Published on March 18th, 2013 | by David Chandler0
Hindsight Mondays: Spring Cleaning
Yeah, we missed last Monday. It was a thing. Stop bringing it up awkwardly at the dinner table as you play with your vegetables which you should be eating instead of making snide remarks. Jerk. So let’s dust off our St. Patrick’s Day hangovers, give daylight saving’s time the finger for stealing an hour from us, and look at a bit of news, shall we?
I’m always a bit torn when it comes to springtime and gaming. When the sun’s out and the weather’s nice, I find it hard to justify spending an afternoon inside playing games in front a screen. I still do it, but I sometimes feel bad about it…sometimes. So, this spring, I sold off a few games, DVDs, and Blu-rays in order to make a bit of cash and some room for new titles to come and occupy my time and living room. On days when I’m too worn out to go biking, or my allergies keep punching me in the sinuses, I know that I’ll have plenty of room for when I want the occasional new game.
March has, so far, been a pretty impressive mix of game news, releases, reviews, and oh so sexy controversies. It’s really nice after the winter doldrums to see so many great titles hitting the shelves with aplomb. I may have been in my own little bubble of academic nonsense for the last two weeks, but for gamers, spring has sprung. Maybe it’s the bright semi-warm Oklahoma air, or all the fumes from the cleaning supplies I’ve been using in my apartment, or because it’s because I’m on break, but damn do I feel good about the month of March.
So far, the releases this month have been impressive. First up is the new SimCity. The game was a city simulation so realistic that it had real problems that mimicked city government. In a brilliant display of metadrama, the game offered promises of great gameplay mixed with sprawling spaces while delivering server problems and much smaller plots of digital land. The developers event went to so far as to make the game unplayable unless you’re plugged into their much larger system, a perfect metaphor for big government! It may be the most realistic city-planning game ever made. Fraser has written quite extensively on the subject, so for all your city-planning needs, check with him.
Keep cleaning out space (physical and digital) for Tomb Raider which is apparently fantastic. I haven’t played it yet, but I can’t wait to give it a try. God of War: Ascension (review forthcoming) also hit store shelves, and it inspired yours truly to dust out the saga and write about it’s tenuous relationship to older forms of Greek myth, tragedy and epic. Of course, it’s not without it’s controversy as the developers left some dirt on the game that it had to wipe away, prompt Andy to step up and say, “Hey….really, people? Really? You’re getting mad at this?” Stephen takes a look at a new indie title Kentucky Route Zero: Act I (Equus Oils), a game clearly running on the ticket for longest strange title, and we look forward in awe at the upcoming Saints Row 4 and Golem.
Spring cleaning, though, isn’t just about finding the new. Liam dug through his gaming past to revel in the weirdness of the Oddworld series. It’s worth a read for a bit of gaming history and appreciation for a series with an atmosphere and setting truly its own. Fraser takes a trip back to Neverwinter (albeit in a new way). As for me, I’ve been dusting off my bookshelf to find some H. G. Wells novels. It’s not gaming, but is getting me pretty more excited for BioShock: Infinite.
It’s not just the gaming world doing some spring cleaning, after all. The Vatican has swept away the old pope to make room for the new one; rumor has it, he even has that new pope smell of incense and penitence! Such proceedings has Jonny reflecting on the role of religion in games, and the all too obvious lack thereof. As for Darik, I think we lost him. Rumor has it, he’s going to be cleaning house over at PAX, but who knows. I think he’s running around with that crazy indie crowd.
With that, spring is in the air, dear friends, and we’ve so much to look forward to. So do a little cleaning for the influx of new, vibrant titles. Dig around with what you have, and you may find something buried under the pile of detritus you’ve collected. Playing games, after all, can be a dirty business.