Game Reviews, OSes and the 3DS2016-02-03
Today is a grab-bag of miscellaneous thoughts and updates that aren’t necessarily related to each other.
First off, I haven’t been keeping up with my daily programming practice, but it’s not for lack of will. As my last post may have illustrated 1; I’ve been dealing with computer problems. I’ve only recently managed to get a working installation of Windows on my machine, but I’ve run into problems with my GNU/Linux distro, so actual productivity work is put on hold until that’s resolved.
I mentioned previously my desire to do “intentful game reviews.” 2 Clearly that has not gone anywhere. Part of the reason is a lack of desire to play the sorts of games I explicitly expressed interest in playing. Partially it’s a stronger focus on programming and non-gaming related activities as I also described. 3
The Witness is out now, and as far as I can tell, it is the epitome of the kind of game that I expressed a desire to spend time thinking about and reviewing. Part of all this hoopla with dual-booting Windows and Linux is so that I can actually play The Witness. (As well as Titanfall and The Witcher 3 among others.) So we’ll see. I’m hopefull I can get my machine into a nice state where these kinds of things can happen. :-)
Going forward, I don’t see myself expending a lot of effort on thinking about games. Chris Franklin does a better job than I can see myself doing 4 and I don’t want to put much effort into paying particular attention to experiences I’m not actually enjoying. So if I like a game, I’ll play it and enjoy it, and if it sticks with me, then I may deem it worth of comment on here. But don’t expect anything resembling a schedule or consistent practice.
Windows 7 vs. Any Modern GNU/Linux Distro
Just a quick thought on this that I don’t think deserves a full post of its own.
During my recent adventures in installing various OSes in various ways, the discrepancy between a freshly installed Linux system versus a freshly installed Windows 7 system hit me with full force.
This isn’t all that surprising, as Windows 7 was released in 2009 and here we are 7 years later. Nevertheless, I have a Windows 7 install disk and I have various GNU/Linux distros kicking around, so my actual experience here is directly affected.
Windows 7 by default gives you so very little. My desktop LAN interface doesn’t even work without installing several drivers for my motherboard. Once I have network access I have to go grab a video driver to get out of 800x600 resolution. In contrast, any modern Linux distro will install all necessary drivers by default so you’re at least in a basically functioning environment. There are caveats, sure, like a reasonable chance that your wifi card isn’t supported in an obvious way, or maybe you’re stuck with open source video drivers that don’t perform as well as the closed-source binary blobs. Even with these caveats, the base installation you’re left with is leaps and bounds above what a fresh Windows 7 installation will get you.
Windows 10 does seem to address this gap.
I’ve been dabbling in various Zelda games recently. I finished Wind Waker several weeks ago, and I’m well into Twilight Princess now. I was having fun with Twilight Princess, but the Wii controls finally got to me. The imprecision is absolutely killer. There’s no point playing a videogame if the input you’re providing is consistently getting misinterpreted. As much as I like aspects of Twilight Princess (and by extension; Skyward Sword), the Wii’s control system just destroys the overall experience. This distaste has led me to seek out other isntallments in the series that use “standard” controls. The most obvious method of doing this currently seems to be the 3DS.
So I borrowed a 3DS from Lucas. 5
So far I am really enjoying it. I’ve been playing Ocarina of Time. I play with the 3D setting on, but set to about 2/3rds of maximum depth. I don’t think Ocarina of Time is a perfect game by any means, but this is one of the better ways I’ve experienced Link to date. I really like the 3D effect, too; it makes it seem like there’s a little 3D physical toy acting according to my whim. That may get old, but I do think the 3D effect adds to the overall experience, however slightly.