Curiosities for January 2022
I just played games this month. But man they were all great!
I hope you had a great start for 2022! This month felt really long. As for me, I got sick a few weeks ago but I’m fully recovered now! So always remember to take your booster shots and be healthy 😀
I haven’t written anything substantial this month, aside from a chip fusion guide in NieR: Automata (in case you’re interested). However, last December I wrote a fairly long post on how word vectors are made. It’s just my way to review some fundamentals of NLP.
But there’s one thing I did substantially this month—I played games! Lots of them! And I’ll be sharing them in a few.
I did play a lot of games this month, some of them a backlog from December. You’d definitely see familiar titles, and hopefully a few gems:
Return of the Obra Dinn (completed). The first game I completed this year. Definitely one of the best, if not the best, detective games of all time. Just play it, the story is out of the ordinary (nope it’s not just some mutiny and murder, there’s so much more!)
I adore the art style, and it made me interested in ditherpunk. I’ve been implementing a few dithering algorithms lately, including the famous Floyd-Steinberg one, but I’m still not sure how to fully recreate the Obra Dinn effect (if you find a resource please let me know!)
NieR: Automata (completed). This is a 2017 classic, and I’d daresay that this is JRPG at its finest (granted, I haven’t played Persona 5). People laud it for having a philosophical bent, and I agree. Of course, it’s not the only game that touches on themes like purpose, meaninglessness, and hope—but NieR: Automata does so in a masterful way.
I laud it for its character-driven narrative: 2B, 9S, and its ensemble of cast made their world seem real. It’s a story about androids and machines, yet feels uniquely human.
A lot of writers seem to take NieR: Automata as a game about nihilism, but I don’t think its narrative ends with pointlessness. It is existential at its core: it’s about confronting life without meaning (by living your life to the fullest, by making your own meaning) and not succumbing to despair.
God of War (playing). I pulled the trigger and bought God of War two days after its release. I read stellar reviews for the PC port (and of course for the game itself but who doesn’t know that?) and decided to give it a try. I’m still early through the game but I can already say why it’s one of the best: fun combat system, intriguing story, and best-in-class atmosphere.
The combat is more strategic than just mindless button-mashing. However, I am still getting used to “gauntlet-style” combat where you enter an area, fight enemies that will suddenly appear, and then proceed to the next level. I prefer seeing enemies in an open world upfront, and decide whether I should engage them or not.
Cats Organized Neatly (playing). A very fun and relaxing puzzle-game where you organize cats in a tangram-like fashion. It’s so chill and cute that I play it from time to time. There are 80 puzzles, and it’s doable!
If you buy their DLC, you get a PDF version of those puzzles and kittens. You can cut and color them out, then play them with your friends (or kids)!
Aside from videogamedunkey’s clips, one video essay that caught my attention is on completing games / achievement hunting. That is, getting all collectibles, finishing all sidequests, and hunting all trophies in a game. I realize that I subconsciously do it, especially for games that I like. This video is an interesting deconstruction of the completionist experience, with none other than The Completionist himself:
I’d probably write my own take on it, perhaps once I’ve completed 20 or so games (so far I only have 11). It’s an interesting dynamic because:
There are some games that I really love that I know I won’t be able to complete (Celeste’s golden strawberry challenge is way up my skill-level (and patience), and Hollow Knight’s speedrunning trophies aren’t my cup of tea), and
There are some games that turned a bit sour after getting all the achievements (Pyre’s True Nightwing achievement is just punishing and unnecessary)
But it’s fun and satisfying to complete games, it makes you feel that you’ve “seen” all the content (and grants an additional challenge too!). However, I’m not too attached when a game overstays its welcome, I just drop it when it doesn’t feel fun anymore.
Do you enjoy completing games? Were there any games that turned sour once you went trophy-hunting? What’s your favorite game that you hundo’d?
That’s all folks, see you again next month!