Tag Archives: Video Games

What I’m Reading / Watching / Playing (I)

Game – Hollow Knight

Behind a cuddly exterior is a though-as—nails action-exploration game. The enemies are many and challenging, and the dungeons extend deep into the earth with very few resting points.

This is a modern (and beautiful) game that respects the adult player’s limited time, while offering a challenge that brings one back to the heyday of classic gaming. I can’t bring myself to play anything else, and I bought a “pro” controller because the Switch’s base controllers don’t do it justice.

Play It

TV Series – Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

I don’t like funny movies or comedy series; that is, except for those produced by stand-up comedians. “Seinfeld” is one of my favorite series of all time, and seeing the man interacting with his idols and colleagues is a delight. As a bonus, I discovered several humorists I didn’t know about and filled my Netflix queue.

Watch It

Book – “Perfume”

This was offered to me by a friend and it is such a descriptive book that I have to read it in starts and stops. Not that the descriptions are bad or boring, quite on the contrary: they are so visceral that they overwhelm my senses. This book about a very particular killer is a beautiful window into a historical period to which I don’t have much exposure.

Read It

The First Law of Marketing

Today, as I was walking along the bay that bathes the town where I live, I found myself pondering the land’s viability if faced with rising seas as a consequence of global warming. (As one does.)

Since the bay is surrounded by relatively high mountains, it seems to me that a dam on the strait that connects the sea would solve the issue with some efficiency. Of course, the mountains do not extend forever. The sea would eventually be able to bypass them. But probably not to the point where it would surround them.

The consequence – in my imagination – would be that the village would be surrounded by swamps.

And that’s when I noticed the way I visualize swamps. Swamps, to me, are the pixelated gray bogs of the old game Ishar II, one of the first RPGs I ever played.

Yes, I’ve seen live marshes. I’ve played dozens of videogames with more realistic, better-crafted swamps, and I’ve read many descriptions of swamps in books and seen even more in movies.

But it’s  Ishar II’s swamps that are forever associated with the word in my mind.

In a product, quality is important. Innovation is important.

But be the first to market? That is priceless.

Without the Effort

Today, I logged into Evernote, something I do not do often. In fact, I only went there because I was drawing a blank on a topic to write about today, and I thought that seeing old notes would inspire me.

I didn’t have to go very far, because within seconds I was faced with their new slogan: “Feel organized, without the effort.”

I will ignore the fact that someone feeling organized does not give them the same benefits as actually being organized (it is a short-term vs. long-term gain).

“Without the effort.” It’s a poisonous promise.

Phantasy Star is an old adventure game. It is relatively unsophisticated – after all, it is almost as old as me. But playing it today, I feel more captivated by it than by many modern games.

Unlike most modern games, Phantasy Star does not keep a record of the map as the character progresses. I need to do it myself, with a pen and checkered paper. It’s on my to draw the map step-by-step, or risk getting lost.

Is it too much work? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of relaxing by playing a video game? Perhaps. It depends on what you’re looking for. But it is undeniable that the experience here is enriched, transcends the electronic medium, and gives me more “ownership” of the adventure.

If the goal is satisfaction, then the effort is part of that.