Almost Ex-Com

I have a momentous announcement: I have almost completed X-COM: Enemy Unknown. I installed the game at the start of January 2013, so it’s taken me nearly six years, including some agonising over how to replay missions if one of my mistakes was accidentally reversed by benevolent techno-goblins.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown Elite Soldier DLC Wallpaper
©2K – Provided as free to use image as part of DLC release

Of course, the figure of six years isn’t an especially useful metric. I installed the game at the start of 2013 and—based on the date of my post about it—played until at least February of that year. However, I have played several games since and only recently restarted X-COM. So a more accurate picture would be that I installed the game, played it for a couple of months, didn’t play it again for five years, then played it through over the space of the last few months.

But even that isn’t vastly useful to you, my readers: it doesn’t reveal anything about why that was what happened; and I think I can safely assume that if you are reading my blog, you are interested in me rather than simply objective timelines.

The simple answer is that I’m a very casual gamer: computer games entertain me, but not as much as several other pursuits that are also readily accessible with little effort. So, during the initial burst of newness after installation, a game will demand my attention—or in a very few cases prove uninteresting almost immediately—so I will play it for large chunks of a weekend and potentially bits of evenings. But other interests will start to insert themselves into that time: at first merely because I like doing more than one thing in a day; then because I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading (or, now I’ve been authoring for a while, because I’m enjoying the story I’m writing).

So, in the case of X-COM, the slight wonkiness mentioned in my prior post developed into a full-blown issue so my playthrough was forcibly ended and I didn’t restart because the newness had faded enough that another game I owned but hadn’t played drew me in.

Although those who have paid attention to the snippets of my personality and history will already have guessed that the most insistent of distractions arrived at the same time as X-COM: Jasper and Una. While Una is perfectly happy to join in while I use my computer, her intellectual and physical abilities are even less suited to the nuances of computer gaming than mine; so it’s easier to do something that isn’t disrupted by a good wash.

But slowly, over the course of more than a few months of weekends, I’ve reached what appears to be the final mission of X-COM. So, I shall allow myself muffins.

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