Gaming Omnivore Art Gallery

One of my goals for 2020 was to keep pushing forward and continuing to progress in not only my writing ability(hey, it could happen…) and also to experiment with new ideas and formats on my blog site. For today’s post I wanted to highlight some of the captivating visuals found in games I’ve played over this past console generation.

The quality and complexity of game visuals is light years from the simple pixelated images produced in the early days of gaming, like the Atari 2600 or even the NES a handful of years later. Video games have also grown more complex and capable of not only providing an interesting gameplay experience, they can tell stories on par with any Hollywood film and can instantly transport players anywhere from real-world locations, distant planets, or places we could only otherwise see in our own imaginations. Video games have in more recent years finally become accepted and recognized, Roger Ebert notwithstanding, as an artistic medium similar to music or movies, with many games featuring the same level of production as many films. Games are more than able to convey ideas and emotions to match other mediums and today I’m going to showcase some of wonderful visuals found within them.

One of the options featured in a vast number of games this past console generation is Photo Mode which allows you to briefly suspend play and not only take a snapshot of everything on screen, but also giving some rudimentary camera controls or filter options to further color the mood of your digital playground. This comes as a nod of recognition to the painstaking level of detail and effort put in to create such impressive world. It’s become almost an afterthought in most open-world games like Horizon: Zero Dawn or Assassin’s Creed(nearly every Ubisoft game, actually) and is frequently the reason I feel I’m not progressing through many areas of the game as I find myself stopping every so often to jump into Photo Mode and save a quick picture. Here’s a guided tour of five pieces that I love, along with the feeling that comes to mind when viewing them. Please remember to stay behind the velvet rope…

Control

Mystique – The feeling of being inexplicably drawn to somewhere or something and the determination to discover the secrets behind it. We see Jesse as she cautiously ventures down an ever-changing corridor towards a carousel horse that serves as an Item of Power. I also love how the shot brings to mind the film Blade Runner as you can see the carousel horse in the background bears a striking similarity to a unicorn.

Gris

Hardship – Her voice taken away as a result of a traumatic experience, our heroine makes her way across a broken world, devoid of color. We also see the progress of her healing journey through the implementation of colors and as a metaphor for the challenges one may face in life. I love the use of beautiful watercolors in this piece.

Layers of Fear

Obsession – Here we observe an example of the sometimes too fine line between genius and insanity. Our artist has found themselves caught in-between the vision of the mind and the ability of the hands and the ensuing struggle to create. This can also be a manifestation of the artist’s internal struggles as well.

Death Stranding

Death – Sam nears the end of his destination, his journey has been on a personal as well as physical level as he courageously faces death itself trapped between the plane of the living and dead. The ominous BT whale in this sublime, otherworldly shot serves as the Grim Reaper; awaiting us all at the end of our lives.

Far Cry 5

Serenity – Seeing this shot leaves me with a peaceful, calming feeling as I can just about smell the mountain air or the warmth of the sunlight reflecting off the water below the falls. This can represent the tranquility for some in simplicity of life and being in touch with nature as we gaze upon its majestic beauty.

This concludes the tour for now! I kind of like the idea of showincasing different shots and a short description of the feelings accompanying it. This is more or less what I’ve used my Instagram account for as I primarily post screenshots of random games I’ve played. There’s many more screenshots I’ve taken in games that are better than anything I’ve ever photographed in real life. What are some games that feature worlds that you can completely lose yourself in? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Games of the Year 2019

In what seems obligatory for anyone with a gaming-related channel or site, I’ve finally created my list of ten favorite games of 2019. After what seemed like hours of discussion and lists, not to mention the countless hours of playing research, I was able to devise a definitive list of favorites released in 2019…until I change my mind anyway. I know of many out there that felt underwhelmed with the year’s offering of games, but I feel this year has still been a great one. No, we didn’t get near masterpieces like in 2017 with Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey or with God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018, but there’s still been a sizable crop of quality games. What I have found so interesting this year is the fact there hasn’t been the one game held above all the others as the unanimous choice for Game of the Year. If you were to read/watch/listen to any one of the vast sea of GOTY pieces online, you would be hard-pressed to find anything remotely close to a consensus on which game was “best”. Each and every game nominated for end of the year awards has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, which I find fascinating as some of the most memorable games may be the ones whose flaws merely add to their uniqueness and charm. Someone may favor a game like Control, while the next person found a game like The Outer Worlds to be the most engrossing experience this year; a third individual may have generated their greatest enjoyment of the year in the created chaos of Untitled Goose Game. I’d also like to point out before beginning that while lists like this are fun for the sake of discussion, they are completely subjective with no right or wrong answers. My list contains the games that have provided either a completely memorable experience, pure gameplay joy, or a mix of both. First off, I have a few games that for me fell just outside of my ten favorites, but greatly enjoyed nonetheless.

My 5 Runners-up

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Super Mario Maker 2

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

My Friend Pedro

Blazing Chrome

And now my 10 favorite games of 2019….

10. Tetris 99

9. Ape Out

8. The Outer Worlds

7. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

6. Control

5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

4. Luigi’s Mansion 3

3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

2. Resident Evil 2

1. Death Stranding

And there we have it, my 10 favorite games of 2019. What are your favorites from 2019? Let me know in the comments or provide feedback as to how my list could have been better. We’re in the final few days of what was a pretty productive year and I still have just a little bit more to accomplish blog-wise before celebrating the new year. I plan on following up my games of the year post with another collection of some of my gaming memories from the past year as well as all the games I played for the first time throughout 2019. Thanks for reading!

Weekend Gaming Review – Black Friday Haul

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend has come and gone already! It was a nice long holiday weekend to relax at home with plenty of food and games. It’s also been a little while since my last post talking about what games I’ve been playing so I thought it would be a nice way to pick back up after the long weekend, along with going over my recent additions from Black Friday to already massive backlog of games.

I recently finished up my playthrough of Death Stranding and wrote up a few thoughts on the game, which I can say is probably the most unique experience I’ve had from a video game in 2019. I’ve been playing Pokemon Sword and working on finishing Luigi’s Mansion 3(another personal GOTY candidate). There’s also Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which I have been playing a fair amount of multiplayer, but haven’t started on the single player campaign just yet. I’ve been trying to sample as many different games released this year as I can, with the intent of doing a more in-depth look at my picks of 2019 a bit later.

In what has become a bit of a tradition since my childhood years, I went out after Thanksgiving dinner to pick up some cheap games marked down for all the Black Friday sales. I did have to feel a bit smarter this year as I put in a store pickup order at Best Buy in order to avoid the standing in the checkout line for what seems like hours. I also picked up a couple games at both Target and GameStop. The majority of games I played this year were purchased digitally, primarily due to space, but I was able to accumulate a smile pile of games over the weekend. Looking back, most of the games I bought over the earlier part of the year were Switch games as Nintendo had an amazing run of successful games in 2019(Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Link’s Awakening, Luigi’s Mansion 3 AND Pokemon Sword/Shield) so I used the Black Friday sales to catch up a bit on some PS4 titles that I didn’t have yet.

The games

  • Control
  • Borderlands 3
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Devil May Cry V
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Days Gone
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider(not a 2019 game, but still picked up)
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
  • Dual Shock 4 Controller – Electric Purple( Very Nice!)
  • Undertale – Steam

Best Deal – Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

I picked up a copy of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair for the Switch at my local GameStop for a mere $10, which is 75% off of a game that I had been eyeing in the Nintendo eShop since it came out. I had heard some pretty good things about the game and was really curious after seeing the game is set primarily as a 2D side-scrolling platformer in the same vein as Donkey Kong Country, which makes sense, as some of the former developers at Rare are currently with Playtonic. I have only played the game for a half hour or so, but the game looks wonderful and the controls are nice and tight, just as you want in a platformer like this.

Most Excited To Play – The Outer Worlds

I have been excited to play The Outer Worlds for a while now, so I took advantage of it being on sale for $35 at Target. I’ve heard non-stop positive things about Obsidian’s newest release in how perfectly it scratches that Fallout “itch” after many were….rather disappointed with last year’s release of Fallout 76. I have spent about five or so hours playing the game and I love it so far, it plays like an amalgam of Fallout and Destiny. For me, playing The Outer Worlds feels similar to when I played through Dragon Age, not so much in gameplay but rather in the satisfaction of getting lost in an in engrossing story set in a far away world(s); I can already tell this game is something special.

Most Disappointing

Nearly all of the games I bought were for the Playstation 4, but that’s not to say there still aren’t games for the Switch I would like to pick up. I was mildly disappointed, but not entirely surprised that Switch titles like Astral Chain, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, or Daemon X Machina were not discounted over the weekend. The Switch games that were doorbuster or weekend sales were the mega-hits such as Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey. I still have yet to play aforementioned games and intend to do so eventually, I was really hoping Dragon Age XI S for the Switch would have been on sale, but alas, that was not to be.

Also…

The overwhelming majority of my Thanksgiving weekend was spent playing my PS4 as I would play one game for an hour or two, before popping another disc in. I did however take a peek at the Black Friday sale on Steam and just so happened to pick up Undertale, a game that I mentioned just a week or two ago in a post about games I was embarrassed to admit I’d never played. I got the game AND soundtrack for a paltry $7, so I’m pretty excited to finally make my way through and cross off another game from my list.

As for the rest of the year, I have been recently tagged in the Real Neat Blog Award as well as the Sunshine Blogger Award so I will be getting those out shortly. I also have a few ideas discussing the past decade in gaming which I’m excited to keep working on. That’s all for my show and tell for today, did you pick anything up over the weekend? What are you looking forward to playing? Thanks for reading!