Starbound

Dec. 10th, 2013 12:42 pm
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
So a long-awaited game finally came out last week: Starbound.

If you like Minecraft or Terraria, you'll likely like Starbound. It's the same kind of exploration and building game.

Actually, Starbound can be compared pretty directly to Terraria. They're both pretty similar. With Terraria, you explore a single world, being able to explore more and more as you level up your gear. In Starbound, you explore a whole galaxy of worlds, being able to explore more and more as you level up your gear. Graphically, the game is a lot like Terraria as well.

The game is Beta now. A lot of things aren't in yet, but what I'm seeing right now is wonderful.

I love hopping onto a new planet and just exploring. You never know what you'll found. You'll find towers and prisons, sewers and castles. Some long abandoned. Some with NPCs in it. You'll explore forest planet, jungle planets, desert planets, ice planets, moons and such.

So far, it feels like there's a near infinite variety of things to find. That may wear off at some point. Right now, it truly is all new to me.

Right now, there's always something new to see and a lot of it is really cool.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Oh, DW, I haven't forsaken you entirely. I've mostly been posting a lot of very locked down entries. Mostly because no one wants to hear me whine about work.

I think R has hooked on to a new show: Bob the Builder. He loves all the trucks but he swears Scoop is his favorite (which shows that this boy REALLY loves diggers.) Boy is already a bit of a TV addict, so he'd watch nearly anything happily..

.. including, I may add, Futurama. One morning I had Futurama on and the boy woke up. I wasn't inclined to turn it off. R saif, afterwards, he wanted to eatch the Robot Show again.

Speaking of.. the boy's beginning to develop an appreciating for imaginative play. It's gone past him saying he's a bunny, or lately, a chickadee (I may be at fault for him saying he's a chickadee..) If I talk in a Robot Voice, he calls me Robot "What are you DOIN Robot?" "*in robot voice* I am tickling Robot Child."

.. actually the Robot voice kinda annoys my wife a bit, but she can get over it. I only do it to play with the boy and the boy loves it.

Robert's birthday came and went. He did well. He got some brand new books, some wooden blocks, TINKERTOYS (WOO!), Duplos, a metchbox Car Transporter, and a BRAND NEW Fire Truck. All of which are his very favorite toys EVER! ESPECIALLY the Car Transporter (K and I did well there..)

He also got some moneys for gifts, but we've decided it was high time to start putting some money away for him for college and opened him up his own savings account. As long as K keeps working, we'll add to it too, which.. I feel good about.

We're still happy K is working. It just works out well, for the most part, for everyone. Well, except for last week. Last week was crazy for me and I couldn't work from home, and K is being groomed to handle desktop support by herself since her coworker will be out of office for.. six weeks, I think? And R.. R had a fever. So he couldn't go to school. It was.. kinda crazy trying to make that work. But we got through it and the boy is on the upswing.

What else?

I've been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately. I've got a guild I like that's active and fun and often silly. I've got a character I generally enjoy playing except for when I get surrounded. Thiefs are good for sneaking up behind you and sticking a dagger in your back, not for trying to take on a group of more than 2 or 3. I can generally use my shortbow on a small group, but if I overaggro.. and I still sometimes do.. I get squishy...

.. um.. yeah.. maybe two people care about that and I'm one of them. So.. yeah.

Posting and working some more.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Putting together my "2012 In Review" post, I realized that I'd lost track of the game I'd purchased in 2012. If I talked about it here, and I did some of the really shiny ones, I knew, but I got a bunch of smaller, indie games and for the life of me couldn't remember which. I know not all of them were worthy of being remembered much, and some I got as part of a game bundle, tried and decided I didn't care for it. But still.. I want to be keeping better track of at least what I got and whether it's worth remembering or not.

So...

Steam is having some crazy sale until Saturday noon'ish, I think. I don't know if literally their entire stock is on sale, but quite a bit of it.

I had $20 in my pocket. I figured it would be OK to spend it and put the money back in the bank. I.. kinda overspent, but not massively. I got three games.

Three Games )
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
So, we found out Wednesday Night, I guess, November 14, that Glitch was going down for good. I was all sorts of bummed, as I posted. Still am, because I really liked Glitch and I was really getting into the community, but.. at least the timing worked out.

I got paid on 11/15. WE got paid, both of us, on 11/15. We looked at our expenses for the month and it was agreed I could get *1* video game of my choosing.

So was it to be Guild Wars 2, which at least one friend was bummed to hear I didn't have yet, or Borderlands 2, which another friend is begging me to get. Decisions, Decisions.

Well, as you can guess by the title of the post, I got Guild Wars 2.

Video Game Geeking Abounds )

Status Quo

Nov. 14th, 2012 09:33 pm
hkellick: I'm a Christmas Train! (Glitch)
I'll use the Glitch Icon, but maybe it should be the Video Games Icon.

Glitch is closing. I've only been there.. what? a month? I was really into it though... It was fun. I met some really cool people I'd never have met before. Got to hang out with people I really like. It reminded me of.. places I've been in the past.

But it's closing. I guess they weren't as popular as they hoped to be. It's sad. I'm disappointed.

Before Glitch, I'd have been playing another video game. Skyrim, maybe. Or some Indie Game on Steam. I guess chances are.. that's what I'll be doing again, sooner rather than later. Maybe this is the time to look into GW2. At least, if I go there, I've got at least one cool friend there. And I did enjoy GW alot.

I guess I'm not sure I care enough to keep trying with a game I know will be gone before I even leave for Christmas.

Back to the Status Quo, I guess.
hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
So.. *IS* there a Glitch DW Community for the many of us playing Glitch?

Seems the logical next step.
hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
I think it was Thursday that [personal profile] kareila pointed out how she was getting into a cute little Video Game called Glitch and was looking for other friendly faces to play. So I tried it out, not being sure, since it isn't precisely my standard fare.

And it's cute. Very cute. Mostly, the game is wandering around the various lands interacting with the scenery, collecting quoins and occasionally chatting with another person. It's kinda like a massive game of Animal Crossing.

There's tons of crafting available in the game that you'll unlock through various Skills. You can cook, plant and sow gardens, mine, do alchemy, and even create furniture. The more skills you unlock, the more you can do, which is good, because while exploring IS interesting, it's not much of a basis for a whole game.

Everyone there has been very friendly and I think the game rewards acts of friendliness. In fact, my first couple of hours, some friendly person gave me a whole backpack full of stuff. I mean full of stuff. Some of it more rare than others. It was a very nice welcome.

If the idea appeals to you, I suggest you check the game out. But it is VERY addictive.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
 Last weekend, K and I did date night: Burgers and Batman.

K's more of a Marvel Girl, but I think she has a soft spot for at least the newish Batman Trilogy. Actually, I guess I'd say the same about myself.. I prefer Marvel, but I always loved the Batman animated comics and have a soft spot in my head.. er.. sorry, a soft spot for Batman. ;)

The movie was intense! And good, but INTENSE! Not helped, I'm sure, that we decided to go see it on the IMax Theatre.

K gets out of the theater and says "Wow, I'm so full of adrenaline, I have no idea when I'll sleep." I blew her off because I felt fine.

Go home, pay the babysitter, get ready for bed, get into bed and.. nothing. Not tired.

I take half a Melatonin and go back to bed. Still nothing.

I get up, go into the computer room and, on a whim, I started watching a playthrough of Arkham City because I was kinda looking for a cool new game to get with birthday moneys and I only thought of that game when I got home.

I stayed awake past 1 AM. I, the guy who is usually asleep at 10 PM, could not sleep until 1:30 or 2:00. 

There's a moral to this story, regarding being careful what movies you watch in the IMAX theatre before bed.

Thankfully, the boy slept until 8:00 or so, so I could cope, even though I was tired.

Oh, and yes, I did get Arkham City. 

hkellick: (Geeks In Love)

I watched more of the Olympics over the last weekend than I remember watching in my life. I don't think I've ever gotten into the Olympics. We certainly ignored them 4 years ago, but K wanted to watch most of it, so it's just been on. Some of it was interesting. A lot of it was not, to me. I couldn't care less if America beats the Argentinian volleyball team.

Though it's nice to see people competing without obvious showboating.

Actually, I spent most of the weekend playing the beta of a new game: Path of Exile (Hereby dubbed PoE). 

On PoE )

hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Two posts in one! Wooo!

Reflective Post: 

I found myself poking through my old dw entries this Monday while I was waiting for someone to rerun HEC-GeoRAS (It's a work thing) and, long story short, ended up stumbling upon the ChaoticMUX website (which I assumed would be down, but apparently it isn't.)

I instantly felt that usual sense of nostalgia, about a place and time in my past where despite a number of crappy things going on (many of them mentally), I had a small place on the internet that felt like home, more like home than my actual home. 

I think remembering those times, those important times in my past just sends me into reflection mode. I sit here thinking about how much I've changed (I have. If nothing else, I've been able to clear my headpsace and get my life together. And I've mellowed. Manic silliness is not my first gear when I hop on the internet.) and how much the people I know have changed.

If I regret any single thing, it's losing touch with many of the people I was friendly with back then, or pissing them off enough they have nothing more to say to me. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Excited Gaming Post:

I've been looking around to see if there was a game, preferably a small, indie game (I get more bang for my buck. I can still get a great game, but half or a third of the cost) I was interested in for my birthday. I think I've settled on preordering Torchlight 2. i have the first one, and enjoy it, but the second one LOOKS even better, like they were taking notes when Diablo 3 news came out and decided to try to come up with something to match.

Torchlight is a dungeon hack and slash. Literally, you go deeper and deeper into a dungeon underneath the city of Torchlight and find bigger and badder and nastier badies to beat. The game features some of the original staff of Diablo 2 and you can tell.  The game very much has a Diablo 2 feel to it.

Torchlight 2 is coming out.. soon. "Summer of 2012" says the website, though I'd assume if that's true, the game has to be going gold soon. So we'll see. It looks like more of the same, but with improvements. First of all, Multiplayer, which might be good. Second of all, the game is bigger, which is definitely good. And thirdly, the side dungeons are actually off the main areas and not some silly "Click the Mysterious Map Piece and see where you go" tricks they used in the original.

And I happen to love hack and slash. If Blizzard didn't keep fiddling with Diablo 3, I'd likely still be playing that. But they keep making changes and I feel like.. the game WAS amazing when it was released, but then they kept making changes and now it isn't, really. The game is worse than it was at release and since release was.. three months ago? I'm so unimpressed I can't bother to play. 

Anyways, I've been watching the Yogscast boys playing the Beta of Torchlight 2 on Youtube and watching them, my thoughts are: GIMME GIMME GIMME! :D

hkellick: (Geeks In Love)

This week at work has been crazy. We finally are finishing the project of doom, but it's been crazy trying to complete it and Monday and Tuesdayjust left me exhausted and frustrated. My wonderful and awesome wife, who knows me, agreed that I could get Lego Batman 2. And so I did. :D

So far, I would honestly say I like this Lego Batman a great deal better than the last. The first Lego Batman was special. Unlike all the otherBatmans, it wasn't constrained by the plot of a specific movie or episode. Instead, it was a love letter to the Batman animated series (which Iwatched most of and loved. and PS Netflix, GET THIS AND I WILL REWATCH IT) 

But, I also kinda felt like the last Lego Batman had the wrong pace. Instead, at the end of each level, you ended up in a fight with one of the more(or less) popular Batman Villains. And the end of each.. set of levels, you had the BIG fight with two of the most popular Batman Villains. But...even for Batman, it felt rushed. If this were an episode, it would be bland. Everyone escaped ONCE AGAIN from Arkham and Batman has to roundthem up and put them all back behind Bars. There was no detecting work, no trying to figure out WHAT the Joker or the Riddler or the Penguinwas up to, just stumbling upon them and capturing them.

Lego Batman 2 has a PLOT. And what with the Lego Figures now talking, it's easy to follow. Oh, sure, in point of fact, everyone DOES escapefrom Arkham ONCE AGAIN (Seriously, is it me or is it too easy to escape from Arkham Asylum) and Batman DOES have to go and round them upand put them behind bars again (more on that later), but for the actual Missions, you'll follow Batman and Robin.. and a few other Heroes youlikely recognize as Lex Luthor and the Joker work together to.. well, I'm not gonna say. :) (Partly because I just don't know yet, though TakingOver The World does seem a logical guess.) 

In recent versions of the Lego Games, you've been able to explore a saveable central hub. For example, in Lego Harry Potter, you've exploredHogwarts as you went, unlocking areas as you go and as you learn new spells. They went with that idea here again, in a HUGE explorableArkham Area. And I mean HUGE. 

I joke, sometimes, that my favorite part of Grand Theft Auto 3 was stealing the cars and flying around the streets. And you can do this here too.Grab the Batmobile and go driving all around Arkham. There's much to see and lots of hidden secrets to explore. There's citizens to save, goldand red bricks to find and bad guys to put back in jail. Remember how I mentioned that the bad guys escaped Arkham Asylum? Once you get tothat point in the story, you'll find them all over the explorable Arkham. And WHEN you defeat them in battle, you can buy that character for freeplay. 

So while the story's smaller than it ever has been before, there's so much more content in Arkham itself. It's probably about equal to the contentin Lego Harry Potter or some such.

By the way, back there when I said you could drive around Arkham.. you can do more, because there's one other part I hitned at. Where in theoriginal Lego Batman, the vast majority of the unlockables were Batman and Batman Villains only, they've expanded the cast for this one. Thistime around Batman has the whole Justice League (without the stupid Wonder Twins, THANK GOD!) on his side. In short order, you'll unlockSuperman. Once you've done that, you don't want to just drive around Arkham. You want to FLY around Arkham with the John Williams themeblaring at you as you go. 

Get further in the story, and you may prefer zooming along Arkham as the Flash or flying along as the Green Lantern, or just playing as WonderWoman with her Magic Lasso. I'll admit, I haven't seen the Green Lantern yet, but I'm prepared to be disappointed. I'm a huge Green Lantern fanand I suspect all the ring will do is allow him to beat you with various green objects. Pity. 

I'm only a little bit way in, but this is a GREAT Lego Game. I TOTALLY want to go zooming around Arkham as Superman (humming along to John Williams, because that's just how I roll, yo.)

And if they go this approach with Lego LotR, that will be a great (better?) Lego Game as well! :D

Dammit, now I wanna go home and play Lego Batman 2 and I can't., I have to work. :/

hkellick: (Fuck you)
 Two Nights ago, I was playing Diablo 3. I had to stop because it started hailing and our power flickered. I logged off in a hurry and shut my computerdown, and the computer stayed off due to the violent thunderstorm we HAD Tuesday Night and were supposed to have last night.

This morning, three hours ago, after losing another bout of insomnia I logged on and was.. confused. My character was back in Act I and he hadnothing. No weapons. No armor. Nothing. And there was nothing in the stash.

I checked. Same with K's character. But one of my characters who I started to play and abandoned had some of his stuff. Was there a glitch? Whatdo I do?

So I asked the public channel and got clue by foured. I'd been hacked. FUCK!

I'm not an idiot. I don't generally fall for phishing scams. I don't open attachments, as a whole, i'm not expecting. I try to play on the internet safely.How they got my password, I'll never know. K thinks it may have been weak, and she may be right. 

I'm really really annoyed. K and I worked hard for that stuff. That stuff represents two weeks of hard play by K and I and someone took it all. And for what? Well, for some real money, probably, once the auction house is up and running again.

I'm trying to relax. I know it could be a lot worse. I mean, it's just a game. Of all the things they COULD have hacked, a video game is hardly the worst thing. It wasn't my bank account or my financial stuff or my ID. it was a video game.

And it looks like Blizzard keeps backups, so I'll be able to get all my stuff back. 

But it boggles the mind why someone felt the NEED to steal my virtual stuff. I mean... seriously, it's virtual stuff. It's worth maybe a few real dollars. What type of person feels the need to steal this stuff?

it does make me question Blizzard's judgment, allowing people to sell virtual stuff for real money on the auction house. Someone somewhere should have realized, I think, that this would be impetus enough for hackers to keep hacking. Because now it's worth real money on a legitimate Blizzard Website.

So whoever you are, thanks, i guess, for not locking me out of the account and I hope that it was worth it for you, stealing our hard-earned stuff. 

hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
I want to write a post about actual gameplay/review of Diablo 3. But that will likely be another post.

For this post, I want to write about why video game companies suck and why users suck even more. As any good gamer will know, playing a video game on release day is about as risky as using the newest version of Windows the moment it comes out. There's bugs, there's issues, and the issues WILL affect how your video game performs.

For Diablo 3, as far as I can tell, it was the servers. Blizzard made the decision (largely panned, and I agree this is a bad decision) that Diablo 3 must be online and connected to battle.net AT ALL TIMES. Even the single player mode. That's so, at a drop at a hat, I guess, you can go "Say, this is an interesting piece of equipment I have! I'm gonna auction it!"

So Blizzard made the decision Diablo 3 had to be online at all times. Can you guess where this is going? That's right. Massive server issues on release day.

I stayed home yesterday, in part to catch up on sleep and family time, but in part to play a game I was extremely interested. So imagine my annoyance when the server was down for "Emergency Maintenance" for *5 HOURS* (and then, I guess, crashed again sometime last night while I slept.)

You would think a company like Blizzard, with experience with World of Warcraft, and Starcraft 2, might have expected high volumes, but.. well, I don't know what they expected, but they look like morons.

Cue the forums. I hop onto the forums to figure out what this error "317002" is. I was annoyed, but, as I said, this is not my first rodeo and my experience tells me most video game companies are never really READY for release. I remember the same server issues the day I got Spore.

But, oh gods, the NERDRAGE!! I was annoyed, but the crazy in that room was enough to scare me a little.

Blizzard owes us money for it's outage.

Blizzard owes you nothing. Not a working game. Not communication. Nothing. 

Blizzard, if you don't get the servers up soon, I'm gonna cut myself!

Ye Gods. It's a video game. I want to play it too, but COME ON!

So here's my thoughts. If I'm shelling $50 or $60 for a game, I expect it to work. I expect the bugs to not be game-killing and I expect that if you make a decision that the game HAS To be online, you make damn sure the servers can handle the traffic. I expect you to communicate effectively when issues happen, about when the server will be up or when the game will be patched. 

These are my expectations. This is what *I* think my money is supposed to buy me. 

For the record, K and I DID get on in between server outages and we're both happy. So my next post will likely be about the game itself, and not just my annoyance at Blizzard and how scared I was at some of the crazy in the forum.


hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
So, some time ago, I got conned into a Gamestop points card. I never use the card, as I very rarely buy at Gamestop nowadays (Mostly I use Steam.) but I DO like the magazine, which gives previews and reviews of up and coming games for all game systems.

I'm reading through the magazine last week and I see a preview for an up and coming expansion to Civ V. Civ V came out.. two years ago? And I admit to being bitterly disappointed that the only thing that had come out since was some DLC (Downloadable Content.)

The expansion looks interesting. I LOVE Civ V and think they did a really good job on it, but I, like many, mourned losing Religion. And Spies. Corporations, I was glad to lose. They were annoying. But Religion! What is Civ without Religion! And Spies.. the other Civilizations overused/misused Spies in Civ IV, but there's something to be said about having a spy creeping around a civilization you're interested in (to size up or to go to war with) and something more to be said about them putting a monkey wrench in the other civ's works. ;D

Getting excited about the new expansion made me realize it'd been a LONG time since K and I played Civ. We definitely played it a bit when it first came out, but not really since.

I suggested it. K, who is a certified CivAddict, agreed. And so we started.

I had INTENDED to be Russia/Catherine the Great, but when I picked her, K asked to be her, so I agreed and took England/Elizabeth, since I'd never been England but the idea appealed a bit. I wanted to do something else besides Rome, even though Rome kicks ass.

K and I typically play as part of the same team. This is to avoid both our tendencies to be overcompetitive. Also, it's just much more fun to destroy France and the Aztecs than it is each other.
And thank goodness, too, because I got the raw deal this game. When we play as part of the same team, we both end up on different continents. That might be fine, except that England, amusing, is stuck on a small continent with little room, the Aztecs to the north and no Horses or Iron. That is.. a very bad way to start a civilization. If I'd been playing on my own, the Aztecs probably would have run me down by now. As it is, I'm surviving by occasionally begging my wife to send me horses and iron.

Under other circumstances, I'd have restarted the game by now, but I'm trying to make the best of it and have fun. Wish me luck. I hate losing and I hate being at a major disadvantage the way I am in this game.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Twas a good weekend. What with K working the $[Oil and Gas Company] job Friday night and Saturday (thus, me hanging out with boy Saturday) and just being exhausted after a VERY long month of March, I took the weekend off.

Saturday with the boy was fine. We played with his train set (He got a wooden train set for Christmas and dad got him add on parts. K and I are having as much fun building the tracks, I think, as R is having playing with the trains on them.) We went to unpluggits. It was good daddy/boy time. And K came home, exhausted and achy and took a long, long nap.

Sunday, we did some errands, a little cooking, and I played my new game: Kingdom of Amalur - Reckoning.

When we got our tax rebate back, the bulk majority of it went to debt, but a little went to fun money. I spent my fun money on the game, the first DLC (Legend of Dead Kel) and the strat guide.

I'd heard good things about the game and I have good things to report. The game is some cross between Dragon Age, Diablo and Skyrim. I don't have time to do the part where I explain how the game works, and such. Maybe later. I'll say this..

The visuals are.. cartoon-realistic. Not uberrealistic, but pretty nonetheless. Special attention has been drawn to making your fighting visuals pretty. You'll ooo and aaah as your Chakrams go flying all over the place destroying baddies left and right, you'll smirk as you sneak up behind that guard and assassinate him, as he crumples to the ground and you cover his mouth to keep his death screams quiet, you'll be amazed as your longsword cuts hither and dither destroying all in front of you.

The background music is decent. And the voice acting is superior. I don't know if everyone involved in the project lent their voice, but I don't think I've CLEARLY heard the same voice over and over again, and that's special. Many of the natives have plenty to say, when prompted, and none complains about an arrow to the knee in passing.

The actual gameplay.. I'm playing on normal and I'd say it's sufficiently challenging. The normal "yellow" baddies are relatively easy, unless I'm getting swarmed, and the bosses are definitely a fight.

I haven't gotten far enough along to really comment on the story. But there is a metric ton of quests: the main quest, quests for each of five guilds you can join (and no issue, so far, with joining all of them.) and some sort of overarching quests for each of the main area: a town under attack by a plague brought on by boggarts, a town at the mercy of an evil witch and her trained army of spiders (No, I am not kidding. And, yes, the witch is named "The Widow". And yes, she is a Dark Elf.) and, in the last mini area I was in, a lovelost fisherman taunted by a "water nymph")

The enemies are varied. Most of them are fae. What strikes me is they make a point of differentiating the summer court and the winter court, so why am I fighting brownies, pixies and boggarts which are typically considered summer court?

All in all, I like this game and I'd recommend it.
hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
This thought has been rattling around my head for.. a while, but I think more so lately because of Dungeon Siege 3 and Sims: Generations.

Cut because I know most people don't care )
hkellick: (Excuse Me WTF)
Pretty decent week, pretty decent weekend.

We went townhouse hunting on Saturday. Sadly, we have to leave in another 6 weeks, tops, so we need a place to go. We found a place about a mile from where we live now, which is good because that makes the whole daycare thing easier. Rent is reasonable and the house was nice, so.. we put in an application. Here's hoping.

The little boy is sitting up now. This puts him a step or two away from crawling *fear*. I hope he doesn't start crawling until after we've moved. Trying to babyproof the house while breaking it down would be.. not so much fun.

The new daycare seems to be working well. At the moment, it's just Robert and Cecilia's other kids, and Robert loves the attention and is thriving with it.

Due to a surprising gift from my inlaws (surprising in that I GOT a birthday gift at all), I went and preordered Civilization V this weekend. It comes out.. about the time we're moving, actually. We're both really excited about this game. K started playing Civ back when she worked the night shift in Rochester, and was excited to find out that I was interested in it too and we both have had fun screwing around with Civ IV, so... this should be good.
Games K and I can share are always somewhat better than games we can't. :)

And that's pretty much it, for now. Busy week ahead.. well, half-busy, half duller-than-Enya. Oh well.
hkellick: (Wii)
Due to the.. exciting weekend, K and I agreed I could receive my birthday gift a little early, so this weekend, I finally got my mitts on Lego: Harry Potter.

For those of you who don't play Lego games, Lego games are puzzle/exploration games. You make your way through a scene. As an example, the first mission in Harry Potter has Harry and Hagrid walking into the Leaky Cauldron, finding their way into Diagon Alley, and eventually to Gringott's. Along the way, you'll do magic you'll put legos together to build objects, you'll collects studs, money in the Lego Games, and you'll puzzle your way through each scene.

In the middle of some of the scenes, you'll explore Hogwarts (there's much to see and much to puzzle through) and take lessons (which unlock different spells, abilities and potions you'll need to continue to make it through each level.)

Along the way, you'll meet your fill of boss battles (starting with the Troll in the Bathroom from Book 1, but there's more, much more.) and basically make your way through most of the major scenes in the first four movies.

Some of the scenes have interesting twists. Lego likes to offer two players the ability to make their way through a scene, so many of the scenes are tweaked for two players. For example, during Harry's first Quidditch match, you don't actually play as Harry, but as Ron and Hermoine as they leave the stands and get to Snape. There are some changes I can't say I love, for example at the end of the second book, Ginny isn't mostly dead. So you can play as Harry or Ginny to beat Tom and the Basilisk. I can't say I care for that one change.

All in all, I really like this game. It's ALOT of fun (All the Lego games have been, but I especially love some of the scenes. I dunno why, but I was REALLY amused with having to deal with Moaning Myrtle's Hissy Fit. If you've played the game, you know what I mean.) and GENERALLY not too hard (Some of the bosses, like the Whomping Willow, are not easy to figure out how to beat.), and holds pretty true to the books and movies. And my inner crazy collector is amused to explore new areas, unlock new collectables (over 160 different legomen you can collect, including many different costumes for Harry, Ron and Hermione and many of your favorite and least favorite characters.), etc.

All in all, it's a really good game. When they finally do Harry Potters Years 1-7, I'll definitely get that, especially if the keep the same basic kind of environment. I love exploring Hogwarts and finding all the secrets inside.
hkellick: A New Sims Sheep - For Sims Fans :D (Sim Sheep)
So my wife got me the newest Super Mario Bros. for Wii. It was quite a hassle to get since the stores can't seem to keep it on the shelves.

And I can tell why. Playing through World 1-1, I can tell why. If you ever played Super Mario Bros. or, more importantly, the much better Super Mario 3, you'll recognize what's going on immediately. Seriously, you'll be teleported back to 1988 when you and your siblings were all around the NES trying to beat the Koops Family.

The New Super Mario Bros for Wii is a side scroller with some 3-D elements in it, but gameplay seems to be all 2-D, You'll jump, walk and slide your way around the board meeting all-too-familiar enemies along the way and listening to some all-too-familiar music as you play.

As you jump and shoot your way through the board, bounding on goombas and koopas, you'll also be amused as hell as the creatures dance to the music. I'm not kidding! The cheeps will turn upside down to the music. Koopas and Goombas stop and do a small step. It's cute as hell!

After clearing World 1-3, you hear bad news. The Toads have been shroomnapped and placed in ? blocks around the board. To rescue them, you have to find Toad (easy, toad talks nonstop and goes "Help me!" when you're near him. You can't miss him.", then carry him to the exit (that part is hard, because you have to hold a button the whole time to keep carrying him instead of throwing him.) If you succesfully get Toad out, you'll get a power-up for your troubles.

There's also Toad houses dotted around the board. It seems like rescuing toads opens up these toad houses for business. Inside, you get a chance to win power-ups and 1-ups.

Difficulty wise, it's typical Mario Fare. You need decent hand-eye coordination. If you got it, this game is totally playable. If you struggle, well.. experience helps. :)

Before ending the review, I got a chance to play multiplayer yesterday. Where up to four characters can play the same board together. If you aren't communicating well, it's pure chaos with players jumping all over each other and kicking koopas towards each other and other craziness. It's absolute insanity and can easily lead to the sudden unexpected death of a player. I imagine, if you DO communicate well, however, it can lead to a more rapid clearing of a board and finding all the treasures inside. But that didn't happen for us.

If you loved Super Mario Bros. 3 and have the money, I highly suggest this game. :) If you have a family, I highly suggest this game. :)
hkellick: A New Sims Sheep - For Sims Fans :D (Sim Sheep)
I don't really have a random video game icon anymore. Maybe I should fix that...

I started playing Nightfall well over a year ago. I was bored and I was looking for something to play and enjoy and I found the idea of being able to create your own party to be interesting, so I picked it up, played for a bit, went as far as I could on my own and then quit in frustration.

I'm not really used to play online RPGs and I didn't know anyone else playing and the thought of asking a stranger to help me never even occurred so I went as far as I could and then stopped.

A few months after, I started again. I'd learned a few things from playing Diablo about not spreading your powers too thin and decided a new character would give me a chance to fix some mistakes. And it did. And more importantly, I met a girl on CC who was also playing Nightfall and got me through the one mission I STILL Couldn't do by myself.

From that point forward, I not only found a new small group to play with (Not Nightfall, though, Prophecies. They don't have Nightfall.) but I started asking for help (including finally ditching my guild who were never active or around to help me.)

Now here I am.. two missions away from complete. I could, theoretically, be entirely done with the game by tonight. Or possibly tomorrow or Friday. But.. I am SO CLOSE.

What then? Well, I could play another campaign, play around with Hard Mode.. there's still plenty left to do. Guess we'll see what I decide. :)

I'm just excited. I don't finish many games. As K points out, I don't play many games that finish, but many of those I do play I never finish. This game, I will almost certainly finish.

December 2015

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