This month I was thinking about a new trick. Once I’m done with all this, I’ll start buying games again. So far, so good. But I also told you that when I was a kid, games cost so much more, and that made it more satisfying and much rarer to be able to buy a game. To sort of get this feeling back, I’ve decided that for every game I buy, I’ll donate 5 times the game’s price to a decent charity (as identified by GiveWell or other effective altruism organisations). I also vow to simply buy whichever game strikes my fancy at the time with no regard for sale or not sale. If there’s one thing I found out by going through my old games, it’s that appetites for certain genres don’t last long for me, so I’d have to act on the spot. That could mean 20 bucks for the game and 100 for charity.
Duke 3D and Quake kicked me back into proper old-school FPS mode. Then a friend recommended Brutal Doom, which turned out to be very enjoyable, quick, and fresh despite being old.
Before doing this, I never understood how someone can go revisit an old game, now I do. It’s especially pleasing with source ports that improve on the original. GZDoom (which runs Brutal Doom very well) is one of those, and it looks and sounds delicious. I don’t even care that Doom 2016 isn’t available on GNU/Linux.
July 2016 was also the month that Quake, after 20 years, received its official fifth episode. I’m liking the bits I’ve played so far.
Oh, and I finished Duke Nukem 3D! As in played all four Atomic/Megaton Edition scenarios. It was fucking great. Haven’t had such a nice feeling of motivation to play a game since quite a long while. I blame all the vapid AAA titles for my recent lack of enthusiasm, but partially also this game-buying thing that I’m trying to escape from.
Delicious, beautiful pixels
The rediscovery queue has grown as well. After I found out that RetroArch has extremely convincing CRT shaders, I started finishing some of the games I’d bought in the 80s and 90s for NES and Mega Drive. Just look at it!
The CRT geometry! The scanlines! The pixel glow! It’s all there. This screenshot is stolen from Adam from Bluegamer, so hi there.
You don’t have to use the geometry shader as well, so you can get a nice flattened picture like from one of those Sony Trinitron screens. Which is precisely what I want. Behold:
Lickable, no? There are even shaders that make it look like you’re playing with a bad composite NTSC signal, like many yoofs of the 80s in the USA did. The poor sods. It looks like this:
The signal artifacts even move! And I can pick shaders that make it look even far worse than this.
If you don’t understand what’s so great about CRT shaders, you are either too young or you just don’t mind how games look in emulation without it. For many of us with the CRT fetish, it’s all about seeing games the way we saw them when we played them 30 years ago, on our shitty TVs.
You could also say that it’s the “proper” way to play these games, because they were made to be played on such screens. Plain white looks very bright indeed without a shader, and with the shader it loses a lot of its edge.
It appears addictions could be somewhat interconnected in the brain. When I stopped buying games and books, I also tried to stop drinking. I used to drink every evening. Not much, maybe two or three beers, but enough to call it a habit and at some point enough to call it an addiction. That has stopped now. I went through a month without a single drop of alcohol and I can now drink just a few beers at a festival and not drown myself in alcohol for weeks afterwards.
But I still can’t look at a list of game sales without my stomach cramping up with purchase anxiety. That’ll need more work.
- The Banner Saga
- Chaos Reborn
- The Curious Expedition
- Doom (Brutal Doom)
- Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
- Hand of Fate
- The Long Dark
Nuclear ThroneCamera makes me vomit QuakeShelving for now, completed the first two episodes
- Star Wars: KOTOR II
- Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
StarboundCan’t stand crafting and survival games anymore
- Tales of Maj’Eyal
- Victor Vran
- Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
- Dirt 3 Complete Edition
EnclaveSo clunky (sorry) Freedom PlanetRetried twice, doesn’t grip me Metal Slug 3Turns out I played this enough when it was new
- Massive Chalice
Rune ClassicSuch boring cutscenes, such old combat Shattered PlanetQuite grindy Sine MoraSo beautiful, but also way too hard
- The Novelist
- Shadow Warrior Classic Redux
SteamWorld DigIt doesn’t jig with me, even after 3 tries
- Kirby’s Adventure (NES) (finished already!)
- Shadow Dancer (Mega Drive)
Enjoyed this? Read the other posts in this series.