We may all be so over 2020 that we’re looking to put it out of its misery once and for all, but I’m one of the ones who has turned a crap year into one of opportunity. It has been surprisingly productive for my creative pursuits, finishing some older games that have been sitting in my backlog for far too long, getting a lot of reading done, and watching some movies or shows stuck in my queue for months. Among those shows I’ve tried to finish up is Netflix’s Aggretsuko, however, I recently realized that this show is losing some of its appeal that got me watching in the first place.
If there is one video game I’ve played consistently without fail, even with all the other games I’ve played in between, it’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons. From checking the Able Sisters shop for new clothes to hoping a villager will give you a DIY recipe you don’t have yet, there’s something enticing about this game that’s hard to ignore. After focusing many months on unlocking new island features and expanding my character’s house to the maximum rooms it’s allowed, the time has finally come to design and decorate the island I envisioned. However, where to get started and what I actually want to do with it has been the biggest challenge of playing this game so far.
Over the the last few months I have been going back to much older video games to pick up where I left off and finally complete them. Among those games I’ve returned to is Remember Me, a 2013 video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published under Capcom. I had forgotten that the studio behind the widely successful Life Is Strange series were the same people who did Remember Me seven years ago. After playing the game and beating it a few weekends ago, one of the things that stood out in my mind was the recurring theme of memories that has popped up in the French studio’s later titles.
What has made riding out a global pandemic tolerable these last few months are the various streaming services with thousands of movies and TV shows available to entertain us. If you pay for more than one service, like I do, it has become a growing dilemma to decide what to watch on any given day or week. I’m not usually an indecisive person, but even I have succumbed to endless scrolling or browsing syndrome when I’m in the mood to watch something. After finishing an older TV series on Amazon Prime not too long ago (Downton Abbey), I was in the market for a newer TV series to binge watch. With a passionate recommendation from my sister it eventually led me to dedicating the next few weeks to Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor.
It probably doesn’t need to be said that 2020 has been a wild ride and not the best kind. Anything terrible or unbelievable that has happened to us personally or to the world at large will almost always be blamed on the year itself. We’re exhausted, frustrated, and maybe less optimistic than we were 10 or 20 years ago. At this point we would be glad to rush the end of 2020 in the hopes things will somehow look up in 2021. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen, and there is that ever persistent fear nothing will change no matter how hard we try. Despite the turbulent year I do try to find some pockets of sunshine and reasons to celebrate. This month marks the anniversary of the simpleek blog.
Retreading video games you started years ago, but never finished, brings forth a number of feelings. It’s like someone you met briefly but never really got to know better, or recalling memories that now seem vague and hazy with the passage of time. Since the pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home longer than we would have under normal circumstances, it has opened up opportunities to shift your attention on other activities that used to be deemed as “I’ll get to it eventually.” The much older video games in my backlog have been getting a lot more love and attention in recent months.
Making the most out of a crap year means retreating into the things that give you a measure of joy and escape. Being stuck at home a lot of the time has encouraged me to revisit video game backlogs and select games I’ll want to pick up again after not touching some of them in months or years. When I’m able to fully focus my attention on one game I accomplish a lot. Recently I finished playing The Witcher 2: The Assassins of Kings, and I’m thoroughly impressed with the work CD Projekt Red had put into this 2011 game.
When you’re playing any video game and you’re looking to tick off a number of quests from your to-do list, you highlight the quest you’re in the process of finishing and then consult the in-game map to know exactly where you need to go to get to your destination. Most maps are straight-forward and allows you to place a marker at or near the area you want to be. But when a map is poorly designed or just too damn difficult to understand, then it makes your task much harder to complete.
Seasonal transitions often means doing a little rearranging in your closet to store away clothes that are no longer appropriate for the current weather, and digging out the ones that are. When the dog days of summer leaves us to make way for autumn’s cooler embrace, I always look forward to pulling out my warm sweaters and comfy boots. Due to the current pandemic, our fall season over on the east coast of the United States is looking a lot different this year compared to last year. I’m still very much working from home, and the only time I do go out is for walks or takeout on nights when I want a break from home cooked meals. When looking presentable for a short time out is necessary, I’m looking for fun ways to match the cloth masks I have with whatever outfit I have on.
How we remember things begin to get a little hazy with the passage of time and age. Details are harder to recall, or you remember moments with such clarity while the rest kind of fade into the background. Dontnod Entertainment’s recent video game Tell Me Why explores the memories we remember or the ones we like to forget. How do you move on from the past when your own mind won’t let you until you confront the truth of what really happened?