Distraction: Real Neat Blogger Award

Mainly due to my own laziness, I’ve kept this blog low-profile for years, so you can imagine my surprise when I found out that it was chosen by the invaluable halsdoll for something called the Real Neat Blogger Award. I don’t deserve this kind of honour, but thank you! It’s a welcome chance for some introspection and I love it. And yes, I know my answer comes late but having two jobs keeps me busy… All right, enough excuses.

Hey ho, let’s go, here are my answers:

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1. What is your earliest gaming memory?

It’s funny because I have two such memories and, no matter how hard I think, I cannot decide which one was really the first. What I do remember is that River Raid was the first game I’ve ever played when my Dad brought home a (somewhat battered) clone of Atari 2600 borrowed from one of his friends.

The second memory involves my first visit in a computer store. While Dad was busy talking with an employee, I noticed a kid sitting in front of a 286 PC and playing a game. I sat next to him on a free chair without saying anything and began to watch. At that time, I was really interested in military history, especially World War 2, so you can guess how amazed I was because said game was Wings of Fury. You know, a real F4U Corsair taking off from a carrier, bombing Japanese outposts and then trying to land in one piece. Despite my shyness, I finally asked the guy if he would let me play just for a short while… and he answered with a smirk and a brutal “No!”.

 

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*sigh*

 

Such was the end of my childhood innocence when I learned that some gamers can be real bastards.

2. When did you start blogging and why?

This blog was created in August 2015 and initially was meant to be an antidote to a personal flaw of mine. Since I rarely finish games and my backlog is constantly growing, I figured out it would be motivating to make a list of games I somehow completed. After a while, I found out that the blog is useful for roleplaying purposes and began to write about my fictional player characters, their personalities, goals, self-appointed challenges and restrictions, etc. Another step was to use it to capture fleeting gaming moments in screenshots and words, and generally ramble about the games I was playing. So here I am. It’s very far from perfection but my little WordPress corner has become an important part of my video games experience.

3. What feature do you wish any of your consoles had that they currently don’t?

I don’t own any consoles so I’ll just skip this question.

4. Name a movie that you wish had a video game made after it and what  developer would you want to make it and why?

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There are so many possible choices here. Sadly, halsdoll has already picked up one of my favourite films, Event Horizon, so I’ll have to improvise. How about the Ghibli classic Porco Rosso? It has everything I’d want from a video game. First, it’s the protagonist, a Great War ace pilot, who’s become shell-shocked by his experiences and turned into an anthropomorphic pig. Then it’s the setting, a magical realist version of post-WWI Italy with sky pirates and the Fascist government in the background. Not to mention all those finely drawn Italian planes and air combat. If I were a billionaire, I’d hire both Studio Ghibli and the team behind Beyond Good & Evil to create an open-world game being a spiritual sequel to the aforementioned masterpiece. In my vision, the gameplay would have a twist related to the main story with the government being the main antagonist, slowly limiting player’s freedom of movement and finally forcing them to either run away or die in a desperate last stand.

5. Do you have a games room/corner? If so, let us see it and show your favorite thing in there?

Nothing special here because I spend too much time playing games to care about secondary stuff like merchandise and collectibles. It’s just two shelves in one of my book cabinets with old game boxes and magazines.

6.  Do you have a child or a pet? Which character do you name it after?

Neither. If I ever have a child, he or she will have a traditional name, but I swear that one day I’ll visit a shelter and adopt a Dogmeat.

Dogmeat_scaring_Phil

7.  What keeps you going when gaming?

Curiosity. I’m always eager to see how the plot resolves, what kind of characters and enemies I meet on my way, what fancy weapons I will find. The other reason is the sense of accomplishment when I finish the game or at least beat a difficult boss or find all the gold stars.

Nominees:

Sorry, I’m posting it so late that it would be simply rude to nominate anyone but if you’re reading this and still want to participate, you have my personal approval.

Don’t forget to link to my blog if you do 😉

Again, thanks halsdoll!

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Looking Forward

Yesterday, I said ‘goodbye’ to 2017 by writing a post about the best game I played last year. Now, the time has become to welcome give the new year a proper welcome. What’s better than doing it by making a little LIST?

Let’s start with the simple part and draw a proper backlog of games I haven’t finished yet. Of course, the minimum to count it as finished is reaching at least one ending and publishing a proper Just Finished post.

In no particular order:

Eisenhorn: Xenos

Gunpoint

Sunless Sea (nope, 700 hours wasn’t enough)

WH40k: Space Marine

Rain World

Skyrim

Volgarr The Viking

GTA V

Fallout New Vegas (of course)

Verdun (it’s a multiplayer FPS so I’ll just get level 100 of experience and quit)

Jalopy

Mad Max

Firewatch

The Final Station

That’s it. Maybe I should start with the last two games because I’ve essentially finished them already and all that remains is writing damn end posts to get rid of them.

Then there are some games, mostly classics, I’m planning to try out – some of them already waiting in the limbo which is my Steam library.

Half-Life 2

System Shock

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Portal

Max Payne 3

This War Of Mine

Wings! Remastered Edition

LIMBO

So much for the list. My most important goal, however, is to completely change my attitude as a player, just as I mentioned in one of the Creative Christmas posts. I seriously need it to become less competitive, focused on score and achievements, and more reflective, enjoying the plot, characters, mechanics, visuals, and so on. Hopefully, the new approach will allow me to appreciate and enjoy games more, maybe take a new, broader perspective, and therefore become a better player. Quite exciting and so much to look forward to in the new year.

 

 

Creative Christmas: Looking Back

Kim’s festive challenge ends today. The final task she gave to her faithful followers was:

You wake up the following morning, hungover but happy – you have an entire day of gaming ahead of you. You start thinking back over the video games you played during 2017; what was your game of the year?

Well, this is not a hard question.

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That’s right, 2017 was the year when I played Fallout New Vegas for the first time. A classic. A masterpiece. A monument to human creativity and imagination. This isn’t only my opinion because NV remains popular even 7 years after its release; I constantly see discussions and memes about the game on various social media platforms and new mods keep appearing almost every day.

There are so many reasons why I love New Vegas that I should make a separate post to list them all – and it would be a very long post – so just let me name two of them. First, it’s the post-apocalyptic desert setting which makes wandering through the Mojave a wonderfully relaxing experience, especially when I’m able to play heavy stoner or psychedelic rock as a custom soundtrack. Second, the modding community has been able to add tonnes of high-quality content. Just trying to find and play the best mods will probably take me another year and I’m so happy about it.

That’s it! The Creative Christmas is over. Now I would like to say it loud: Thank you very much, Kim! Your competition was an excellent idea and a very interesting experience. If you ever start a similar thing in the coming year, please let me know and I will gladly join you!

Creative Christmas: Things To Do In 2018

Now Entering 2018.gif

On the last day of the year 2017, Kim asks the penultimate question in her Creative Christmas challenge:

Midnight eventually rolls around, which means it’s now time to pick a New Year gaming resolution to see you through the next 12 months. What’s your choice for 2018?

The answer to this one is very easy.

Make Playing Vidya Fun Again

The most important reflection on my gaming behaviour in the past year is that I treat games too seriously. All too often I’m obsessed with finishing every task or quest, finding all secrets, getting all Steam achievements, playing at the highest difficulty level, etc. Eventually, what was supposed to be a pleasant hobby turns into a chore and I become bitter and disappointed. No more! Now I’m planning to simply enjoy games and take a more relaxed approach. Which leads to the second resolution…

Expand Your Horizons

There are so many classic titles I have never touched due to the reasons described above. Now when I’m about to change my approach, I will finally have more time to install and play some games which have been waiting in my library forever, like Half-Life 2. Hopefully, this will help me become a wiser gamer and blogger.

Appreciate Your Fellow Bloggers

With shame, I must admit that I’m bad at being mutuals with other blogs. Too many times I just skim through a post and click the Like button without adding any meaningful commentary or advice. But I promise I will change that and become your Best Blogging Friend ever!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Creative Christmas: Festive Dining with a Geiger Counter

The last few days were pretty busy, but now I’m finally back to the Creative Christmas competition hosted by Kim from the Later Levels blog. The task for today is…

It’s now time to head out to the kitchen to put on your oven gloves and start preparing Christmas dinner. It consists solely of video game food; what’s on the menu?

As someone who spends most of his time in Skyrim looking for bloody leeks to make that delicious soup, I feel that I’m the right person to answer this question. Still, the cuisine of the Nords seems to be a bit too obvious choice. Instead, I have a better idea.

Gamers of the world, rejoice! Hereby, I invite you to…

The Great Postapocalyptic Christmas Dinner

…which is to take place in my cosy underground bunker near the Great Khans‘ territory. Please do not disturb the cazadores.

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We’ll start with some appetisers, of course. Iguana on a stick? Here you go. Some squirrel bits? Be my guest. Or maybe you’re into classic pre-war food? One Blamco Mac’n’Cheese for you.

Now for the main course. Obviously, ordinary food like Squirrel Soup won’t do on this occasion. So what makes a dish so special and unique? Maybe rare ingredients? Then I have something for you.

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Sure, Hearty Soup sounds delicious. You better appreciate that Mole Rats are so hard to find and fresh carrots can only be obtained at the McCarran NCR base. It took me a long walk to get them and I almost got shot as a Legion sympathiser, but everything for my guests.

Like every self-respecting chef, I have this one recipe for a festive dinner. No, I didn’t invent it. Actually, I took it from the still warm corpse of a drug-crazy cannibal raider called Cook-Cook. Maybe he was a monster, but his taste was impeccable. No worries, my version of his (in)famous Fiend Stew includes brahmin meat which means that everyone leaves my little party alive.

Very well, we’re finished with our festive meal. Don’t pay attention to that radiation counter inside your Pip-Boy ticking, I swear it’s safe and even makes food more tasty! Now let’s celebrate with something liquid! There’s that nice saloon in the nearby Goodsprings and I’ve heard they’re going to be open all night long.

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I have this feeling that the morning after Christmas won’t be a pleasant one… Totally worth it!

 

 

Distraction: Shuffle The Music Tag

 

Since I have no idea which video game character would be the perfect Santa’s helper, I’m skipping the Creative Christmas challenge for today and replying to an important post instead.

NV Jukebox

The invaluable halsdoll did me a great honor by choosing me for the Shuffle The Music competition. She’s not only a blogger of great taste and style, but also an incredibly patient person because I let her wait for entire 11 days! It’s time to make up for the shame.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
2. Shuffle your entire music library and talk about the songs that come up
3. Mention the songs as well as the artists
4. Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and let them know

(since my nature is rather unruly, I’ll allow myself to alter the second point: “talk about the songs that come up and which games they fit as a custom soundtrack”)

And here are the songs:

Angelo Badalamenti – Dub Driving

You may call me uncultured swine, but I’ve never liked David Lynch’s film. Perhaps they are too intellectual and artsy for. What I’ve always liked, however, is the work of his court composer, Angelo Badalamenti.

I have good memories with this one and GTA San Andreas, driving a truck outside large urban areas at night. So my guess is that it’s perfect for any driving game, not only the GTA series.

Myrath – Tales of the Sands

The entire album served me well when playing Dune 2000. My suggestion is to use it in any game with desert and/or Middle Eastern theme.

Donis&Kulgrinda – …eisie…

The combination of Lithuanian folk and ambient is perfect for any winter game, like Skyrim.

Kyuss – Whitewater

Another piece driving music, this one seems to be a good choice for games like American Truck Simulator or maybe even Mad Max.

Carbon Based Lifeforms – Polyrytmi

Close your eyes, listen to it and imagine the wonderful emptiness of the universe. Then remember to play it when playing any space-themed game, maybe Elite or FTL.

And now, the chosen few:

Ochłapy Idealizmu

Particlebit

AmbiGaming

HePlayedTheGame

Cary

The Cake Is A Lie

I ❤ Old Games

Daily Gamer: Hook

Ooh, that’s why I’m easy

Easy like Sunday morning

Sometimes, I’m fed up with all those big fancy games which require me to understand complex mechanics and read whole paragraphs of sublime English prose (I’m looking at you, Failbetter Games!). Sometimes, all I need is simple and calm gameplay to cool down my mind after a day of work. Fortunately for me, it seems that there are more people thinking this way. Two of them, Maciej Targoni and Wojciech Wasiak, created Hook.

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This is how a proper opening screen should look like.

Basically, it reminds me of the mini-games encountered in large cRPG titles like System Shock or Skyrim. The goal on each level is to make the titular ‘hooks’ disappear. Each of them is connected to a power source by a wire and the player needs to guess the proper order, because two hooks touching each other means failure.

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The gameplay gradually gets more complicated with each stage having more elements and occassionally adding new mechanics. Of course, you don’t need to have a degree in advanced mathematics or be a cryptologist working for the CIA, but later levels require some patience and careful thinking.The real-life equivalent would be untangling my MP3 player headphones after taking them out of my pocket, although Hook is decidedly less frustrating than that.

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The current version has 50 levels and I think that everyone gifted with an average I.Q. can finish it in half an hour, but that’s not the point. Like a meal prepared by a master chef or a classical painting, it is meant to be savoured slowly. Who knows, maybe sometime in the future university textbooks will mention Hook as one of early examples of a video game becoming a true work of art?

The game is available on Steam for a very reasonable price.