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What a Burro’s playing – January 2017 update

Hello dear reader, it’s been around 18 months since I last posted one of these and a lot has changed. I’ve moved away totally from PC gaming now (my beloved computer room has become the domain of my 10 year old son and his Roblox addiction). So, what am I playing these days?

Elite Dangerous: Nope. Still not been back other than to look at the occasional Beta release. There simply isn’t enough in here to grab me yet. I am beginning to doubt there ever will be.

Guild Wars 2: I’m now on one of my semi-regular long-term breaks. I still love the game but I just don’t want to play it right now. Sometime in the next 12 months this will have changed 🙂

MCPE: Oh boy, this has really taken over right now. This is what I think about throughout the day, it’s what I play when I get home, it’s what I dream about when I sleep and watch on YouTube when I get up. This level of obsession is normal for me and won’t last forever but when this type of mania grips me I have learnt to lay back and let it have its oh-so-sweet and wicked way with me… Follow my adventures with this tag: MCPE

Ingress: This one flared up in the summer of 2016 and is still bubbling away – hell, even my missus is playing it. We all tried Pokemon but that didn’t stick, even with the kids.

 

No Man’s Sky: Urgh… I had such high hopes. Still, maybe after a few updates this will be like a Minecraft in Space and I can finally have that space-based game I’m looking for. I won’t hold my breath though, eh?

That’s it for me right now. What about you? What are you playing, enjoying, not enjoying, waiting for? Leave a comment below.

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What a Burro’s playing – June 2015 update

It’s been over a year since I last wrote one of these posts and in that year my gaming life has really shrunk, both in terms of time and scope. You see, my work has been horribly busy over the last twelve months (continuing the trend of the last four years, if I’m honest, and I can’t see it getting any better) and most of my free time is taken up with family time, very important when you have little kids. In that time I bought into the premium beta of Elite Dangerous and that became the all encompassing obsession I knew it would, although I did find time to play a few other games and a year after first piloting a Sidewinder my love of Elite is on the decline. So, what am I playing?

Elite Dangerous: After a year of playing and finding myself taking short breaks throughout I think I’m finally at a point where I’m not going to go back for quite some time. It was the recent Powerplay update that broke me because it showed me that the kind of gameplay I’d like to see isn’t likely to be implemented anytime soon. Of course I’ll probably go back but only once Frontier add multiple character slots (so I can experience different types of gameplay without locking myself into one form for extended periods), planetary landings (I want to explore alien worlds, not just take screen shots of them from orbit), and a more immersive mission structure (to give me a sense of purpose in the galaxy without drinking the Koolaid of Powerplay). It’s still a good game but just one still awaiting many key features that will raise it to a great one. Hopefully ED will flesh out enough in 2015 for me to go back, but for now… meh.

Guild Wars 2: I started Elite just as the Festival of The Winds came to an end and Living World season 2 started. I logged in enough to get each of the season 2 episodes but I have yet to play a single one of them. Now there is an expansion, Great of Thorns, and I’ve not read a thing that makes me want to play it, let alone play it.

MCPE: Update 0.11.0 came out at the start of June and it continued the run of strong, feature packed updates released in the last couple of years. Mojang have taken on three more devs devoted to the pocket edition and the pace of updates is likely to increase dramatically, especially if the additional features they added to 0.11.0 in just a few weeks of being hired is anything to go by! This continues to be the most fun when playing alongside my kids on tablets 🙂

Transmission and Hook: Both of these are mobile logic puzzle games (I use Android but it’s a fair assumption they will be available for iOS too) and both are totally recommended as they are both beautiful and fiendish in equal measure.

These are the games that are available now but there is at least one other upcoming game I’m now pinning my hopes on…

No Man’s Sky: If Elite Dangerous is all hard sci fi and stark, uncaring beauty, the upcoming No Man’s Sky is a throw back to the eye-popping wonder of the 1970s sci fi heyday. Both offer an immense procedurally generated universe. Both offer open gameplay and the freedom to explore and play in whatever way you choose. But NMS seems to offer a more complete offering of fun over ED’s patchwork of genius and boredom. NMS may also prove to be a big but dull game too, but until it does I’ll be keeping a hopeful eye on it…

Unfortunately that’s it for games and me. A combination of little time and even less interest means I’m facing a bleak few months on the gaming front. What about you? What are you playing, enjoying, not enjoying, waiting for? Leave a comment below.

What a Burro’s playing – March 2014 update

It’s been a few months since I last wrote one of these posts but the last couple of weeks have seen a surprising change in my gaming that has awoken an old worry of mine that I’m going to poke at again and see if I can’t answer it once and for all in my next post (spoilers: I don’t think I can).

Right now:

Guild Wars 2: As amazing as it seems, I’ve become slightly, but only slightly, addicted to this again. I only really got into it after I agreed to download it again for my son who, like me, has grown a little bored of nothing but Minecraft to play. True I have also had Left 4 Dead, but that’s a little on the mature side for him so I re-installed GW2 and watched him play for a bit and suddenly I felt the old familiar urge to run about brutally solving the often minor issues of total strangers for pretty much worthless rewards and BANG! I was hooked again. This re-start coincidentally happened to coincide with the total destruction of Lion’s Arch and man alive was that fun! True it’s a zerg-fest but I don’t mind zerging too much – at least I can hide my incompetence in the crowd 😀

Recently:

MCPE: Update 0.8.0 was great! Minecarts were added along with some nice farming changes & graphical updates and the whole thing felt brilliantly fresh and fun again. I had a blast in Termite Canyon and really only stopped because I played the arse out of it. I’m waiting for 0.9,0 which will, if the tweets coming out of Mojang are right, be another great update that adds even more fun. We are while off Realms yet I think and that’s a shame because that’s exactly what I’d need to make this my ‘go to’ game again

Pioneer Spacesim: In my desperation to play Elite Dangerous I downloaded this free Elite Frontier mod and tried it out with my new Hotas X flight stick & throttle. The results were, to say the least, underwhelming and I shan’t be playing it again. Ever.

Left 4 Dead 2: Ahhhhh, what can I say about this game that I haven’t already said. It’s just amazing fun. I’m not as good as I was 5 years ago when I could do the levels on Expert (with the right team, of course) but I can hold my own in Advanced even with a basic PUG. Cold Stream is still a bloody nightmare though ;-D

Past:

Second Life: Nope. I didn’t even make it back for the memorial of my mate Os. I thought I would but missed it and then found, whilst sad I missed seeing Sal, Ilia, Enjah, Holo, Mari, Tak and my other friends that I was relived I didn’t have to struggle with the experience of logging in, lagging out and seeing nothing but grey blocks. Lately (by which I mean the last couple of days or so) I have found myself missing this world a little but I don’t think it’s been enough of a pull to tempt me back. Not yet, anyway.

LOTRO: It must be the GW2 effect but I’ve been missing this world too. Not enough to actually go back into the nasty grind-fest that it is, but still missing it a little. Maybe one day someone will make a less grindy, more explorable Middle Earth and then I can finally be the Gondorian explorer I’ve always wanted to be.

Survivalcraft: Christ no! No way! The last few updates have moved further and further away from fun game play and more into the realms of boring twaddle. There is now a bow you have to load each time to fire by dragging an arrow from your inventory to the bow. This is a game with limited inventory space, non-stacking arrows and a ranged combat system that is, in a word, shit. My life is too short too waste it on non-fun things. 

Borderlands 2: This is a strange one. I just stopped. Don’t really know why. I just stopped and I don’t think I even noticed. I do that a lot with long story driven games. Thief (all of them). Walking Dead. LA Noire. Never finished any of them. What a waste.

Ingress: Nah, I’ve totally lost the plot here. I’m not a social gamer and you reallllly need to be for this to work. Oh, and I need the app space too much 🙂

Carmageddon: Not even the boy is playing this one now – it’s ok but just limited.

Future:

Elite Dangerous: Still the big dawg on the horizon, I’m looking forward to this more and more with each Alpha update I watch on youtube. It just looks amazing! The flight is smooth, the combat challenging, the visuals drop dead gorgeous. Oh man this is the game I want right now! This is the game I’d turn the shed into a cockpit for and end up on the local news in the “And finally…” humorous nutjob section.

What are you playing right now? let me know in the comments below.

Elite Dangerous: What a Burro wants from the next Elite game, part two…

In my last post I talked about how I wanted to see an Earth-centric universe in Elite Dangerous and I was really pleased to hear I will be getting just that when the game is released in early 2014. If you pop over to the official YT channel, this fourth fiction diary video mentions it just at over six minutes in and to know that the Federation HQ is on Mars is just amazing. All in all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a Fed now 🙂

And my desire to play a Fed leads me nicely on to my next ‘what I want to see in the game’ post. Realistic humans, that’s what. What do I mean be that? Well, simple really. Too often in sci-fi the humans are abstracted to the point where they are pretty much aliens. Their motivations, actions and reactions are so far removed, usually due to the nature of evolving societies and advancing technology, as to bear little resemblance to what I recognise as human. At that point I lose interest in them because I can no longer connect to them and unlike fantasy I read sci-fi precisely to connect to a concept of own potential future.

So when it comes to the humans in Elite Dangerous I want them to be more like us with the same drives and fears, the same desires and goals but I still want them to be more exotic. I want them to be transhuman, altered by tech and by genetic engineering, but fundamentally still human at their core.

Both The Federation & the Alliance sound like my kind of people. a union of utilitarian capitalists on one hand and a loose collective of trading partners on the other – these are people I can understand. But then you come to the Imperials well then those fellas suddenly start looking more like aliens than they do humans, but given that there are only three intelligent races in Elite one of which is humans, another is extinct and the third may not be in the game at release, it makes sense to have something of the ‘other’ in the mix.

Still, no matter how cool Imperial ships are, there is no way I’m handling slaves so it’s the Fed for me 🙂

Adventures in Ingress: Hitting level 6…

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Snapping up portals around King’s Cross I hit level 6. I tell you what, portals swap hands quickly on the city! No wonder you can burn through levels in a place like London.

Meanwhile, in Survivalcraft… ISLANDS!

Wowsers! Kaalus had put island into the upcoming 1.22 release of SC! He’s also put in boats, better water, mechanics to handle stamina and sleep, and a crap ton of new animals but for me the improved terrain generation that results in islands is the winner 😀

Read more on his blog here: http://kaalus.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/terrain-goodness/

Elite Dangerous: What a Burro wants from the next Elite game, part one…

I’m pretty excited about the new Elite game due in early 2014, partly for nostalgic reasons but also because I am pretty bored of fantasy right now as the last three years have been very Tolkien and Guild Wars heavy in both my gaming and reading. But for the past six months I’ve been reading nothing but sci-fi (mainly hard sci-fi with a little opera thrown in to remind me why I get bored with space opera so easily*) and now I’m craving a play experience akin to the brilliant Transhuman Space role playing universe. I think Elite 4 (given the piss-poor name of Elite: Dangerous, what were they thinking?) will be my best hope of finding it.

So what exactly do I want from Elite (that’s what I’m calling Elite 4 now – it’s always going to be just Elite to me). Well that’s simple… but complicated too. Let me explain.

Firstly I want a human-centric universe with Earth at its heart. Of course I want human colonies, I want humans to have spread out for light years in all directions, but Earth should still be special to them. This might be unrealistic given how difficult it might be for one planet to stay relevant in such a diaspora but I’m not asking for Sol 3 to be a galactic capital yet neither do I want to see it a nuclear ravaged wasteland or forgotten back-water. Earth may diminish in political power as we take to the stars, but it’s where we crawled out of the oceans and up into trees, where we founded the notion of civilisation and fought again and again to impose and defend it. How can humans take to the stars and forget the wondrous beauty & ingenuity of everything we have built and created here? And what about all the amazing things we will make here by 3300? Are we to assume that the planet becomes denuded of its artists, its humanitarians, its creative geniuses? No, if we are to build on what I firmly believe is the obvious fact that, taken as a racial planet-wide whole, the human species is continually improving and working hard on making sure we don’t blow ourselves back into the stone-age then there is every reason to suspect that by 3300 Earth will be a target amazing planet indeed and I want to see that. I want to explore the wonders not only of the human universe, but of the human home world. I want to fly around the whole world and land in the cities that have grown and spread with another millennia of human ingenuity. I want to skim the clouds above Britain and swoop down to land in London and Manchester and Edinburgh. I want to visit home.

I know Elite won’t have planetary landings at launch, but as long as the Earth hasn’t been forgotten and confined to the rubbish dump of history, I’ll be a happy Burro.

In my next post on what I hope to see in Elite, I want to look at human behaviour and motivations. I think I’ll use the phrase “keeping it real” at some point 😉

* Rainbows End & Embassy Town were brilliant, Consider Phlebas less so and The Human Division a fun ride somewhere between those two poles.