A need for brain-stimulating entertainment…

Which, of course, totally rules out daytime TV!

Having been stuck in here for nearly 5 months now,** and likely to be so for the foreseeable future, I’m getting desperate for new ways to amuse myself and, getting to the age at which dementia lurks in dark corners, I’d also keep my mind active – and found myself looking at the Xbox 360.

**The idea that I could start going to the pub again – swilling a gallon of beer before starting on the serious drinking – has zero appeal even if it were possible (it’s not – a bottle of beer is a challenge these days). Truth to tell, what appeal it did have has been waning for some years.

Thing is, I’m not one of nature’s gamers, never have been. The only game I’ve ever had any time for, way back on Windows 95, was a flight-based war game, with WW1 aircraft, but that PC died (I didn’t know then as much as I know now, or I’d have pulled the hard drive at the very least, but it took my game with it, and the makers had packed their bags and vanished so, despite the fact that I’d paid for a licence, I couldn’t get another copy.

Fast forward to now, and while I was mooching around Amazon and Game.co.uk, desperately looking for a game that I might get on with – I like games which have a challenge that’s more than just a body count, though car-race games sort of appeal – but as a solo player, they stand or fall by the quality of the AI. True of all games, I suppose. And then, on Game, I found a Windows 7 PC game that’s very like the one I lost, but vastly more wide-ranging in scope and with more aircraft, but still in WW1. So I ordered a copy from Amazon, and a joystick to go with it. (Have you seen joysticks lately? One I passed over, from Logitech, had 19 sodding programmable buttons – fat chance remembering what they’re all for!)

I’m still sort of tempted by the Xbox – if only I could find sufficient games to justify the outlay. There’s a helicopter-gunship based game which looks promising, and a couple of other chopper-based ones that are out of stock so I might yet take the plunge. Add them to race games and I’d probably have more than enough games to keep me occupied.  After all, I need only 2 or 3 for now.

What I have no interest in, though, is the sort of game where you pick a character, and weapons, and go off and kill things/people. You can dress it up with all the challenges and faux moralising you like, it’s still basically about killing. Just doesn’t appeal.** And I remain unconvinced that ultra-violent video games are entirely blameless when it comes to the growing habit of young Americans slaughtering each other. Just because that’s a spectre raised by the tossers of the NRA doesn’t mean it should be dismissed out of hand, as it has been.

**And yes, I do realise the above games can have a body count – it’s pretty bloody hard to avoid – but it’s not the main feature, which was rather my point. I’ve had a copy of Assassin’s Creed 3 – Director’s Cut (PC version), kicking around unopened for a couple of years (long story), which actually carries a stern warning about the high degree of violence, blood and guts. WTF?

Anyway, while writing this yesterday afternoon, I sloped off back to Amazon and ordered a 250GB Xbox 360 (prices seem to have plummeted since I last checked them out). It comes with a car-race game, Forza 4, and  download of Skyrim which, by all accounts, is pretty cool. Wi-fi connectivity and a wireless controller, too.

There’s another plus with the Xbox – I can download movies. OK, I can do that with my PC, but it’s not connected to my TV as the Xbox will be.

Delivery is scheduled for Saturday, which probably means next Monday. Or Wednesday. Gives me time to reorganise and create space for it.

Which reminds me, I forgot to order an HDMI cable (like Scart cables before them, nothing that needs one comes with one). Turned out for the best as I checked out the reviews for the one offered by Amazon, and it doesn’t work!** Splurged on a much higher-quality one with rave reviews.

**The high data-transfer rates of a games console are just too much for cheap, basic, cables. Might explain occasional minor picture glitches from my Blu-ray player, too, as that has a cheapo cable.




7 thoughts on “A need for brain-stimulating entertainment…

  1. Hi Ron, I used to play this game at http://www.airattack.uk , The Game is VERY old but has a sound multinational community. I have not played it on this Windows 7 PC, in fact the last time I played I had a Win XP machine. There are experts to assist within the forums page, just join and ask for help, it costs nothing ! Joystick requirements are simple, usual left, right, up, down, Fire and Throttle lever. I used either a joystick but often played using a keyboard. If you cannot sleep you will find players from Korea, USA, Germany and the UK.

    Mean while I will buy the game you suggested !

    Ron Have a very Happy New year!

  2. I love gaming. I’m very much an RPG fan and like my games to have an interesting storyline.
    Skyrim: you will kill things. A lot. I found it a disappointment to be honest. I far preferred its predecessor Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion which I found had a far more immersive story, although I sill think you would find there was too much killing in it.

    You might enjoy the Mass Effect series, which is one of my favourite games trilogy. It is very plot driven. Yes you have to kill things but that is hardly ever the objective. Evacuating survivors/investigating clues etc might be; aliens just happen to get in the way/try to stop you.

    You might also like Deus Ex. You get bonus points for NOT killing people in this! Very good story line and a good challenge to try to finish the level by stealth, not being detected (not being seen and/or incapacitating the odd guard here and there if push comes to shove).

    If you think you might like those suggestions let me know and I will have a think to see if I can come up with any more along the same lines.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I don’t object to killing per se, but in some games stacking up bodies like cordwood seems to be the primary objective!

      Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve just ordered Deus Ex: Human Revolution from Amazon – I’ll see how that works out.

      I’ve got Mass Effect for PC, but like Assassin’s Creed, it never got played (I didn’t want to tie up my computer). Might try ME on my laptop, though, which I didn’t have at the time.

      Steep learning curve coming up!

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