Torture myself with whimsies

20180818135827_1

Orwell • Show the rebellious side

Because I’m unashamedly a digital hoarder, I almost always go out of my way to add a free game to my gaming libraries … regardless of whether it’s Steam or GOG or Origin or your distribution-model-of-choice. And so when Humble Bundle (part of IGN) gave out free Orwell codes this week (which I assume was part of a promotion for the sequel), I naturally jumped on it and added it to my Steam library. Of course, normally I just add and cancel the installation, but somewhere along the way I must have let this one go – and so when I jumped online today to play something, I saw it there willing me to give it a click.

So I did.

The game itself plays out a bit ‘desktop detective-y’, where you rummage through a computer desktop and a pseudo-internet to uncover clues about an attack in the city of Bonton. There is some Orwellian undertones in the game – “The Party”, “The Capital”, etc. It is actually a good narrative use of nouns, as it kind of both adds to the authoritarian nature of the world, but doesn’t overburden the core story. Orwell himself is a literary genius.

I had to look up the context of this achievement because it didn’t seem progress-based, and this is what I found:

Show the rebellious side

  • From her timeline page, upload Cassandra’s posts about her support for the Plaza bombings – proponent of violence.
  • Do not upload her conflicting statements from the Thought blog.

So on further investigation, it appears that there’s actually a few different paths and endings that either the game itself or the individual chapters can take. A complete runthrough of the game, then, seems to require multiple playthroughs following multiple story branches. It’s a good game – but time and inclination don’t really grab me for such an in-depth examination of Orwell, and so I’d like to get to ‘an’ end, but whether it’s the right one … I’m not too concerned.

20180818140336_1

If I’m perfectly honest, my preferred method to play Orwell would be to follow an online walkthrough and just ‘smash out’ the story, but the best I can seem to find is a few achievement lists and how to earn each one (see above). No sequence to tell me ‘what’s next’ or ‘here’s what to click’ … just the cold, quiet void of digital silence.

Sometimes I wonder if the internet really is just for porn.

Left Key

20180817232251_1

Evoland • Congratulations!

My week is pretty much ending the same way as it has begun … under-the-pump and a little time poor. By 11pm I still hadn’t earned an achievement – and so with less than an hour to spare before the scheduled 11.59pm post, I scrambled to see what my Steam library could deliver.

Thankfully, a little game called Evoland delivered.

20180817232317_1

I first thought that this was just a delightful little indie game, but even after twenty minutes playing, I could see that this was actually something much better … Evoland – the name of the game – was literally taking me through the evolution of videogames. At first it was simple scrolling movement, then combat, then 16 colour display, then a storyline, and so-on-and-so-forth. I have to say – for a guy who has his expectations consistently low, this more-than-surpassed them.

20180817232536_1

I’m actually keen to keep playing this game for the simple fact that I want to see ‘what’s next?’ It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a new twist on a game, and this scratched an itch I never knew I had! It’s nice to know that for all the multi-million dollar developer and high-marketing-budget trash that litters the shelves of EB Games and retailers these days, sometimes it’s a small 200MB game that surprises you the most.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what being a gamer is all about!

Beginner

20180816113700_1

Unium • Solve 10 Beginner puzzles

Back to the nine-to-five grind today, and re-investing in a sneaky little lunchtime gaming session – first making an attempt to play Safety First!, but quickly learning that I probably need a controller (and the fact that I could only play it on full-screen doesn’t really make it appropriate for an office gaming fix), and so I moved on to another random selection from the Steam library, Unium.

20180816114335_1

In a nutshell, this is a game about drawing lines. A hollowed-out puzzle is presented to you, along with a starting block, and you are required to draw a line around the hollow in order to fill-in all the blanks. It sounds quite simple, but the last level in this first batch – level 10 – still required me to make a few different attempts before I eventually got it right. And that’s still on the tutorial, or ‘Beginner’ difficulty … only now I have advanced to the ‘Easy’ difficulty!

I’ll be honest … I like this game. I find it cathartic, but it’s probably more suited to a touch-screen or mobile device than a bootcamp’d MacBook Pro. That being said, I’d like to keep it on the computer for the occasional down-time fix … so don’t be surprised if you see this one creep back into the daily achievement fold.

Bounty: Lagomorph of Caerbannog

20180815070218_1

Clicker Heroes • Defeat Lagomorph of Caerbannog

In the 298 hours I have on-record for Clicker Heroes on Steam, I have never been able to break through the psychological barrier of Level 1000. Much like achieving 666 of every item in AdVenture Capitalist, this is a long, slow burn that experienced people could probably smash through quickly, but most people – like me – are probably going to struggle with as they ‘learn the ropes’ of the game, clicker mechanics, heroes, gilding, and levelling return-on-investment.

20180815070215_1

Well, today I broke clean through level 1000, and I am now onward and upward towards my next stop. From what I can tell on my achievement list, level 1000 – and the Lagomorph of Caerbannog – appear to be the last of the ‘bounty’ achievements, with the next cab-off-the-rank coming at zone 1200 for the ‘Zone Pwn’ achievement.

The Monty Python reference in this boss, or achievement name, hasn’t escaped me either. Lagomorph – or rabbit – of Caerbannog, is a nice play on the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The team at Playsaurus get two thumbs up for that alone.

Life should – touch wood – return a little more to normal now, so I look forward to a bit of standard gaming tomorrow … of course, now the problem is what to play. I have ended up in the (un)enviable position of too many games and no idea what to start, so life could take me anywhere.

Watch this space.

Complete Area 7

Angry Birds Pop • Beat all levels in area 7

I feel like after such a cop-out with tonight’s achievement that I should include this last minute entry I earned just before I packed it in for the night. Right now I’m laying in bed, writing this post on the same device I just earned the achievement on, and it feels decisively more like an actual achievement than tonight’s tick-and-flick.

Right now I’m in the happy microtransaction overlap where I have just enough purchasables to get a ‘taste’ for what’s on offer, but not really enough to survive for an endless barrage of prohibitively tough levels. Everything is geared towards ‘just spending a few bucks,’ and while I don’t really care what people spend their money on, I’ve made a fairly conscious decision that Angry Birds Pop wasn’t about to shake me down!

Though, I certainly feel like I’ve got a few extra pounds around the middle … perhaps ‘pop’ is a far more accurate word!

Dripping With Insanity

20180814215838_1

Achievement printer part 1 • Only Liars Comes Up With Excuses

Look, I won’t lie to you – this was a tough call. Do I yield a little and take one of the 1,450 Steam Achievements that I earned tonight from ‘Achievement printer part 1‘ … a game so independent and lacking in polish that they can’t even be bothered to get punctuation right on their game title? Or do I try and push my luck with Borderlands or jump onto the Xbox and play something from Telltale?

To cut a long story short, I sold out.

It’s been another day of no sleep and an action-packed schedule, so I’m left with not much time in the day for gaming – that, plus I’m keeping my mind sharp (as sharp as possible) for a certification exam tomorrow, so there’s only so much time to distract my delicate little mind.

Truth be told, there’s actually nothing wrong with this little basketball game – I remember playing something similar on Facebook Messenger for a while there, back in the day when Apps and additional features were more of a novelty than they are today – but nonetheless, using your finger to flick a little basketball into a hoop can be quite cathartic. Of course, it has been included in this title much as something to do, rather than the actual purpose of the game. In reality, you can just leave it running and suck-down the 3,006 achievements on offer.

For the most part, there’s not even a whole lot of sense in the achievements (including today’s). Some just link-out to individuals’ Steam profiles, such as:

(Do yourself a favour and check-out tshtxyd’s Steam Profile for a very innovative use of the screenshot feature!)

Look … am I sorry? No, not really – and I don’t think I can offer much in the way of an excuse seen as I’ve already litigated my decision-making from the time I used Achievement Hunter games so … yeah. It is what it is.

And trust me: I’m looking forward to the warm embrace of a AAA title as much as anyone else is!

Toe in the Water

20180812140255_1

Endless Legend • Play for 10 turns, across any number of playthroughs

If I’m perfectly honest, Endless Legend isn’t really what I was expecting. What was I expecting? Well, to be frank – I was expecting something in a similar vein to Baldur’s Gate or Pillars of Eternity, whether it was turn-based or not, I was essentially looking forward to a high-fantasy romp with new characters and a new world setting – but instead what I got was what appears to be a rather good knock-off of pretty much any turn-based Sid Meier game – notably Civilization.

20180812141609_1

I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of negatives for Endless Legend, because I think this is partly my own fault for having misguided or underdeveloped expectations. (I think a lot of the world’s problems could be addressed when people understand their own human failings in that regard.) For a strategy game, this is actually really quite good. It is rich in its world building, the graphics look great on my new PC and there is enough micromanagement options available to keep even the most cantankerous old gamer sated.

Today’s achievement was very much a low-hanging fruit experience. It was barely halfway through the tutorial when this one popped – 10 moves is, by no stretch of the imagination, a long haul. It was actually quite a good tutorial in the sense that it gave you a ‘taste’ for everything you needed to know, but didn’t labour the point. Rather, it expects you to throw yourself into the game and learn the hard way. Personally, I still think this is the best way to learn a new game. (This is also something I’m trying to teach my 4-year old!)

20180812142405_1

I think I need to be ‘in the mood’ to play some more Endless Legend, and that requires a day when you need your mind sharp. Somehow, a Sunday afternoon on a fairly wet and windy day just isn’t fitting that description.

With a busy few weeks ahead, I’m not sure the month of August is looking any better either.

Winter is coming

20180810235351_1

Game of Thrones • Finish chapter 1

I am unashamedly a huge Game of Thrones fan. I’ve read the books, I’ve binged the series, and I still maintain that the GoT Telltale series is one of the best uses of the Thrones’ IP I’ve seen.

20180810234414_1

This entry into Thrones’ canon was released during the twilight of the PS3 and so I think I had gotten rid of my older consoles by the time it was released. As a result, this game (of thrones) was viewed on with reverence, but was relegated to ‘the one that got away’ for a long time. Well, thanks to my shiny new gaming PC … I finally get a chance to rekindle this romance.

20180810234630_1

The game itself is much like I had hoped. A delicious over-the-shoulder viewpoint ala God of War or some of the Resident Evils remains my favourite vantage point, and the richly detailed world of Thrones has just enough ‘open worldness’ to sate most voyeurs.

20180811001718_1

Perhaps my only complaint about the game is combat, which appears to take – badly – elements of turn-based combat with skill inclusions in a similar vein to Dragon Age. I think for a terrible combatant like myself, it will probably work out better this way, but I feel like I’ve been spoiled with the rich mechanics of God of War so recently that anything below that just doesn’t cut the mustard.

I am keen to continue the story though. This first chapter essentially introduces you to Mors, your protagonist, and Brother of the Night’s Watch. Chapter 2 takes you across the sea to Alester, a red priest, so I’ll see how that particular story goes later today.

It’s in the Bag

blue green and purple poker chips
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Microsoft Bingo • You have unlocked 50 Luggage of any type • 50G • 19.87% of gamers unlocked this

First thing’s first: Yes, I have used a stock image for this achievement, because I really couldn’t be bothered posting another Microsoft Bingo screenshot from my other achievements because – frankly – they all look the same. Instead, in the absence of a good Bingo picture, I’ve gone with something generic to gambling, so you can enjoy that particular aesthetic while reading today’s post. Oh … alright, let me throw a couple of old screenshots into the mix as well.

Today’s achievement is largely the result of a mistake. Last night, while setting up my new PC, I wanted to make sure OBS was working correctly, and would be able to handle a stream – so I set it to broadcast a clicker (AdVenture Communist – a spin on AdVenture Capitalist) to run overnight. Sure enough, this morning got a bit away from me, and so even while I write this – AdVenture Communist is still broadcasting to my Twitch Channel, silently clocking-up potatoes and medicine while I’m beavering away at work on a Friday lunch-break.

And so, this left me with a fairly ‘lite’ selection of games to choose from. Anything from Steam would automatically disconnect the stream, and with still half the day left, regardless of whether anyone was watching or not, I didn’t really want to be faced with a blank screen pumping out across the internet airwaves with my name on it – and so I hunted for a good ol’ fashioned Xbox PC game to play.

Microsoft Bingo 28_06_2018 3_43_45 PM

And, well, because I was short on time, I settled on Microsoft Bingo.

I’ll be perfectly honest, this really was a quick-and-dirty achievement for me. I even went so far as to hunt through the achievement list to see what I could grab quickly. I settled on just smashing through a couple of games, splurging the coins that I had on whatever I needed to, and landing something. Two games in, I had enough bags to get me over the line for this 50G … this is classic achievement hunting at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.

Microsoft Bingo 28_06_2018 4_27_42 PM

And so, this frees up my Friday night to play something a little more ambitious on that shiny new gaming PC. I have a new webcam, a new set of speakers and a whole lot of enthusiasm to put it through its paces … watch out world!

Rookies

20180809184550_1

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime • Finish the first level

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am writing this to you from my brand, new shiny, and – most importantly – working gaming PC. I have given it a good run this evening, undertaking the first few opening missions of Destiny 2, and getting a few slow-burn games and MMOs patching ready for longer sessions.

I also successfully managed to get my dual-monitor setup working, so I am even happier. This is the first proper gaming PC I’ve had in perhaps the last twenty years … back in the day when it was either a PC or a Master System II (see the parent blog for my lament about that this week). But, for all the new, shiny games that I look forward to playing on this PC – business must come first, and for me – business means achievements.

20180809184829_1

It took me a lot of time last night to look at my Steam Games’ library and find ‘something’ that I could use as my christening achievement. Of course, if Battle.net had a similar achievement system, I could have used that – and I’m still a few steps away from downloading my GOG library to this PC, and so I went with something that I wouldn’t normally be able to play during my working hours, and certainly not something that would be quick-and-easy on the laptop generally.  Bonus points for a bit of nostalgia as well came in the form of Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime – which, in reality, has nothing really that much in common with the classic Ghostbusters anyway.

20180809191124_1

This is a game that would most likely be a twin-stick shooter if it was on console (it might be on console, I haven’t checked). It’s essentially a room-by-room, wave-based challenge game that requires you to clear out a series of ghosts of varying difficulty until you eventually arrive at a ‘big’ boss, which is a long, but (in the first level, anyway) not entirely difficult.

20180809191319_1

What surprised me most about this game was how much I died in this first level. The AI seemed quite responsive and moved to revive me quickly, up until one stage where there were 3/4 people knocked out, and it seemed a fortuitous piece of timing that saved us at the end of a wave. I think that a controller might make this game a bit easier, but not by much – and so I’ll put it down to just ‘one of those things’ you need to factor-in as an inevitability, and use that to balance out strategy as much as positioning and timing.

As I get more comfortable with PC gaming and start to build up a more contemporary library, there’s a good chance that games like this will eventually drop out of rotation – and judging by the size of my Steam library (and pile of shame), that is going to be quite quick. I’d like to go back and give another level or two a go just to compare the experience as the game progresses, but time and inclination both need to be balanced nicely for that to happen and, well, I’m not convinced that’s an easy accomplishment.

But … if I don’t do it, then … well, who am I gonna call?

I’m sorry, I’m having a terrible ‘Dad Joke’ day. There’s no reason the blog should be spared.