September, 1991. Lake Oswego, OR
JR Ralls is in his junior high social studies class when the teacher tells everyone that they are going to the library. He ties his Air Jordans, grabs his Trapper Keeper, and adjusts his glasses before his fast-growing body lankily exits the room.
Two men get ready to leave the same house.
It’s 7:00 AM on a Monday as Mike Ralls, Government Contract Manager, puts on his business slacks and light grey Brooks Brothers dress shirt. He tucks his shirt into his pants, and then loosens it to the exact amount of appropriate slackness. His tie loops around his neck, goes in a standard knot, and is cinched until it looks straight and sharp.
I’ve got more games than I need, but I still find myself checking the Humble Bundles. Every now and then I see something that is worth a few bucks just to have the (very theoretical) ability to play an old favorite of mine that I sold in some long forgotten garage sale.
Our hard-working writers don't all receive the Golden Ticket to appear on the Conference Call, let alone press passes to E3, but perhaps that provides them with a more down-to-earth perspective on all the hype – unless, perhaps, hype is more effective at ground level and vast distances away from the expo.
What was the best game you ever played? The one that you really got wrapped up in? That one that gave you a pure, unadulterated shot of endorphins every time a beep was made? That beep that let your Skinner Box-trained mind know that you had done a good job? Because for me that game was called, “Kickstarter.”
“Why do we have to move?” I asked.
In my head, I can hear the tone of my voice. It’s hard to listen to. I’m actually whining.
“It’s not fair!” I screamed, and stormed out of the house. I grabbed my backpack from the station wagon and headed down the hill, across the field, and to the horse barn. I scrambled up the hay elevator and found a corner by the window. It was hot.
Divinity: Original Sin may be the best RPG of its kind in years.
It is smartly written, patiently paced, fun to play and hard enough that success feels like an accomplishment. Set in a complicated world that developer Larian Studios has been tinkering with for years, its narrative comes with a rich lore already in place and an easy confidence in its history and foundations.
At the risk of sounding like a Penthouse Forum letter: I always thought these kinds of stories were made up, until it happened to me. I decided to marry someone because of a videogame. And both the game, and the woman, are extraordinary.
Among The Sleep is a first person exploration game in the vein of Gone Home, but it's about being a 2 year old. That’s a good thing.
Among The Sleep is absolutely terrifying, and had me jumping in shock many times in its short, three hour story. That’s also a good thing.