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First Watch Games’ recent collaboration with Dr. Disrespect is an especially clear example

What outside influence do you trust when deciding whether or not to play a new game? Where do you go? Which filter do you rely on most heavily to give you relevant knowledge about upcoming titles?

Filters are people, companies, or news sources that we trust. Trust forms from one of two places. The relationship is either founded on authenticity or consistency, sometimes both. We use these sources to speed up our decision making about where to invest our time or what products to buy. The more the filter aligns itself with our values, the more we trust the source.

My favorite tangent to talk about is the use of filters in our society. I find the concept unendingly interesting.


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Nintendo’s classic franchise remains as powerful today as it has been for over three decades

I have a dirty little secret: I’ve never finished a Zelda game. Ever. I do enjoy the games, but I’ve never gotten around to finishing one. I’m willing to bet we all have a series like this in our back pocket — one we dream of finishing, but never have.

I’ve finished half of A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask. And I’m about a quarter of the way through Breath of the Wild. The end credits have eluded me every time, though. …


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Even after decades in the spotlight, we still can’t get enough of the Caped Crusader

Do you have an alter ego? Where does it hide? Can this alter ego be acted out safely and experimentally through video games? I contemplated this very thought as I looked through some of my old PS4 games. I was looking for something to spark my interest.

I chose to revisit the Batman games for PS4. The gritty, dark textures mixed with a combat system perfectly molded to the Caped Crusader’s style reminded me why I loved those games and why I loved Batman. …


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Drawing from the inspiration of others can stoke your creative fire

I was a chef for nearly ten years. Anyone who has ever worked at a hotel or restaurant knows that foodservice and retail are high-intensity environments. As a chef, I pushed my creativity to the max daily. My brain redlined every day as I struggled to maintain a sense of order over the chaos. I worked nights, weekends, and holidays for ten years. My average day was 11 hours. The intensity rarely subsided.

In mid-2016, I quit that life. I stepped back from years of torment to tackle a new challenge, starting a family. Being a dad was the single biggest mission in my life, and I became focused on being an engaged father. …


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The game’s design achieves a clever, if imperfect, balancing act

When I was in my early to mid-20s, I loved to spend time playing Texas Hold’em. As a chef, my free time landed between midnight and 4 a.m. every day. I wasn’t a huge drinker, so I spent hundreds of hours on sites like Full Tilt Poker playing for real money.

Texas Hold’em is a game that finds itself halfway between a game and a sport. …


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A game that takes many years to create — and that is filled with so much fine detail — deserves no less

After a ten-hour gaming session, my eyes were reduced to mere slits, and my mind was filled with fog. I hit an emotional wall. I had narrative fatigue.

How much longer would this go on? I had hardly touched the side quests, and this journey had lasted a lifetime. I was almost ready to give up.

Despite my mental exhaustion, this massive world of mountains, trees, rivers, horses, and gunfights had hooked me. I wanted to know how the story ended. I sought out a friend of mine for encouragement.

A co-worker pushed me to continue the quest the next morning over coffee. …


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The Vikkstar Warzone Showdown is a great entry point for FPS fans keen to dive into the world of esports

I have a lot of trouble with my eyes. They twitch back-and-forth, causing great fatigue after a long day. The longer my eyes strain, the more tired they become. This makes life difficult as a gamer, too. In particular, having sore and tired eyes makes watching esports a drag; especially since I’ve enjoyed every style of competition I could get my hands on: League of Legends, Dota, StarCraft 2, CS:GO, and Call of Duty League have all taken my fancy at some point.

Although I have my favorites, it’s the FPS genre that’s by far the most difficult to watch and undersatnd. My eyes get so tired that I can hardly focus. It’s challenging to follow the action as it unfolds. Overwatch, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty League have dominated the charts when it comes to esports shooters. And yet, they’re insanely tough for me to watch. I simply can’t navigate the action in Overwatch and Call of Duty League; there’s too much information to process. …


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Reflecting on the challenges around designing endgame scenarios

I was on a Diablo 3 kick for a long time. I spent the better part of nine months playing this dungeon crawler non-stop, enjoying every minute despite many traditionalists’ negative reviews.

Diablo 3 got a lot of elements right. Exciting boss fights, random loot, dungeon generator, and simple to use interface with limited skills. The skirmishes were often manageable, but the battlefield was a great place to blow off some steam. Unfortunately, something was missing. My interest completely fell off around the nine-month mark, and I was no longer motivated to play.

During the endgame, there was very little required interaction with the outside world. You can grind this experience entirely on your own, and this created feelings of loneliness within me. …


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It enables players to enjoy the “core” experience and build upon it at their own pace

Buying new video games used to be a straightforward transaction before the internet came along. I would arrive at my local GameStop/Target/Walmart, wait in line, and exchange my hard-earned cash for the desired game. The process was clean and precise; I paid my money, I got the game.

This system was not all about nostalgia. You spent your entire day traveling to the store, and often they would be sold out. The cold lines outside a GameStop in November would make you question your motives for a brief moment. If they did have what you wanted, you would often have to wait in line. The whole ritual was producing a copious amount of wasted time to acquire the goods. …


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Over the years I’ve found ways to healthily integrate video games into my life in ways that truly enrich it

I sat alone, the door closed, in my favorite blue recliner. I had no plans for the day except a date with my PS2. I had no desire to move from the comfort of the recliner for at least 12 hours. I would spend my one day off indulging in my favorite pastime:

Gaming.

I invested my time by immersing myself in Final Fantasy XII. It had a wonderfully addictive game mechanic that focused on monster hunting. I spent countless hours hunting and killing various marks around the world for rare loot or crafting ingredients. Each successful mission encouraged me to tackle another. Several hours in, I fell asleep as my body became one with my favorite chair. …

About

Phillip Caron

Short stories are to explore my demons. Reflections are to explore my feelings, and philosophies are for my son just in case. langleytrinity@hotmail.com

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