Playing: Baldur's Gate 3, Rambo 3, Max Payne 2

When you surround yourself with games and consoles that go back 50 years you often find a real sweet spot of a currently playing playlist. Here are a few notes about each.

1. Baldur's Gate 3
Xbox Series X, Digital Edition. Being played on a 55" TCL TV (HDR, 4K). 

I am 30 hours in on this wonderful (sometimes joyous!) video game. It has been a while since I've had a turned-based D&D-like experience. And judging by popularity, I'm not alone. It's a Game, Game. You are invested, but never fully immersed. Not what we'll call "whiskey and beer." It's more "tea and coffee." That's a good thing because it's no fun if all you play is one or the other. Although there is a 3rd category, "Absinthe," which is the best way to play through the Underdark.

2. Rambo 3
Original Sega Genesis and Cartridge played on a 24" 1080p Vizio using LevelHike's HDMI technology. 

Picked this up when I was splurging during Christmas. What a wonderful game and, to tie in number one on this list, a sort of sidelined genre of games. Its top-down action experience was all over the place 35 years ago. It's fast, fun, and looks incredible on my little setup. This game is a bit pricey because of the movie tie-in, but the gameplay is buttery smooth and shouldn't be overlooked as to how fun it can be playing in today's video game environment. Pick up and play for a little bit, put it down, come back to it. It's and experience missing in today's console world. Perhaps it's more like mobile gaming, but without all the crap that comes with that.

3. Max Payne 2
Both Orginal Xbox (with HDMI converter) and Xbox Series X on a 55" TCL TV (HDR, 4K). 

I picked up this disc some time ago while I was playing Max Payne 3. I popped it into the Original Xbox a couple times to test drive it but it never really stuck and I was wrestling with the old controller. Yesterday, I put it into the Xbox Series X, and boy does it sing. Remedy crafted more than just a shooter and less than the sometimes obtuse games they create now. A good spot to be. There is news about a remaster in the future, but this game is fun as it is. Not everything has to be a bloated 150 GB LEGENDARY REMASTER ELITE or whatever to be great. I get the money side of releasing it and I'll play it, but don't let it take away from the original. This game clocks in at under 3 GB and uses every byte of that beautifully. On the X, it zooms past some of the longer load times on the Original, but there is a downside of not letting the game marinate for a more immersive experience. It's a trade off. Like resuming a game without a title screen. Something lost, something gained.

Sweet spot!