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Weekly Update #16 -March 15, 2016

This has been a weird week for me in video games. I've spent about 21 hours watching a game being played, which was the majority of the time I had devoted to games this week. Getting absorbed into a game without playing it was kind of cool I guess? But more on that later!

Alice: Madness Returns

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Picking up from last week, there were still a few hours to go before seeing the ending credits on this game. When all was said and done, I felt relief more than anything. I felt that the game was overly drawn out and should have been over a few hours before it actually was. Not that there weren't enough areas, because each of the areas presented me with a different aesthetic and some (small) gameplay differences (the shmup-section in the water area, the 2D platforming in the mountain area and the... pinball section in the dollhouse area?), but the fact that each area went on for so long. Ugh. It's a weird feeling, wanting a game to be over and still pushing yourself to finish it. At that point, why not just leave it? Accept the fact that I've had my fill and move on to the next item on the backlog. I don't know. I get this feeling sometimes when a game is relatively short (11 hours in this case) I should just see it through to the end just to say I've done it. I have no qualms about abandoning longer games that I've lost interest in because those feel like larger commitments. This was just a distraction, in a way. Anyway. I thought the game was alright; the platforming was mostly fine, the combat sometimes got to be a little repetitive (the game has exactly ONE boss fight at the very end) and the narrative somewhat.. unclear. I did enjoy parts of it when I wasn't certain if what was happening was real or not, which was a cool way of empathizing with the protagonist. I think I just soured on it after being frustrated at it for the last 2-3 hours, just wishing it would be over already.

The Longest Journey

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This was the aforementioned let's play-experience. In 2000, I was 8 years old and adventure games were not exactly my idea of fun. Add to that the fact that I don't even remember hearing about this game or seeing it in the wild, this having passed me by should not come as that big of a surprise. Still, I felt compelled to experience it in some way after picking up Dreamfall Chapters in a Humble Bundle and reading everywhere that it's highly recommended that you be familiar with the lore and the characters of the previous games before starting Chapters up. And what a world! Sure, the art itself hasn't aged very gracefully, but the art direction and the style of everything is very evocative and storybook-like, I thought. After seeing this game in its entirety and becoming invested in its universe and its characters, I'm definitely way more excited about diving into Dreamfall Chapters. However, I'll have to take a brief detour through Dreamfall: The Longest Journey before that, which I'm hoping I can watch in its entirety during this upcoming week. Hopefully.

World of Warcraft

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Blizzard is devious as fuck. World of Warcraft has been a major staple in my life for so long - since its launch in 2004 (I was 12 at the time). I've played it off and on, and with different levels of engagement. Last time was a stretch of about a year where I played nothing except WoW, and raided at the highest level and spent so much time on it. I've been cautiously toying with the idea of getting back into it, but with the promise of it being very casual. Blizzard certainly nudged me in the right direction with the introduction of Lady Liadrin in Hearthstone (a game I play on a near-daily basis) as an optional unlockable skin, obtainable only by getting to level 20 with a new character in World of Warcraft. Thankfully, this process was short to a veteran like me, but I didn't like what it was doing to me. I was getting right into the old groove, and most importantly into the old mindset of thinking how I'd go about dividing my weekdays into sub-goals, planning everything out, even opening up my old WoW economy spreadsheet (!). I managed to quickly forget about all of the above as soon as I got what I was looking for, my little animated portrait, but now I'm kind of on board the hypetrain for the upcoming Legion expansion. Help.