Screenshot: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim/Bethesda Softworks
Keyboard GeniusesKeyboard Geniuses is our occasional glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the community’s discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity.  

It’s Time To Get Away

Some stuff happened here in America this week that caught a lot of people by surprise. Part of the country is ecstatic, and the rest of us are working out some emotional trauma. For those of us in the latter camp, escaping into the virtual worlds of your favorite games seems like a pretty good idea right now, and over in this week’s What Are You Playing This Weekend? thread, several commenters talked about which games they’re using to cope. Lindsayfunke is heading into the wasteland:

In times of trouble, when I really, really, need to disassociate from reality, nothing quite hits the spot like a Bethesda RPG. Thankfully, I had recently restarted Fallout: New Vegas, so I’ll be able to zone the fuck out for a few weeks at least. It’s not my first run, but I find I’m appreciating the game much more this time, warts and all. Last time I played was right after finishing Fallout 3 and Mass Effect. As excited as I was, I felt obligated to play New Vegas, and my initial run reflected that. I rushed through things, arbitrarily chose a faction, and despite enjoying the game as a whole, I don’t think it ever really clicked for me. All the factions and quests were just a means to an end: finishing the game. And frankly, I spent an embarrassing amount of time skipping through dialogue.

This time couldn’t be more different. I’m taking my time to get to know the factions and companions, and because of that, the game has really opened up. Last time, I think I got Boone as a companion toward the end, and that was only after seeing how many people seemingly adored him. However, due to my weird play style this time (skipping the tutorial quests and wandering the wasteland), I met Cass within my first hour of play. At this point, I still haven’t completed her companion quest, but I’ve found having a companion dramatically changes the feel of the game. On one hand, it’s much easier and less stressful, but on the other, why do I need more stress in my life right now? A moldy brick of racist Velveeta is going to be our “president” in a few months. What I’m saying is, I appreciate the respite.

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Fluka took a trip through Titanfall 2:

As a very tiny comfort, I managed to play and finish one very distracting and enjoyable game indeed: the Titanfall 2 singleplayer. It’s really really good. Like, “I can’t play before bedtime because I’m jittery afterward” good (even before I got…other insomnia this week). It’s only about five hours long, and the writing is fairly workmanlike, but the level design, gameplay and movement could not be better. Every single level has some kind of interesting twist and creative innovation that gets abandoned before anything gets stale. It’s hard to describe the best mission of the game, Effect And Cause, without spoiling it, but I haven’t felt so exhilarated by moving through a game space since Portal 2. That’s not hyperbole; this game is literally breathtaking sometimes. And you get a robo-bro. I heart u, robo-bro.

Screeshot: Resident Evil HD Remaster/Capcom

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Pktmann reached for a favorite scary game to forget about some other scary things:

Hopefully, I’ll be finishing Chris’ mission in the Resident Evil remaster. I just got to the catacombs, so it shouldn’t take more than another hour, roughly, to finish up with the best ending. Then it’s on to Resident Evil 2. I don’t think I mentioned it last week when gushing about the remaster, which I’d never played before, but not only do I now (begrudgingly at first) agree that it surpasses the original, it may have even overtaken Resident Evil 4 as my favorite game in the series. And since Resident Evil 4 has always been one of my top five games of all time…yeah. I really love the remaster.

And I just want to say these games are like comfort food to me. Resident Evil is probably my favorite game series of all time. I love the characters and the kooky world and lore. I love the atmosphere that’s a good balance of creepy and wacky. I love that on one playthrough you can go slowly and carefully, on the next you can plan out a route to get you through as fast as possible, and (if you get the proper weapons unlocked) on the next you can just blast everything away and forget caution and planning. And no matter how you play it, it never feels like you’re playing it wrong. When I play these games, I just feel like they were made for me. And that’s provided me a lot of comfort during this scary, sad week.

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Jakeoit is looking to the pressures of teamwork:

Tuesday left me in shock. I just couldn’t handle anything, really. I still am having flashes of just plain depression, occasional moments where I just feel like doing nothing, where I’m hungry but hate the idea of eating. And many of the games that I’ve played don’t help. Turn-based RPGs like Tokyo Mirage Sessions and Fire Emblem have just meant me having the freedom to let my mind drift, to stop playing for a second to check the news, then to play for one more minute before I find myself checking the news again. It’s been awful.

To that end, though, I’ve been happy to have Splatoon and League Of Legends. Playing online team-based games means that I can’t let my mind go away from them in the moment. I’m not trying to use them to completely escape what’s happened, but they’re at least soothing. Well, you know, when things are going well.

As for League, playing a few matches with my brother and friend was helpful for Tuesday as we waited for the results. There’ll probably be more of that over the weekend. I am digging the new update that just went out. Giving Talon a much better ability to roam fits him so much better, and I’ll be learning him. The biggest thing with League is that I’m probably only going to play with people I know. The community can be so toxic that I really don’t want to be in the middle of a bunch of ragers.

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Indy2003’s plans had to be changed at the last minute:

More Skyrim for me this week, though getting caught up in election coverage has slowed my progress a bit. Speaking of which: The election actually altered my playthrough in a fairly substantial way. The first time I played the game, I joined the Imperials in the civil war, because they struck me as the more reasonable choice on a number of levels. Sure, some of their decisions were over the line, but on the whole, I felt they were Skyrim’s best chance for long-term survival and stability. This time, I had been planning to join the Stormcloaks…just because I haven’t played those missions before and wanted to see what they were like.

Then Trump won. I spent the next couple of days just trying to process the insanity. And last night, as I returned to Skyrim, I realized that I just didn’t have the stomach to throw the weight of my overpowered character behind a racist madman. So it’s back into the arms of the Imperials I go, in an effort to preserve a digital world I’m exploring as the one I actually live in crumbles around me.

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And Venerable Monk lived up to their name, because instead of sinking into a video game, they’re taking action:

Games have been on the backburner for me this week .(save for the brief time I spent slamming shells into Gameological Karts on Tuesday night.) Shooting aliens and space fetishists with any of my beloved Destiny crews is pretty dang tempting, but any other gaming pursuit kind of feels solitary and isolated to me right now.

What I’ve needed most is time with my partner, and I know she’s needed it too. We’ve been talking about what organizations to support, where we can volunteer, whether she could run for local office (using her well-honed attorney skills), and just planning for the future. I decided I should start sharing my thoughts and signal-boosting in more places.

I reactivated my long-dead Twitter account (@VenerableMonk27), so I’ll probably start screaming into the void soon, like all of the oldest millennials ought to. Try not to be surprised if you get a new follower with a normal-sounding name. I’m keeping my usual handle on Disqus and elsewhere, but I figure matching my identity with my views is pretty important right now. (Plus, I’m on the “uphill” side of just about every axis of privilege, so the risks of drawing the wrath of hate into my offline life are pretty dang low. It’s a bit depressing to have to do such mental math, but here we are.)

As such, gaming has been out to pasture. I’m sure I’ll get back to it soon, and I’m definitely not passing judgment on anyone who needs a break. Take care of yourselves.

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Indeed. Take care out there, Gameologerinos. If you haven’t seen, we’re trying out a new running-review format with Dishonored 2, and you can find the first part already on the site. Check it out, and please, let me know what you think. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you all next week.