Tag Archives: blogging

August Games

Well, had to happen eventually, but I managed a month without completing anything. This month does a have a new section though. Enter “Abandoned”. Games I was intending on completing that I gave up on.


Games abandoned during August

Wario Blast – Game Boy

Was very much enjoying replaying this on my shiny new Game Boy. Thought it was going to be a relatively straight forward completion to tick off. Not so, the last boss is an ass. I’ve watched videos of people doing it in less than a minute, but the timings are painful. Have given up, I think when I beat it back in the day it was in local co-op on my friends Super Game Boy. Maybe I’ll try again one day.

Here They Lie – PSVR

This was a free game on Playstation Plus, and I was looking forward to checking it out with my headset. The game starts off really interesting and very creepy. Unfortunately it also gave me the worst motion sickness I’ve had from VR yet. After about 20 minutes I had to give up, I had been enoying the game though so continued in 2D. Sadly what was an interesting experience in VR, was very ‘middle of the road’ without it. Glad I didn’t buy this.


Also played this month

90s FPS Games – PC

Following last month’s PC Upgrade, I’ve been making the most of my new hardware, by using it to play games I played back in the ’90s. This mostly involved finding modern engines for them, to add higher resolutions, improved lighting etc.  Played around with Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Hexen 2 and of course Quake 1 and 2.

Star Trek Bridge Crew – PSVR

A big part of the reason I picked up my headset in the first place, I finally got around to playing this online with a buddy. It was excellent, and I’m looking forward to our continuing adventures. Hopefully with another crew member if we can work the timings out.

Virtua Cop – SEGA Saturn

Spent a bit of time with this using the mouse I picked up earlier this year. It’s not as satisfying as a light gun would be, but is much more playable than using a pad. Nice to be able to play these old shooters at all.

 

 


August Pickups

Quake Champions: DLC Pack – PC

The Champions Pack DLC went on sale for £13, and I’d already put enough time into the game that I was happy to buy it. The pass unlocks all the current champions as well as any more that get added. I’ve also been doing much better in the game since I found out how to properly set up my mouse sensitivity & DPI settings for FPS games. I’m still playing a few rounds pretty much everyday.

Game Boy stuff

I went up to London for the Play Expo event this month. As usual I didn’t have much on my shopping list, but was pleased to pick up some games I wanted and a slipcase for my new Game Boy.

All-Time Top 5 Board & Card Games

This is even less of an ‘all-time’ list than usual, since there is no way I’ve played enough games to be definitive. However, it’s my format and I’m sticking to it. Also I could easily do top 5 card games, top 5 co-op games, top 5 games to play drunk etc, but I thought I’d stay simple. Consider this the Top 5 of the games I personally want to play if you invite me to games day.


5) Takenoko

Easily the cutest board game I’ve ever played, the expansion adds a lady panda miniature and also panda babies (disappointingly though the babies are tokens and not more minis).  The game is a good mixture of strategy & luck, as you compete to be the best bamboo gardener. An easy recommend, and is a pretty good gateway game for people not used to playing many games beyond monopoly.

 

4) Elder Sign

The only co-op game on this list, and surprisingly also the only Lovecraftian one. Elder Sign really nails the theme and atmosphere. It’s essentially Cthulhu Yahtzee, but with enough systems to keep the luck of a game reliant on dice rolls from becoming frustrating.

This game is the one that really brought me round to enjoying co-op games. Never really saw the point before!

 

3) King of Tokyo

Giant monsters, what’s not to love?!

The sequel, King of New York, along with the various small expansions, add a little complexity, but core gameplay remains the same. Be the last giant monster standing.

 

 

2) Hero (or Star) Realms

Both Hero Realms and Star Realms are very similar games, if you were just going to pick up one, the choice is simply whether you prefer a fantasy or sci-fi theme. These have been the go to 2-player card game in our house since the demise of Lords of War (sob).

The gameplay involves using your resources to purchase better cards for your own deck, then using those cards to defeat your opponent. Easy game to recommend, and a 2 player starter deck can be had for around £15.

 

1) Small World

Still my favourite board game. I know this is great, because I’m always so pleased we get it to the table, that I don’t even mind if I lose.  It’s a game of conquering territory ala Risk, but with a large selection of player Races & Abilities which each impact the strategy of the game in different ways.

 

 

 


Also rans:

DC Deck-Building Game

A strong alternative to Star / Hero Realms, this is another favourite in our house. There are various editions available, including a Street Fighter one.

The game play in this is similar to Star / Hero Realms, although the focus is on accumulating victory points in your deck rather than straight up combat with your opponent, so you don’t find out who has won till the end.  This is a good option if you regularly have more than 2 players, as for my money, it supports more players better than Star / Hero Realms.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

This was very close to making the top 5. What I love about this is how well it handles the theme, but the game is still excellent if you have no idea about Discworld.

A gamesday regular.

 

Gloom

Sort of an inverse happy families. You start out with one of the set families, and as the game progresses various events occur having either a positive or negative effect on the quality of life of each family member. The general goal is to make your family as miserable as possible, and then have them expire.

Although not the most uplifting of game ideas, the real joy in this game comes from storytelling. Each family member has their own backstory, players are encouraged to flesh this out during the course of the game, weaving a narrative around the various cards they are playing on their turns. Gloom is always well received when I introduce it to new people, twice I’ve had to leave it behind when visiting friends so they can carry on playing, and pick myself up a new copy.

Love Letter

A fast paced ‘filler’ game, very easy to learn and cheap to pick up. Much like Gloom this Love Letter always goes down well when introducing it to others. Easier than Gloom to get going in the pub though.

July Gaming

Another small indie completion this month, along with a bigger title I’ve been playing for a while.


Games completed during July

The Static Speaks My Name – PC

Another free indie game, I think I originally heard good things about this on a podcast. It almost has something mildly interesting to say about loneliness, mental health & death, but nothing too profound. Narrowly avoids disappearing up its own behind, but only if you don’t read the comments on Steam.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – PS4

Not quite as great an experience as The New Order, but still a really good game. Very much enjoyed the story and shooting Nazis is always fun. It’s pretty tough though, a few frustrating parts almost spoil the experience in places. I’ve only finished the main campaign so far, time will tell if I put any more time into it.


Also played this month

Quake Champions – PC

Still in early access, I won a code for this from Twitter or somewhere. It has some frustrating trappings of the Free 2 Play model, but aside from the Champions which you can buy with a one off purchase, it’s pretty much just cosmetics in the loot system. It is great fun to play already though, and still fairly sparse in modes. I’ve been playing quite a bit, but struggling to climb the scoreboards on the solo instagib queue. Yet to decide if I just need practice to regain my Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament era skills, or if I’m just old and the required reaction times are far behind me.


July Pickups

PC Upgrade!

This bundle from overlockers.co.uk had been tempting me for a little while, when I realised I’d had my current CPU/Mainboard/RAM combo since 2012 I decided it was time for an upgrade. CPU is an AMD Ryzen 2600 and I plumped a little extra to double the RAM up to 16GB. It came with a free 250GB SSD, so that’s now in place as my new system drive.

I’m delighted with it, nice boost to performance and I think my old CPU was holding back the GTX 970 graphics card I got last year.

Elder Scrolls Online – PC

A few friends and I decided to give this a go now you don’t need a subscription. We’ve only played a couple of hours so far but it seems pretty nice. Might help me hold off trying out the new World of Warcraft expansion for a bit longer too.

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One

A surprise gift from my sister, seems she pre-ordered it back in May for my birthday and never told me, so it just turned up unannounced on release day. Was a perfect surprise as all the people talking about it on Twitter were tempting me into buying it myself. I’ve had a little go so far, it is as good as they say.

EZ-Flash Omega – Game Boy Advance

I’ve been in the market for a good flash card solution for the Game Boy Advance for a while. The EverDrive looked tempting but very pricey, and has an annoying oversize shell that wouldn’t fit flush in either my Game Boy Micro or Nintendo DS. A friend tipped me off to this though, and it’s perfect. Performance is close to the EverDrive, has interchangable shells so it’ll fit flush in either machine (I’ve gone with the DS one, and I think I’ll sell the Game Boy Micro on) and it cost less than a third of the price of the EverDrive.

Fable Anniversary – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

Finally picked this up in the Xbox Summer Sale. Never played the original Fable, but loved 2 & 3 back on the Xbox 360. Looking forward to finally checking out this version.

 

Custom Back-lit Nintendo Game Boy

I went up to NERG in July, and as well as generally having a great time with friends, I also picked up this beauty from the traders. It didn’t have the light fitted but I fell in love with the colour scheme and it was super cheap (they even threw in a copy of Tetris). Joe Bleeps was kind enough to fit the back light for me for a very reasonable fee.

The finished article is gorgeous, and now I’m going to pick up a few of the games I enjoyed as a nipper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

June Gaming

No major completions this month, but a couple that I’m counting anyway, because it’s my blog. 🙂


Games completed during June

TRIHAYWBFRFYH – PC

A 20 minute indie game / experience, this was quite odd but not entirely uninteresting. The music is excellent, and it utilises audio recordings of excerpts from Lovecraft stories for atmosphere. It’s free, so worth a look if you’re interested.

Captain Spirit – PS4

Yes it’s sort of a demo, but it works as a standalone episode in the Life is Strange universe. Very much enjoyed playing this, and going back to make sure I’d ticked off the full to-do list.

 


Also played this month

Gears of War 4 – Xbox One

Finally made a start on this campaign in co-op with my buddy. Really enjoying it so far, think we’re just starting the 3rd Act.

 

VR Worlds – PSVR

After scaring myself silly on some other VR experiences, I finally got round to playing some of the games on here. The London Heist in particular is really enjoyable, but the shark attack experience didn’t do much to calm my heart rate.

Trackmania Turbo – PS4

A free game with PS Plus, I originally just had a quick go and moved on. Mate text me to point out he’d been and smashed all my times though, and I’ve had to go back and try to regain a bit of my honour.

Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed – Xbox 1 / 360 BC

Another free one, this time from Games with Gold. I’ve played a bunch of this on other platforms, but it’s still a great game, so have been playing it fresh.


June Pickups

The Division – PS4

Picked up this (and the next two games in this list) in a 3 for 2 offer at Game. All 3 are games I was interested in when they came out, but concerned I might not enjoy them based on past experiences.

Watch Dogs 2 – PS4

Generally I don’t get on with open world games, and I didn’t enjoy the first Watch Dogs. However, I’ve heard that this one is much better, and having been watching Mr. Robot lately, I’m interested in the themes. Hack the Planet indeed.

Resident Evil VII – PSVR

Don’t really like standard Resident Evil games, but at some point I knew I was going to need to get this to try in VR. Have played the first half an hour, it’s terrifying, and I’m still working up the courage to try again…

Resident Evil IV – PC

When I tell people I don’t like Resident Evil, they tell me to play this one. So I shall.

 

Cuphead – Xbox One

Finally! Gave up waiting for a significant price drop and just grabbed it. Everything you’ve heard is true. It looks incredible, and it’s far too difficult for me.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – PS4

Not sure how much I’ll play this, have owned it a couple of times before and kind of bounced off. It was cheap though, and I do like the roster.

Mouse – Sega Saturn

Sadly mine didn’t come with the mouse mat from the picture. Treated myself to one of these in order to best experience the Saturn version of Riven. Discovered after purchasing that a bunch of the Saturn light gun games support it, which finally gives me a half decent way to play those on my modern TV. Result.

 

 

Retrogamer Magazine & 8bitdo Controller

Retrogamer magazine have an offer where you can currently subscribe to 6 issues of the mag for £26 and get one of these controllers for free. The controllers generally cost more than that on their own, so I went for it. They’re Bluetooth and it should work nicely with my RetroPi setup.

 

 

 

RetroPie Project

This month I managed to complete a project I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I picked up a Raspberry Pi back in February, installed RetroPie and was enjoying it just hooked up to my TV with my old Xbox 360 Hori EX2 Joystick.

I had seen various projects online involving fitting a Raspberry Pi into an existing, or specially built, arcade stick enclosure. This way you have a portable system that just hooks up to power and a screen, and you’re ready to play. Having worked a little bit with customising a stick for my PS4 previously, I figured I’d give it a go.

In deciding on a colour scheme, I was inspired by this classic Namco Playstation Arcade Stick. I am pleased with how mine has turned out.

Components used:

  • 6x fire buttons – Went with the screw in version of the same buttons I used in my PS4 stick. SANWA OBSN-30 Screw in buttons
  • Start and credit feed buttons – These are the smaller buttons at the top. Although I usually prefer SANWA parts, I went with Seimitsu for these because I wanted the translucent yellow. SEIMITSU PS-14-DN-K 24MM Screw in buttons
  • 2x Side buttons – spare originals taken from my Venom PS4 stick, decent enough for function buttons and I like that being a darker colour they look unobtrusive.
  • Ball Top Joystick – Again I went with the same stick I used in my PS4 one, have been very happy with that. SANWA JLF-TP-8YT Ball Top Joystick
  • USB encoder – I got this from Amazon, mostly because I wanted it next day. Seems pretty good so far. Reyann Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder
  • Enclosure – Out of stock at my supplier of choice, so I imported one from China. It’s the same as this, with two extra button holes in the side. BLACK EMPTY FIGHT STICK CASE
  • 64gb flash drive – Got this one based on size and speed, but I’ve since learned it runs hot, will need to keep an eye on that. SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse – Had these already, the USB receiver for it is tiny, so it’s very convenient to keep installed.
  • Panel mount ports – I just grabbed short extension leads for USB, Micro USB and HDMI from eBay. Only the USB one has proper panel screw fittings, I figure I’ll just glue them in place.

Installation

I originally had the power and HDMI cables plugged directly into the Pi, routed through small holes in the rear of the case. However I wanted to be able to easily detach the cables for storage, so decided to mount power and HDMI ports to the case, along with a USB port for hooking up a second controller. Unfortunately I’m impatient; rather than order some decent attachments for my dremel I only had the couple that came with it. I ended up using a small drill bit to cut the holes, which is why they look hideous. I’m going to glue the ports in place more neatly later, so I’ll tidy the holes up at the same time.

 

I did briefly look into building the enclosure myself (or getting my Dad involved), but found these pre-cut boxes were so cheap that it wasn’t worth the effort. Almost didn’t get the one with the side button holes, glad I did though, it’s quite nice to have them for hot keys etc.

The RetroPie software is installed on a 16GB SD card, then it’s setup to load roms from the 64GB USB drive. I find this setup preferable to using a larger SD card. Flash drives seem less prone to data corruption as well as being cheaper and generally easier to work with. Now it’s all set up though, I just use WiFi if I want to add any games or change anything I can’t do from within the RetroPie software.

We’re done, for now…

On the whole it was quite straight forward, and gives me confidence for possible future projects. I’ve also got a Pi Zero W from my birthday that I’m still deciding what to do with…

May Gaming

Played a whole lot of games unsuccessfully during May, at least we managed to conclude a Telltale Game so as to avoid a zero completion month.


Games completed during May

Batman Telltale: The Enemy Within – PS4

Another really good Telltale game, as with the previous Batman series I really enjoyed the story. The game engine felt much more stable than the last one too.

 


Also played this month

Darkest Dungeon – PS Vita

Struggling a bit with this, the theme and art style are great and really hooked me. Finding it brutally difficult though, and making very little progress. I’ll try to persevere and see if it gets any easier. Or maybe I’ll consult some guides and see what I’m doing wrong!

Blood Bowl 2 – PS4

Played a mixture of the campaign mode and some online matches of this. I think I prefer playing the game on the tabletop, but it’s nice having the system do all the dice rolling for you. Although I am a bit dubious about the math, since my Elves seem to constantly fail picking the ball up, despite an alleged 83% chance of success…

Blood Omen – Legacy of Kain – PS Vita (PS1)

Restarted this recently for what is probably the 6th time. I’ve never finished it as I always end up leaving it too long in between sessions and forget what I was supposed to be doing. Maybe this time will be different.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – PS4

Also returned to this in May, enjoying myself back in Wolfenstein. I’m not sure it’s as good as The New Order, but I am enjoying the story and the context of the game.


May Pickups

Stardew Valley – PS Vita

Had almost given up hope of the Vita version of this ever getting a release. Hoping it’ll fill the current Animal Crossing void, but so far I’ve struggled to get into it. I might have to put my farm on hold until I finish my current studies and can focus on it with less guilt.

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection – PS4

Been looking forward to this since it was announced, and as it released the day before my birthday, it seemed appropriate to treat myself to a pre-order. Pleased to confirm that it’s a worthy collection, pretty much essential for fans of the series.

 

April Games

In which we mostly just played hundreds of hours of Castlevania.


Games completed during April

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin – Nintendo DS

Only finished one game this month, but it’s a great one. One of the best Castlevania games, thoroughly enjoyed this. Might be a while before I seriously tackle another Metroidvania one though. Need a bit of a vania break!


Also played this month

More Castlevania – Everything

This month I was invited onto the Maximum Power Up podcast, to talk about Castlevania. I started this during March, and played very little else for most of April, as I strove to fill the gaps in my knowledge of the series. You can listen to the Castlevania episode featuring yours truly here.

Sega Dreamcast

I’ve just started spending some quality time with my Dreamcast, and also with an emulator on my PC, as my console is getting a bit temperamental. Might have to pick up another.

 

Forza 7 – Xbox One

Yes I’ve gone back to this. The game is still frustrating, I really hate the ‘mod’ system and ‘prize crates’ but the racing is very satisfying, and it has been a nice change of pace from all that Castlevania.

 


April Pickups

Slay the Spire – PC (Steam, early access)

Not directly a pick up, but a steam gift this month from one of my friends. I’ve spent a little time with Slay the Spire now. It’s an excellent deckbuilder card game / rpg hybrid.

Panzer Dragoon Orta – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

The one game I’ve been hoping for since Microsoft announced a selection of classic Xbox games would be added to Backwards Compatibility on Xbox One. Support was finally added this month, and I grabbed it from the Xbox Store. I’ve had a few goes, and it’s glorious. Tough though!

 

March Gaming

This month we are mostly just pleased to see the end of Shoppe Keep.


Games completed in March

Shoppe Keep – PS4

Hurrah! Great addictive fun for the first 12 hours. A tedious, but sadly still addictive grind after that. I’m calling it complete as I have all but one trophy collected after 25 hours gameplay. To get the last one would take another 60+ hours of just maintaining the status quo. Nope.

Rez Infinite VR – PSVR

This is one of those essential games, that I just never got around to playing despite owning several times over. This month however, I took the plunge and jumped straight into it in VR. I haven’t tried the new Area X yet, but played the full main game in one sitting. An absolute gem, and a real VR showcase.


Also played during March

Armed Police Batrider – PC (MAME)

Played quite a bit of this as part of a high score challenge for an online league. I don’t usually include those games on here, but I really enjoyed Batrider, and want to remind myself to come back to it again.

 

Batman: The Enemy Within – PS4

I’m three episodes into this, and the 5th and final episode has now been released so I expect I’ll wrap this up in April. Really enjoying this series, and it’s great that it has its own storyline, and is able to divert enough from the comics that things are still surprising.

All the Castlevania – Almost Everything

Trying to fill some gaps in the Castlevania series that I haven’t played before, I’ve been dabbling in a lot of this lately. I’ve specifically been focusing on Portrait of Ruin and Lords of Shadow, but trying to get a good feel of them all. I have only previously completed Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow, so there are plenty of gaps.


March pickups

Wipeout VR! – PSVR

Not a proper pickup since I already owned the game, but the VR patch for the Omega Collection finally came out at the end of March. I’ve played about an hour, and it is absolutely superb. Might be the best experience I’ve had in VR yet.

Otherwise I haven’t picked up too much this month, aside from buying a few Castlevania games as mentioned above.

A Brave New Home

I have finally taken the plunge and forked out for a domain and some web-hosting. Hopefully you’ll now be reading this on my new home at liberaljoon.com where I am advert free.

I expect there will be some teething issues, as the migration is only 60% automated and the rest is me fiddling away, but I hope you’ll stick around. Both of you.