So, what are you playing?

by: Randy -
More On: What we're playing

A British teenager drove his mom crazy gaming eight hours a day—then he won $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup. The visually distressing and wildly popular mascot, Gritty, makes its debut in NHL 20. And this is every video game reference made in Veronica Mars, seasons 1 through 4.

So, what are you playing? 

Dave Gamble
Every year when I get back from Oshkosh (google "Airventure") I am newly intrigued by at least one type of aircraft. There are literally dozens of WWII fighters there, and while the majority of them are P-51 Mustangs, there are also Spitfires, German Luftwaffe fighters like the Me 109 and the Fw 190, and even an early era Russian MiG jet fighter or two. The warbirds are vastly outnumbered by a seemingly infinite number of civilian planes of all vintages and performance levels. By the time I get back, I'm just itching to get back into DCS or X-Plane, but this year is different. This year, I discovered that anyone with $150k to spend can actually build their own helicopter from a kit. While it is very unlikely that I am ever going to find that kind of money hidden down in the couch cushions just waiting for me to find it, I absolutely love the idea of building and flying that kind of kit. The chopper in question looks just like a Bell 47, a model made famous by its presence in the movie and TV show, M*A*S*H. It's a light, two-seat, piston-engined helicopter designed to be built and flown by pilots of average skill, so I have a 50-50 chance of being able to do it. Those are better odds than coming up with the requisite funding, but hey, Oshkosh is 99% about dreams.

So, did I go straight back to the DCS Huey when I got home? Nope. I went to, of all things, Aerofly FS2, a fairly decent, VR-enabled casual flight sim that started life as an iOS app. FS 2 includes an almost equivalent chopper to the Bell 47 called a Robinson R-22, which is probably the most utilized two-seat, piston-engine helicopter in the world, at least with regards to training and general aviation ownership. About a year after release, there was a free update that upgraded the flight physics to a very high level, which immediately rendered it unflyable to wannabe's such as me. Getting a handle on that twitchy little machine and it's barely adequate power level has kept me engrossed for at least four days now. At this point I'm probably as good as I'm going to get - helicopters are very sensitive to tail rotor inputs, which in turn are dependent on a pair of pedals that look just like rudder pedals, which in my case are the weakest link in my flight sim setup. The solution to that problem would be a set of the new Thrustmaster TPR pedals, but as those go for around $500, a set of those is going to forever remain one of those things I can only hope to acquire by routine checks under the sofa cushions.

I don't like my odds.

Randy Kalista
The Milepost 97 forest fire in Oregon trapped a lot of smoke in my home of the Rogue Valley. The wifey and kiddo broke out the N95 masks, but I'd already picked up a light smoker's cough, and getting into the car required a couple swipes from the windshield wipers to clear up the ash. The persistently gray sky made for lovely sunsets. If you're okay with the slight headaches and nausea.

It sure brings home the unhealthy air quality index found on the island of Solstheim. I've had the Skyrim–Dragonborn DLC for as long as it's been out, but I've generally avoided it. I was (stupidly) imagining a world where I'd 100% vanilla Skyrim—all main quests, side quests, sub-quests, and side-sub-sub-side quests—before moving onto the Morrowind-owned island of Solstheim. From almost anywhere on that island you can see Morrowind's Red Mountain barfing a continuous pillar of volcanic ash into the air. A lot of that ash comes right back down on Solstheim. But I hear the persistently gray sky makes for lovely sunsets.

Also, I've got The Church in the Darkness for review. So far it's just a lot of anti-capitalist (?) propaganda blasted over a loud speaker, with a slather of disappointing stealth-action plugging its ears underneath.

Nicholas Leon
I need more time to play games! Last week, I got a grand total of one match in for Battlefield V. I’m glad to say, though, that my skills haven’t gotten rusty. I was able to get in one round of original map Fjell 62, but I still haven’t gotten a crack at the newest maps. So, hopefully if I can just take the time to stay up all night playing video games on Friday, I’ll get a chance to play those maps.

On second thought, does the language learning app Duolingo count as a game? Because if that were the case, I’d be killing it in game time. Ich bin Brot.

That’s German for "I am bread."