The Monthly Question: October 2017

The Monthly Question: October 2017

The onslaught of Fall releases is upon us, but it’s important to remember that there’s more to life than video games. Back in April, The Monthly Question covered books and comics. I was really impressed with the wide range of books suggested by the writers and have since read many of them. I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of responses I would get if I opened the topic up a bit.

To shine a light on thoughts on other ways to spend your free time, I asked the PS Nation writers:

What is something that is not a video game that you’d recommend people try this month?
Glenn Percival (PSN ID: Torgo)
There have been some great movies lately, like the taut Cold War thriller Atomic Blonde, Blade Runner 2049, the follow-up to a movie that helped define what I look for in Science Fiction, Wonder Woman is out on the home market, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle was entirely entertaining and fun.

For music, check out the new albums from Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, and Chris Stapleton. Also, for Stone Temple Pilots fans, the Core album was recently re-released for its 25th anniversary, and the collector’s edition includes an unreleased demo and a bunch of live content from concerts and their Unplugged session.

For the readers out there, as a student of history, I have to recommend The Cover-Up at Omaha Beach: D-Day, the US Rangers, and the Untold Story of Maisy Battery. I visited this site in 2013, and the story is amazing. It changed what everyone thought they knew about the prep for, and days of, the D-Day invasion. Here are some pictures I took at the site.

Other than that, just enjoy life a bit. A lot of nasty stuff has been happening lately, and instead of jumping straight to anger, find something that makes you happy an embrace it.

Andy Richardson (PSN ID: andyscout)
I would recommend Star Wars Destiny, which is a newish Star Wars trading card game. I enjoy many trading card games, but this one has managed to draw my attention very well. I’m pretty sure I spent a lot more on it than I did on Magic in the past year, no small feat considering how much Magic I play.

Obviously a big part of that is the Star Wars license, but the game itself has a unique hook: it’s also a dice game. Each rare card, which usually represents a character or weapon, has an associated die which comes in the pack with it. The dice are hefty and well made which makes them fun to roll on their own. The game is also smartly designed to keep the gameplay from feeling too luck/random based.

Another key feature is the back-and-forth nature of the game. Digital CCG like Hearthstone have been heavily moving away from interactivity between players.

When it’s my opponent’s turn in Hearthstone, I can’t do anything. This suits the digital space well, allowing for asynchronous play or minimizing the “waiting for an afk foe” problem but to me it’s not as fun.

Star Wars Destiny completely eschews that by having the game be completely back and forth. Each player takes only a single action at a time, alternating between players. The second set got a little heavy with effects that ignored this play, to the chagrin of some players, but I still think the game provides a good amount of interaction.

By the way, if anyone is interested in the game, there was a very good starter product released on Force Friday. Dubbed the “2-Player Starter”, it’s a good introduction that has two decks so you can buy it and try with a friend. The only small issue is that the decks aren’t full sized and are slightly imbalanced between the two – pick the villain deck if you want to win.

Ben Palmer (PSN ID: CNPalmer)
You mean there’s more to life than just video games? Blasphemy!

All jokes aside though, this time of year is really when the business starts to pick up with holiday release schedules, end of year marketing pushes, sales and price drops and the ever fun PlayStation Experience so it would do everyone some good to step away, take a breath and collect themselves a bit.

For me I would recommend a couple of ideas/suggestions…

The weather and season here in new England makes this the perfect time to get out and enjoy the Fall foliage, take a drive through the back roads, find a farm stand and buy some fresh produce, go apple picking, cider tasting and hit up a corn maze or pumpkin patch. It may sound cliché but it really can be a fun time with friends and family, it clears the head and just gets you away from the humdrum buzz of everyday life and routines.

Another suggestion, perhaps while you’re out on that road trip of discovery, is to hit up a local brewery (21+ please!) you may not have tried before. I’ve started to really enjoy tasting all of the different varieties of brews from the plethora of microbreweries popping up here lately.

It has become such a hobby of mine, I purchased a small dorm fridge so I can take some home with me and to share with my buddies whenever they stop by. So far since the start of Summer I’ve visited fourteen different breweries and sampled over sixty different beers, and the year isn’t over yet!

Lastly, why not try your hand at cooking. It’s another one of my little hobbies where I like to try out a recipe or two and see how well it comes out. It’s fun to see something come together from all of the various ingredients and components to make a final product.

I often find myself tweaking things slightly or adding a little spice here and there that I think I might like. It isn’t bad to deviate once in awhile, and I’ve always said, I look at a recipe as a suggestion not requirement. It’s the perfect time to whip up something in a slow cooker to maybe pair with a new beer you snagged while you were out.

Those are just some of my suggestions, some things I really enjoy to clear my head, change up my outlook on things and press the reset button to remind myself that there’s more out there than a TV screen, a console, and a controller.

Rey Barrera (PSN ID: sindred)
While not quite a departure from video games, at least not initially, I highly recommend the Witcher novels, particularly if your introduction to the series was through the games.

The book series predates the games – not the other way around, like most game-related books – so you have award winning books that really flesh out what you experienced in the games. Some characters and scenarios vaguely touched upon in the game are covered in the books, leaving fans exclaiming, “ooooh that’s what they were referring to!”

The Last Wish is the first book in the series and it’s an easy read because it’s a collection of short stories. The first story in the novel is actually covered in the opening animation to the first Witcher game.

Great stuff. Really great stuff.

Chazz Harrington (PSN ID: ChazzH69)
When I’m not playing video games I like to play with the kids and when I get the chance, watch some Netflix.

Rick and Morty – A fantastic series that seems to get better with every episode.
The Good Place – Which stars the brilliant Kristen Bell, as I jokingly call her ‘my second wife,’ although the current wife never finds that funny.
Stranger Things – In preparation for the second series.

There are a few TV shows that I like watching with the wife and kids, but you might not be able to see these depending on your region.

Taskmaster – A funny and oddball show that makes a group of comedians partake in crazy challenges.
Red Dwarf – Another series is just around the corner, cannot wait.
The Amazing World of Gumball – Some silly fun for the entire family.

I would also suggest a few books or if time is a factor then grab the audiobooks instead.

Extracted – This new series has me hooked. It has time travel and action but also believable characters with emotions.
Bobiverse – Just finished this excellent series of audiobooks that I didn’t want to end.

I know this last part is the opposite of what the question asked but I suggest trying a game out that you would otherwise ignore. See what makes the Farming Simulators so easygoing and addictive or try that odd looking sports game that you would never play in the real world. Don’t worry if you aren’t any good or need the easy settings and assists, just give it try.

Matt Engelbart (PSN ID: WithSwordAndGun)
For many of us, winter is coming and soon we will be trapped inside by the cold and snow. When I’m not playing games I am usually spending time on a PC or my phone. So my recommendation is to go outside while you can to disconnect and decompress. Go for a run or walk with your significant other.

Lately I have been playing nine holes of golf Sunday nights. I am out on a beautiful course, surrounded by trees, and I leave my phone in the car. Everything seems to disappear for a few hours and I come back refreshed and ready for the work week.

Your Turn
These are our suggestions for things to try this month. How about yours? Tell us in the PS Nation Forums.

Thanks as always to John Payant for editing.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook