Friday, November 30, 2012

Jake? Jake?? JAAAAKEEEEE????

So this is why there are no patches for XCOM coming up.

With XCOM's release in his wake, Solomon is getting used to the slower pace in life. "It's weird when you're a developer, because oddly everything ends when the game comes out. You work like crazy, the game launches and then everything just stops. I'm mostly just sitting on my ass."

Well that's just swell. I guess no one's trying to fix the bugs then, eh? Nice.

Are you working on TFTD?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Counting Counts

Had an amazing victory in XCOM: Enemy Unknown multiplayer. It was the kind of overcoming of odds that dreams are made of, the kind that lifts video games from the depth of misunderstanding and stereotypes, through the dark woods of annoying FPS players, to the state of an art form. I was not recording the game at the time nor have I made any screenshots so here's the low-tech report of what happened.

I was fielding a five member team - two snipers (hunters - main feature is shooting after moving) with scopes, two assaults (scouts - only run and gun) with stims and a sectoid named Kenny for obvious reasons. Snipers had laser sniper rifles and assaults had scatter laser. Kenny was wielding a plasma pistol and a lot of guts.

My near bus location meant lower ground and tougher choices. I was to go second. I went easy. Move everyone to the edge of their blue and overwatch. The snipers go left to the flowerbeds and the assaults hide behind the bus. Kenny goes boldly forward, fearless and ever watchful.
Enemy turn - nothing happens.

More careful movement on my side - to the blue and overwatch. The assaults are now in high cover along the right side of the bus. I briefly contemplate stimming them up but dismiss the idea for the fear of wasting the precious drugs on a timid and absentee enemy troops. Of course, I quickly regret it.

Enemy turn - a cyberdisc floats over from behind the statue. Kenny, crouching behind the park bench, takes a reaction shot and hits for 4 damage. As I think "well, Kenny's dead", the disc notices my snipers in the back and ignoring the dauntless sectoid takes one of them out. Blood, guts, broken dreams, a widow at home, kids without a father. But the disc is just on the other side of the bus, almost directly above Kenny. The assaults can probably reach him without as much as looking in the direction of run and gun. You will be avenged, sniper with random name, you will be avenged! That's when two medic looking troops, one in titan armour, show up. My assaults miss their reaction shots, the enemy troops are too far away for their scatter lasers. The medic with plasma rifle misses (praise be to The Holy RNG!) and the one with light plasma lands a 6 damage on rehab-clean and fragile body of my assault. Curse the unlucky stars!

The remaining sniper takes a headshot (what?) on the cyberdisc for the massive critical damage that leaves it with 2 bars. Kenny misses on cyber. That's ok, everything is still manageable. The wounded assault runs into the bus and does drugs behind the high cover of the driver's seat partition. The healthy soldier moves a couple of steps down the side of the bus to another high cover spot and also does drugs.

Enemy turn - the cyberdisc turns another sniper into a corpse. Another life in shatters. More blood becoming dust. The enemy rejoice. The medic with the plasma rifle and titan armour dashes to the front of the bus. The other one takes a shot at Kenny and misses. "Shot wide!" she must be reporting to her handlers.

Kenny is as calm as ever. The kamikaze scout knows the price of victory better then any of his human partners. What do they know. They don't hear other people's dreams at night when all they want is to fall asleep. His psychic abilities may not be as good as those of the sectoid commander but he can read anyone's emotions like the first giant letters on the optician's chart. He knows about the resentment his colleagues sometimes feel towards him, he knows about the unease his otherness brings into every room he enters. He would rather not know but it's not his fault that humans spill out their brainwaves like so much diarrhoea. But more than anything, above anything, Kenny knows loyalty. He takes down the hovering cyberdisc - explosion rocks the Boulevard.

The healthy assault goes into run and gun and runs to the other side of the map as far as he can go, which is right behind the other enemy medic. The shot isn't critical, the medic lives to take revenge. The wounded but no less drugged up assault runs down to the edge of the bus and takes a shot at the titan. 5 damage, hardly enough for anything. Things are not going our way. Drugs don't fail us now! But they do. Kind of.

Enemy turn - the titan soldier moves behind the wounded assault and pumps his body full of plasma. Stims cannot save him against a weapon so powerful with only 4 health remaining. Hopefully he dies without feeling any pain. As his eyes close for the last time I lose sight of the titan. The other medic does 3 damage on the ex-healthy assault and the turn is ours.

My remaining assault takes out the weaker medic. Kenny stays put and goes into overwatch.

Enemy turn - the titan shows his face at the corner of the bus, and takes a shot at Kenny, misses.

"That's bullshit! I had 87%," writes the enemy in the chat.

Kenny suppresses and the assault dashes to the front of the police car, closer to the titan. 7 health remaining and jonesing for the fix that is not going to come.

Enemy turn - to shake off the aim penalty, the titan moves to the other side of the same car that my assault is using for cover. Kenny misses his suppression shot but the titan doesn't. Yellow alien blood everywhere and Kenny goes down in history as the only sectoid with balls.

Wounded and all out of drugs, the lone assault moves up to the enemy, takes a shot and lands another 5. The titan lives with more than enough health to potentially kill my assault twice. With a gun that big at that distance it would be very easy to send him flying in bloody pieces to the same tarmac that his ex-team mates are slowly but surely rotting on. It would hardly take more than pulling of the stupid trigger and releasing of the stupid plasma onto the stupid flesh. But there is something that I know that he only now may be realising. I've been counting, you see. And that last shot that took out Kenny, that was shot number 4. That gun is emptier than the heart of a sectopod. He only brought along a normal pistol, so that's not an option. He will reposition as far as he can and reload.

Enemy move - and so he does. Fully loaded behind the adjacent car but no overwatch to protect him.

I run and gun the assault right next to him. Two of them crouching behind the same car like two kids hiding from grown-ups. My kid has only enough energy for one shot in his scatter laser and only a critical hit will do. 5 or 6 of damage will leave him flanked and without ammo against certain death. He raises his gun at the face of the titan. This is for you Kenny.

Monday, October 22, 2012

From Nigeria to Japan, With Love

It seems like it was only yesterday that I received my last communication from His Majesty The Nigerian Prince. Today I get this message (posted below verbatim). Is there a pretender to the Throne? Surely, this means war!

I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner, I found you listed in the Trade Centre Chambers of Commerce directory here in Japan, I find it pleasurable to offer you my partnership in business, I only pray at this time that your address is still valid. I want to solicit your attention to receive cash on my behalf. The purpose of my contacting you is because my status would not permit me to do this alone.Respond If interested with Your full*names,Age,and*Location.

This is one of the image results you get if you search for Hidekazu:

Is that the right way to hold the sword?
Seems like the right one. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Don't Small The Sweat Things

After huge popular demand, here's my to do list for today:

  • cancel BFI
  • cancel SS
  • transfer £
  • write stuff for X-Files
  • finish FTL run
  • use the codes
  • check Desura deals
  • buy webcam 
  • kill spider if it moves 
Most of that is now accomplished. As a reword for my efforts, you can watch me play games 

or you can watch this instead


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mainstream Pleasures

So Armored Kill came out and turns out I still got it. My D/K is abysmal when I'm playing in vehicles, as always, but managed to steal a tank from two dudes and then run them over in it and also shot down a aerial screw with a tank shell. Oh yeah. Now, if only I could improve that D/K...

Made no screenshots/footage of the above so I'll leave you with this sexy gif.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Further To Our Conversation

Building on our previous conversation - IN YOUR FACE (on easy difficulty)!!

And then after the giant letters float away, my chariot arrives... to take me to the space credits.

But seriously though, I had this? I had this all this time and I fought all those monsters with handheld weapons? Really? Was I afraid to scratch the paintjob on my ride? Who does that?

Anyway. Intrusion 2 is a pretty cool action platformer in the classic spirit of Metal Slug and some others that most probably exist but I haven't played because platformers aren't really my thing. So that's how good this was. Or rather that's how good the good bits were. Like when the cyborg girl with a giant gun deployed a disco ball in the cave we were fighting in to reflect her laser off of it and kill me. That was pretty cool. You also get to ride a big old wolf at some point. It bites your enemies.

Give it at go here or here. There's also a demo.

Existential Fret

That feeling when you question your hand-eye coordination after failing to defeat a giant robot for two hours in a row on easy difficulty.

Who makes these things anyway?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Generation Knighthood

When out and about killing people with melee weapons, always take care to select a matching crest. You don't want people thinking that you've got no taste in war.

My crest is kinda cool, too. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Super Sad True Love Story

Until recently DEFCON held the super special title of The Most Depressing Game I Have Ever Experienced.
I'm so sorry, Brasilia DF.
And when I say depressing, I don't mean 'badly made' - the race for the first place in that category is very tight indeed. The photo finish is so crowded that you cannot see the finish line. A riot erupts and someone breaks the photo finish camera and punches a baby in the face.

By depressing I mean so well made that it incites a feeling of sadness for the characters or the events of the game. In DEFCON there are no characters as such beyond the raw numbers of casualties and the familiar shapes of continents and the locations of the cities you have been to or have read about. All of the game's violence is in your head when you imagine the number of people you just made disappear - represented by a flash of light above the landscape.

DEFCON casts no moral judgement whatsoever - it is a simulation of nuclear war, pure and mathematical - and that is why it has guts and a soul.

So what could possibly surpass a game where a sobbing woman is part of the unobtrusive soundtrack?

Meet Andrus Poder.

Cart Life by Richard Hofmeier is a "retail simulation" in black and white and I will tell you, my imagined reader, about it in the next entry because I am sleepy now. You disappear into a cloud of non-existence.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

False Awakening

I was planning to write a small review of Jacob's Ladder (1990)

which I watched yesterday but it appears that pirated Fraps doesn't get along with pirated PowerDVD - instead of high resolution Blu-Ray screenshots, which were to embellish my subjective report, I got black rectangles of despair. Since I only discovered this after all the screenshots were already "made", I give you the full lyrics to the song Private Dancer by Tina Turner:

[To be read solemnly, as a poem, on a solitary afternoon, with a glass of vintage regret and a plate full of disappointment.]

All the men come in these places
And the men are all the same
You don't look at their faces
And you don't ask their names

You don't think of them as human

You don't think of them at all
You keep your mind on the money

Keeping your eyes on the wall

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money

I'll do what you want me to do
I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money
And any old music will do

[Your shades are drawn but you can hear children playing outside in the sun. You should have bought those soundproof windows. The kids are ruining your mood and you start reciting the poem even louder.]

I wanna make a million dollarsI wanna live out by the seaHave a husband and some childrenYeah, I guess I want a family

All the men come in these placesAnd the men are all the sameYou don't look at their facesAnd you don't ask their names

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyI'll do what you want me to doI'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyAnd any old music will do

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyI'll do what you want me to doJust a private dancer, a dancer for moneyAnd any old music will do
[Here comes your favourite part, make every syllable count. Bang out the (solemn) rhythm on the table with your open palms if you have to. If you have neighbours, make sure they hear you.]

Deutsch marks or dollarsAmerican Express will do nicely, thank youLet me loosen up your collarTell me, do you wanna see me do the shimmy again?

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyI'll do what you want me to doJust a private dancer, a dancer for moneyAnd any old music will do

[Downhill from here. Your recitation grows into a barely audible whisper, though no less solemn. After you're done, be silent for a couple of moments. Take a sip from your glass. Play with the cat, if you have one.] 

All the men come in these placesAnd the men are all the sameYou don't look at their facesAnd you don't ask their names

You don't think of them as humanNo, you don't think of them at allYou keep your mind on the moneyKeeping your eyes on the wall

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyI'll do what you want me to doI'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyAnd any old music will do

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyI'll do what you want me to doI'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyAnd any old music will do

I'm your private dancer, dancer for moneyI'm your private dancer, dancer for moneyI'm your private dancer, a dancer for moneyJust a private dancer, a dancer for money. 
I have no clue as to why the lyrics are in capitals, she seemed to say.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Apparently human hair is both dead and alive at the same time.