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Despondent eyes of sorrow

12th December, 2015. 7:39 am. Top Video Games of All Time - Update

So, I just finished playing Heretic (along with its expansion in the Shadow of the Serpent Riders edition). What a game! Doom was the trailblazer, but in my eyes, Heretic is by far the superior gameplay experience. The level design is way beyond anything Doom managed, and the inventory of different artifacts adds quite a bit to the gameplay. I really enjoyed it, and this is the first game since I made this list back in February that I feel ought to be on it. So, let's add it:


Enhorning's top 22 video games of all time!

Intro:
One can take two approaches when making a list of the best of all time. Either one evaluates the game for how they were when they came out, or for how they are when played in the present. I've taken the latter approach - which means that games that I played to bits back in the day (Dungeon Master, Heretic, etc.) does not make the cut. There are still plenty of older games on my list...

The other big point is that this is my personal list. Firstly, it reflects my tastes - I'm a big fan of roleplaying and strategy games. Secondly, it also reflects to what I've gotten around to playing... there are many excellent games out there which I just have not played yet.

1. Civilization V (with both expansions, 2013) - the latest and greatest in the Civilization series. I spent several months playing only this game. For 40-60 hours per week. It was an addiction, and I expect I shall return to it... the only disadvantage being that it engulfs me to the degree that nothing else gets played... or done.

2. Morrowind (with both expansions, 2002) - the apex of world building in an open roleplaying game. Unique, quirky, hostile, first entering the island of Vvardenfell was a unique experience, and with mods, still holds up to this day.

3. Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006) - Obsidian's best work so far, and with the incredible character building freedom of D&D 3.5. A great adventure to explore, lots of companions to meet and interact with. Where the Elder Scrolls series is built around utter freedom for where you go and what you do, this gives you utter freedom for who you are, what your character is and can do. Supposedly, Mask of the Betrayer is even better than the original campaign, but I haven't played that yet.

4. Skyrim (with both expansions, 2011) - the gameplay and character development breaks free and finally gives you the freedom to play as you want without worrying about your character being underpowered. The world of Skyrim, while not as unique as Morrowind's, is still an engrossing and beautiful place, filled with discoveries, things to do and places to see.

5. Thief: The Dark Project (Gold, 1998) - created a genre (together with Metal Gear Solid, which came out the same year), and has superb level design. Each level is a puzzle, but offering multiple solutions - you are very free to choose your own path and way to attack the level, with very little handholding. Also has superb atmosphere, and with mods, holds up very well (I am currently playing it, and it is as good as ever)!

6. Pharaoh (1999) - the best city builder ever, and the height of Impressions Games' city building series. Adding to the city layout, people happiness handling, and manufacturing chains of its predecessor, this had the giant monuments of Egypt - pyramids that took decades of in-game time and hours of real-time to build. Successful cities looked beautiful, and the interface had a great selection of overlays to analyze your city with.

7. Titan Quest (2006) - my favourite action-rpg. I've always found randomly generated dungeons to be dull and generic, and have preferred carefully hand-crafted worlds - Titan Quest offered this, along with a great-feeling combat system, and unparallelled in the genre freedom in character building, due to being able to choose two specialties and combine them. Really looking forward to its spiritual successor, Grim Dawn.

8. Rise of Nations (2003) - creates a compressed real-time strategy experience out of Civilization. Playable in half an hour - or much longer, depending on how one sets up the game - going from ancient history up to nukes, and with plenty of nations, each with slightly distinct flavour. Also, still looks surprisingly good for its age.

9. Oblivion (with expansion, 2006) - while not as good as its siblings, as it went for a too typical medieval fantasy, it still provided a world to lose oneself in, and lots of hidden stories and treasures to find, and mods to enhance it further.

10. Angband (or variants thereof, 1990) - my roguelike of choice, the Angband family has always been more focused on highly tactical combat, and less on knowing spoilers, than its Nethack, Adom, and Dungeon Crawl brethrens. The strong focus on clean open source-code, starting with Ben Harrison's period as maintainer, has led to a plephora of variants, many of them great games in their own.

11. Alpha Centauri (1999) - the only strategy empire-building game where a fictional setting has felt as rich and immersive as mankind's real history. And gameplay-wise, was very innotative, including some things sadly not seen again since in the main Civ series, like the manipulation of terrain height, or custom building units. While the interface is clunky, the game works fine at high resolutions and looks okay.

12. Railroad Tycoon II (1998) - the best economic strategy game ever, allowing all kinds of tactics to manipulate the stock market and your competitors. Play it straight, build a sound company. Or go heavily in debt, then dump your shares and the company. Short-sell your opponent's stock to drive the price down. Just beware the margin call! Plenty of scenarios, with a high variety of objectives, kept it fresh.

13. Dungeon Siege 2 (with expansion, 2005) - an action-rpg with a difference, as one controls a party of four instead of just a single character. This allowed a very wide variety of builts - from very focused (e.g. 3 mages, focusing on different elements + 1 healer, or 4 summoners) to the more traditional balanced mix. The expansion's two new hybrid classes opened it up even further, and with the option to pause and give orders, battles are quite strategic in nature.

14. Shadow of Mordor (2014) - so many game systems all working well and coming together to create something extraordinary. Combat feels great, whether melee or ranged, stealth works well (though Far Cry 3 has even better open world stealth), the two world maps are beautiful and filled with activites, and the ingenious nemesis system ensures there is always more stuff to do.

15. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Director's Cut, 2014) - old-school roleplaying game in the unique Shadowrun settings (Cyberpunk with Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Trolls and Dragons). Excellent writing, interesting turnbased battles, and a great story all makes this a game that I was delighted to help exist through kickstarter.

16. Dishonored (2012) - while the stealth does not live up to Thief's or Splinter Cell's, stealth is only one possible approach here. It's the freedom - wide open levels with a multitude of paths through them, lots of supernatural abilities to choose from - that makes this game superb. I played it once, and am planning on playing it again, but going for a different style, different abilities, and different story choices - it will be a very different experience, and that is the strength of Dishonored - the freedom, the breadth of it.

17. Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders (original 1994, expanded version 1996) - excellent action-packed early first-person shooter with superb level design, and interesting inventory and item use. Given the abundance of source ports for the Doom engine, playing this in modern resolutions and with customizable controls is easily available, and the core gameplay holds up extremely well - much more entertaining than most modern shooters!

18. Bayonetta (2010) - the apex of the Devil May Cry-eque hack'n'slash genre. Crazy, beautiful, challenging, and very rewarding to learn its combat system. The fact that the sequel is a Wii U-explusive is enough to tempt me to get that console.

19. Blood Bowl: Chaos edition (2012) - strategic and violent fantasy sports. While the implementation is clunky at times, the sheer quality of the underlying board games rules (ranked in the top-100 on boardgamegeek) shines through, and with 23 different races to choose for your team, and multiple ways to develop any of them, it has almost endless variety. Despite my fear of online gaming against real people, this game drew me in enough that I put up with the occasional troll and rude person, just to be able to enjoy this eminent strategy challenge.

20. Tomb Raider (2013) - while I wish the Tombs had been larger, and with more challenging puzzles, I loved the rest of the Tomb Raider reboot - the traversal puzzles were great, combat felt satisfying, and the open areas and survival elements were fun. The occasional too tightly scripted sequence did not prevent me from enjoying the game immensely.

21. Icewind Dale (2000) - where Baldur's Gate was a sprawling experience, Icewind Dale was tighter and more focused. Being linear allowed battles to be better balanced and more challenging, and building your own party of six characters from scratch gave great freedom to the player to set his own composition and strategy. Also, the cold vistas of the Icewind Dale were the most beautiful ones of the Infinity Engine games.

22. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (2006) - first-person melee combat never before (or since) felt this visceral and satisfying. Add in a fairly deep magic system, and stealth elements, and you have an adventure that allows many playstyles to bloom and all of them feel satisfying. While Arkane's next game, Dishonored, greatly improved on level design, its melee combat could not live up to Dark Messiah's sheer intensity and satisfaction.

Honourable Mentions:
* Far Cry 2 (2008), Far Cry 3 (2012) (both excellent open world games... where Far Cry 2 is the more immersive by far, but Far Cry 3 loses some of the more tedious repetitive elements, and has the best open world stealth I've played)
* Gothic (2001) (such excellent gritty world building, a much darker feel than the Elder Scrolls or typical D&D)
* Hearthstone (2014) (addictive and accessible)
* Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (2002), Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003) (great Star Wars feeling, best light sabre duels ever, and force powers felt powerful)
* No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way (2002) (excellent shooter, great writing, great stealth)
* Portal (2007) (short and sweet, and while it suffers the coordination / execution problem typical to 3d puzzlers, it's not too bad, and the excellent writing makes up for it)
* Republic Commando (2005) (a very atypical Star Wars game, showing a much more grounded view of the universe, and a great squad-based shooter)
* Splinter Cell (2002) (awesome stealth, together with the Thief series the pinnacle of the genre, great modern thriller story, great voice-acting)
* Unity of Command (2012) (extremely accessible light wargame, such an elegant and tight design, and challenging scenarios)

... a running theme is freedom of choice - to me, that's part of the point of playing a video game instead of reading a book or watching a movie - the ability to shape and influence what is happening, and choose what actions I take and how I affect the storyline.

Read 1 Note -Make Notes

7th December, 2015. 7:16 pm. Computer games 2016 hype

So, I was looking at a list of computer games due to release in 2016, and picked out what looked interesting to me:

***** Rise of the Tomb Raider (Absolutely loved the re-boot, and the XBone release of this got good reviews, so assuming they don't screw up the porting, it should be great)

***** Dishonored 2 (First Dishonored was awesome, and Arkane tends to do great games in general)

***** Far Cry Primal (March, looks great, I like the Far Cry series, and the new direction for this one looks awesome (Stone Age with animal taming), really excited about this one)

***** Hellblade (Trailers look extremely intriguing, love the celtic-inspired setting, very intrigued by how they fit mental illness into the game, and I've enjoyed Ninja Theory's previous games)

**** Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (August, I'm very keen to get around to playing the previous Deus Ex games, and hoping this will be as good or better than Human Revolution allegedly was)

**** Doom (Trailers look good, recalling the older games but with modern graphics, lots of demon blasting and fast movement)

**** Shadow Warrior 2 (Who wants some more Wang?)

**** Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (January, this console RPG is getting a PC release, and early port reports indicate this will be the best version of a proven, very interesting RPG)

**** Divinity: Original Sin 2 (Haven't played the first one yet, but crowd-founded the second based on how well the first was received)

**** Horizon: Zero Dawn (Amazing trailers, very intrigued by how it will pan out, plus I always like some open world action)

**** Torment: Tides of Numenera (Crowd-funded this, so of course I'm excited to see the final product! Hoping for delicious turn-based RPG crunchiness, with interesting story-line and characters)

**** No Man's Sky (Neither Elite: Dangerous nor Star Citizen look quite like my cup of tea, with their MMO elements - I'm hoping this one will hit the spot for some space exploration)

*** XCom 2 (February, I briefly tried XCom, but it didn't hook me; this likely was due to my mood at the time though, and I'm planning on giving it another chance)

*** Styx: Shards of Darkness (I liked Styx's character in Of Orcs and Men, and the first Styx game was supposedly a good old-fashioned stealth game (i.e. you actually had to be stealthy, fighting your way through was not an option))

*** The Dwarves (Based on the book series I started reading, this promises lots of orc-bashing - I crowd-funded it)

*** Underworld Acendant (I'm dubious whether they can succeed in their ambitions... but if they do, it could be great)

*** Banner Saga 2 (Still haven't played the first one)

*** The Technomancer (Sequel to Mars: War Logs, which was a very rough diamond in the rough... but I still enjoyed it)

*** Hitman (March, the Hitman series contiues to intrigue me, but I've never given one of them a serious go)

*** Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (March, I am ambivalent about the Uncharted series - it tries to much to be an action movie instead of focusing on being a good game - but still, I expect I'll end up picking this one up)

*** Dark Souls III (April, in no rush to pick this one up as I still have both Dark Souls games to go... Demon's Souls was great though, so I hope this one will be as well - still, it mostly looks like more of the same)

*** Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor (A 40K action-rpg from the Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing developer - yup, sounds good to me)

** Everspace (A less hardcore space sim? Sounds good to me.)

** The Witness (January, cautiously optimistic - I found his previous game, Braid, to be overly pretentious and the puzzles not all that interesting)

** Total War: Warhammer (April, the Total War series is another that has intrigued me but I've never gotten into it properly - combining it with the great Warhammer Fantasy setting makes it more tempting than ever)

** Mirror's Edge Catalyst (May, I really should get around to playing the original)

* Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter (Their last one, Crimes and Punishment, is supposed to be quite good)

* Persona 5 (The Persona games are quite lauded, and I've been intrigued, but never tried one)

* Necropolis (Concept looks intriguing, and Harebrained Scheme's did solid work with their Shadowrun games)

* Mass Effect: Andromeda (I'm not as sold on the Mass Effect series as lots of people are - I'd have liked more rpg and less action-shooter - but still, a new Bioware game is always a bit interesting... if EA has not utterly ruined them by now)

Of course, there are likely to come out great games that aren't hyped, and some of the hyped games are likely to be failures... but still, seems like 2016 should bring some gaming goodness.

Make Notes

1st October, 2015. 7:19 pm. Money

I hate being so impecunious.

I'm sick and fed up of perpetually being short of money, of always living on the margin, of every unforeseen expense having a huge impact, both on my state of mind and on my finances. Fed up with needing to save for ages for any bigger purchase, and every month being a balancing act, and always hoping, yet somehow never quite managing, to put some money aside for savings.

Yeah, I have no problem affording food and housing... but beyond that, I lack quality of life. Too many days, it's not worth it to wake up and suffer through the hours. And, while money would far from solve everything (and I have absolutely zero interest in being rich), the constraint of having as little as I do significantly impacts my mood.

A slightly more comfortable financial situation, along with getting a good contact person (I have applied and am waiting on the decision... and then, even if it's granted, it might of course be difficult to find a suitable person), and also along with the support I'm currently getting, and somewhat regular visits from Amelia, would go a long way to help me make the best of my situation.

It's very frustrating, because it feels like a comfortable level of money for me is so close, yet so unattainable. I would not need that much more each month to be comfortable. Yet, in my situation, there is no hope for the situation to ever change - instead, it is gradually getting worse as the well-fare system becomes more and more strained. And thus, a simple 1500:- unexpected expense is enough to drive me to suicidal thoughts.

(Of course, there are lots of people worse off than me in the world, and Sweden... but that does not make my situation any less uncomfortable though.)

Make Notes

13th August, 2015. 11:43 pm. Thoughts on computer games, cover art, and backlog

So... I've been doing a little project over the past couple of weeks, to visualize my options for computer gaming, and wrapped it up today.
Ludicrously long, lots of images...Collapse )

Make Notes

23rd February, 2015. 4:20 pm. Top Video Games of All Time

Enhorning's top 21 video games of all time!

Intro:
One can take two approaches when making a list of the best of all time. Either one evaluates the game for how they were when they came out, or for how they are when played in the present. I've taken the latter approach - which means that games that I played to bits back in the day (Dungeon Master, Heretic, etc.) does not make the cut. There are still plenty of older games on my list...

The other big point is that this is my personal list. Firstly, it reflects my tastes - I'm a big fan of roleplaying and strategy games. Secondly, it also reflects to what I've gotten around to playing... there are many excellent games out there which I just have not played yet.

1. Civilization V (with both expansions, 2013) - the latest and greatest in the Civilization series. I spent several months playing only this game. For 40-60 hours per week. It was an addiction, and I expect I shall return to it... the only disadvantage being that it engulfs me to the degree that nothing else gets played... or done.

2. Morrowind (with both expansions, 2002) - the apex of world building in an open roleplaying game. Unique, quirky, hostile, first entering the island of Vvardenfell was a unique experience, and with mods, still holds up to this day.

3. Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006) - Obsidian's best work so far, and with the incredible character building freedom of D&D 3.5. A great adventure to explore, lots of companions to meet and interact with. Where the Elder Scrolls series is built around utter freedom for where you go and what you do, this gives you utter freedom for who you are, what your character is and can do. Supposedly, Mask of the Betrayer is even better than the original campaign, but I haven't played that yet.

4. Skyrim (with both expansions, 2011) - the gameplay and character development breaks free and finally gives you the freedom to play as you want without worrying about your character being underpowered. The world of Skyrim, while not as unique as Morrowind's, is still an engrossing and beautiful place, filled with discoveries, things to do and places to see.

5. Thief: The Dark Project (Gold, 1998) - created a genre (together with Metal Gear Solid, which came out the same year), and has superb level design. Each level is a puzzle, but offering multiple solutions - you are very free to choose your own path and way to attack the level, with very little handholding. Also has superb atmosphere, and with mods, holds up very well (I am currently playing it, and it is as good as ever)!

6. Pharaoh (1999) - the best city builder ever, and the height of Impressions Games' city building series. Adding to the city layout, people happiness handling, and manufacturing chains of its predecessor, this had the giant monuments of Egypt - pyramids that took decades of in-game time and hours of real-time to build. Successful cities looked beautiful, and the interface had a great selection of overlays to analyze your city with.

7. Titan Quest (2006) - my favourite action-rpg. I've always found randomly generated dungeons to be dull and generic, and have preferred carefully hand-crafted worlds - Titan Quest offered this, along with a great-feeling combat system, and unparallelled in the genre freedom in character building, due to being able to choose two specialties and combine them. Really looking forward to its spiritual successor, Grim Dawn.

8. Rise of Nations (2003) - creates a compressed real-time strategy experience out of Civilization. Playable in half an hour - or much longer, depending on how one sets up the game - going from ancient history up to nukes, and with plenty of nations, each with slightly distinct flavour. Also, still looks surprisingly good for its age.

9. Oblivion (with expansion, 2006) - while not as good as its siblings, as it went for a too typical medieval fantasy, it still provided a world to lose oneself in, and lots of hidden stories and treasures to find, and mods to enhance it further.

10. Angband (or variants thereof, 1990) - my roguelike of choice, the Angband family has always been more focused on highly tactical combat, and less on knowing spoilers, than its Nethack, Adom, and Dungeon Crawl brethrens. The strong focus on clean open source-code, starting with Ben Harrison's period as maintainer, has led to a plephora of variants, many of them great games in their own.

11. Alpha Centauri (1999) - the only strategy empire-building game where a fictional setting has felt as rich and immersive as mankind's real history. And gameplay-wise, was very innotative, including some things sadly not seen again since in the main Civ series, like the manipulation of terrain height, or custom building units. While the interface is clunky, the game works fine at high resolutions and looks okay.

12. Railroad Tycoon II (1998) - the best economic strategy game ever, allowing all kinds of tactics to manipulate the stock market and your competitors. Play it straight, build a sound company. Or go heavily in debt, then dump your shares and the company. Short-sell your opponent's stock to drive the price down. Just beware the margin call! Plenty of scenarios, with a high variety of objectives, kept it fresh.

13. Dungeon Siege 2 (with expansion, 2005) - an action-rpg with a difference, as one controls a party of four instead of just a single character. This allowed a very wide variety of builts - from very focused (e.g. 3 mages, focusing on different elements + 1 healer, or 4 summoners) to the more traditional balanced mix. The expansion's two new hybrid classes opened it up even further, and with the option to pause and give orders, battles are quite strategic in nature.

14. Shadow of Mordor (2014) - so many game systems all working well and coming together to create something extraordinary. Combat feels great, whether melee or ranged, stealth works well (though Far Cry 3 has even better open world stealth), the two world maps are beautiful and filled with activites, and the ingenious nemesis system ensures there is always more stuff to do.

15. Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Director's Cut, 2014) - old-school roleplaying game in the unique Shadowrun settings (Cyberpunk with Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Trolls and Dragons). Excellent writing, interesting turnbased battles, and a great story all makes this a game that I was delighted to help exist through kickstarter.

16. Dishonored (2012) - while the stealth does not live up to Thief's or Splinter Cell's, stealth is only one possible approach here. It's the freedom - wide open levels with a multitude of paths through them, lots of supernatural abilities to choose from - that makes this game superb. I played it once, and am planning on playing it again, but going for a different style, different abilities, and different story choices - it will be a very different experience, and that is the strength of Dishonored - the freedom, the breadth of it.

17. Bayonetta (2010) - the apex of the Devil May Cry-eque hack'n'slash genre. Crazy, beautiful, challenging, and very rewarding to learn its combat system. The fact that the sequel is a Wii U-explusive is enough to tempt me to get that console.

18. Blood Bowl: Chaos edition (2012) - strategic and violent fantasy sports. While the implementation is clunky at times, the sheer quality of the underlying board games rules (ranked in the top-100 on boardgamegeek) shines through, and with 23 different races to choose for your team, and multiple ways to develop any of them, it has almost endless variety. Despite my fear of online gaming against real people, this game drew me in enough that I put up with the occasional troll and rude person, just to be able to enjoy this eminent strategy challenge.

19. Tomb Raider (2013) - while I wish the Tombs had been larger, and with more challenging puzzles, I loved the rest of the Tomb Raider reboot - the traversal puzzles were great, combat felt satisfying, and the open areas and survival elements were fun. The occasional too tightly scripted sequence did not prevent me from enjoying the game immensely.

20. Icewind Dale (2000) - where Baldur's Gate was a sprawling experience, Icewind Dale was tighter and more focused. Being linear allowed battles to be better balanced and more challenging, and building your own party of six characters from scratch gave great freedom to the player to set his own composition and strategy. Also, the cold vistas of the Icewind Dale were the most beautiful ones of the Infinity Engine games.

21. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (2006) - first-person melee combat never before (or since) felt this visceral and satisfying. Add in a fairly deep magic system, and stealth elements, and you have an adventure that allows many playstyles to bloom and all of them feel satisfying. While Arkane's next game, Dishonored, greatly improved on level design, its melee combat could not live up to Dark Messiah's sheer intensity and satisfaction.

Honourable Mentions:
* Far Cry 2 (2008), Far Cry 3 (2012) (both excellent open world games... where Far Cry 2 is the more immersive by far, but Far Cry 3 loses some of the more tedious repetitive elements, and has the best open world stealth I've played)
* Gothic (2001) (such excellent gritty world building, a much darker feel than the Elder Scrolls or typical D&D)
* Hearthstone (2014) (addictive and accessible)
* Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (2002), Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003) (great Star Wars feeling, best light sabre duels ever, and force powers felt powerful)
* No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way (2002) (excellent shooter, great writing, great stealth)
* Portal (2007) (short and sweet, and while it suffers the coordination / execution problem typical to 3d puzzlers, it's not too bad, and the excellent writing makes up for it)
* Republic Commando (2005) (a very atypical Star Wars game, showing a much more grounded view of the universe, and a great squad-based shooter)
* Splinter Cell (2002) (awesome stealth, together with the Thief series the pinnacle of the genre, great modern thriller story, great voice-acting)
* Unity of Command (2012) (extremely accessible light wargame, such an elegant and tight design, and challenging scenarios)

... a running theme is freedom of choice - to me, that's part of the point of playing a video game instead of reading a book or watching a movie - the ability to shape and influence what is happening, and choose what actions I take and how I affect the storyline.

Read 4 Notes -Make Notes

13th May, 2014. 7:06 pm. Gaming thoughts - King's Bounty

Been playing King's Bounty: Crosswords, which is a slightly expanded version of King's Bounty: Armored Princess, which itself was mostly tweaks compared with the original King's Bounty: The Legend - and am having mixed feelings about the game.

When should one abandon a game that is not great fun, but still mildly entertaining?

King's Bounty, for me, has several major flaws.

* Lots of backtracking, and searching the labyrinthic maps for the next combat around my level, while dodging higher level enemies.

* Lack of recovery for units leads to over-emphasis on not taking any losses at all in combats, which too heavily rewards using units with healing / summoning / resurrection abilities (and means most units in the game are not worth using at all).

* Can't use abilities at end of combat, which means trying to keep a non-dangerous enemy alive at the end while using treasure finding and healing, etc. abilities.

* Very grindy and time-consuming... which I don't mind too much in general, but in combination with the above, it does become a major drawback.

Steam says I've put 36 hours into it - I think I am about halfway through, which fits, as it's supposed to be about a 60-hour game, and I'm usually a bit of a slow player. That's a lot of time for a game that is not great, especially considering my backlog.

I am hesitant however, to abandon it - if I do, I know I'll never return to it, and having put this much time into it, I'd like to get through it all. I think I'll put it onto a bit of a lower priority though - only play a smaller while each day, and start another game parallell with it.

Perhaps time to get back into Uncharted 2? Or another strategy game? I'm still really in the mood for turn-based strategy!

Make Notes

19th January, 2014. 3:44 pm. Yesterday, Photos (!), and Tomorrow

Quite long and with imagesCollapse )

Read 2 Notes -Make Notes

2nd January, 2014. 3:46 pm. Steam winter sale, etc.

So, this year, I tried to be restrained - I had to, as my money was comparatively limited. Often, I try to make sure I have a decent budget for the big Steam sales, but this year, I was in no position to do so. Still, I did pick up a bunch of stuff (the list is long - but it doesn't add up to all that much; many tiddly things):

[Spoiler (click to open)]
Games:
Age of Empires II HD + The Forgotten Expansion £5.74
Avadon 2: The Corruption £5.24
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons £3.59
Don't Starve £0.95
Guacamelee! Gold Edition £2.99
Rise of the Triad £2.39
Shelter £1.74
Trackmania Canyon £3.99
Trackmania Valley £3.99

DLC:
Borderlands 2: Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 £1.99
Borderlands 2: Headhunter 1: Bloody Harvest £0.99
Borderlands 2: Headhunter 2: Wattle Gobbler £0.99
Borderlands 2: Headhunter 3: Mercenary Day £0.99
Civilization V: Scrambled Continents Map Pack £0.99
Civilization V: Scrambled Nations Map Pack £1.00
Dishonored: The Brigmore Witches £3.99
Mark of the Ninja: Special Edition DLC £0.79
Pinball FX2: Mx. Splosion Man Table £0.49
Pinball FX2: Star Wars: Balance of the Force Pack £1.74
Skyword Collapse: Nihon no Mura £0.67
Van Helsing: Arcane Mechanic £1.01
Van Helsing: Blue Blood £0.49
Van Helsing: Thaumaturge £1.01

... and also, not in the Steam sale:
Tales of Maj'Eyal Steam Launch Edition £4.49 (Launch offer - first Angband derivative on Steam)
Shadow Warrior $9.99 (Humble Store sale)

So, I was pleased with my restraint around Steam. Unfortunately, Winter Wolves (who makes cheesy romantic games, some visual novels, but most of them with life sim or rpg elements - if that intrigues, I'd suggest checking out the demos for Loren or Planet Stronghold (both rpgs with plenty of stats and turn-based combat) or Bionic Heart (visual novel with many endings... some positive, some negative)) also had their winter sale, and I couldn't resist picking up a bunch more of their games (I already owned Always Remember Me, Bionic Heart, Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook, Heileen, Heileen 2, Loren: the Amazon Princess + Castle of N'Mar expansion, Planet Stronghold, Spirited Heart and Vera Blanc: Full Moon since before):

Winter Wolves:
Bionic Heart 2 £6.50
Cinders £7.34
Heileen 3: New Horizons £6.50
Heileen 3: Sea Maidens £6.50
Vera Blanc: Ghost in the Castle £3.50

... so, once again, I'll have to be slightly careful when doing food shopping to make sure my money lasts until payday. Oh well, I'm getting used to that by now - been like that every month since coming back to Sweden. And I got lots of cool new stuff - hope I'll have the energy to play some of it. I'm hoping to get my economy more balanced towards the end of spring or so... will have paid back what I should to my parents, and most one-time larger costs dealt with. Then, I might finally be able to get that computer upgrade I'm wishing for.

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20th October, 2013. 1:08 pm. Exclusion

It scares me how welcoming people are at Church. I don't know how to be a part of their community, many of which have known each other for decades. I don't want to be a part of their community. I want to be an unknown stranger, a barely visible shadow lurking at the edges of their congregation, to whom nobody pays any attention. I would be more comfortable that way. I am excluded, disconnected. I can't be a part of them - not because they exclude me, but because I exclude them. I know how to do naught else.

As I was starting to walk home coat-less from Church in the very gentle rain, a passing car slowed down, the driver opened the door, and asked "Ola, want a ride home?". I hastily shook my head and said no. I didn't need a ride home, but even more so, I was horrified of the thought of getting into that car with him. It would have left me too vulnerable, I would have been too close to somebody else, I would have been too available for a short bit of idle conversation, I would not have been private enough.

One could interpret the song closing the church services as applicable to my situation:
"Nu är livet här, jag borde hoppa på
Jag har inget att förlora, men jag stannar här ändå
Jag har vant mig vid att vänta, jag kan vänta länge än"
-Lisa Nilsson

(Rough translation:
"Now life is here, I should jump on
I have nothing to lose, yet I remain here
I'm so used to waiting, I can wait longer still"

Way back in my youth - it might have been at my graduation, but it might have been on some other occasion, I am not sure - there was a hymn on the congratulations card from my parents, hymn 90 in the Swedish book of hymns. I've always carried that one with me, even though I am not very good at following its advice. The first couple of lines are as follows:

"Blott i det öppna har du en möjlighet.
Låser du om dig kvävs och förtvinar du."

(Rough translation:
"Only out in the open, you have your possibility,
if you lock yourself in, you'll become smothered and atrophied.")

I don't know how to not put barriers around myself. How to not lock others out. People are too scary. I am terrified of them. It is enough of a struggle, going to Church and taking passive part in services and study groups. I don't know how to be part of their community, how to open myself up. They might welcome me, but I lack the ability to accept that welcome.

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13th October, 2013. 7:33 pm. A bit freaked out

Excuse me for being a bit weird...

... but it freaks me out a bit how many people shook my hand and greeted me by name in church today (it was Harvest vesper, so unusually many people there) - especially considering that the only one I can remember the name of is the priest.

- small scared autistic animal who prefers silence and solitude.

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