You’ve just finished watching the Super Bowl. That’s it, football fan! No more football until the summer. (Unless you consider soccer to be football, in which case, you’re good people)

Today is the day American football fans around the world reminisce over the game. You remember the big plays and maybe even the small ones. Chances are, there will be something to talk about for years to come (#Deflategate).

The same thing happens when you finish a big video game. What’s next? How do you follow-up after a huge, amazing, awesome gaming experience? Do you go to a small indie title? To your backlog? To the next big thing?

Friday, 2:19 pm – Gavin

AWFULLY quiet up in here these days.

It hit me that I never finished the DLC for Mario Kart 8.  I still haven’t raced around Hyrule Kingdom!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.  And there’s still more to come this year!  MK8 really was an enjoyable title.

Monday, 10:03 am – Gavin

When I come to power, my first action will be the immediate incarceration and execution of anyone who adds “-gate” when there is some form of controversy.  I’m not even particularly invested in the ins-and-outs of what actually happened with the situation.  -Gate is not a suffix synonymous with controversy; it was part of the name of the damn hotel!

When I finish a big video game, I usually need some sort of decompression.  I have to establish a metric for “large” though, and it’s usually the amount of time I spend playing it.  For example, last year, I beat the Mass Effect trilogy, and because of the continuity of the story and how I played them (one after the other), I really do consider them to be one 135 hour game.  During such time, I established significant emotional connections to the characters and the universe, so it’s hard to wind down from that.  So, I’ll typically never go immediately from one massive game to another.  I usually need to play a totally different type of game, or else I’ll be left comparing the new one to the old one, and at best, I’m playing the new one too critically; at worst, it ruins both games for me.

I’ll typically go to something generally brainless and bite-sized.  After Mass Effect, I think I went back to Mario Kart 8 and some mobile games, and a few games that I’ve played already, like Just Cause 2 or Left 4 Dead 2, etc.

Not winding down properly is likely what caused me to get Zelda fatigue.  They’re all big games, and so going from A Link Between Worlds to Link’s Awakening to Ocarina of Time to Wind Waker all in one year made me progressively more bored with the titles to the point that I probably wasn’t fair to Wind Waker.

I just finished the original Bioshock over the weekend, and I need some time to decide how I feel about it.  Obviously the same developer, publisher, and overall artistic vision went into this game as did Bioshock Infinite, so I noticed a lot of the same elements.  Accordingly, my reaction was tempered because I’d already seen a lot of this.  Now, none of this is to suggest that Bioshock is bad, or even not great.  I really do think that it’s a great game with a unique setting and with excellent artistic decisions.  The problem for me is that I just liked Infinite better.  I know it’s unfair because Infinite benefited from six years of technological advances to help with storytelling, aesthetic design, etc.  I just found that Infinite was tighter all around.  The music that was contemporary to the setting was diegetic, whereas in the original Bioshock, it was hard to tell if it was coming from a record player or PA, or if it was just included as a soundtrack.  Doesn’t stop me from liking the music or thinking that it complemented the setting nicely, but it was just missing a piece.

Bioshock shows its age in parts, such as enemies reusing dialogue options.  The first time you hear an enemy singing “Jesus lives me this I know” off-key, or the dialogue from the Little Sisters, it’s very off-putting and it really works.  The 50th time you hear it (especially with the Little Sisters towards the end of the game), it’s just annoying.

I also finished up Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS.  I’d beaten the core game a while ago, but then the game opens up with additional challenges, such as faster timers on levels, a clone of you chasing you, mimicking your movements (and kill you if you touch it) or tweaked characteristics of other levels.  They’re very stressful challenges but I did eventually get through them.  If you beat every level in the game with both Mario and Luigi and you get a golden flag at every level (landing on top of the flagpole), you open up the final challenge level, which gives you a series of challenges based on what you’ve seen in the game to that point.  That final challenge level was incredibly difficult because there’s no midpoint save option, so if you screw up near the end, back to the beginning you go – very traditionally difficult.

It’s a very good game, but not quite cracking “great” for me.  I hate the idea of additional new content being locked behind challenges.  That final level is one that I wish I didn’t have to play through the entire game twice to beat.  I have that problem with Super Mario 3D World as well – I just don’t have the motivation to find every gold star coin and get the golden flagpole on every level, not when there are so many in 3DW.  Anyway, it’s done now, so I’m hunting for a new mobile game to play.  I may go back and play A Link Between Worlds again – something peaceful and not particularly stressful.

I’ve long-since made my distinction that I prefer the Galaxy Mario games to the 3D Land/World games.  Eliminate the timer, get rid of the diorama-style presentation, and give me (the illusion of) a big world that doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  I hope that whatever the next big Mario game is, that it’s a continuation of that style.  Timers stress me out, and I don’t have much fun when I’m stressed.

I also got started on The Talos Principle over the weekend.  I’m not going to spoil anything for anyone, but while it’s an interesting game with a lot of promise, it feels exceptionally similar to Portal in terms of game play.  The setting is different, but it’s a puzzle game through-and-through, and I’m not certain if I want to play through it long enough just to see if it gets sufficiently different from Portal for my tastes.  In a vacuum, this game is good and the challenges are tough (it’s much tougher than Portal), but in a world where Portal exists, this game has a long way to go to justify its existence as a unique entity.

And the Superbowl was awesome.  I don’t know much about football, but it was a thrilling game.

Monday, 12:01 am – Ricky

Auto-post! I have no idea what’s happened in the Super Bowl at this point. I hope it’s actually memorable.