Welcome to January’s editorial post, a monthly progress report which rounds up all the happenings here at Later Levels in case you missed anything. With 2020 behind us and brighter days hopefully ahead, let’s have a quick recap of recent events.
||Other posts worth checking out:
Frosty Canucks Podcast (@FrostyCanucks) January 13, 2021
January is normally when I make arrangements to attend the annual gaming expos – but this isn’t a normal year and blogging is becoming more difficult. I’m writing more reviews nowadays as both events and releases are postponed, and the only thing to do is stay home and play existing video games. I’m grateful for community events like EXP Share, for which I wrote about my recent experience with Yakuza 0 this month, and hopefully things like this will keep me working towards my 2021 blogging goals.
All this extra gaming is very good practice for GameBlast21 and there’s less than a month to go until our streaming marathon for SpecialEffect. The games we’re going to play were announced on Wednesday and we’re halfway through our fundraising targets for the charity, achievements that wouldn’t have happened without your help! I’m pleased to report that efforts to find a Pikachu costume for Pete are underway and he’ll be wearing it on stream for 24-hours from 08:00 GMT on Saturday, 27 February 2021.
Before that though, the annual #LoveYourBacklog starts on Monday – and this time it will be taking place over a month rather than a week to give everyone more opportunity to appreciate their backlogs! The event is now in its third year and was created with Ellen from Ace Asunder in 2019 to encourage us all to be grateful for our pile of games rather than feel guilty about them. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on how you can get involved next week.
||Games previewed or reviewed:
Thank you to everyone who helped us crack the case today! The rest of the evidence and case files can be found here… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Later Levels (@LaterLevels) December 30, 2020
Since working our way through Call of the Sea’s series of beautiful escape rooms in December, puzzle games have featured heavily in our gaming line-up and you can read about my recommendations here. Looking back over our notepad of scribbles and gallery of photographs afterwards made me realise how much I enjoy taking notes while playing video games. It also made me see that you shouldn’t feel bad about checking a walkthrough if you’re stuck: better to complete a game with a bit of help and enjoy it, than get frustrated and put it down.
Other puzzle-orientated releases completed have been Röki, a lovely fairy-tale for this time of year and Quern – Undying Thoughts, perhaps the closest we’re going to get to playing Myst for the first time again. We also enjoyed a physical detective thriller in the form of Death in La-La Land as it felt like we’d been dropped straight into our own noir story. My favourite game of January however was Blacksad: Under the Skin and I’d love to see the protagonist return for a crime-filled sequel.
These titles reminded Pete and I of how much we like playing puzzle titles together because they’re the sort of games we bonded over when we first met. This realisation caused us to think about our streams and we’ve decided that we’d like to showcase more adventure and narrative releases; not only do we enjoy them, but we’ve found a great bunch of people on Twitch who love them as much as we do. Let us know youre recommendations so we can add them to our wishlist.
How can you burn your feet on a fire if they're not actually there?? C'mon, The Long Dark... 🙄 ❌👣 (Screenshot cre… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Toe Tallying (@ToeTallyTweets) January 11, 2021
The COVID-19 lockdown continues here in the UK: the situation currently being reported in the news is that this is going to be the case until at least March. While I understand that such measures are important and required for keeping everybody safe, the days are starting to merge into one another and it’s hard to plan anything to look forward to in the future. Perhaps I need to start being more positive and seeing the good in small things to get me through it, like my stepson’s has done with his Xbox Series X.
The thing that makes this difficult is that several relatives are slowly starting to buy into the conspiracy theories about the infection and death rates not being as bad as reported. I know it’s a reaction to how long they’ve spent in lockdown but I can’t justify their opinions or actions: I just don’t get how you can think that what’s going on isn’t real or that the state of emergency declared by our local hospitals is exaggerated. It’s meant we’ve had to make some difficult decisions lately but we’ve got to do what’s necessary to keep our family safe.
Speaking of my family, who’d have thought that Pete and I would be able to put up with each other as husband-and-wife for two years? We celebrated our second anniversary in a low-key but enjoyable way, by playing World of Warcraft with Ellen and Phil and eating KFC. At some point in the future we’ll celebrate properly once the lockdown is over. In the meantime we’ll continue playing video games – and trying to drag Ethan away from his new Xbox every once in a while.
And now over to you guys: what have you been up to lately, and what have you got planned for the coming month? Is there anything the community can help with or get involved in? Let everybody know in the comments below so we can show our support. Thanks for reading!
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.