Seems I haven’t updated this site in over a year… I guess I’ve been busy with real life, and my Twitch streams. Mostly real life.
Time for another Birthday post, this time for the 51st. See my regular Wishlist page for the various wishlists…
So I’m going to be 50 soon. 50. There was a time when that seemed old, and far off. Still seems a bit old. I feel old often anyhow.
So just to make the wishlists easy for friends, family, “internet friends”, and any random Internet stranger out there that for some reason wants to get a stranger or “internet friend” a gift, I’ve of course made Amazon wishlists… well, the lists have been around for ages, these are just the ones that apply for now.
Also an important note, while I will indeed be 50 soon, this post is more or less in jest. I’m up, bored, and figured why not put the list together before I nap.
Also, cash is king…Continue reading On the Big Five Oh and Amazon Wishlists
There’s an odd thing going on with Anthem. It is receiving a ton of rancor, animosity, and hate. Much of it directed at the developers, and some at the fans of the game. As if the section of reviewers, YouTube, and the like have such a venomous hatred of the game, they seem insulted that others are enjoying the game. They seem to be going out of their way to try and ruin the fun that many people are still having with the game. Watch a stream, and the comments are filled with people who just hate the game. They can’t let the streamer, their fans, the game’s fans go, they have to spread their hatred of the game, and try to ruin everyone else’s enjoyment.
This happens from time to time, with various sports, books, movies and games. This time it just seems to be particularly viral, and intense. The closest I think I can come was Solo: A Star Wars story, which was a perfectly fine movie, but a section of the fandom hated the movie so much, they hated on those who enjoyed it, like how dare they enjoy a movie they hate. They revealed in the movie’s failure at the box office, even if that meant killing future works that they may have enjoyed. Many of these same people were then upset when EA canceled some single player Star Wars games, but I’m sure EA saw the reaction to Solo, and wanted to avoid that sort of hate. I doubt it was the main reason, but it undoubtedly figured in.
I’m not saying that there is no place for criticism. It is highly important, but there’s comes a point where one is just endlessly harping on that criticism train it becomes virulent, and less constructive. Continue reading Anthem – OVERREACTION by the Haters, let them hate, I for one have enjoyed it
So I’ve been hotly anticipating Anthem since it was announced at E3 2017. A Bioware, looter shooter?! Sign me up. One of my favorite story driven game developers, with by far my favorite genre, it was like a dream come true.
Then EA started to be even more of a dick than usual (they have long been not only one of, if not THE worst publishers, but they consistently land in the top worst companies period, finishing number one in 2012 and 2013, and 5th in 20181), and fears came, but hope remained. Turns out the EA fears were, at least as near as can be seen so far, unfounded. No loot boxes, no pay to win. Cosmetics only in the store. Some of the cosmetics are a bit expensive, but cosmetics are fairly low on my priority list. It’s not clear yet if this is just Bioware flexing its muscle, or if EA might be learning their lessons.
That said, the cosmetics in the store at the moment, are far from being worth it. The only thing that might be worth it could be the emotes, once they start adding more variety.
I’m only 14 or so hours into it (figure an hour or so of that may have been doing nothing but taking calls, or otherwise occupied away from the keyboard and just at the menu, but never away from keyboard on a mission with other players), and my pilot level is only level 14, but I’m having a great time. It fulfils the promise of being a great looter shooter, with perhaps 80% of Bioware’s usual story flair… there are no romance options, at least that I’ve seen yet. Dialog choices are limited to just two choices, rather than their usual several. Still, it helps keep stuff going, and there’s enough lore in the Cortex for lore hounds.Continue reading Anthem – First Look, Great Fun and Bugs that ANNOY
First, I’m not going to be answering that question, I’m asking it, and arguing why it should have been on the Solstice (when being setup, not now), and not some random day after. This isn’t some cute way of raising the question then providing the answer, such as “why is it dark at night?” Which while it may seem a clear answer, we’re on the shaded side of the Earth from the Sun. But given the number of starts out there, that every spot you look at has tons of galaxies, even in the gap of stars, the night sky should at worst look like the Milky Way all over the place, to being even a bit brighter, even on a night with no moon overhead. There would still be night, it would still be “dark”, but it should be brighter than it is. There is of course a rather simple answer, and I’ll let you go about exploring that on your own.
This is just a simple question of why didn’t the Gregorian Calendar set January 1st on the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice? Why some random date 11 days later? Continue reading Why Isn’t January 1st on the Solstice?
One of the oft mentioned things among non-gamers about video games is that they lack emotional appeal, that nobody will remember playing a game decades from now, so time is better spent making memories via going outside and doing something. This, as most gamers can attest, is categorically untrue. Many gamers have many good memories that last many years from moments in games. Not just a memory of a good score, or something, but genuine emotional moments. Back in 2003 or 2004 when I got to one point in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, there was a choice, and I went a path I’d never go in real life, and I could have gone a more reasonable, good path, but I went the Dark Jedi route, and I still feel guilt as of 2018, nearly 2019. There are other examples, but that’s one that sticks out.
One developer in particular has taken to the task of making games that one feels an emotional attachment to, to heart. Thatgamecompany. Their games have always been simple, elegant, games as art, that often engage the player emotionally.Continue reading A Journey to Sky Light Awaits
Okay, so there’s a game coming out next year called Satisfactory, which has been described as a first person Factorio. I’ve been looking forward to, signed up on test it, dying to test it, and all that jazz. Been following it and the news… and then a few days ago it disappeared from the Steam store, and you’d have thought the world came to the end. The developers said “They are looking into it” on the game’s Discord server, and the community seemed to be getting in a tissy. Finally the community manager was allowed to make the announcement…
So the big news then was that the game wasn’t coming to Steam, but would be exclusive to the new Epic Games Store, and a very vocal part of the community and fan base just lost their shit as if it was the apocalypse. With many saying they weren’t going to buy the game now if it wasn’t on Steam. Even though we don’t have all the information yet, we’ll get more on Wednesday (it’s a Friday as I type this), people are jumping to far reaching conclusions.
Fist, I got to commend how nice Sapphire City is. It’s the first board game parlor I’ve been to, and it is a really nice place. Good parking, nice play space. There’s a large library and large retail selection.
My TV died. It’s an older LG 42LE5400 from about 2011/2012. It’s long had a line of dead pixels down the left side which was noticeable on any brighter scenes, but overall it was an okay set and served its seven years well. I don’t know how much I spent on it, on it, but reviews from the time suggest an MSRP of $1,499.99, which I think is a bit high, so I probably got it under the $1k mark. The TV turns on and gets stuck at the LG logo. I can’t even get to the input options to watch stuff on my PS4/XBox One/Switch. Seems this suggests the motherboard died. Now there is a possibility that the board just needs “reflowed” which involves either a hot air gun or putting it in a preheated oven (at about 385 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes). So I’ll probably try the reflow option using a hot air gun, then I have to face the choice, do I try and buy a used motherboard that may or may not work for $50+, or a new TV.
Obviously, this article then is on the new TV options, from high end down to lower and more reasonable choices. Now if one is getting a new TV, you may as well go 4K, because that’s the direction TVs are moving, and prices are falling across the board. The TV I’m replacing is 42″, but as 55″ is the minimum for most of the TVs I’m looking at, I’m listing the 55″ option, at least until we get to the last one. Continue reading My TV Died
I have, for a very long time, wanted to go to Origins Game Fair in Columbus or GenCon in Indianapolis. Origins is the far easier one as it is only a couple hours away, and in theory, could make for a nice long day trip, or quick two-day trip. However, things never really worked out between work, money, and availability.
I had given some thought of going this year (2018) as I didn’t have the kids that weekend (though I could easily trade if needed even if I did) and I was single, so no plans… until there were plans, my first date with a new lady in 8 years, but more on that in a bit. Continue reading My First Origins Game Fair
I’m not an athlete or much of a sports fan. I’m a geeky gamer guy. Not exactly the sort of guys lots of folks would swipe right to, LOL. Still, on occasion, I can enjoy watching sports. Mostly soccer and hockey.
In my youth, I saw a professional baseball game with a group, probably church, at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium and once at Jacob’s Field on a cold opening day (not THE opening day, but one year). I saw what would become the Akron Aeros a couple times when they played in Canton at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium, including their opening game there (I’m pretty sure I saw another with a group). However, baseball is pretty the lowest of my major in the US sports interests. American style football would probably be next on that list and aside from portions of a Hall of Fame game, when I was a volunteer, I’ve never seen a game of that in person (probably wouldn’t want to as it is generally too cold). [Side note, professional football players are huge, while I’m sort of small… those guys are huge compared to normal guys.] Basketball I’ve never really got, but I’d put that next, at least the action flows better than the other two.
That leaves us with Soccer and Hockey. Both of which I’m what one would call a casual fan. I enjoy watching them some, but I don’t know the players’ names and positions, even for the teams I watch. Continue reading Down But Not Out to Win in Overtime
I love games. A casual look at this blog would probably make that obvious. I don’t talk about tabletop games too often, but I really do enjoy them. My favorites are co-op games where all players are working toward the same goal, and I can even appreciate hidden traitors in my co-op. When I play video games, I prefer Player vs Environment (PvE) over Player vs Player (PvP), and again, if co-op is in there, all the better.
Fantasy Flight Games has a few good co-op tabletop games, chief among them are a couple of Living Card Games. In Living Card Games, they function like the familiar Collectable Card Games such as Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and many others, but all booster packs have the same cards, so there is no chasing card. While I love Netrunner, it is the co-ops that I truly love. Arkham Horror: The Card Game is amazing, and captures the spirit of the great Fantasy Flight Arkham Chronicles. Then, of course, there is their long-standing The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, a game that has stood the test of time as an amazing co-op/solo game experience, rich in depth and story.
Into this world comes a new game from a new division of Fantasy Flight, Fantasy Flight Interactive, and their first title The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game. Continue reading Reflections on the new digital version of the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game
There have been some questions about my Brian’s Writing Laptop Campaign.
Fist, the Why? Well, I enjoy writing, and I’d love to be able to do that remotely, that is away from my home computer. Not an easy task. With a laptop, I could write during my lunch break for example, or while I’m out of town away from my desktop… if I got a break from other activities anyhow. It also allows me to write while out with one of the local writing groups. If for some reason you can’t see the link on the sidebar, here are The Collected Writing Prompts of Brian A Thomas.
Why a MacBook over a cheaper equivalent Windows laptop, or even Chromebook? First and foremost was the software. Scrivener currently is better on the Mac than PC. Now sometime in 2018, the PC version is supposed to reach feature parity with Scrivener on the Mac, so one could argue just wait, then buy the new version at whatever the discount will be for upgrading is. More on Scrivener in a bit. Vellum is Mac only, and that is more of a down the line tool for when I’m more ready to self-publish or submit for publication to somebody.
Scrivener is far superior to Word, Open Office Write, Google Docs, and all those other general purpose word processors. It is designed from the ground up as a tool for creative writing, and non-fiction, scripts and the like as well. It has lots of tools and methods that make writing, especially longer works, far easier. I haven’t even really started to use it (mostly because I’m using the trial at the moment), but I’ve been blown away by the YouTube videos I’ve seen of what it can do.
The next reason on why a MacBook over a Windows laptop are fewer distractions. The Mac is still not a great gaming platform, while the PC is. I would undoubtedly use the Windows machine to game far more than write.
Why not a Chromebook? Because in terms of what I’m using the laptop for, it wouldn’t function well. It is great if all you want to do is browse the web and other light duties that may be easier on a laptop than your phone, but it isn’t a good productivity tool at all. You don’t want to trust your writing to the cloud. A Chromebook is a no-go. If I wanted a cheap web browsing, Netflix watching thing, it might do, but at that point, a cheap tablet would also do.
Now we’ll get into some of the other points most brought up. Continue reading Brian’s Writing Laptop Campaign – An Explanation
You always remember your first. In terms of Monster Hunter type games, that first for me was Dauntless, back when I was in the Technical Alpha, playing it under NDA. Now that it’s been out for awhile, I thought it time to speak a bit about it.
Since playing Dauntless, I’ve tried Monster Hunter Online, Monster Hunter Generations on my 2DS, and trying Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on my iOS devices (I’m probably going to give up on that until I get a good MFi controller for it, as the touchscreen control sort of hampers the experience), and I’d have to move Monster Hunter style games near second on my list of genres that get me near excited. First would be looter shooters, but Monster Hunter style games come in a close second, if not nearly tied for first.
Dauntless, has become a staple of my Twitch streams.
Here’s a collection of highlights Continue reading Dauntless – The Daunting Task of Making a Game in the Monster Hunter Genre
I’ve been saying to myself I’d make a proper Fortnite post since the game’s NDA dropped… originally I was going to make an article, record a video (done), edit it (not done) and get it up, and the post up to go live as soon as the NDA dropped… I didn’t get around to it.
I did play and stream the game that first day that us testers got back into the game (a day before the regular people pre-purchasing Early Access could play), and again figured I’d get an article up soon… again, I never made it.
So now we get to today, and I think it’s time to at least post an article pointing to my recent streams (or at least highlights of such). Side note before we get into them, if you watch my stream (and some others) live, you can get special in game quests.
Without further ado, here’s some of the highlights:
First four are from the testers head start:
Fortnite – Playing the Tutorial
More Fortnight Continue reading Fortnite The Quick and Dirty Post
Destiny 2’s (Amazon link) launch date is September 6th at midnight PST, but you can preload your digital copy, at least on PS4, we don’t know the XBox One’s preload date yet, on September 3rd. 3 days early. Apparently it is about 68 GB on the PS4, so it’s a fairly big file and will take time to download, especially given how many people will probably hit the servers to get the preload started. So I’ve been thinking… I know, dangerous territory… that it makes little sense to hold physical copies back until the launch on the 6th. Destiny 2 is an online game, and having the disc ahead of time won’t let them play any sooner than those with the digital pre-load… now I can see holding the physical copies until the 3rd to have parity, and both will probably require a day one patch, at the very least to activate them, and connect let them connect to the servers.
Of course the real question is, if you pre-order from Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop or whatever, do you get a code early enough to pre-load, or is that only for those who order from Sony, Microsoft, Bungie directly, with all others getting their code at midnight on the 6th? From the looks of things, only those who got it directly from the 3 main stores (and really Bungie’s just redirect’s you to the other two) will get the preload, Continue reading Why Destiny 2 Physical Copies Should Go Out Before September 6th
I’m not personally upset at Grinding Gear Games for selling beta keys for $10 over at Chrono.gg for the new Path of Exile… note by the time this post is actually read, odds are the sale will be over as it was for 24 hours only, and I didn’t buy one, and I’m not in the beta myself, though I wish I were.
I’m first going to say that I’m in no way judging anyone for being angry, just noting I personally not upset in this particular case at GGG.
I fully get the anger at the way there are too many developers selling beta access. I get that betas are for testing, and many people feel GGG, or any other developer, shouldn’t charge for beta testing their game for them. The problem with that though is 90% of the people who get in betas on any modern game, don’t test, just play… now I don’t have any figures to back that up, but I doubt I’m that far off. I wager that very few people who get chosen for a beta provide the quality feedback that the developer is looking for. Most test forums, at least on the NDA games I’ve done, are generally the same group of players providing feedback, and I know the playerbase is much larger. Now there’s no NDA in place here, but I still doubt that many of the people in the beta are providing the kind of feedback that helps GGG test, balance, and otherwise make the expansion as good as it can be. Continue reading Why I’m Not Upset At GGG for Selling Beta Keys
Two years ago, I went to My First Columbus Crew Match. Recently, I took my boys to their (and mine) first hockey game. At long last, I, thanks to help from my mother and step father, was able to deliver on a promise to take my kids to a professional soccer match… and what a near perfect day. Slightly cloudy, but no rain, humidity was relatively low for this time of year, as was the heat, which peaked in the upper 70s (F). Continue reading Once More With The Crew, This Time With The Boys
So I managed to get a preview copy of The Long Journey Home (Steam Page) from the developers, and I got to say I’m beyond glad I did. I’ve fully enjoyed my time in the game, and I’ve barely made much progress on the journey home yet. The game is basically a rouge like, space exploration game along the lines of FTL, but a different art style, and what seems far more depth than what I at least got out of FTL. It also adds a bit of the old Atari Lunar Lander arcade game thrown in for good measure. Add to all this a good narrative and you end up with a fun new game.
Odds are it will take several runs to make the journey home. Each time you have to restart from scratch, but you keep your knowledge each run. The basic story of the game is that you were on the first jump capable ship, on your way to Alpha Centauri, when your jump drive malfunctions and sends you far from home. Now you are on your journey home. You’ll have to upgrade your ship and lander, and meet aliens, and work your way home. Continue reading It’s Going to be a Very Long, but Fun Journey Home
As I noted in my article about Bloodborne, Bloodborne – Frustration Triumph, my very first experience with a Souls like game, was Deck 13 Interactive‘s Lords of the Fallen, “which turned into one of my biggest game purchase regrets ever.” Indeed I was turned off the Souls like games by the experience, but then read that it was a poor example, and I did have a good time with Bloodborne. Despite that poor experience, when I saw they were developing a new Souls like game, The Surge, but based in a sci-fi setting, I still got excited for the possibility. I for one am willing to give a developer several chances to show they can do well, and so the question became, would The Surge impress.
I’ve done a couple hours now. I was out of town for the weekend, and my first day to play it I was busy with a game that’s under NDA (that one will get coverage once it drops), plus I was watching my kids for a few hours, all of which meant not much time yet with it. Still, I have to say, based on the first couple hours, I am far more impressed with this than Lords of the Fallen… it’s in all honestly not as impressive or smooth as Bloodborne was at the same point, but so far I have to say it has been fun. The game doesn’t shortcut and cheat, and mistakes are generally my own, like a proper Souls like game should be.
UPDATE: I’ve made it to the first boss… and I’ll detail more at the end of the article. Continue reading First Two Hours of The Surge