Update from a gaming grandma
I’ve not subjected you to a report on my gaming activities for about six months, so brace yourself. It’s time for another update. (My feelings won’t be hurt if you excuse yourself now … )
It’s obvious from my Current Bestsellers widget that Google’s GPS/smartphone game Ingress is alive and well. Folks must be getting a bit tired of seeing my Ingress posts in that widget all the time; I know I am. Personally, I’ve almost abandoned the game. The opposition (Resistance) has greatly outnumbered my side (Enlightened) and pretty much rules my part of town. I think much of the renewed/continuing interest is because the game became available to iPhone and iPad users in June; there’s a whole new generation of players looking for information. If you’ve wanted to play but couldn’t because you had an iPhone, now’s your chance. It’s a free download at the Apple store.
In lieu of Ingress I have resorted to less strenuous gaming (and less expensive, since it does not require driving all over town). Six months ago I was awaiting the release of Titanfall. It is a great game and I enjoyed it for several months. I wasn’t very good at it because I just don’t have the reactions for a fast-twitch fast-moving first-person shooter. For me, trying to aim and shoot with a console controller is as unintuitive and awkward as trying to drive with one. The most limiting factor, however, is the Titanfall system that requires you to focus on using different weapons in order to advance significantly. I wanted to stick with a sniper rifle and so-called “smart” pistol. Still, the game was different and fun, and even for a poor player there’s always the challenge (or hope) of improving if I just keep trying.
Then I succumbed, finally, to Battlefield 4. I’d resisted the very popular multiplayer shooters for a long time because I didn’t want to play a game where other players — teammates — would be counting on me to do my part. I tend to play as a loner, on the fringes, where no one is dependent on my skills and no one else dies or loses points because of my ineptitude. As it turns out, in Battlefield there’s not that much coordinated team play. It’s very advantageous when it occurs, but it seems more often than not it’s every man for himself. So I play a recon/sniper, usually lurking on the fringes, sniping when I can, but mostly spotting targets for those capable of hitting them. I get points for spotting as well as actually killing the enemy, so I can progress in the game even though I can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Why is it fun when I’m such a bad shot? Well, as I noted before, there’s the undying hope/challenge that if I play enough, I’ll eventually improve. And when I do manage to hit a target, it’s very gratifying. I can certainly see why the game is so addictive for those who can hit their targets on a fairly consistent basis.
I took a break from Battlefield to play the brief Destiny beta, a game from the Halo developers that’s been called a combination of Halo and World of Warcraft. It combines a multiplayer first-person shooter with elements of role-playing games. Lots of fun. Three classes, three races, and — tada! — female characters, a rarity in video games. I’m looking forward to the game’s release on September 9. I don’t know how much I’ll play as a fire team member; there’s no hiding my lack of skill in a team of only three players. But fortunately one can also play solo. The main thing I learned in the beta, thanks to my son, was how to operate an Xbox One microphone, a necessity for team play, and how to join a group. I also had a chance to try all three classes and I think I’ll start with a titan, the most heavily armored class. The game allows all classes to use sniper rifles, so I can be a sniper with a better chance of surviving in solo play.
In addition to Destiny, there are four other games being released before the end of the year that I want to get sooner or later: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, and Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve played and enjoyed all those franchises in the past, so it’s safe to assume each of the new releases will occupy me for several months. That’s entertainment well into next year. Sweet.
I know it’s … um … unusual for someone like me to be playing such games. But I figure at my age, I’m going to do whatever I enjoy for as long as I can. Besides, I’ve read that video games help maintain both reaction time and mental acuity. Just what the doctor ordered. My game playing will end when my fingers can no longer operate a controller or my eyes can no longer read what’s on the screen — whichever comes first.