Save point: August 2020

Welcome to August’s editorial post, a monthly progress report which rounds up all the happenings here at Later Levels in case you missed anything. With hot sunny days giving way to thunderstorms, let’s have a quick recap of recent events.

Blog life
Followers:

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  • Posts:

  • Total published:   17 posts
  • Most popular:   Off-topic: child-free by choice
  • Most liked:   Frosti-writes: honesty in your posts
  • Most discussed:   Rainy day gaming
  • My favourite:   My first tabletop RPG experience
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  • Best day:   Mondays
  • Other posts worth checking out:

  • COVID-19 and Comfort Gaming by Athena from AmbiGaming
  • 10 Awesome Video Game Weapons by Nathan from Gaming Omnivore
  • Top 10 first levels in Video Games by Casper from Legacy of Games
  • Why Should I Care About My Video Game Wife? by Meghan Plays Games
  • Video Games don’t make me love my Wife enough by RNG
  • The increase in the number of online expos since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown may have got me feeling digitally drained, but I can’t deny that one benefit is being able to attend events I might not otherwise have made it to due to their location. One such convention was Mysterium 2020, an annual gathering for fans of all things Myst. Getting to see Rand and Robyn Miller in a rare appearance together and discussing their differing opinions on various elements of the series was so interesting.

    Looking forward, I’ll start planning for our next GameBlast participation next month. I usually have a good idea by now of the format our charity gaming marathon will take but this time I’m stumped. Looking back over our previous events has given me some inspiration but I’m still waiting for the ideal concept; and I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to top this year’s 50-day challenge. Please do get in touch and let me know if you have any suggestions.

    Chatting to Frostilyte from Frostilyte Writes during his Friday night streams has made me realise that perhaps I need to be more honest about the subjects I cover. The thing he has taught me is that it’s ok to have your own opinion, even if it’s totally unlike that conveyed by everybody else; but you’ve got to be able to explain it so others can understand why you’ve arrived at this view, even if they don’t necessarily agree with you. This is some advice I’m going to take with me into the future.

    Gaming life
    Games played:

  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Gamedec backers build
  • Ghost on the Shore demo
  • Lighthouse: The Dark Being
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Rosewater demo
  • Satisfactory
  • Shadowrun
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • Games previewed and reviewed:

  • Eliza
  • Gamedec
  • Our group’s Shadowrun game, streamed by Kevin on The Lawful Geek Twitch channel every other Thursday evening, continues and every session is getting more fraught with danger. Sometimes I’m surprised our characters have made it this far! A steep learning curve has meant we’ve found it a little difficult to get into our first tabletop RPG but now Pete and I look forward to participating once a fortnight. If you haven’t yet tried one for yourself, why not find out about our experience and watch what happens this week.

    The other thing we’ve been doing a lot of recently is game-swaps. In return for playing Fable over on her Twitch channel, I completed Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty for Athena from AmbiGaming this month – and I can’t deny I enjoyed the experience although I’m still confused. Both Fable and MGS2 are games of their time with control schemes which now feel clunky and a little outdated, but it’s certainly been interesting seeing how the titles have held up over the past 15 years or so. Check out what Athena thought of Fable here.

    My next game-swap is underway and I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII for Ellen from Ace Asunder, who’s hoping to cure me of my aversion to turn-based combat while I show her that not all full-motion video (FMV) releases are bad with Her Story and The Madness of Doctor Dekker. I’ve also managed to complete Eliza, which left me with a lot of questions but also made me see the power of realising you’re not alone; and I tried the backer’s build of Gamedec after making a pledge to the crowdfunding campaign in April.

    Real life

    Last month I explained how the lockdown was affecting me and what I was going to do to hopefully change this. A brief return to The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) has helped and spending a few weeks taking it easy in Vvardenfell, collecting bait and fishing online, has been a pleasure. I also took a quick break from blogging about video games and used the opportunity to discuss something completely different; thank you to everyone who read my post about choosing to be child-free and shared their own experiences.

    The good weather here in the UK is helping to lift my mood too, although it’s been incredibly hot at times and I’m almost wishing for rainy days where I’ve got nothing to do but play a game. Still, the sun has meant we’ve been able to get outside recently and explore some new locations. After a suggestion from Teri-Mae from Sheikah Plate, we jumped in the car for a day-trip to Whitstable and wandered around the backstreets and harbour while completing a ‘spy mission’ walk from Treasure Trails.

    The biggest worry for me at the moment is work. After redundancies were announced in July, things have been rather unsettled for everybody and there are no winners in this situation. The people who are at risk of losing their jobs have a lot of uncertainty ahead of them; and those of us who have been told we’re safe are feeling survivor guilt while at the same time wondering whether we could be next. The only thing I can do is keep my head down and try to study for my exams so I can get my new qualifications as quickly as possible.

    Coming up
    Events:

  • 01-11 September: One Special Game
  • 03 September: Shadowrun stream
  • 05-06 September: WeeCon
  • 12-20 September: EGX Digital
  • 14 September: Gamer’s blog party
  • 17 September: Shadowrun stream
  • 19 September: The EGX-perience stream
  • Every Thursday: #BloggerTalk
  • Take a look at the Side-quests page for more!
  • Posts planned:

  • What has Satsifactory done to Pete?
  • My favourite games from previous EGX expos
  • Contradiction and the pleasure of FMV
  • Has Final Fantasy XIII cured my turn-based terror?
  • Our first GameBlast21 update
  • And now over to you guys: what have you been up to lately, and what have you got planned for the coming month? Is there anything the community can help with or get involved in? Let everybody know in the comments below so we can show our support. Thanks for reading!

    Gamedec preview: digital worlds detective

    Over the past few years, I’ve developed a real fondness for video games featuring detective protagonists. There’s just something about getting stuck into a murder or missing person case and seeing if you can find all the clues, piece the evidence together and outsmart the culprit.

    This explains why I’ve backed several Kickstarter campaigns in the genre since last summer. There’s Missing in Jericho, an online mystery which aims to bridge the gap between reality and the digital; and Key Enigma: Hack Forward, a physical box of puzzles where you play as an investigator who’s looking into a worldwide cyber-attack. Let’s not forget about Chinatown Detective Agency too, a pixelated point-and-click featuring an intelligent female lead that impressed me with its demo back in April.

    And finally there was Gamedec by Anshar Studios, an addition to my wishlist last year and part of my list of 20 games for 2020 in January. The promise of being able to solve crimes inside virtual worlds and discover the relationship between them and their inhabitants made it an upcoming game I was keeping an eye on, so I jumped at the chance to help crowfund the project. The developer is now gearing up for release and sent out keys for the backers build of an individual case called Twisted & Perverted at the beginning of August.

    I originally tried to stream this on Twitch a few weeks ago but it didn’t work out as planned for two reasons. First, the demo is rather text-heavy and there is no voice-acting at present (although an option in one of the menus implies there will be in the future) and so it was rather slow for viewers. Second, the storyline contains adult themes and, even though the ‘mature content’ setting was enabled on the Later Levels’ channel, I got the impression that some of our audience felt quite uncomfortable.

    This explains why I took the decision to cut the stream early and instead play the Twisted & Perverted build offline last week; and despite its strong nature, I was left curious after almost three hours of play. If you’re prepared for subject matter that covers drugs, sex, violence and murder, and are a fan of detective titles where your choices have consequences, Gamedec could be a cyberpunk RPG worth checking out when it’s published later this year.

    The game takes place in Warsaw City at the end of the 22nd century. Many people choose to escape into virtual worlds to enable them to fulfil their fantasies forget about the horrors surrounding them in real life – Virtualiam versus Realium. These digital lands have therefore given rise to the problems of human nature and their residents often call for specialist private investigators to aid them. You are one such gamedec, and the case featured in the demo is given to you by a character called Geoffrey Haggis.

    Your internet searches may reveal him to be the director of a software conglomerate called Blue Whale Interactive (BWI), but there’s something about him which screams ‘creep’. This is made even more obvious when you’re called to his office to check on his son Fredo. The teen has been stuck in an unknown Virtualia in a permanent state of unusual arousal for four days now and, unable to wake him for fear of permanent damage, Haggis has hired you to pull the kid out of whichever sleaze-pit he’s trapped in.

    The Kickstarter page advised that players will be asked a series of questions at the start of the game to determine the most fitting background for their character and some of this was evident in the demo. When asked to select a previous Profession, I picked a Glazier: someone with knowledge of hacking, firewalls and virtual security. I found that this unlocked certain responses when examining items or speaking to people, but other options remained locked to other professions.

    A couple of hours later though and I had been awarded Aspect points of various colours based on my interactions with the world. Three green points enabled me to unlock the Scalpel Profession and gain knowledge of medical equipment and various diseases. The way character development works here feels like our fortnightly tabletop Shadowrun sessions: you can choose to learn information in certain fields which affects your future actions, potentially in ways both positive and negative.

    I got straight down to business when I arrived at Haggis’ office and it soon became apparent that your actions really can have unintended consequences. In my incomplete playthrough on Twitch, I tried to save a girl who had become trapped in the Virtualia with Fredo by connecting with her virtual reality (VR) helmet; but this time around, the chance to assist was taken away from me because I made too many hesitations after what had happened previously and she sank into a coma.

    Gamedec, video game, office, interrogation, interview, conversation, boy, teenager, detective

    I fared better when talking to his friend Timmy though. Instead of messing up by not gaining his trust again, this time I stayed clear of subjects that made him feel uncomfortable and managed to get him to admit they’d gone into the Twisted & Perverted online world. This was represented on screen by a bar with several padlock symbols at various intervals, along with a gauge that moved from the middle to either side. It therefore seems as though you can choose to be kind or cruel when it comes to getting the details you need out of people.

    There was nothing else to do but strap myself into a couch and immerse myself in the Virtualia once I knew where Fredo was stuck. This one takes the form of a dingy street and alleys lit with neon lights, where players come to indulge in fetishes and mix pleasure with pain. It’s full of weird non-player characters (NPCs): a designer who’s looking for his cheating wife, a man who died in Realium but lives on in Twisted & Perverted, and a troll who takes great pleasure in appearing as a unicorn and asking everyone ‘rub his horn’.

    You’ll need to question these NPCs and often do favours for them in return for information to progress the investigation. Each piece of evidence gathered unlocks a section on the Deduction screen and it’s here you decide the direction for the case. It’s easier when you’ve might the right choices and all possible options are open – but, as I found out towards the end of the game, more difficult if you’d made some bad decisions and blocked off some routes as you have little information to go on.

    I think this is perhaps my biggest issue with Gamedec so far. The shortly-worded options provided on screen during conversations don’t always fully represent what’s going to happen and you can find your protagonist responding in untended ways. Also, if you’re the sort of player who prefers to gather as many as details as possible before making decisions, you could end up being penalised as you’re frequently able to make a single choice only or have options are removed through your perceived lack of inaction.

    Gamedec, video game, deductions

    I’ve read a few other accounts of the Twisted & Perverted demo and it certainly seems as though this title is going to give you the freedom to approach situations from multiple angles. In addition, the consequences I’ve discussed in this post for the kind a detective would often find themselves up against. But I’ve written before that putting myself under huge pressure to make the ‘best choices’ in video games has led to some unenjoyable gaming experiences and my concern is that could potentially be the case here.

    It’s also perhaps a little strange that the Virtualia selected for the backers build is one so focused on darker subject matter. As mentioned earlier, some of our stream viewers felt uncomfortable with what was being covered and I guess it’s possible that Gamedec is trying too hard to prove itself as a ‘mature’ game. I understand that morally-grey topics and seedy characters are staples of the cyberpunk genre, although it still feels that Twisted & Perverted was a strange choice for the demo.

    But the developer has said that the finished release will feature online worlds of varying kinds and so the themes covered in these may be completely different to what I’ve seen in my three hours with the title so far. There’s also the possibility for Anshar Studios to provide some interesting commentary on the way we use video games, how much of our lives we choose to live online and whether certain actions in the digital world are acceptable because they’re not ‘real’.

    Hence the reason why I said at the start of this post that I was left feeling curious. Gamedec certainly has a lot of potential and I don’t feel we’ve seen it all yet. Perhaps things will become clearer when the full game is released and there are more crimes in virtual worlds just waiting to be solved.

    #BloggerTalk: 27 August 2020

    #BloggerTalk takes place over on Twitter from 21:00 to 22:00 GMT on Thursdays. Each week, everyone is invited to give their thoughts on a specific question connected to blogging, writing and the community so we can all learn from each other’s knowledge and experience.

    For more information about how #BloggerTalk came to be and its aims, check out this post and feel free to get in touch. Without further ado, let’s take a look at today’s question and get the conversation going:

    What do you do to support or promote other bloggers?


    If you’re a long-time blogger, perhaps you’d be willing to share some of your experience and help guide those who are new. And if you’ve just joined the community, welcome – you’re part of one of the best and most supportive groups out there. I look forward to seeing you on Twitter for #BloggerTalk.

    Gaming for good: my GameBlast history

    SpecialEffect is a wonderful UK-based charity that believes it’s everyone’s turn to play. The team puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games, through modified equipment and eye-control software.

    I’ve been a volunteer since first finding out about their work at the EGX expo in 2013 and have participated in their annual gaming marathon since it began the following year. GameBlast takes place over three days every February and sees people across the country come together to raise funds and awareness for the charity. A total of over £950,000 has been donated through these weekends over the past seven years, helping to change the lives of thousands of people with disabilities who could previously only watch everyone else have all the fun.

    GameBlast21 is scheduled for 26-28 February 2021 and, even though registration doesn’t happen for another month or so, I start planning for the event in September. We normally have a good idea for the format for our next gaming marathon by late August but this time around, I’m afraid to say we’re stumped. Perhaps looking back over what we’ve lined up for previous GameBlasts will give us the inspiration we need to dream up something spectacular for next year…

    GameBlast14

    I participated in my first GameBlast with friends-of-the-blog Ben and Phil. None of us had ever attempted 24-hours of gaming before and so we went into it a little naïve of just how much a challenge it would be, but I remember having an awful lot of fun. We decided to complete a number of challenges each time we hit a fundraising target, including the boys wearing lipstick on stream and me dressing up as a sheep. I think there may also still be a video of us floating around online somewhere, clad in shiny lycra and doing a workout routine.

    GameBlast15

    Sadly, a death in the family at the beginning of the year meant I couldn’t participate in 2015 and this is the only event I haven’t been a part of so far in its history. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t cancelled my involvement completely for 2015 and had instead completed a marathon a few months later so I could now say I’ve been there for every GameBlast. You do what you need to do at the time during such difficult situations though, and it’s still an achievement to know I’ve been there for every marathon except one.

    GameBlast16

    This was my other-half’s first ever GameBlast and the biggest one for me in terms of team-size: bloggers and friends kindly joined me to form a eight-person team called ‘Gamely Giving’ and complete a 48-hour marathon in six-hour shifts. The hardest part was coordinating everyone and making sure the stream stayed up continuously during the entire period. I’m glad I’d been prepared enough to make sure every streamer had a backup watching them, because one person fell asleep on air and another had to jump in!

    GameBlast17

    In 2017 came the biggest GameBlast in terms of length, a 72-hour marathon with the help of Kevin from The Lawful Geek and Nathan from Hurricane thought process. Challenges made a comeback for this year and it was great seeing Kevin play Octodad expertly with one hand and Nathan get a Crash Bandicoot tattoo after we’d hit our fundraising target. The worst part though was the shifts: I took the session from 04:00 to 10:00 each day and found that this really messed with my sleeping patterns so I felt like a bit of a zombie.

    GameBlast18

    We toned things down for GameBlast18 with a shorter 24-hour marathon but this time, Ben and Nathan spent the weekend with Pete and I at our house. This led to one of my favourite GameBlast moments during a game of That’s You! in the early hours of the morning where we were all a bit hysterical with laughter and lack of sleep. Trying to look after everyone while checking on social media and playing video games may have been extremely tiring, but it was great having the team in the same room and this was definitely the year with the best vibe.

    GameBlast19

    We stuck to 24-hours for GameBlast19 and thought it was going to be a much a smaller affair as only Pete and I were taking part this year. But on the day, Tim and Jake from Timlah’s Texts & Unity3D Tech decided to complete an impromptu marathon themselves and played The Elder Scrolls Online for the entire period! We quickly set up a new scene in OBS which meant we could drop in on them to see how they were doing while were streaming ourselves, and being able to cheer each other on in this way helped us all reach the end.

    GameBlast20

    For GameBlast20 this year, I came up with a new idea that was completely awesome or stupid depending on how you looked at it: 50-days of gaming. Pete thought I was crazy when I said we’d be playing video games for at least an hour every day during this period, and then told me I’d completely lost it when I mentioned rounding the whole thing off with a 24-hour marathon. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to believe that we actually managed to do it; but how on earth are we going to top this for future GameBlast events?



    I’m due to start the planning for GameBlast21 next month but Pete and I are struggling to come up with a format for our next marathon. Do we stick to 24-hours, try another 50 days because it was such an achievement, or attempt something completely new? Do we do it as part of a team or just the two of us? We’d love to hear your ideas.

    Eel-ing better: fishing in ESO

    I’ve had an on-off addiction to The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) since first trying it during the Christmas holidays in 2015. I’ll go through periods where I’ll play it at every possible moment at the expense of other games, then I won’t touch it for several months.

    The last time I properly played was at the start of this year during our streams for GameBlast20. Finding video games to play every evening for 50 days proved to be rather difficult but ESO was our saviour: not only was it easy to dip back into it with the absence of a steep learning curve, we were able to regularly hook up with a few friends who were playing at the same time. You’d often find me joining my other-half, Phil, and Tim and Jake from Timlah’s Texts & Unity3D Tech for a dungeon or two in the evenings.

    It wasn’t all just fighting long-dead draugers and killing giant spiders though. Sometimes we’d leave the dungeons behind and do something completely different instead. For example, there was an entire session spent in what was essentially an ESO-version of MTV Cribs: after Tim and Jake showed us around their sprawling mansion and we’d transformed ourselves into monkeys using their Fan of the False-Face, they guided Pete on a tour through the various abodes available to players and then helped him decorate once he’d chosen a home.

    After our 50-day challenge for GameBlast20 had been completed in February, we put down our controllers and that was it for ESO. Pete had achieved what he’d set out to do and had finally levelled up a character enough to become a Champion; and I was eager to return to my beloved adventure genre, having not played many point-and-clicks over the past two months because they weren’t particularly great for streaming. Although the game was left installed on our laptops, we signed out and didn’t go back to it.

    That was until earlier this month. As I wrote at the end of July, lockdown gaming was turning my hobby into a task that felt more like work and it was starting to feel like something I did more to just pass the time than enjoy. Add to this the fact that most of the upcoming releases I’d been looking forward to had been delayed thanks to COVID-19 and there was nothing I was absolutely itching to play; I was just going through the motions, because what sort of video game blogger doesn’t play video games?

    A couple of weeks ago, Athena from AmbiGaming published a great post with the title Old Friends and New Adventures: COVID-19 and Comfort Gaming which talked about nostalgia and the exposure effect. She said: “We take comfort in the familiar. Our brains process a familiar event and recognise it as something that it has survived, and therefore it is not something that poses a mortal danger to us, compared to this Unknown Thing that, despite appearances, might not be as satisfying / benign / good for us.”

    The Elder Scrolls Online, video game, tankard, inn, drink, woman, barman

    I think this explains why I found myself opening ESO once again at the start of August and downloading the latest patches. With uncertainty about my work and concern for my family slowly gnawing away at my sense of stability, I felt as though I was floating and waiting for something to come down (to quote Athena again). I wanted to do something to take my mind off everything happening around me and all these things I couldn’t control, and I needed that thing to be something which felt safe and familiar.

    But instead of returning to my old character, I decided to create a new one so I could ease myself in with the early quests. Surely it was just a coincidence that this new Wood Elf rather resembled by old one and even had the same alliance and class! This time was going to be different though, I told myself. This time around I’d complete the areas I’d already covered in my previous playthroughs, then explore new islands with a view to sticking with it and perhaps finally completing all the missions.

    However, I found myself still in the starting location of Vvardenfell several days later and not having done much outside of the first few main quests. I was far too busy running around the countryside with the important task of collecting butterflies and netches for fishing bait. If I’d jumped back into ESO yet again, I was going to do it properly – and that meant making sure I had enough suitable bait to be able to catch every single rare fish in each location and earn myself those achievements.

    I have a long history with fishing in this game. I’d previously bagged the Morrowind Master Angler achievement during our 50-day challenge but failed to get the Grahtwood Angler title thanks to one lousy creature. I was struggling to get the Thrassian Eel and so, as you’re more likely to catch a rare fish when others join you, I enlisted the help of Phil. The only problem was that he ended up catching that flipping eel for himself every time we fished together while I walked away empty handed.

    After a few weeks of hanging around the shores in ESO and wondering just how many insect parts one Wood Elf can carry, I think my time with the game may be drawing to a close once again. The situation right now may still be unsettling; redundancies loom at work although my position isn’t at risk for the time-being, the UK is officially in recession and the number of daily coronavirus cases is on the increase. But my brief break in Vvardenfell I feel a bit more able to deal with these things mentally now.

    I’m also starting to feel that familiar itch of desire to play something again, to take on a new challenge and discover a new story. As Athena explained in her post: “…grabbing a new game, playing through it, and completing – or beating – it is a way for us to vanquish a fear of the unknown. After all, that’s exactly what we’ve done: willingly put ourselves into an unknown situation, and survived it, or, dare I say, even thrived in it, if we successfully made it to the end. And isn’t that a nice feeling?”

    I recently downloaded Lighthouse: The Dark Being from GOG.com after hearing about it during the Ages Before Myst talk during Mysterium 2020 at the beginning of the month. I’m surprised I’ve never come across it before; this title was released in October 1996 as was Sierra Online’s response to the success of Myst and I think it might be just what I need right now. It has that comforting nostalgia I get from old adventure games, but it’s a whole new adventure I haven’t yet experienced.

    I’m sure I’ll go back to ESO at some point in the future because I always do. And one day, I’m going to catch that damn eel.

    Rainy-day gaming

    The weather here in the UK has surprised us these past couple of weeks (at the time of writing). Instead of our usual summer where you might see a bit of sunshine but are still wise enough to take a jacket when you go out, we’ve had clear blue skies and soaring temperatures.

    We should be appreciative when we have warm spells like this but try to play video games and you’ll soon be wishing for rainy days again. The thought of sitting in the same room as PCs and lamps adding to the hot air when it’s already over 30 degrees inside doesn’t make streaming a pleasant experience; and the glare on the television caused by sunshine sneaking around the blinds means you can’t actually see what’s happening on-screen clearly anyway. You might as well put down the controller.

    It’s not only these factors that make gaming on a sunny day less fulfilling than normal. There’s just something about grey clouds and the sound of rain outside that makes video games feel even more special. You know the feeling I’m talking about: a quiet weekend, the housework finished in the morning and lunch now eaten, drops of rain gently hitting the window and muffling any other sounds from outside, nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon except lose yourself in a digital land and possibly save the world.

    It’s during periods like this that I’ve discovered titles which have stayed with me for a long time afterwards. To The Moon is an example and it’s now one of my favourite games. It must have been a Saturday morning when I decided to grab a cup of tea and turn on my laptop to install it, with the intention of only making sure it ran ok before getting in the shower. Around four hours later I was still sitting in my pyjamas on my bed, crying my eyes out and wondering how a video game could do this to me.

    There was also J.U.L.I.A: Among the Stars. I decided to do a little work on my backlog during a day off work and this was a title I’d picked up as part of a sale some months before. I pretty much stayed in the same spot for nine hours because I was so engrossed in this story about a woman and artificial intelligence (AI) who were lost in space. It made me feel as though I were playing through Myst for the first time all over again: that feeling of stepping into an unknown world, trying to figure out why you’re there and what’s happened.

    Then there was The Red Strings Club. It was a release which had been on my radar for a while, so I gave it a try when it was appeared in the Prime Gaming bundle one month and I happened to have a spare afternoon. I’m not sure a game has ever left me with so many questions about myself and my views before. It asks us how far we’re willing to go to suppress the worst aspects of our personalities for the good of the population; do our feelings make us who we are and is happiness at the cost of free will ultimately worth it?

    The Red Strings Club, video game, bar, woman, Larissa, bartender, Donovan, android, Akara

    Experiences like those described above could explain why rainy days and time off work give me a strong desire to play point-and-clicks. I can’t deny that this is my favourite genre and the one I turn to most frequently, but there’s just something about this type of game which makes it fit perfectly with lazy afternoons. Perhaps this could have something to do with nostalgia and memories of my childhood: maybe they remind me of school holidays filled with strange characters, conversation trees and overflowing inventories.

    Somehow the rain makes it easier to switch off from the rest of the world. It presents you wish the guilt-free excuse of staying inside while waiting for the clouds to pass; and the sound of the drops dull other noises so it’s easy to pretend everything outside your room doesn’t exist for a moment. The only thing to do is focus on the story unfolding on the screen in front of you, immerse yourself in the world shown to you and shape its future – whether it be a point-and-click or some other type of game that takes your fancy.

    According to the weather reports at the time of writing, we have another day or so of these clear blue skies and rising temperatures before the storms are about to hit my part of the country. I know I should be out in the garden making the most of the sun while working from home, taking long walks through the local nature reserve, or enjoying barbecues at my parents’ house. But there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to the rain coming in and getting lost in a totally different kind of adventure.

    Are you a fan of rainy-day gaming? Or is there some other time you find perfect for video games?