Lost in unreal worlds

I’d like to be able to say that my lack of writing over the last few days has been because of an adventure where I was away from technology. And in fact I can: although that’s a story for another place.

The truth, though, is that I’ve been more lost in virtual worlds than in the real world during these school holidays – thanks to the release of the second version of two games: Borderlands and Torchlight.

Borderlands is my grown-up game; I play with a group of friends who are also technically adult but never far from their inner child. Borderlands uses quirky humour and an unusual graphic approach to make itself stand out from the crowd of first-person shooters. The original game was a triumph and this second version has been eagerly awaited. Luckily it has not really disappointed. Many of the niggling problems with the first version have been fixed, and the best features have been built on. Probably the only real criticism I have of it is that the first run-through was a bit too easy, the final boss-fight, for example, was more a challenge for patience than skill. Still-and-all, it’s sucked me in for a good few days.

Torchlight is entirely different. Played with a third-person view it is a classic sword and sorcery set up where you navigate swamps and dungeons to fight evil foes and complete challenges. This one I’ve been playing with my kids who were extremely relieved to find it released just before the holidays started. It’s a very family-friendly game with an easy team-approach and nothing too gory or edgy (in stark contrast to Borderlands 2). As always I’ve been impressed with the lessons of strategy and teamwork that these sorts of games can impart – especially when the youngest player is also the strongest in-game.

Luckily three days away from technology has saved us from becoming too deeply lost in virtual worlds; for the moment at least.

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