I call it the Horizons Broadening Project for 2009. Think of it as an Oprah’s Book Club for GWJ of sorts.
This project will not be a surprise to those who have followed my recent articles where I have belabored the general theme of ennui over the same old same old. If game developers can be accused of playing it safe over the past few years, then I share the blame as a dirty, filthy enabler. Complain as I might about the sameness of modern AAA titles, the fault lies also with me for failing to explore the full depth of gaming available.
If video gaming is an ocean, then I have been comfortable wading with pants rolled up in the safe waters of a secluded cove. Think of this project as the undertow that will either expose me to great new genres or potentially drown me for good. Who wants to go for a swim?
Elysium’s January HBP09 Game: Birth of America 2 – PC
How It Works: Every month I commit to playing a new game that I would probably have never considered in previous years. The project is currently limited to titles I can play on a PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii or DS. I commit to making an extended effort at playing the game, spending significant time in the tidal deep waters, and at the end of the month I’ll document my experience with the game.
How You Can Participate: So, if you’re interested in broadening your horizons, or mine for that matter, this is intended to be a community experience. While I am making my pick for the January game, I’m open to taking suggestions on what game should be next on the horizons broadening project. Send me a private message through the site or email me at [email protected] to vote for next month’s HBP game.
Additionally, you can play the game of the month and send me your thoughts on the game to be included in my end of month wrap up OR choose your own horizons broadening game, write up a paragraph on your experience with the game, and send that along. Again, all correspondence can be done through a private message on the site or by emailing me at [email protected].
Why This Game?: I think there are a few key elements that need to be involved in a good HBP game. For one, it needs to be a quality game and demonstrate a faithful following. I’m not looking for an excuse to play bad games in genres I don’t usually play after all, and I’ve heard the sequel to Birth of America spoken of quite highly. At the same time, the whole point is to expand from my comfort zone, and deep and largely unforgiving hex based strategy is a long way from Lumines and Portal.
I’ve always had a fascination tempered by intimidation for deep strategy games like this. I want to like them, but the barriers for entry usually require a long term commitment and it’s just so easy to log into a nice comfy MMO. But, with a full month to make a concerted effort, I’m interested in seeing whether someone with virtually no prior knowledge can break into this kind of game environment.
To help mitigate that, I’m picking an area of history I am relatively interested in and about which I have some knowledge. Will I get to reenact Washington’s retreat through New Jersey as the full force of British might pursues him to Trenton? Will I lead strike teams through the swamps of the Carolinas? Will I get to mount the guns of Ticonderoga on the heights above Boston? Or will I rewrite revolutionary history?
Look for my thoughts on Birth of America 2 at the end of January. How will you broaden your horizons this month?