Sunday Thoughts: Time Warp

It’s Easter and Portal 2 just came out, so talking about Easter Eggs seems like the thing I should do. However, I really hate being timely with original articles so I sadly won’t be doing that. Surely you’ve had enough of their choclatey goodness anyway? No today I wanna talk about my ability to magically warp time backwards, or at least that’s how my flatmate has perceived it. Over this glorious long weekend I haven’t touched a game that’s even vaguely new, instead I’ve been playing three absolute gems on XBLA, none of which was released in 2011 (and only one of which was released in the last 12 months).

First up was Shadow Complex for Project 5, possibly my favourite game on XBLA. I’ll be honest, this article took me six hours to write because I kept getting distracted by actually playing Shadow Complex instead of writing about those first five minutes. In fact I probably played through the first five minutes ten or so times, because I kept going too far and forgetting what fit into those opening minutes; plus I really wanted to get the alternate ending that took me twenty minutes of mockery from friends due to my persistent failure before I grabbed it.

Next up was last year’s smash hit, Limbo. This was on sale recently, so I picked it up having played the opening half hour when it was new. Frankly, it’s brilliant and I played through the whole thing in pretty much one sitting, unable to tear myself away for anything other than lunch. I’d only intended to play it for ten minutes whilst my iPod charged, but I put off a nice walk through the woods to finish off this mono-chrome tale.

[drop]Finally Trials HD managed to prove nearly as addictive as Limbo, and appeals to the same need for perfection that annoyed people when I backtracked to collect every single flower in Flower. Restarting from a checkpoint in Trials just doesn’t feel right to me, I need to go back and restart the level for it to feel like I really completed it.

So what’s the point of me telling you about my rather lovely weekend of gaming? Well as I said it’s like I’ve jumped backwards, and that does tend to be how I play most of my games. Unless I get something for review I don’t really tend to play anything new, or even in the year it was released. Even games I get as a gift, like Assassin’s Creed 2, can sit in their wrapping for months before I actually decide to pop in the disk and play them.

It’s not like I’m even going back to games I’ve played before all that often. I did play Shadow Complex back at its release, mostly because it’s utterly fantastic, but for Limbo and Trials HD it was the first time I’d played them properly. It’s more like I’ve somehow let my backlog become permanently rolling so that I never play anything until everyone else has almost forgotten it and moved onto whatever’s new and shiny.

Is being stuck in this time warp the right way to play stuff? Is there even a right way to play things? Of course there is some value in playing things close to release if you want to have a discussion about them that goes beyond “Oh yeah, I remember that. It was great.” I mean playing games is meant to be fun, that’s pretty much the point. For me talking about them is part of the fun, pulling something apart with friends to find the chewy core that makes it oh so good is a lot of fun. From what I’ve seen of the Portal 2 discussion there are a lot of people who enjoy the same thing. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually manage to play things in a timely manner, but I doubt it.

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19 Comments

  1. My lack of funds mean I’ve been a stuck in a timewarp this year.
    Whilst people were Killzoning I was Vanquishing, whilst they were Bulletstorming I was being Enslaved.

    I actually feel quite liberated from the belief that its ‘release day or miss out’ Not only are they less than half the price but I’m not feeling the rush to race through them so I can join the multiplayer. I’ve also revisited Dante’s Inferno, Flower, MotorStorm and have been fully engrossed in PES11 Master League again, which I had thought I’d left behind.

    • Regarding the multiplayer thing: I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get a server on Bioshock 2. There are some game types I haven’t played [& will never get a chance to play outside a meet] because of the lack of servers. It’s all due to being late to the party, which is a shame as it’s really good fun online.

      • Good point

        Although I care little for MP as I only play Warhawk multiplayer, although I do pick up CoD launch day offers 7 play that until I reach my ceiling and everyone else pisses all over me

    • It’s like that for best part of the year for me. With the exception of DA2, Mortal Kombat and Sonic Gen Title any other games I have played have been rented or bought on the cheap, such as POP trilogy, MK vs DC, Borderlands

  2. I’m similar with some games, started Bioshock 2 and Enslaved for first time a couple of months ago, and still need to go back to them. Unless it’s a game I’m really looking forward to, I’m quite happy now to wait til games come down to a reasonable price. Saying that, as much as I prefer buying new, I popped in Grainger Games who had a sale on and picked up Devil May Cry 4, Alien vs Predator, Heavenly Sword and Dark Sector (all Pre owned) for a total of £16! So plenty of old stuff to work through

    • Love Heavenly Sword. Andy Serkis plays Bohan excellently :)

      • Serkis is brilliant

        Nothing to do with gaming but make sure you watch Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, he plays Ian Dury amazingly & should have won all the awards going

      • Serkis does tend to treat games seriously and his performances reflect that. Heard good things about that film too

  3. I have always had some stupid notion in my head that the games I should be playing are the latest and greatest known to man and woman. Only in the last few months of severe wallet strapping duties have I learnt to cherish any game that comes my way no matter how old it is or the inevitable half price of last months big release. So I may be jealous as my friends list displays the latest game released on that Friday but I am safe in the knowledge that if I sit pretty long enough my gaming goodness will come.

  4. I have always had some stupid notion in my head that the games I should be playing are the latest and greatest known to man and woman. Only in the last few months of severe wallet strapping duties have I learnt to cherish any game that comes my way no matter how old it is or the inevitable half price of last months big release. So I may be jealous as my friends list displays the latest game released on that Friday but I am safe in the knowledge that if I sit pretty long enough my gaming goodness will come.

    • No idea why it commented twice, please delete.

  5. I like to really, really play the games I have “properly” – whether that is just completing it to my own satisfaction, or Platinuming/100%ing it. Consequently, I don’t play that many games! It’s not quite a time warp – I’ve bought both F1 2010 and LittleBigPlanet 2 as pre-orders – it’s just that, once I’ve got a great game, I’m loath to leave it for ages. I’m still playing F1 2010 at the moment!

  6. Your way is a lot cheaper! I try to avoid brand new games simply because I have such a huge backlog so it makes sense to leave it a bit while I work on something older. Sometimes the hype gets me though, and I find I can’t resist. Like MK ;-)

  7. Know what you mean, I’ve just finished the sp modes on mw2, world at war & black ops, purely out of being bored ;)
    Must say though, I was expecting a rocky horror review with that title for some reason :)

  8. That has summed me up in one! Lol. My backlog consists of a good 20 disc games and easily 40 psn games to trail through! Not including DLC for certain games! Bioshock 2, Mafia 2, AC brotherhood and RDR I’m looking at you! I buy new games but there carry on with the game I was playing only to go between that and online. Never finishing my original game, but while my new games sit on the shelf by the time I play those I’ve got even more new Games and the list doesn’t go backwards!

    Kinda glad PSN is down, been cracking on with some decent SP campaigns I own, rather that tearing it up on killzone or cod

  9. I’m in a constant timewarp when it comes to games. I’m yet to own a game from 2011 & I limit myself to only one pre-order a year – all purely because of my lack of funds :/
    Only picked up Demon’s Souls recently, because it’s taken this long for it to drop in price D:

  10. Only bought 2 games on release day last year out of about 20 (BFBC2 & GT5) . Still to buy anything new this year , its no wonder games companies are getting arsey about pre-owned market . Oh i tell a lie i have pre-ordered BF3 but its not out till November .

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