#55: The Witcher

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Since leaving my teaching job, I’ve had a lot of time to return to my hobbies, such as journal writing, blog writing, and of course, video games. It’s not a day without touching at least one game, whether it’s on my phone, the computer/laptop, or television. One such game I’ve taken an interest to recently is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Considered by many to be the game of the year in 2015, this game features a sprawling open world, a dark, unrelenting morality system, and the opportunity to slice, slash, and slay nearly anything you want to, whether it’s ruffians at the tavern or ghouls at your campsite. The Witcher 3 has helped me find new interest in open-world RPGs, especially modern, western-developed ones. I don’t think I’ve played a WRPG this consistently since beating Fallout 3 years and years ago. I’ve plugged 15 hours into it so far, and although I hope to beat

Speaking of witchers and witching, I’ll likely make a separate blog post about this sometime in the future, but I’ve recently gotten into reading the witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. Spectacular battles and raging warfare abound in the books, as Geralt of Rivia slays many a monstrous foe. So far, I’ve found The Lash Wish to be a wonderfully easy, digestible fantasy read, which is what I was looking for upon buying it a few afternoons ago. Whether or not it lives up to the hype by the end, I can say for certain that it captures the feeling of playing the games well.

Yes, I know the books came before the games, and yet the games gave the books popularity, in the same way A Game of Thrones had a cult following before bursting into the mainstream thanks to HBO’s hit TV show. I am a fan of the mantra, “the book is always better,” but in some cases, the book is not where my experience with the media starts. For those who have had that privilege, that’s wonderful for them.



Hello everyone!

Like usual, on a whim, I feel an urge to rant, and this happens to be the outlet I prefer to do that on. To introduce for people viewing this series for the first time (probably most of you), I usually write creative pieces for this blog. However, I enjoy ramblings a bunch. So that’s that. In this series, I try to be as real and human as possible with my writing; I don’t edit these posts, and I don’t update them retroactively. Everything you see here is what my writing-brain thought would make sense in the greater scheme, in the heat of the moment, as I was writing it.

Perhaps I should start to edit these…

…Well, too bad. Not this time!

This edition of DR will feature a video game I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to play recently. Its creativity and ingenuity, including the top-down, science fiction-focused design that the developers created, had charmed me when I first played the game a couple of days ago, and continues to charm me today. In case you skipped reading the title of this post, the game is “Faster-than-Light” or FTL. I’ll be abbreviating it because I dislike using hyphens. However, my dislike for hyphens has not – and will not – (see what I did there?) impede my incredible happiness upon starting up this great game, hearing the whimsical, atmospheric tunes which play over the main menu, and beginning an adventure into deep space.

Of course, the premise of FTL is hardly all that makes up why I enjoy it. The premise gives me a reason to invest my time in the nebulas, sectors, and galaxies which Subset Games (the developer of FTL) had made. If you’ve ever watched a science fiction television series, you may understand where I’m coming from: the fact that the story of the series takes place in the realm of science fiction is the butter to the bread of the series’ greatness – while the intricate plots, stories, and characters may keep you watching, the setting (deep space, technologically-advanced world) brings you in.

The example I have in my head is Battlestar Galactica, which, admittedly, is one of my favorite television shows I’ve ever watched.

FTL isn’t renowned for its story. That’s because, in each game, you make the story. While each game starts with the same quest – deliver a crucial message to the Federation fleet -, the rest of the story depends on your actions. They give you the bare-bones, and you take off. Whether you survive or not is up to how you play the game, the small decisions you make along the way (whether they be to visit a distress signal or ignore it, to use your last missile or save it, to send crew to a slave ship in exchange for safe passage, etc.), and everything else in between. That’s the kind of game I can see myself investing some time in.

While the random story components may seem less surprising and more punishing as the game advances, I assure you that you’ll enjoy the thrill and excitement of the ambiguity enough to start up a second game and see where the Kestrel, or whatever ship-name you choose, will take you next. And rest assured, there’s more content after you beat the game for the first time (if you ever manage to accomplish that). There’s varying difficulties, designs, and ships to choose, upgrades to unlock, and crew to experiment with.

The vast unknown of space has never seemed so known. And I think that Subset Games’ decision to make the game random, and thus abstract and unpredictable, makes the setting – the butter I mentioned from before – seem even more entrancing and real. I love it.

I love this game. And I hope that, if you decide to pick up the game in the near future, you will love it too.

A great large shout-out to Subset Games for bringing their vision to Kickstarter and making it a reality: that’s not only admirable and gutsy, but totally cool. I hope that they keep up the work and make their second game as wonderful and lovely as their first.

And that’s all for now. Until next time, readers.