Gaming Ennui and The Pendulum

I haven’t been playing a lot recently. I’ve hopped on for FFXIV raids which have been a blast as always, but I haven’t been on much other than that to work on my character. A lot of that is I’m throttling back in preparation for Heavensward, which I plan to greedily consume as soon as it’s out. Normally, I play other games in the interim, but nothing is jumping out at me.chronometer-black_design_1024

This probably has a lot to do with what I call “the pendulum”. I like a really wide swathe of genre fiction, from high fantasy to hard sci-fi and everything in between. My interests tend to swing back and forth– for a while I’ll be really, REALLY into swords and sorcery, and later on I’ll find fantasy boring and want to delve deep into cyberpunk or spaceflight. The pendulum is slow, and the right thing can keep me somewhere or another for months or more.

When a game comes out at “the wrong time” for me, it’s often because the pendulum hasn’t swung the right way yet. As of this writing, I’m fairly deep into a sci-fi arc. I want cyberpunk games, fancy technology, and exciting futures in my entertainment. I spent several minutes this evening holding the most recent expansion pack for Android: Netrunner, despite knowing that no one I know plays it and I don’t even love it myself, just because it scratched that cyberpunk itch. I’ve been doing a lot of work with my Infinity stuff lately, rebasing an entire faction and fiddling with colour schemes in photoshop to see what I like.

This part of the pendulum swing has lasted for a while. I started playing Elite: Dangerous in January, played all the way through Deus Ex: Human Revolution in February, have played around a lot with Dreamfall, and all the while have been hip deep in Infinity. In the meantime, I’ve tried multiple times to get into Pillars of Eternity, Warmachine Tactics, and my second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, all without much luck.


Last year, I was playing a ton of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Shadows of Mordor, Assassin’s Creed IV, and even some Divinity: Original Sin (when Ash and I remembered to sync up schedules). Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel dropped at a point where I really wanted to swing swords around and be a wizard, and it kind of passed me by.

There’s a bunch of stuff that sits neatly in the middle of the pendulum, though, and I can usually get into it no matter how I’m feeling. The biggest one of these is Star Wars, which blends sci-fi and fantasy well enough that I can be interested no matter how I feel. Loading up KOTOR is something I’ll do frequently, though I’ve been a little starved for good Star Wars games lately. Final Fantasy is often another that fits the bill, leaning a little more on the fantasy side but still pretty techy and satisfying. Even further towards fantasy are steampunk games like Arcanum or Dishonored or Thief. Modern Supernatural settings (Vampire: the Masquerade, The Secret World) are on the other side of middle, and Shadowrun is a little closer to sci-fi but still has that touch of fantasy (I’m convinced it’s the only reason I can talk some of the people I know into playing it).


What happens with me is that I’ll need to complete the swing, get all the way to one side of the spectrum before coming back. Right now, I really, REALLY want to play something in a nice chrome-and-holographics world and I’m frustrated by my inability to find anything. I could fly spaceships if I wanted, but I really want, essentially, Cloud Atlas the game. Fantasy is a lot easier for me– I can hop into Diablo or Guild Wars 2 or anything LOTR to get my fantasy fix, but sci-fi is a lot harder.

I’m still trawling for something that might give me the sci-fi fix I’m looking for, or, failing that, get the pendulum swinging back towards something else. In the meantime, time to reroll my Shadowrun: Dragonfall character for the tenth time or so.

Source: Digital Initiative
Gaming Ennui and The Pendulum

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