Once More With The Crew, This Time With The Boys

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).

Columbus is a bit over a two hour drive from where I live, and the game started at 7:30 PM, so I was going to leave the house about 3 PM, put us there about 5-5:30, eat dinner then go to the Stadium about 7 to watch the game. At the last minute I decided to leave early, spend time at Easton Town Center, originally to eat and play games at KDB (sort of like a Dave and Busters, which I also considered up at Polaris). It was the LEGO Store at Easton that caused me to choose Easton over Polaris. With stuff to keep the boys entertained, we left town a bit after noon, stopped by Walmart, got some ice tea, oil for the car (thing uses over 3 quarts a month), gas (full tank was left with only quarter a tank by the time we got back… it’s not as efficient as it should be that’s for sure), and off we went. My youngest eventually went to sleep on the way down, the oldest played a little on the phone, then eventually rested himself.

We got to Easton, and I’m shocked at how huge the place is. Shocked. After wondering around, we eventually get into a parking garage, pass an EV charging station with a couple cars, then a whole line of Tesla‘s on their own stations… I’d forgotten there was a Tesla store in that mall. Anyhow we park, wonder past KDB as we want to look a bit first… the youngest needs to use a restroom, so we go out of the main mall, past the LEGO store, use them, then go back to the LEGO Store. We notice lots of families there with Columbus Crew shirts on… actually, we’ll see lots of Crew shirts throughout the day before we get to the stadium. We enjoy looking around a bit… here’s the oldest looking at the LEGO TECHNIC Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

We leave there, then we go to the Tesla store, because I like dreaming… (I’d love a Model 3 once it comes out… that or a Chevy Bolt, both the same price, same basic range… but I don’t have a way of charging them at home, so moot point).

We go back to KDB, look around, see the games, then leave, trying to decide where we want to eat. We look over the options at KDB, and around the mall, and decide to try Melt Bar and Grill, a grilled cheese shop, and make the mistake of walking all the way there, only to learn there is a trolley line that takes you all the way to that half of the mall. We are all impressed with the food (though my drink ended up empty… and could have been checked on perhaps once or twice more, still service was okay)… in fact I recommend trying Melt out if you are in Columbus (I’d guess their other locations around North East Ohio are good too).

From their menu, I had a Melt Cheeseburger.

My youngest had a French Bread Pizza

And my oldest had The Dude Abides “Homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella wedges, basil marinara, roasted garlic, provolone & romano”… he enjoys it, though notes he’d probably only do a half next time.

We all agree the fries were really good, as was the food. Most of my family are local to North East Ohio, so I’d say, find one near you, check them out…

We ride the trolley back to the main part of the mall, wonder into an area where there are fountains for the kids to play in, and the youngest of course had to play…

(other kids blurred because it seems the right thing to do).

We head out, and it’s late enough I figure it is time enough to go to the stadium, and after getting twisted around trying to exit the mall area, we get there.

Here the boys are with the city of Columbus in the background as we head up to our seats.

And the view from our seats:

Not a bad view considering we are as far up the stadium as you can get…


(I don’t recall why the youngest is doing the dabb here).

(selfie of me to appease others who wanted a picture of me in the stadium with a smile, showing teeth, and eyes open… all unnatural things for me, lol)

After some time, the Columbus Crew score the first goal of the game… then Montreal scores one in answer. First half ends, we try to look at food and drinks, but the lines are too long, and we got drinks in the car, so we’ll wait.

The second half works out much better for the Crew, as they’d score 3 more unanswered goals… I should point out that every time I’ve been to a Crew game they’ve won…shhh… never mind I’ve only been to them twice, and the Cleveland Monsters lost while we were there…

We get out, and wait in the parking lot what seems an overly long time, but eventually get on the road. The boys both sleep most of the way home (it was a bit after 10 when we left), get home, the oldest goes right to bed, the youngest eats a bit, then goes to bed (it’s near 1:10 AM by that point)…

We all had a really good time. So thanks again to my mother and step father for helping make it possible. Columbus still remains my favorite city, at least for this part of the US, and where I’d live, if I could live out of the area… I did think on the way home that I could perhaps move to Ashland, which would put me about halfway there… I already have to drive 40 minutes to get to the kids from where I am now, so it’d be about the same… and same for work… Something I might have to consider… Anyhow, there was our experience in the fine city of Columbus, with a rather great Columbus Crew game… thanks to the Crew for winning finally (they haven’t had a good year this year… or last year… and I don’t know enough to know if this is problems with coaching, players, or front office).

It’s Going to be a Very Long, but Fun Journey Home

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

First Two Hours of The Surge

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

Well… At Least There Was a Fight

I’ve taken my children to their first professional, of any level, sporting event. While I had planned on that being a Columbus Crew game (MLS soccer), I decided, “Why not Zoidberg?” err… “Why not hockey?” I myself have never been to a hockey game, and the tickets for the game were cheap enough, especially for the seats… a bit cheaper than the soccer tickets will likely be later in the year. I’m a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and by extension and location, their AHL affiliate the Cleveland Monsters. The AHL, for those who may not know, is the American Hockey League, it is the professional league right below the NHL. The Cleveland Monsters won the AHL championship just last year, a short while before the Cavs brought back a major league win for Cleveland. The Monsters haven’t been as great this year…

Anyhow, the boys and I arrived in Cleveland, parked and made our way to the arena, a bit of a long walk, only to discover I didn’t have my wallet. I had left my wallet in the car when I paid parking. So back to the car, then back through the mall and the walkway to the arena. It was now a bit past 7, so we missed the introductions and the start, but it was still the first 5 minutes of the game.

I think our seats were actually pretty nice all things considered.

Our end was the end the Monsters came to first and third periods. Continue reading Well… At Least There Was a Fight

Hopelessly Addicted to Oxygen Not Included

You know you are in trouble when you’ve played a game for a couple or few hours after work and now it is a bit after 10 PM and you decide you’ll stop in a minute so you can wrap things up for the night and get ready for work early the next morning, then the next thing you know it is midnight (if not near 1 AM) at now you are going to have just a few hours of sleep, and you are going to regret it in the morning. Such a game is Oxygen Not Included, the newest title from Klei, perhaps most well-known for their Don’t Starve series. The game is coming soon to Steam Early Access (you can get super early access via this Oxygen Not Included thread for $19.99 USD, and price is expected to go higher later, though they haven’t set a price yet).

Oxygen Not Included is a space colony simulator, similar to Rimworld and a couple of others, but with a fun cartoon art style from a 2D platformer perspective. It is early Alpha stage at this point, early even for Steam Early Access (which is why the normal Steam page doesn’t include a way to buy it), but is very playable, and a bit overly addictive. I’ve managed to avoid playing too much the last two nights… never mind that I was out-of-town away from my computer one night and busy with chores the other… Continue reading Hopelessly Addicted to Oxygen Not Included

Bloodborne – Frustration and Triumph

I’ve never played a Dark Souls game, nor Demon Souls, or pretty much any game like it prior to Bloodborne… well, there was a brief flirtation with Lords of the Fallen, which turned into one of my biggest game purchase regrets ever. However, after recently playing the free to play Let it Die on my PS4, and growing interest in the idea of the Souls games, I delved into seeing which game to get, and based largely on the story, I went with Bloodborne.

The result? Lots of F bombs from me to the game. It is a constant frustration to die so often. Going in, I knew this would be the case though, and I’m working on it. So far, I’ve pretty well enjoyed my time in Yharnam. Continue reading Bloodborne – Frustration and Triumph

Conan Exiles – Early Alpha Thoughts

It’s early alpha. Keep in mind it’s early alpha.

FunCom has recently released into Steam Early Access their new survival game, Conan: Exiles. I’ve been trying the beta off and on this weekend (it’s been a busy weekend with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands (not as overly exciting as I had hoped, but shows promise and I’ll get it on a good sale and I don’t care if it doesn’t have PvP) as well as Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (okay but buggy on my system), I was hoping to try Decksplash, but didn’t get into that alpha this weekend, and I have the kids this weekend, so a busy weekend.. Anyhow, back to Conan. I’ve dived into the alpha (in the interest of full disclosure, provided by a PR firm, not directly from the developers) a bit off and on this weekend, and so far I have mixed feelings on it. Now note, this is based off a very limited time with the Alpha so far, and later articles may delve deeper.

It’s early alpha, not even beta really, so the bugs and the like, I can deal with for the moment as I’m sure they’ll work out some of the lag issues (from watching streams and the like, it seems the more housing and the like on a server, the more it lags, even if you aren’t near the housing and aren’t rendering them on your client), clipping and other bugs. The server lag is a big problem, and one they are working hard to solve, especially for official servers which went down while they search for better hardware.

The game is very difficult. As in harder than ARK, and this is even on PvE mode, I can’t imagine the nightmare on PvP. Continue reading Conan Exiles – Early Alpha Thoughts

Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous

When Frontier Developments should a trailer of the new 2.2 Guardians update to Elite Dangerous: Horizons, they showed some ancient ruins. A player managed to figure out where those ruins were from the stars and nebula in the background and triangulated their way to the ruins. How he did that is far beyond me or the scope of this article. I had just arrived at HIP 10716 to get ready to do some Imperial rank grinding (HIP 10716 and Wu Guinagi Imperial Rank grind) and it was only a few hundred light years away, so I decided to hold off on the grind and visit the system. It would be my first time landing on a planet without a station (I’ve done plenty of station landing on planets), and first time using my SRV.

From the featured image above, you can see my SRV looking at an apparent alien obelisk.

I used the Radio Sidewinder Ancient Ruins Visual Guide to help guide to the me where to land once at the system…

As I got near, I decided to stream it. The stream went down a couple times, but I managed to get a couple good highlights in. Continue reading Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous

My Suggestion for Elite Dangerous PVE Player Griefing

Elite Dangerous is a huge open sandbox MMO. And with open sandbox this usually means player can kill other players. The consequences very from game to game, and right now Elite Dangerous doesn’t do much to punish player killers. There is no PVE server, so many of us PVE players join up with a private PVE group. The other day I was at the ancient artifact grounds (Visiting the Ancient Ruins in Elite Dangerous), and left, but apparently some griefers were out there killing other players in the private PVE group, and this got me thinking that we need a solution in game. Within the groups Facebook page, there was a discussion about a PVE option, and punishments for players who grief PVE players, and that inspired this blog post.

The problem is there is no punishment for griefing players. A small bounty, but that is paid easy enough. In real life you go to jail, and that is where this gets to. Continue reading My Suggestion for Elite Dangerous PVE Player Griefing

Elite Dangerous – Sothis Runs

IMPORTANT NOTE: This works as of 2.1, apparently in the 2.2 beta, Sothis runs have been nerfed. As of this writing, not sure if that will make it to live or not.

One of the easy ways to make money in Elite Dangerous is stacking Sothis runs. I just managed around 11 million in 4 or 5 stops in my Type 6 with 96 T cargo capacity and 18.83 laden jump range. This is not a full guide, just more or less what I do.

Sothis is an outlyng human colony system. From Newholm Station, you can pickup a large number of delivery missions. You do this on a few ways. First I do it via a private group that I’m in. Load up all the far away delivery missions (don’t worry, once you get there, they are all within 2 or 3 jumps of one another… at least on my Type 6) and all the data delivery missions to Ceos. Then log out to the main menu, choose Open and get all the delivery missions (they should be near the others) and data delivery to Ceos… log out again to main menu and go Solo and repeat. This process of getting missions from the Open, Private and Solo is called mission stacking. At this point it probably is best to stay Solo or if you are in a private group, go that way. First I deliver my data to Ceos, which is only 1 jump away, and this nets a good haul from the stacking.

You can only have 20 missions at a time, so if you don’t fill up on delivery missions, you can run data back to Sothis and restack the delivery missions as there usually are more… Also note there are two stations in Sothis, I typically only stack the station closest to the entry point, but I know some people stack both.

Here is a Twitch highlight of me delivering mission stacked data to Ceos. Staring Sothis Runs for Credits – Ceos data drops and notes. Continue reading Elite Dangerous – Sothis Runs

We Happy Few – Preview and Second Look Coming Soon

I recently did a preview (semi early review) of We Happy Few back in late July:

Don’t be a Downer, We Happy Few – Giving We Happy Few a quick look at it’s current Early Access alpha access level. The playable characters aren’t in yet, and most of the story isn’t in yet. Highlight starts after the escape seen in the trailers. I talk near the end of the broadcast a few bits of my early impression thoughts and opinions of the game based on the early alpha (and I was one of the ones who got to show it off early before the official press embargo ended).

That was recorded 27 July 2016, which is why I’m getting ready to do a second look and give a review based on more of what’s in the game as of now (it is still very early access) I think there’s been enough time and enough updates to go back in and check it out… plus the press embargo is long over, so I think it’s time to get an official opinion on the state of the game. So keep an eye on this page… this article will be deleted and a full review will be going up… hopefully in the next week or two, depending on my schedule.

NOTE: We Happy Few was provided via a press contact outside the developer and publisher.

Elite Dangerous – My Real Addition of the Moment

So I’ve given up almost all my other games (save For Honor which I discussed the other day) in pursuit of many hours of Elite Dangerous. I’ve had ED (Elite Dangerous people… come on… grow up..) since early alpha… I dropped a lot to get into the Alpha back when… I want to say 2014. Then I stopped playing for a while… I picked up Planet Coaster by the same developers, but still didn’t jump back in.

Then No Man’s Sky happened. A game that I still don’t own, but did get to play some. The mild disappointment in that got me back into ED Continue reading Elite Dangerous – My Real Addition of the Moment

Checking Out For Honor – Closed Alpha

I was lucky enough to get into the For Honor closed alpha, and decided to stream a little of my first dive in… I quickly forget the basic that the CTRL mode is block and keep trying to remember if there was a special block key for the first few matches.

Anyhow, here’s a few highlights from the broadcast (the featured pic here is from one of those broadcasts which is why it is of lower quality than a pure screenshot, I’ll likely replace that with a straight screenshot later):

Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Raider. For Honor closed alpha gameplay. My 1st match of the day, trying out the Viking (Raider) this time.
Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Warden. More For Honor closed alpha gameplay, my 2nd match of the day, trying out the Knight (Warden) this time.
Checking out For Honor (Dominion – Player vs AI) – Kensei. More For Honor closed alpha gameplay, my 3rd match of the day, trying out the Samurai (Kensei) this time.
Checking Out For Honor – Brawl (Player vs AI) Mode. I think we were supposed to try one particular hero out in this mode, but it said Not Requited… but perhaps he was chooseable anyhow… I don’t know.

I don’t think I’m ready for a VS player mode yet, and will stick to the VS AI modes… lol.

Not shown in those is hero customization, requiting new heroes and adding goals to gain more in game money.

Anyhow, what do I think? Continue reading Checking Out For Honor – Closed Alpha

Playing and Streaming Elder Scrolls: Legends – Bethesda’s Digital CCG Based on the Elder Scrolls Universe

After the huge success that Blizzard had with Hearthstone, a digital CCG based on the Warcraft universe, we’ve got a couple games that came out based on others. Chronicle, based on the Runescape universe, but with a lot of unique and cool twists that sets it apart from any of the others, that makes it well worth your time to check out. Meanwhile, perhaps one of the biggest RPGs (plus an MMO) out there, Elder Scrolls, has gotten it’s own digital CCG, Elder Scrolls: Legends. This game has a great deal more depth than Hearthstone (which remains a great game), and seems to straddle the line between Magic and Hearthstone near perfectly.

The game has a single player story mode, a solo versus mode, an arena versus mode, and others… I’ve been playing the single player story mode of late on my Twitch channel. Here are the highlights:

Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 1 Chapters 1 to 8 1:18:55 The whole first act, from here on out I cut highlights by Chapter.
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 9 15:45
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 10 21:05
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 11 25:49
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 12 10:44
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 13 26:10
Elder Scrolls: Legends – Act 2 – Chapter 14 16:01

Unfortunately I don’t have any keys to give out.

Apologies for Lack of Content Here

I’ve been busy with life, writing, playing games, watching Twitch and streaming on Twitch, work, trying to get a better full time job with benefits (I need that insurance you know)… so sorry I haven’t been active here as much as I should be. Generally this blog serves as a portal to my YouTube (not very active of late), Twitch (semi-active) and the like and has fallen behind on the content I’d like to push to it. I’m not saying I’m going to get back on the ball, as I probably won’t, but hopefully I can find something to get posted here. For now, check out my Twitch highlights.

Endless Legend Has a New Must Have DLC … or at Least Strongly Suggested

Endless Legend made my 2014 PC Games of the Year list, and would have scored higher than honorable mention if I didn’t suck at the game so much. It is much better than Civilization, but harder.

They recently released a new DLC, Shifters, which adds a new Major faction, Allayi, which make use of a new resource, Pearls which can have an influence on future winters if you build an Altar of Auriga and use it to pray, using more Pearls to cast an influence on the next winter. Some buildings and equipment also use Pearls to build.

The Allayi are a nice addition to the races. Continue reading Endless Legend Has a New Must Have DLC … or at Least Strongly Suggested

A Few Gigantic Highlights

I recently got to stream Gigantic, while it was still under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for most players/streamers. I also created a video, but the stutter in that video is even worse than the Division one so I decided not to use it. So I’ll link the 4 highlights I made that weekend instead. A huge thanks to Motiga for allowing me to stream it a weekend early. Needless to say, the fact I got to do that, even if it was only one weekend early, got put into my  My Noted Past In Gaming post.

I can’t embed these as a bug in either the Twitch player and/or WordPress makes them autoplay:

First Game of Gigantic in 5 or so Months

Gigantic Fun With Gigantic

By Far Not the Best Gigantic Player Out There

Finally a Gigantic Victory

My Division Video is Up

So there’s a new game coming out March 8th called, Tom Clancy’s The Division (pre-order/order Tom Clancy’s The Division via Amazon) for which I’ve been in mixed excitement and trepidation on. After playing a bit of it when it was in closed beta… got to say I’m more excited for it now.

I won’t go on and on about it in this post, and rather leave it to the video here for details (the video had far more stutter than usual, sorry, I must have goofed my OBS settings):

I’ve also got a Twitch highlight that follows it up (I can’t embed it, as it autostarts… even with autostart turned off, a bug Twitch hasn’t fixed yet, though it seems to be more a WordPress ignoring the setting thing, hard to tell): http://www.twitch.tv/jonathanstrangebt/v/39732910

TLDR: The Division rocks, get it. Follow the link above to buy it… and watch the video. 🙂

Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

Generally this is a gaming blog. Occasionally I stretch into political discourse, and I used to discuss faith and religion. However, I’ve tried to keep it largely focused on gaming of late. What follows probably would normally be something I’d just post to Facebook for my friends, perhaps open that post up to the public… but I figured why not push it here for a change of pace… and then share it to Facebook. 🙂

There’s a new TED Talk video called What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness | Robert Waldinger | TED Talks

So let’s talk about a few things. Some are already pointed out in the comments, others are fresh and my own… Continue reading Thoughts on What Makes a Good Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

Random Musings of Father, Gamer and occasional YouTuber, and Twitch Streamer, Brian A. Thomas.

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