I've been posting more frequently, I know. Three times last week, only once (so far) this week - I don't know how many people everyone follows. My own dash is cluttered with my own posts, I know. Hopefully it's not too cluttered on your end, or else that you don't mind. LJ is a much sleepier community than it used to be.

Before break, a few suggestions were made to me - that I play Transistor or, failing that, Bastion. I've started Gibson's The Peripheral. I'd like to chew my way through a few of these just so that I don't have multiple balls in the air at the same time, media-wise. For no particularly good reason, that kind of thing drives me nuts, and I have a hard time focusing. My computer's too shit to run Transistor. The video card sucks too badly, my machine's too old. It can run Bastion, though, which seems to follow a pattern in my gaming selection very recently, which is to run another relatively short, isometric-style, point-and-click beat 'em up adventure. I grew up in the 80's and 90's, and pretty distinctly remember games like Crusader: No Remorse (which I assume is up for a remake any time, now, since we've already done Wasteland and X-Com), so this doesn't really feel novel and it's new enough that it doesn't really feel nostalgic in the same way that Hyper Light Drifter kind of did. Bastion came with strong reviews and, so far, it just feels "pretty good."

It's given me something to think about, though. It feels very "video game-like," in the way that it has a fairly simple plot and it's driven very heavily by its easy-to-understand mechanical gameplay. It might have felt challenging if I were still a kid, but there's not much teeth to the gameplay - I've found it very easy. I would be surprised if the developers expected it to be difficult, actually. It doesn't have a save system where you save to a file - it's just an autosave that continues from the last place you left off. This has caused me some legitimate irritation, since only one person can really play at a time per account (probably the intent), and it stops me from reloading at will in the one place I actually want to do that.*

Bastion is much slicker, in the traditional way, than HLD, but it doesn't seem designed to be the same kind of play experience. HLD has investigation and introspection as core components of its gameplay; there's a story, but it's not really clear or easy to access all the time. It's technically more demanding, and it also seems designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia by virtue of its art and musical stylings - it's really evocative of a type of gameplay that manifested due, in part, to the serious technical limitations of very early video games that were lost when the technology advanced though, in HLD's case, the design painstakingly re-creates them intentionally and with a clear eye as to what remains compelling about these technological artifacts of style and method. Bastion is a similar experience mechanically, but the style and gameplay are quite different - it's linear, it possesses a very clean and vibrant look, the storytelling is unambiguous - you are literally told the story, piece by piece, by a narrator so that nothing is left to guess. None of this is bad, but it does lead to a less memorable gaming session. I have to invest less in the game, both in terms of the difficulty of play and in terms of narrative analysis. I'm just playing it and, when I'm done, that's it. There's a new game+, but the difference in play experience is basically none.

It may be that Transistor is different - more complex, deeper, whatever. I'm looking forward to playing it when I upgrade my machine, but I won't do it just to play it.

* Minor Spoiler: I had some pets, and they got attacked in a plot event, and it's difficult to save them all. I didn't manage to do so and wanted to go back and try, but the game refused to let me because I had accidently let it get too far into a scene immediately after the fight.
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