Not quite dead

Ehm... So... Hi. It's been a while. Almost half a year by my count. So sorry to have kept any of you waiting. 

So, I'm not quite dead. I'm back, actually. I've been trying to get back into writing, but it's been tough. These last couple of months have been trying. One could say that almost everything in my life has changed. Well, almost everything, I'm stil using the same crappy computer. So, what have I been up to? Let me give you the short version:

Just a tunnel, and some light at the end of it.

A long time ago

Me and my fiancée decided that we'd take turns studying and working. First, she'd do her three and a half years while I work, then I would do mine. Those three and a half years passed this Christmas and she graduated in January. While we were at it, we wanted to move as well. Living in a 24 square meter apartment was slowly but surely killing us. Another issue was my level of stress. Working long hours in a hectic city had taken its toll on my mind and I was developing some serious anxiety-issues. So, we figured that we would move away from Stockholm to somewhere a bit calmer. Somewhere a bit closer to nature. To add to this is the fact that Sweden is going through a historic housing-bubble (historic in our small measurements in our small nation). Demand is at an all time high and supply, well supply really doesn't exist. So it made sense to move away from Stockholm, since it is at the epicenter of this bubble. We'd be able to move into a bigger place for way less money. Now that we had the plan worked out, we just had to make it so.

Last autumn

We had made our minds up, we wanted to move to Sundsvall. It's a small town in the northern part of Sweden (well, the middle part, really). We liked the city, we had friends there and we had visited it multiple times. As luck would have it, demand for social workers are at an all time high. So, in October, before my fiancées studies were even done, she had not one, but three job offers in Sundsvall. So, now that an income was secured, we had to find a place to live. As I said earlier, there's a housing bubble working its way through Sweden currently, so finding apartments was tough. While the prices in smaller cities are in another league compared to Stockholm, supply is still short. Months went by with us searching and bidding without finding anything. The two big issues were location and price. Either a place was too far out in the sticks, or the price skyrocketed too much during the bidding. We contacted my fiancées future boss and asked her to pull some strings so we could get a small rental for a while. Still, nothing. The best we could hope for was a small two roomer on an island a couple of (Swedish) miles* outside of town. It looked pretty grim for a while, until a friend of ours came through.

She had found out through facebook, of all things, that a neighboring couple were selling their place. They didn't want to get a realtor involved, so they were selling it privately. To add to that, they were selling it on a website that wasn't well known for houses (the site is trying to get into real-estate, but is mostly focused on people selling used stuff privately). It was a gamble, and we were desperate. We phoned the couple and set a viewing date. Since the city we're moving to is roughly 380 km away, we had to send our friend. Word came back to us after the showing, the place looked nice. So we decided to go with the gamble. We phoned back and asked, straight out, what they were hoping to make on the place. They gave us a number, and we offered that number. The day after, they accepted. 

Now, we were happy, housing might work out, but this was a gamble. Not involving a realtor, and not using any of the regular sites meant that this could be a ruse. We could be throwing some serious money into the sea. The people who were selling the place might just take it all and disappear. These were all things that were possibilities, so you can guess that I didn't sleep much sounder after getting the news.

Januray and February

We went up to Sundsvall in January to look at the apartment and sign the contract. This would be the first time we would see the place we were buying, and our first encounter with the sellers. So, with ice in our stomachs, we collected the down-payment and went up.

Turns out, the place was nice, really nice in fact. It's a three room apartment, at about 83 square meters. There's no obvious damage, the place was well kept and there was even heating in the bathroom floor. I was sold. Even better, turns out the people who were selling the place were really nice. They were a young couple who had just bought a house on that one island outside of town, so they needed to sell this place so they could move in. We got a tour of the place and we signed the paperwork together, using a standard contract from the housing union. Things were looking up, except for the fact that we couldn't move in until April. The problem here was that the job my fiancée got started in March. So, she would have to find accommodations for a month. So we would have to find a way.

Said way came from the same friends who found the place. They would rent out a room for my fiancée for a month. While she lived there, I would empty our old place, renovate and sell it. But that is a story for another entry.

Thanks for reading, and permit me to enjoy this moment of having finally gotten the cork out.

 

*A "Mile"(Mil) in Swedish is a colloquial term in Swedish that means 10 km. One kilometer (km) equals to 1000 meters. A regular mile is ~1600 meters. So, a Swedish mile (10km) is roughly 6 regular miles.

In the coming weeks...

So, funny story: Just last week I was talking about how my schedule for this site would work, and then this week happened. I'm going to see it less as fate and more as circumstance that this keeps happening to me. By that, I mean making plans one week and failing them next week.

So, let me explain what is happening. To do that, we have to go back in time a bit.

Some three and a half years ago, me and my fiancée made a deal. The deal was that she would study and I would work. We said that when she finished school, we'd move to a bigger place and I would study (and she would work). That time has now come.

The specific reason for me missing to post things on the site THIS week is because last weekend, I was in another city, signing a contract for an apartment. The weeks leading up to this have been a stressfull mess of looking for places and dealing with realters, which has taken it's toll on my free time and energy. Now that time has passed and in April, we'll move. The time leading up to April will mostly be spent throwing stuff out, packing and fixing up the old place. So, with all the things that I will have to deal with, I can't really promise to keep schedule. Now, I'll still post things, as a matter of fact, I've already started working on next weeks posting. But what I'm trying to say (in a very rambling way) is: "I'm sorry if you've come to enjoy the site and is missing content. I promise to do what I can, but I cannot make any guarantees while I'm wokring on moving most of my adult life to another city."

As previously mentioned, I will update the site from time to time, but probably not with the same regularity. Maybe I'll even use this as a platform to vent my frustrations with moving, who knows? I hope that some time in April, things have settled and we can get back to your regularly scheduled programs! Til then, wish me luck, stop by the site from time to time and I'll always be in touch on various social media sites!

PS. Here's a picture taken from the new town I'll be living in. It's a picture of snow. Because, yes, I'm moving north explicitly in search of real winter.

I <3 winter

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a pretty big game.

I've been meaning to put some words down about this game. It is however staggeringly hard to know where to start and what to say. First off, yes, I'm late to the party. This game has been out for a while, so most of the quality commentary has already been written, and most minds have been made up about this game. But I want to talk about a few things non-the-less. So, let's work it like this: I'll just jot down whatever I have to say about the game, and I'll assume that you, the reader, is well versed enough in the game, the story and the mechanics to follow along. 

If you're not cool with that, unfamiliar with it or just "done" with this game, feel free to skip this article. And before we go any further: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

My fiancee picked this game up for me a couple of weeks ago. She was out shopping and figured that she would surprise me. While it wasn't anything I was particularly looking forward to playing (figures, since I hadn't picked it up yet), I was still happy to get it. After Mass Effect 2, Bioware games have left a sour taste in my mouth. I'm one of those guys who likes to talk about Knight of the Old republic and Jade Empire rather than Mass Effect or Dragon Age. 

With that said, I do have some history with the Dragon Age franchise. I've played the preceding two to completion. I'm also one of those who will go to bat for Dragon Age 2 (DA2), which I thought was a pretty fun, and VERY flawed game. I cannot defend the recycled dungeons or the spotty writing in that game, I don't think anyone truly can. But I will say that having an entire game set in and around one city was a brilliant idea. I love the whole "Home-town-hero" feel of Dragon Age 2. 

So, what's new with this one then? Well, a lot it seems. Dragon Age: Inquisition (DA:I) feels half like an apology about Dragon age 2 and half like a game that is truly trying to shed its skin and become something different. They apologize for the shoddy recycled dungeons in DA2 by making DA:I a great big open-world-ish adventure, with hours upon hours of content. And in the same token, they shed the old RPG skin of the series in favor of a more action oriented affair with seriously weakened mechanics.

It really comes down to that for me, mechanics. My biggest gripe, the one thing that really sinks this game for me, is mechanics. I'm not sure if this is only my imagination, or jaded sensibilities, but most of the games mechanics feels nerfed, or down-played. It feels like they tried to make the game "appeal to everyone" by making each and every character, class and skill equally useful (or useless, depending on your perspective). You wield giant hammers, throw fireballs, stab people repeatedly with knives, and it still takes about 10-20 seconds to kill each and every monster. It hardly feels like progression when the game ties its difficulty so tight to the players power level that it you never really feel powerful.

Another thing that has been severely toned down is the skills of each character. I can't in good conscious sit here and say that previous Dragon Age games had extensive skill trees. But this game takes "stream-lining" to a new level. Instead of having skill trees with interesting power-ups and skills, DA:I opt for having four small skill-trees per class. Each skill-tree contains three to five usable skills that feel pretty much the same, most of which has "upgrades" that minimally changes the way the skill works. To fill these trees out, they've put a couple of passive skills between the usable skills that take "minimal incremental increase" to new levels. I mean, one passive in the Pyromancy tree causes the Pyromancy spells to drain barrier (shield) to power up, but the drainage is huge (50% to be exact) and the increase in power is neither felt nor observed.

To move along to more positive pastures. They really upped their game in world and dungeon design. DA:I is probably bigger than both Dragon age one and two combined. The game opts for making medium-sized regions that are aren't interconnected, instead of having a true open world. But the regions are diverse and interesting, which leads to a lot of time spent exploring. Each region also has a decently sized pool of quests and collectibles. This is probably the saving grace of the game. It's just so damn entertaining exploring each region. The scope of the game is truly impressive when placed with its predecessors. 

When the game came out, there were some... discussion about the characters. Some people loved them, some hated them. The internet debate soon went from heated to crazy and then back to heated. Playing this game so far after the fact does bring some perspective. I like most characters. They seem pretty well written and most of them are entertaining enough. I must say, though, that it feels like the writer front-loaded most character traits. Whenever you meet a character, it feels like the writers really emphasize their "quirks" without letting the player build up to them. "Hi, I'm character A and my personality is NR. 37" is what it feels like whenever they introduce a new character. This does lead to some strange introductions, but levels out pretty neatly when you get to know the characters a little more deeply. I must however comment on this simple fact: "IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA OF HAVING THE MAIN CHARACTER DEBATE A SECONDARY CHARACTER WITHOUT ANY POSSIBILITY OF SUCCESS!" I swear, this drives me up a wall. Whenever your main character and a party-member have a debate with opposite stand-points, it ends in the party-member saying something snarky/overriding the main-characters point and you loosing approval.  That isn't debate, I'm not even sure what it is. A brown-nose-function? No matter, I don't like it.

To end off, this game is by far from perfect, but it isn't bad. I'm enjoying myself, but not in the way I thought I would. Where I expected to be taken on an adventure, and to make tough RPG-choice, I found a much more casual and laid-back experience. Take that how you will.

Update 3/12

Hi internet!

It's been a while since I did one of these more personal updates. The reason for that is: Life. I do not really like to use this as a place for me to complain about my own personal issues, but let's just make a small exception to get all of this off my chest and to move on.

In short: Work sucks and life is stressful right now. Work has been going down hill for the past year, and has reached new lows these last months. So, I've been working too long shifts, which has left me too tired to write regularly. To add to that, men and my fiancée are looking for a new apartment, in another city, which puts a lot of stress on my home life. But, there is a silver lining. I'll move soon and this will have a profoundly positive effect on my daily life. So, there. Complaining over. I am sorry about that. Hopefully, we won't have to bump the no complaints rule too much in the near future.

So, what have we been playing lately?

I've been putting some time into Mad Max. The new one, that one developed by Avalanche studios. The ones behind the Just Cause franchise. The early verdict is, pretty nice. Many critics called it "sandbox, the game", and that is pretty apt. The game makes no bones about's open world. The two main characters in this game are: The car and the world around the car. Backing these two characters are a fairly fun bunch of supporting characters like Mad Max, Chumbucket the black-fingers and "dog" or "Dinki-Di". 

Most of what I've done in the game is drive around the world and engaged in car combat. Luckily, these mechanics are the games strongest. Another really neat thing about the game is that the fact that they made brown look beautiful. The world in Mad Max is located on the sea-bed of some dried out ocean. So, while there is pretty much nothing but desert, the desert that is presented is interesting and unique. This idea that the place used to be an ocean has let the developers really go to town on making some cool and weird vistas. The small details like the unusual rock-erosion and the assortment of rusted junk that is strewn about really brings home the "familiar yet alien"-feeling in Mad Max.

I won't give a hard verdict yet, since I'm only a couple of hours into an open-world game that is all about the open-world. This one is going to take some time to finish and digest. But right now, I'm enjoying myself.

Another game I've been putting some time into is the early access game Besiege. It's kind of a puzzle game. But the puzzle is building a war-machine with pseudo medieval technology (you can have pistons and gunpowder, but most things are constructed out of wood). It's a pretty simple affair to connect things and build, but once you get the hang of it, and start to understand the physics, everything escalates quickly. It's still in early access, so the game is still kind of bare-bones. Some features are missing and there is still some general polish to be done. But the game is charming and absolutely grotesque. 

In the early game, you'll be doing something like this.

After some time, it'll look something like this.

There have been some other games that has been played. My fiancée wanted to surprise me, so get got us a copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition for the Playstation 4. I've invested some time in it, and I have things to say about it. But I'll save that for a later date, when I can fully articulate what I want to say. It's not very complicated, but the game does have some strange design-choices that I both like and dislike. So, til next time!

/R

Been sick

So I spent most of last week being bed-ridden with a pretty nasty cold. I'm the kind of person who will ignore the feelings of sickness until my body completely shuts down and goes into full disease mode, so last week wasn't particularly fun. So most of my entertainment came from my 3DS. More precisely Monster Hunter 4 (MH4U).

This game is pretty damn fun, and it is probably one of the better games in the 3DS catalog. There are many good games in said catalog, but it's hard to look at it without disappointment when you think back to the massive catalog the DS had. Sadly it seems that few people are willing to give the hand-held market much thought these days. I cannot say why, but I do believe that the rise of phone and tablet gaming has something to do with it. This bugs me, personally, because I'm a pretty big fan of hand-held gaming.

See, me and my fiancée live in a TINY apartment. So, each and every meter needs to be accounted for and used to maximum effect. So, naturally, hand-held gaming is pretty popular in here. While we still play on the TV, I had to give up my stationary computer when she moved in. The apartment is a one-room affair, so the person who uses the TV will be the person who dominates the room with noise. So, naturally, hand-held gaming is useful. Either of us can just plug in a set of head-phones into our 3DS and play away without taking up much space, creating noise or distracting the other.But enough about that, let's talk monster hunter.

I really like the difference in weapons in the game. Each class of weapons have their own move-set and function wildly different from the other ones. So, when you switch weapons, it's kind of learning a new game in itself. This coupled with the variety in monsters to hunt makes the game a perfect fit for me, since I like to master systems. Each weapon is a system, each monster is a system. Then combining the two becomes the main thing to master.

The multi-player aspect och the game is also really solid. Not game-play solid, that goes without saying. It is the fourth main game in a long series of multi-player focused games after all. What I mean is that the net-code is solid, and the interface is friendly enough to let you jump into a new game with strangers at a moments notice. 

I did however manage to get on my feet for a couple of hours during the weekend. Spent my time getting to know Rebel Galaxy and played some more Blackguards 2. I've done a write up on Rebel Galaxy that will be posted later this week, so I won't talk about it here. If you're interested, stick around a while longer.

Spaaace whiskey

Blackguards 2, as I've previously mentioned, is still fun. The game does have some faults, and I thought that they would get to me. But the design of the battles and, dare I say it, the story keeps me coming back. 

To justify, I'm not a story kind of person. To me, mechanics is king. But the story in Blackguards has just enough quirkiness to make me interested. It's hard to say that the story is good, but it is told in an interesting fashion. Having you straddle the line between "somewhat compromised good person" and "regular monster" really makes for an interesting yarn.

There is one thing though that has been hard to get around. And that is the voice-acting. Now, before I go on: time for some house-keeping! Firstly: I understand the irony in me, a person who speaks/writes English as a third language, bashing foreign voice-actors and secondly: It probably isn't that bad, it just sounds weird to me.

So, back to voice acting. See, it feels like they wrote the script for the game in German (the studio behind the game's native language), then translated it and handed it to voice-actor who were either Non-native English speakers or not willing/able to remake the material to fit the game. Some of the voice-acting is really good, the main party especially.  Every character has a distinct voice and feel to them. I mean, Zubarans voice and dialect feel almost like a cheese-grater on your ears, but when you apply that to the Zubaran, the character, it fits well. I don't think it's an accident.

Well said, Naruim.

The weirdness starts with the minor characters. It's the vowels. See, us northern-Europeans, scandics especially, are sensitive to these things. Since we use vowels a lot in our common speech. For a person from Scandinavia, the way you pronounce the letter a can be the different between not two but three letters. So when characters in a video-game starts to throw vowels out left and right, not really being consistent with pronunciation, it really confuses me. One more weird thing is that it seems like entire lines of dialogue have gone missing. Sometimes character say things and reply to things that have never been brought up. In one particular scene in the game, two character are talking about a poison, and the line afters is character A accusing character B of being an asshole for not having made an antidote. This might just be oversight by the voice-crew, or it might have been written differently in the original script, that might have been in a different language. So some things might have actually been "lost in translation". I don't know, I'd be interested in finding out. Luckily, these moments in the game have been few and they haven't ruined anything important, yet. Either way, fun game, good game, flawed game.

/R

Disgaea, Blackguards and nothin' else.

Had a small conversation with a friend about the Disgaea series. The latest game in the series came out two weeks ago(in Europe) and I've been putting some time into it. I really like the series, and as our conversation went on, we started talking about the total ammount of time we've spent playing the various games in the series. While my friends playtime dwarfed mine, I still could calculate almost 1000 hours spent on all the games I own in the series. 1000 hours is a rough estimate, it comes from my recollection of the various save-files I own, so it's not a perfect number, but as a rough estimate, it serves. 

So, it stands tor reason that being a person who has spent that much time on a game, I should be able to produce at least the smallest amount of words about it. But alas, I come with bad news. Since I will probably NOT cover the Disgaea-series in any meaningful sense. I've been wanting to write a post about JRPGs, and my "complicated" relationship with them, but I'll have to let that one stew for just a little bit more.

So, failing to write anything meaningful about Disgaea, what can I write? Well, it's pretty fun. Pretty fun meaning: I've spent roughly 42 days playing games in this series.

OK, so for reals this time. Disgaea tickles the same spot 4X-games does for me. A want and a need to build effective systems. In a 4X-game, I will almost always strive to create highly functional (but not very pretty) empires, and in Disgaea I strive to create really bad-ass killing machines of various flavors and colors. At it's core, it's a numbers game. You make numbers go up, so you can deal larger numbers in damage and kill units with even larger numbers. To many, that probably sounds really boring, but to me it's wonderful. I guess I was an accountant in a past life or something.

So, over to something I can talk a little bit about.

I picked up the current(October 2015) Humble Jumbo Bundle. One of the main reasons for doing this, was Blackguards 2. I played the first game back when it came out in January of 2014. It was a deeply flawed game, but I liked it. The games are based upon the German pen-and-paper RPG-system called Das Schwarze Auge(The dark eye). From what I understand, by playing the game, the system seems to be a slightly more open variety of Dungeons & Dragons. When I say "open", what I'm truly saying is "class-less". For example, in Blackguards, you don't create a class, you pick the talents and skills you want and create the character you want. For a person who's biggest influence in RPG-system is DnD, it feels slightly alien. Not truly un-recognizable, but alien enough to make one pay extra attention.

Thrilling turn-based chase sequence.

What makes Blackguards 2 interesting isn't the system, tough. It's what they do with it. See, the game-designers have taken an RPG-system, slapped it onto a turn-based-tactical game and THEN asked themselves: "What can we do with this?" The result is a fair share of unconventional objectives and uses. An early mission in Blackguards 2 has you being chased through a labyrinth by an ever increasing number of enemy mooks. You're supposed to get to the exit before the enemies surround and take you out. To help out, you can place some traps and affect the environment in various ways. Ways like starting fires and turning over barrels to block of paths. This entire mission feels clunky and unwieldy, but it is still quite interesting. A lot of the missions in the first Blackguards had you fighting against the odds, and the game went from "How can I kill all these guys?" to "How can I even the odds enough to survive?".

For all its faults and warts, I cannot help but applaud the spirit of Deadalic Entertainment. Where they lack the pure skill required to make a stellar game, their willingness to experiment with their systems and engine makes up for it. 

In between missions you'll spend time at screens like these.

/R

Roguelike, Roguelite?

I really like "rogue-lites". While I'm fascinated with "roguelikes", I lack the patience that is required to get into and learn a roguelike. I do however have the utmost of respect for the people who do get into those kinds of games. I guess that they're just not for me. But, there is something that I have in common with the roguelike crowd, and that is that I appreciate randomness in games. A strong game with randomness backing it is a really fun experience that can last you a long time.

There is some debate around what makes a "roguelike" and a "rogue-lite", and I figured that I would throw my two stick onto the fire that is "internet video-game debate."

I view a "roguelike" as a game that is as close to the spirit of "Rogue" as possible. For those uninitiated: Rogue is a PC-game from 1980 famous for its heavy use of procedural generation. In short, no game of Rogue was ever the same. So, it stands to reason that a Roguelike is game that uses the same level of procedural generation. The big example here would be Dwarf Fortress or as it's more "official" name: "Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress".

The biggest strength in a Roguelike is the randomness. No two games are ever the same. It's usually done in such a manner that even potions switch effects between games. So you're never really sure on what you are getting yourself into before the game starts. You might do super well, get the best armor, find a sweet weapon and just stomp your way to victory. Or you might just end up starting out next to a dragon, with your foot firmly crushing its eggs. 

This strength also translates into one of the genres biggest flaws. The random nature of the games usually make the quite complex and difficult to learn. You can never truly become "good" at any given roguelike, and getting "competent" is a task of itself. This is where rogue-lites come in, to alleviate the games of some of it's difficulty. Trading off some complexity in the deal.

A rogue-lite is a game that has elements of procedural generation. Usually, a rogue-lite has random level-creation, random loot and random enemies. The difference is that rogue-lites don't go "all the way". Most rogue-lites have static effects on items, a fair starting position and a generally smoother, but less interesting, trip to the finish.

One of the strengths of the orgue-lite could be its flexibility. Where most roguelikes ad-hear to tradition and standard, rogue-lites have been made in nearly every genre there is. There's rogue-lites that are side-scrollers, shooters, third-person games etc etc. 

So, while I can't help you much in the roguelike department, I can talk about some rogue-lites.

Sublevel Zero

This game was the inspiration to this article. It's a first-person "six-degree-of-freedom"-shooter. That basically means "first person shooter in zero gravity". Those of you who have played Descent or Forsaken will feel right at home. 

The game, in essence, is a shooter with randomness thrown into the level design and the item-drops. While enemy design/power, weapon/armor levels are kept static. The game rewards quick-thinking and even quicker reactions. It is also quite the beauty to look at. Well, it's no Crysis, but it has a certain way about it that makes it really easy on the eyes when the game is in motion.

Catacomb Kids

Catacomb Kids is an action-platformer. You run, you jump, you climb, you murder enemies and then you eat them. Yes, the feasting of on ones foes is central to the game, since it is the most effective way of increasing ones own health-bar. The game has a lot of RPG-mechanics with stats, level ups and magical items. The random elements in this game is the level-design, item-function/stats and character creation. Each time you start the game, you get to pick your character from a pool of randomly generated heroes. Each hero has its own class, looks and items. Each character also comes with four unique traits. Some are positive, such as extra skill with a weapon or a certain finesse when eating corpses, and some are negative, such as extra loud steps or hatred for certain weapons.

Cargo Commander

This has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time. The game is simple, you are tasked with collecting all manners of item from cargo containers floating in space. You activate the magnet on your container to draw them in, then use your trust drill/power-glove/modular weapon to dispatch enemies, walls and boxes in your way. The magnet can only hold the containers for so long, so with every excursion outside your base you are racing against the clock. 

The randomness in this game comes purely from level-design. Each container that you pull in is randomly generated, and the containers smash into each other, creating the level as the magnet pulls them in. It's easy to understand, quick to get into and endlessly entertaining.

There is also a feature in the game specifically designed to let the player both let out steam and communicated to the (game) world their feelings. Just push the magical "F" key and the following happens:

Just keep hitting that button and you'll feel better in no time.

There are many more great rogue-lite games out there. I wish I had the patience for the roguelikes, but for the time being, I'll probably stick to the "lites".  The games I have displayed for you today have something in common, something that probably is the one thing that I appreciate the most about "good" rogue-lites. That is that the games have strong mechanics backing the entire randomness affair. This is crucial for me, as a mechanics-kind-a-guy. But your mileage may vary.

 

/R

 

Screwing up in Shadowrun and succeeding?

[This text contains SPOILERS for Shadowrun: Dragonfall. You have been warned]

SPOILERS BELOW

To say that it was a pretty mission would be an overstatement as big as the crater I now find myself standing in front of. The giant hole in the ground used to be a corporate building, belonging to Aztechnology-group.  Don't get me wrong, the objective WAS to blow this place up. So, mission successful, everyone happy, let's go home. So, why doesn't it feel like a success? It might have something to do with EVERYTHING going wrong on the way to this point. Let's back up.

Sometime last week, we did a hit the OTK-building. It was in preparation for this mission. Our goal was to infiltrate the Knight Errant-comms, so we could keep track of their movements. Boy, that mission was smoother than whiskey and hot butter. We went in, stole some credentials, shit-talked some guards, stole what we needed and physically broke their servers for good measure. All without a hitch. Well, one wage-slave and a couple of security-guards had to bite the dust, but that was mostly part of the plan. When we left the building, everything on our to-do-list had been neatly checked and we had even covered our tracks. A beautiful mission, all in all. This one, not so much.

Did we manage to cause a scene RIGHT OUTSIDE THE BUILDING we we infiltrating? Check. Did we manage to (eventually) manage to trip the alarm? Check. Did we manage the Knight Errant High-alert team catch up to us? Oh, that's a big check. There were on the other hand some positives. One such thing was that we are able to overload the power-grid to stall the alarms. Too bad about the bums, though. They'll probably be paying for it for a long time to come. And you DON'T WANT THE BE IN DEEP WITH AZTECHNOLOGY. 

The other thing that pulled us out of the literal fire was optimal team-work. Eiger was a beast with he sniper-rifle, Glory was tearing it up with her razor-claws and Blitz was quick on the draw whenever he dove into the matrix. I cannot believe that a fuck-up like Blitz would be THIS hood under fire. And what about me, our glorious leader. I can't say that I'm proud of my performance, but I did get some clutch lightning-bolt in. Like just at the emergency exit. This one big, ugly troll with a grenade-launcher came barrelling down on us. He was probably part of the High-alert team, I didn't stop to ask. As soon as he entered view I snapped off a bolt that kept him stunned long enough for the crew to escape, leaving him standing with drool on his chin as the building came down.

I do wonder what happens to the escapees. See, we freed some prisoners from the test-chambers. These poor fools were born and bred for testing, believing it to be their only purpose. They seemed genuinely sad when Eiger put a shotgun-round through the high-wizards gut. Well, time will tell. We might find some dirty hospital-gown dressed corpses in the bazaar tomorrow. But wouldn't it be amazing if we didn't? If just one of those pathetic being managed to claw his or her way out of the breeding-chamber mentality long enough to actually salvage something? Would that make this endeavour worth it? I don't know. All I know is that tonight, I bring my entire crew back, safe and sound. The only things left for us to do is: A) Contact the client and tell her "a job well done" and B) Check the value of all this data that we stole.

Maybe that will cheer me up. Believe me, after a night like this, I sure could use some cheering up.

/13

The backlog 2 - a procrastinating problem

I haven't really been able to commit to a game after I finished Batman: Arkham Knight. Earlier this month I posted a small note on the state of my backlog, and it hasn't changed since. It's no that I don't enjoy playing The phantom pain or Shadowrun, it's just that right now I could use a lighter experience. Something that doesn't demand my attention for several hours at a time, for several days. I'm not complaining that either game is "too long", not at all. It's a personal problem of commitment. A problem that gets worse with a higher tempo at my job. I would however like to take time to say that I don't like the idea of a game being "too long". I get that some games feel padded and stretched out. But I do believe that such a problem comes from weak mechanics, rather than too much content. "Being too long" is also very much a luxury problem. I can see that someone WORKING with games, either in a reviewing sense or actual production might not appreciate a game being long, since to them it's work. But as a consumer, I appreciate a game with too much content rather too little. Well, as long as I appreciate the content in the first place. No amount of content can save a bad game that is bad from the start. 

So, now that I've gotten my complaining done for the week, and also kind of broken one of my own personal rules about this site, let's talk about more fun things. Airplanes! Those are fun, let's talk!

An airplane

A long time ago I picked up a game called Ace Combat Assault Horizon. It's been sitting on my steam-list for ages, and just this weekend I decided to give it a shot. It turned out to be just what I needed. Now, when the actual airplane-enthusiasts have stopped laughing at me, I can explain why.

I'm not a simulation kind of guy. Well, I like games that task you with managing settlements or (SIM)cities, but simulating things like airplanes, cars or soldiers isn't for me. I guess that my brains just doesn't work with simulation, I'm too much of a slow thinker. So Ace Combat was just right for me, a light arcade affair with lots of explosions and "gotta go fast"-moments. It's one of those games that reminds you to enjoy the simple things. It's not a game that asks you to understand complex mechanics, or get your head around tomes of lore. The only thing the game seems to interested in asking is if you have the skills needed to finish it. I can respect that.

Used to be an airplane

Rocksteady should make a horror game

In my earlier piece about Arkham Knight, I mentioned how I'd like to see Rocksteady try their hand at a horror game. So, I figured that I'd extrapolate a bit on that subject. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR ALL ARKHAM-GAMES! According to Wikipedia, Rocksteady has been responsible for four games since its founding in 2004. Those games are Batman: Arkham Asylum, City, Knight and Urban Chaos: Riot response. To me, this puts Rocksteady quite surely in the "untested" camp. They have showed great skill at making games, but they have also been under the cover of DC comics. Now I don't want to make it seem like DC is responsible for Rocksteadys success. They have proved their skill and credit is given where it is due. But! It would be cool to see them shed the protection of an established cannon and try their hand at something they cook up themselves. To me, that something could be a horror game. A really cool, truly terrifying horror game. So, let's break it down, shall we?

A Gothic setting

So, hear me out. The setting of Gotham in the Batman-series is not Rocksteadys creation, but the actual place in the game is. They manage to create a city that both feels huge and claustrophobic. When you're soaring across the skyline the building shoot up like towers of a certain evil ring-bearer, and when you're down on the streets, every corner feels like the wrong corner. The place is big and open, yet still claustrophobic and confusing. If you would take the world of Arkham Knight, and but it in a game where you play a relatively weak character. Maybe just someone trying to escape Gotham during the events of Arkham Knight. You would get a survival horror game. All the pieces are there. Big and scary city filled with bad guys. You could even make the various super-villains pseudo boss-battles. 

So, picture if you will, what Rocksteady could make with the skill and knowledge they now posses. They have already made a world that can be scary, all they need to do now is make a world with the intention to scare.

Scripting scripted sequences

Some of the most memorable sequences of the first game in the Arkham-series were the Scarecrow-segments. The way that the game would subtly go from "real world" to "fear gas hallucination" were at first glance seamless. The first time around in the game, I would argue that many players were taken off guard by these sequences. While it's hard to say that they were scary, they were "upsetting". It's hard to make a game where you play a "justice-dispensing-robot with gadgets coming out of every nook and cranny" scary, but Rocksteady found a way to make players feel confused and vulnerable. I would call this a success in scripting and game-design. Now, in Arkham Knight, we are accompanied by the ghost/hallucination of the Joker. He pops up here and there to pester us, and it feels surprisingly natural. He will be sitting on a ledge that you just grappled up to, he'll be standing in a hallway you just entered, or he'll just pop up out of view and wait for you to turn around. This, again, feels like a success in scripting.

Now, imagine if you will, a game that has you being haunted by something less comedic and way more sinister. The thing appearing much like the Joker in Arkham knight. Imagine also, that the game world is working against you, much like the Scarecrow-sequences in Asylum. Imagine the paranoia you would feel if all of this happened in a game where you were just a regular dude/lady, not a "justice-dispensing-robot". That could be a truly terrifying experience.

 

Summing up

I really like Rocksteady as a studio. They show great skill at game-design. I just hope that one day we can see something that is their invention, through and through. 

Horror-games can almost be seen as "one-trick-ponies". The idea is that for every scare you put in, you will get diminishing returns. You can only scare someone so many times until that person starts to figure out your game and anticipate your moves. Then the scares are no longer scary. I believe that Rocksteady has the skill and knowledge to craft an experience that will both be rich in scares and have last-ability, since they have already proved themselves very good at scripting and world-building. 

Whatever we see from Rocksteady going forward, I am certain that they have the ability to make something truly compelling. I just hope that WB allows them the resources and room to make something themselves.

 

/R

Grim Dawn, zoning out and numbers

So in between working, writing and going through my backlog I've been putting some time into Grim Dawn. It's an early access title made by Crate Entertainment. more to the point, Grim Dawn is a hack 'n' slash ARPG in the same vein as Diablo 2. Lately I've been pretty busy work, life and trying to dig through my back-log, so pure leisure time has been at a premium. It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with family and playing quality games, but sometimes, just sometimes, you just want to "zone out" for a bit. So, enter Grim Dawn.

Zone out might be the wrong way to put it, since this is a pretty stat-heavy affair where you have to keep track of a lot of numbers and variables. But the effect is pretty much the same for me. I like numbers, not that I'm good at math or anything. I like numbers in an "excel" kind-of-way. You know, stats and percentages and the like. So playing this is perfect relaxation for me. I can unwind and focus on the numbers and the building of the character.

That's another kind of interesting topic when it comes to games like this. The building of a character. Most people tend to gravitate towards automation. As in most players tend to build characters that in the end almost play themselves. Hit some buttons and the entire screen lights up and you collect your experience and loot. It doesn't sound like the most compelling of experiences, but that is missing the point. The compelling part is the build. Figuring out which skills to pick, what stats to boost and what damage to lean on. Then you go through dungeons and watch as your plans slowly come to fruition. When I think about it, it's no wonder why I lose interest in games like this just at the end. I mean, at the end, everything's in place and there is nothing to build towards. Your character is a one-man/woman-army that has the power of (usually) several gods and you are just the sap pointing him/her in the right direction.

Numbers figures and stats

So, what does all this rambling come to? Probably that I just felt like writing something. But in any case, if you're like me and like all of these things, I'd recommend giving Grim Dawn a try. Well, I'm not here to tell you how to spend either your money or your time, but it works as a stress-relieving tool for me. Thanks to the growing indie-market/steam/kickstarter/the times in general, there are a lot of games like this around, so finding one that suits you, both play-style and art-style probably won't be to hard.

And before I go for now, I just want to say: For me, lately, the word "average" has been quite difficult to get my head around. I know what it means and I know how to use it(I think at least), but every-time I try to type it out I fail. It's gone so far that I've invented a small thinking-game for myself. I call it the "Latin anger":

Average

Ave-rage

AVE (ceasar)! RAAAAGE!

 

/R

The backlog - a personal problem

So, last weekend I finished up Pillars of Eternity. It had been sitting on my hard-drive since release, waiting for me to finish it. Before I stopped playing, I had it to three-quarters mark in the main story, with a lot of side-quest done and filed away. I can't tell you why I stopped playing, I was really enjoying myself. I just, plain forgot about it. Anyway, I picked up the newest expansion for it not long ago and with that, I finished the rest of the main game. It was good, great in fact. I liked it so much I wrote an article about it earlier today. I might, in fact, write more about it later on. It's one of those game you could talk about for hours. Not just because it is long and grand and all that. It's a game that has a pretty complex story. Well, half-truth there. The story isn't really complex, its kind go standard fare. But everything around the story, the world, the lore and the characters are really complex. THOSE things you could talk about for hours.

I like putting screenshots in my writing. This screenshot has nothing to do with anything except for my want to put it here.

But now, Pillars of Eternity is done. It is in the past. Time to look forward, to the future, which is also the past, since it's been bought, payed for and stacked on a neat little pile in my head. Let's look onto the dreaded BACK-LOG!

Anyone who is into ANYTHING has one of these. A pile of unfinished somethings out of your preferred hobby. Be it games, books or stacks of new skis. My current back-log looks like this:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Metal gear solid V: The phantom pain
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall(Director's cut)
  • Shadowrun: Hong kong
  • Satellite Reign

There are more games in my library that technically belong in the back-log, but these ones are the ones on my mind now, games that I enjoy and want to actively play NOW.

Dragonfall is on my back-log, but I've technically already finished it. It slid in there because the moment I booted up Hong Kong, I realized that I had foreshorten much of what Dragonfall was all about. So I made the decision to replay Dragonfall before I start playing Hong Kong. I decision that I both enjoy and regret. As you can tell, I'm in deep with some pretty lengthy games, and it will take some time for me to work through this.

I got to say, though, Shadowrun is a pretty game. This is really subjective, but I'm really into Shadowruns kind-of-not-really cartoony aesthetic. The also works as a measuring stick to Pillar of Eternity. Where Pillars was a game of many numbers and functions, it had the problem of getting really messy at times. But the up-side was that everything was really granular. Shadowrun has a much more simple rule-set. A tried and tested system that isn't as granular, but work almost all of the time. A smooth, yet simple, affair.

I will now take the time to apologize to any and all Shadowrun-fans in the audience that took offense at me calling their system "simple." I personally do not think that "simple" automatically means "bad" or "lesser than". Simple is simple, simple is good and simple is usually functional. But, anyways:

MEA CULPA!

I'm thoroughly enjoying Phantom Pain. It is quite the mechanical master-piece. I am however not really ready to talk about it yet. The few things I'm willing to talk about would probably sound like:
"DAMN LOOK AT ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY!" and "HAHA! SUCKS TO BE YOU LITTLE SOVIET SOLDIER! NOW GET ONTO THAT BALLOON!

A game I can talk about is Akrham Knight. According to the game, I'm close to half-way. I don't know if that counts ALL the content or just the story-content. To me, Arkham knight belongs right next to Bloodborne in my mind. They are both very competent sequels to very good games that on paper should be great, but they don't FEEL great. For me, I call it a lack of "magic". No, I don't want fireballs in Batman. I mean that special feeling you had when you booted up Akrham Asylum. That sense of wonder at the fact that they made a batman-game that was fantastic. By now, we know that they are great, and they'r doing their third encore on stage(Arkahm Origins was never on stage, they sat out back wondering about how one makes counters work) with pretty much the same show. I think one can say that the formula is getting a bit stale, but that also feels unfair, since the game is still great to play. I guess this is what it feels like to get tired of eating cake every day. Totally a "first-world-problem", but a problem no less.

 

/R

Playing some of that Endless Legend

Endless Legend is a fun game. It is stimulating to play, beautiful to look at and pretty nice to listen to as well. One of the best parts of the game is how Amplitude have managed to create a bunch of really unique factions that all co-exist and are pretty competitive. Each faction has its own special power and play-style that vary quite dramatically. To add to this, you can also create your own custom faction using the original factions as a base. 

The Vaulters for example get to use a strategic resource as a luxury one, allowing them to teleport units between cities, while the Roving clans can move their cities outright. The Necrophages can eat their enemies and the Cult can convert small cities to their ranks.

So, in the interest of getting a conversation going about this game, I'll now post my own custom faction. Enjoy:

Enter the Broken Shitlords. They're a faction based on the Broken Lords, but with a small golden twist. See, the Lords do not eat food, they eat dust. So instead of having most of the Lords starting bonuses, my faction has been focused on Dust-management. This will allow you to grow your economy very quickly and keep it at peak performance for a long time. When using this build, the only true threat is your own greed. You will grow fast and aggressive, so make sure to keep your approval as high as possible.

So, enjoy creating a 6 population, 2 boroughs-city by turn 15.

The picks:
*Appetite for dust - Broken lords faction set(10)
*Dust efficient - 1 extra Dust per Dust tile(25)
*Businessmen level 3 - 30% Dust production(34)
*Empire Mint - Start with the Empire Mint tech(10)
*Mill foundry - Start with the Mill Foundry tech(10)

Cost 79/80

Enjoy laughing at the game as it asks you if you're sure about creating a "sub-standard" faction, since you're not using all of your points.

 

/R

 

Drinkin' beer on a Tuesday 4/8

I just passed the two week mark of getting back to work. I'm celebrating it by having some 3,4% beer. I'm currently enjoying a bottle of Brooklyn ½ Ale for those interested. 

Getting back to work has been pretty easy. Summer is usually pretty slow at my job. So there is little stress involved in each day, which is very nice. What has been hard is returning to the old 2300 - 0530 sleep schedule. I'm the kind of person who likes saying awake til' about 0400, and sleeping to about 1000.

I've been getting into two games recently. I picked up Batman: Arkham Knight for the PS4. I'm a moderate fan of the series, and seeing how the games launch was a bit sketchy, I waited a bit before picking this one up. But now that I've started playing it, I find it pretty entertaining. I mean, it's Batman. It's more of the good ol' rocksteady brand fun. To describe it in a shorter way: It's everything that it says on the tin. You punch, you kick, you activate bat-detecitve mode and look at stuff. There's some bat-clawing and some bat-gliding.

 There is one thing that is nagging me though. See, Batman is pretty much a one-stop-shop for problem-solving. There isn't a problem Batman can't solve with some nifty tool from his belt. Now, in the third installment of these games, his toll-belt has become quite bloated. It almost feels like the designers are bending over backwards just trying to create uses for his new tools. This leads to some very interesting problems, especially for his newest, shiniest and biggest one yet: The Batmobile, or the BatTank, or the BatTransformer. I don't know, the thing is a car and a tank and everything between. I want to go through a very early scenario from the game without spoiling too much, but you've been warned. If you absolutely  want to be spoiler-free, skip the next paragraph.

[MILD SPOILER]Batman has a problem. He needs go use a communications-tower to broadcast some kind of signal. When he gets there, he realizes that the power to the tower has been cut. Now, to solve this, he calls in his (remote controlled) aircraft, Batwing, to field-upgrade his Batmobile. The Batwing shows up and installs a winch-system to the Batmobile without even landing. So, to sum up: A remote-controlled aircraft preforms high-tech upgrades on another vehicle, while hovering. This is done so that Batman can A) get his car to the roof of the building the tower is on and B) power the tower with the generator in his car. A small driving/car-climbing-puzzle ensues and we end up on the roof with the car and proceed to power the tower(that rhymes too much, but I can't think of anything more/less clever). Problem solved. So, here's my questions: Why can't Batman just install the damn winch on his aircraft and power the tower while it hovers? The answer: Well, we needed the winch for game-play and what we just played was the intro/tutorial for the tool. I know that the winch is necessary for the rest of the game, but that introduction, and the puzzle, they make no sense. It feels like Batmans biggest problem is over-spending on shiny new toys, and he must justify this by using them in this strange way. [/MILD SPOILER]

There are other "small" issues like this, but I try not to get too hung up on them. At least this time they nailed the combat(unlike the NOT rocksteady Batman: Origins), even improving on it a bit with better sound-effects and some really nice animations.

The other game I've been getting into is Breach & Clear: Deadline. It's a squad-based tactics-game where you control a four-man team of special ops dudes as they are left in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. 

Team ALPHA HAM

It play quite like its predecessor Breach & Clear or Door Kickers. You issue orders in a pause-mode and then go into real-time when you execute said orders. The special things about this one is: ZOMBIES and a semi open-world. It's pretty damn fun, way more fun that the steam reviews make it out to be. The whole pause/play game-play reminds me a lot of the old UFO-series, how it's not quite turn-based and note quite real-time. For a person who is quite slow to react like myself, this style fits me well. There's also a some mild scavenging game-play and character building. It is fun, but why someone just threw an M249 in the trash is beyond me. I haven't really gotten very far into it yet, so I'm not totally ready to pass judgement. 

A small mention has to go out to Halfway, the small X-com-like that could. I picked it up not long ago and played it quite a bit. A really fun little tactics game. That one I could recommend, with the added caveat that you have to be able to deal with some RNG to really like the game.

Small notes on re-reading this to myself:
1) Absolutely! Learn to spell it!

2) But...but...but... find better words!

3) Get better!

/R

End of vacation, start of writers block

Hi! And welcome back to me!

Day 1

I've been away for a while, it's been vacation time, you see. But I'll get to that in a bit. I just want to start of by addressing one particular thing, my writers block. Ever since I came home I haven't been able to collect my thoughts on paper. It's been pretty depressing and a bit stressful, but I hope to work through it and be back to posting content here soon. The last article I posted wasn't really good material, it was more for me to actually get the plug out to begin with, but that is neither here nor there.

I did play a fair few games during my vacation, since that seemed like the prudent thing to do, in the middle of summer no less. So there are some games I do want to talk about, but nothing has yet stuck in my head. See, one issue I'm striking is the fact that I'm really trying to make this a positive place. I spend so much time in my day-to-day life being negative, so I figured that I should stride to keep this place as positive as possible. This is because of two specific points, one is that it might get me to be a more positive person in general, and the second point is that positive coverage on the internet is like rarer than gold in Lapland. But enough of all of this, onto the holiday show and tell!

 

Barcelona

Day 3

Me and my very good friend Neil went on a trip to Barcelona during our vacation. Both of our lives will be drastically changed in the coming months, so we figured that we should at least have one last trip with just us as we are now. And a trip it was! A warm, sweaty, hot and wonderful trip. See, I'm  pure-bred Scandinavian. It was cold when I was born, it's probably be cold when I die. And that is the way I like it. During the trip, we had the fortune of visiting a Mediterranean city during high-temperature season. It was between 30 - 40 Celsius at all time during our trip. Personally, I'm comfortable in the 0 to 15 Celsius  range, so you can guess how I was doing in the heat. I was sweating, no, I was pouring. Luckily I had plenty of liquids around to keep me refreshed. But still, at high noon, I was having trouble just standing around. If this trip has taught me one thing, that is that I now have more respect for people in the Mediterranean. I don't know you guys/gals manage to live in that heat, but man, mad respect for that!

Starting to see a pattern?

We spent most days during our vacation walking from shade to shade, from beer to beer. It was lovely. Quite relaxed and laid back. After a hard day of walking and drinking, we returned to the hotel for some quality time laying on our beds playing video-games on our Vitas. 

Well, now I'm back and I have a full year of work to enjoy before my next vacation. This was a wonderful trip, though. And I'm pretty excited to get back into the swing of things. So, here's to me and here's to you. Let's raise a glass to me getting back into writing, and hopefully for you enjoying it. Thanks for reading!

The list

Yesterday I finished The Witcher 3, it was a great game. Probably my second favorite RPG of this year. But this story isn't about The Witcher, this story is about what happened after it was done.

As soon as the credits started rolling, I put down the controller, walked over to the shelf and pulled out a small red notebook. The book isn't very special in itself, the only notable thing is that I inherited it from my grandmother. What makes it special is what's inside it(very strange for a book, I know).

In the book there are a series of lists. Every list represents a year, and in these lists are every game I finished that year. This years list just grew to 10. That is 10 finished games of 2015. That might not seem like a big number to the most of you, and it probably isn't, but I'm pretty happy with it non-the-less.

 

The start

The notebook

It all started in February of 2013. I was browsing an [anonymous image board] and came across a thread about finishing games. The OP had written down a list of 32 games he/she had finished in 2013. “32 games in two months, that's pretty hardcore. I probably can't do 32 in a year” I thought. After rolling it around my head for some time, I figured I was going to give it a go. Who knows, maybe I CAN finish 32 games in a year. So I dug out the notebook and set to work.

As a small matter of fact, I did finish my 2013 goal. The list ended at 38 games that year, with the last one, Muramasa Rebirth, being finished on the 30th of December.

 

The rules

For this to work, I needed some clear rules for when I game is finished. A lot of people have different views on the matter, and I'm no exception. Sometimes a game is finished when all the content is exhausted, sometimes it's finished when you get “100%” status on you save and sometimes it's finished when the credits roll. I decided that for the purposes of the list, a game is finished when the main-story is complete and the credits roll. That does not mean that I stop playing as soon as the credits roll, it just means that it is then that I can put the game in as “done”. This did however make it difficult for me, since one of my favorite genres of games is 4X-strategy games. It's really difficult to tell when one is done with a 4X-game. Since there really isn't a “main story” and the credits do not roll at the end of the game. So, I had to pretty much cut a large portion of my favorite games out from the list.

Midway through 2013 I implemented a new rule into the list as well. That rule was for “notable achievements”. I wanted to put to memory specific things I had done in games, like finishing Diablo 3 in Hardcore mode or going for prestige in Call of Duty. These are marked into the list, but for me, do not count towards the total score. They're more there for the fun of it.

 

Where it stands now

I've stuck with this for two years now, and it's really fun. I don't do it for bragging rights, I do it because I like to have a collection for myself and for my memory. It's almost like a journal for my games. See, whenever I open the book and browse through the lists, I'm instantly brought back to those moments when I put something down. It helps me remember the good times I've had with those games, it helps me remember good titles that might not have stuck inside my head and it helps me get motivated.

This might be a bit early to tell, but it can also be used as a small guide to my own health. Whenever I haven't been feeling good, there has been a gap in the list, and whenever I've been feeling particularly well, the list has grown fast.

 

Closing remarks

I'd recommend having a list. It's fun and it's a nice way to sort your accomplishments. I would however tell you to be relaxed with it. I'm a moderately obsessive person, and at times, the list have made me feel stressed out. I've felt like I needed to put something down, just because its a project I'm working on. At those times, I've made myself NOT play games. Because I want this to be my hobby, not my obsession. All in all though, writing down the games that I finish is a net positive for me.

/R

Site update 30/06

So, its update time!

I am not a neat freak, but I do have a penchant for order. I like my games sorted by name, my books sorted by author and I loose my stuffing whenever my lovely fiancée leaves stuff lying around the apartment. So, this has now spread to the blog and I am officially splitting it. There are now two sections, this one(the letters) will be dedicated to more personal stuff, site-updates and off-the-cuff commentary. The articles section is now where my more concrete thoughts go. You know, Lets talks, exploring games and such. This will also have the added benefit of letting me have an easier time showcasing my so called "work" and still being able to post stupid stuff.

 I may in the future move my old articles into the new section, but I make no promises, since I haven't figured out a practical way of doing it. I might end up having to re-post them. Anyways, there will be some more stuff coming onto the site in the future, but for now, let talk about...

 

Current article formats!

For the time being, I have two formats I'm working with. Those are the "Let's talk" format and the "Exploring Games" format. They might seem similar, but there is one big difference. 

See, Let's talks are all about games I have completed. I will talk about them like the completed products/experiences/art-pieces that they are. These will usually be spoiler-filled and discussion about the full experience of playing the game.

Exploring games on the other hand, are for unfinished games. They might be games that have not yet left development, or games I haven't finished, but still want to talk about. These articles will be more about my experience playing the game as it goes on. I might write about a game as it stands, or how it is "in progress".

 

To the future!

So, is this it? No, not really. I am currently rolling around some ideas for new content. I don't really feel comfortable talking too much about these ideas, since they're not fully formed, but rest assured, there will be more stuff coming. I want to try my hand at more, free-form writing. Doing less formal pieces, so I can both write in smaller bursts, and also practice writing "on a timer", so to speak. Since I'm not a native English-speaker, I try to do some rough editing to make sure my articles are at least readable, but I want to try my hand at just writing as I think, so I can get a better feel for formulating ideas.

 

That's it for today, will probably be doing some small tweaks throughout the coming weeks, but hopefully we will be returning to form very soon.

As always, please excuse any poor language, I mean no offense, only to better my writing. If you spot any errors, please let me know. I wish to learn, and without knowing my errors, how am I supposed to fix them?

Thanks for taking the time, and I hope to see you soon!

/R

Back to work

So it's back to work again. For two more days, after that I go on vacation. I hope to do some writing during said vacation, maybe even expand the site a bit. But for now, the next coming days will probably be a bit slow. I have some ideas for future articles, but most of them aren't completely formed yet.

The idea that has been spinning about my head the most recently is a comparison-piece where I put Galactic Civilizations 3 against StarDrive 2. They're beautifully similar, and yet very much different, and I was fortunate enough to pick both up at the same time. So now I'm sitting in the fortunate spot of one who can view both games separately, and still do a play-by-play comparison of them.

If you're enjoying vacation from work or summer break from school and find yourself with some time to spare. I'd recommend reading a book, specifically the "Shadows of the apt" series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The first book in the series is called "Empire in black and gold". It's a very enjoyable and pretty easy fantasy read with one and half neat twist to it. The "half neat twist" is that it's a medieval world going into a sort of "steam-punk"-era. The "whole neat twist" is that instead of having the classic fantasy races, the races in the book all take inspiration from different insects.

Also, as I continue on my journey of being better at writing and understanding, I do apologize for any and all errors in my language. I hope you'll be able to understand me even with everything that is inevitably wrong.

Daily The Witcher 3 update: Still playing it. "I hit things with swords and the story is fun" is still all I have to say about it, but it is still pretty enjoyable.

/R

Personal update 22/06

Since work on the Let's talk - Binary Domain is done and will probably be posted tomorrow, I figured I could take the time to just have a small personal update.

I've been stuck inside with the flu all midsummer, this has left me in a less than productive stage, so much hasn't happened(which, when writing this, makes this post pretty ironic). But I've come up with some ideas of things I might want to talk about in the future.

Books, man. Read 'em.

I got some new books yesterday, they're all "Historical fiction". I figure the genre is pretty self-explanatory. I might want to do a piece on some of them, since there is some quality to be found here. The main things that I find interesting about these kind of books though, is how dangerously close they get to "harlequin-style-romance" for nerds. Just take away all the semi-erotic stuff and replace it with battles. It feels almost a bit pandering, but you know what? I don't really mind. What it has done, for me, is me understand why some people decide to read these kinds of books, and I kind of feel like I understand the people reading "harlequin-style-romance" novels a little bit more as well.

I was thinking of doing a piece on The Witcher 3, but it wouldn't be very interesting. Since most of the cool bits in that game is related to the story and characters, and if there's one thing I find weird to write about, it's about story and character(future irony OR irony nr 2 for those of you keeping score).

So, here's my piece on The Witcher 3: It's pretty cool. You talk to people, you hit stuff with either a silver or a steel sword. Some shit happens and then you throw some bombs and/or magic. THE END!

Now this doesn't mean that I don't appreciate The Witcher. I like it a great deal. In fact, I might play it some more after I post this. I just don't feel like I have any good input on the game. Well, maybe I change my mind in the future, who knows?

Other than that, there are some games, some books and maybe a movie or two I want to write about. I'm not a person who keeps in touch with the "here-and-now", so don't go expecting me to cover what's new and hip. I'm going to focus on covering things that appeal to me, and maybe to you too.

/R