Saturday, February 27, 2016

Eighth Annual Helltown Beer Game of the Year

Later than normal with this post this year as a new job has sapped much of my energy (mentally and physically). I'm setting in, finally, now. Time to get this post off the ground.

The Helltown Beer Game of the Year is how I mark time here on this site.

We'll start with the job change. In-between jobs I took a sabbatical. Not a miniature month long fake one. I real, saved up my pennies, 4.5 month-long event. Darn near mid-career retirement. It'll take me a while to completely digest this time but I did end up writing a bit about it towards the beginning by way of a video game called "Lifeless Planet." Go check it out. I might not be giving it my "game of the year" award, but it does get my perfect game, perfect time award (were I to have one).

2015 can only go to one game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt Red got it all right with this game all the way down to the physical copy containing a thank you card, poster, giant map and game manual.

The game is so far out in front of any other form of entertainment, it's almost too overwhelming to take it all in. Difficult to do, but I was floored by the visuals when I fired it up. From there you get wrapped up one of the early storylines called "The Bloody Baron" that mentally wisps you off to another land, place and time.

Nothing in this game is filler and checks off all my boxes. Engaging and coherent story has become one of the top check boxes for me. Maybe it's number 2, though. Right behind the "Does this game have a soul, does it have a feel, can I live in it."

Some games can be great fun but lack a soul. FIFA and the 2K NBA series come to mind, but sports games are an easy target. Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a perfect example. While last year I couldn't even finish "Unity," I did finish Syndicate. It wasn't without questioning what the heck I was doing.

The breezy gameplay and non-glitchy city of London helped. Everything just seemed slightly... off. It didn't feel like London or even England. And certainly not 1868.

It's interesting that I write this today as I just got finished watching the 1939 film "Goodbye, Mr. Chips." The movie is about the life and career of fictional boarding school teacher Charles Edward Chipping. It's a beautiful film that, at the start, takes place at the same time as "Syndicate," and shows me more about time and place in a single frame than the whole of this AC game. Such a missed opportunity.

Last two games worth mentioning, in regards to what I played this past year, are Fallout 4 and Until Dawn. I lost a lot of fun nights in the former until, ultimately, I permanently lost interest in the game. I'll likely go back to it, but I sort of just drifted away from it.

Until Dawn is a different beast. Glued me to my couch. It consumed me for a few short nights. I wrote a bunch about it over here. I love the game. Absolutely love it.

Helltown Game of the Year Winners:

2015: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
2014: This War of Mine
2013: Last of Us
2012: Sleeping Dogs
2011: Skyrim
2010: Red Dead Redemption / Heavy Rain
2009: Uncharted 2
2008: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

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