To Boldly Nerd…

Video games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

By Friday, Life has killed me

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At least that’s what it feels like today. For those who don’t appreciate him as much as I do, this is a quote from Morrissey.

Today is the first day that the daily blogging deal feels like an impossible task, so expect a lot of random blabbering today. It’s been a short work week, with a public holiday on Thursday, Ascension Day. However going back to work for just today made today incredibly draining. The holiday itself was very relaxing. I managed to squeeze in reading, comic books, video games and watching Netflix all in one day, while also having kickass barbecue for dinner. Not bad!

Reading

shadow-and-boneI recently started reading The Scar by China Miéville and after about 30 pages in decided that it goes back on the to-read shelf. It’s not that the setting isn’t exciting. When I read Perdido Street Station, I already had much love for the vibrant steampunk setting. However, I just cannot deal with the language right now. It’s like a thesaurus threw up all over the place. It’s too much for me right now. I moved on to The Quantum Thief which in weirdness is right up there with China Miéville’s work. It’s science fiction and despite being 10% in, I really haven’t understood anything about what’s going on. Yet, I want to keep on reading because it’s interesting. How that goes together, I don’t know. While I am talking about books, I want to recommend a series, The Grisha, starting with Shadow and Bone. It’s YA fantasy, which I often stay away from because of all the tired tropes, but this one’s really fantastic. Set in a fantasy pseudo-Russia with a king instead of a czar, it’s the story of Alina Starkov, an orphan who has joined the military. Ravka has been split into two parts by something called the Shadow Fold, an area of impenetrable darkness full of monsters. While trying to cross it with the army on a trip, it is discovered that Alina is a grisha, a mage, and she has a very rare power that is supposed to be able to remove the darkness. It’s a bit as if Harry Potter was an older teenage girl who settles down at the Ravka version of Hogwarts. There’s a love triangle, of sorts, because duh, YA fiction, but I didn’t find it grating. The setting and the plot were fantastic. I can’t wait to read the next two books and the novellas.

Comic Books

sagaThis is a new obsession, and might be my downfall. I got my hands on a couple Pathfinder comics, which led to experiments with my Nexus 7 tablet to use it for reading them. I have been trying to use the Nexus much more as reading device, but to be honest, a 7″ is very small for reading PDFs on it. I have to zoom a lot, which doesn’t make for a great reading experience. So I was doubtful about reading comics on the tablet. Syncing Comic Rack from my PC to the tablet was amazingly easy and quite cool. I have a bunch of DRM-free comics and Comic Rack is really amazing to organize them on my PC, much like Calibre for my e-book collection. Reading the comics on the tablet was a joy, unlike with PDFs, they have a perfect size. I rarely ever had to zoom. Then I pondered how to actually get more comics. I bought the first Saga book in London last year, and really would like to read it every issue. So off to Comixology I went, and really was blown away how easy it is to buy comics, and then read them. It has something called Cinematic Reading experience, which means you don’t get the full page but rather it switches from panel to panel, always following the flow of the story. It’s fantastic, and I am loving it.

Here’s some comics I have been reading:

  • Pathfinder Vol.1 – Pathfinder’s iconic heroes are investigating unusual goblin activity near a small town on the Lost Coast of Varisia: Sandpoint. That sounded awfully familiar to the start of the Rise of the Runelords campaign, and there is some overlapping. I enjoyed the story of volume 1, but wouldn’t recommend the series for the comics alone. The artwork is terrible. In some panels Valeros looks like Wolverine, Merisiel has creepy spider eyes, and seriously, the iconics look different in every single panel. In some panels you can’t actually tell what the fuck is happening. Disappointing. However, I would still recommend the comics for the Pathfinder content. Every issue has a section with game info. There are detailed encounters, and maps, and NPCs, tons of stuff for any Rise of the Runelords GM to dump into their games as side treks if they want to spice it up. They range from low-level stuff to really high-level encounters in the final comic.
  • Saga – what a blast this series is. Imagine Romeo and Juliet in space, eloping together, having wild sex and then having a baby, and they’re being hunted down for it by various factions. It’s a space opera with dollops of fantasy and interesting characters. Content’s a bit spicy, so expect to see lots of sex and not just boobs but dicks, the horror! It’s up to 28 issues now, and I am going to catch up, if it kills me. Just bought issue 15, woot.
  • Aphrodite IX – I only grabbed that because it was free. Is there a lot of free stuff on Comixology? I just don’t know! 😮 I really enjoyed the art style so much. It’s set on post-apocalyptic Earth, with two groups of survivors. Genetically modified folks on the one hand and cybernetically enhanced on the other. There’s also dragons, and of course Aphrodite IX herself, a sort of cybernetic assassin who is found by one of the dragon dudes. I would read more of that!
  • Other comics to read: Rat Queens, and all of my Fables comics. I have a lot of them. Plus more Pathfinder. Recommendations welcome!

Gaming

I don’t really find a lot of time to play games at the moment. It’s not as bad as it is for Liore, but sometimes I don’t know how to get gaming into my life. I put FFXIV on the backburner because of lack of time. Sometimes I sit here and want to play games, but then something else comes up or I change my mind. I mostly play two games at the moment. Candy Crush Soda Saga doesn’t count, does it? Ahem. Yeah, games. On the PS3, I am currently playing Uncharted 3. I consumed the first two games like an addict, and I will say that Uncharted 2 is the most cinematic experience I ever had playing any game. I thought it was Tomb Raider, but noooo, Nathan Drake wins that title. Uncharted 3 has been fantastic too, but it’s not quite as awesome as the second game. Also, I think it’s harder or I just suck more. The amount of times I die is absolutely ridiculous. I am currently in Chapter 16, and I just cannot get past this one checkpoint.

Will I ever reach this goddamn airport? I really don't know.

Will I ever reach this goddamn airport? I really don’t know.

You are supposed to reach a plane on the airport, and there’s a checkpoint where the game strongly hints at a stealthy approach. Well, guess what, I suck at stealth, apparently. I failed after killing two dudes and since then have been fighting the same hordes over and over again. It’s always a grenade or those heavy armor shotgun assholes or the goddamn rocket launchers taking me out. I wanted to fling the gamepad against the wall, seriously.

It was a Sierra game, hah!

It was a Sierra game, hah!

The other game I am playing was released in…1999. Wow, I feel old. I first got Pharaoh in the year I met my SO, heh. It’s a city-builder, and the damn finest one, if you ask me. Back in 2000 I got fairly far, but then stopped playing, I don’t even know why. Now I have gone back and I want to beat it. However, just like MMOs it’s also a game that’s quite time-intensive. You have to build monuments, lots of mastabas and pyramids and realistically, they take years of game time to build. There’s a lot of micro-managing you have to do, because if you don’t export enough goods, you run out of money, but if you export too much, your people move out very quickly. I always enjoyed it because it’s wonderfully linear. Developing your housing means you have to meet all the needs in order, and it’s a joy to see your meager shanties turn into glorious estates. There’s a reason it’s got fantastic reviews on GoG, so if you are into city-builders at all, check it out.

Friday 5: The Five Games I want to play the most in 2015

  1. The Last of Us – it’s one of the reasons I wanted a console, because watching a Let’s Play was not good enough for me. Just waffling if I should wait until I have gotten a PS4 or get it for the PS3.
  2. Dragon Age: Inquisition – yeah, I know. I already own this game. I am about halfway through even. But I want to play this on a console instead and that means starting over. Sometime.
  3. Lethis – Path of Progress – never heard of it, have you? Neither had I, until I daydreamed about how it would feel to play a modern game like Pharaoh or Zeus. Lethis has been greenlit on Steam, and is pretty much a Pharaoh clone in a strange steampunk setting, and it looks fantastic. I’ll buy it!
  4. Uncharted 4 – I fully intend to buy a PS4, just for this game.
  5. Pillars of Eternity – it’s massive, and it’s oldschool, and hopefully I can get my hands on it and actually have the time to play it.

How about everyone else, any games you are waiting for?

2 Comments

  1. I am (im)patiently waiting for Yooka-Laylee… though that won’t come out until late next year 🙁

  2. I did love Pharaoh so much. I hated that Children of the Nile was inferior. I wish we could get a HD remake of Pharaoh that didn’t sacrifice the quality of its art-style for cheap 3D graphics. I really hate that that entire subset of city builders has largely died off, even if Tropico and Banished have been pretty good.

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