A Week in the Life of a 40 Year Old Gamer: January 01–07, 2016

I thought it would be interesting to chart two different parts of my gaming hobby on a weekly basis: what I’m buying, and what I’m playing.

Last year, I spent a lot on video games, and ended up with a big backlog that I’m still getting through. This year, I aim to be more selective at the cash register.

Here is how things looked for the first week of January:

PURCHASES:

  1. Alien Isolation: Deluxe Edition — Xbox One — $9.99
  2. Steam World Heist — 3DS — $19.99
  3. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — 3DS — $5.99

YTD TOTAL: $35.97

PLAYTIME:

  1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain — Xbox One — 6 hours, 16 minutes.
  2. Steam World Heist — 3DS — 3 hours, 45 minutes
  3. Final Fantasy VI — iPhone — 3 hours
  4. Dishonored: Definitive Edition — Xbox One — 2 hours
  5. Super Mario 3D Land — 3DS — 1 hour, 14 minutes
  6. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — 3DS — 37 minutes
  7. Jet Pack Fighter — iPhone — 20 minutes
  8. Battle Hand — iPhone — 15 minutes
  9. 3D Out Run — 3DS — 14 minutes

THOUGHTS:

I made the best of the last few days of the holiday break by finally completing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I had taken a long break right in the middle of the story, finding myself more drawn to Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fallout 4 for a few months. But it was easy to get back in the groove, and I am very glad I returned. The end boss is spectacular! He’s GIGANTIC, and fighting him makes you feel like you’re the star of a Michael Bay movie. It took me more than 60 hours total to get to him, so I do have to wonder how many players will actually see that killer content. I skipped all of the multiplayer base building stuff, as well as the online content. Kojima Productions lets you enjoy just playing through the single player content uninterrupted, if that is your preferred way to go.

Guilty admission: Prior to last week, I had never played more than 30 minutes of Final Fantasy VI. I downloaded this one because I was looking for a great RPG to have in my pocket to kick off the new year. It’s a steal for only $6.99 — there’s so much content to enjoy, and the story is stellar. This version is a bit controversial with fans, because Tose (a Japanese port house) reworked the graphics, making the game look like it was created in RPG maker. I miss the cute, chunky sprites of the SNES original. But the core content stands up. The game works great with the iPhone GameVice controller, so that was a big draw for me, too.

After finishing Metal Gear Solid V, I decided to begin playing Dishonored: Definitive Edition as my next ‘main’ game. I knew so little about it going in that I had no idea it was a period piece — I had thought it was going to feature a contemporary setting. Right now, I’m being as stealthy as I can, and I’m really enjoying the linear design. It’s a nice change of pace after spending so much time in MGS V’s big open world. The visuals show their age, but not enough to distract from the fun.

Returning back to the daily BART commute meant a greater focus on handheld gaming. I tucked my New 3DS XL in my pocket, excited to play some Steam World Heist. I had loved Steam World Dig, and this new one was being pitched as a totally new take on the strategy-rpg genre. Perfect — a game to tide me over until Fire Emblem Fates takes over my life next month. It’s very clever — the game is 2D side-scrolling, and it uses ricochet mechanics to maximize your control over the board. I dipped into few other 3DS titles as well: 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3D Out Run are blasts from the past that make great use of 3DS’s glasses-free 3D technology (Outrun is particularly mind-blowing). I never finished all of the Luigi stages in Super Mario 3D Land, so it was great fun to go back to that game for awhile, as well.

With Thursday came a raft of new iPhone games. Jetpack Fighter is a fun action game from Hi-Rez Studios, the makers of Smite. It’s easy to pick up, it’s skill-based, and it’s monetization is very friendly — the top-priced purchase is $14.99. I’m having a good time, and will probably play it a few more times in the coming weeks. BattleHand has terrific visuals, but it feels too much like Summoner’s War to interest me in going further with it. I’ve been there, done that.

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