Category Archives: Gaming

WildStar Fanfic #2: A New Day

This is my second attempt at writing fiction. It’s more difficult than I’d imagined, but a very fun and rewarding experience nonetheless. If you want to read my first WildStar Fanfiction, you can find it here. Enjoy!

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“…and let’s support our brave soldiers fighting on the front lines to protect us from the soul-less Dominion wretches. Send in your donations and letters of support. It will mean the world to them.”

A deep, raspy voice speaks into a rusty microphone, fighting against the crackling and humming of the radio machinery that fills the room. Scotch McCloud is hunched over the console, thrumming his fingers on the hastily scribbled notes of tonight’s evening program.

Taking a deep breath, he continues.

“And before you rowdy bunch start sending in your usual angry letters, let me preempt you by saying… Yes! All donations will go directly to support our troops fighting on the front lines here on planet Nexus, our new home away from home. Supporters can rest assured that the brave troops are getting the supplies and armaments they need, and you brave soldiers can keep soldiering on, therewillbenobeersorry. So give, with no worry of corporate swindling! We are an independent broadcast and are in no way affiliated with “Protostar, the only brand proven to bring you a lifetime of happiness and entertainment!”

Cue the music. Scotch hits several switches, his face focused intently on the control board in front of him. Upbeat music begins to play. Scotch begins to nod in time to the music, his hand hovering over the next set of switches. Milk the moment, Scotch. A few more seconds…

Aaaand… now!

“Well, that’s gonna be it for tonight’s show, folks. DJ Scotch McCloud, signing out for the night! Stay tuned for our award-winning late night programming. This week, we’re bringing you soothing soundscapes in surround sound, straight from the forests of Celestion. Sleep your worries away in peace and serenity! As always, stay tuned, stay classy, and good night.”

Scotch closes his eyes for a moment as he takes a final deep breath. After a few moments, his eyes pop open, gleaming with purpose. He switches off the microphone, pulls off his headset and tosses it down on the desk.

“Man, I thought this night would never end!” He hits a few more switches and starts up the audio queue. Scotch rocks in his swivel chair and hops onto his feet, sending the chair rolling across the control room floor. “Hey, Lizzy!” Scotch yells out as he works out the kinks in his neck.

Sounds of rustling flora and wildlife gradually seep in from the control room’s speakers, filling the room with the forest’s ambiance.

“Yeah?” A voice replies lazily from a nearby couch.

“Get up, get up. Let’s get movin’! We got work to do!”

Lizzy peeks her head up from the edge of the couch, just high enough for their eyes to meet. “C’mon Scotch… isn’t this job work enough for you? It pays the bills, don’t it?” She yawns and stretches as she sinks back into the cushions.

Scotch turns sharply and points a finger in Lizzy’s face.

“Listen Lizzy, I don’t got plans to waste my life with my butt glued down to this run-down radio tower. This isn’t work.” He walks over and grabs his jacket from the back of his seat, opens a nearby closet and pulls out a long, heavy rifle.

”This little station ain’t never gonna change anything! Right, boys?” Two large arachnoid bots quickly activate and shuffle around, heads bobbing and turning toward Scotch’s voice.

“I know the Dommies are gettin’ close. Their Chua dogs have been sniffin’ around again. Joe and Mac spotted them two nights in a row.” The two bots start bleeping in unison as if in agreement with Scotch.

“I don’t know what those so-called soldiers are up to, but they’re sleepin’ on the job, Lizzy! Who’s gonna stop ‘em?!”

Lizzy yawns. “Well, I feel like stayin’ in tonight. Why don’t you go on by yourself, if you want to. I’ll be here…” she yawns again, “…keepin’ an eye on things.”

“Lizzy… “ Scotch slows down and turns to face her, arms on his hips. His stern eyes soften for a moment as he watches her. Scotch gazes at her soft features, watching her half-closed eyelids flutter for a few more seconds, before finally letting out a resigned sigh. It was nearly impossible for him to be upset at Liz when she was like this — so innocent and vulnerable.

“All right, Liz. I can’t force you to go. I still got my little buddies here to protect me.” He pauses for a moment in thought. “Though they’re no match for your shootin’ skills, and you know that.”

“You’ll be fine, honeybunch,” she says, the edge of her lips turning up in a sleepy smile. ”I trust your judgement.” Lizzy lifts herself up on the couch and throws a casual salute, looking into Scotch’s determined eyes.

Scotch salutes back, nods silently and throws on his jacket.

* * * * *

The city sleeps, hidden within the dark deserts of planet Nexus. Discovered by Exile forces and hounded by the Dominion Empire, the once dormant planet has become a battlefield between the two factions, each desperately racing to uncover ancient secrets hidden within the planet — ancient secrets which could grant them untold power, resources, and some even claim, immortality.

The city sleeps, with its dimly lit signs flickering throughout the main thoroughfares, ramshackle buildings littering the streets as far as the eye can see. The radio tower looms in the distance, overlooking a desert canyon. The wind blows soft, chilled air between the narrow canyon walls leading away from the city gates, quietly stirring up the dry dirt. The horizon begins to glow a soft red, signaling the dawn of another new day.

Scotch McCloud and his companion bots march steadily atop the canyon walls, their gazes continuously scanning the opposite end of the roads winding along the canyon floor. Scotch looks up at the brightening city skyline, then back toward the road. Another crummy day, another crummy morning. I wonder how many more we’ll live through, the way things are going now.

Scotch leans low near the edge of a cliff wall, squinting through the low light of the early morning. He whispers to one of his bots, pointing in the direction opposite the city. “Hey Mac, go set yourself up behind them rocks there and keep alert. Let me know if you see any movement.”

The bot answers with a series of beeps and shuffles off, its eyes scanning left and right as it follows Scotch’s orders.

“And you, Joey. Come with me.” The second bot bloops as it follows Scotch’s footsteps.

Scotch looks back and shouts, “And keep it down. You’re gonna alert the whole bloody Dominion fleet!” The beeps and bloops from the bots drop down to a hush, then disappear.

Scotch flips a switch in his earpiece, and the beeping of the bops resume as if they never stopped.

“That’s better,” he whispers to himself.

Scotch slowly descends down a narrower slope on the cliffside.

They came about this far before they turned back. Yes. I see the tracks there. Scotch scratches his chin in deep thought. Chua feet. Hmm… they got their own bots, too, it seems. He traces the outlines of small caterpillar tracks with his fingers.

A sudden burst of beeps assault his ears. Scotch winces as he searches for the bot’s location.

“What, Mac? You see something?”

More beeps.

“Where?” Scotch skitters back to the cliff wall and listens carefully, squinting into the distance. He brings his voice down to a whisper, “I got nothing here. Sure it’s not some random dust devil or somethin’?”

Mac beeps affirmatively.

“Well, boys, let’s regroup just to be on the safe side.” Scotch climbs back up the cliffside with Joe skittering up the wall beside him, all the while visually scanning the narrow path leading up to the ramshackle city. This road was the one sure way into the Exile stronghold. The radio tower looms in the distance, overlooking the desert canyon. 

Scotch pulls out telescopic visors and puts them on, zooming into the city entrance. The gates are shut tight, make-shift lights flickering above. His gaze stops at the flimsy metal gates protecting the city and shakes his head. “Those good for nothin’, beer guzzlin’ excuses for guards are sittin’ safely behind those walls. It’s disgusting, Joe. We need to do something before things get bad.”

He fiddles with his visors as he tries to get a better focus. I wish we had those fancy night-vision lenses, he thinks to himself. He pans over to other end of canyon path.


“Well boys, they must be takin’ the day off.”

Mac scuttles from beyond some shadowy rocks and rejoins the group, beeping insistently.

Scotch looks over to Mac and shrugs. “Looks like it’s nothing, bud. Too bad. Thought I could get a nice souvenir for our trophy room…” he says to himself. The bots beep silently, their lights flashing in a dance of colors.

Scotch shifts his gaze from the far path, up to the top of the cliffs. “I guess we’ll come back tomorr…”

He sees a flicker of movement in the distance. “What the hell?” Scotch wonders aloud.

Two, no, three small figures.

Are those…?

There is a flash, and one figure instantly closes half the distance between it and Scotch’s party.

Scotch’s eyes slowly widen in realization. “It’s them! Boys, get ready! It’s action time!”

Scotch throws off the visor, and pulls his rifle from his side. “Looks like we got us some spellslingers. Joe, slow ’em down. Mac, gimme some cover!”

Joe’s legs latch firmly onto the ground as the bot shoots a stream of mortars toward the approaching chua. It’s small rodent-like body rushes forward with incredible speed, weaving left and right, dodging the shots with ease as it closes the distance. Two other chua follows closely on its trail, pistols ready in their grips.

“You’re not getting us that easily, filthy jabbers.” Scotch pulls a thick cord from the side of his pack and his suit unfolds itself into an exoskeleton, locking firmly to his body. He digs his heels into the ground, charging up his rifle and aiming straight for the group of chua.

Mac takes aim and shoots a volley of machine-gun fire at the group of chua, glancing the lead spellslinger’s arm. It winces, and a moment later, disappears into thin air.

“Take this!” Scotch unleashes his charged shot on the remaining chua. The shot lands directly at their feet, blowing them to bits. “And he scores!”

The air vibrates and the chua that had disappeared moments ago reappears behind Mac. It fires a volley of pistol shots directly into the bot’s exposed joints. Mac bleeps violently as its legs buckle and it crashes into the ground.

“Damn it, Mac!” Scotch and Joe both turn to face the enemy and they return fire. The chua disappears again into the ether, the bullets zooming harmlessly through air where it stood a moment ago.

Scotch keeps his rifle at the ready, eyes scanning left and right. Mac twitches as sparks scatter from its body. The dust of the battle settles into an eerie silence as the gunshots echo further through the canyon.

His eyes catch the strange shimmering of the air in the distance. The chua pops into existence, running full speed toward the city walls.

“What the… after it, Joe!” The bot locks its sight onto the escaping target and scurries forward. Scotch struggles with his suit as he wrestles with its weight. “Damn this suit…” Scotch unlatches his exosuit and let’s it fall to the ground in a heap. Scotch dashes toward the city, fumbling with his offhand as he reaches for his handheld radio.

“Lizzy, Lizzy, can you hear me?” Scotch shouts into the receiver between heavy breaths.

The sky turns colors from red to orange, from orange to yellow, as the sun begins its steady rise over the city, the looming radio tower casting a long shadow underneath. Steady static flows through the radio–a noisy silence that suddenly fills Scotch’s thoughts with dread.

Scotch shouts into the radio once again, struggling to keep up the pursuit.

“Lizzy? Wake up, wake up!”

The radio emits a soft beep, and Lizzy’s voice cuts through the static. “Yes, Scotch, I hear you. Is everything all right?” she answers, her voice still groggy from sleep.

“Thank the stars, you’re awake! Listen, you got to broadcast an alert.” The chua stops in front of a high section of the city wall. It turns back and sees Scotch in pursuit, grins, and winks out of existence. Scotch grits his teeth and pumps his legs even harder. “Do it, Lizzy. Right now! Somethin’s going down!”

Scotch turns back toward the direction the chua arrived from. Silhouettes of a small army both above and between the cliff walls are now visible in the morning light.

“We were right, Liz. The Dominion. They’re coming for the city… You have to warn them!”

Distant figures start blinking their way toward the city, just like the previous spellslingers. But this time, there were more of them — dozens more.

Scotch hears the sound of metal piercing metal behind him. He turns quickly, leveling his rifle at eye level. Joe lurches to a stop several paces behind as three large holes bore into the bot’s side.

The air shimmers, and a horned, muscular draken materializes from the air. It pulls its claws out from the bot and licks his lips, looking back toward Scotch. “This will be easier than I thought.” He lunges toward Scotch as Joe twitches and explodes.

The draken finds an opening and pierces through Scotch’s chest. Scotch howls in pain and falls backward, grabbing the draken’s clawed arm and dragging it down with him.

As they hit the ground, the impact lodges the claws deeper into Scotch’s chest. Scotch fires his rifle into the draken’s gut, and the draken’s body explodes into two halves. The draken’s face freezes in shock, and his eyes roll back as it loses consciousness.

Scotch lay on the ground, panting, struggling to pull the claw out from his chest. He coughs up blood.

“Damn it. Why do the handsome ones always end up dead…” he grumbles. As his arms tire from wrestling with the draken arm, he sees more spellslingers blink past him toward the city. They pay him no attention.

His breath is heavy, and he looks up at the city before him, still quiet and peaceful in the morning light. “I hope Lizzy…” The radio tower explodes, scattering flame and debris across the city below.

Alarms sound throughout the city, and distant shouting reaches Scotch’s ears.

An army of draken, chua, cassian, and several mechari march steadily past Scotch’s still body.

One larger mechari slows down in front of Scotch. The robotic form leans over and inspects the body. Scotch’s mouth is open, eyes glazed over in shock. His hands are still gripping the dangling draken arm, but he has stopped struggling.

“Zax!” the mechari calls out.

“What, what? Why you call? We not there yet!” Mondo Zax, an old, bearded chua with a crazed grin skitters toward them.

“Here, can you use this one?” The Mechari lifts Scotch easily with one hand, tears the draken remains off of the limp body, and dangles Scotch in front of Zax.

“Yes, yes… Zax can always use more specimen.” he says, then lets out a gleeful cackle.

The mechari nods and tosses Scotch’s body onto a passing truck, adding to the pile of bodies within.

“Good.” He looks toward the city. Explosions begin erupting everywhere, flames roaring up throughout the city. Distant shouting and screaming fill the desert air, amplified by the echoes from the canyon behind them.

“I am…impressed. You prove yourself time and again.” The mechari looks over to Zax and gives a nod of approval. Zax mutters to himself rapidly under his breath and doesn’t seem to hear the mechari.

The mechari looks back at the falling city and stares into the flames. It stands there for several minutes, watching, thinking, analyzing. Black smoke begin to cloud the air around them as the sunlight struggles to find it’s way through.

“I have decided.” It begins to resume its walk in a steady pace toward the smoldering city. “You are right once again, Zax.”

The mechari sees something in the flames and a slow smile spreads across its mechanical face. “Yes. Today will be a good day.”

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Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Fanfiction, Gaming


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I Doff My FEZ

I managed to finally play through FEZ yesterday.

My previous attempt had me at 74% completion, but I was so utterly lost, that I just gave up.

I took care to be more systematic in my approach the second time around, and it was much better. I also didn’t understand that the gold borders around an area in the map menu meant that there was nothing else to be found – that I could safely move on without worrying that I missed something.

With all of that out of the way, the more I played through the levels and puzzles, the more I became impressed with how good the game design is — the clever idea of merging the 2D and 3D spaces, working in the music seamlessly as a part of the game environment, the added “difficulty” level when Space starts to shit on you. And it all just happens organically.

The secret puzzles were the most rewarding. I only managed to solve a couple — the first was a mysterious tablet with a QR code on it. I had just deleted the QR reader from my phone the day before because I NEVER used it! I reinstalled it and used it on my computer screen to find a coded message, which yielded me a prize of another full cube for Gomie (I can call him that, right?)

I came upon another mysterious stone which started shaking my controller as I touched it. At the same time, strange sounds started beeping into my ears. The cool thing was, it was only after completing the QR puzzle did I realize that this was code as well. Beep in the right ear, beep in the left, another beep in the left… wait a minute! It’s a puzzle!

That was probably the highlight of the game for me. There are more that I missed, which I’m sure are clever puzzles as well, but I need to move on. I’ve spent too much time here and other games beckon.

My final impression: It’s been a while where I played a game that felt like a real Puzzle Game, and not just a platformer with some puzzle mechanics.  It’s well worth your time.

P.S. The New Game Plus had some cute little end-game surprises as well. 🙂


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Posted by on April 17, 2016 in Gaming



In The Beginning, We Were All Strangers

It’s been just over a year since I started this blog. And what a roller-coaster of a year it’s been.

A lot has happened both in my gaming life and my personal life, and I am at a vastly different place now than where I was at the start of this little journey.

As a gamer, I feel I’ve lived through and observed so many hype-cycles through this past year. I’ve dabbled in so many different games, online and off; completed some, left others partially finished in my come-back-later-to-finish pile.

I must have been living a mad scramble, desperately filling the gap that my almost-decade long hiatus from gaming has left in me.

But now, that gap’s been stuffed to the brim. It’s gotten so full that I needed to relax and take a step back. My pace has slowed. The urgency has gone. I can take a day to just watch TV, or just go to bed instead of sitting in front of the computer. It’s a liberating feeling.

I do miss my WildStar family, who got me into this gaming community in the first place. But unfortunately, the strain of the MMO lifestyle is unsuited for me right now. The most I can do, and probably will, is to dabble in story quests in whatever game I feel like, half-hour chunks at a time. It was Guild Wars 2 last month, and it’s WoW and Dragon Nest this month.

I’ve also taken plunges into Fallout: New Vegas, and played through the main campaign of Diablo 3 again. Life is Strange, The Stanley Parable, and even the tedious Risk-like Paradox strategy game, Sengoku, have all given me great and memorable experiences in my recent memories.

The long and short of it is, I’m more comfortable now with what I play and what I choose not to play. I no longer feel remorse for deleting my unfinished games from my Steam library. I no longer feel the need to play so I can “fit in”.

As the dust settles from the game-gorging activities of the past year, I can see more clearly: games can be fun, but what’s more fun are the people.

In the beginning of this journey, I just had the game to cling to; this fresh and struggling MMO called WildStar, which coincidentally blew my dormant social media life wide open. With it came new folks and new connections with shared passions: The WildStar community, the MMO Twitter community, the gaming blog community.

In the beginning, we were all strangers. What a difference a year makes.

After a time, I found myself surrounded by a small, but great group whose shared interests transcended the lifespan of any specific game. The friends I was unable to make in-game, I made in social media. And I didn’t need to be in the same game to enjoy their company. I realized that I had here what I was seeking in an MMO from the start. I no longer needed the game as an excuse.

I know there aren’t many of you, but the handful of you who have chosen to share this journey together with me have truly made a positive impact in my life. I am grateful and happy that you all are a part of my life.

Thank you for making my life a richer and more meaningful one.

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in Gaming


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This Game is the Real Deal

When I obsess over something, it’s usually a big deal. At least that’s what I’d like people to think.

This past week, my life was seriously affected by a video game. I was emotionally impacted, I was sleep deprived, my focus at work and other priorities suffered. I am still digesting and recovering from my experience, and the game isn’t even over yet.

I wrote a review of Life Is Strange: Episode One, months back. Last week, I finally decided to purchase the rest of the season, even though I meant to wait for all five episodes to come out. It was intriguing enough that I knew I was going to buy them, eventually. With just one more episode on its way to release, I decided to jump back into the quaint, fishing town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon.

I thought that Bioshock Infinite blew my mind; I thought that it really made me care for its characters. Life is Strange packs that punch with nearly every episode. With each new episode, this game gets better and better, and in a way that will make you sit there, mouth wide open, eyes watering, punching your thighs repeatedly for the stupid decisions you’ve made.

I desperately want to see how this all wraps up. This series has one more episode to go; its grand finale. If it goes along the same trajectory as the previous episodes, this will be one my favorite and most impactful games I’ve ever played, ever.

If there is only one game you could play for the rest of your life, you should make it this one. If you were born a human being, you should play this game.

Play it, play it, play it.

And don’t watch the trailers! Don’t spoil anything until you play it. Play it blind, then go back and see what others did and thought.

Seriously, this game is worth way more than its measly $20 season bundle.

Please, please, play it.

I’m begging you!


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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Gaming



Progress Report: Fitness, Gaming, and Design

I finish my workout challenge, and I get sick. Ugh.

I think it’s time to start up another one. Looking through Darebee’s workout library, this one looks the most interesting and fun for me. It’s a martial arts-based 30-day exercise program. Having practiced some martial arts in the past, this would be a great way to bring back the muscle memory in my limbs while staying in shape. I’ll get on it as soon as I finish writing this.

In gaming news. I’ve been switching between a few games since reinstalling Windows 10 on my new SSD. The main one was Psychonauts. It’s a 3D platformer that reminds me of the classic console games from the days of Mario 64. The gameplay is just pure fun. The writing and dialogue is hilarious. It has one of the best (if not the best) expositional intros I’ve ever seen in a video game. I love it. My only gripe is that I’m having a hard time sharing it over Forge. It was crashing left and right, but when I solved the issue by running it under Windows 95 compatibility mode, it no longer streams on Forge. Since my social interactions online have been dwindling these days, I wanted to play a game that I could share with you folks. Oh well.

The other game I’ve been playing, as of two days ago, is Dragon Nest. It’s a F2P Nexon game. Yes, they prod you to spend money every time you blink. But it’s fun. It’s an anime-style action-RPG with dungeons/instances you can clear in 5-10 minutes. Not sure how long I’ll stay, but it’s a very low stress MMO. At least for now. I’m still level 19. Level cap is…70? 80? Not sure.

Anyone want to hop on with me?

As for my music challenge, I may switch over to a writing/design one for a couple weeks. My friends and I have been working on a game. The basic movement mechanics are working out fine so far. The basic story-concept is in place. Now we need to flesh out the mechanics more and work on the level/story designs. Art assets are another issue, but we’re not really at that stage yet. I think I need to spend a little time each day on this project if we want to move it along any further.

I will report as I make progress.

Over and out.

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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Fitness, Gaming


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Day 27: Blah


Blaugust Entry, Day 27

Oh boy. It’s 11PM and I don’t know what to write about. Well, I have lots to write about. It’s more the matter of what I feel like I can write about.

My weekdays have been so full that I rarely have the energy to play any games midweek.

I took a break from staring at this screen to play some Triple Triad on my phone. I like this incarnation better than the FFXIV version. It has character cards from FFI all the way to FFXIII, too!

I haven’t played WildStar since I hit level 50 on my second character about a month ago, maybe. I don’t even remember when it was. I decided to take an MMO break. I haven’t played FFXIV, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World; all of these games I still have installed on my PC, I haven’t touched recently.

Interacting with my game friends on Twitter is one thing, but not being able to do anything together in the games that we are a part of makes me sad. The first time I even saw one of my WildStar Twitter buddies in-game was a few weeks ago, and it was in ARK!

Playing games and being social can feel like work sometimes. I don’t want to have to make a schedule to play together with others. But playing on my own terms means playing alone for the most part. I either need to compromise, or give up certain expectations from my gaming experience.

I wish I had entire afternoons to sit at home and play. Just like in the old days.


Music Challenge #14

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.


Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Gaming, Life


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Day 25: Reviving the Genre

Blaugust Entry, Day 25

On my ride to and from band practice tonight, I listened to the latest episode of the Massively OP podcast. It was a fun one to listen to. There was a section where Bree, the editor and one of the co-hosts, goes off on her famous rants (which are fun to listen to), and with every sentence she spoke, my mind went, “Yes, yes yes! I’m with you! 100%!”

They were speaking of the upcoming sandbox MMO Revival‘s “Gold” servers. It’s a subscription server where players essentially pay the fee for 24/7 live interaction from from a “live storytelling team” who control NPCs and interact in real-time to player actions and events. From what I took from reading through Revival’s website, the game is seeking to bring true player interactivity to the MMO space. One where player actions are what really matter — not their gear. One where players drive the economy. One where they drive the politics. They shape the history of their society and their world, because the world is run by people.

Iron Realms pulled it off in the realm of MUDs and gained prominence in it’s genre by leaving the cookie-cutter molds of Circle and Diku MUDs behind. They created living worlds where the devs were an active part of creating the narrative for the players, and the players took part in forging their own stories within the game’s canvas. When games like Everquest and World of Warcraft took over, I was very disappointed. They took the cookie-cutter molds of the older MUDs and adapted them to a graphical interface. There was so much potential there, but they chose the easier path.

On the podcast, Bree rants about how it’s absurd that this sort of interactivity is the exception and not the norm for MMORPGs. That this is something that would make the genre really shine and stand out. She argues that “this should be the backbone of MMORPGs”. I agree, one hundred percent! Go take a listen, starting from 48:48 if you don’t care to hear the whole thing. I’m not sure if the dark fantasy setting is really my cup of tea, but I definitely have my eye on Revival.

Whether it’s this game that pulls it off or another, this service-based approach could be the real “Revival” of the MMORPG genre. I am excited to see what comes of it.

Onward, to Day 26!

This month-long blogging challenge is almost over! For more info and more bloggers, check out the official Blaugust page.

P.S. Can I make a confession? I didn’t realize the Justin on the Massively podcast and the Justin on the Battlebards podcast were the same Justin until months after I started listening to both. It was both funny and silly when it finally clicked…

P.P.S. As I am writing this, I logged into my old home of Achaea to find that I’m 510 years old. If I got back into the MUD now, I would be one of the oldest players in the game. This is the description I have of my character, written back in my teenage years. Each player could set their own description, where others could see by looking at them. It went through many iterations over the years. By the time I stopped playing, he was probably over 100 years old:

He is a winged atavian and is not the vibrant youth he used to be. Gentle creases in his skin show signs of aging, although his firm posture remains indifferent to the effects of time. His build is thin and his many years in the sun have gifted him with a finely bronzed complexion. Wavy gray-black hair with streaks of white flow loosely past his shoulders, styled fashionably to offset the disparity in colours. Carefully preened wings quietly flutter behind his slender frame.

Music Challenge #12

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

I feel the quality of these tracks are starting to degenerate over the last few days. Must get over the hump.


Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Gaming


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Day 24: Adventures in ARK and The Longest Journey

Blaugust Entry, Day 24

Today was a day off from work. A large part of it was spent with my son. He turned four yesterday. We went to the forest preserve, took a walk on the bike trail, kicked the soccer ball around, rolled it down repeatedly off a hill, and picked up some acorns. Then, we went to the mall and visited the Lego store, then to the kid’s play-place, then to McD’s for lunch and a big serving of soft-serve ice cream. I took him to the music store to see if he would be interested in anything – I think he enjoyed pressing buttons on keyboards and turning turntables more than actually making sounds. I got him a cheap harmonica in the end. It’s a start, at least.

The evening was spent playing ARK and The Longest Journey. I have to say it was an interesting adventure in both.

In ARK, I went out on a hunting expedition with my Trike and Dilophosaurus to a nearby watering hole. It was a total disaster.

I wanted to find some larger prey, and maybe a Raptor to tame. I took on what I thought was a lone Trike. There were two of them. After a bit of a scramble, we managed to take care of them. It wasn’t over yet. I’m still getting used to my dinos’ aggression settings, and because of the way it was set, my Dilo decided to attack a pair of Stegos which were peacefully munching on grass. Armed with tranquilizer arrows, I ran to the rescue with my Trike and managed to finish them both off. I used quite a few of my arrows by then.

Deciding that I should head back, I pulled out my map and compass, as the terrain was heavily wooded and very hard to see past my surroundings. The path I took led me straight into a Carno, a big, bad, meat-eating machi…dino. It was one of those frozen, “Oh, shit…” moments. My dinos were set to passive aggression after the Stego incident, so they didn’t fight back. Amidst the confusion, I managed to set my Dilo’s aggression back to fight the Carno. I used up the rest of my remaining tranquilizer arrows on it while it managed to mortally wound my Trike. It killed my Dilo as well just before it went down. I barely escaped with my life.

I salvaged what I could of the meat and saddle from the corpses, and with no ammunition left, I checked my map once more and bolted for the direction of the shoreline where my fort would be. I made it home, breathless and shaken. It was my first major encounter and loss since my series of death as a naked straggler on the beach. I wish I had remembered to run Forge in the background so I would have something to show of it. Afterward, I tamed a couple more Dilos and another Trike to take the place of the old one. I need to practice controlling my dinos better so I don’t repeat this incident the next time I go out.

Later in the day, I spent some more time playing The Longest Journey. I finally reached Chapter Four, and it’s starting to get interesting. The long dialogues haven’t changed. One thing the game doesn’t lack is exposition and backstory. I pulled out my anatomy coloring book and set to work.

The one major conversation which impressed me so far today, and maybe in this game, is the one with Abnaxus, the Venar. They are a species who somehow transcend time, and perceive the past, present, and the future simultaneously. Their speech reflects this, and really brings about a fantastic flavor to the narrative beyond the usual fantasy and sci-fi tropes.

I was also impressed by the selection of books at the Sentinel Enclave’s library. They are akin to the lore books found in the Elder Scroll Series, but instead of being scattered throughout the world, there were these dozen or so selected books presented in this one location. Some were histories of the land, some were tales of legends, but they fleshed out the world of Arcadia with their selective glimpses into this magical world. From what I could gather from all the details of prophecies and whereabouts of sacred objects for my mission, it seems like I have a very long way to go. The Longest Journey, indeed.

Onward, to Day 25!

This month-long blogging challenge is almost over! For more info and more bloggers, check out the official Blaugust page.

Music Challenge #11

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

Ugh.. the mix is pretty bad. That’s what happens when you use the same tone for all the guitar parts with a careless use of reverb. I apologize.


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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Gaming, Life


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Day 21: Creative Multi-tasking

Blaugust Entry, Day 21

I nearly overslept this morning. Do I have too much on my plate? I don’t know. Maybe. I barely had time to fit in a session of The Longest Journey last night.

I bought myself one of those anatomy coloring books. I could have bought the new Mistborn novel. Or the Skyrim Histories book. Or any number of cool goodies I found while browsing. Instead I got a coloring book. For Medical Students. Why???

My room is arranged in a way that everywhere I turn, there is something interesting for me to do. My gaming PC. My music studio. My book on physics concepts. My sketch pad. And now, this book.

I guess it’s continuing on my recent theme of finding different creative outlets, and one for each mood I’m in at the moment. I’m making use of my music equipment for my daily challenge. If I’m feeling curious, I’ll flip a page in the physics book, because science is cool. The coloring may help with understanding human shapes when drawing, as well as practice my pencil-wielding skills.

I admit that I am a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type. I may get sucked into a topic for months at a time, but I end up hopping around interests over the long run.

After I got my workout complete and my music track made, it was getting really late. I loaded up The Longest Journey, pulled up the walkthrough on my phone, and set down the coloring book on the desk.

As I clicked through the dialogue trees and listened to the interesting but looooooooooooooooooooooooong voice overs, I worked on the book. It’s that kind of game. The walkthrough is worth it, because it doesn’t spoil the dialogue. It just helps me get through the random clicking-on-strange-places-to-find-obscure-items-in-order-to-solve-a-puzzle-that-happens-way-later-in-the-game situations. The game is less about the puzzles, and all about the story. It’s essentially an “interactive audiobook with pictures”.

It’s good that I found something that could keep my hands busy while my ears take it all in. Playing and learning a skill simultaneously? Multi-tasking for the win!

Onward, to Day 22!

To participate in this month-long blogging challenge, check out the official Blaugust.

Music Challenge Day 8:

A Track-a-day Challenge as an exercise in establishing efficient creative-workflow.

I shoulda left the guitar out, but too late. Ah well.

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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Gaming, Life


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Day 17: I Want You to Change My Life

I saw a great quote on Twitter yesterday.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

– Maya Angelou

That’s what I want from my media experiences. It’s what all of my favorite films, books, games, and musical performances have in common. It’s those moments of breathlessness; the moments of the “Oh-My-God!”s; the moments when your heart fills with intense joy and awe; the moments that make you feel it was worth living just to have that one specific experience.

I believe the goal of an artist should be to inspire those moments in your audience. I want you to change my life. If you do, I will evangelize on your work for the rest of my life.

Gaming Update:

I played some WildStar F2P PTR for a little bit. I have mixed feelings about the flow of the reworked tutorial sequences. I like the addition of a very basic movement tutorial. I didn’t like how they gutted the Arkship tutorial, as there is already a skip tutorial option for more experienced players. It made the Arkship sequence feel very disjointed. I poked my head in the cash shop windows, but didn’t spend too much time with it, so impressions will have to come at a later date.

I also continued on The Longest Journey. And oh boy, does it feel like one. After switching to Windows 10, the save button and the quit button are glitching on me. I can hit enter to confirm the save with the pop-up window, but I’m not able to quit using Enter, or with the mouse. The only way I can do it is to close it through the Task Manager.

Because of this, I ended up doing something where I thought I lost all my save data. Thank the heavens for animation skipping in this game. I got caught up in about half an hour. Seriously, this game is like an audiobook in game form. The dialogue can stretch for minutes at a time. Don’t play this when you’re in a hurry. Maybe have something to do while listening to the conversations. You might fall asleep otherwise. I hope the sequels do a better job of separating dialogue into shorter chunks.

Onward, to Day 18!

Track-a-Day Music Challenge 4:

This one’s got no guitars in it. Just a couple keyboard instruments and drums. I went for simple and cute.

To participate in this month-long blogging challenge, check out the official Blaugust.

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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Gaming, Music


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