Mood Gaming Snippets: Life Lessons From theHunter: Call of the Wild

Been doing it again in late March, gummi bear bouncing from game to game so fast anyone else would get whiplash.

Going to try and reconstruct some bits and pieces of that journey in order to have something to write about and reflect on.

March 24

79 min of taking a virtual walk in the woods.

Popped in on theHunter: Call of the Wild on a whim, hoping to bag some deer. Tried out the Parque Fernando DLC I bought on sale some time back. Beautiful steppe landscape, pretty much nada on any animals or indeed, any tracks.

Felt a little down, but accepted that sometimes hunts go this way, and well, this is a hunt simulation. Suspected that this is a harder park than the standard maps, which might go some way towards explaining the several Steam reviews that bitch about the lack of any animals.

(Yeah, well, if one tromps around in open country, making a ton of noise and with wind blowing scent every which way, little wonder why one sees absolutely zero animals.)

Got desperate enough to pitch some ground blinds near some tracks by a lake and sit there for a good 20 minutes, mostly reading an iPad book in real life. Saw -one- deer, but the angle was wrong and it was obscured by too many trees. It scarpered off. Went back to mildly frustrated reading, before feeling distinctly foolish – was I taking a hunt simulation a bit too far? Decided to quit, turn off the computer and just read the book instead.

April 2-3

72 min – Fri midnight eating into Sat wee morning hours.

Came into theHunter with the mindset that I just wanted some meditative exposure to virtual nature, given the more curtailed real life movements through the whole pandemic year.

Bet you know what happened next.

HERDS of deer. Finally stumbled across a lake following a whole herd of mule deer tracks, and while I barely saw any mule deer, or the axis deer or blackbuck species that the main story quest wanted me to hunt, I wound up across two separate herds of red deer, one or two males and 7-8 females all clumping together.

Shot two males in rapid succession, scoring silver ratings. Figured I’d used all my luck and was ready to quit the game session…

…then I saw him.

Yes, MYTHICAL rating.

My word, those antlers.

So I gave it a go. And got him.

First gold rating, Steam achievement popped. Oh, that sweet euphoria.

Also spent about a third of my savings taxidermying it in preparation for one day picking up a trophy lodge DLC. (I can only hope the game doesn’t forget. Still, I have screenshots. Can’t take that away from me.)

Some days you get nothing.

Some days, three deer in a row.

April 5

108 mins.

I want to blog about theHunter, I said.

Let me just pop in for a quickie to get some screenshots for the blog, I said.

Just as I’d finished taking some scenic photos and was going to head out, what did I hear call but a blackbuck that was a target of the quest I’d been trying to finish for ages?

Well, no harm just walking in that direction to check it out and hope for the best, right?

Somehow, it turned into a walk following old deer trails for miles.

Just as I’d want to quit, I’d look through the binoculars and see something like this just taunting me from way too far away.

So I’d try to creep in a little closer, but knowing very well I was approaching from the wrong wind direction, to the point where I’d see absolutely nothing at all by the time I got a little nearer.

The mindset was wrong. I was too impatient for a proper hunt. I wanted to be blogging. My mind was on other things. This was not properly meditative. I knew it felt wrong. I just couldn’t quite let go enough to quit.

Eventually wound up by another lake, looking around flustered at a huge scattering of deer trails (red deer, blackbuck, axis deer) by a drinking spot and no actual deer at all.

Bout to finally quit again, when I hear a mating call, and look through the binocs to see… this teeny little thing.

Not an axis deer. A female blackbuck. But it’s also a quest target!

I was 60% impatient. I went for the shot. Would have served me right if I missed.

Fortune smiled, and I did not.

It staggered a few metres away and then collapsed.

Not my proudest shot ever, but hey, it got the quest done.

After that, the next quest was to go hang the blackbuck in a shed about 1.8km away. Wow.

Perhaps it’s pay-to-win, but I did pick up the ATV in one sale or another.

I did not know that I would enjoy the sensation of speeding along high dirt trails, while on both sides the landscape rolled by, as much as I did. A bit of unexpected serendipity, that.

Perhaps I should scan my games library for any scenic racing games… though the introduction of other cars and a competitive element might ruin it.

Another odd bit of serendipity. On the way to the quest destination, there was a landmark and a bridge.

The landmark pretty much summed up the whole theme of this blog post:

Then I was left facing the bridge. On an ATV that looked way too wide to fit on the bridge. (I suppose the DLC was not factored into its design.) I could dismount and walk. But after I crossed, that would mean a long walk to the waypoint as well.

Oh, what the heck. It’s a game. Let’s do this wrong.

So very very wrong.

Chalk this one up to Things You Will Never See Me Do In Real Life.

Then I drove to the shed, ticked off the quest, unlocked the camp waypoint and decided this would be a great stopping point.

Until next time. Whenever I get in the mood for another virtual walk in the woods.

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