Chronicles of Ryebone

Firewatch

Firewatch puts you in the shoes of Henry, a forty year old man working as a lookout in the US national forest of Shoshone in the year 1989. It’s your job - a Henry - to keep, well, a lookout, for local fires, and act to assist in preventing them. You’re not really a firefighter, but more of a watcher and warden of the park; indeed, on your first day your supervisor, Delilah, spots fireworks coming from a nearby lake, and it’s your duty to stop the park’s visitors from setting them off, which could spark a forest fire. The position isn’t glamourous, and shouldn’t be too exciting, but Henry finds mysterious occurrences in the woods, that require some investigation. You’re in near-constant contact with Delilah through a walkie-talkie; she’s miles off and can see your own tower, and is also responsible for maintaining contact with the other lookouts in different sectors.

Your first day is abnormally packed with activity. Upon investigating the source of the fireworks, you fight with two young women, and on your way back a mysterious figure shines a flashlight on you and promptly disappears into the woods. You discover a locked cave, and soon after, you discover your tower has been broken into and various belongings either trashed or straight up stolen. Not a good way to start your summer job, right?  The next day, you’re set on a task to find the suspect campers and to investigate a broken communication line. You become acquainted with the park and the various trails all while developing a relationship with Delilah who is, in effect, the only other person you can expect to talk to (and not even see) for the duration of your position.

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Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

As my friends were planning a birthday party they reached out to see if I was available on a specific evening to participate in a very specific board game. They wanted to play with me, specifically, which immediately makes me a bit apprehensive and hesitant, as the pressure of having been tagged as someone who woudl enjoy "this type of particular game" staggers me. Without knowing anything about the title itself or even the type of game it is, my feelings are best explained by saying that I am always a bit startled to trust that my friends know me and my interests better than I know myself - which is actually, in retrospect, not that surprising. The night quickly approached and all I knew about the game is it's title: Sherlock (which when I research on Board Game Geek, is actually a touch shortened). Immediately the tales of Holmes come to mind (well, at least the mythos, as I'm not really familiar with specific stories) and the structure of the game loosely imagined: you'll be solving a crime in a Sherlock-ian fashion. 

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Destiny: Tales from Cerberus Vae III

Since the Iron Banner v2, I had been taking a little break from strikes - of all things. I was too busy with dailies, weeklies and the nightfall and reducing my Destiny intake, as the Banner wore me out. I had also started a new character during this time, which helped to invigorate the game to feel fresh again. My friend had been doing the same thing, so we could go through many of the story missions and bounties at a similar level. This past weekend, it was time to strike though, as they get you experience and of course, materials for upgrades. I was settled in at level 23, where the "Tiger Strike" playlist is at level 24. It can be a challenge, but we were able to hammer out a few strikes in a short period of time, and my time away from the playlist over the past couple of weeks helped, as these strikes became fun again.

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Destiny

It pains me almost - but not completely - by how much I was dismayed and on the fence about Bungie's latest epic, Destiny, just a short two weeks ago. The game didn't sell me initially, but I persevered. Persevered mainly by my friends who were well advanced into the game: they confirmed some of my complaints, but they also intrigued me to continue onward. So I did, putting a few hours in over the course of a few days, then the flood gates opened and I was pouring myself in - all the way in.

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

The setup of the game is simple, but don't let that deceive you: we open on a small boy mourning over a grave, then a cut scene that tells us the grave belongs to his mother, who was lost at sea. He was there: he tried to help, but couldn't save her. The boy is interrupted by his older brother, who is with their father. The father has fallen ill, and now it's your first task to bring him home in a cart that requires the two brothers to work together to operate. This is where you're introduced to the game's core, innovative control scheme. The left side of the controller (that is, the left stick and left shoulder trigger button) control the older brother, and the right side of the controller belongs to the little brother. Your viewpoint is akin to a bird's eye view, but will zoom in and out as necessary and to always display the two brothers on screen at once.

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PlayStation 4

The other day, I bought a PS4. It seemed initially to be a result of the perfect combination of peer pressure, (too much) disposable income, peer pressure and finally, peer pressure. While I'm eager and always willing to blame my friends for my seemingly absurd purchases, I have nobody to blame but myself. This allows me to step back and look at the long, storied history of factors that put myself in a Wal-Mart at 7:20am on a Thursday morning, asking for - and subsequently - purchasing the latest iteration of Sony's home video game console.

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A Night of Catan: Seafarers

We've been playing Catan for quite a few months now, nearly every weekend. With the addition of another roomate in the house, we have the ability to play Catan nearly at will (we've never tried two player). So a few Friday's ago, the three of us found ourselves playing the vanilla game of Catan. Red was cleaning up in a serious way, taking all three games. The second game was a farce, perhaps my worst. Myself (Green) and Brown left the board open to Red: we both seemed to bet on six, which just wasn't coming up. It was a slow burn, but Red finally took the win and we moved onto another game where Red cleaned up again.

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Xbox One

A memorable moment in my gaming career has been watching the live unvieling of the XBox 360 on television with my friend. We had worked ourselves up into an excitement that neither of us have seen before, and there is no doubt that the viral marketing and hype that Microsoft put out there was to blame. The event came and went, and a few short months after launch, we both picked up 360s.

For the past seven years, we have enjoyed them immensely, but our gaming interests and habits have changed a bit, his more than my own (re: bachelor lifestyle). The rumour mill started up and we were looking at the announcement of new systems coming up pretty soon, and I found myself quite excited. May 2013 couldn't come soon enough, and when the day came, I was relatively glued to my monitor at work, watching the presentation and refreshing the live blog at the same time.

Disappointment.

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

There was some hesitation before playing Brotherhood. One day, I took the plunge. And I'm not sure I came up for air again until two weeks later.

Hesitation because Assassin's Creed II was one of the best games I've played in quite some time. It improved upon the first in every way imaginable, and surpassed my expectations greatly. So fantastic, in fact, that I was only a few "sequences" into the game when I bought nearly all available downloadable content. Now, my memory is hazy but I think the main DLC was composed of a few sequences between the main game: for instance, the game may have went from 12 to 16, where the DLC was composed of 13, 14 and 15. Those downloaded sequences weren't quite up to par with the rest of the game, but it didn't sully my experience. I played all that I could.

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Batman: Arkham City

It looks from my initial write-up of Arkham Asylum that I was quick to get the post out there, without talking about the game that much. And what else is there to say? I've recommended it to friends over the years without much description aside from the simple command: just play it. Because that's what I did, and fell in love, so I figured others should do the same thing. And it seems they have enjoyed it, although not to the extent that I did (which was perhaps too much), but only in terms of wanting to stay in the Asylum to do as many challenges and to find ALL the Riddler's clues. Sometimes, the gaming stars align in such a way that you can do those things, and others, they simply pass by one another without much notice. Upon completion in Arkham City, I felt absolutely zero need to go around collecting all the Riddler's trophies and puzzles, and even less about doing all the challenges.

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