A Highly Artistic Account of Video Games (for the Non-Artistic)

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Hi guys! I'm JJWeatherman and I (still) really like playing video games. Drawing, on the other hand, I haven't ever much cared for. Believe it or not I actually found a way to fail a freshman art class in high school. That said, anything's a lot more fun when there aren't letter grades and due dates attached to them. So I may not be a great artist, but deep down I truly believe that I am indeed "great." And an "artist." Here's what I've been up to lately!

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In light of a recent realization that 2 gigs of VRAM is simply NOT ENOUGH, I finally decided to upgrade my humble 2013-built PC's graphics card from a GTX 770 to a GTX 1070. It's great, guys. It even came with a voucher for Gears 4, which also redeems to my Xbox One as part of Play Anywhere, which was a cool bonus, especially because I received the voucher before the 1070, making my Xbox the Gears 4 preview machine. Holy lord, though. Popping that card into my PC and booting up Gears for the first time and seeing it run at twice the frame rate whilst looking noticeably better than the Xbox version almost brought a tear to my eye. Turns out 8 gigs of VRAM works a lot better with today's texture-heavy graphics. Makes sense that games would be going that way given the specs of the Xbox One and PS4, but it was kind of a bummer to see VRAM single-handedly cut the life span of my 770 a little short.

The rest of my 2013-built PC specs:

MB: Asus Maximus VI Hero

CPU: i5 4670k (OC to 4.1Ghz I believe)

RAM: 8 gigs (G Skill Sniper Series)

(256 gig Samsung SSD, Seasonic 650W PSU, Corsair H100 liquid cooler)

Throwing a 1070 into this machine, even being three years old, has absolutely breathed new life into my aging mechanical child. Highly recommended if y'all are like me and haven't upgraded in a bit.

A new PC under my command, I was on the lookout for another game that would allow me to test my computational might. Jeff's review for Titanfall 2 hit, and despite not necessarily being the most pumped to jump into something like that right at release, the urge to throw a bunch of pixels at my new card proved too strong.

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So Titanfall 2. I never played more than about an hour or so of the first, and I don't even remember the context in which I played that little bit. Was there a demo of it? Some kind of beta? Anyway, I always loved the concept, but the limited scope of the original really kept me from embracing it and really jumping in. The addition of a story mode to the sequel really had me excited, as that's more my scene. Jeff's review also gave me hope that the single player portion was not only present, but also maybe pretty good. It totally is. I've admittedly avoided most shooter campaigns over the last few years, as I just burned out on them several years ago. This one though did a good job to keep my interest throughout. Your robo-buddy BT is a legit best new character candidate come the end of the year. The overall story arch was a little hit or miss, but the characters they were able to build here, and the relationships they form throughout, really make it all worthwhile.

There are a few mechanics introduced that throw everything for a loop, which I really appreciated. I'll leave it ambiguous for anyone who hasn't played this yet, but I'll just say that the talk about the individual moments and reveals is all warranted. Be ready to see and do some things you may not expect.

I haven't played a ton of the multiplayer yet. What I have played seems pretty good though. Maybe the coolest part of it is the way they set up the communities and allow you to group up with players so easily. Listing available community members right up front and prompting to automatically invite them whenever you start a match means you're always playing with awesome members of your chosen community. The Giant Bomb community, for example! This has been talked about on the Bombcast, but it's just so smart and I hope other developers take this idea and run with it like it was third-person Batman combat all over again.

What else have I been playing? Certainly there's been something else I've been using to run my new GPU through the wringer. Oh right.

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Owlboy! Okay, this clearly isn't at all a test for my graphics card, but dang is it fun. From the moment I started hearing rumblings about this game, I was interested. The graphical style sucked me right in. I'm always a sucker for games which pay homage to the likes of Metroid and Castlevania, too. It took me a while to decide I needed it, but I eventually caved and played it for like four or five straight hours. I really liked what I played, but I actually haven't gotten back to it yet on account of some Real Life that needed tending to. I really look forward to diving back in, though! The art truly is gorgeous. The controls take some getting used to, but once that happens everything just starts to feel really good, too.

The writing and characters are really well done. They each have nice little backstories and motivations, and there are questions about the world right now that I'm eager to have answered. It's a game I want to sit back down with when I have a large chunk of time and maybe just play through to the end, depending on how long it ends up being. It's a good game to get lost in for a while, though, which is something I feel like I need in my life every now and again.

That's about all I have time for tonight, guys! Thanks for reading. I'm sorry for the creepy gif.

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