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The games we have been engaging in

The games we have been engaging in

Hi there! We’ve returned. I hope your break was enjoyable. Our regular section, What We’ve Been Playing, allows us to briefly discuss some of the games we’ve been playing during the last few days, or in this instance, the holiday season. Bears, Jedis, and tears this week.

Check out our archive if you’d like to listen to some of the previous episodes of What We’ve Been Playing.

Playdate, Root Bear
Not to go all conspiracy theory, but root beer has altered. The last notes of this drink-of-all-drinks now lean more toward caramel than wintergreen; I’m not sure how this changed or why. The dentist is no longer having trouble with it! It’s not entirely successful.

Nevertheless, I had to try Root Bear because I love bears and root beer. Everyone who has a playdate appears to like this particular Playdate game. I also adore it! It’s very, really easy. Serving root beer to a succession of bears is your task. The form of the glass varies, as does the position you must fill it to, and from what I can tell, the bear also changes. You set the pouring volume and cross your fingers. And that’s all.

Except that you don’t really hold out hope. It all boils down to knowing how the tap works and how you will experience the peculiar fusion of liquid and foam. I guess the reason Root Bear is so morish is because I constantly feel like I could learn a little bit more about how it works and become a little bit better.

I said that it chases high scores. It is, in fact. Try this out if you have a playdate, in my opinion. Cheers to a prosperous new year.

Chris Donlan

PS5 title Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

I’m beginning to get severe motion nausea while playing video games. I was acutely aware of this unsettling feeling for the last two years while playing Jedi: Survivor. I’m not sure why it specifically occurs. It wasn’t like that before. I had only been playing Survivor for about thirty minutes when I started to feel queasy in my stomach and tightness in my brain.

However, I continued to play, which is in part why I’m writing this. Rather, I navigated through the choices to see what I might do, and you know what I discovered? A single dot. It seems that I could adjust a dot that would resemble a crosshair and hover in the center of my screen to lessen the motion nausea that the game causes. (I also reduced the camera shaking.) It was successful.

I find this to be a wonder. It makes sense why I can play an FPS without experiencing the same nausea, even though I had never heard of a crosshair having this effect previously. I’m amazed, however, at how transformational something so tiny can be.

What excites me the most about this revelation, however, is that it’s a sign of how games are trying to make themselves more accessible, and it’s a demonstration of how that’s turning things around for everyone. It seems paradoxical, but years ago I would have most likely had to give up on Survivor; I am really thankful that the accessibility movement has prevented me from having to do so.


Tears of the Kingdom: The Legend of Zelda, Switch

During the Christmas holiday, I played a lot of Tears of the Kingdom; in fact, it’s currently by far my most played game of 2023. At first, I wasn’t the greatest fan. I like how each new Zelda game is unique, but TOTK’s reuse of BOTW’s map didn’t match that description, and its focus on technology went too far from my own perception of the series as a fantastical, fairytale fantasy.

But TOTK has finally made sense to me, like combining a bunch of bricks to create something new. What first seemed to be overpowering and uncontrollable has now multiplied in opportunities. Now that the majority of the plot is over, I’m ready, equipped, and self-assured enough to take on every inch of Hyrule. As I approach the endgame, TOTK has surpassed the feeling of exploration and adventure that the universe of BOTW offered me. I’ve been aimlessly wandering about for hours, doing quests, eventually taking down Gleeoks, and marking off shrines. My gaming is more satisfying and I’m enjoying myself more now that I’m taking on the globe at a slower pace without feeling rushed by the plot.

I’ve also grown to like how the game expands upon its predecessor. Although using Ultrahand to build was a pain at first, I now like the feeling of exploration it offers. I love the moody, fall-like atmosphere of the sky islands, even if the environment is familiar. And while the shrine quests provide a repetitive framework and the temples are typically unsatisfactory, the hymn-like sung melodies at the conclusion of each shrine—possibly a nod to the Temple of Time—are a lovely auditory reward. Even though I have played for more than 130 hours and have not yet defeated the final fight, completed every shrine, or completed every quest, I just cannot put the game down. After everything has calmed down, I’m certain that TOTK will be my game of the year. But I still detest the depths.



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