Bitches at Sea

So I am aware that this blog is becoming a little Sea of Thieves heavy, but do not worry if that’s not your bag because I will presumably run out of things to say about it some time in the near future (probably after I’ve published the sort of review that I sort of started writing before other things came up, like the game not working for example).

Anyway, back to the point of this blog post. Last night Sea of Thieves became girls night out from the comfort of our living room/game room for me and my friend Becky. As a direct response to our husbands presuming we’re absolutely pants at video games (we generally are, sorry Becky), in a similar way in which we presume if we let them take charge of the washing they will somehow balls it up (quite clever on their behalf), we decided to take a two (wo)man ship and go it alone. Suprisingly we did rather well. We managed to only get sunk once because we wrongly trusted that another ship would be nice enough to not bombard us while our sails were up and we weren’t even onboard. They weren’t. Then there was the tiny mishap where I took a blunderbuss shot to the face as I tried to board their ship in search of revenge. But apart from that we managed to read several treasure maps (all by ourselves), we sold five chests (without losing a single one!) and three barrels of gunpowder and I only very briefly crashed into a jetty. And the most important thing is that obviously we had fun. Feminism for our generation at its absolute finest.

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Kiwibeard

Having now actually played Sea of Thieves and having for the most part really enjoyed what I had experienced I decided to dedicate part of my day off work to play some more of it. However, the game itself would appear to have other ideas. Four hours after I first attempted to access the game I am still receiving the error message Kiwibeard. Not being a massive fan of the kiwi fruit myself as I am allergic to it this makes me dislike this error message even more. Having since Googled the phrase Kiwibeard (something I never would have expected to do) the results came back with one of two problems. Either the servers are down (maintenance or otherwise) or there is “more than one Gamer tag signed in to the console”. According to the Sea of Thieves website the servers are in fact closed for “necessary maintenance” between 9 am and 2 pm BST. Personally I feel that this fact should have been included in the error message rather than just saying that the game is “temporarily unavailable”. Giving no indication of when the game would be available again. If they would have stated this I feel they would have had considerably less angry gamers on Twitter complaining that they had spent money on a game to simply not be able to play it. This isn’t even the first problem that I have experienced with the Sea of Thieves servers. The first time I played the game we were in the midst of a voyage when a message appeared on the screen informing us that the server would be closing in 10 minutes. Not really giving us enough time to get everything in order before the game ended itself. I have to wonder if running the game as an online multiplayer experience really was the right choice or if it would have been better single player or co-op with everyone in their own individual worlds. Obviously for a game such as this that does so heavily rely on the servers being up and running correctly there are undoubtedly going to be at least teething problems if not ongoing ones. But if this is the case then players perhaps should be better informed if and when there are issues to avoid any further backlash and to provide a better experience for the players themselves.

The Unsociable Gamer

After much anticipation and what seems like forever of waiting Rares Sea of Thieves has finally been released. It is downloaded on my Xbox One and fully available for me to play. However, there is only one factor stopping me from starting a game that I am 99.9% sure that I’m going to love. It means me having to play a game with other individuals and not only that but people that I don’t even know. After many years on Xbox Live I can (just about) manage to play games with people I know and also people I don’t know providing I can mute all chat and not hear any opinions whatsoever on my gaming skills or lack thereof. Even gaming with my husband over two different Xbox’s while sat in different rooms I still come over all shy when there’s a microphone involved. So when it comes to a game like Sea of Thieves where if I’m letting the team down somebody is bound to let me know about it I just don’t know if I can face it. I’m not for one minute suggesting that everybody playing the game is going to be horrible but when it comes to my video games I am the majority of the time happy to use it as an opportunity to get away from people as the entirety of my working life is spent dealing with people who irritate me more than just a little bit. I am fully aware that if I want to experience and enjoy the game I am going to have to bite the bullet at some point and put my self confidence issues to one side and just get on with it. However for now I am happy enough to go back to my single player Terraria game where if I die there’s only me to rage about it. Yes I am unsociable but I’m happy (just about) as I am.

So Long GAME, and thanks for all the fish (I mean memories)

Six years ago this month the major retailer Game permanently closed the door on 277 of its stores. Miraculously my local store in Rotherham managed to survive the axe and continued to trade as one of the remaining 333 Game stores. However, there was to be no happy ending for them as on Saturday they tweeted to say that they had sadly reached the end of their time in the town centre and would now be closing their doors for good.

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Six years ago I would have been saddened by this news. Today not quite so much. Obviously I do feel for any colleagues that may have lost their jobs or had to be relocated to other stores (I’m not completely heartless) and I do have many happy memories in that store, but the times have definitely changed as technology has ousted technology with the majority of game purchases now being made digitally. If I can now buy a copy of a game from the comfort of my armchair so to speak why would I make the trip into a town centre that is hardly hustling or indeed bustling. Plus as a particularly unsociable individual it definitely saves me the hassle of having to interact with other human beings.  I personally suspect that since Cex moved in on their territory Game may have noticed some reduction of footfall through their door. On my last few visits into Rotherham I have always called in Cex to see what they have to offer whereas I literally haven’t stepped foot into Game for months.

I respect and appreciate everything Game has done for the local gaming community. It has always brought people together, through midnight launches, through in store gaming tournaments, through conversations in the aisles and the feeling of us versus them as half the store browses the Xbox side and the other half the PlayStation side, with Nintendo in the no mans land inbetween. However, all this definitely does feel like happy nostalgia now, almost like remembering your childhood. It is now just another thing that we will tell our children about but they will never experience it for themselves.

Thank you Game, for the memories and the stories. For that time I bought Crash Team Racing and there was a copy of Wrath of Cortex in the case instead, for that time I felt like the biggest jerk because I traded in a copy of Street Fighter that I knew didn’t work but it was no good to me, for that time we bought a Rock Band set up and carried it all the way back through town and then ate our dinner with it in Tesco. Thank you for the all the games I fell in love with after walking out of your store with them. We will honour your memory by continuing to game and never losing the love for what we do.

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