Keep on truckin’


My last post got a bit of a bump after being featured in RPS’ Sunday Papers yesterday. When I say a bit of a bump, I mean that it got 5 views in the first week after it was published and in the past 24 hours it has garnered 4,000 views. So I’m obviously grateful to RPS editor Graham Smith who included it in his weekly round-up and pleased that the RPS comments are all positive.

In case you’re wondering after reading the post just how seriously I take the game myself, the answer is very seriously. Yesterday – at same time as The Sunday Papers piece unbeknownst to me featured the post – I was realising the dream of owning my own truck. Behold my Volvo FH Globetrotter XL with Eastern Eagle rims and chrome handles and custom hot cerise metallic paint and bullhorns and stuff in all it’s glory. God, ain’t she a beaut’? How could you not take this shit seriously?



Godus Wars – an RTS spin-off of Peter Molyneux’s Godus – is out (in some EA form or another) and reactions haven’t been kind. Usually this means that people don’t like the game. In this particular instance it means that and more. Molyneux gave an interview to Eurogamer in connection with the launch and that set the ball rolling. John Walker’s mention on RPS is as much a critique of the person Peter Molyneux and Nerd3’s “Nerd3 hates Godus Wars” has a prominent picture of Molyneux on the cover. I haven’t seen the video but the cover speaks volumes. The RPS piece unleashed a torrent of abuse against Molyneux in the comments section. The same happened on Ars Technica after a piece mentioning the Eurogamer interview.

I don’t care to go over Molyneux’ alleged ‘crimes’ but this is clearly not about Godus Wars. 2014 highlighted hateful speech directed against creators in the video games industry. Now, Molyneux is not a woman and I haven’t seen any comments asking for him to suffer anything worse than ignominy and derision. But I still fail to understand how he – or anybody – merits the level of vitriol and outright hatred, that is directed his way, or why it is tolerated if not outright encouraged by the gaming press when we have become so much more aware it’s detrimental effects.

It’s videogames, people. Save your outrage for poverty, inequality, human rights violations etc.

Whispering Rock Revisited


I bought a small form factor pc recently to serve as HTPC (home theater pc, or pc wot plays media files) and allround home, web and cloud server. It has integrated graphics. It runs linux. It is in other words not a gaming pc. But I still went ahead and bought a controller with it, installed Steam and picked up a number of indie titles to run on it.

It has turned out surprisingly well. Due in large part to the fact that it has allowed me to reconnect with Double Fine’s 2006 cult classic Psychonauts. I liked Psychonauts before when I rushed through every level to get to the endgame. Now that I have played it at a more leisurely pace, I think that it might just be the best game that I have ever played in terms of world, environment and characters.

The reasoning is fairly simple. You may have heard people talk of games where the fate of the characters mattered to them, beyond merely tactical concerns. Maybe you have felt that way yourself. Me, not so much. Except, that is, for the summer camp of Whispering Rock that is the setting of Psychonauts and the collection of misfits that inhabit it.

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I finished Just Cause 2 and saved the world and all I got was a list of credits


Apologies for the title. It’s geting late and something like ‘JC2 – thoughts on’ or ‘retrospective’ or ‘post play analysis’ sounded way too serious for something as frivolous as Just Cause 2.

I finished the game over the weekend, having completed all faction and agency missions. It has been quite a ride. However when  rolling down a highway in a tank shooting up all the traffic just to see if anybody will stop you only provokes ennui… well, in the words of Just Cause 2 anonymous bark #126: “It’s time to end this!” Here are some my final thoughts on the game in the hope that I can stop playing now. At 55% completion. I know that the rest is just busywork. Who needs that? Right?

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Veni, vidi, whippi – thoughts on Spelunky strategy


Okay, so now that I have completed* Spelunky, I obviously feel like I’m in a position to dole out advice on how to do it. This isn’t basic tips or do’s and don’ts like Tom Francis’ blog post from a few years back but more of a general attitude with which to approach the gameplay.

Spelunky – as I’ve said before – is a complex game. Each playthrough presents the player with a huge amount of tiny decisions from the mundane – how to kill the bat heading towards me? – to the strategic – what is my goal for this level? Cash-in-hand? The damsel? Ghost mining? Some specific achievement? Misc.? Complex games tend to develop a body of thoughts on strategy. So the question is: Is abstract strategy applicable to a game like Spelunky or is success just a matter of pure muscle memory?

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Frozen Synapse multiplayer


I’m only about halfway through the Frozen Synapse singleplayer campaign despite having played it on my android tablet for every single commute since the end of the summer holiday. That thing is loooong. There is however an end in sight and with few decent tablet gaming alternatives, I’ve started looking at the multiplayer options. Which is when I made the alarming discovery that rarely have I played a game in which the transfer of knowledge from singleplayer to multiplayer is so slight. In single player the AI seems at best random and it’s unpredictability (and vast numerical superiority) is your true opponent. In multiplayer you enter a world of endless secondguessing, like trying to play ten games of rock paper scissors at once. So far I’ve only won using strict camping tactics.



I know how to make a leather cap in Minecraft and I’m not going to tell you.

Because you probably either stumbled upon the crafting recipe yourself or you just looked it up on the internet. Also you probably advanced to gold hats years ago, anyway, having tossed out whatever leather gear you didn’t need for Dungeon Night fetish wear. I bet creepers are really submissive what with all that self destructive behaviour. Aaaanyway…

I happened upon the ‘recipe’ (i.e. correct 3 by 3 pattern of empty space and leather) by trial and error. When I started playing Minecraft I got engrossed by just trying things out. I knew about punching trees. And had probably seen people make crafting tables. Also the annoying putdown ‘mining like a baby’ pops into my head from time to time, so I obviously read this piece on RPS. From there on I just had a go at it. When I got stuck I horsed around some more. When I got really stuck I started needlessly enlarging my mansion. When I got really, really stuck, I quit and played Spelunky for a while to get back to real life and real priorities. You know, stuff like ‘winning’ and ‘beating the game’.

I’m not sure when it became a dogme-like rule. But it’s there now. Sort of. No internet. No wikis. No outside-of-the-game hints (I do take some guidance from the in-game achievement map though). If I’m living in a cave with no electricity it stands to reason that I’m not just hopping online to learn how to make shoes, gates, or bread. Man, I wish I had bread. Rotten monster meat is nice and all but it gets a bit samey samey after a while.

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