Monday, 14 December 2015

Twenty Sixteen

Looking ahead slightly, I want to do things a little differently next year.

I realise that the amount of time I spend watching video game streams, particularly League of Legends, is excessive. In fact, I think League in general is a huge time sink that doesn't provide me with all that much benefit; I enjoy the game (playing and watching), but it's just too much of an involvement necessary to get better, and I have so many other things to do that I can't justify it any more.

I have many ongoing projects that would benefit from more attention. The most obvious is my ever-growing collection of video games. It doesn't make any sense to continue buying them when I have over a thousand yet to beat, many hundreds of which I haven't even started! I'd also like to get back into streaming regularly, and this seems like the most obvious way to do it.

Speedrunning still appeals to me, however disillusioned I am with Speed Demos Archive and Games Done Quick. I have a few runs at various stages of completion, and it would make me feel like a better gamer to research them further or actually finish them. Occasionally people have also let me know that they're interested in the games I've picked up, so it would be some entertainment for them, too.

There's also two large programming projects; the strategy game I'm working on with some help from Emily, and a new website. The game is nowhere near done; it has much engine development but little content yet, and it's not possible to play a full battle so far. It needs many, many hours of work to be usable and a couple of multiples of that to be good. I probably won't be able to finish it in a year, but I could put a large dent in the needed work. This would also help me improve as a programmer, adding the ability to appreciate projects of greater scope.

A new website has been something on my mind for a long time. My current site doesn't really show off what I know about HTML and JavaScript, so it would be neat to revisit it as a showcase alone. The functionality is what I really want to improve... I've been putting more and more focus on it being a decent repository of video game information, and to that end it keeps track of game prices, collection data and now I'm starting on linking games together that share characters. I want to take this to another level and make it possible to define collections of games by certain companies, or about certain events in history, and so on. This time I want to design the website properly from the beginning, leaving enough room for extension but not relying on a hodge-podge of techniques.

So, to recap:
  • Watch as few video game streams as possible
  • Play no League of Legends
  • Regularly stream play-throughs of unfinished games from my collection
  • Record and submit a speedrun or two
  • Create a working prototype of a strategy game
  • Re-build and re-style my website
That's enough for a year.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Well, I guess the other presents arrived!

Another book; Love Songs of Early China, a translation and commentary of some very old poetry indeed. I'm primarily interested in this because of the linguistic angle, but the poetry might be interesting too. :D For some reason, the book has no entry on GoodReads, so I've added one.

For a while now, we've had this annoying issue with the PS3 where it refuses to play some of the PS1 Classic titles I've bought from the UK PSN store. To that end, we now have a PlayStation TV! And... they still don't work, because for some reason many PAL PS1 titles don't support the PSTV. Argh. Well, at least now I have a way of playing Vita games! The memory card just arrived today, so it's time to download everything that it'll play, I guess.

Insignificant Birthdays

Good morning! It's the day after my 29th birthday and I'm suffering from the tail end of a cold, so let's do this. I'm reliably informed that not all of my presents have arrived yet, but I already have plenty to talk about.

As many already know, the past couple of weeks I've been playing Destiny because Emily was kind enough to buy the Digital Collector's Edition for me. My experience with it so far has been quite positive; there have been a few connection issues but nothing to serious. I've since beaten all the main story missions for each expansion and enjoyed the whole thing. Coming in, I knew it was some mix of FPS and MMO, so I expected something like Planetside. However, PvP is strictly opt-in and not very emphasized, so it's really more like Borderlands. In fact, the game is so heavily like Borderlands it makes me wonder if some of the development crew was shared. Maps are reused ruthlessly, guns and gear are semi-randomly generated, the missions are structured the same way, there's a skill tree for each class (well, Destiny has subclasses), the overall atmosphere is grim but there's a fair bit of humour, PvP sucks... I'm sure there's more. Nevertheless, definitely a fun game with some decent challenge (haven't done a Raid yet) and excellent web/app support. Recommended if you like Halo and Borderlands.

My other "present" so far consists of almost the entire Malazan book series. I randomly found the first novel in a Waterstones a couple of weeks ago, and now I have 14 of them. My interest in them was sparked by Chester Bolingbroke, so hopefully he's a good judge of taste. They're pretty long, even for epic fantasy novels, so I'm settled in for the long haul. I'll probably bring a few to America on our next trip.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Nottingham Spoils

Just got back from a weekend in Nottingham! I'm slightly sad that I didn't get to see the video game museum thing they have there, but Emily and I had a pleasant enough time, and also bought some games from the local CeX:

  • Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom (360) - don't know much about this one, other than that the series is well-respected
  • Mass Effect 3 (360) - for when I get round to finishing 2
  • Shadows of the Damned (PS3) - Emily was interested in it
  • History - Great Battles Medieval (PS3) - Not sure how a strategy game will play on a gamepad, but I'll give it a try
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII (PS2) - bit of a jump from 4 to 8, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it
  • Rise to Honour (PS2) - an action marital arts thing starring Jet Li, could be fun
  • Astonishia Story (PSP) - an action RPG, hopefully it's good

Aside from that, life has been progressing at a stately pace. I still have plenty of games to talk about in my queue, but progress has been slow on my own creation. No speedrunning news; Ultima II still bugs me, and El Shaddai is in the back of my mind.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Dungeon crawlers! They're one of my favourite types of games to play, even though they utterly terrify me. Some of the classic RPG series started (and often continued) as first-person dungeon games, such as Ultima, Wizardry, Might & Magic, Pools of Radiance...

On a side note, Pools of Radiance (and its sequels) were just released on GOG for a fair price. I highly recommend you play them if you have a spare... few months.

Anyway, Japan has been inordinately fond of dungeon crawlers ever since they were introduced. Also, their general culture is more accepting of grindy games, so a huge amount of them have been developed since the 80s when personal computing really exploded.

This long introduction is so I can talk about Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl. It's a party-based dungeon crawler set in a reasonably-well fleshed out generic-medieval-with-magic setting, and it's one of the games I wanted the 3DS for originally. Atlus seem intent on remaking every game in the DS Etrian Odyssey series, so I'm pretty sure I'll follow them as they get released. Interestingly, part of the remake seems to be adding a more story-heavy mode along with the 'classic' build-your-own-party mode that crawlers have had forever.

The story is quite well written, with varied (and mostly non-stereotypical) characters and decent voice acting. I can't impress upon you enough how rarely that sentence is true for RPGs. I played on the 'Picnic' difficulty, which really is very easy, so I'm definitely going to have to play through it again with my own party and on Normal or even KICKYOASS or whatever it calls the top one. Monster encounters are usually interesting, the classes are all quite different, and character growth is fulfilling. FOEs are a clever addition to the crawling formula - visible monsters that roam in specific patterns, requiring forethought to get past, or brute strength to beat. Picnic makes them quite reasonable, but on Normal or above they can destroy you at short order.

Overall, a good game, worth the time it took to beat. I definitely recommend playing through Story mode your first time, and not skipping through the cut-scenes or dialogue.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

By the Thousands

I have a fondness for the Dynasty Warriors / Musou series that started when a college friend of mine made me play one while at his house one day. I didn't think very much of it at the time, though I did wonder who all these people with weird Asian names were.

Now I own 19 of them and I'm thinking of trying to collect the full set, and maybe even speedrun each one.

What changed? Well, while I was at college and university I went through what you might call a weeaboo period where I wanted to learn Japanese and watch as much anime as possible. I was surprised at the change too, but I've since calmed down a little and I have a much wider range of interest in other cultures. I did also take a Japanese class at university which sated my desire to learn for a while.

I think what really intrigues me is that the series successfully mixes real history with complete absurdity, which is also true of Assassin's Creed, another love of mine. Almost every named general in each game had a real life many hundreds of years ago, had their own relationships and their own exploits. Some of them were faithfully captured by the era's scribes, but only survive in history as some field general's left-hand man. Especially sad are the women, whose given names were rarely recorded and are commonly known only as "Lady [husband's family name]". My interest in the series led me to read an English translation of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a combination history book / epic novel which chronicles the events in China, AD 220-280. Some aspects are clearly made up to suit the story, but a surprising amount of it is real and taken from bona fide historical documents.

Still, Dynasty Warriors attempts to mould this rich historical background into an action game. Some of the instalments are more fun than others, but each numbered entry tries to throw something a little different in the works. Early on, the series varies drastically from game to game; the first title is actually a versus fighter, instead of the third-person massacre-fest it is today. There are also a number of offshoots which treat other parts of history (Hundred Years War in Europe, Warring States in Japan) to the Musou formula.

Since the last update I've played and/or beaten:
  • Dynasty Warriors 2
  • Dynasty Warriors 3
  • Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires
  • Samurai Warriors 2: Empires
  • Hyrule Warriors

Dynasty Warriors 2 is easy to consider the first 'true' Dynasty Warriors game, starting the idea of wandering around a huge battlefield cleaving everyone you meet in twain. It's simple fun, without many of the extra systems that get added later. Only the most famous of the Three Kingdoms heroes are playable.

Dynasty Warriors 3 continues the trend, adding some tactical considerations and a giant spike in difficulty. I'm kind of stuck on one of Guan Yu's battles, because archers absolutely destroy me. Officer fights have become an exercise in frustration, with only the tightest of combos able to do anything to them, as any gap in hits gives them an excuse to rid you of half your health.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires is a giant leap forward in series history, and it's amazing how much has changed. The 'Empires' subtitle refers to a more strategic view, allowing you to rule (your part of) the country much as you see fit, allocating resources to various pursuits including diplomacy and personnel training. I tend to prefer these, as you can choose who to attack and when, rather than sitting through a static story. Emily and I blazed through a campaign as Yuan Shao's forces.

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires is set in 15th/16th century Japan, instead of China. As such, the names and battlefields are different, but much is still the same, centring on the same hacky slashy gameplay. Strategy is reasonably interesting, with individual officer posting and the ability to focus on a region of Japan before going after the full prize. However, the graphics, never a strong point for this series, are especially bad in this case, which makes it all the more surprising that it lags so very much. Probably one to avoid.

Hyrule Warriors is an amusing Zelda-themed spinoff. The conversion of these characters to Musou combat is fun, though I think the original characters created for this game are highly risible, especially Cia's insane cleavage. There's a ridiculous amount of extra content, with challenge battles and four enormous Adventure maps which will keep us playing for a long time before we can call it 'Complete'. Well worth playing if you have a WiiU.

I can't offer much in defence of the series. I'm well quoted as trying to avoid games which are 'only fun', but there isn't much cognition required to beat a Musou game. The difficulty can be extremely challenging on the higher rungs, but it still basically boils down to knowing when to retreat. The plot can be interesting enough, but if you've read the book there's nothing more to see, and each instalment rehashes it in a different way. The voice acting is largely terrible and repetitive. Each character only has so many attacks, and you're going to see them over and over again. I don't know, I just enjoy them despite all this. Call me a hypocrite, it wouldn't be the first time!

Now I only have, oh, 50 more games to talk about before I clear my backlog...


I know, it's been far too long, again. I have a real post in mind later. This is just a list of games, to clear out the ridiculous backlog backlog I have.
  • Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk (PS3) - recommended to Emily by a friend, this series has a zillion games and they're RPGs with ridiculously cute visuals.
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (DS) - I require all FF games 8)
  • Pokémon Conquest (DS) - being a crossover of Pokémon and Samurai Warriors, it was inevitable really
  • Phantasy Star Portable (PSP) - I've had the second one for so long, I figured it would be silly if I didn't get the first one
  • Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel (360) - free Xbox Live Gold game, I imagine it'll be another soulless shooter
  • Mafia II (360) - also free Xbox Live Gold game
  • Agarest: Generations of War (PC) - came as part of a Humble Bundle, looks like a moe game
  • bit Dungeon II (PC) - Humble Bundle, looks neat
  • FATE + FATE: Undiscovered Realms (PC) - Humble Bundle, Diablo clones whee!
  • Paper Sorcerer (PC) - Humble Bundle, saw a video review of this near to the release date and it looks really nice!
  • Pier Solar and the Great Architects (PC) - Humble Bundle, been vaguely interested in this for a while
  • Rollers of the Realm (PC) - Humble Bundle, pinball RPG what
  • SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition (PC) - Humble Bundle, oh my this looks fun
This isn't all the games I've bought since the last post. There's also been several 'Started' and 'Beaten' which I'll endeavour to talk about soon. I've been super busy lately with a couple of new projects:
  • Writing a strategy RPG with Emily's assistance
  • Translating a Gameboy game (and writing my own tools to help me do so)
Also, I'll be going away on holiday to Ireland soon. I might have a few spare moments to play some games and post about them there.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The March of (Anti-)Progress

I'm not known for completing games with any great expediency. I'm not even known for completing games at all; my ratio of playing to beating games is very poor indeed.

With that in mind, I bought a collection of 49 games. It's called Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (PS3) here in Europe, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in America. This contains a whole bunch of classic MD games, and also some terrible ones like Sonic Spinball. I'll talk about the few I've played so far here:
  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is somehow the fifth game in the series, despite looking like a Klik 'n' Play game made in a week. I find it incredibly dull to play, but I might beat it soon simply because it's not very long.
  • Alien Storm is a brawler, not my favourite genre, but I've played it before a long time ago and it doesn't seem overly difficult.
  • Altered Beast is a terrible brawler/platform thing which is unfortunately represented twice in this collection. Emily and I have been bashing at it but the stage four boss is giving us some trouble. However, it's super short so one day, it'll go down.
  • Bonanza Bros. is an odd game; split-screen even in single player, it's something like an extremely simple forerunner to Monaco and Way of the Ninja. Haven't played much yet, have the feeling it will get very difficult later on.
  • Columns doesn't have a campaign, only a high score mode, so I've marked it as Null on Backloggery. It's good enough I suppose, but I'm not a big fan.
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine however is one of my favourite MD games, and I beat it again as soon as I got the collection just for fun (and the trophy).
  • Fatal Labyrinth is that oddity, a commercial roguelike. It's very simple and very ruthless. Down to level 10 so far; it saves every 5 levels.
  • Flicky is a godawful arcade game which is painful on every level. I originally marked it Null for not having a real ending, but apparently the stages loop after a while so I'm going to have to slog it out. Only played briefly so far.
  • Ristar is a charming platformer with good music and graphics, slightly marred by the overuse of terribly digitised samples. I don't think this one is a pushover.
  • Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention is probably the first strategy game I played, on emulator when I was little. Despite being kind of dated, it still has some good moments and is quite difficult. Done a few battles.
  • Sonic Spinball is a horrendously laggy mess with dreadful music and sounds.
  • Super Thunder Blade is an autoscrolling shmup which has both going-forward and going-up modes. Not sure which I like least.
Despite owning a Mega Drive in my youth, I haven't played most of these games. However, I do know a fair bit about a lot of them, and almost all of them have excellent speedruns should I need some reference material.

I still have a lot of games to talk about; beaten and bought... some of these are from months ago!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Hull Loot

I seem to remember promising 'proper updates' more regularly. This isn't one of those.

Emily and I just got back home from a short break in Hull. While there, we bought ten games.
  • Dynasty Warriors 7 (PS3)
  • Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends (PS3)
  • Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires (PS3)
  • God of War III (PS3)
  • Way of the Samurai 4 (PS3)
  • White Knight Chronicles (PS3)
  • Halo 3: ODST (360)
  • Halo 4 (360)
  • Warhammer: Battle March (360)
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS)
Keen-eyed readers might notice that I already have DW7. Well... yes, but I persuaded myself to get them for PS3 because 360 doesn't have Xtreme Legends, so it would be weird to have one but not the other. Maybe I'll trade in my 360 copy.

The other games are either things I've had on my wishlist for a while, sheer stubborn completionism or random things Emily found which look neat.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (XB360)

If there's any one fighting game series that has given me more joy than the others, it is Tekken. While I haven't always bought the latest one or kept up with competitive play, coming back to it after a year or so to see what has changed and who all these weird new characters are is always pleasant. Tekken Tag Tournament was my favourite in the series; while I enjoyed Tekken 3 immensely, I didn't like the changes brought into Tekken 4.

So, now I get to talk about Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is a bit of a mouthful. Essentially, just like the first one, it is a 2-on-2 fighting game with all the previous Tekken characters included, ignoring plot events totally. Fighting game plots are stupid, so I am vastly in favour of this. It also means my favourite character, Kunimitsu, makes her return, and she has more silly ninja moves than ever.

The 2v2 game-play is as fun as ever, although because of TTT2 inheriting T6's bound system, long-winded juggle combos are even more important than they ever were. In my previous series play I never enjoyed these... while they make perfect sense from a competitive standpoint, I just don't enjoy inputting a precise series of buttons every time I hit a random launcher; it feels robotic. I'd rather play around with the ridiculously huge number of moves every character has. By contrast, Street Fighter IV gives its fighters maybe 50 moves each (counting for punch/kick strength variations, etc.) whereas Tekken gives them upwards of 200 and adds large amounts of stances into the mix to make things unpredictable. The sheer amount of in-game situations possible is mind-blowing and this is what I find interesting in a game. Solved games are less fun!

To let my love for the series shine through, I decided to go for 100% achievement completion. I had tried this earlier on Tekken 6, but I found it difficult to get any online matches (I don't exactly tend to play games shortly after their release date). TTT2's achievements are in the same vein; most of them are fairly trivial, some require on-line vs. play and some are grindy messes. The hardest achievement is definitely getting 1st Dan in on-line mode. That isn't a particularly high rank, but everyone else you come across is probably trying to get there too, and there are many, many characters to learn to beat. I used my time-honoured partnership of Kunimitsu and Lei and eventually got there. However, by far the grindiest achievement to obtain was "become Tekken Lord in offline mode". This took me maybe 25 hours by itself and was not much fun at all. Thankfully I managed to come up with a fairly safe opening which would work against most AI opponents (even the very highest difficulty ones fell for it every now and then) and trashed them quickly. 1000 Gamerscore get!

All-in-all I really enjoyed my foray back into Tekken-land. I'm not a huge fan of the focus on juggling, but the game-play is just as solid as I remember, and I finally get to rock my favourite probably-dead ninja woman again in peace.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

NES Remix (WiiU)

Although this is skipping a few games in my play order, I wanted to talk a little bit about NES Remix, which I got by spending my Club Nintendo stars. I didn't know a lot about this before I got it, but Emily said we should both enjoy it.

Essentially, it's a mini-game collection, except the mini-games are NES 'classics'. Instead of playing each game through, you are set some kind of task. These range from taking literally less than a second to beating an entire level. Your time taken for beating a task is then ranked from 1 to 3 stars, with a special 'Rainbow Stars' rank if you go really fast; I have a few of these. Here are the games represented, and some comments on each:

  • Mario Bros. - I really don't like this game. Both the physics and game-play are deeply unsatisfying. I dread when one of these stages comes up.
  • Super Mario Bros. - everyone knows this game is good, and I'm not disagreeing, but I'm not all that good at it. The more difficult tasks take me a long time to get.
  • Balloon Fight - I knew nothing about this, but it's really fun to play and optimise, good music too. In fact, we both liked it so much that we bought the Virtual Console version to play later.
  • Wrecking Crew - another game I haven't played before, seems simple enough, reminds me of Lode Runner in a lot of ways.
  • The Legend of Zelda - strangely I only ever owned Zelda II as a child, so this is new to me, it's good, the tasks are too short though so it's difficult to get into the groove.
  • Donkey Kong - it's not bad, it's not good.
  • Donkey Kong Jr. - better than the original, kind of easy.
  • Excitebike - blah I hate this game, it's all memorisation anyway.
  • Clu Clu Land - not done much of this yet, control scheme seems difficult, optimising it seems even more difficult.
  • Ice Climber - argh, this and Mario Bros. could have a fight for worst physics engine and I'm not sure which would win/lose. not fun, but at least the game has more than two mechanics.
  • Pinball - barely playable tosh.
  • Golf - no
There are also a few games which are only in the 'Bonus' category:
  • Donkey Kong 3 - fairly different but incredibly easy
  • Baseball - a little unsatisfying
  • Tennis - crap
  • Urban Champion - reminds me of Karateka, without the charm
  • and probably some others I haven't got to yet
Most of the stages are just short tasks (or sometimes gauntlets of tasks), but there are two 'Remix' categories which generally provide some kind of extra strange effect on game-play. Sometimes the entire level will be silhouetted against the background, or the 'camera' will continually zoom out until your sprite is only a pixel large. Maybe you'll have to control two characters at once, or help Link rescue Pauline. These are some of the more interesting and difficult stages.

As Emily and I have different WiiU profiles, the game saves our progress separately. I wonder if there is an area which compares best times for each user? Emily and I have difficulty with different games, so maybe we should create a new profile which we both play on, to cooperatively get the best times! Maybe chase all those rainbow stars...

Overall I'm enjoying it. It's not a particularly innovative game, but I am definitely getting three stars on everything because I'm a speedrunner.

Hiatus, listing part 3

Onwards, brave lists.
  • Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - we already have Heavy Rain, Emily is enjoying it, so...
  • God of War Collection and God of War Collection, Volume 2 (PS3) - that is, the HD versions of 1, 2, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. hacky slash fun
  • Wild Arms 2 (PSN) - PS1-era RPGs for ridiculously cheap? yes please
  • Breath of Fire IV (PSN) - like I said
  • NES Remix (WiiU) - this looks like fun, got with Club Nintendo points
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) - I've heard good and bad things, hopefully it's at least beautiful
  • Warriors Orochi 3 (PS3) - more Musou!
  • Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) - caught some brief glances of gameplay, looks neat
  • Gears of War: Judgment (360) - argh, kind of hated 2 and I haven't played 3 yet
  • Terraria (360) - again, already own on Steam
  • Demon's Souls (PS3) - why did I buy this? Dark Souls is hard enough as it is
  • Resonance of Fate (PS3) - looks like a flashy JRPG?
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (WiiU) - hey, the WiiU has GBA games. got with Club Nintendo Platinum reward
That was a lot to get through. As well as all these games, there's also something like 15 beaten games, and some others that I've started, so I have a lot to write about. I'm thinking of trying to write more per game to make it a little more in-depth, so prepare for... lots of late posts.

Hiatus, listing part 2

More games.
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus (3DS) - also Club Nintendo present!
  • Tomb Raider (360) - yeah the new one, also free
  • Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS3) - so I have something to play :p
  • Super Mario 3D World (WiiU) - coop madness
  • Nintendo Land (WiiU) - pack-in
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU) - it had to happen sometime
  • Hyrule Warriors (WiiU) - more Musou! more Zelda!
  • Dynasty Warriors 2 (PS2) - though it's called '2', this is the first real Musou game, as the prequel is a vs. fighter
  • Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos (PSP) - the sequel to that other Generation of Chaos game I mentioned in the previous list
  • Pokémon Shuffle (3DS) - Nintendo made a Facebook game
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect (PS3) - murder mystery!
  • Drakengard 3 (PS3) - well, this means I have to find 2, now
  • Final Fantasy VI (PSN) - finally bit the bullet, this means I own every current main series game! if you ignore the FFXIII sequels anyway
  • BioShock Infinite (360) - free, also supposed to be good
You may have noticed this list contains WiiU games. Well... yes, Emily's family did decide to buy one while we were over there. I know it shouldn't really surprise me any more, but the depth of their generosity still stuns me.

This time when coming home we brought both the WiiU and the PS3, so I can be even more paralysed by indecision than usual when it comes to playing games.


Wow, it has been a long time.

Since I last updated, I seem to have somehow bought or acquired FORTY games/DLCs, so obviously my Backloggery is bursting at the seams by now. This is going to be a series of boring list posts. I'll talk more about the games I've actually played later.
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire: Special Demo Version (3DS) - yeah I know
  • Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (360) - I played the first one and basically enjoyed it
  • The Walking Dead, Episode 2 - "Starved for Help" (360) - the first episode haunted my dreams, so here's to more bad sleep!
  • Gratuitous Tank Battles: The Western Front (PC) - DLC woo
  • Sword of the Stars: The Pit - Juggernaut (PC) - more DLC
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal: Ashes of Urh'Rok (PC) - yet more DLC
  • MX vs. ATV Alive (360) - free stuff is free
  • The Midnight Station (PC) - game made by UltraJMan & co., looks neat
  • The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief - Ancestry of Lies and A Murder of Ravens (360) - Emily wanted more Zellner
  • Sniper Elite V2 (360) - I also got this free on Steam... it's an FPS, so I'll probably play that version instead
  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge (360) - cheap 360 games!
  • Viking: Battle for Asgard (360) - don't you just love games with unnecessary subtitles?
  • darkSectOr (360) - no idea
  • Dynasty Warriors 3 (PS2) - part of our ongoing quest to own all the Musou games
  • Generation of Chaos (PSP) - looks like a strategy game, some research turns up the fact that the series is incredibly long in Japan and we only got a couple of releases here
  • Super Mario Land (3DS) - Club Nintendo present!
Yep, ran out of tag space.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


As I was walking through the train station this morning, I suddenly had a strong recollection of the past night's dream, so I thought I'd write about it.

The station floor was very slippery, you see, just like the stone steps leading to Asher Temple. Although it may be "The Asher Temple", "Temple of the Ashers" or simply "Asher". Its origins and history are obscure, and its denizens were not quick to enlighten such questioners.

The steps were not typical; a long time past they had been sundered by a furious barbarian who did not receive the answers he sought. The path became unsafe, then unusable. Many years later, a visiting sorcerer noticed the path and offered to repair it for a price. The monks could not afford it, so they paid half and this resulted in the anomaly we see today.

The rocks which made up what used to be a rough staircase now float freely in the air; not enough to be simple to traverse but possible with determination and dexterity. Occasionally the rocks drift away from the path a little, requiring leaps of faith to reach. Perversely, the monks prefer it this way. Despite this challenge, it is still common for the temple to receive visitors, so the rocks have become worn over time and very smooth. It's said that the monks are uncharacteristically warm if you manage to reach them on a rainy day.

One day I'm going to actually write an RPG or a story or something, and people are going to love it or hate it.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Lord Davies

I have a ton of things to talk about since last time, but I just needed to mention this.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

On Twitch and Hating Fun

I have an ongoing problem with the Twitch community at large.

If you know anything about me, I'm sure you know what's coming. I don't enjoy spam, the faces, the bandwagoning or the hero worship. I think it detracts and distracts from the enjoyment of the stream itself. Hiding the chat is a non-solution; discussing the stream is what I want to do.

However, all this is distant compared to the actual issue here. Look at my opening sentence again: I have a problem.

My feelings on this situation are no more or less valid than anybody else's. My hatred of noise stems from my real-life aversion to crowds and sensory overload. The faces strike me as protecting the interests of insular groups I don't identify with. Bandwagoning? My love of variety and sometimes petulant insistence on being different from others, occasionally to my own detriment. Hero worship; my own realisation of (and cynical insistence upon) everyone's fallibility.

My introversion has given me a lot of free time to examine my own beliefs, and the outcome is being less sure of them. An echo chamber is a dangerous thing. Of course, such a chamber can have many voices.

I defend (or invite criticism of) my own views here to help others understand. Sometimes I have been too willing to dismiss other's views out of hand; I'm not always as logical as I want to be, and emotions can ruin any otherwise good situation. I have said some inflammatory things in the past that I regret.

Reconciling my own feelings and preferences with the current state of affairs is something I have to do, not others. Nothing I've said is particularly profound and I expect no immediate change in others' relationships with me. I just want to start the process of mutual respect.

Of course I don't hate fun. I just don't like your fun.