Shock horror, this blog post is late. And perhaps an even bigger shock, I am going to talk about some games. I have been playing the odd PC game after the release of the second act of Broken Age stirred my interest in gaming, though I am yet to play that title. It has been a long time coming, years in fact, and I have to say that I wasn’t exactly on tenterhooks waiting for the debut. I enjoyed the first act, but it shouldn’t have taken them so long to get to the end of the road. And despite making over $3 million, it still ended up being over budget and needed a further cash injection. What was going to be a much smaller project suddenly spiraled out of control, proving that more money isn’t necessarily better. Being able to manage money effectively is an elusive skill in the modern world. The case of the failed Bioscience and Technology Institute comes to mind, costing the taxpayers £2.2 million, with the directors being the only parties to benefit, through acquisition of equipment or “finder’s fees” for unsuitable premises. Corruption is rife, but we are a forgiving bunch and instead of thoroughly investigating, we place the directors in positions of even more responsibility. It’s a bizarre world. And what’s even more bizarre is that we keep electing politicians who maintain the status quo – tribalism and petty fighting. I thought this year could be different. I thought people might start to think for themselves and vote for the parties who might have a chance of making a difference, rather than sticking with the tried and failed “them and us” system. So the local elections were disappointing, and to add insult to injury, the UK general election result was even more soul crushing. Five more years of the Conservatives. But back to games.
Being completely out of touch with the current game release schedule allows me to slowly make my way through the back catalogue of Xbox 360 and PC games, playing the titles I missed the first time around. I picked up Metro 2033, Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, and Sleeping Dogs for next to nothing in Game (along with some used game insurance I didn’t actually want). I always liked the look of Metro 2033 and attempted to play it on my laptop at the time of release, but it was too demanding and next to unplayable. I like the concept and the look, but I couldn’t face playing it at the lowest settings with an even lower frame rate. I’ve played Red Dead Redemption a good deal but I never picked up Undead Nightmare, until now. Of course there’s a zombie add-on, that’s just the way things are done. I’m yet to play it, but I am reliably informed that it is good but brief. The only game of the three that I have played for a reasonable period of time is Sleeping Dogs (first known as True Crime: Hong Kong). In Sleeping Dogs you play Wei Shen, an undercover cop infiltrating the Triads in Hong Kong. Imagine Grand Theft Auto, but with martial arts. It isn’t quite as put together as GTA, but it is still an enjoyable game with a lot of fun mechanics. As with many sandbox games a lot of the fun comes from pissing around and wreaking havoc. I found out recently that I could jump off walls and roundhouse kick pedestrians in the face – what could be better than that? I’ll have more of a review/opinion piece next time, but that’s it for now. I’ll also be talking about cycling in Belfast and the new Belfast Bikes.