ve experienced in this game, combining Yesterday’s Enterprise, the Tholians, and time travel. All of the dependable Star Trek ingredients for a good romp.

I guess this mission could be considered the sequel to the rather excellent Temporal Ambassador. That one, too, was all about Yesterday’s Enterprise, Tholians, and time travel, having the player crew assist Tasha Yar and Daniels in escaping an alternate universe and taking the Enterprise-C back in time to fight and be captured.

Well, Survivor picks up on this story thread and fill in some of the gaps to the whole Tasha Yar/Sela story. We know that Yar was captured by the Romulans, became a concubine, had Sela, and supposedly die, but I guess STO’s writers wasn’t happy with this thin story.

Instead, while investigating temporal anomalies around a Romulan prison planet (which is drawing Tholians like flies), we find out that Yar and company were plopped down here and left to rot after the Romulans abandoned the prison (and the guards!) after a time. Sela, Yar’s daughter, joins the away team to investigate the aftermath of all of this.

And Daniels is here, too. I kind of get the feeling that the actor who played Daniels was so delighted to get an expanded role in Star Trek Online that he never left the studio. He seems to be in an awful lot of episodes, kind of like Cryptic kept making time travel ones just to work him in.

I’ve always thought that there is irony in the fact that while Denise Crosby (who played Yar/Sela) left the first season of TNG, she seemed to spend the rest of her acting career trying to get back to it. She got to come back for Yesterday’s Enterprise and the Sela episodes, and Star Trek Online certainly is making the most out of her appearances. At least Sela in this particular mission isn’t that unbearable. She’s here against her will, but you can sense a curiosity when she starts uncovering the details of her mother’s lengthy stay on the planet.

The mission, for the most part, bounces back and forth between reading datapads of Yar’s life as the situation on the planet became more and more desperate and the danger of pocket temporal anomalies that were a major cause of death for the survivors. Some really well-done cutscenes on this mission.

Oh, and there’s some crazy Vulcan admiral from the parallel universe who’s making the anomalies or something. I was far less interested in her story. Darned space elves.

You kind of feel really bad for Yar and Richards for how all of this went down. Can’t think of anything less heroic than wasting away and eventually dying off, forgotten, on a jungle prison world.

I really thought that the mission was going to have Yar pop out of the shadows and officially rejoin the timeline, but no… it’s time to press “F” to show respect. Yar, you died too many times, and yet you were scrappy and wanted back in the limelight. I respect that.

The mission ends with a tantalizing cutscene showing Sela, in an “undisclosed location,” talking to an unnamed, unseen character (presumably Data) about her mother. Aww. Getting sentimental, are we?

Posted in General

10 titles in my games library I would like to play before the year is out

Every once in a while I find it helpful to take a bit and organize, especially when you’re trying to tackle a large project (even an entertainment project). I have a list of books to read/to buy, a queue for TV shows to watch, a folder that has all of my new music to sort, and so on. Time to do the same for games!

I recently flipped through both my GOG and Steam libraries to figure out, time permitting (and it never is), which games I would like to play or sample before the year is done and for what purpose. These don’t, for the most part, include MMOs or any games I have yet to buy. Here’s what I came up with, ordered from highest priority to least:

  1. Fallout 4 – Yeah, the recent Fallout 76 hype is pushing me hard to playing this again — and maybe beating it this time. The only question is, can I hold out in Pillars of Eternity long enough to get that done before Fallout fever takes over?
  2. Wasteland 2 – I got this so long ago and only recently loaded it. Think it would be an interesting contrast to playing Fallout and might get me hyped for Wasteland 3.
  3. Alone in the Dark – Freaked me out as a kid. Time to go back and face my fears.
  4. Elite: Dangerous – I bought this on sale over Christmas and have been promising myself that I would give Frontier’s space sim a try. Needs to happen, people!
  5. Day of the Tentacle Remastered – Never played this adventure game (le gasp) and I think it would be a great retro games entry.
  6. D&D Pool of Radiance – Another promising retro games series. Heard it’s a classic and would like to give it a go.
  7. Oxenfree – Got this for free (I think) and it looks moderately interesting as a thriller adventure title.
  8. Divinity Original Sin II – Really need to carve out some serious time to get through this after having sampled the start. Looks good but some other RPGs are taking priority.
  9. Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Picked this up on sale a while back after seeing really strong reviews for it. Would be my first Shadowrun game, in fact.
  10. Stronghold HD – I played this briefly back in the day and wouldn’t mind doing one or two sessions for retro gaming.

What titles are on your backlog that you’d like to play or beat in 2018?