Things I've played since July
These are the weeknotes1 on the games I’ve played purely for fun2 in the last few months. There’s very few listed below, which is very disappointing to look back on… I can’t help thinking I’ve missed a couple. But I do have a “new” Xbox360, and I’ve been tidying up some space, so maybe that will change.
With some more overdue tidying needed, and with a Dining Room that is essentially a wide corridor, I struggle to play board games, even solo ones, but here’s a couple I made time for:
Stupid Deaths is based on or inspired by the “Stupid Deaths” sketches from the Horrible Histories programme. You win the game by answering true or false to stories of how, well, people died stupidly. For a TV tie-in, and with such a simple premise, it’s a surprisingly good little game. Probably a better experience with more players than just the two of us, but still a lot of fun. I can see this being a nice group or family game… assuming you can handle the subject matter. This video is a good introduction.
Animal Crossing Guess Who similarly is a lot more fun than it should be, but that might be as much a comment on who I play it against than on the game itself. It’s based on the well known Guess Who game, but using the characters from the Animal Crossing series of video games. It’s well made, it’s inherently fun, and it’s surprisingly difficult if you consciously avoid asking the same default questions such as “boy or girl?” or “does this character have a job?” every time; or avoid optimising all the fun out of it3. So the questions get interesting: when asked “do they have a blue background?” is that background blue to your opponent? Does a beak count when you’re asked if the character has a nose? Which of these characters in front of me is a mammal? If you’re into the video game at all this is fun game to play with children or child-like adults, and begging to have house-rules added if you’re so inclined.
Save Room is a lovely little “Inventory management puzzle” game I’m playing on the Switch, it’s also available on Steam. The aim of the game is to fit a collection of weapons and ammunition, and other items common to video games, into a specifically shaped inventory container - based closely on similar functionality in games such as Resident Evil, but here it’s the entire game. The unique theme, and the gentle but not trivial difficulty level, makes this stand out for me.
I went through a debrief of an online wargame I’d played, set during the Vietnam War, but that had separate “red” and “blue” boards. The whole game was run by a game runner or game master, which made it a lot slower, but a lot more interesting, than a tabletop equivalent. The debrief, revealing how each side thought they were doing during the battle, was very illuminating - and helps me confirm why I’m so strongly in favour of double blind games and similar. I’ve written more in a separate blog post.
Fortnite is still what I play the most, it’s easy to spin up online in a browser to just jump into, shoot some people, get shot by some people, and then go to bed. That’s probably a bad thing.
As opposed to the games I play purely for work or educational purposes. But the line between work and play for me is very indistinct, but that’s a subject for another post, and is definitely too much for a footnote. ↩︎
I should stress that optimising the fun out of a game is, in and of itself, a very fun process. ↩︎