Skip to content
Published January 3, 2010

I just spent the better part of the last two days blowing through Assassin’s Creed II, which is a credit to the game’s design and execution. I do have some complaints about the game that carry over from the first one, but aside from control issues, I think they’re intentional.

I don’t want to talk about the game’s quality here, though. I just wanted to make it perfectly clear that what I want to talk about isn’t a condemnation of Assassin’s Creed II – merely a strange phenomenon I’ve been experiencing.

Similar to when I blew through Modern Warfare 2 and Arkham Asylum, I feel thoroughly “vegged” out. I also feel a pang of guilt. Guilt that I played through a good game too fast and didn’t properly enjoy it. Guilt that, while I was totally enthralled and entertained, I may have just wasted precious time that could have been better spent. Guilt that I’m not having as much fun as I should.

I’m sure sometime around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, when I’m back at work after a two week break, I’ll be begging for a six hour chunk of time to game non-stop. I’ll be daydreaming of one more Modern Warfare 2 match or a long, arduous play of a Left 4 Dead 2 campaign. But for now, I’m left wondering if any game in recent memory has made me smile throughout. I seem to recall being irritated by little issues in games more than entertained by the good parts.

For a while, I had chalked up my displeasure with gaming to unemployment. It’s hard to enjoy anything when, in the back of your mind, you’re always thinking about how you’re going to make it to the next rent payment. But a month and a half into employment (at a job I find 100 times better to boot), I’m still not hitting up that gaming magic. What happened to joyously playing through Crackdown and laughing all the way?

I need to find that again. Even when playing Forza Motorsport 3, I’m not giddy like I want to be. And I’m probably going to pin that game as my favorite of the year.

I suppose I’ll leave these musings to my blog and keep them off the podcast. But if you’re wondering why my opinions seem depressing even when I think highly of a game, you’ll know why. Nothing seems to be sparking the way I want it to.


  1. Kaz, I hate to say it, but I think a lot of this has to do with both you and your tastes maturing. I know I personally feel the same guilt when I a prop up something like Uncharted 2 as great storytelling when I have a stack of books two feet high that I really want to read. And again, I think that the length/style of games also plays a factor in this. There IS a lot of padding in AC II, and a quick match of L4D2 doesn’t offer the same memorable thrills as a single player experience. And then you need to factor in the cult of the new that we’ve talked a bunch about. I think you’ve got many factors keeping you down, and I have faced the same ennui in recent years. But trust me, at some point, you’re going to stumble onto something brilliant (in its simplicity), like Braid or Portal, that puts that smile back on your mug.

  2. mik mik

    Well, I think games like Assassin’s Creed II and, say, Batman Arkham Asylum are by their nature very serious in tone and pretty unlikely to make you giddy–enthralled, engaged, excited–sure. But there will be no giggling.

    By contrast, I spent two plus hours playing Uncharted 2 multiplayer with friends last night and my face hurt from laughing by the end of it.

    ‘Tis why I can only play games like Assassin’s and Batman in roughly one-hour intervals. That’s my threshold for “intensity.” After that, I have to move on to something much more fluffy in nature.

Leave a Reply