Bits & bytes for June 2024

Welcome to the first iteration of my weird little gaming blog as a monthly editorial, rather than weekly update. It gives me more scope to breathe, figure out what's going on and synthesise some thoughts. Rather than hop and bash through links and stuff in an effort to catch up to the fact that another week has passed.

I mentioned last month that my Playdate had been acting up; notably crashing when running titles. Mercifully, an update seems to have fixed the problems. Which means I've been able to dig into Mars After Midnight, the exclusive title from the venerable Lucas Pope. And boy, is it weird and great fun. It has hints of Pope's previous titles, for sure. But the way it uses the crank (if you don't know what a Playdate is, you've just become very confused) and even renders characters on the tiny black-and-white display is just wonderful. It doesn't go deep, it doesn't go hard, but it's great fun. And for the few euro it costs, it's more than worth the value it delivers.

My tabs below have a link to Save.TF, which is dedicated to setting up some form of protest to force Valve into fixing the utterly broken Team Fortress 2. Which has been overrun by dodgy servers, botnets and just general shit. All while Valve still publish semi-regular updates in the form of purchasable items, etc.

TF2 is an incredible online experience, if it works. I put dozens of hours into it, even while working as a QA tester for COD4 back in the day (you spent a good bit of time waiting for builds!). I have a lot of love for that game and the ecosystem around it. But I've not touched it in years, because of this. I had a go once on my Steam Deck and wound up in a scenario where I couldn't even exit the base because bots were right outside sniping everyone. No point in playing.

I note this below as well, but the CEO of the Helldivers development studio made a salient point in the wake of the Sony-needing-your-login-details blowup a few weeks ago. The comment was broader than that, but effectively went down the lines of a developer & gamer relationship being a bit like a doctor and a patient. The patient might always whinge and moan, but the doctor is right.

I do think about this a good bit as it pertains to how gamers feel entitled to whinge, moan and scream into the internet together when something doesn't go their way. The vocal minority act like scumbag 12 year olds so regularly that it's easy for the industry to dismiss any genuine feedback or commentary. This is how we wound up with gamergate, and currently have a petulantly vocal bunch of whingers screaming at developers (or worse, for example sending them death threats; which is absolute insanity considering this is a media form for entertainment) who themselves are in a perpetual risk cycle as the industry sort-of implodes.


What I've been playing this week:

  • Minishoot adventures
  • Hades II