What games have you played recently?

I replayed Psychonauts 2 again recently, and it may be one of my favorite games now. The gameplay itself is a bit lacking, with some sloppy platforming and weak combat, but the story and acting are top notch. I don’t play games for story and hate the cinematification of gaming, but every now and then a game gets it. All the actors are great, but Jack Black’s performance is one of his best. As someone currently struggling with mental health, it handled the subject really well and actually made me feel better just experiencing it.

I’m also dipping into Cyberpunk 2077 again, and while the city is amazingly well-made and presents its story really well, it leans way too heavily into the “no happy endings!” thing (apparently the new DLC is even worse in that regard) and there’s a good chance I’ll never actually finish it because of bleakness overload. I also can’t help wishing it had been a Skyrim style open world RPG instead of a GTA style open world, but mostly linear game.

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i really am going to go find all those cell tower shrines and korok-poops in Zelda all over again as a long-term side project.

My biggest gripe with Zelda BotW was that its soundtrack is basically “ambient nature noises”.

And while tooling around youtube, I submit whatever this is:

A fandom imagining of Majora’s Mask

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Very rarely does a new game interest me anymore. I’ve mostly stopped being a gamer. Between needing to keep up with hardware all the time and microtransactions, I’ve lost interest.

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Steam deals, free games from Epic, and the occasional freebie from Amazon Prime or Gog, my dude.

I have a strong hunch that everything between 1994 and 2014 is on extreme discount simply because of the lack of microtransactions and always online play. It’s not financially viable for them, but it’s a lifetime of virtual D&D tabletop material to sort through.

I just bought Divinity 1 and it came with like 2 90s era releases b/c ‘lol nobody wants that’… but thats enough rpg to keep me busy for a year

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Kinda like how nobody reads books anymore so suddenly buying the Library of Alexandria becomes financially viable… but with games

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I know there are alternative options, but the whole thing just left such a sour taste in my mouth that it pretty much ended gaming as something I enjoyed. The nail in the coffin was adding microtransactions to Minecraft, which I considered a very pure gameplaying experience. It just showed me that the core of the industry was rotten and it just made me stop caring about gaming. And I realize that’s unfair to indie games and the like. Maybe one day I’ll find one that interests me, but I’ve just found other ways to enjoy my time.

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I totally get that; i grew up with Blizzard and nowadays they’re like the “face of evil”

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Almost every game company I grew up with in the 80s is either defunct or a tiny division of a larger company.

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This is one of the big problems. There was a big boost in game sales over lockdown, a lot of industry consolidation as companies got gobbled up (one big culprit is the ominously named Embracer Group), and now that sales are dropping we’ve seen mass layoffs. This leaves most franchises in the hands of a few companies that have clearly shown they only care about their bottom line instead of making a good game. Most games already feel undercooked (to me, anyway), and I only see that getting worse given their attitude towards QA teams.

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Heck yes. Like Mark over at Facebook is trying to create the ‘metaverse’ and I’m like isn’t that just World of Warcraft only the e-shop sells Netflix subscriptions instead of virtual horses?

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Unless you count the skeletons that have been bought up…

Atari- Gone.
Acclaim- Gone.
INFOCOM- Gone.
Sierra On-Line- Gone.
Bally Midway- Gone.
Namco- Gone.
Spectrum Holobyte- Gone.
MicroProse- Gone.
Williams- Gone.
Data East- Gone.
Gottleib- Gone.

All makers of amazing games, all gone. And so many more…

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Somewhere way up this thread is a post about my best recent gaming experience: finding an old iPad with a purchased, ad-free, pre-microtransaction copy of one of the original Angry Birds games on it. Unless I can get a Wii working to do another playthrough of Super Mario Galaxy I don’t expect it’ll get much better than that.

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There’s a wide variety of things that fall under the umbrella of “microtransactions” and you are welcome to draw your personal line wherever you want with no judgement (games are supposed to be fun! If they’re not for you, fair enough to peace out) but I think there’s a huge difference between selling some optional skins like Minecraft and games where you have to constantly buy, like 500 coins/gems for $4.99, and if you don’t then you either can’t get some item you need to proceed or at best have to grind endlessly to earn the coins/gems. I’m not a Minecraft player myself, but my daughter goes through phases where she plays on creative mode (or whatever that’s called) for days, and I have never felt like she was hampered by needing to buy something. (Or like it’s even really pushed the idea.)

I am personally more than fine with DLC and Season Passes if it’s truly a well thought out expansion and not “We didn’t finish the game in time and want you to pay twice”. In fact, one game I was happiest to do DLC for was Rocksmith 2014, where each week they offered new packs of songs with a theme or artist. There were some core songs on disc from a variety of genres and then you could decide each week whether you gave a crap about expanding your library with the new songs (transcribed by professionals). Ubisoft found a different way to ruin Rocksmith though, by selling Rocksmith+ as a “game as a service”, where you pay $100/year and you have access to whatever songs they have licensed at the moment (which may be professionally transcribed or “fan” transcribed and mostly wrong) and oh well if they decide not to renew some licenses; you’re just streaming the songs anyway. And if you cancel you have nothing.

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That phrase constantly reappearing despite the negative kickback it gets is another thing that makes me worry for the future of gaming.

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It does get stupid complicated when dlc is a given. I’m waiting for my next ‘New Vegas’ experience, and even that game has like 5 paid dlc and a decade of updates under its belt.

But when I walked in, it was “complete” so I had a genuinely pure experience that didn’t require me to look up at a calendar or check my bank-account midgame.

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I think we did yell at them enough that Ubisoft and Square have largely given up on in-game NFTs.

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Thankfully, the sort of games I play don’t have the in-game purchase cash grabbing. A city builder is a city builder. City Skylines does DLC but it’s always a robust addition and they mix in a few free download content bits with the paid.

Honestly I think that was the big backlash against the sequel, people have been playing the original for years with all of their mods and DLC and they have forgotten what a vanilla game is like. You have to actually earn things and not cheat your way to them. I never had that many mods on my version, so I’m not as frustrated.

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You would like to think so, but the current owners of SimCity have made a mobile version that is microtransaction hell. I briefly downloaded it on my iPhone and played the introductory tutorial part of the game and then ended up deleting it after a few days because it wants you to pay real cash for in-game cash to do anything.

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SimCity is still around? I thought that died a well-deserved death after the SimCity 2013 fiasco

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