Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fun and Games

I've come to realize some things about my life during the school year. First of all, grading high school essays stops being fun after about one essay. I've had a stack of senior essays--satirical "How To" essays, which should be fun--for about two weeks. And for two weeks I've graded precisely . . . none. I just didn't want to read them. Today I finally cracked and graded the first three, and now that I've broken the ice, I'll probably get them all done in a couple of days.

Second, I find my video game habits really changing. (And now this will be interesting to approximately zero people.) I don't have time to sit down and play through a one hour or two hour level. I don't have the focus to get into a deep story. I don't have the energy to play consistently enough to finish a cohesive long unit.

Which is why I've recently discovered the joys of XBox Live Arcade. XBLA straddles that market between deep and casual gaming. The gameplay experience is shorter and the complexity is much more manageable. Not only that, but these games tend to relax me rather than put me on edge, like COD4 or Halo3.

A few recommendations? The past three days I've been loving RezHD--especially now that I finally hooked up my HD cable correctly (who knew there was a switch involved?). It's a synesthetic experience best played with the lights out and the sound pumping. It's not so much about playing as about experiencing. Really interesting.

Other favorites? Amelia and I play PuzzleQuest together, which is like Bejeweled with RPG elements added on top. PacMan CE is pretty fun (and short games). And if you have an iPod, Peggle is ridiculously fun for such a simple game.

In my Pile of Shame (not-yet-played-but-supposed-to-be-great) I've still got to finish COD4, I've got Half Life 2 to finish (and Portal to replay)--along with episodes one and 2, and I've got Mass Effect, which I'm maybe the most excited about but which seems a little daunting.

So there you go. I've decided I'm 28 and I'm not going to apologize any more for being a gamer. It's just part of who I am.

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