Greetings from Quarantine: Game Time

I’ve purchased, reviewed, inherited and been gifted so many games over the years, I have some to spare that haven’t been given the time of day. Tiny curios from my trip to Akihabara over ten years ago, Xmas gifts from well-meaning relatives, the odd RPG that sounded neat but “it was never the right time”… if I’m not able to leave the house for more than a grocery trip or an ER visit (which hopefully doesn’t have to happen), now would be the time.

It’s time to play the game.

For the last few years, my go-to has been Overwatch, the adorable, modern Quake III Arena that’s so far sucked roughly 400 hours of game time over the last 3–ish years of my life. It’s the game I played with my wife, the person who introduced me to it, early on in our courtship days… back when I was afraid to fart within a square mile of her, and before I had exhausted my initial supply of Mitch Hedberg jokes. Overwatch is a fine FPS, and I love the rounded aesthetic and sense of humor; too many shooters take themselves too seriously for me to actually enjoy, so give me Overwatch or something else silly (remember Serious Sam?) and I’m ready for a good time.

Those are the same reasons I started picking up Doom (2016) again (minus the cutesy aesthetic). It’s on my Switch, so it’s not the best port, but damn if it isn’t satisfying. To be honest I haven’t even played that much of the main game, instead running through levels in the Arcade mode. Them glory kills, man… so over-the-top brutal I can’t help but wince with a stupid grin every time. My childhood had plenty of Doom experiences, and even a weekend where I blasted through the re-skin that is Chex Quest with a school friend over a weekend, barely sleeping a wink with the VCR chewing through Beavis & Butt-Head Do America. Because the 90s, dude.

I’ve bought a couple new games recently, one new and one not and both on my Switch, to both enjoy something new and give a classic one last chance. First up is the relaxing Coffee Talk, a visual novel-ish experience of working in a coffee shop with interesting patrons from all walk of both real and fictional life, all with stories to tell. There”s not much interactivity, just making the occasional drink (and a latte art system I’ve yet to make work to my benefit). There’s something nice about sitting back and having other people (or werewolves, or vampires, or cat girls) tell you what’s on their mind over a cup of coffee, or tea, or whatever. I’ll be sure to give it a full review when I’ve dug a bit deeper into it, rekindle a bit of my previous writing life, but I’ll be satisfied if it’s just the sort of sip of life it appears to be so far.

And then there’s Final Fantasy VII. I’m not playing it again to relive the classic, nor to prepare for the remake for modern consoles. I bought a digital copy so I might actually give it another go, see if I still would peg it as the over-hyped experience I’ve long claimed it to be. I’ve tried a few times over the years to get into it, but every time, something’s drawn me away. I’ll try to keep myself in check when firing it up this time around. The rudimentary 3D models don’t bother me–in all honesty I prefer that look to the modern remake demo, shiny as it might be–and I’ve always enjoyed a good traditional menu-based JRPG. This time should be either an eye-opening experience, or I’ll be back here in short order claiming myself correct after all these years.

Those verdicts can come another day though. Tonight, hopefully you’ve found the fulfilling digital life you need to get through this experience we’re all sharing. If that means you’re happy with Cloud and the gang, or catching up on a different virtual satisfaction, I hope it’s hitting the highs you might need right now.

Stand Tall, friends. May your reflexes be true and your stories be epic.