Sunday, December 2, 2018

Game Binge, The Lure of the Sea, Buddy Bar Brawl

Last week, the lethal combination of a Steam sale, a four-day weekend, and a rather hefty account credit led to some bad game choices on my part. Look, it’s not my fault, okay? It’s Steam’s fault. They sent me an e-mail with an entire list of every game on my Steam wish list, all tantalizingly cheap and gazing up at me with their eager, shiny titles. I tried to exercise a modicum of self-control, but one bad choice led to another purchase, then another, and yet another, so that I have now hit rock bottom and am playing a $1.99 game called “Old Man’s Journey,” much to the cackling delight of Mr. Typist, who apparently thinks it’s appropriate to bust his wife’s chops about her game fails.

The first game I downloaded looked fun and spooky. It was about a haunted mine shaft. It turned out to be dull, confusing and repetitive. There was no game map, and I ended up running around in the mine shafts for hours, occasionally startled by a ghostly scream or an unearthly howl. I gave up pretty quickly on that one after looking at the walkthrough and realizing it was going to be far more work than I wanted to do for the pay-off of a middling story and ho-hum graphics. The second one gave me great hope. It centered around a dainty little water creature who, at least for the first wonderful hour or so, drifted serenely around in a beautiful aquatic magic land, full of brightly colored singing flora, glowing sea-creatures, and reassuringly easy puzzles. I was just getting into the rhythm and the story of the game when it took a sudden, violent turn into aggressively twitch-based action. The adorable little sea creature turned into a killer, and the previously serene sea life turned lethal. I went from soothed and entranced to a nervous wreck in less than five minutes. Forget it. The next one I downloaded showed great promise, and I actually got a total of about five hours of play out of it before I hit my frustration tolerance. It was about a female pirate/assassin. She had lots of “special powers” and the story and lore was great, but it turns out that when you’re an infamous assassin, guards don’t want you in their city. I wish that the game developers worked a little less on fancy powers and a little more on making Stealth effective, because it seemed to be completely useless. No matter how much I stealthed, I was accosted and killed over and over again. More stress than it was worth, even with a great story and characters.

So, I am now playing a little artsy indy game called "Old Man’s Journey,” which I haven’t finished yet but am enjoying a lot. It’s about a bearded old man who receives a mysterious letter, then promptly packs a bedroll and a rucksack and embarks on a long journey. Being old and all, he occasionally he sits down on a bench to rest, at which time his face is overcome with an expression of wistfulness, and we are treated to a memory from his past. Apparently, he was a sailor and quite the stone cold fox in his youth, and he managed to convince a very beautiful woman to marry him. They had a daughter together, but alas, several years into their marriage, domestic life had become unbearably stifling for him, and he succumbed to the Lure of Sea, leaving them behind so he could sail around the world and look at whales and such. It was a jerk thing to do to say the least, but I am always sympathetic to those vulnerable to the Lure of the Sea, being so myself. So far, no murder-by-guard, twitch play, or being trapped in a muddy brown mine shaft. I’m calling this one a win!

Speaking of wins, the other night, Buddy got into a brawl with another cat and came crashing up onto the deck to be let inside once he realized he was going to get beaten. I sleepily opened the sliding door for him. Just as he was about to cross the threshold, the cat he had gotten into it with decided to mouth off with what I can only surmise is the cat equivalent of “That’s right! Run, you little bitch!,” and Buddy immediately turned and made a beeline to jump back over the deck and show him what was what. At the same time, the hapless owner of Buddy’s rival stuck her head out the window and shouted, “Miles! Get back inside!” I dove for Buddy, caught his writhing body just before he jumped, and wrestled him to the safety of the living room, much to his outrage. It was like every bar brawl in every movie, where the bystanders finally get the two guys separated and one of them spouts off and then they’re both at it again. I don’t know how Miles feels about the incident, but Buddy was sufficiently humbled enough to willingly stay inside all of last night, meaning I finally got some uninterrupted sleep. Another win!


--Kristen McHenry

P.S. I'd just like to add that it's really unfair when a video game makes you ugly-cry at the end. I'm not naming any names, *cough* Old Man's Journey, but come on. That is so bogus. If this was the middle of the day, I would have had to re-apply mascara, and that would be on you. 


John Socrates said...

Very funny! And fun to read, Kristen!

The Good Typist said...

Thank you for reading, John! :)