Monthly: Burnout

New month, new hope, new struggle. There’s a couple of games I’m very close to finishing but, as always when I reach the final stage, it’s hard to find motivation.

Sometimes I imagine playing a game is similar to sailing ocean. It’s all fun and danger on the way, but eventually you must reach you destination, right? That’s why this month my main goal will be to finish the three games I abandoned.

Space Marine – alright, maybe I finished it two times on highest difficulty, but it’s not enough until I get all single-player achievements. After all, it’s a WH40k game and I treat playing it (almost literally) religiously.

Volgarr the Viking – there’s just one boss between me and Valhalla, and I really want to see that rainbow bridge; besides, Heimdall is an old buddy of mine from the Amiga days.

Sunless Sea – 700 hours of playing seems to be more than enough, and I really want to focus on Sunless Skies.

But wait, just watching the end credits rolling on my screen is not enough. I’m a serious blogger, after all. Let’s mark the secondary target: publish at least two texts about the games I already finished. The said posts are still dwelling in form of sketches in my blog’s little pocket limbo and it’s time to give them salvation.

And then there’s the question of aesthetics. Let’s be honest, my little WordPress corner looks simply ugly. This time I should find a nice skin for it, hopefully matching the blog’s theme.

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Why?

It’s been more than three years. Maybe it’s time to answer the simple question: Why am I doing this?

This blog. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Or maybe it’s a bit more. The origins were humble: I created it to note down every game I managed to complete. And then I went down the slippery slope, because I thought that I may be a good idea to add a few screenshots which I found particularly memorable. Or beautiful, because such things are possible in the video games world.

Then I decided that images may be not enough. Why not turn it into my personal sketchbook where I would write down my thoughts and impressions? Capture the precious moments when video games seem to be more than just a waste of time.

What can you expect?

A very personal take on the games I play. I don’t write reviews, but I rather like to write down what I think about the game I’m currently playing.

Genres? Most likely, you will find platformers, especially the cinematic subgenre, and cRPGs here. The former because as an abandoned child of the Amiga age, I feel very comfortable in 2D surroundings. The latter because as a hopeless fan of fantasy and SF books (although a very picky one) I like to wear somebody else’s skin. Usually, I avoid multiplayer shooters and big strategy games, but if the WW2-era Italian Army appears there, I’ll probably play it and write about how I’m delighted was.

Indie and experimental games are another thing in my book. From time to time I will an intricate and intriguing little thing on that wonderful site or even the good ole Newgrounds, play for a while, and then share my experience.

Generally, there’s no single factor deciding which game I choose. It may be a well-recognised classic or an obscure and perhaps mediocre title which captures my attention. Maybe it’s the soundtrack, or the particular setting, or the visual style, or maybe the game is just so silly that I’m tempted to try it. Be prepared for surprises.

Needless to say, I love interaction, even if this blog is supposed to be written mainly for the purpose of introspection. Comments? Criticism? Jokes? Mockery even? All are welcome. And if you just happen to have your own vidya blog, chances are that you’ll win over a faithful follower.

Just Finished: Hotline Miami 2

That’s it. I’m not getting the 100% completion. The requirement for the last achievement is simply ridiculous: 50.000 dead bodies. I have already passed both Normal and Hard modes several times and the bodycount is still around 43. Time to uninstall HM2 and keep the good memories.

Besides, who likes to be called a whore?

HL2 Grande Finale
A badge of dishonour

Daily Gamer: Magical Sound Car

Another pleasant surprise I found in the RPS Freeloaders column. At first, I thought I’ll just play it for a couple of minutes to enjoy its 8-bit retro-graphics, but eventually I decided to stay longer. What’s so remarkable about Magical Sound Car? The game combines a hellish difficulty level and standard platforming pleasures including spikes, disappearing floor tiles, gravity flipping, etc., with some anti-frustration features which actually are working. Be it the cute chiptune made by our toy car when it’s speeding up, or the two uncannily friendly kids who seem to mock my efforts and encourage me to go further at the same time, all this stops me from rage-quitting and deleting the game into the oblivion. Which is a true miracle, given how an impatient person I am.

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All right, all right, I’m staying with you, little ones

Daily Gamer: After the Fire

The writer’s block is following me like a vengeful spirit, sucking every drop of inspiration from my soul. Maybe I should return to the noble path of Kaizen and write a few sentences every day. Who knows, maybe constant practice will make me able to write longer posts again?

hellfire

My second Fallout 3 playthrough has reached its post-final stage, and it’s very pleasant: after bringing a fiery doom to the Enclave, Hagen hasn’t much to do. There’s only one side-quest to complete and then my weary anti-hero will become a post-apocalyptic flâneur, aimlessly roaming the Capital Wasteland until he’s got enough and returns to his suite at the Tenpenny Tower. Then he’ll just sit in a chair, sipping whiskey and looking at his collection of trophy weapons.

About time. Fallout:New Vegas is waiting on my Steam acount to be installed. The Legion is calling.

Shards of Glim: Docking Blues

Everyone who’s ever tried to play Sunless Sea will admit that the gameplay is far from thrilling. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the writing and I agree that the writers deserve all the praise they receive for multiple plots, quests, characters, port encounters, etc. However, after an aspiring captain has gained some experience, boosted his stats and bought a decent ship with proper equipment, zailing becomes simply tedious. Even encounters with dangerous foes, like the Tree of Ages, don’t cause adrenaline rush anymore.

Now it seems that I’ve invented a way to break the monotony: Make Docking an Art!

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Bah, you can do better, Capt’n!

Normally, arriving at a port is a trivial matter. There is always a large circle of light next to the port to put your vessel into, no matter in which position, and you don’t even need to stop the engines to make the docking procedure complete. My idea is to strive for perfection, trying to make it look semi-realistic by bringing the ship as close to the quay as possible, with its stern turned towards the port, and then calmly wait until it stops moving. Obviously, this requires some patience and, and in case of large vessels and powerful engines, nimble fingers to avoid hearing the painful sound of my beloved frigate hitting stone or concrete.

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Perfect.

This may be the only self-appointed challenge I want to take while playing Sunless Sea. In truth, it cannot even be called a challenge, but it surely is a welcome change in the dull everyday life of an explorer of the Unterzee. Let’s just hope that the incoming DLC, Zubmarine, will introduce some improvements in-game mechanics to make zailing more colourful.

 

 

Fallout 3: The Day Liberty Died

And it has happened. Liberty Prime, the pride of the Brotherhood of Steel, has been smashed into pieces during a treacherous attack. He stood no chance against the orbital bombardment deployed by the Enclave.

Maybe it’s a good moment to stop playing for a moment and ask myself: why is one of my favourite characters in the game a non-sentient A.I. with just a few lines of spoken text?

Liberty Prime
Heroes do not die in vain.

Well, it’s hard not to like a steel giant shooting lasers from his eyes and throwing nuke grenades like a football player – especially when you’re playing on the highest difficulty level with several self-imposed restrictions. Beside that, you’ve got to appreciate the irony: a Wunderwaffe designed by the pre-war U.S. government to defeat the Chinese is used by the Brotherhood of Steel against the Enclave, a faction which claims to be the legitimate descendant of that government.

Speaking of irony, the lines spoken by Liberty Prime were certainly written as a mockery of the Cold War-era anti-Communist propaganda, being yet another attempt at satirising of U.S. American imperialism, jingoism, misplaced patriotism, or whatever you call it. Well, being born in a country which had the wonderful experience of living under Actually Existing Socialism™, I choose to enjoy the presence of a Commie-hating killing machine quite unironically. Because…

DEMOCRACY IS NON-NEGOTIABLE!