When you finally get the chance to go on holiday and take a break from your 9 to 5 routine, it's generally a good idea to distance yourself from things that remind you of your job. For me there are two big ones: the internet in general.
And video games.
I recently took a holiday and I had a grand plan: I would not play video games for two weeks. This would be a nice, healthy little break from all the things I associate with work.
I failed miserably, and five specific games were the culprit.
Here they are in order of the time I spent playing them.
Well this is embarrassing.
I truly wish there was another game atop this list, but there isn't. Friends, this is the game I spent most gaming time playing over my holidays. I am so ashamed.
There is an explanation. I spent a lot of my holiday on the move. I went to the Sunshine Coast for a week, I visited multiple different tourist attractions, I sat on ferries, on trains, in cars. Whenever I was bored (which was often) I would start playing 2048.
But let me clarify something: I'm not ashamed of playing 2048 because it's 'not a real game' (I hate that kind of thinking). I'm ashamed of playing 2048 because it's a dirty, dirty goddamn clone that I've somehow found myself getting addicted to. I can't help myself. This game is like meth. It's cheaply made, bad for you, bad for society, and it's a crappy, lab made derivative of something far better.
I AM A DIRTY BOY.
2. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This game has been quite the palate cleanser.
When Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was first released, I was knee deep in Dark Souls, wading through the first game in anticipation of the second. I knew I would come back to Tropical Freeze, it was just a matter of time.
I wasn't disappointed. Tropical Freeze's predecessor set quite the precedent — I believe it might have been the best 2D platformer of the last generation — but this game somehow seems to ramp up the brilliant level design and continues with its ballsy need to implement one new mind-bending idea per level. Incredible.
Hopefully, Tropical Freeze doesn't get lost. I'm hoping that the grand success of Mario Kart 8 will drag people towards the game in droves, because it really deserves to be played. Retro Studios remains one of my favourite studios currently making video games, this is just another feather in their cap.
3. Mario Kart 8
I think we can all agree that Mario Kart 8 is the dog's bollocks. We can agree on that, can't we?
But strangely enough, I spent my first hour with Mario Kart roundly dismissing it. Boring, flaccid, same-old-shit. These are the words that populated the mini-mind-map I created in my imagination as I raced around the first couple of tracks. Then, at one point, I just began vomiting rainbow moonbeams. Mario Kart 8 is probably my favourite Mario Kart since at least Mario Kart DS, possible since the original Super Mario Kart. Yeah. I went there.
Why is it so great? I'd say it's a combination of two things: the controls (which are the end point of decades of tweaking) and the level design, which is completely sublime.
My parents are over from Scotland visiting, which was the reason for my holiday to begin with. My Dad likes crosswords, so I showed him the Australian iOS game Bonza.
Just to be clear — my Dad hates games. All games. He doesn't understand technology. He literally does not know how to turn a computer on.
But all he does now is play Bonza. Therein lies the problem. My Dad gets stuck. A lot. Therefore I've been constantly helping him out so he doesn't spend all of his money on goddamn microtransactions.
I am a good son.
5. Trials Fusion
I 'accidentally' turned this on for five minutes. Everyone glared at me. My wife told me to turn it off.
I turned it off.