Variety, they say, is the spice of life. I dunno, I think smoked paprika is the spice of life because it tastes like bacon and it makes everything else taste like bacon and, okay, so I love bacon, but who is “they”, anyway, and nobody made them the arbiters of existential seasoning, so whatever. But variety matters too, and if I only ever ate bacon, I’d get bored of it. Probably. I mean, bacon is totally versatile. You can have it in a pasta sauce, or on a pizza, or wrapped around chicken fillets with cream cheese and chargrilled peppers in a pasta sauce on a pizza, with some rocket and parmesan, maybe, and now I’m hungry, and also bacon was obviously a bad example.
The thing is, Chris is bored of games, and the problem isn’t games, it’s Chris.
More specifically, it’s because Chris plays the same kind of games, over and over. And Chris isn’t just Chris, because in this allegory Chris is also a metaphor for a lot of people who only play the same kind of games, over and over, and then realise they’ve become stuck in unfulfilled nostalgia and inevitable ennui, and next thing, they’re crouched between some bushes, naked and clotted with gore, an empty bucket of pig grease and a leering moon the only other conspirators in this tragedy. Or, you know, something like that.
Chris talks about some unequivocal “golden age of gaming” like it’s actually a thing, and not the extravagantly sentimental delusions of somebody who thinks the original Doom could be fun in 2018. Because it wouldn’t be, and so what if it defined a genre because so did Candy Crush Saga*. What Chris wants is for every new game to make him feel exactly like Doom did in 1993, but also not because that game was tediously repetitive, featured almost zero plot, and didn’t even properly support a mouse. And now that he’s in his 30s, those hormones have simmered down and cacodemons aren’t so awkwardly sexy anymore, so what Chris wants is also impossible.
What Chris needs is to get real, play something else entirely, and reboot his expectations. What’s that, Chris? Oh, I got you, bro, and I won’t even tell about the cacodemon thing. TO THE BACON-SPICE-O-TRON!
It’s got guns, so this one is a convenient transition game from Call of Battleboxes to the new you. Neon Chrome is an indie cyberpunk twin-stick shoot-‘n’-looter with random level generation and some roguelite elements, and includes local co-op for up to four players so you can invite Chris, Chris, and other Chris too. It’s also super cheap on Steam, so you don’t have an excuse.
Into the Breach
From the makers of FTL: Faster Than Light, it’s 99 more exhilarating new ways to lose a game while trying to complete one simple objective. You play PUBG, so this should be comfortably familiar already.
You’ve farmed XP. You’ve farmed tracksuits. You’ve farmed noobs in Nuketown. But have you ever farmed a potato? Now you can. And then you’ll fall in love with Sebastian and save up for a new barn and get some ducks and it’s almost three in the morning and what even happened.
Inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Firefly, RimWorld is an intriguing sci-fi (mis)management sim in which you must establish a colony on an exotic planet somewhere on the starry verges of Nusquam Prime, and then watch everybody die in a fire before they starve to death because that one guy won’t stop eating the rations and besides, things weren’t the same since the cat overdosed on drugs.
The Red Strings Club
Because when you think you’ve got this stuff worked out, you don’t. You’re a mess of inconsistent hypocrisy and cognitive dissonances, like everybody else, but you played something different so that’s a start.
*It didn’t, but have you even played Shariki? Me neither.