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29th October 2017

Did some work behind the scenes of the game blog page so that the game filters now work much better.

30th June 2017

A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.

16th May 2017

Finally got my pointing pictures up and into the Vault. Don't ask me why.

Latest Blog Entry

Tidying The Epic Cupboard

Computer Games Blog

This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.

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30th December 2017 - Nostalgia Bomb

Every few years I enjoy travelling back through time and re-living my early teens with the aid of my Amiga emulator. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been going pretty hard.

The game I tried first in this little marathon was Formula One Grand Prix, a game I adored as a kid. Together, me and my mates went through several seasons using "hotseat" style multiplayer, with those of us that had mastered manual braking having a big advantage. When I got a PC, I completely forgot about this game and got hooked on the sequels instead, which were far better, and now I've remembered why.
I played this for one short race, where I went from back of the grid to 7th. Man it was a struggle. The frame rate is probably only 4fps or something silly, making it hard to control. How the hell did we play it back in the day? It won't be one I play again.

After that, I slapped on some Super Skidmarks, which for a while was the game of choice for me and my mate Dave, especially when we played it on his A1200. This thing is still insane and a lot of fun. It's hard to control, like you're driving your car on an ice rink, but definitely something that's still worth playing.

Of course, I couldn't crank up the Amiga emulator without playing some Sensible Soccer. It always was my favourite Amiga game, and always will be. I managed to create two new teams to bring the total to 20, just enough for a full-sized league. After going through the whole league, I won every game except draws against Final Fantasy and The Witcher, and a single loss against the Decepticons. Wouldn't have minded, but none of those teams were near the top of the league come the end. Punks.

Then I decided I wanted to finish some games, and Scoob joined me in going through a few multiplayer ones. Up first was Golden Axe, a game Scoob was sure we'd already completed back in the day, but I wasn't so sure. After getting to the end, surprisingly easily I might add, it definitely seemed familiar so we must have completed it after all.
Still, other than a bit of stutter here and there, this game was quite fun to play. Definitely better than what we played next...

After we enjoyed Golden Axe, we thought we'd give Double Dragon a try. I played this quite a lot in an arcade with my bro on holiday when we were kids, but even though I got it for the Amiga later I couldn't really remember playing it that much. No surprises why...
The Amiga version of this thing sucks ass. With inferior graphics and sound, and crappy, buggy gameplay, it's a wonder we got through it at all. But just like Golden Axe, when we got to the end, it all seemed familiar, so again, it was another one I must have completed as a kid.

One game I knew for a fact that I'd never finished was Battle Squadron, a game we used to simply call "Silver & Gold" when we were kids. This shooter used to kick our asses all up and down its vertically scrolling screen, and even during this play through, we had to turn a lot of the options to easier levels, something I don't think we ever knew we could do all those years ago.
It's a fairly short game, but fun and worth a run through. I'm thinking when I've got some more time I might play it solo on harder difficulty. It should be possible with the emulator's save state capability.

Taking a look down the outside

Taking a look down the outside

Getting smacked about by the AI cars

Getting smacked about by the AI cars

Mooooo!

Mooooo!

My defender fails to block a shot on my goal

My defender fails to block a shot on my goal

Twonking some ruffians

Twonking some ruffians

Playing tennis with some ruffians

Playing tennis with some ruffians

Tyris unleashes her inner dragon on the end boss

Tyris unleashes her inner dragon on the end boss

Seriously, WTF are these graphics?

Seriously, WTF are these graphics?

Scoob beats up the Hulk

Scoob beats up the Hulk

These damn spears killed us way more than the bad guys did

These damn spears killed us way more than the bad guys did

All hell breaks loose in the final battle

All hell breaks loose in the final battle

Shooting the shit out of the Barrax Empire

Shooting the shit out of the Barrax Empire

There are some odd enemies in this game

There are some odd enemies in this game

Splatting some huge bugs

Splatting some huge bugs

Scoob unleashes a nova bomb on the final boss

Scoob unleashes a nova bomb on the final boss

11th December 2017 - Bloody Hearts & Wine Stones

So I may have told a lie and also told the truth at the same time. Back when I finished Witcher 3, I said I'd only come back to the franchise when I got the expansions. This was true. In fact, after the initial completion, I almost immediately went out and bought both Hearts Of Stone and Blood And Wine so I could play them while I was still in the mood. I did also say I probably wouldn't start again to do all the contracts and other stuff. This turned out to be a lie. Rather than do the expansions from where I left off, I just started again, and ramped up the difficulty.
My original intention was to do it all. All the contracts, points of interest, get all the Gwent cards, brew all the potions and oils, create all the witcher gear, everything. It's not quite gone down that way, but I've done way more than I did before. And now, after more than three months of straight play, I think I'm pretty much done with the game.

Roach goes for a swim

Roach goes for a swim

Getting well and truly licked

Getting well and truly licked

This dancing is just wrong

This dancing is just wrong

Geralt sinks into the jetty

Geralt sinks into the jetty

Taking a stroll inside a painting

Taking a stroll inside a painting

Twonking Von Everec

Twonking Von Everec

I played the base game until after I rescued Ciri and killed Imlerith. During this time I cleared all the points of interest except some in Skellige. One on land bugged out, and I couldn't clear it, but all the others I missed were out in the ocean and I really couldn't be arsed with them. I also played Gwent for the first time, and went through all the Gwent quests except the big tournament which I may do later. I'd also crafted all the witcher gear up to this point, but this run was to stop during the second expansion when it became clear that other items were far better than even grandmaster witcher stuff. That was something I was pissed about.

I did get round to crafting all the oils, all the way to max level, but did not do all the decoctions, potions or bombs, as I didn't find these anywhere near as useful.

Anyway, on I went to the first expansion, which I didn't really like except for meeting Shani again. The story and characters in this were really bad. Fucking infuriating in fact. There are two main antagonist characters that Geralt gets caught between, and they were both so annoying that I desperately wanted to kill them both. However, depending on your actions, only one can be defeated. I was livid. Grr.

The second expansion was a lot better. The only annoying thing really was the fake French accents. I'm sure they could have got some English speaking French people to do the voice acting if they'd really wanted to. But oh well. In this one, Geralt is hired to kill The Beast Of Beauclair, who is killing knights in the land of Toussaint. It felt like a much bigger expansion, and had more interesting side quests in addition to the much better main story. This time, in the end, both antagonists can perish, or depending on your actions, either one of them. Difference is, in this one, I really wanted them both to live. Damn you CD Projekt Red!!

I hated this floating freak

I hated this floating freak

Geralt gets the horn

Geralt gets the horn

What a blockhead

What a blockhead

Two floating skulls stop me going through this door

Two floating skulls stop me going through this door

Geralt just having dinner with his wight buddy

Geralt just having dinner with his wight buddy

Fighting off a horde of bandits

Fighting off a horde of bandits

As I was playing it for so long, all the things that annoyed me about it during the first playthrough continued to annoy me, and to even greater levels. Despite the many wonderful things it's got going on, the game is just so janky. Movement and combat are awkward and sluggish, and you would never guess Geralt is supposed to have enhanced reactions, as sometimes it takes him so long to dodge or cast a spell that he just ends up standing there and getting smacked in the face.

Without a doubt it was Roach who was the main problem. Stupid horse didn't seem to like doing anything I told it, and a lot of the time I just ran around on foot. Sometimes it would run on the spot, as if against some invisible barrier, when there was nothing there at all. Something that happened only once in my first playthough probably happened around ten times through this one, and that was the game not giving me the ability to gallop when I got on the horse. Only way I could clear it was to save and reload.

I even tried installing some mods for the first time to help me with some of the more irritating elements of the game. Usually the mods wouldn't work or wouldn't do what I wanted, but the ones that did definitely made life easier.

Guard sinks into the steps

Guard sinks into the steps

Bad kitty!

Bad kitty!

And now Geralt's talking to a horse

And now Geralt's talking to a horse

Yes, clean my boots child!

Yes, clean my boots child!

Geralt can always light up a room

Geralt can always light up a room

That's a strange insult to throw at a vampire

That's a strange insult to throw at a vampire

Again it sounds like I'm ragging on the game, but it really isn't that bad. There's no way I would play a game this long if it was bad at all. It's actually pretty great. It's just that I can see how exceptional it could be with a little more work and a few more options, so the problems just irritate me a lot. It all just gives off the impression that the developers didn't play hours and hours of their own game, and that they didn't get frustrated with all the little things that ended up being complete time wasters. Why's there no auto-apply of oils? Why do the witcher senses take so long to kick in and fade out? Why can you only mark one quest on your map? Why's there no option to auto-skip all merchant chit-chat after you've spoken to them the first time? All the little things like these end up wasting so much time.

"Just don't tell Yen we got to ride unicorns."

"Just don't tell Yen we got to ride unicorns."

Interesting constructions in this part of the world

Interesting constructions in this part of the world

Geralt copping a feel

Geralt copping a feel

Regis being awesome

Regis being awesome

That's one dead vampire

That's one dead vampire

Well, that is my journey through the Witcher franchise complete. I'll probably continue my current playthrough, and go back to the base game to complete the last few quests. I still don't think I'll do a full 100% run, as I don't want to go to all the points of interest in the Skellige seas, or go around getting all the Gwent cards. Not at all.

Overall though, really impressed with the series because of the stories it told and the characters that all played their parts. In that regard, I'll probably look back on these games much like I do with Final Fantasy 7. That is, I'll always fondly remember playing them, but because it's such a chore to play them, I'll probably never visit them again.

28th October 2017 - Telling Tales

Just got done with my first ever Telltale game, which was Tales From The Borderlands. I kinda knew what to expect in terms of the type of game it was, as I had watched streamers play both The Wolf Among Us and the Batman game. These games are basically just interactive movies, asking for user input only sporadically, which is always simple 'quick time event' input, as well as making dialogue choices.

In honesty, I wish I'd just watched someone else play this as well. Not that I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but I wanted to just sit back, eat a sandwich and watch it. It was annoying when so many times I was relaxed and just watching what was happening, then had to scramble to put down my food in order to press a button quickly to prevent a character from dying.

Better press that left button

Better press that left button

Loader Bot is awesome

Loader Bot is awesome

I couldn't scan this no matter what

I couldn't scan this no matter what

Getting the thing to run properly at first was an interesting challenge. The game defaults to having vsync on, but with it the mouse was incredibly laggy. When I turned vsync off in nvidia control panel, the game ran really hot, at hundreds of frames per second, giving me loads of screen tearing and really getting my fans going. I coudln't find an fps limiter in nvidia control panel, though it turns out there is one, just hidden from the user for some reason. I ended up using a hex editor to alter a .dll file to unlock that option, finally making the game playable.

Sasha opening up on the skags

Sasha opening up on the skags

This game has a thing about removing eyeballs

This game has a thing about removing eyeballs

Thanks, Loader Bot

Thanks, Loader Bot

There were also a few bugs I had to deal with. One of the main characters has a cybernetic eye you can scan things with, but several times the game wouldn't let me scan things. I ended up following advice of someone online, and had to spam the movement keys while trying to scan items and then it would work. Fucking weird. A couple of times, when needing to make a dialogue choice, the mouse cursor would also vanish, basically making it impossible to choose. Annoying.

Fiona's hair does not obey the laws of gravity

Fiona's hair does not obey the laws of gravity

About to shock some fools

About to shock some fools

Scooter joins the team

Scooter joins the team

I believe this game is set after the other Borderlands games, which I've never played. I kept thinking maybe I was missing references to other characters and stories that had come before, but overall the story was pretty easy to follow. You play as two characters, switching between them at different points of the game, as they and their friends end up trying to find and break into a Vault, which is said to hold great riches.

The finger gun shootout was funny

The finger gun shootout was funny

Some douchebag picks on Loader Bot

Some douchebag picks on Loader Bot

This game REALLY has a thing about removing eyeballs

This game REALLY has a thing about removing eyeballs

For the most part, I enjoyed the story. The voice acting was ace, and after a while I grew to like the characters, especially the two main robots who were real cute and funny.

Glad I played it, but like I say, I wouldn't have missed anything by just watching someone else play it instead.

Suddenly got all Power Rangers in here

Suddenly got all Power Rangers in here

Mega-Gortys in action

Mega-Gortys in action

Entering the Vault at last

Entering the Vault at last

The choices you make in this game seem to be both interesting and pointless in equal amounts. As far as I can tell, no matter what choices you make, the game always ends up going the same way and ending the same way. The choices you make only change how you get there, and can have an affect on which characters are available to you in the final fight.
At the end of each of the five episodes, the game breaks down the main choices you made for each of the two main characters, and here were mine:

Making choices

Making choices

20th October 2017 - Straight No IV

A few months back Scoob and I started to play Saints Row IV, but had some trouble with the game, as well as the original GOG build having its own problems. A few weeks back we tried to continue it, but the connection problems we were having back then came back to haunt us tenfold. In fact, we couldn't even get through a single mission without the second PC quitting out. It didn't matter which computer hosted, the one that was connecting to it just fell over all the time.

So unfortunately I had to push through the rest of it on my own, and that really was not a help. I mostly decided to just get my head down and race through the main quests, ignoring all the shit bonus quests on the map as well as most of the secondary quests. The opinions I had of the game from back then did not get any better. They actually got worse.

Here's the thing. Saints Row The Third was janky and buggy as fuck, and was totally stupid. But it was so much fun to play. This one should have also been fun, with the addition of the super powers, but these additions took away nearly everything about the previous game that I really liked. The gun play ended up being really weak, and the necessity of cars was pretty much eliminated from the game. Loads of the enemies needed you to use the new super powers to kill them, especially the tougher enemies, but the super powers took so long to reload that using them was dull. Also, the super speed and super jumping made it really hard to do simple repositioning in fights, as you'd simply run or jump well clear of where you were hoping to go. There should have been some way of doing regular sprinting and jumping, then having the super jump and sprint as different controls.

It's such a shame, but I've ended up feeling like I had a really crap time with the game. How the third game could be so much fun but this one so frustrating and boring I have no idea. The game even crashed, completely froze, a couple of times when I was playing it solo. One of these even came in the final cutscene where all the characters were dancing in celebration of the bad guy being dead. I have no idea if anything else happened in the cutscene after that, but I was not going to play through the entire last mission all over again to check (there's no saving in this game part way through missions, unbelievably).
The third game, despite its own issues, never crashed or disconnected on us once as far as I can remember. This game was just an absolute mess. I was going to play Enter The Dominatrix and Gat Out Of Hell to follow this up, but it's just put me right off.

Sex doll pilot?

Sex doll pilot?

Jazz hands

Jazz hands

I think I've been smoking something

I think I've been smoking something

Shooting a giant soda can

Shooting a giant soda can

Teaming up with Gat to unleash rage on the streets

Teaming up with Gat to unleash rage on the streets

Things get rowdy

Things get rowdy

Busker playing an invisible guitar

Busker playing an invisible guitar

Bustin' out some moves

Bustin' out some moves

Killing a horde of Genkis

Killing a horde of Genkis

Taking a trophy from Zinyak

Taking a trophy from Zinyak

 

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