Our Week in Games – Week 67

Our Week in Games – Week 67

I get the feeling there was a bit of a ‘Games Journalism Twitter Scandal’ in the past week. They seem to come two-a-penny these days and it is safe to say that me and tech journo Mike Jennings are fed up of them. The most recent event entirely passed me by, but who knows, maybe this one was serious. I doubt it was a match for Dorito-gate from a couple of years ago though.

The big gaming news from the past week was the release of the Shadow of Mordor trailer which showed plenty of Orc killing and lots of comparisons to Assassin’s Creed and Batman. My take? It looks like a fun romp through the world created by Tolkien. Count me as interested.


Quite a nice looking game don’t you think? It was all going well apart from where some of the combat scenes seemed a bit lightweight with dodgy sword hitting interactions. I don’t really know whether the idea of this Ranger being infused with the power of a Wraith fits in with Tokien’s lore, but it provides for a decent excuse to make a game.

This past week has seen me largely playing Assetto Corsa which is looking like a damn fine racer. It doesn’t seem to be as intimidating as some of the more sim-based titles like rFactor or iRacing, but it might just hit the sweet-spot of Gran Turismo and Forza themes to fill a hole on the PC gaming scene. GRID and DiRT are a bit lightweight for me, so this might be just what I need. Though I really should hit up Project CARS once more to see how that is shaping up.

I am quite pleased that I’ve managed to avoid Football Manager this week, hopefully if I can keep away from it for a bit longer I will be able to get into some other games on Early Access. I’ve got my eyes on Divinity: Original Sin and will happily take suggestions for other games to check out.


This is the Banner Saga. It is not made by King. You can tell, because it's actually, you know, good.
This is the Banner Saga. It is not made by King. You can tell, because it’s actually, you know, good.

What a week. I’d go so far as to call it a ‘saga’, but I’d run the risk of King hammering on my door and demanding recompense – that and probably candy(TM). The very same King that’s been quite merrily cloning match-three games and the likes of Peggle for the past couple of years and has somehow found themselves swimming in all of the money, yet despite this have decided to come out fighting against games with the audacity to include the words ‘candy’ or ‘saga’ in their titles.

Of course, they have every right to trademark the word saga. It’s an ancient word, one that dates back as far as the year 2011 and King’s release of the highly original Bubble Witch Saga, a truly inspiring game so original in its ambition and scope that it was immediately cloned by someone with the ability to travel back in time to 1994 and release it as Puzzle Bobble.

According to my research, King spent the first few months of Bubble Witch Saga’s release having to explain to everyone what the word ‘saga’ actually meant, as no-one had ever heard it before then. There was much confusion during this period, especially from Square who found their SaGa series had apparently existed without a name for almost 20 years.

But I digress. What have I been playing this week? Mainly I’ve been playing a similar game to thousands of others with even a passing interest in games, which is the ‘think of as many games as you can that include the word ‘saga” game. It’s a fun game, one I’d thoroughly recommend to those at King – I hit about thirty titles before getting bored and at no point did I have to fork out any money or wait twenty-four hours to continue playing it.


Animal Crossing Town Hall Plaleaf
Long ago, far away in a geographically agnostic town, there existed an “animal forest” where a courageous hero called Stephanie (the player) shook trees and got stung by bees.

Hey, I may be unemployed, but what were you doing at around 1pm on Tuesday 14th? I was plugging my debit card details into the Nintendo Store to grab Animal Crossing: New Leaf for £7.95. I know, right?! Buying a first party Nintendo title for the kind of figure you might expect from absolutely any of their competitors! (Can I get a ‘callooh callay!’) Barely an hour later, the prices for this and five other titles had shot back up to their normal price points (or “pay more for digital convenience” normal, at any rate).

It almost makes the three months of boredom I’ve endured since redundancy worthwhile, to nab such an offer! I bet you’re jealous. What’s that? You were on a lunch break and the fact you had a job meant you could actually afford to buy all six games in a sale that was obviously some kind of test of the water for flash sales by the big N? Why don’t you go back to your skills matrices, job boy? Some of us have animals to cross.

Explaining the appeal of Animal Crossing to somebody who hasn’t played it is difficult. Or at least, I read and watched a buttload of stuff about New Leaf in an attempt to make myself interested, and I still only vaguely understood the appeal. Had I not caught the flash sale, I probably wouldn’t have taken the plunge for the £25-£35 being asked in most places. Of course, I know now that this would have been a shame, that a game based solely around discovering and acquiring a multitude of stuff can be fun. It’s not sinister about it, either – about an hour into any session your villagers will start suggesting that you may have played enough for the day. Habit forming, but not dangerously addictive.

That said, there have been a few hours spent on the game that won’t be reflected in the 3DS’ game log app. I spent far, far too long thinking up candidate eight letter placenames. At one point I was scanning through my music library. ‘Sabotage‘ was out because, well, two star pun aside, the Beastie Boys don’t exactly seem like Animal Crossing material. On the other hand, ‘I Zimbra‘ was jettisoned because who wants to be Streetpassed by a hipster?

In the end, I settled on ‘Plaleaf’, because if you’re going to be obscure in a computer game, you may as well be obscure about computer games. This in turn begat the hour spent composing a suitable town tune and later, pixel-arting a town flag (see above). There’s no telling how far this rabbit hole goes, but the rabbit’s name is Pippy and she enjoys collecting bugs.

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