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.


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).

Short Work



Clicker Heroes • Complete 50 Five Minute Quests

I said I would do it, and I did it. Another achievement down on Clicker Heroes, and – perhaps more importantly – a bit more variety in the mix for PC gaming today. I think this achievement is more about running the marathon of gaming, as opposed to the sprint of early-level achievements. Fifty is a lot of quests, and when your Mercenaries don’t necessarily get a five-minute quest as part of their random selection, ‘chipping away’ at the quests, some of which have the lowest mission at around four hours, probably takes the full 127 hours of playing time I have clocked-up on my Steam Account (full disclosure: I did leave it running overnight once when I first started playing … I don’t think I’m getting those statistics back).

Tonight’s Xbox gaming is likely to be a spot of Tom Clancy’s The Division, thanks to a delicious weekly sale price of 60% off the season pass. I’ve been very keen to get back to The Division, and if there’s a bit of meat-on-the-bones which means I don’t need to work my way into the Dark Zone and deal with other people (not that there were many of them last time I played) then I’m all the more for it.

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!

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.

Your First Victory



Siralim • Win a battle

I had hoped to play something with a bit more ‘substance’ on PC today, but the trade off was a whole heap of games that didn’t seem to have achievements versus not having a Mac version to play with (frankly, it’s in the 30s celsius today, I don’t really have the inclination to be stuffing around switching OS), and so this tidy little sub-100MB game seemed like a good little ‘filler’ to see me through.


If I’m perfectly honest – it’s little games like this which give me hope that one day I might be able to call myself a game developer. When I closed the game, it came up with an interesting studio name – Thylacine Studios – which, for the science-geeks among you, is the scientific name for the Tasmanian Tiger. I couldn’t see anything to indicate that the company was Australian in origin, indeed, the suffix of LLC at the end of the company name on its website doesn’t really give me much hope – but it made me patriotic for a whole minute-and-a-half that I otherwise would have been.

I’ll persevere with this a bit longer, now that I have the basics in terms of controls down, but I don’t think this will be an all-consuming hobby like other 8-bit style games, eg. Stardew Valley.




Mini Metro • Deliver 500 passengers in San Francisco

Today, our Mini Metro journey takes us to San Francisco, my ideological, if not spiritual (that mantle goes to Boston) home – largely as a result of its tech and gaming presence. This was actually one of the easier levels that I’ve managed to get the volume achievement on – either as a result of good track placement, or just my development as a Mini Metro gamer who is able to place carriages and add new lines to areas before problems occur.

Either way, it was easier.

It was kind of nice having a bit of a stop-and-game session over lunch today, as I’ve been a bit inundated with work. Getting a Diet Coke, a salad roll, and a spot of Mini Metro really hit the spot. It makes me think of employers who have a console or a game station setup in their lunchrooms for employees to use on their breaks … I can certainly see the benefit in offering some ‘release’ to staff, even for a short space of time (I only played Mini Metro for about 20 minutes). I know that the existing research shows that staff who have access to Social Media are able to take quick mental breaks from work which results in their ability to be more productive post-break. Surely that research translates to gaming?

Regardless, I’ve certainly been ‘productive’ (‘more’ is a bit subjective) this afternoon. Maybe it’s the games, maybe its the crushing weight of my workload – the net result is that I got to squeeze in some games this afternoon, and, in that scenario: everyone wins.




Windward • Open a Sealed Letter

I guess you could say this was a belated hangover achievement, in that I’d seen it before, knew that I had a sealed letter in my inventory, but never spent the time to work out how exactly to open it. As it turns out, the trick is to clear out your inventory of the other achievements first, and then right-clicking and hitting ‘Examine’ seems to do the tick.

The letter itself was actually a fairly small part of my time on Windward today. For the most part, I’ve been attempting to work through a few of the quests, from what I can understand of them anyway, and – like most normal people I suppose – I’ve just ‘played’ the game.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

I feel like I’m getting a good handle on combat and game navigation now … I know it’s only taken me a few hours, but unless you’re playing naval strategy and trade games with some sort of regularity, some hurdles are expected. Handy cut-outs with information and requirements are littered throughout the game, so where I’ve had a memory blank (or simply can’t work out what’s going on) I’ve typically been steered back to normality by the game itself. Good Design.

I’ll try and get around to a bit more of this tomorrow, but I’m also conscious that there are better games to play in one’s lunch-break. We will see how and where the mood grabs me.



Clicker Heroes • Ascend the world 3 times

I got a bit confused with this achievement to be honest. I thought I was actually going for the first ascension achievement, but when I ascended and nothing unlocked, I thought it was glitch. It turns out that I already had it … so when, after 20 minutes, I was able to get back to a position where I could ascend again, I tried to do it to see if I could force the achievement unlock, and – as it turns out – I got this achievement instead!

I love clickers.

My Mac was running unusually slow today, so I didn’t get a chance to jump back and forth between my usual clicker assortment like I would normally do, so I really spent some time on Clicker Heroes – trying to work towards some particular achievements rather than just climbing through the levels. Indeed, most of the late-game achievements required you to reach a level after ascension, so in my ignorance, I worked on a bit of an achievement clean-up before going for the ascension. And, let’s be honest, ‘working’ on a clicker isn’t exactly going to cause you to break a sweat – but it’s a game, and games do what games do. They create fun … exactly what Clicker Heroes does.

I’m in two minds about whether to push on for five ascensions or just go for the levels again … but, if I’m perfectly honest, there’s something really satisfying about ascending, and it’s not without its gameplay rewards anyway. I’ll see how the mood grabs me tomorrow, but it might also be a case of showing one of my other clickers some love.

Time will be the ultimate master of my otherwise very, very, busy day tomorrow.




Age of Empires: Definitive Edition • Explored all areas of a single map • 20G • 1.51% of gamers unlocked this

Wow. Talk about a rare achievement. Having watched the launch of the Definitive Edition live from Mixer’s NYC Studio yesterday, some deep-rooted nostalgia came over me, and by the end of the day, I had the 17GB download of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition making its way onto my laptop.

I played a lot of this game as a kid.

A lot.

I am almost certain that most of that time was spent punching in cheat codes and completely annihilating my opponents with an overwhelming display of force – but that was in the days before achievements, so this time around I have to adopt a bit of a nuanced approach.


Right now, I am working my way through the tutorial, which is fairly substantial in-and-of itself. I doubt I’ll get through it all today (another achievement tomorrow, perhaps), but in the meantime, I had to wait around for my Egyptians to harvest and stockpile 800 units of food – so I made one of my scouts ride his horse around the map in the meantime, resulting in a delightful little 20G with only one-and-a-half percent completion rate! One of the perks with starting a game at (re)launch! I imagine that will go up over time, though – as we’ve seen before – people are so philosophically opposed to the Windows Store that they just can’t bring themselves to click ‘buy.’

Their loss.

I have another night of training (three days in a row this week – lucky me!) so I anticipate being completely stuffed by the time I get home tonight. I may be able to dabble in something extra when I get home – otherwise I’m still keen to check out the deals I got in yesterday’s EA sale.

Variety. It’s the spice of life!