Playing Tourist

Happy Weekend TAY!

I have a funeral to attend today so this might be a little rambling (yes, more rambling than normal) and I won’t be able to catch up with you all until at the very earliest on Sunday night. It is for my wife’s uncle and while he was 85 and had battled cancer for a long time, it still was a bit of a shock at his passing last week.

Death aside (there’s no fitting segue here), my family had a great week of vacationing while my wife was off from work. We bought a CityPass for the attractions in Toronto. The CityPass allows you to visit several of these attractions at a greatly reduced price. Since we already had planned to hit the zoo and the CN Tower, this pass allowed us to visit a lot more stuff at a very small increase in cost. They offer these passes for many cities in the U.S. so if you are vacationing, be sure to check out the CityPass site for potential deals.

We started our adventure at Casa Loma. This is the “castle” of Toronto and is really just a monument to excess and poor planning. It is basically a gigantic house that you get to walk around and see a time capsule of the life of the wealthy in the early 1900’s. It was sort of neat, but the kid was understandably bored with it. The coolest part for me was watching a short video presentation of all the movies that had parts filmed at the castle such as X-Men and Scott Pilgrim. Not a place I ever need to visit again nor would I recommend anyone else going there unless you like looking at old stuff.


We then hit the CN Tower. For all the decades I’ve lived in Ontario, I’ve never been up the CN Tower. I’m not super comfortable with heights, but was not put off enough to prevent me going up the 553.33 m-high (1,815.4 ft) structure. It is certainly very tall and the view of the city is beautiful, but we spent a lot more time in line to go up the tower than we did in the tower itself. I also had probably the strongest acrophobic reaction to heights I’ve ever had, so I felt somewhat uncomfortable the whole time. Thankfully once the view wears off there isn’t much of anything else to do at the top, so the trip was mercifully short.


At the bottom of the CN Tower is the Ripley’s Aquarium and this was also part of the CityPass. We went to this aquarium last year, but it was nicer this time as there was almost no one there at 9:00pm. I love this aquarium and if you live near or visit Toronto I’d highly recommend it. There are two other Ripley’s Aquarium locations in the U.S. so if you live near the Smoky Mountains or Myrtle Beach, check them out there.

After getting out of Ripley’s we were greeted by a large crowd of people who all seemed to be gathered to play Pokemon Go. It was a little odd and my son commented on the comparison to the crowd and scenes from zombie movies, but I’m glad the game is so popular. It is nice to see so many people embracing gaming in such a big way.


After a day of recuperation from all the places we went in Toronto, we returned to our adventure by visiting the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo is a great place that gives the feeling that a lot of love and care goes into the animals and their habitats. This year at the zoo has loads of baby animals like rhinos, lions, pandas, polar bears, and lynx (which were hiding and we didn’t see). We had a great time at the zoo but the whole day event of walking in the heat was a little tiring. We were able to see the whole zoo in six hours, but damn that Canadian section of the zoo is an awful climb up a fairly steep hill.

So with all the travelling and playing tourist, plus the family’s loss last week, I’ve had almost no time to game.


I did manage to scrape together a little Fallout: New Vegas for a few hours here and there and seem to be making steady progress. pocoGRANDES and I were discussing how bland and dull the world of Fallout is visually. For me, this is something that makes it hard to stay interested in the game. I get that the game is older and it is hard to do interesting wastelands, but the Fallout games make for a particularly boring gamescape. After the exceptionally beautiful deserts of Mad Max, the unexciting visuals of New Vegas really makes it hard to be motivated to explore. This is in sharp contrast to Oblivion and Skyrim’s beautiful worlds which made me want to check out every corner.


Still, I’m having fun and that’s the most important thing. The writing and characters are very strong and the overall gameplay is good enough to keep me hooked. I’ve just hit level 20 so I imagine I still have lots left to do. One thing about a Bethesda/Obsidian RPG, you know you’ll be in for a long haul.

So, I’ll be dark around here for the weekend, but I should be back Sunday night. Next week will be great because the kid is going to the grandparents and my mother-in-law (who lives with us) is also away, so my wife and I have the house to ourselves for a week. I’m hoping we can finish off Drake’s Fortune and then make a quick detour from playing Uncharted to check out Inside.

What are you playing this weekend?