Recently I have been thinking about the kinds of games I enjoy playing. It is fashionable among my circles to enjoy grand strategy games which pit you as the mind behind a civilization. These games have my attention because they’re so intricate and clever, but they do not have my playtime. My ability to focus on them and understand their systems is too short.
It was through the Idle Thumbs podcast that I found my comfort zone.
The podcast has been going for a number of years now, although I only started to listen to it about nine months ago. In that time the panel have made numerous references to Far Cry 2’s shared experience of the live grenade rolling back down the hill towards you. Interested I took the opportunity one Steam sale and bought a copy. I’m seventeen hours into my first play though and thoroughly enjoying myself. My standard mode of play is to take a rifle and to calmly snipe my way through encounters. No check point of mercenaries is safe from me if they are in my line of sight.
This style of play: a deliberate and thoughtful adventure but without all of the mechanical trappings or heavy narrative of role-playing games. It works for me. And now that I have gotten my head around how the game works, I’m starting to find that experience in survival simulator The Long Dark.
The comparison which I’d make to this experience is from one of the opening scenes of No Country for Old Men. I attempted to find a suitable clip on YouTube and found that someone has made the comparison between it and Far Cry 2 for me already.
The prose from Cormac McCarthy’s novel better captures the stillness I’m searching for.
MOSS SAT WITH THE HEELS of his boots dug into the volcanic gravel of the ridge and glassed the desert below him with a pair of twelve power German binoculars. His hat pushed back on his head. Elbows propped on his knees. The rifle strapped over his shoulder with a harness-leather sling was a heavy barrelled .270 on a ’98 Mauser action with a laminated stock of maple and walnut. It carried a Unertl telescopic sight of the same power as the binoculars. The antelope were a little under a mile away. The sun was up less than an hour and the shadow of the ridge and the datilla and the rocks fell far out across the floodplain below him. Somewhere out there was the shadow of Moss himself. He lowered the binoculars and sat studying the land. Far to the south the raw mountains of Mexico. The breaks of the river. To the west the baked terracotta terrain of the running borderlands. He spat dryly and wiped his mouth on the shoulder of his cotton work shirt.
The rifle would shoot half minute of angle groups. Five inch groups at one thousand yards. The spot he’d picked to shoot from lay just below a long talus of lava scree and it would put him well within that distance. Except that it would take the better part of an hour to get there and the antelope were grazing away from him. The best he could say about any of it was that there was no wind. When he got to the foot of the talus he raised himself slowly and looked for the antelope. They’d not moved far from where he last saw them but the shot was still a good seven hundred yards. He studied the animals through the binoculars. In the compressed air motes and heat distortion. A low haze of shimmering dust and pollen. There was no other cover and there wasn’t going to be any other shot.
DRINKING: TITANIC BREWERY – PLUM PORTER