..works best on small screens!
Brad | 53 Posts
Shades of Game is a collection of thoughts, essays, podcasts and posts about games, fiction, media, and culture.
gamerdad
No Man’s Sky
gamerdad Onward. I seemed to get sucked into this game with some regularity, usually after an update or something inspires me to load it up again and push forward on my save. That’s not a bad thing. [read more...]
Monday the 22nd of July, 2024, in the evening.
gamerdad
No Man’s Sky
gamerdad Do you ever play a game so much that you start to feel like you need to switch up your style a little bit? I had that vibe this evening. With the latest Worlds update to NMS I was feeling a bit like I was missing out on that feeling of a BIG change because, frankly, I’ve done so much exploring and building and questing that it’s just more of the same but nicer, see? But how do you switch it up, you ask? Well, my approach was really stupidly simple. I’ve been playing in first person view for most of my play time. In fact, I started this current profile as a #vr playthrough and then just got over the hassle. I mean I still VR it, but there’s something chill about just picking up the controller and no-fussing it. So, yeah. I switched my view into the over-the-shoulder third person perspective, summoned the space station so I could change my appearance a little, and then wandered over to the roulette portal and transported myself blind to a rando planet. The result dropped me into a pretty nice, near-paradise world by sheer chance and there wasn’t a sole on it save for what seemed like an auto-generated empty base. So I flew around for a bit, built a new base there, and just—played. This little screencap series is all from that session.
Saturday the 20th of July, 2024, posted before bed.
gamerdad
Flight Simulator 2020
gamerdad Another hundred or so klicks to the south east and another leg of the #flightsimulator adventure landed me at Hector? airport in Fargo. A sunny Saturday afternoon skooting across North Dakota was about as interesting as flying across Saskatchewan, save for a few extra lakes to look at. I’m really gonna need it find some cool scenery soon or this adventure is going to start to fly straight into dullsville international. My landing guidance did spice things up and gave me two terrible options for my approach, so I made my own and (as you can tell from the audio I recorded) it was a little rushed and a little rough, and it didn’t help that the joystick driver borked mid-flight so I was left flying by keyboard for part of the trip. Donk!
Saturday the 20th of July, 2024, deep after noon.
gamerdad
Inside Out 2
gamerdad We went to the theatre last night in an effort first and foremost to escape the heat into somewhere we could sit in there in an air conditioned building for two hours. I like #pixar films. I mean, a few weeks ago I was walking around Pixar Pier in Disneyland and high-fiving costumed characters, so there’s no sense in denying it, right? Those folks have clung onto the storytelling vibe that made them famous. I mean, people think it’s the computer animation aspect, but let me tell you—they are really a storytelling company with a unique animation approach: the CGI thing would have been a gimmick and it would have blipped by with less notice had a movie like Toy Story not actually been first and foremost a good story. Inside Out was a good story. As a parent, it was like, these are the feels. I went to the sequel thinking it was gonna show me the next set of feels, appropriately so because I’m now the father of a late-stage teenager and it’s all about the feels these days. So that was my bar. Me, a dad, sitting there next to my sixteen year old daughter, wondering was this story about girl bodychecking into puberty and the storytelling the swirled around that: was it handled with the care it needed? Did it feel the right vibes? And—yeah. It did. I think. It was a good story. Was I sad that the parent role was so realistically side-lined in this: minor spoiler, but the bulk of the movie takes place at a weekend hockey camp so all these things the kid is going through happen in the absence of her parents and it becomes this battle inside her own head between her classic kid-emotions and these new confusing and sometimes irrational teenager emotions who just kinda take over. And the parents—the character who I most personally related to—made a wink-wink sex joke to his wife as they sped off ditching the kid, and was then absent in the plot until the end credits. The growing up aspect didn’t quite hit me as hard because of this—and that’s fine, but it took me some time to roll that around in my brain. It is a kids movie for kids after all. My kid loved it.
Saturday the 20th of July, 2024, in the morning.
gamerdad
No Man’s Sky
gamerdad I hate that I get distracted by this notion of new content. I mean, we’re all seekers of exciting novelty, I get that. We have these games that make our #comfortplay list, the stuff where we zen out to not think about it and just sit there and grind through tasks or crafting or whatever. Minecraft did that for me for a while, and there is a totally different vibe playing through a story like in Final Fantasy and needing to pay attention to details and plot beats versus loading up an exploration sim and just drifting in the wind seeking out something interesting. I mean, ultimately that’s the curse of it tho, right? Newness temporarily negates the zen because the universe where the unexpected has become normalized suddenly is unexpected in a different way so the curiosity gets piqued and you can’t just sit there and waddle through it. So that’s what kinda bugs me, that I take that bait and since I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t do jump scare movies that translates right over to the kind of guy who wants to poke around the universe making sure there is nothing creeping in the dark corners as I’m putzing along building bases and refining ore and being zen. So I take the new-content bait and walk around with my metaphorical flashlight to see what they dropped out there in the darkness.
Saturday the 20th of July, 2024, in the morning.
gamerdad
No Man’s Sky - 5.0 Update
gamerdad Getting over the supposed subtlety of the latest update, I’m just revelling in the fact that it distracted me from my other adventures. While I should be down in our cool cool basement where my computer is flying a virtual plane across North Dakota, instead I find myself upstairs in my hot hot living room where the #ps5 lives so that I can add a couple more hours to my NMS playtime tally. Of course it never fails to awe me that I can spend a couple hours in this universe and discover this near limitless variety of colours and shapes and sights just by flying a spaceship from planet to planet. In fact, sometimes just waiting a few minutes for a storm to clear or for the time of day to shift, the whole feel of a place will change.
Wednesday the 17th of July, 2024, in the evening.
gamerdad
No Man’s Sky - 5.0 Update
gamerdad With barely a couple days warning the good folks who make No Man’s Sky released another big #featureupdate earlier today. Of course, it took a solid half hour to download and update my game, and so I bumbled around watching an episode of the Simpsons while the download meter crept ever closer to zero. After I got into the post-update game I thought I would poke around and see if I could find any of this supposed new on-world content. Some of it might be pretty subtle, which is nice because no one wants all their hard base-crafting work to get swamped up in some major overhaul. After noticing a few subtle upgrades in my base systems, I hopped from my established solar system over to a brand new discovery to see what difference that made. I’m in no way critical when I say I’m not sure my old gamer guy brain picked up on much of the changes, which is fine. The game is still a great way to kill a few hours.
Wednesday the 17th of July, 2024, in the evening.
gamerdad
Flight Simulator 2020
gamerdad These night flights ate scenic in their own way while I’m actually playing, but the subtlety in the view is much less impressive as a screenshot. It’s too bad, I guess, that I’m not taking and making videos on this trip which tonight took me deeper into the states and part way across North dakota from Minot to Devils Lake just as the sun had set. I’ve been enjoying the zen of these hour long flights with little to do between takeoff and landing besides point the joystick control on a level course, so I spend a good chunk of my flight listening to an audiobook or a podcast, whatever is handy. That’s the joy of #flightsimulator I suppose—you can just settle in and zone out while logging some time. On a side note, as I closed down the plane and checked my log book a Steam trophy appeared in my notifications letting me know that after tonight’s night flight I had tallied 100 hours of flight time on my profile. So that’s a thing.
Monday the 15th of July, 2024, posted at bedtime.
gamerdad
Flight Simulator 2020
gamerdad I left Canada and as I approached the giant cliffs at the border (or maybe it was just a data rendering glitch?!) I crossed into North Dakota where I have never been to in real life but which from the air seems very similar to Saskatchewan except maybe for the abundance of airports south of the 49th. This leg of the journey took me from Estevan to Minot which I presume means a lot to people other than me but which to me means as much as two other random cities on a map and once again arbitrarily chosen because of their relative distance and the shortness of my attention span for #flightsimulator flights longer than an hour.
Monday the 15th of July, 2024, during prime time.
gamerdad
Flight Simulator 2020
gamerdad With the return of the real world hot weather on Monday morning, I was back in the basement continuing my #flightsimulator adventure and taking one last Canadian leg as I flew my little orange plane from Moose Jaw to Estevan which is just a few steps away from the Saskatchewan/North Dakota border. I’ve sort of got it in my mind to take a trip down in the direction of Chicago where I actually visited and ran last fall, and yeah again, I could just load up O’Hare airport and zoom around the city, but there is something about earning the view by flying all the way there that just feels right. So, instead I just toddle along at about 100 NMPH and see how many legs it will take me to fly to the windy city. I will say tho that the game was acting a bit wonky today, setting the time to late in the day (which I didn’t notice until I was about mid flight) and then landmarking the airport in the middle of the forest to the west of the runway (while the buildings were to the east) which resulted in me parking the plane under a tree and hoping the log book records my flight as valid even though the luggage guys were going to have a heckuva time unloading my suitcase.
Monday the 15th of July, 2024, in the mid-afternoon.
gamerdad
Northern Exposure
gamerdad I’ve had my eye on a way to continue my adventures through the early 90s comedic adventures of the folks from Cicely Alaska, and Amazon provided this week as the DVD box set of all the seasons went on sale briefly and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to nab myself a copy. Yeah, I did write DVD—that wasn’t a typo. I don’t think I’ve purposefully bought a new-in-the-wrapper DVD in at least a decade, at least since we upgraded to Blu-ray and then have pretty much fallen into the streaming era and turned most of our physical media into interior decorations. And here i went and bought a box with 26 of them inside. But I gotta admit that there is something both nostalgic and appropriate in settling into this classic from my youth as I begin (well, continue) my full-series binge (still in season one) and feel those retro vibes from the old school way of watching this terrific show. One part character study, one part fish out of water, one part magical realism and a whole lot of wholesome classic television for these crazy dark days. Let’s roll.
Sunday the 14th of July, 2024, posted before bed.
gamerdad
Flight Simulator 2020
gamerdad Having flown four previous legs across the Canadian prairies bound for who knows where, my fifth wasn’t really shaping up to be much more exciting. In fact, the sooner that I can get somewhere a bit more interesting (geography wise at least) than a big expanse of prairie farmland as far as the eye can see, the better this #flightsimulator adventure is likely to be. I picked up from my evening flight yesterday where I landed in Saskatoon and in search of cleverly named airports, headed on down to Moose Jaw, where it was, as predicted, flat and sunny out.
Friday the 12th of July, 2024, around lunch-ish.
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