Crystal Relic Collector

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Knack • Acquired a Crystal Relic • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 62.9% (Common)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, and do you know what that means? If you guessed housework, and a day out-and-about, then you’re absolutely correct; but if your guess ventured into something about having to entertain the kids when they’ve had a full day of the aforementioned ‘out-and-about’, and they’re eyes are hanging out of their head … then I’m happy to give you a silver medal as well.

What does this all mean? Why, time to fire up the closest friendly family game, of course – and Knack fit the bill. While we’re pretty much tag-teaming the game for the most part, it really is a case of my son playing for a bit, getting killed, and then me having to go back and get through the next chunk until he feels like playing again. Repeat, ad nauseum.

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Even though he still falls over along the way, he’s certainly got the grasp of the game, and he knows when to look in side doors or areas where chests might be. Even though he breezes past a lot of these things while he’s playing, it pleases me that he’s getting a good grasp of side quests. I’ll turn him into a professional gamer yet!

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This trophy is simply for unlocking a particular type of collectible, or ‘relic’ as the game labels them. I noticed that collecting the full set of these crystals appears to be the requirement for unlocking ‘Vampire Knack’, which – perhaps most importantly – is necessary for another trophy entirely! I can’t see myself in the likely multiple playthroughs needed to obtain the full set, but by the same token, I said that a lot about Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, and then I had to keep going back to it to cater to my son’s obsession, and used the time to 100% it. Silver lining and all that.

Tomorrow is pretty much a dedicated family day, so I’m not sure where I’m going to land when it comes to achievements. I still have many of my quick-and-dirty achievements on Steam there to work my way through, which might be a nice change from the more ‘meaty’ stuff I’ve been working on lately. Final Fantasy VII, in particular, is proving particularly taxing on the mind.

I’m not sure if that reflects the game, the twenty years since it’s been out or … more troubling … my mind!

Wordsearch Workhorse

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Lexica • Complete 12 Puzzles

I thought I had finished 12 puzzles yesterday during some after-hours dabbling in Lexica, but it turned out that I was one short. So a quick flick of the wrist, and a bit of word manipulation and ‘presto!’ the first wave of puzzles done.

Admittedly, this lot was the ‘easy’ grouping, so I would be lying if I said that this was a particularly onerous achievement – it was more a case of just finding the time to complete it. Much like Apple, this game (at least in the first levels) is easier the less you think about it. When you stop over-engineering your thinking, you tend to find the simplest solution.

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In other gaming news, I finally gave up on trouble-shooting my PC and have taken it to a technical specialist. I suspect that there is a misalignment between my old hardware and the sexy new motherboard + processor combination, but rather than tweaking different things each night when I get home and spending more money on more hardware – I figure I’m just going to let someone who has the time, and the tools, to troubleshoot it for me.

If there’s one thing I like about capitalism, it’s that you can outsource your problems.

Open Level 7

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aMAZE ZERO • Open Level 7

I am going out for dinner tonight and I can’t wait – it’s going to be Korean and if I don’t have a stomach ache from eating too much Kim Chi tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a wasted opportunity.

Today’s journey through some of the new indie games on my system continues, with a bit of a session on aMAZE ZERO, which – as the name suggests – is really just a whole series of mazes that you guide a little widget through until completion.

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Look, I’m not going to lie – even after seven levels, the mazes are not that hard. The basic premise of sticking in one direction, or working your way backward from the centre (the end of the maze) is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and – hey, it’s a maze game. The screenshots on Steam show a game that does increase in difficulty as time goes on, but really, none of it looks particularly hard, but, at best, time consuming.

And sometimes I have more time than inclination.

Spelling Bee Beginner

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Lexica • Complete your first Puzzle

I’ve made no secret about my love of word games, and I have to admit that I got a little excited when I saw this little gem sitting in my largely untouched Steam library. For as terrible as I was a student, my love of English has always been a shining beacon on my academic record, and has probably gone some way towards me combining my love of gaming and writing into this blog.

Lexica is a bit of a strange beast that requires you to slide letters vertically and horizontally around an axis to complete a crossword-style puzzle. The premise is fairly simple at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that many of the structures are based on the duplicity of letters, in that many different words use the same letters, and it becomes the duty of the player to fiddle with the combinations to land at the one true solution.

In other words: a narrative nerd’s dream.

Most of the achievements following this come from completing ‘packs’, so they’re probably not as ‘quick and easy’ as this one – but all certainly achievable, if not all together unenjoyable in the pursuit of obtaining them.

In writing that sentence, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve used up all of my linguistic juices for the day just playing these last few Lexica levels.

Oh, who am I kidding … Me speak good English.

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Achievement Hunter: Begins • NEW_ACHIEVEMENT_DESC_1_0

Wow. This game. What an absolute travesty of achievement collecting. And by travesty I, of course, mean why haven’t I discovered this before?

The giveaway, of course, should probably be in the title. I assume this series of Achievement Hunter games is going to play out in much the same way, whereby simply loading it up nets you a cool few hundred achievements in rapid succession.

I suspect these games offer a philosophical lesson in the fallacy of achievements, and – if I’m perfectly honest – that’s fair. What value do achievements hold if there is no effort in collecting them? My response, however is that achievements reflect a commemoration of an experience. Yes, they vary in the mileage required to earn them, but even in a game like this – I can demonstrate that I experienced Achievement Hunter: Begins as it is supposed to be experienced. The fairly simple gameplay, the overwhelming number of achievement pop-ups that don’t stop the entire time you play – all these things add up to reflect an experience, regardless of the effort applied or the enjoyment obtained.

And trust me, I now have a few hundred extra achievements on my Steam account to prove it.

Survivor!

Rayman Origins • Survived a Piranha Pond without a scratch!

I’ve played a lot of Rayman in various forms over the years – but it’s been so on-and-off I haven’t really worked towards a particular trophy. Between different accounts and different games, it’s always been much more of a casual pleasure than on steady rotation, and so when I was playing around tonight and this trophy popped, it seemed like a good a time as any to celebrate.

Ironically, for the hours I’ve put into the game I still don’t consider myself very good! Every time I attempt one of the timed runs (for another one of the little purple creatures) I fall just short or fail miserably. Que Sera, Sera.

Grabbing this trophy frees me up a bit tonight, so I’m thinking a bit more Fortnite or something more shooty bangs on the fixture.

Either way, flexibility is good – as good as a nostalgic walk down memory lane with a good ol’ Vita game to keep you company.

C2 | Professor Pulverized

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy • Defeat Ripper Roo

There are very few tortures for parents beyond being forced to wake up earlier than your necessitated 7 hours of sleep and entertain your kids. For me, that pretty much sums up my morning – and much of my day if I’m honest … for a not-insignificantly pained man who has had a bad run of sleep and is slowly decomposing while still alive, it was really the last thing I wanted to do.

What better garnish to a torture than Crash Bandicoot?

To be honest, despite being a traditionally PlayStation guy (until they started baulking at … you know … ‘progress’), my formative years were much more PC and SEGA Master System. As a result, I think my demographic was ‘just’ off the necessary bracket to really feel nostalgic when it comes to Crash … but at the same time, a reboot (or remaster) offers the perfect chance to get back/onto the bandwagon.

It might take me a little longer.

The best thing about Crash is that the levels are nice and short, and you can power through them with your kids (at 6am). The bad thing is – time’s have changed – and there’s just a big assortment of other games that can be played, that look better, feel better, and just generally all-around are more fun to play. Ratchet and Clank is a good example of a reboot done properly, whereas Crash is trying to compete with the like’s of Super Lucky’s Tale and – dare I say it – Knack.

Needless to say, that I was kind of pleased to earn an achievement on this one so I could take it easy for the rest of the day.

And take it easy, I did. My brain now needs a spell from listening to the tunes of Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Hashtag – One of Those Days.

Sharp Dressed Fox

Super Lucky’s Tale • Equiped your First costume • 20G • 4.75% of gamers unlocked this

And now, the end is near. Today is the final achievement in my challenge. Super Lucky’s Tale takes the cake for offering up achievement number 365 I have written about on my journey throughout the past twelve months. Actually, we all know that’s not true – I’ve gotten carried away and written much more about other achievements over the past twelve months – but this one is ‘official’, and while it perhaps doesn’t have the same shine on it like a Destiny 2 Raid Achievement or a ‘game completion’ achievement for the likes of Dark Souls, but I was able to get this achievement with my son beside me as we laughed about a silly little fox putting on a policeman’s outfit and sunglasses – and you know what? That was perhaps the best achievement I could earn today.

I still really love Lucky, I feel like that he is as good as the likes of Banjo-Kazooie or Ratchet and Clank, but he is stuck down the back of the room and flagged as an ‘outsider’. Much the same way that any publisher has trouble breaking into an established genre, up-to-and-including characters, Lucky isn’t really talked about in the same breath – if at all. I would be very surprised if most people have heard of him – and judging by the rarity of some of the achievements in the list for this game (including today’s!), I suspect that there’s a fairly small percentage of people who have felt inclined to pursue a illustrious career playing Super Lucky’s Tale.

I’m going to publish a few thoughts about the year that was in just a minute, so I don’t want to wax lyrical about earning an achievement every day here, other than to say that it’s been a great ride, and I’m pleased I could find a few silver linings in my gaming life as a result of it.

Thanks to everyone who has read, commented – either here or privately – and supported the journey (whether you knew you were or not!) This blog will still be here for a while yet, with some small changes to how I’ll be doing things.

More to come on that soon!

In the meantime – thanks again. In the wise words of one of my favourite former television personalities: May all your games be good ones.

Wanderlust

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Microsoft Bingo • Complete 25 Bingo matches • 100G • 25.75% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve actually had a few different games just running quietly in the background of my laptop for the day. I played a bit of Imperia Online earlier – something that is supposedly connected to Xbox Live on Windows 10, but even when I earned an achievement (seemingly for a certain population figure), there was no record of it on the Xbox App or my account – and so I kicked that achievement to the curb and went hunting for something else that I might be able to obtain.

Of course, the temptation for something really mindless is hard to pass-up – particularly at this stage in the journey, and even more importantly, at this stage of the week. Tonight promises to be an excellent episode of The Handmaid’s Tale if it stays on-par with the rest of the season – and there’s some not-insignificant cliffhangers to wrap-up tonight that I’m very, very keen to see.

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And so I went with Microsoft Bingo. It’s not some AAA action shooty bang, it is a simple game where you mark off numbers as the balls roll up with the respective digits on each of them. It’s Bingo. Plain and Simple.

And daub is still a ridiculous word.

Librarian

Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered • Purchased 5 books • 15G • 12.13% of gamers unlocked this

Another fairly simple one this morning. I only had a little bit of time to get ready for work and get out the door, so I thought that Letter Quest seemed like the pick of my library to grab something from before I had to leave.

Once again, it delivered.

Today was as simple as just buying one more book from the shop – which I already had enough crystals to do, but in true gaming fashion, it took a little longer for the achievement to unlock. I suspect that the game is set to hit-up the Microsoft Server, either at certain intervals or it needed me to play a round (which I did anyway) before it popped, but sure enough, just as I was starting to wonder whether I had stuffed something up, it unlocked.

In other gaming news, I finished the Osiris campaign from Destiny 2 last night. Very, very satisfying it was, if I do say so myself. I feel like this pacing of content is exactly what Bungie had in mind for D2, but nonetheless, the rabid fangs of the internet just couldn’t wait that long, and so many have already abandoned the game – and, may I say, it really is to their detriment.

Sure, there’s still some game mechanics and stuff that I haven’t quite mastered (which look like they’ve been introduced since launch), but give it time and I feel like I could absolutely become a Destiny stalwart. (Judging by my first few games of Iron Banner over the weekend, I could actually be pretty good!)