In Review – July 2020

It’s only a little dramatic to say that this month nearly killed this blog. It wasn’t even the month that I posted the least often (I only made four posts during last December), but it was the month I felt the worst about the lack of posts. There was a nearly overwhelming feeling of having completely run out of things to talk about, and it was magnified by the fact that I also had a less-than-stellar month on a personal level.

Weirdly, this was also a month where almost all of my other hobbies took a back seat to gamestuff, but actually sitting down to write something was crazy hard.

July, for me, was a month of binge-gaming, and the gaming hangovers that often follow.

The first half of the month, I was deep into No Man’s Sky. It was occasionally wonderful, and sometimes frustrating, but after about 40 hours, that started to flip around. It started to feel as if I had seen a whole bunch of cool stuff, sure, but that’s about how long before it started to feel kind of same-y. By itself, that’s not a huge deal, but it was also when I hit what felt like a pretty major progress slow-down.

It wasn’t a brick wall, but kind of a winding path into tedium. I discovered I didn’t much care for ship combat, although I did enough to get the free freighter. I didn’t much care for land combat either, and the majority of the missions I was seeing were of the “kill sentinels” variety. I spent hours poking around trying to get Vy’keen daggers for a quest at my base, and never spotted a single one. I spent an entire evening hunting crashed ships, and only found distress signals from strangers needing my help. After a couple frustrating play sessions, I lost interest in logging in.

The latest update seemed to be highly focused on combat, and just wasn’t enticing enough for my play style. Even if I don’t go back, I am satisfied with the time I spent with it.

A little over a week later, I spent a really intense four days with Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Oddly enough, it took getting spoiled on a pretty major plot point in the first chapter to get me to push through the first three hours of the game. I’m not sure if it was actually the slowest open of the three main games, but I am sure it was the weakest of the three overall.

To be clear, I still really liked it – I mean, I kind of had to in order to put in 26 hours over four days.

Unfortunately, Danganronpa is a visual novel, not an RPG, so it didn’t qualify for #JRPGJuly and the Community Game Along. With so much of my gaming time over the month invested into only two titles, I didn’t make a whole lot of progress on any actual JRPGs, although I managed to poke at a handful.

Most of my in-between gaming this month was spent with Bloons TD6, which is actually kind of perfect for when you’ve only got a few minutes to poke at something. In 15-30 minute intervals, I managed to spend almost 8 hours watching monkeys pop balloons.

On a whim (and a very deep discount), I decided to try out Treasure Hunter Simulator, despite mixed reviews. It’s pretty much as mediocre as I was expecting, so I can’t say I was disappointed, but I wasn’t exactly jazzed either. At full price, I probably would have requested a refund, but for less than $4, I don’t mind having it around when I need something brainless to poke at.

I’ve also been continuing to poke a SMITE on and off – mostly in training mode for now, meaning I don’t have to deal with people who get frustrated because my current skill is not up to the standard of my current level.

I am not usually a person who is too affected by celebrity deaths, but I did find myself rather obsessively rewatching the early seasons of Glee in the wake of Naya Rivera’s death by accidental drowning. While the show is incredibly problematic in a lot of ways, it is also Super Effective at manipulating the emotions of the audience, in spite of frequently falling short of making you actually care about its characters.

I never finished fully watching the series the first time through, and it’s now been almost two weeks since I’ve felt the pull to watch more, so it seems unlikely I’ll finish it this time either. That said, there’s something that just feels right about looking at the arc of the first three seasons as something complete – from introduction to the major characters to their graduation. The show carried on for three more seasons after that, but – at least for me – it never recaptured the intensity of its early seasons.

They might have been able to auto-tune the voices, but the facial expressions of the actors are usually even more potent than their singing.

Overall, even though I felt like I did a whole bunch of nothing this month when I started this post, I put a lot of time into nerdy pursuits. Given the numbers I know for certain, I’d estimate about 90 hours were spent gaming, and another 40 hours were spent on my Glee re-watch.

That said, going goal-light this month also often left me wasting time trying to figure out what how I wanted to spend my leisure time. Should August’s goals be more rigid? I guess we’ll figure that out tomorrow.

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