7 April 2014

New Things, New Games, New Experiences

Been very lazy with my bloggings lately. Nothing really major going on in my life, but several little titbits I probably should write about. Starting a new Tumblr, subscribing to PlayStation Plus, trying games I never thought I'd play...

1. First of all, I've been trying to rework my daily routines in an effort to be more productive (I'm not sure it's actually helped much yet, but it's a gradual progress). One thing I'm trying is starting my days with a little gaming, to relax and invigorate me for the day to come, and perhaps also in order to have a regular timeslot for gaming that wouldn't have to compete with other hobbies. Then I came upon the idea that perhaps I should write some kind of journal about my experiences. So I started a new Tumblr page for this purpose, which I'm calling Ben's Breakfast Battles. (Why Tumblr? I felt this should be separate from my other outlets, and Tumblr seemed like a relatively light weight system for writing and sharing these short posts.)

2. In today's post I received the Iron Sky Director's Cut Blu-ray. It's a 'limited edition steelbook' version, signed by director Timo Vuorensola, to boot. (This was part of a merchandise package I bought last year when they were crowdfunding the production of the Iron Sky sequel.) But perhaps the real blogworthy news here is that this is, believe it or not, my first ever Blu-ray movie. Even though I've had a PS3 and HD TV for many years already, I've still heavily favoured DVDs when buying movies and TV shows. There are some simple reasons for this. Firstly, DVDs have been, and I think still are, cheaper than Blu-rays. Secondly, not every location I regularly watch movies and shows at (namely some family members) still has a Blu-ray player, and I want to keep my options for when and where I watch open. Even when that changes, price will still be major factor, although I might be more willing to look at the alternatives.

3. I have been watching a lot of gaming streams lately, particularly by LoadingReadyRun and Day[9]. (Well, a lot of these I've watched on YouTube, because the time zone difference makes catching most streams live hard at best.) It's interesting to see games I haven't played and (often) am not likely to play. Sometimes watching stuff like this might even inspire me to try new games and genres. (See below. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, watching Hearthstone footage was partially to blame for my rediscovered interest in Magic: The Gathering.) And a good, engaging streamer can make it really entertaining, too.

4. Perhaps somewhat related to the previous, I've been thinking about my options for new games to play, once I'm through with my current playthrough of the Mass Effect trilogy. There's a bunch of games that I'd like to try out, but I have limited money to use and a lot of these games are still pretty pricey. So somehow I found myself once again looking at PlayStation Plus. I have scoffed at the idea before, and I am, generally speaking, not a big fan of subscription based services in most fields. I'd much rather just buy an item and be done with it. But here's the reasoning that finally made me cave in and buy a three month subscription, to try it out. The 'meat' of Plus membership, I think, is the selection of 'free' games you can download. Even if you'd only play a few games that way during, say, a year's membership, I guess you've pretty much got your money's worth. Still, I'd much rather have games on disc than download games I can use only as long as I'm a subscriber. What sold me was the idea that the games I'd be downloading, for the most part, probably aren't games I would normally buy. If I'm spending money on a specific game, I kinda want it to be something I know I'm likely to enjoy, like a new title in a favourite series. There'll be less experimentation, which I'm hoping these downloadable games will inspire more of. (The ability to back up save files in the cloud is an additional bonus. Wish I'd had that last autumn when my old PS3 broke down...)

5. The first PlayStation Plus member game I downloaded from the PSN store, once I'd signed up, just yesterday, was... dramatic drumroll... XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This was inspired by Cam Lauder playing the game (well, technically the expansion, Enemy Within, but that wasn't available to download) on the LoadingReadyRun channel. Now, I never played the original classic UFO: Enemy Unknown, nor do I have a lot of experience in general with tactical games, so this is entirely new territory for me. I'm sure I'll write more once I've had a chance to play more.

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