There is no hope

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Kholat • You’ve collected a note in the tree area • 35G • 19.45% of gamers unlocked this

I have actually waited quite a while to score myself an achievement from Kholat. A quick search of this blog notes that I tried back in November last year without much luck to get Kholat working on the 2012 Macbook Pro, and so with my new sexy and beefy gaming PC, it was about time to give this one another go.

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If I’m perfectly honest, the only reason I ever got this game was because it looked affordable on the Windows store and I needed more Win10 titles on my laptop to get me through ’emergency’ sessions during the 2017-18 run of Xbox-only achievements for this challenge. But, it wasn’t free – and so I did actually part with some hard earned cash to get this game, and with that in mind it seemed silly just to leave it parked on my account without ever having fully experienced it beyond 10 FPS and frequent crashes.

I tried reading more about the real life circumstances that surround the game of Kholat but it’s one of those genuinely unexplained mysteries that just don’t sit well with me. There are instances like The Staircase, where there are a whole raft of situations that could have happened – up-to-and-including an attack by an owl on Kathleen Peterson, causing the head wounds and her ultimate collapse at the stairs. We’ll never know exactly what happened, but there are scenarios that are plausible and in the absence of any further facts, then I’m happy with them as options. Kholat, or the ‘Dyatlov Pass Incident,’ just raises more questions than answers – and that aggravates me. With that in mind, I can still enjoy the scenario of the game without needing those further answers – I appreciate this game has a far greater supernatural element to it than what reality might dictate.

For the most part, it feels a bit like a walking simulator, though I did conclude today’s playthrough with a terrifying encounter with what I can only describe as a ‘flame man’. Other than a quick snapshot of the man-come-creature grabbing you and a cut-to-black, it’s a bit hard to understand the circumstances and the reason ‘why’, let alone the ‘how’ of being killed, but from what I read on the internet, I guess I’m supposed to treat this as part of the ‘journey’.

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Look, it’s not a bad game – and in terms of horror, I think it can rub all the right triggers nicely, but I very much am a spoon-fed gamer these days, and I don’t have the inclination to explore and experiment and learn as much as I feel like developers want me to. I just want to play a game. It’s nice to have the soft dulcet tones of Sean Bean introduce me to the game, but I’d be lying if I said it was enough to keep me there.

Today’s achievements are largely for picking up notes along the walking track. I might go back after reading some more, but there’s certainly no rush. I don’t know if there’s tactics I’m supposed to employ or some sort of order I’m supposed to work through the game, but in either event, I’m nonetheless glad that I’ve got something on the gamerscore board after waiting this long to play it properly.

Platinum Pace

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DC Universe Online • Earn a platinum medal in any race

I’m usually a little annoyed when I miss a good opportunity to talk about an achievement, and I burn through something else instead. It’s even more annoying when I’ve used some ‘low hanging fruit’ when I could have saved that for another day – but I feel like neither of today’s achievements are necessarily ‘easy’, and so I am compelled to make this a double-post day and talk about this achievement from the MMORPG, DC Universe Online.

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Full disclosure: I’ve already earned this achievement on DCUO on Xbox, and it is because of this instance that I knew this achievement was … well, ‘achievable’ fairly early on in the game. I didn’t open up DCUO with the intention of grabbing this achievement and posting it today (though there’d be nothing wrong with that if I did! I’ve certainly done similar things before!) but late last night after I smashed through the tutorial, I took the opportunity to have a quick race to see if it was as easy as I remembered.

What was fortuitous was the 12.01am timestamp on the achievement. By rights, I should have just written this one up today and moved on with my life, but the weather is terrible, and it felt like a good gaming afternoon, so Orwell it was. That being said, it is also a good chance to make some progress in DCUO on my PC instance … and, truth be told, it’s awfully nice to be able to have my beloved Thundersquirt back on hero rotation.

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I realise I haven’t actually talked about the achievement itself. This is simply one for racing through a whole bunch of checkpoints within a minute. Literally … a minute. It really was perfect for a ‘one more level’ thing before bedtime.

I’ll probably partake in another ‘one more level’ before bed tonight, as well!

Left Key

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

It’s in the Bag

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Get Cory Learnt

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Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money • Reach Season 3

I’ll talk about this game in a minute, but what I first want to discuss is the guilt of video gaming. I think this is a good post for Left Click Right, so I’ll write about it later, but to cut a long story short, an Executive saw me playing video games on my lunch break today and it made me feel guilty.

Should I feel guilty? I was playing on my time, and there’s nothing wrong with the hobby itself – so why does gaming still attract guilt? Why is it still a hobby that needs to be kept in the closet? If I was looking at ABC News I wouldn’t feel guilty, but if I was skimming Kotaku then I would. The stigma of gaming is still alive and well, and I hate it … I’m going to give this some more thought and share them later on.

In the meantime, the game I was playing when I was ‘caught’ was something new to my repertoire: Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money. It’s essentially a clicker, but there is some story that goes along with it – seemingly broken into ‘seasons’, which I suspect are a little like Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms quests.

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I have to admit, I do like a sprinkle of humor and a smearing of character in my clickers. I think it adds a lot of substance to an otherwise mechanic-focused game. The first few missions, or ‘seasons’ as the case may be, sees you opening up a fuel station (using stolen fuel), and a strip club.

Who says gaming can’t teach you anything about economics?

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I’m keen to get a little further into this game, considering my long-standing love of clickers, its ease of use and its low barrier to entry. There is some more work to be done in learning the broader mechanics, but it seems to be more-or-less the same than every other clicker I’ve played … the only exception being where the buttons are placed.

I can see this being on the regular clicker rotation for a little while yet. Now, if only I can avoid doing so when big bosses are on site waiting to judge me harshly for my extra curricular activities.

Star-Crossed

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Qora • View the Valley Telepathy Sequence

In all honesty, the marketing materials for this game made me think it was something entirely different. There is a game on Vita which involves little more than just walking around on a 16-bit island as the seasons change, which – judging by the brief background images on the Steam library page, this could easily pass for.

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As it turns out, this is rather a slow moving platform puzzler that probably doesn’t quite move at a satisfying pace for my gaming appetite. I mean … would it kill them to include a ‘run’ mechanic? The protagonist would have to be the slowest-moving little white blob I’ve played in a game – and I’ve played a few.

What will probably kill this game for me is that it doesn’t have a quick save and exit function. As I grew increasingly bored with the game (I pushed through as far as I did just to get a few achievements), I went to exit and – well, it told me my progress would be lost.

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Lost … on a game that moves as slow as this? Ah, no thanks. I’m not a ‘complete in one sitting’ guy at the best of times … let alone on Slowly McSlowface over here.

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Don’t hold your breath for a return to Qora on this blog. I mean, nothing is impossible, but I’m certainly leaning towards the improbable. The game itself is easy enough, but it’s also not something that I can easily whip through on a lunchbreak. The burn is far too slow for my liking.

Beat Level One

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Save the Ninja Clan • Beat the first level

As I said yesterday, today was going to be pretty much tied up with family commitments, so it was a toss up between something passive like a Telltale game, or something more ‘meaty’ like … well, like this: Save the Ninja Clan.

I have to say, this concerned me at first, because it said a controller was recommended, but the first few levels seemed to work fine with a keyboard and mouse. It’s possible that there are more complicated mechanics to come, but for now I’m satisfied that I can get through the basics on my own.

I know it’s early days, but this is a good game. I’m enjoying the quick death, quick replay value, and the premise, so expect to see this one on my achievement list again.