INSIDE

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I could never quite figure out what was happening in Playdead’s INSIDE. Even as the end credits rolled, I wasn’t sure what I had just experienced (thank you, Wikipedia, for clearing things up for me). The world of INSIDE comes across as harsh and hostile. A world in which life doesn’t have much meaning. Yet by the end of the game, INSIDE flips the typical video game narrative. For once, I wasn’t the hero.

4/5 – INSIDE is worth the trip due to it’s fantastic ending. Just wait for it. Don’t spoil it.

Title: INSIDE
Developer: Playdead
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and iOS
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $15

An Evening with Fortnite – Crossplay Enabled

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“Get on the Battle Bus, dad.”

“I’m not jumping out of that.”

“Just get on the bus.”

[Later, having exited the bus, we are now parachuting over an island that doesn’t appear to have a name…]

“Where should we go, Wyatt?”

“Umm… Lazy Links? Tilted Towers?”

“Just set a beacon and I’ll meet you there.”

“Okay.”

“I’ve got a gun for you, dad. You’re going the wrong way! LOOK OUT FOR THOSE MONSTERS!”

“Where are you? How can you tell if there are enemies around?”

“There are enemies dad!”

“Where?”

“I don’t know, I just heard one.”

[Somehow, we both end up in a gas station. A fellow player notices us and starts shooting.]

“Wyatt, there is a guy outside by the gas pumps.”

“WHERE?”

“THERE! He is right there! Get HIM!”

Pew. Pew. Pew.

“Guess we are dead? Should we go back to the lobby?”

“Yeah, dad, let’s play again.”

Wyatt and I tried to get Fortnite, on the PS4 and the Switch, to communicate a few weeks ago, shortly after crossplay was enabled. For some reason, we couldn’t receive friend invites at that time and thus couldn’t see each other in-game. So last night, we checked again and found that crossplay is now running in a stable manner. We were able to quickly become friends and enter into a match together.

So there we were:

  • Me, playing on the PS4 hooked up to the living room TV.
  • Wyatt, playing on the Switch, sitting next to me on the couch.

We ran around the cartoony world and kept dying. But the boy was super excited to be playing Fortnite with me. One of those moments where I wasn’t super enthused to be playing the game, but I was happy to just be hanging out with him.

Last night, I was reminded that often, as a parent, you have to do things your kids want you to do. You have to suck it up, quit being the boss, and enter into the worlds of play your kids are inviting you into. Whether that is playing LEGO, shooting each other outside with NERF, or playing Fortnite co-op, you are making memories with your kids. You want your kids to say: “My dad used to play with me.” Gotta remind myself of that.

Parenting through the Fortnite Fog

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Fortnite makes me feel old.

Let me try that again, talking with my son about Fortnite makes me feel old. Figuring out the pricing structure for the game made me feel even older.

Parenting Website Fail

My search began in the in-game Fortnite store. Tabitha and I wanted Wyatt to buy the full Fortnite game first before spending money on micro-transactions (skins/costumes). I could not find a full game unlock in the store, but I noticed something called a Battle Pass. I was confused. The parenting fog of war was beginning to set in, as I tried to pit normal video game pricing logic versus free-to-play logic. All I wanted to know is:

What is the difference between the $60 base game (I kept finding on Google) versus the $10 Battle Pass?

The information I found on parenting websites was either outdated or months old. Add in the different consoles with their different versions and the confusion only grew thicker.

After awhile, I figured out that the Nintendo Switch version is different than the Xbox and PS4 versions. The Xbox/PS4 has a $60 physical version that features an exclusive zombie mode. The Switch version, it turns out, does not have a physical version/zombie mode and only requires a $10 Battle Pass. Beginning to see the light, Wyatt and I got in the car and headed to GameStop to pick up some V-Bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency).

Seeing the Light in GameStop

The friendly GameStop employee quickly confirmed my thoughts:

  • On the Xbox/PS4, $60 buys you a physical copy of the game that features an exclusive zombie mode.
  • A $10 Battle Pass, think subscription, allows you to play the game through a season (10 weeks). The Battle Pass gives you experience point multipliers (helps you level faster) as well as the opportunity to unlock in-game cosmetics/skins. Parents: You or your child can still play the game without a Battle Pass. You just don’t get the “fun” unlocks.
  • Instead of having the game tied to your credit card, you can buy a pre-loaded card that has money on it for your respective system. For instance: We picked up a $10 Nintendo eShop card. Keep in mind that when we bought the Battle Pass later on, the Battle Pass came out to $10.31. Yes parents, tax is involved so plan accordingly.

In the End

I’m not sure how I feel about paying $10 every 10 weeks for the ability to unlock items that are already present in the game. Maybe this is where I start to show my age; maybe all games work like this? I’d much rather pay a $60 one-time fee and be done with it though. But we’ll see how long the Fortnite craze holds in the Hall household. Right now, I’m looking at opening my own account on the PS4 in order to play with Wyatt. I’ll report back, at some point, with my Fortnite impressions. Until then, play all the games or not.

When was the last time your kid/s made you feel old?

Dragon Quests and Man Colds

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Sunday morning, I announced to my Sunday school class that I felt a man cold coming on. I asked for everyone to sign up to bring meals for me. Tabitha wasn’t in the room at the time (she was checking kids in), so I also made them promise not to say anything to her. Sadly, no one took me up on my dire request for sustenance.

By Sunday evening, I was running a fever. Ended up taking Monday off as a sick day. I slept a chunk of the day.

Yesterday, I visited a clinic. Found out that I have both a sore throat (which I didn’t know) and a sinus infection. So now I’m on antibiotics and out of it at work. Seriously, I just went to CVS to pick up a birthday card for a co-worker. When I got back to work, I wondered how I ever drove to CVS (felt that out of it).

Sat down last night and had a chance to play some more of Dragon Quest XI. I wasn’t so sure about my decision to pick up the game last weekend. The GameStop employee wouldn’t stop gushing over the new Spider-Man game. Even going as far as to say it made him cry at least 3 times, and he doesn’t normally cry. I told him I was going to Redbox Spider-Man and instead introduce my son to a non-Final Fantasy JRPG.

There is a cadence to Dragon Quest XI. A rhythm to the overall pacing and storyline. I wasn’t sure, at first, if I liked how slow the game felt. But the more time I have put into Dragon Quest XI (sitting at about 3 1/2 hours so far), the more I’ve come to appreciate what the game is.

Be a man…. We must be swift as the coursing river.

Last night, I was making my way through a wooded area when I came across a dog. The dog woofed at me and then I kept going until I came to a bridge that was destroyed. Needing to find a way forward, I backtracked to where the dog was and noticed that he wanted me to follow him. So I followed the dog up a path. It was then that I found some sort of shimmering ball that I touched. Suddenly, I saw a memory of a woodcutter upset that the bridge he had built had been destroyed. Turns out a monster had destroyed the bridge and had then turned the woodcutter into a dog. Things are not always as they seem, right? I then pursued the monster, battled him, and returned the woodcutter back to his human form. He then rebuilt the bridge, and I was on my way.

Dragon Quest XI, so far, has told stories that are not original but that are executed in clever ways. The woodcutter/dog story caught me by surprise. It was a small quest story that showed a lot of thought, especially for what is supposed to be an 80 hour game.

At 3 and 1/2 hours, I have picked up one party member so far (Erick). I’m looking forward to the adventure that is it come and to enjoying the journey along the way.

On My Rader – KURSK

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KURSK has ran silent and deep off my radar up until this last week. I’m surprised at the amount of detail and even the genre of the game, which is being billed as an adventure-documentary. I’m all for historical tourism by video games. Curious to see how the adventure, narrative, and gameplay come together. Can’t wait until KURSK surfaces on the PS4.