A Drive to GameStop

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Last night, Wyatt and I took a drive to GameStop (which we used to do all the time before the pandemic). I got to learn the latest from his adventures with Apex Legends. Specifically:

  • How Wyatt loves using the character Seer.
  • How he might use his Apex Coins to buy Ash.
  • Or maybe he will just get the battle pass.

As talk of Apex Legends died down, Petra whispering quietly on the stereo background, I asked:

“How was school today?”

“It was good.”

And then:

“How are guitar lessons?”

“They are going great.”

We talked a little bit more as I pulled into the GameStop parking lot. Grabbing my copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to trade in, we went inside the store. A few moments later, we were the proud owners of Metroid Dread.

We spent the next hour passing the controller back and forth. Dying. A lot. But we had fun playing Metroid Dread, learning how to jump (it is an art), and getting our heads around the spastic movements of protagonist Samus Aran. Just as we were finally comfortable with the controls it was time for Wyatt to take a shower and go to bed. Overall though, we had a pretty solid night.

Pressing Onward – Thoughts on Death Stranding So Far

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Incinerate the President of the United States (who also happens to be your mom) – CHECK!

Survive BT’s (surrounding/guarding the incinerator) and get home – CHECK!

Go back to “the beach” – CHECK!

Start a mission that brings you closer to saving your sister – CHECK!

Connect the United States of America to the “Internet” – Wait. What? The Internet has been out?

What I love about Death Stranding is the exploration. Knowing that I can choose my route from Point A to Point B. Sure there are hazards along my way such as BT’s (see photo of ghost-like-things below) and Timefall (rain that accelerates aging/equipment decay). But at the core, Death Stranding is about earning that sense of accomplishment you feel from traversing unforgiving terrain. This game is beautiful, and I’m sorry that I let the initial poor reviews rob me of this experience.

Press Start – Death Stranding

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I just happened to listen to The Reformed Gamers Podcast – Episode 99 – The Pro-Life Message of Death Stranding last week; Then I just happened to walk into GameStop yesterday with Wyatt.

“Hey dudes, how are you doing? Is there anything I can get for you?”

I smiled, “I’d like a used copy of Death Stranding please.”

Death Stranding huh…”

The clerk opened a drawer and thumbed through it.

“Oh yeah, I’ve got a lot of copies of Death Stranding. Have you ever played it?”

I smiled again, “Nope.”

You could tell that he wanted to say more about the game… but decided not to. I was sure he wanted to talk me out of buying a copy.

“It is definitely a Kojima game.”

I’m about an hour into Death Stranding and liking what I’m playing/seeing so far.

Your Game is in Another Castle

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I have a bunch of games I want to play, but I keep end up watching another episode of Chicago Med or Kim’s Convenience instead. Nothing wrong with the games I have to play either. Sitting on my floor, beside my bed, are:

  • Brew
  • Wingspan
  • Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
  • Unsolved Case Files – Avery and Zoey Gardner

All board games have been opened and their instructions looked through. Just haven’t had the time to bring said board games to the table. As you can see with my above list, each of these games require an hour or more of play. Not too big of a deal. What is a big deal though is having to learn and then teach said games. Which sounds, quite frankly, exhausting! Or at least requires a good bit of steam that I just haven’t had.

On the video game front, I have:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
  • Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
  • Plus some others I’m just not remembering right now.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla speaks to me. I haven’t been this captivated by an open world game since Mass Effect 2 or even Assassin’s Creed II. I’m hesitant to write about Valhalla lest the spell be broken. Know that I love this game. Love it! And I’ve probably played six or seven hours so far.

Super Mario 3D World speaks to me for an entirely different reason. The level design in Super Mario 3D World is short and to the point. No fluff, no filler. You could call this game the Captain Toad of Mario games. Wyatt and I have been battling it out to see who gets the most points. I’ve even been called a “Star Stealer”. I’m proud of that title.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life… is a Yakuza game. I didn’t realize these are essentially old school adventure games where you break out into an arcadey fight from time-to-time. I’ve put an hour or two in and don’t know if I will continue. Just not feeling it right now.

Overall I guess you could say that I’m not playing board games but have been playing video games. Which is a change of pace. I’ll be playing Brew, Wingspan, and Unsolved Case Files (these are seriously good) soon. Unless I continue to pillage all the things in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Pillage.

Plunder.

Raid.

1, 2, 3, 4, Review Scores Are Out The Door

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Today, on my commute to work, I was listening to The Reformed Gamers Podcast – Episode 197. The host of the podcast, Logan, had on Colin Moriarty. Now you may now Colin from his work at IGN or from his podcast Sacred Symbols: A PlayStation Podcast. Anywho, Colin was talking about how for years he had passionately argued against review scores. How ultimately a review score of 8.5 or even a 9.0 doesn’t tell you a lot about the game in question. This got me thinking about review scores in general.

Here at JohnnyBGamer, I used to score games on a 1-5 system (1 being awful; 5 being the absolute best thing ever). For example, Josh and I rated Firewatch a 4/5:

4/5 – Plot holes mare what could have been a revelatory narrative experience.

We talk, in the review, about the game. What we liked, disliked, and what resonated with us. It is a fine review (wow, wrote that in 2016!). I even stand by the review score. But, sometime within the last year, I have decided to let the review scores go. I want to present what we like, dislike, and what resonates or doesn’t resonate. I ultimately want to be able to review a game without attaching a review score to it (see Biomutant review).

I realize, by listening the Colin today, that I do not have any sort of weight on Metacritic (nor do I want to). I want to:

  • Experience the games I play
  • Write about them
  • Post pictures
  • Share how they feel / play

I won’t be attaching a review score any longer. I realized that this is a decision I had already made but felt it was important to share.

Happy gaming.