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Mondays, amirite?

Today, I have been struggling with a spreadsheet AND Twitter support (they suspended my work account, for some reason).

The only cure is to murder orcs horribly. Yes, that’s right. I’m playing Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, a seven year old game this guy called ‘morally repulsive.’

I thought it would be too repetitive, since you basically wander around an ugly gray landscape murdering ugly green orcs, but it’s clear the character designers has way fun designing the ugly green orcs.

You get closeup portraits of guys named Grubrok the Meat Hoarder and Ratbag the Cowardly who taunt you when they find you. Plus you learn a neat move for making an orc’s head explode in a shower of black goo.

I’ll give you morally repulsive.

It does, however, force me out of my comfort zone. I like to run up the side of the building, hide somewhere high and snipe. Queen of the headshot, me. And you can do that plenty, but you also have to get on the ground and swing a sword around to advance the story.

It will not surprise you to learn that I have the reflexes of a woman in her sixties, not a 14-year-old boy. That shit is hard.

Not the least surprised to learn that the developer was accused of pinching code from Assassin’s Creed. Nothing came of it, but can confirm there are serious ‘look and feel’ issues that don’t seem accidental.

March 8, 2021 — 9:04 pm
Comments: 9

Three antlers. Huh.

So Steam had a sale on Eastshade, an open world game where you play a painter, walking around painting stuff.

The reviews all said the world was beautiful and relaxing. The faces are a little creepy, but the landscape is pretty. Tinkly piano music. Everyone plays nice. Sounded promising. Walking around 3D models staring at stuff is my thing.

The scene opens below deck of a ship. It runs aground, the hold fills with water, you can’t escape, fade to black. This…isn’t quite what I was expecting.

Creepy. Yes. There are four species: monkeyface, deerface, owlface and bearface. I ran across the deerface above in the woods. He doesn’t speak. He points at something. I have no idea what. One of my first interactions was an owlface asking me to report a bearface to social services for abusing his kids. There’s something…off about all the conversations.

Then I remembered: people who program video games don’t have a lot of experience with social interaction.

Eh. I bought it, I’ll play it through. I’ve wasted my time in stupider ways.



Back here! Tomorrow! 6 WBT! Dead Pool Round 139!

February 4, 2021 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 10

Huh. I guess.

Looking for something a little different in my escapism, I have played through a game called Journey this weekend. It’s a trippy walking simulator, where you’re this tall thin creature headed toward a mountain. You can walk, fly a little and make a musical noise. That’s all you got.

It takes about three hours. You move through a changing landscape, see some pretty stuff and listen to some pretty music. It’s an unsubtle metaphor for a spiritual journey. I guess. I enjoyed it. I guess.

According to the Wikipedia article, it’s been called “one of the greatest video games of all time” and it won a bunch of game-of-the-year titles.

This is just stupid and it shows you how desperate game reviewers are to be associated with a REAL art form.

Two things I didn’t know when I finished the game last night: the other players you sometimes encounter along the way are real people playing the game and if you sit through the credits, they show you their usernames at the end.

So I replayed the last 45 minutes (that’s where it took me when I hit ‘resume’), sat through the lonnnnnng-ass credits and, sure enough, there were about seven plausible-looking usernames at the end. That’s when I remembered I don’t have a print-screen button on this keyboard.

So that was cool. I guess.

Indie games. Eh?

p.s. Blake has won-a da dick with Dustin Diamond AKA Screech. You know what that means!

February 1, 2021 — 7:52 pm
Comments: 25


I’ve had a fetish for the rooftops of London since I made my poor mother take me to Mary Poppins, like, five freaking times. So I’m having great fun free-running the rooftops in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Victorian London. Nice.

The game is five years old now (I’m that cheap, yes), so the facial animations aren’t up to the current standard. But the sets – they have that nailed. Go on – click for the big color version. It’s purty.

I don’t usually play the female character, when there’s an option. The computer game fiction that a five-foot-nothin’ girly-girl can coldcock a giant hairy thug just using her adorable little fists…I mean, c’mon. Flying monsters? No problem. Magic spells? Fine. But enough is too much.

But Evie has a pointy stick. And a bitching wardrobe.

Only, it creeps me out how much she looks and sounds like someone I know.

Not talking about Twitter. That place is weird.

November 18, 2020 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 4

When I’m blue, I shoot people

I bet sales of computer games have gone through the roof! I know Steam has offered me several items on my wishlist at nice prices.

Like this one: Far Cry 5. Ubisoft did a clever marketing thing with it; I don’t know if you remember. When it was in development, word got out that your enemy in the game is a bunch of redneck religious nuts in Montana.

Well, the purple hairs loved this. If you’re not aware, computer games are yet another sphere of entertainment they are attempting to suck all the fun out of. The idea that you run around shooting MAGA-hatters delighted a certain chunk of the prospective audience and dismayed an even larger one. It was a tetchy time in 2018.

Then the game came out and it’s true: you shoot rednecks. But you also are a redneck yourself and all your friends and allies are rednecks. This is Montana; it’s rednecks all the way down.

We should have trusted the Far Cry series; it’s gloriously insensitive. You get money shooting endangered species and selling their bits. Not to mention shooting people. Lots and lots of people.

I’m having fun. I only wish I had a real gun 🙁

March 18, 2020 — 9:14 pm
Comments: 9

They make the most adorable sounds when they die

I finished the last of my antibiotics this morning. I don’t know if it’s the sickness or the medicine, but something has transformed my usual robustly lazy self into a still, tranquil lump of inert flesh. Man, I’m tired. I reckon one more weekend of bone idleness should set me on the road to recovery.

Or not. Whatever. I ain’t moving for two days.

To that end, I bought a little game: bad north. It’s a light strategy game from Sweden about Vikings murdering and pillaging your people, but the graphics are so adorable and the music is so catchy it makes genocide positively kawaii.

This is not big brain stuff. I think it’s available in phone edition, so it’s that kind of game. But after an hour or so of gameplay, I think this is a recommend.

Please join me in having an indolent and enjoyable weekend.

November 15, 2019 — 9:06 pm
Comments: 10

I saw a deer today

You probably don’t recognize the image, as I think we’ve established that few of you play vidya games. That’s GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence hardware/software system from Portal 2. At one point, she informs you that “I saw a deer today.” Probably to make you feel bad that you haven’t been outside the industrial complex you’re stuck in for an indeterminate but very long time.

You don’t see the deer in the game, though. That’s fanart I stole off Imgur. It’s not even my fan art.

But I did actually see a deer today. We were visiting someone who lives up a lane in the woods, and a doe ambled across the road in front of us. It was very special.

And with that, I’m going back to my fainting couch. Antibiotics working, but ever so slowly.

November 11, 2019 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 8

I bought me a basket today

Passed this in a junk shop window today and, for £10, had to have it. Don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but it’s a beaut.

Strapped it to my bicycle to get it home and, yes, came the Elmira Gulch jokes immediately. I know too many people in the town.

Zo! One of the perks when your Queen is also your Pope: no separation of church and state. I get a four-day holiday at Easter! Tonight, I am a happy bunny!

Don’t worry, though — I’ll be around at the usual time to post pointless crap. Hoorah!

In case you missed it: commenter peacelovewoodstock pointed me to this:

In light of the devastating fire at the Notre Dame de Paris, Ubisoft wants to give all gamers the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of the cathedral through Assassin’s Creed Unity on PC.

From April 17th at 15:00 to April 25th at 08:00 (your local time), you can download Assassin’s Creed Unity on PC for free here, and you’ll own it forever in your Uplay games library.

We encourage all of you who want to help with the restoration and reconstruction of the Cathedral to join Ubisoft in donating.

I’m currently finishing up Assassin’s Creed: Origins (set in ancient Egypt). I’m a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series. The story telling isn’t brilliant, but the painstakingly-recreated historic environments are just wonderful.

Unity is set during the French Revolution. It came out in 2014 to so-so reviews (technical issues on launch, looks like), but it looks mighty purty. I got mine. Get yours!

April 18, 2019 — 9:59 pm
Comments: 16

Happy New Year!

The pig is for generosity and wealth. Have at it, pig!

It is also the time of the Steam Lunar New Year Sale. Looks like everything on my wishlist is at least 70% off. Somehow, I don’t think this is the path to prosperity, pig!

I have superhuman restraint and I limited myself to one: Assassin’s Creed Origins, a purty open world game set in ancient Egypt.

And now it has downloaded. Goodbye!

February 5, 2019 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 10

Somebody ported Nethack to Steam!

I’ve posted about Nethack before. It’s one of the first dungeon slash-em-up games. It was the very first computer game I ever played and it ate a whole year of my life. Thirty four years later, it’s still the most fun game I’ve ever played.

Because even the very first PCs were capable of storing incredibly large and complex relationships between variables, which is “all” Nethack is.

Take the humble cockatrice. If you touch a dead cockatrice, you turn to stone. Fine, once you learn that, you never touch another dead cockatrice. You probably know better than to eat a tinned food ration that smells of cockatrice. Ah, but what if you fall into a pit on top of a cockatrice? Stone. What if you’ve been temporarily blinded and you’re feeling your way across the floor and suddenly, dead cockatrice? Stone.

But wait. But what if you have a pair of gloves? Can you run around poking monsters with a dead cockatrice and turn them into stone? Yes. Yes, you can. Just don’t trip and fall on it.

Under the hood, the formulae that create the dungeon and the monsters therein are incredibly complex. I could never work out some relationships from behavior alone. It wasn’t until I peeped at the source code that I began to understand how complicated a thing it really is.

Anyway, Steam reviewers are crying foul. Nethack is a giant cooperative labor of love and you’re not supposed to charge for it. There are plenty of places still to play it for free.

But I paid less than £4 for this version and, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not paying for Nethack. I’m paying for the dev’s effort putting it on Steam. It includes some light music and effects and a decent manual. And Steam achievements, if you care.

I paid for my very first version, too. It was technically to cover the cost of the floppy.

See? I play semantic games, too.

January 3, 2019 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 6