Friday 31 July 2020

Borderlands 2: Up Yours Captain Trainwreck

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Hahahah, the train went boom! Didn't help that we were on it at the time though. Lucky the soft snow was nice to crash in, and put out our fires! Commando DL and Gunzerker Jim seem to be ok too, though they keep saying I might have brain damage or somewhat. Like whaaaaat? No way man. I feel fine. Just a little... psycho.

The annoying Claptrap bot survived too (supposedly the last of his kind?), and offers to take us to the safety of "Sanctuary". I try to break it but it's too stupid to die. Even to the six armed yetis that try to eat it. After painting the yeti's red we reach a village. Of bandits. Or pirates. Bandit pirates! They welcome us with bullets! Afterwards only one resident left. Tells us we need to take the boat of the bandit pirate captain to sail to the mainland so that's where we go. We welcome plenty more bandit crazies with bullets and reach their toll gate, guarded by a German Super-heavy howitzer!

Still no match for DL's placable turret and Jim's dual wielding guns though. So much killing, the snow is all red hahahaha! Finally we reach the dragon ship that shoots fire everywhere and find the super bandit pirate captain who shrugs off bullets - so I carve him up with my buzz axe from behind, right in his ass. The screams are delicious!

That fire breathing ship is AWESOME though!

Insight: Sell junk at any opportunity as your carry space is very limited.

Thursday 30 July 2020

July 2020 Review: The Music "War"

Covid has really gotten me watching more youtube and two music channels in particular. Davie504 is a talented and entertaining bass player slapper while TwoSetViolin are a pair of classically trained violinists who often review music in TV and movie shows. I'm not sure where the battle began, but now the two are at "war" to try prove which instrument is better... and it's hilarious as they start giving each other challenges and ripostes.

Let the battle begin!

It's now gotten to the stage where they've made rap-style "diss" tracks against each other and involves instrument hostages? Lol! I'm quite enjoying this rivalry and I thought some of you might too, if you haven't yet been exposed to any of it. It's InTeReStInG! :)

The "war" even has anime fan art.

I guess I'll make this a fully music related post and include the more cooperative videos of Gary Barlow. One with JC Chasez with "Back For Good", and this one with Delta Goodrem with "You've got a friend". Excellent stuff if you just want to listen to good music.

Anyway, not much to report for myself other than I'm being surprisingly busy at work which is somewhat unexpected.

   End 2020 with less weight (-2 kg from last month, running total: +5 kg)
   Make 1 web comic page (nope)
   Make a board game (nope)

Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms [free on Steam]
Overcooked [free from Epic] (had enough)
Zombie Army Trilogy [gift]
GTFO [gift]
AER Memories of Old [free from Epic] (done)
Stranger Things 3 [free from Epic] (had enough)
Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop [free from Steam]
Dishonored 2 [gift]
Resident Evil 2 [gift]
Metro Exodus [gift]
Metal Gear Survive [gift]
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Season Pass [gift] (done)
+Hue [free from Epic] (had enough)
+Killing Floor 2 [free from Epic]
+Lifeless Planet: Premium Edition [free from Epic] (done)
+The Escapists 2 [free from Epic] (had enough)
+NWO: Avernus [0/2]
+Warhammer 40k: Rites of War [free from GOG]
-+Next Up Hero [free from Epic] (had enough)
+Tacoma [free from Epic]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague (10/11)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (5/6)


One Year Ago

I was playing through Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and Neverwinter Online's Undermountain.

Five Years Ago

I'm pretty sure this is when I stopped playing Mabinogi, probably helped along since we were playing through Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 coop while Batman: Arkham Origins took up my solo game time.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
Fallout Shelter: The Raiders
Inner Space
Farming Simulator 19 (lol what?)

Top Search Terms last Month
multiplayer 7 days to die
multiplayer battletech solaris l
multiplayer orchestra   

Guess some people are definitely getting lonely out there with the multiplayer searching? Haha. While I've not played 7 days to die, I did have a play through of BattleTech tucked away somewhere.

Wednesday 29 July 2020


A rare game where you play as a heavily pregnant lady.

Trying to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, Hadley makes the mistake of using the free option provided by the Cayne Corporation - who are clearly up to some messed up business practices! Despite being ready to pop, you play as Hadley who can still climb and survive more explosions than necessary in this horror point and click game. While the graphics are nice, and the voice acting is superb, and the monster is politely patient (just don't go near it), this game has a few problems.

Hmm, I think this room could use more blood.

First, the click zones for things are TINY. Even looking for a way to simply move to a door you can plainly see might take some time to find the right spot to click on. Second, due to the setting there's a lot of future tech. This is nice and all but it often makes it hard to logically get from point a to point b at times. Third, there's a LOT of reading. LOTS. And it's required too since there are codes and settings you will need to remember later on. Lastly, and this is just a personal one, it leaves more questions than answers. Certainly an interesting adventure, but not one I recommend. I give Cayne 1.5 grubs out of 5.

Insight: Things to look out for other than unlock codes are temperature settings and room ID numbers.

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Amazon Queen Temptress Teenagent

A trio of point and click adventures!

Flight of the Amazon Queen

I liked the navigation hub idea.

Having a business contract stolen from him is the least of Joe King's problems as the pilot for hire soon finds himself stuck in the Amazon jungle where a mad scientist is attempting to create an army of dinosaur women to take over the world! While this game doesn't take itself very seriously, the animations, voice acting, and most importantly - clue giving, is above par. That last one can really help when you get stuck. I quite liked their "over map" mechanic too. The only downside is the tremendous amount of backtracking involved in more than one area. Still worth a play, I give this 2 jet packs out of 5.

Insight: While you can only carry one at a time, you can come back to get more bananas and tree sap as required.

Lure of the Temptress

This pixel point and click adventure starts in a prison, which is fitting since the user interface is so poor that you will feel trapped regardless of your surroundings. Every mouse click will give you a few too many options. For example you can "Talk" or "Ask" or "Tell" (and a few more variations), all of which are different and you must use the correct one to progress in the story. My personal breaking point was clearly able to see a tap on a barrel, but having the character ignore it until you "look" at the barrel at which point the tap becomes an interactable feature. That's just fucking annoying and incredibly poor design. I knew from that point that this one isn't worth playing. 0 temptations out of 5. Not even worth a screen shot.

Insight: To get to the menu, move the cursor to the top of the screen.


Doing stupid stuff seems to be the key to success.

After being randomly selected to be a secret agent, you are sent for a brief stint at the secret agent boot camp before shipping off to solve a case of vanishing gold. For its age, the graphics and animations are actually quite decent here, and it comes with a good dose of humor and easy controls to keep you playing. It's also clear right from the get go that there are no game over screens. Alas, as you progress through the story not only does the pixel finding get more difficult, but the leaps in logic required to progress become really large. Would you really think to repeatedly insult a squirrel so much that it would throw a nut at you? Or paint something to look like a grenade which turns it into a real grenade? Didn't think so. Fun for a time, I give Teenagent 1.5 mouse traps out of 5.

Insight: F1 to reach the menu. Move the cursor to the top of the screen for the inventory.

Monday 27 July 2020

Bio Menace Stargunner Jill

Well, that sounds like a wacky and possibly adult Japanese movie.

Bio Menace

Die, battle toad!

When mutants invade Metro City (hmm, aren't there always mutants in Metro?), the CIA sends their top operative Naked Snake to recon kill them all. As a 2D action scroller, Snake must blast his way through the teeming mutant horde to also rescue survivors and find keys to doors to score points and advance to the next level... where he needs to do it all again only against stronger enemies! While the controls are decent enough there are simply too many annoyance factors in this game for me - all of which are present in stage 1. Stupid looking enemies? Check. Helpless while climbing ladders? Check. Keys hidden to force backtracking? Check. Dying restarts level? Check. Definitely not one for me - I give it 1 plane crash you can walk behind out of 5. Not worth playing.

Insight: Jumping up ladders is much faster than the regular "climb" action.


Ugh, who designed this ship? Oh right, I did.

Much like Biomenace, this 2D space shooter was also made by Apogee in which you must destroy some aliens, preferably all of them! Starting with a Star Wars type scrolling intro is usually a bad sign, and the game doesn't improve much from there as it becomes a stock standard spaceship bullet hell type fare. I do quite like the ship customization ability in between missions, but not being able to flip around to use the cannon you put on the bottom of your vessel and make it shoot up, even temporarily, is just stupid. Sorry, another one not worth playing. It gets 1 random voice over out of 5. If you want a similar old school game try Tyrian 2000 instead.

Jill of the Jungle

Pacman would like his ghosts back.

This three game series has players platforming around as the titular Jill, who moves with all the grace of an ox and can't throw daggers below waist height. The graphics are somewhat/really bad, the controls clunky, and the story near non-existent. While the sound effects choices are also questionable the music on some levels is really good - which is a welcome surprise!  Also, because most of the levels are short and dying still achieves progress (at least in the early maps) this actually turned out to be a fun distraction! Unfortunately it did start getting repetitive later on but still not bad given its age. It certainly did better than the two above! I give it 1.5 sexy pixels out of 5.

Insight: Don't bother jumping if you are in climb mode. Just use the direction buttons.

Sunday 26 July 2020

Worlds of Ultima

These did not age well.

Akalabeth: World of Doom

Your deadliest foe is hunger!

Richard Garriott's early attempt of an adventure game is basic to say the least. With a fixed number of items to collect and absolutely no direction to be found - you must guide your character to ... explore places and not starve or be killed by wandering creatures who all seem to enjoy teaming up against you. In one instance I had a rat, skeleton and thief fight me all at the same time. It was very strange. While the basic art in the dungeon is ok, there's really nothing worth exploring here and by today's standards I have to give this half a rapier out of 5. It's just not worth playing.

Insight: Buy food or die.

Martian Dreams and Savage Empire

Apparently mars has oxygen and dinos aren't that big.

In the first, you are one of a rescue team sent to retrieve the leaders of the Victorian era from the red planet while in the other you are a time displaced adventurer sent to rescue a bunch of random people. While one is set on the empty, yet somehow breathable surface of Mars and the other in a claustrophobic, dinosaur filled jungle they both suffer the same problems: a huge map purely for traversal, lack of guidance on where to go, and quite simply a poor and unfriendly user interface. I'm sure there is an interesting story hiding in these somewhere, but I simply ran out of patience to find it. Ultimately I give both 1 "find the answer in the manual" out of 5, and for all but the most die hard Ultima fans - these are just not worth playing.

Insight: If you got these from GOG then you have a "secret answers.txt" file in the game directory to help you get past the old school copyright check.

Friday 24 July 2020


Like Die Hard but with "The Rock".

Brand new, "modern" building? Check. Squad of bad guys who infiltrate it? Check. Protagonist's loved ones trapped inside? Check. Importance given to duct-tape? Check. Crawling in an air duct sequence? Ch.. oh wait.

 It has something like this instead?

No, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson doesn't fit into air ducts but fortunately he fits well into the action hero role as he goes through some pretty crazy stuff to try save the day and stop the bad dudes.

There's not much in the way of surprises here as everything is heavily lamp shaded right at the start but the action sequences and the decent enough performances are enough for an enjoyable, turn your brain off flick which is great for everyone that enjoys such things. Everyone else, stay away. Not much else to say as the plot is as shallow as the stage is tall. I give it 2 prosthetic legs out of 5.

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Vengeance Begins

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

One piece of knowledge I gleaned from the vault was that one particular claptrap on the Helios has a special code locked inside it which holds more Hyperion secrets. Unfortunately due to the intense security protocols there was no alternative but to send a digital copy of myself into his subconscious - a crazy realm of malware, viruses, insecurity bots and bridges requiring defragging. Unlocking the code from its quarantine sector inadvertently releases a program calling itself Shadow-Trap who steals the H-source for itself.

I need to chase it deep, deep into claptrap hell and eventually fight it - along with mirror images of it, a giant mecha version of it and a flying mini-Helios version before finally putting an end to it and taking the code for myself. Since it gave me such a bad time getting the data I decide to simply destroy the claptrap product line, destroying all the little annoying bots in one fell swoop and dump their metal scraps in some snowfield on Pandora. Good riddance you absolute turd of a robot. Hopefully no one manages to piece one back together or anything.

That's me celebrating on the left!

In the meantime I assist some poachers for "King Greg" in capturing the alien guardians and their babies too to be used for testing, slavery and/or perhaps food. This will teach those pieces of shit that they messed with the wrong guy! It's great that everything is slowly going my way now... it might take a little more time but I will get to that vault on Pandora I saw in the vision and then... oh and then I will make all of them PAY!

Insight: On the "big" boss fights, aim for the turrets and launchers to make it easier for you. Also, just use the wings of the immediate main area for cover where the respawning ammo piles are. Leverage the cover to hit the "eye" of your target while at the same time not letting him shoot back at you.

Thursday 23 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Vault of Elpis

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Repairs on the Helios take some time, what with having to defend a Hyperion space supply drop from pirate space ships, getting the R&D specimens back into their cages, eliminating the plague infected worker cannibals in maintenance and dealing with a wandering alien in the trash compactor, so by the time all is back in order and I return to Concordia - Moxxi, Roland and Lilith are all long gone having stolen the coordinates for the vault I was meaning lay claim to on Elpis before the Lost Legion attacked! Fricking thieves!

I head to the location myself and make an ally in Captain Chef, some sort of space explorer claiming land for King Gril... Gilga... eh... "King Greg", but he doesn't really hang around to help fight the aliens guardians and lost legion eternals that are defending the vault. Gun loaders only help for the surface battles but deeper in it's just me and my digi-jacks that need to take care of everything - especially this four faced alien boss guy who gets HUGE for the second phase of his fight, which ironically is much easier than his first form.

The bigger they are, the easier they are to hit!

My reward for finally penetrating this vault? A silly little vault symbol that gives me flashes of future knowledge when I hold it. Of course, I only get around ten seconds with it before Lilith phasewalks in and brand-punches the symbol right into my face, promptly leaving me to get killed by the remaining aliens. Jokes on her as Captain Chef manages to pull me out and get me back to Nurse Nina at Concordia. My wounds are patched up, but I have a handsome mask made to cover the scar that Lilith bitch gave me. I am SO going to get back at her for this!

Insight: Kill eternals before they "ascend" or they will be fully healed. Also, double jump when the boss alien does a jump smash during phase 1 of his fight.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Not Eye to Eye

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With robot production underway I could take some time to get a few other things done like find Pickle's lost sister who just ended up leaving again with Pickle's hard earned cash, setup a live creature smuggling operation with a Sir Hammerlock on Pandora who subsequently seems to have let loose a specimen called "Threshers", and find a suitable suitor for Nurse Nina who has a penchant for killing them with her love. All pretty cool stuff, but not as cool as finally being ready to retake the Helios with my allies!

I'm sure that smuggling rocket won't attract any attention at all!

The Lost Legion don't make it easy though with further shields setup that hinder progress which the science team, led by Dr. Gladstone, seems to take their time in disabling. That guy just seems to get more and more shifty... so I order him and most his team to be thrown out of an airlock. Can't be too careful with traitors these days! In their place I put a Dr. Nakayama who seems... a little too into me, but has an intellect only slightly higher than a claptrap so it should be fine.

With more gun loader support we finally push to the Eye of Helios, defeating the Lost Legion commander Zarpedon *giggle* what a stupid name. Roland and Lilith are a little shocked that the eye is an actual eyeball from a dead destroyer creature harvested from Pandora, and subsequently betray me by destroying it and half of the Helios along with it before running off! As much as I'd like to chase em down, I have to stay and try to repair the station - starting with the eye. Despite my best efforts, all I get it to do is explode all over again. DAMNIT!

Insight: Ugh, the maintenance space walk section of the Helios is one of the worst experiences ever. Go slow and look for jump pads.

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Business Propositions

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Since my previous action didn't sit quite well with everyone in Concordia I had to do some odd jobs to build up some capital and support like destroy some laser weapons for Mr. Torque (who hates them since they don't explode) and ally with some scav gangs only to then betray them for their sweet, sweet loot. Gotta hand it to the Lost Legion for getting people my side though because when they started using the Helios cannon to start blasting to the core of the moon and openly declaring their intentions to destroy it and everyone on it, that almost instantly made everyone in Concordia my ally.

The new plan is to retake the station with a militarized robot army so Roland and Lilith volunteered to look for a viable production plant while I looked for a suitable AI with a young scav associate named Pickle. He knew the way to a shipwrecked war class frigate that housed a top of the line AI that was eventually dubbed "Felicity". Of course, it was also home to pirates who made it really hard to reach the vessel and required more than a little explosive diplomacy to evacuate the premises.

We then joined up with the vault hunters at a run down Titan production plant and after removing the power suit enabled scavs there could finally get to work with constructing the robots with the help of specialist Dr. Gladstone and his small team of scientists. While there were some initial hiccups in Felicity refusing to become a weapon of mass murder, she quickly came on board after we scrubbed her personality and plugged her into a prototype constructor robot to become the mother of loaders.

Only obedience is necessary. Scrub free will!

Insight: The rocket version of moon zoomies is awesome. Keep shooting those infinite, enemy tracking missile salvos!

Monday 20 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: In Charge

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

I was expecting a few vault hunter visitors on Helios station today but not an unprovoked invasion by an entire fleet of Lost Legion marines! As expected, the maintenance loader drones and claptrap units are worthless in combat which left the station close to defenseless. Without any other option, I simply had to escape by myself to the moon called Elpis. In the rush, I kinda forgot that there is no atmosphere there but luckily a scavenger named Springs managed to save my bacon with her re-breather Oz Kits.

"Heart of Gold" always clears anything that comes before it.

In exchange for a few favors, like eliminating some competing scavengers, she also hooked me up with one of her Moon Zoomie buggies to get me the town of Concordia where I could ask for help in retaking the station. Unfortunately, everyone from the town mayor to the two vacationing vault hunters Roland and Lilith refused so I had to ask my ex-wife Moxxi instead. She's one hot and smart curvy package, and luckily I caught her on a good day!

Using some black market tech I managed to triangulate a jamming signal that was screwing with the rest of the Helios defenses... back to the mayor of Concordia! Yeah, I had to go talk to him about that and we came to an agreement. I'd get to turn it off and he'd get... a bullet to the head! I'm sure Springs can run the town much better than that ass hat.

Insight: The dots on the map are some natural oxygen vents where you can refill your tank.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Civ VI: Gilgamesh Forever

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

It must have been a grim sight for the German knights as my army began advancing on their territory. With tanks, helicopters, a battleship that could fire missiles from their harbor and a bomber based in nearby Baghdad, their cities and the city-states allied to them felt the full force of Sumerian might and quickly fell prey to our superior firepower. Oh, and one village fell to the our allies in the city-state of Kandy. Yes, they got Kandy crushed by the knights of Kandy. Hahah!

Somehow the German capital was repelling us though, through the combined efforts of Gustave Eiffel, Alfred Nobel and general Napoleon Bonaparte - managing to destroy an entire tank column on their own. It was only when we dropped all the bombs and fired all the missiles at the same time did the city, and the civilization finally fall leaving me, the magnificent and most perfect King Gilgamesh, as ruler of the world... with my best buddy Enkidu!

"Kill more people Gil... Kill more..."

But this cannot be... my buddy Enkidu demands more WAR! More foes to defeat! I immediately instruct our top scientists to research space travel so that we can find enemies on other planets that I can conquer for the great crab! I must become the Master of the Universe!

Insight: Helicopters can't "fly" over water as they get packaged up in a transport ship  but are otherwise more free moving than planes.

Friday 17 July 2020

Civ VI: Not so Great Wall

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

With only two other civilizations competing against me for world domination, I turn my attention to China next. These peaceful tea drinkers have setup quite a good defense with their alliance with the city-state of Jerusalem, making good use of their medieval cannons and cannonades to kill General Rani and many of her troops.

In response I rush the development of one of our new mobile weapon platform, the tank, researched both by Dmitri Mendelev and Albert Einstein with the monetary backing from the merchants Mary Katherine Goddard and Levi Strauss. This new vehicle of war crushes the Western Chinese border, right through their "not so great wall" while newly developed machine guns tear down the center. The Eastern border falls to my ancient battering rams backed by infantry, the same siege machines used against India so long ago.

Apparently guys with rifles plus an ancient wooden battering ram is just as good?

As China falls I am sad as I could not field our new flying machines against them too, not realizing they have a leash range attached to their respective aerodomes. No matter, I will find a way to use them on my final rival... Germany.

Insight: In later eras moving across the sea is faster than most land travel.

Civ VI: The Sellouts

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Attacking Scythia, Kongo and Arabia all at the same time might be daunting to a lesser ruler, but with the resources of an entire continent it is easy to field superior troops despite them arriving haphazardly over the oceans. Armed now with muskets or better, my infantry led by Rani Lakshmbai supported by field cannons easily subdue enemy horsemen and horse bowmen sent against them and to the immediate besieging of cities.

Hmm Tomris has a movie... I should check it out sometime.

It is now that Saladin uses an interesting diplomatic technique: he sues for peace, offering all his cities but one for a significant payoff. Tomrys of Scythia and Mvemba of Kongo quickly follow suit, so quickly that Kongolese general El Cid is captured due to my acceptance as I figure it eases the combat fatigue on my troops. Little did I realize that peace meant Tomrys' Zoroastrian disciples can no longer be branded as heretics!

Still, they are foolish if they thought they could bankrupt me or force me to disband my armies as their cities make more capital than I paid for. It also helps that I have great wealth managers such as Adam Smith and John Rockerfeller back on the mainland. During their short earned peace I move all my forces in position and once I am able to (after a forced period of agreed peace), declare a colonial war against all of these backwards savages. Within mere days all three capitals are captured by the might of Sumer, and all three leaders sent to the deep to feed the great crab! For Crablantisism!

Insight: Accepting peace means you cannot attack those countries for at least 10 turns!

Thursday 16 July 2020

Civ VI: The World is Round

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

It takes many moons to research boat building and the wait is annoying to say the least. Fortunately the building is much faster as it is managed by the wealthy merchant John Jacob Astor. Now ready to begin the age of sailing, I send half my army West and the other half East in hopes of finding the remaining civilizations before they steal victory through some sly means.

Apart from some barbarian harassers, both fleets manage to find another mainland, or rather the same mainland as each other - simply landing on opposite ends of it proving that the world is round! We also quickly meet all the inhabitants of this land, the Germans who hold the frozen North, Arabia led Saladin on the Eastern shore, Scythia on the Western Shore, China in the South and Kongo with a massive territory right in the center.

I promptly executed all the morons in my kingdom who believed the Earth is flat.

Scythia is clearly the dangerous one as their religion, Zoroastrianism threatens to take over the globe faster than I can. The problem is she is allied with the Kongo, and all the city-states here obviously are controlled by local governments. Indeed, a problematic problem... for a lesser man. It's not a problem for me, because the solution is simple: ATTACK!

Insight: The more you research down the ship building tree the farther your land units can move into the water.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Civ VI: Generals are Generally General

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Nestled in the Southwest, Greece led by Pericles were not much of a threat based on the leaderboard what with all those rumored cults and assassins running around. But I knew simply being ON the leaderboard meant that he could be a threat one day. This would not stand! Immediately I sent my horde right at them, as well as mercenaries from the nearby city-states of Lisbon and the same ones still on call from Toronto. I sent general Ana Nzinga to lead them and she perished in her very first combat. Some general she turned out to be!

Pericles really needs a bigger helmet.

By comparison, Pericles had the generals Jeanne D'Arc who somehow convinced Lisbon to switch sides early in the war and Sun Tzu who was a man on a mission with his magnificent defense of Athens. Indeed, he manged to defend until the main force arrived much later. While many of my men died, many more were left standing to capture all their cities. Lisbon was the first to taste of the wrath of my new invention... the field cannon, and quickly surrendered upon doing so - burning Jeanne D'Arc at the stake to show their solidarity with me.

With Pericles and Sun Tzu fed to the crabs, this entire island was now the land of Sumer. I am victorious! Unfortunately this is not true, as a man named Gaius Duilius informs me of lands beyond the sea, and would show me if I could lend him a boat. As any great leader at the time would do, I asked "What is a boat?"

Insight: Military Districts are great city defense tools.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Civ VI: Aztec Protest

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Knowing I would need to up my game against Montezuma and his Protestant Aztecs, I allied with the nearby city-state of Toronto and formed the Riders of Sumeria - warriors who fought on horse back, which are pretty close to the magnificent beasts that were donkeys. As expected, Montezuma rallied forces from the city-states of Hattusa and Stockholm to flank my troops but the warriors and archers of Toronto out matched them, somehow capturing Hattusa in the process!

For Quetza-Jesus-lcoatl!

Much respect is to be given to Montezuma's Eagle Warriors though, as they took to school everything I sent at them, including my new horsemen. However, since he spent so much time training Protestant preachers, his forces were again badly outnumbered and once forced to retreat within city walls we had them. Even hiding his capital behind a mountain range protected by the city-state of Valetta wasn't enough for him to hide as we soon captured both. Montezuma perished on that final battlefield with a small victory, he killed so many of my archers that it became a cursed profession and was made obsolete.

Still I was now in control of most of the known land, so I recruited the scholar Thomas Aquinas to found a new religion to combat the Protestant plague... Crablantisism! Yes. The worship of the mighty crab is a sure fire way to win the peoples hearts, minds and souls. Alas, it doesn't really gain any traction as the merchant Jakob Fugger informs me of yet another civilization nearby which gets all my attention... Greece.

Insight: Trade routes can also spread religion!

Monday 13 July 2020

Civ VI: Carnival Science

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

With the North completely under control I now focus on the Southeast of the continent where my scouts had found the current scientific leaders of the world, the Brazilians led by Pedro. It takes some time to get all my forces in position along his border, including mercenaries from Zanzibar which gives him time to bolster his crossbowmen defense no doubt introduced to him by the great writer Qu Yuan, which individually out do my own archers.

However, upon declaring war by marching into his territory they are ill prepared for the numbers that come crushing into their cities all at the same time. The Zanzibar catapults certainly help bolster the battering rams and after a short and fierce battles all their cities become mine. I have to admire Pedro who didn't beg and plead for peace at the end like all the previous leaders and simply took that catapult thrown boulder to the face like a real man.

A saying spoken by those who have never been beaten by sticks or stones.

Meanwhile Qu Yuan fled to the neighboring territory to the South East, where we found him already killed by the Protestants there (or perhaps he killed himself?). That faith is quite problematic actually, as it is currently ranked number 1 in the world and backed by the huge and not so peaceful Aztec civilization.

Insight: Cities can be tough but will be overrun by superior numbers. You'll need more numbers if you are behind on the tech curve however.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Civ VI: The Warlord Ghandi

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Led by their most violent war chief Ghandi, the Indian capital of Delhi was well defended with walls, elephants and archers! As this was our first experience against ranged weapons, my poor donkey carts were getting annihilated - I sent them around to raze the less defended Calcutta and Agra instead, angering them greatly! So much that the evil Ghandi proceeded to wipe out every donkey on the continent and rendering my donkey carts obsolete!

Elephant archers are pretty tough!

Knowing I must fight fire with fire, I too begin sending archers (as elephants were just too hard to master) using India's own tech against them! In response, Ghandi's allies in the city state of Zanzibar began marching on my capital with catapults but my spearmen guards hold the line. Finally, my two battering rams arrive at Delhi and after suffering tremendous losses finally capture the capital and the final village of Mysore where Ghandi is hiding. For his crime of donkey extermination, he is executed by being sat upon by one of his beloved elephants.

Seeing him literally crushed, Zanzibar quickly changes it's tune and names me its suzerain. It has the opposite effect in Delhi where a large band of warrior monks begin an uprising but all of them are easily and immediately put to death as my army is literally still standing there when they choose to act.

Insight: Being suzerain of city states lets you temporarily control their military which works well in times of war, and all you need to do is send envoys... more than anyone else has sent them anyway.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Civ VI: King of the Donkeys

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

In the beginning, there were donkeys and barbarians. Some of those barbarians decided to follow me, the great King Gilgamesh to fight the other nearby barbarians while others decided to follow women instead! What an insult! There in the West we found our first neighbor, a Queen Victoria who dared to offer us tea - so with my army of donkey powered war carts, we took control of London sending her fleeing to the nearby village of Sheffield.

Behold, the most dangerous unit at the beginning of time!

Hoping to secure peace, she then agreed to ally with us to fight her Northern neighbor Catherine de Medici and her French folk. With their warriors and scouts unable to stop my donkeys, Paris and La Rochelle quickly fell at which time I returned to capture Sheffield and their so called Queen. With their cities now flying my banner and both trouble makers sent to my donkey-harem, my legions swept to the Northeast where we would face our most difficult challenge yet... India and their elephants!

Insight: There are many ways to win this game, I'm going for the most boring: world domination! If you want a tale of how better rulers fared, be sure to check out the succession game on Time to Loot! :)

Civilization VI: The Conqueror's Tale

I decided to start up a play through story on Civilization VI because I was totally inspired by the succession game Naithin and company are running from Time to Loot! Please visit their playthrough pages as well to see how people better at this sort of game than me play through it. Why better than me? Because I take the view point of a hammer and see everything in this game as a bunch of nails. :P

Chapter 1 - King of the Donkeys
Chapter 2 - The Warlord Ghandi
Chapter 3 - Carnival Science
Chapter 4 - Aztec Protest 
Chapter 5 - Generals are Generally General 
Chapter 6 - The World is Round
Chapter 7 - The Sellouts
Chapter 8 - Not so Great Wall
Chapter 9 - Gilgamesh Forever

This story has concluded! Thank you for reading!

Friday 10 July 2020

The Stanley Parable

A very fine walking simulator.

Stanley's sole job, sole purpose in life, is to press buttons that the computer tells him to. Now you can play as Stanley, but don't worry - the helpful narrator will help you get to where you need to go! This game is a most glorious example of a walking simulator done right. While you can't do much else other than walk, there is enough entertainment to be had from the well written and well voiced narrator (Kevan Brighting).

It's also a test of obedience.

Most importantly, it is short - so the repetitive loop factors are reduced significantly. I also believe it's a fantastic commentary on video game addicts (like myself) and give it 2.5 broom closets out of 5. It's certainly an easy way to spend an hour or two so why not try it for yourself? All you need to do is push the button.

Insight: Things go hilariously crazy when you deviate from the plot. After "winning" once, I highly recommend trying a different path for fun.

Thursday 9 July 2020


Beautiful but slow.

Having heard that your grandfather is unwell you decide to visit him on an island full of cute and friendly mutants that need help with their gardens. GARDENER HERO COMMENCE! Just kidding (only sort of), this point and click adventure tells a pretty great story and has a whole bunch of memorable and quite well written characters. This involves a fair bit of reading as there is no voice acting but that works just fine. What's really amazing is the art and animation which was clearly lovingly crafted by the designers.

Nice creature designs too!

Unfortunately it does suffer from a slow pace and the cardinal sin of large open space purely for traversal. Walking through a few screens of beautiful art is fantastic but the appeal does fade the number of times you need to repeat the walk / slow jog - especially if there are no important interactive elements in them. Recommended for those who want to chillax and enjoy a bit of drama. I give Mutazione 3 seeds out of 5.

Insight: The fastest way through the game is to not explore and just do what the journal tells you to.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Ray Donovan

Gives new meanings to the word "Sure".

Liev Schreiber stars as the titular Ray Donovan, a stoic and often grumpy "fixer" who helps various clients with issues outside the law. If that wasn't challenging enough, he also has to deal with his family, his past, and his father Mickey (Jon Voight). This seven season show (holding out hope for an eighth) is a bit of a crazy ride. There are many dark themes and violent scenes that go hand in hand with hilarious moments (often when Mickey is on screen) which make for very interesting television.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

For the most part, the acting and production values are good too though as expected in a story of this length, characters often take turns holding the idiot stick simply to get the plot to go where the writers want it to. In some cases I believe they hold the idiot stick purely to spite the audience - a role primarily filled by Ray's wife and children. Definitely not a show that's easy to categorize, but certainly one worth watching. I give it 3 boxing gyms out of 5.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust

Where you play as a vacuum cleaner.

In a world plagued by evil dust, you have been created to save everyone... by cleaning it away! This two person creation certainly has a lot of love put into it, but the dated graphics and the entire premise take a bit of getting used to. It also suffers from the "huge empty space" syndrome which is only mitigated by your character being able to transform into a car. If you thought that was odd, your main ability is to be able to shrink down into life forms (sometimes multiple steps down) to clean them from within!

Not the best quality graphics wise.

The shrink stages have a more 2D feel to them and is where most of the puzzles lie. Thankfully nothing is too hard in this game, and provided you stick with it at the start you will be rewarded by a decent story (expect a bit of reading). It definitely turned out better than I originally thought it would, so I do recommend it to those feeling adventurous and applaud the creators for what they achieved. All up, it gets 2.5 sparks out of 5.

Insight: The card finder is the only important item to buy with meta coins. Everything else are extras.

Monday 6 July 2020

A Short Hike

Climb the mountain to learn more about yourself.

While the premise is something like Celeste "light", this little Unity game has a lot more going for it starting with the fact that it's not really a platformer. It also helps that your character is a bird who can glide, and that it is impossible to die. In fact, you gain all your abilities right away and while you have the option of strengthening them (also pretty easy) you can explore most of the mountain park and enjoy the many side activities right away.

Stick ball is great!

Obviously there's not much in the way of depth or violence but its still a fun hour - hour and a half of exploration. I definitely recommend it as a filler if you are in between games or don't have enough time for a proper session of one of your mains. It's kid friendly too! I give it 2 saunas out of 5.

Insight: The more golden feathers you collect, the easier your trek is going to be.

Sunday 5 July 2020


The voice acting carries the game.

In this futuristic crime mystery, you are a cop locked in an apartment complex with a killer. Of my "second chance" list, this turned out to be my favorite - thank you to Juris who convinced me to look past the god-awful Layers of Fear (made by the same company) to try it out. While there are still some bullshit rail-roaded scare zones, a lot of this game is hunting down some not too hard to find clues with the occasional sneak or die segments.

Prepare for some tripping. Also, this is the only non-grimey scene in the game.

The use of a "lockdown" works thematically as well as programmatically, as most of the tenants are just talked to via hazy door monitors - yet this works really well thanks to the script and voice acting talent. It really helps that the protagonist is voiced by the amazing Rutger Hauer. The mini-game of "With Fire and Sword: Spiders" is also a great little extra. Definitely a game I recommend, and one I'd actually think would make a decent film (with a few tweaks to put more action). I give it 4.5 nano phages out of 5. Just be warned: It's not kidding when it says it can cause epilepsy.

Insight: If you are lost, consult your journal as it often points you in the right direction. In the sneaky parts, your objective is usually towards where the enemy is patrolling.

Saturday 4 July 2020

Frontier (TV)

He who controls the fur, controls the profit.

Declan Harp (Jason Momoa) is out for revenge against his ex-employer, and the best way to hit both is to interfere with their fur trade in Colonial America. His illegal operation attracts all sorts of friends and adversaries while trying to outmaneuver the many other competitors in the industry. With decent set values and an excellent premise, this series gets off to a good start right but unfortunately goes quite astray in the subsequent seasons especially due to one character who seems to flip flop in his choices at a whim.

Declan is one angry dude.

Too many threads is the other problem the show suffers from, especially later on when almost everyone is doing something on their own - none of which really relating to the other. Still there are some good moments, great characters, interesting intrigue and decent enough action pieces. Frontier is definitely worth a watch, but its a pity it wasn't better than it turned out to be. I give it 2.5 beavers out of 5.

Friday 3 July 2020

Inner Space

It's also as infinite as Outer Space?

Within the hollow planet lies ancient relics just waiting to be discovered, and what better way to get them than as a strange glider/submarine? Now this game is quite trippy and is really more of a flight simulator than anything else.

There are some really nice areas, and thankfully your glider is way tougher than it appears. It's clear this game was designed with a gamepad controller in mind though, as it is simply frustrating when played with a keyboard. Also, the freedom / requirement to fly and swim in every direction also can get disorientating, more so than Horace!

Which way is up?

Not one I'd actually recommend as most flight sim fans probably want some action with their simulation - though I suppose if they want a relaxing time, this might be the ticket - as long as they have the proper controller. I give it 1.5 sunfish out of 5.

Insight: Use the "slow" button regularly.

Thursday 2 July 2020


The robot who could.

This pixel platformer does an incredible job of not just telling an interesting story, but constantly teaches and tests the player while doing so. It also has some really good use of classical music!

I also appreciate the one second "death" cut scene on failure, as it works as a hand wave to keep you playing and to try again. Unfortunately, this hand wave still sets you back at the start of each area, which is a real pain in the larger zones especially when you are forced to start back tracking.

The back tracking begins!

The only time back tracking should be implemented is if it's fun. Unfortunately, in this game (like in most other platformers) it is not. It also gets very dizzying very quickly. An interesting one to try out for sure, and certainly one for platform players. I give Horace 2.5 pieces of junk out of 5.

Insight: Once you have the grav-boots, always remember to try jump to the roof above you if you get stuck.

Wednesday 1 July 2020



In the world of crazy platformers, Gonner certainly floats near the top of the list in the WTF department. Run through procedurally generated levels, shoot the overwhelming number of baddies, and collect fun things for your whale friend.

This... is about as much story as you're gonna get.

While it's also geared for a gamepad, this handles pretty well on a keyboard too - though your character is quite fragile which makes the more enemy heavy levels quite the challenge. Worth trying if you like shooting platformers, but this one was just too strange for me to get into. I give it 2 ^_^ out of 5.

Insight: You can hurt/kill enemies by hopping on their heads too!