Category: Editorials

Mind Games

No High Scores

Like it or not, you have to acknowledge that there have been a lot of conversations about Skyrim the past few months. So, hey, what’s one more?

It seems that a lot of people who love this game are in the camp that its genius lies in the fact that it lets the player engage in a bit of active role playing by making/allowing them to do a lot of the story telling in their own heads. I’ve seen arguments like, “I decided my character is a lover of all animals, so when a wolf or bear attacks me in the game I just run off.”

Horrible example aside, there’s a lot to be said for this argument. You do indeed have a lot of freedom to self-ascribe any number of traits to your character, ones that technically aren’t a built-in part of the game, and still have the game accommodate you. So maybe the fact that I find this game, outside of the inherent beauty of its world, wholly unremarkable is something of a “me” problem? What if I’m under-valuing the ability to just be in the world and have my own adventures? Maybe I’m selling these things short? Maybe it’s not important that every quest feels generic and the rewards for doing them fizzle down to afterthoughts within a few hours of play. Maybe I should be taking a more active role in the unfolding adventures of my character by doing more of the legwork in my own head? And for a moment, just a moment, I think maybe I should load this game back up and give it another chance.

Then, however, I remember everything I loved about Mount & Blade: Warband and I think, “Well, maybe not…”

The Top 100 Reasons That Top 100 Lists are Pointless

That title is so meta and it doesn’t even know it. Although, I’m probably misusing the word “meta.” Whatever, Brandon said I’m close enough, so take it up with him.

The cover story for March’s issue of PC Gamer (at least on iOS) is about, you guessed it, their rankings for the Top 100 PC games of all time. Now, before we delve into this, let’s be clear about something that we all surely know. Top X lists exist to be conversation-starters, especially when it’s coming from a commercial outfit. I promise you, from the editor-in-chief of PC Gamer on down, there is no one there that agrees with the rankings as they appear in the mag. That doesn’t mean I’m not up for taking the bait. It’s Thursday and I’ve done absolutely no gaming this week, so I give them a tip of my cap for giving me something to write about.

This established, let’s have a look at their Top 5 (one of which you know about, if you’ve been listening to the podcast)…