What We Played #30

How are you all coping with your TESV: Skyrim addictions? PopCap might be colloquially known for their ‘digital crack’ but few companies can produce gaming drugs that are quite so life-consuming as a Bethesda RPG, even if you do risk suffering the occasional bad trip due to glitches.

The latest TSAer to succumb is Blair who at least admits his addiction. “I can’t get into any other game right now”, he tells me, “not when the world of Skyrim has so much to explore and I’m only thirty hours in”. It took some concerned intervention from some friends to try and rehabilitate him with some co-op Rayman Origins. Here at TSA we also tried to help by asking him to review Super Pokémon Rumble but that only provided temporary relief.


Aran is also spending his waking hours in the digital unreality projected into his mind by Skyrim and showing all the classic signs of continuing addiction. “I am right near the end of the main quest and the game is just epic” he says. Then the cravings return, “I love it and I still have so much to do. Side quest and miscellaneous objectives just seem to pop up all the time.”

In a classic case of denial he even tries to claim that it is the game itself that is trying to trap him within its virtual world:

I did run into what I feel was a bit of bad area design in one of the main quest locations. I was fighting some dragons and I was retreating into a tower to replenish health. To get to this tower, you have to cross a tiny wooden plank. Now, I fell off the plank and became trapped between the rocks with no way of getting out, meaning I had to reload my last save, luckily that was just before the dragon fight. But something like that shouldn’t be there.

Despite that psychological trauma, even a recent terrifying bad trip where his character’s race oscillated between various fundamental physical particles hasn’t persuaded him to put the controller down. “I fell through a mountain while walking along it” revealing that he must have briefly become a neutrino. “That was strange”, perhaps he’s a quark now, “but I came out at the bottom and just walked back up again” having finally returned to a collection of atomic particles. Maybe the Havok physics engine the game uses is more capable than we give it credit for?

[drop2]Killzone 3 is still the headline title on Tuffcub’s list. Next up was Bulletstorm “which was an awful lot of fun”. There was however one taint on that otherwise fun experience, “the extra sweary bad guy near the end” who’s language was “unneeded”. Apparently “he doesn’t shut up and every other word is *bleep* or *bleep* or *bleep* or *bleepety bleep* or *bleeep* or *bleeeeep* or *bleep-bleep* or something like that”. Censored it sounds like one of club tunes Tuffcub’s so fond of. He’s been playing plenty of other games as well:

I’ve started Dead Island which is very atmospheric unless you are interacting with a NPC, they all come from the Fallout school of acting.

Started Modern Warfare 3 – things explode a lot, soldiers are shouty. Quite good.

My commute to and from work is taken up playing the PS mini A Space Shooter For Two Bucks which is a gem of a game. Proper old school blaster, really like it. However didn’t find Pixeljunk Shooter much cop – floaty chill out music does not work with a shooter.

Also played a bit more Child Of Eden (rave on!), a soupcon of NFS:The Run (oh dear) and some split screen Blur (the game of choice when Hubby is here and we need to decide who is going to get out of bed and make coffee).

That was all before falling prey to Skyrim though:

Finally, I have been playing a lot of Skyrim. Its broken and I hate it. However Fallout 3 is broken and I hated that as well to start – but in the end it turned out to be one of my favourite games. I have a feeling Skyrim may do the same. But it is very, very broken and I’m just starting to get the “save game lag” which is worrying.

After picking up a copy of the Prima guide to L.A. Noire Jim is breezing through the game’s interrogations without tearing his hair out. He has temporarily managed to overcome his Skyrim addiction and has put the game back on the shelf until he can afford to immerse himself in Tamriel’s environs over Christmas. In the meantime he’s “blitzed through” Assassin’s Creed: Revelations despite the game feeling “fatigued at times”.

Then with the thought of the impending festivities on his mind he realized it was about time to tackle last year’s gaming presents, starting the the Sly Trilogy:

Having only played Sly 2 in the past, going back to the original has been a real treat and it’s easy to see where gameplay elements have also been transferred to the inFamous series. The slick and precise platform sections and rewardingly formulaic design still hold up, Sly easily being one of the best games I’ve played this generation and it’s almost 10 years old. Having tied up a few loose ends and opening the hidden vaults I’ve bagged myself another platinum trophy and have started to make progress with the sequel.

Chris has been experimenting with his preferred brand of designer drug, Starhawk, which has prevented him for doing almost anything else. He did try to break Starhawk’s hold over him with a spell on Spiderman Shattered Dimensions. While Chris found that to be “pretty enjoyable” it couldn’t distract him for long as he found himself “ not quite hooked enough to finish it but that’s only because of the lure of Starhawk is pulling me away”.

Finally we have a tale from Peter, perhaps revealing that the guy near the end of Bulletstorm had been playing a particular Nintendo title:

I sat on the edge of the bed, face illuminated by a faint upward glow, swaying slightly to the left and to the right. My feet lifted as my whole body tensed and a string of expletives flowed through gritted teeth. Just at that point, my wife walked in, “Are you playing Mario Kart?” she said, with the kind of laser-guided premonition that eight years together brings.

So, yeah, I’ve been playing Mario Kart 7 mostly this week and I’ve been loving it. I still can’t get the start boost right and I hate the blue shells with the kind of passion usually reserved for racists, homophobes and old people that stop to talk in shop doorways. It makes me swear, completely involuntarily. Like a kind of digitally induced tourettes. I was once banned from playing Mario Kart Wii after I called my 4 year old nephew a “cheating little c*nt”, loudly, in a room packed with my wife’s extended family.

As for myself I’ve only played Gran Turismo 5 and Skyrim but you already knew that didn’t you.

What have been your gaming drugs of choice this past week?



  1. Finally got Assassins Creed 2 platinumed. Godfather 2 next.

  2. Infamous 2, after grabbing it for £15 at Zavvi. Loving it so far!

  3. well… now i havn’t had any internet (to the PS3, computer is connected directly into the modem) it has been just Skyrim since its an only SP game… sooo awesome =)

  4. Completed Carnival Island and getting there with Disney Universe. Also slowly getting through BTTF Episodes too and I was in a whisker of completing the final level of Child of Eden too. I’ve had a relatively quiet gaming week but I’ve got a clear weekend to catch up again!

  5. Platinumed Skyrim on Monday, but still been playing here and there as there still lots of stuff to do. I then decided to dip into my considerable backlog starting with Mini Ninjas, which I have literally just platinumed a few minutes ago (it’s been sitting on my games shelf taunting me since September 2009).
    Now I just need to decide what’s next.

  6. Still dont have Skyrim. So instead I have been playing Fallout 3, mainly the DLC, got through 3 packs now. Such a brilliant game. Also been little bits of F1 2011 and Deus Ex, and of course the UC3 comp last night.

  7. Skyrim for me too!

    Trying to track down all the Daedric Artifacts at the moment.

  8. I’ve played nothing! The snooker has been on this week…

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