Recently we got sent a copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and we fully intended to review it. I enjoyed the reboot of the series back in 2013, so I figured I’d be in for more of the same. In fact, I was wrong; in pretty much every way the game was better: better graphics, better story and even more tombs to explore and solve.
The problem was, I just wasn’t into it. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I had just finished Yakuza 5 the night before, or I was in a funny mood, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play a game I’d really been looking forward to.
It’s made me think about how I approach games now as opposed to how it was when I was younger. Now, I’m not going back into the dark ages of the Spectrum or the Commodore 64, but when I first had my PS1, it was rare for me to have more than two or three games at a time. My options were limited, and the games I was into, Tekken, a shit ninja game and Discworld 2, were hardly 100 hour affairs. In fact, even though I played and completed FF7 and 8, I didn’t really get into games until I was in my late teens, and even then, I was lucky if I had four games for my PS2 at any one time.
Now I look at what’s commonly called my pile of shame, and I just marvel that I used to complete games at all. Even though I wasn’t always in the mood for whatever games I owned back then, if I wanted to play a game, those were the games I had to play, but at least I had the time to complete these shiters and get them traded down the Indoor Market in Kilmarnock.
With a full time job and an addition to the family on the way, time is the one thing I don’t always have spare. When you can measure your free time with only the minute hand on the clock, you get far pickier, more sensitive to the mood you’re in. This has happened to me so much in the last wee while. Bloodborne, an amazing game and my favourite From Software game, lay unplayed for six months because I wasn’t in the mood. When I went back and completed it, it was a cracking experience. The same happened with The Witcher 3, one of my Top 5. I left it hanging for ages before coming back and getting obsessed with it.
It’s like every time I look at our DVD collection, and I pick up that Werner Herzog boxset, look at it, and then watch John Wick again. I know that in a fortnight, a month or maybe a little longer, I’ll totally want to play Rise of the Tomb Raider and I’ll be raving about it on Twitter the way I do with every game I play.
I suppose the need to feel relevant is what gets you playing some games, and with making Bit Socket, that feeling that we have to make #content all the time can sometimes push you into playing something that you’re not in the mood for and it can feel like more of a slog than it should be. I think we’re lucky because these days we only really cover games that we’re genuinely interested in, and it’s rare that we end up playing a game that disappoints.
My problem has always been that feeling of guilt when I feel I should be doing something else. I always put off editing the podcast and it always annoys me when I do it, same with elaborate plans for videos that never happen. In these last few weeks, I’ve decided to chill out more, and when I have time, to play what I want instead of what I feel I should play. Maybe that’s why I haven’t clicked with Tomb raider yet and why I’ve played Overwatch for about five hours this weekend instead, or why I’ve been reading this book about Russian Gulags for two months but managed to put 40 hours into Dragon Quest VII in a shorter amount of time. This is why we’re starting to do more streaming, as it’s a way to still be connected to people, create sweet #content and to play games at the same time. We’ll still be making the podcast and videos, but this gives us a window to share without using up too much time.
And who knows, maybe I’ll start streaming Rise of the Tomb Raider and you can watch me fall to my death over and over again until you close the tab on your browser.