The first step



12 is Better Than 6 • Pass the tutorial

I loaded up my Windows 10 installation today, moreso so I could put Sea of Thieves onto my PC and see how it ran, but while I was there, I thought I would investigate a couple of the smaller games I had loaded on in days gone by.

This little title seems to adopt a Wild West tone. It’s a top-down action game, that seems like it would work much better with a controller than keyboard and mouse – particularly a touch-pad mouse where a required right click plus left click for shooting is needed. There’s some fine finger-work required to master that particular sequence, but I managed to do enough of it to get through the tutorial.


I love the art style of this game. It’s simplicity is similar to that of SUPERHOT in it’s strong, plain colours and attention to good gameplay. You can tell a good game when the mechanics are enough to hold your attention over the visuals, but when a game has a good combination of both, and this game does, then I think it’s worthy of a mention.

I’d like to play a bit more of this game over the next few days, but my Windows install runs a bit choppier than my Mac partition, and the internet connection doesn’t seem as stable either. I’ll give it a go and see what falls out of my attempt, but worse-comes-to-worse, I’m sure I’ve got a few clicker achievements waiting in the wings.


Dictatorship 101



Tropico 5 • Finish all tutorials

There is a whole heap of sales going on across the various internet outlets at the moment. Most of them are prefixed with ‘Spring Sale’ or some non-descript game award nominee list, but either way – if you want a bargain, there’s a few doing the rounds on the web at the moment.

One of the ones that I stumbled across was an exceptionally cheap price for Tropico 5 … a game which I’ve played a little of during its second and third iterations, but haven’t yet picked 5. As it turns out, the game was already in my library and there was no need to rebuy it, or its DLC, but I hadn’t downloaded it to my PC yet, and in the interests of doing something new, I thought I’d give it a go.


At first glance, the game itself seems to lean-in heavily to its pedigree. There’s politics, there’s economics and a beautiful backdrop – not to mention that it runs great, and it has a well laid-out UI that makes the game more-than-inviting to sit down and play. If I was a streamer, I could see myself sitting down for an afternoon session of Tropico 5. But, because I’m not – it remains me on the couch, in my tracksuit pants, playing a game or two while something frivolous is on commercial TV. What a life.


The tutorial itself is broken into three chapters – but you’re given plenty of money to rush completion on buildings and the goals themselves are not that overly complicated. Build this. Research that. The whole end-to-end process for the tutorial took less than half-and-hour, and I don’t feel like I’ve been bombarded with useless information – rather, I’ve been given ‘just enough’ to give me a taste for what I need to know, and I can find out the rest on my own as the game rolls on.


As we’re about to roll into the weekend, I suspect that the next few days might involve a bit of Tropico 5. I’m a little excited to see how I fare in a real game (as opposed to today’s tutorial) after so long away from the older games, and a healthy appetite for RTS.

It’s either going to go very, very well – or very, very badly.

Lemme Upgrade Ya



Ragnarok Clicker • Get 200 adventurer upgrades

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Another clicker.’ Well bad luck, Donald Duck, I. Bloody. Love. Them. I’m still not sure what Ragnarok is … I know it’s the title of a Thor film, but that’s about it. I also don’t really care that much – for me, Ragnarok Clicker is more about the cute aesthetic rather than any great story or literary connection. I like the characters. I like upgrading my characters and I like the sweet, sweet satisfaction of killing bad guys by – essentially – doing nothing but building up an army of soldiers that do the work for me. There’s a reason that clickers are so good … and it’s because it scratches that itch of accomplishment while never actually – and I suppose it’s a crude analogy – treating the infection that is causing the rash in the first place. It’s deliberately endless, and that requires some willpower to be able to bail from the game when you’ve had enough of it.

Of course, that’s great in theory. Thanks to Steam Cloud Saves, I’ve been able to pick up on the likes of Clicker Heroes a year or two after first playing and suck down a big pile of idle gold goodness.

Today was as much about progress than anything else. I did a bit of a shop around the Ragnarok achievements before launching the game, and while I’m still a bit bitter about transcending a level or two before the next achievement, I’m also making good progress against a range of other achievements – so I’m willing to just keep checking in and clocking-up upgrades and gold as needed, and earning the achievements when I do. Today was my 200th character upgrade, which – again, if I hadn’t transcended – would probably have come along eventually through progress, but letting bygones be bygones lets me earn this achievement today and tick it off my list of things to do!

Tonight is a free-er night, so I’m going to make one final push for progress in Sea of Thieves and then (most likely) head back to something Tom Clancy (either The Division or Ghost Recon).

Am I Being Organized?



Mountain • Mountain organizes itself

Today is Mountain day – and letting Mountain run by itself for a few hours seemed to collect a few achievements – notably a couple for doing just that: leaving it by itself!

I wanted to choose an achievement today that actually required me to do something, and I suspect that this one popped because I started cleaning up the mountain. The few hours that I left it allowed it to start accumulating junk … a brick, a CD, the arrow that landed there the other day, etc. Now that I’ve worked out how to actually remove it from the mountain (click and hold rather than click-and-flick!) then I was able to start playing around with the mechanic and seeing what worked. What worked, apparently, was that the mountain rewarded me with an achievement.


As expected, Mountain serves as a beautiful backdrop screensaver or just something nice to have on in the background. Every now and then, much like a fidget spinner, I would zoom in or out on the screen just to see if anything was happening – but for the most part, I’ve left my mountain alone for the day. I might fire it up for a little bit more this afternoon, at the risk of burning through a few other achievements, but I’m fairly sure I’ve said before that while it’s nice to have some ‘in the bank’ for busy days, it’s also a disincentive for pursuing more ambitious goals and other games.

Either way, I’ve enjoyed my time with Mountain. Maybe there’ll be another chance to revisit it in the coming weeks before I move on in the Steam Library!

I Can Sing!



Mountain • Mountain sings

I feel like I’m so incredibly close with another Clicker Heroes achievement, but I just couldn’t get it over the line tonight – so instead it was back to the original plan, and pursue another Mountain achievement. My total playing time is still tracking under an hour (I ended up off-site at work today and couldn’t have the soothing picture of a mountain rotating in the background), so there’s still plenty of backup scope to go here … but in the interests of variety, I like to try a variety of different titles.

There’s probably not a lot else I can say about Mountain tonight! Not without a bit more gameplay, and that’s not happening before midnight. Let’s see what falls out of the mix tomorrow!

Hello There



Mountain • Mountain is home to something new

I don’t even remember installing Mountain, but gee I’m glad I did. What an incredibly cathartic game! And, really, you don’t actually have to do anything! You just … look! … at your mountain!

The problem with not having any instructions is that I had to do a bit of a Google to see what I required for an achievement. Turns out it was just a matter of time to get this one – which seems to be for the first time you get some debris land on your mountain.


… and that’s it! I might chip away at this during the work-week because it seems like something nice to have on in the background. I’m almost certain that there are a few more achievements for me in just the basic wait-and-watch strategy.

I’ll be waiting … and watching … to find out!

Lab Rat



Portal • Acquire the fully powered Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device

Of course I’ve played Portal before. Of course I have. For the life of me I can’t work out why I haven’t played it on my normal Steam account, but all I can think of is that I’ve played it on different accounts over the years I have become increasingly frustrated with my username and switched accounts more frequently than I switch my underwear.

And we’ll leave it at that.

Nonetheless, Portal is a great game to revisit at almost any time. Now that I have the purpose of getting some achievements on it at the same time, I have to say it makes it that much sweeter. GLaDOS, Chell, Cake, all of the usual tropes are there ready to be enjoyed, and the thing that makes the game so good … the puzzles. Oh how nice it is to have the brain challenged once every now and then – leaving it just long enough to have forgotten all the puzzle solutions.


The main reason I went with Portal today is that I wanted to test out my new graphics card, and see if I got better or worse performance than my MacBook booted into Windows. The verdict? Well, the jury is still out. I suspect that the net result is going to be ‘about the same’, because I’d rather scale down my games and play with smoothness rather than crank everything up and have my eyes bleed from the sharpness of the image – and when you set your benchmark that low, it’s difficult to ascertain. Steam is currently updating DOTA2, which I want to use as my benchmark, but I’m almost scared to be disappointed. I’ll still give it a go a bit later today, but I’ll remain cautiously pessimistic.

Extended Puckin’



ClusterPuck 99 • Complete a 10 minute match on any level

I thought I might be able to earn an achievement on one of my clickers today, but it seems like that a whole heap of in-game achievements are within reach, but coded Steam achievements still require a bit of work, so it was off to a new game I go. I’ve actually got a bit of free time this evening to try out that new graphics card properly on my Linux setup, but I feel like Ghost Recon is calling me, so I’m planning on spending a not-so-insignificant amount of time tracking down a drug lord once the kids go to bed.

Today I gave ClusterPuck 99 a go, which seems to be a hockey-esque game where you control a small symbol and … well, try to knock a puck into a goal. I played a couple of matches over my lunchbreak, some short and a ten minute one to get this achievement, but I think my ineptitude with a mouse-and-keyboard was all too self apparent, as the AI reigned supreme around the map.


Funnily enough, I actually didn’t need to do anything to finish off my PC achievement today, as I earned an achievement as I launched the game. The achievement was titled ‘Patience is a Virtue’, with a description of “You patiently waited over 300 days for this update”, which means I’ve essentially landed on an achievement just by playing it nearly a year after it was launched … or patched. I don’t know, either way I thought it was a nifty little reward for players who like an extra enticement to get back into a game, and it reminds me of the 0G timed and media achievements Xbox had originally promised when it launched the Xbox One. I don’t begrudge Microsoft’s shift away from what must have been a low-engagement feature, but I was also a guy who loved Games for Windows Live, so I feel like I’m perhaps in a consistent pattern of backing the wrong horse!

I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to ClusterPuck. It actually makes a much better piece of background viewing to have on while you’re doing some work … setup a couple of advanced AI to fight each other and you’ve essentially got a mini-sports game to watch.

I like the premise, but perhaps not the practice. I’m not holding out for spending much more time in-game, unless I can find a quick-and-friendly achievement to earn!

Merciless Warrior



Royal Defense • Destroy 1000 enemies

For some strange reason, I earned a whole heap of achievements in AdVenture Capitalist today that don’t appear on my Steam achievement list, nor in the game achievements either. I suspect that they may have been added into the game at the back-end and not necessarily transposed onto the main Steam server, so they may show up eventually – but in the interests of transparency, I thought it best to grab another achievement somewhere to cover me for the day.

Enter: Royal Defense.


I don’t mind the odd tower defence game, when I’m winning at them. I still have some scars left over from particularly obnoxious levels in PixelJunk, so when I find a good battle rhythm in a game, it makes me much happier. It just so happened I did have a good battle rhythm today, and blowing the heads off 1000 orcs (or trolls, or some other little green monster dudes) brings me a small sense of satisfaction.

Yesterday I spent a not-insignificant amount of time downloading some of the top games I could find in my Steam Library for my Linux PC … the one I just installed a new graphics card in … so I’m hoping that I might have enough time in my day to be able to test it out a little bit and see how it performs against something like my Mac. It’s not the fastest GPU in the world, but it was already running some of the games pretty well using the onboard chip, so I’m hoping that this gives me enough boost to be able to play some competitive PC games with some more gusto. Experimentation is on the cards.

Gold Star



Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 • Earn 1 star in Special Ops

My current COD MW2 savegame is sitting at the start of the ‘No Russian’ level, which I don’t philosophically have a problem playing, but it doesn’t (and probably rightly so) result in an achievement, so I haven’t been bothered working my way through it in full. Yes, I know you can skip the mission, but it’s actually a good example of confronting art – and I don’t think it should be skipped for the sake of sensibility.

Sure, I haven’t been directly impacted by terrorist or gun violence, and that might change my perspective somewhat – but like most art, it is reflective of a given situation and given time, and right now I think it should be played.

Instead of the above, I opted to have a session in the Special Operations section of the game. I spent so very many hours playing MW2 back on the PlayStation 3 … so much so that I remember making fairly hefty progress through the Special Ops (I may have finished, I can’t remember … I certainly remember unlocking all the sections), going prestige multiplayer a few times over and completing all the levels on hardcore (a few times from memory … there was items of intel to collect as well). Of course, this was with a controller, and playing COD on a laptop without a mouse (admittedly, I’ve become quite good with the trackpad on an FPS though … many hours practice commuting on a train), so I probably didn’t have the reflexes and agility that I would have had on console … but I had enough to finish one of the operations and earn myself a single gold star.

It kind of feels like being in primary school again.