It’s been a long while since I’ve really wanted to write anything – in fact almost the entire time the UK has been in and out of lockdowns. A year on from the country’s move to working at home and not seeing friends. It’s been a long year in many respects, and I am sure many people managed to work through some backlogs and wishlists. I am privileged in that I was not made redundant or put on furlough, and that despite the resulting back issues, I could work from home. Doing so, however, made me less inclined to play any video games after work as I had no real shift from the work screen to my down time. The commute that helped my eyes recover from time in front of a computer became as long as making a cup of tea and sticking my head out the window for a breath of fresh air.
As 2020 became 2021, I was back to splitting time between working at home and in the office, and had a better switch off of work. I came back to gaming and started to look towards returning to blogging, with the help of the Pokémon Collab hosted by NekoJonez, I’ve always enjoyed my Khin’s Korner entries, especially when I feel like I haven’t consumed much media recently. Thus, along with a new challenge, I am hoping to return to writing about my monthly exploits.
So what did I get up to in 2021 so far?
Elder Scrolls Online (PS4) – This game has been on my PS4 forever. My partner started playing it in the first UK lockdown and although he plays very differently we do sometimes work together on bosses and such. ESO recently underwent a big change in how levelling up works, as well as some quality of life improvements, which have helped me do activities that I would otherwise avoid, like Crafting Writs and PvP. My main character Khiraniir is not very well built for PvP but I play in a way that I find fun and a little challenging, rather than to win lots of Battlegrounds or to rush quickly through dungeons. I am loathe to uninstall it as I once accidently did as a redownload would take an age unless I moved the PS4 downstairs next to the router.
Jurassic World Evolution (PS4) – A slow work through this dinosaur theme park builder as I 5 star each island. I loved playing Jurassic Park Operation Genesis on PS2 as a kid, so naturally love this. I particularly love the fact that Jeff Goldblum is back as Ian Malcolm.
Aviary Attorney (PC) – This was actually a reserve game for the Backlog Attack in 201. Think Phoenix Wright means an artists sketchbook and the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns. You play as defence lawyer Jayjay Falcon (who is indeed a falcon), investigating legal matters occurring in a France filled with anthropomorphic animals. The game is more like a visual novel and broken into chapters, which makes for easier playing, since it provides natural breaks.
Kind Words (PC) – a lo-fi calming kind of screensaver. It’s not a game as such, but is a comforting experience in which you can write anonymous kind, helpful letters to other players, send paper aeroplanes of support and collect stickers to decorate your floating space room. It is an anonymous way to ask for moral support, mental health and wellbeing, inner strength and share good vibes with others. I occasionally have posted a message needing a boost and had responses the following day. It was soul soothing to know there’s at least someone else out there.
Zoo Tycoon (PC) – I’ve been playing Zoo Tycoon since I was a child. This is the original with Marine Mania and Dinosaur Digs expansions installed. I wanted to work my way through the campaign zoos, just because I’ve never done it before. It’s still pretty good now, in the same way the original Rollercoaster Tycoon continues to be.
Final Fantasy X (PSVita) – I continue to slowly work through this. It’s one of my favourite games and easy to play whilst I am on the exercise bike. I’m using the Standard Sphere Grid for this playthrough as there are more nodes to utilise, but am at the Calm Lands and reaching the stage where the characters can learn other character’s abilities.
Persona 4 Dancing All Night (PSVita) – A new game for me this month, Vita rhythm game Dancing All Night. It’s a little weird to be playing a DDR style game with twin analog sticks, but I am hoping I can get into it.
The Terror – I absolutely love the book that this series is based on. It’s one of my favourites, so when The Terror appeared on BBC iPlayer I made an effort to watch it. I have finished the first series and am impressed with how well it has been translated to screen (although I’m a little less impressed with the Tuunbaq CGI). It is one of few adaptations I feel is on par with the original material. The second series has nothing to do with either the novel or Dan Simmons, but when it reaches a service I can watch it on, I may have a look.
Iron Sky : The Coming Race – Imagine, if you will, some of the more well-known conspiracy theories. Moon landings, the Illuminatii, Chemtrails. For this film, you will need to accept Nazis on the Moon and Hollow Earth Theory. It is a sequel to Iron Sky, but you don’t really need to watch the first to see this one. It is here I will refer to the Wikipedia entry for this: “The plot follows a group of nuclear holocaust survivors living in an abandoned Nazi base on the far side of the Moon. Boarding a barely-functioning spacecraft, they travel to the nucleus of the hollow Earth in an attempt to recover the Holy Grail from a group of reptilian shape-shifters who are led by Tyrannosaurus-riding Adolf Hitler.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Sky:_The_Coming_Race). I wouldn’t say it is a good film, but it was entertaining as a so-bad-it-is-good one.
Escape Room – Treebeard and I watched this together as it was on my to-watch list from pre-Covid times. The premise is similar to an earlier Escape Room: some people end up in an Escape Room and have to try to escape as each room tries to kill them. Each room is themed on some aspect of each character. It was an average film with a predicatable and lacking conclusion, setting up for a sequel.
Crawl – More horror, this time of the animal kind. Alligators meet a Category 5 hurricane in a semi-submerged survival horror. Another of my to-watch list, this one proved to be mildly more thrilling than Escape Room, at least until the final section which became slightly preposterous. But it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Made You Look – very much not a horror film (although I suppose if you were involved in the matters examined in this, it very much was). A documentary film this time on art forgery. I have undoubtedly mentioned my fascination with frauds and fakery, so this was a natural watch for me. I had never heard of the case before (unlike with Sour Grapes) but it was interesting to learn about. A historical gallery duped into displaying forged art, experts unable to discover the truth and a mystery wrapped up in an enigma.
Jojo Rabbit – Finally for now, a lighter film, despite the subject matter. Jojo Rabbit watches the collapse of the Nazi regime and the end of World War II through the eyes of a child. A heavily indoctrinated child, but one who becomes more open eyed as the film progresses to the truth and reality of his situation. Although some of the humour was a bit off given the subject of the film, I did really enjoy it. I especially enjoyed Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson’s performances.
Despite the plentiful opportunities this lockdown and pandemic has offered, I haven’t really read much in the Book department. I had a couple of month’s Kindle Unlimited in which I absolutely devoured the manga Drops of God. I ran out of Unlimited before I could finish the series. I’ve also read through Sunstone, which I mentioned in one of my early Khin’s Korners. I am very slowly also working my way through The Smartest Guys in the Room, which is (funnily enough) a slightly dense examination of the Enron scandal. It is interesting, though I am only about a third of the way through.
I think that’s just about all I think I have been consuming media wise during 2021 so far. It’s hard to believe that we are a year on from when the UK went into lockdown and the pandemic kept us all indoors. I do hope you are all staying as safe as possible, and that you are managing in whatever way you can. Hopefully soon we will be outside with friends and family again but until then, I shall keep gaming.