Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Draft Done! (And Other Sundry)

Hooray! I finished my first draft of my Gothic horror novella yesterday! (I also sat down and wrote over 3K in less than a few hours, FINALLY, omg.)

Is it good? Who knows? It also doesn’t matter til it’s time to revise it.

Man, it feels so good to get that behind me.

Now, in theory, we move on to other things. I’ve got to write the last selection of my serial this month (only 2.5K, in theory doable in a day, already outlined and everything).

An added complication is that we’re working on an anthology project over at Turtleduck Press, and I’ll need 5-10K by mid-March. Also not hard, just need to do it.

But it’s already February, and I can see how this goes, where I never get to revising Book 1 (again) because other things keep popping up.

But does it make sense to start Book 1 only to have to change gears and switch to the anthology project sooner rather than later?

In theory, I could do both at the same time. I can normally handle one writing and one revision project without overwhelming myself and losing time to having to shift gears. But this will, fingers crossed, by the last revision for Book 1, and I want to be able to really focus on it and make sure it’s getting done correctly.

Augh, decisions.

In non-writing news, I’ve started my video game for the month. I’ve picked Jenny LeClue – Detectivu off of some friends’ recommendation. (I don’t know why Detectivu, except maybe to rhyme? It confuses me.) It’s a point-and-click mystery game that’s on the silly side, so it’s pretty much right up my alley. I’m about three and a half hours into it and we’ve just gotten to the (first?) murder.

Having trouble focusing on reading this month. Currently in the middle of three books and not making decent progress on any of them. I need to fix that or I’m not going to hit my goals for the month.

How are you, squider? Doing anything fun? Making progress?

Video Game Time

Hey, squiders! First week of the new year is down. How has it been for you so far?

I’ve done okay, though I’ve been focusing on the easy things first.

(Also, as I think I told you, I made a resolution to read a book off my TBR lists once a month. I’ve ended up with three books, however, because I kept looking them up at the library and they weren’t available. So I put a couple of holds on stuff and eventually found a book that was available.

And then, of course, the holds came in.)

You know what’s easy? Playing video games. In theory.

Here’s the deal with video games. I am a binge gamer with obsessive tendencies. It is really hard for me to play, oh, an hour, and then go do something else. I tend to play several hours in a go, have a hard time refocusing onto something else, and, if left to my own devices, I will do this for a week or so and then wander off and not touch that or another game for months.

This isn’t true of all games. Multiplayer games I can normally play for an hour or two and be good for the day, and I can do that several days in a row and on and off. I think it’s because my brain categorizes those games as socialization or spending time with friends or something, something that separates them from video games as a whole.

Like, when I and everyone else in the world was super into Among Us last year this time, I wasn’t playing five hours of AU in a day. I’d play an hour and a half on average and then I was done. When I play AU these days–admittedly a lot less than I was–that still seems to hold. It might also be because multiplayer games tend to be fairly repetitive so they don’t lend themselves to repetition aside from competing against other people.

The other exception is dancing games. I love dancing games. I am good at dancing games. I used to Dance Dance Revolution all the time back in the day, and these days I play Just Dance on the Switch (or the Wii) before it. I think if you played six hours of Just Dance in a go you’d probably die. I average about 45 minutes, maybe an hour.

But, anyway, I said to myself that I should get the video game goal going. I think, maybe, my thought was I’d start a game and then play it on and off through the month, apparently forgetting the last several decades of evidence about how I actually play games.

The first thing I tried is called Spellcaster University. I got it for free through Amazon Gaming, which I didn’t realize was a thing (apparently it comes free with your Prime membership). It’s your fairly standard build and maintain sort of tycoon, in this case a magic school that gets destroyed every ten years when the dark lord rises up. I played, oh, four years of the first school on the first, then played some more yesterday, where I spent like six hours finishing off that first school and then two more (and had just started the fourth when I stopped for the day). Depending on the students’ training they can get different jobs when they graduate, and I think those bonuses must stack in between schools, because I feel like I got way more powerful a lot faster this last school, to the point was I was starting to be able to fight against the dark lord to some extent.

There’s the binge gaming kicking in again.

Over Wednesday and Thursday this week I also played a choose your own adventure visual novel based off of Hamlet called To Be or Not to Be. It was pretty fun–I especially enjoyed some of the Ophelia paths–but the base game got boring pretty quickly. I found a guide that told me how to unlock all the achievements and did that, then found one that explained how to unlock the artwork (my favorite piece being the ghost of Hamlet’s dad making friends with the sea creatures), but then I realized there were 100 art pieces and that my time would be better spent making magic schools, so I called that game done and moved it into my Completed section on Steam.

So I count the goal done for the month. I started two new games and beat one of them, and I’ve definitely played five hours.

Probably should work on figuring out how NOT to binge game. I had honestly forgotten that was a thing I did, since most of what I’ve played in the last year and a half is either Among Us or Just Dance. I did play a great horror adventure game over the summer called Oxenfree, and I didn’t binge that either. Wonder why not?

Maybe it’s just tycoons and MMORPGs I binge, and if I can stay away from those, I’ll be fine.

Things to ponder.

Thoughts, squiders? About games (and how to stop playing them at appropriate times)? Or resolutions?

Media Round-Up Time

My Among Us group has started another tournament and I, like an idiot who doesn’t like to be productive, signed up for it. First match was Monday on my worst map, and I got more points than last tournament and came in third, though the points were pretty low in general.

I’m still waiting on Book One feedback so not much getting done in that department. I’ve started a new SkillShare class, which is on outlining, though I haven’t gotten terribly far. Just having really terrible focus in general lately, no clue why.

So let’s talk about what I’ve been doing other than writing!

Reading

Over Christmas I made the mistake of getting a bunch of short story collections out from the library. I always take forever to get through them, because I like to pause after each story and think on it, which means sometimes I’m only reading ten or so pages in a day. I’m mostly through them, though I still have two (a mystery one and a scifi/fantasy one) that I’m working through.

I read Ready Player Two which was…ehhh, all right? I guess? It had too much of the worst parts of Ready Player One and not enough of the good parts, and the emotional arc was just…bizarre. Also I have problems with the way some characters just forgot all interpersonal problems mid story. I honestly don’t know that I would recommend it.

Now I’m reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, which so far is amazing. I’m only like 40 pages in, but I’m definitely digging it.

Podcasts

I’m continuing my slog through the Myths and Legends podcast backlog (less than two years behind now!) which has proved to make me invaluable to my trivia team when it comes to mythology, but because I’ve made such good progress, I’m starting to occasionally mix in an episode of Start With This, which is a creative podcast run by the creators of Welcome to Night Vale. While the episodes are geared a bit toward podcasting, they do talk about writing as a whole.

(The latest episode I’m listening to is again making me wonder if it’s worth it to bother finishing the Changeling story. But that’s a decision for another time.)

Maybe I’ll start mixing in Night Vale or Inn Between again soon too, who knows!

TV and Movies

We’re so bad at watching things in this house. I hate sitting and paying attention to something for a long period of time. I am, however, considering starting to watch Leverage, which seems like it might be fun.

My spouse and I watched Parasite last week, which was not as much horror as I was led to believe, but still did give me a few nightmares.

Video Games

Yesterday I finished an adventure horror game called Oxenfree, which was very fun! (And I think I got it for, like, $3.) The animation is pretty simple but it was still quite scary in places, and the story was neat. And the mechanics! As opposed to a standard adventure game where you have to gather a bunch of stuff to solve the puzzles, all you have is a radio. I’d definitely recommend it.

My spouse and I recently finished the newer King’s Quest game (which is a more traditional adventure game, in the spirit of the series), though it was interesting in that each episode had a significant time skip in between and differing story telling.

He’s on to Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider now. Not sure what I’m going to do. I did get Lego Harry Potter for Christmas, so maybe that.

And, of course, still Among Us. We’re starting to discuss trying out some of the newer mods, such as Sheriff, which give out more roles than just Imposter. Plus, you know, tournament and whatnot, and in theory the new map is due soon.

What have you been up to lately, squiders? Anything that you really enjoyed?

I’ve Been Playing in an Among Us Tournament

Sorry to talk about Among Us YET AGAIN, but it continues to be fun. Well, my group is fun, and I like hanging out with them, so by extension, the game is fun.

Anyway, my Among Us discord has been hosting a tournament for the last three weeks. I signed up because it seemed like a safe environment to get some good practice. I mean, there’s games going on fairly regularly within the group, but they aren’t always serious affairs. Sometimes we play variations like Hide and Seek or Vent Tag, sometimes everyone is feeling silly and are more focused on being silly than finding the imposters, etc. It’s fun, but not always good practice.

They had 12 tournament sessions, and your first three were scored (I only did three, because that was all I could make). I ended up doing one on each map: Mira, Skeld, and Polus. Today all the points got added up, the top ten got announced, and the final is set for Saturday afternoon, my time.

(We have a lot of members from the UK, plus other European countries, so games are sometimes at weird times. For me.)

And I actually did really well. I was sick my first session, which was on my best map, Mira, but came in second for that session, which felt pretty good.

(I love Mira. I think it confuses a lot of people which means if you have any sort of semblance of an idea of how to use it, it’s really powerful.)

(Also all the vents are connected.)

My second session was on Skeld, which I am awful at. I can’t seem to figure out how to 1) kill without someone immediately walking in on me, or 2) not die immediately. I went into it dreading it, and it somehow went worse than I thought it would. I came in second to last.

Yesterday I did my final session, on Polus. And man, I crushed it. Everything went perfectly–I was voting right, I was staying alive, and the one game I got imposter, me and my partner won by the second round. I was only on the losing side one game.

I came in first for the session, which is madness.

So, for the tournament, I’m in 12th place. Way higher than I expected. I thought I’d be more, like, 18th-22nd. (There’s 35 people total.)

So I’m pretty proud of myself.

There’s also a chance I might play in the final. One of the top 10 people can’t play, so the 11th person has already been moved into the final, so if someone else can’t make it, I’m in the bullpen, so to speak.

I don’t really want to play in the final–that seems a little too exciting–but for my first video game tournament of any sort, it’s been pretty good. And it has been fun to really focus on the strategy of the game, though I don’t think I’d want to do it all the time.

(Also, perhaps I should never enter a tournament again. That way I can always think back to this time and remember how well I did this one time.)

Anyway.

Reading through the story continues. I’m deeper into the story, but finding it hard to focus on critiquing myself versus getting sucked into the story. But we persevere.

Hope you have a good weekend, squiders!

There is an Impostor…

So, squiders. I did it. I jumped on the Among Us bandwagon.

Among Us, for those who haven’t heard of it (unlike the bigger, mobile one, who apparently knows all about it from school, sigh), is an online computer game where you are one of up to 10 little astronaut guys trying to get things done on your spaceship/station/planet (depending on the map). But one (or two or three) person is an impostor, who runs around killing the other astronauts and sabotaging things.

(Here is more information, if interested.)

It’s essentially an online version of Werewolf or Mafia, if you’ve played those.

The game is about two years old, though I first became aware of it about a month ago when the memes started circulating on Tumblr. At the time I did just enough research to understand where the cute little astronaut things came from, and called it good.

But then it kept showing up.

And then there was the livestream AOC did of her playing it, which people kept talking about, so I went to check it out. And it looked fun. That’s when I began to consider maybe playing it myself.

And then my video game newsletter featured it. I went and looked–the game is only $5 (and apparently the mobile version is free, though I haven’t tried that version).

$5 for a game is not very much. That’s like, one less trip to the coffee shop for me.

So I left it open for a few days while I considered what I wanted to do. And Tuesday was, well, Tuesday, so I decided I deserved a little fun.

Good Lord is it addictive.

Like all online things, it depends on the other people there. If you can find a good group of people, you can happily play several games in a row, and it’s a great time. The game’s not complicated, though there is strategy to it, both as an impostor and a crewmate (such as figuring out how to do tasks in electrical without getting murdered).

(Alternately, there are some very immature people out there, who are probably literal twelve year olds. The good news is that it’s easy to find a new game.)

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday playing it, which was not the best use of my time, but I had fun and now it’s mostly out of my system. But I do feel like I’ve gotten my $5 out of it, and the replay-ability is high.

If you’ve been considering it, give it a try. Especially since the mobile version is free.

As for Nano, well, I’m a day behind due to election shenanigans/Among Us, but I’ll catch up by the end of the day. My MC found the dead body right before I headed this way, and so far so good.

See you next week, squiders!

Humanity and Prey (Video Game)

Oh, squiders. We humans are an interesting bunch. We do interesting, unexpected things. And today, we’re going to look at interesting, unexpected things in relation to a video game called Prey.


Prey is made by Arkane Studios, which also does the Dishonored series. It’s a science fiction horror game which takes place in an alternate near-future.  The setting is Talos I, a space station in orbit around the moon, so, you know, you’re trapped.

(I am not particularly great at video games unless they a) are motion-sensing or b) turn-based/adventure games, so mostly I watch my spouse play.)

(The beginning reminds me a lot of the original Half-Life, which I suspect was a major influence for this game. I mean, the first enemy you run into, an alien known as a Mimic, looks suspiciously like the first enemy you run into in Half Life, the headcrab. There’s other similarities but we shall not dwell on them here.)

(But here’s what a Mimic looks like.)

There are spoilers moving forward, so beware if you care about such things.

The main enemies in Prey are an alien race known as the Typhon. The story goes that some time during the initial space race era, we encountered the Typhon and built varying facilities in space to study them. There’s different kinds of Typhon of different strengths and abilities, but they all kind of look like blobs of black strings.

Like most games of this type, there’s a skill tree where you can unlock different skills to help you get through the game. Part of the way through the game you acquire a Psychoscope, which allows you scan Typhons to learn more about them. This also unlocks Typhon abilities in the skill tree.

But interestingly, it seems about half of the people who play the game never touch the Typhon abilities. Which is weird, right? These are cool powers. Mind control, shapeshifting, telekinesis, etc.

(We discovered this fact when my spouse took the mind control one–which also allows you to un-mind control people the Typhon have taken over–and received a trophy for it which was much rarer than it seemed like it should be.)

So I’ve been poking around, and people are really worried about the Typhon powers. On some level this is directly related to gameplay–Prey has multiple endings, and people are worried about getting a “bad” ending if they take the Typhon powers–but there is also an underlying…taboo about it, almost. As if taking on the alien powers is somehow immoral. Like if they give in to using those powers, no matter how helpful they might be toward the game objections, they’re losing some of their own humanity.

It’s very interesting. This is a science fiction game involving fake technology, fake aliens, fake people. It should be pure fantasy. Taking the Typhon powers has no bearing on your real life. So why have so many people avoided them?

Humanity, people. We are strange.

Played Prey, squiders? Games like it you would recommend for the spouse once he’s done? (Are you as upset about Danielle Sho and Abigail Foy as I am?)

The Trouble with MMOs–Or Why I Haven’t Touched One in 10+ Years

Well, dear Squiders, I have a bit of an addictive personality. This sounds like a lovely thing, like people think you’re so great they just want to hang out with you all the time, but unfortunately what it really means is that it’s easy to get hooked on something to the detriment of the rest of your life.

Luckily for me, mine has always been pretty minor, and I’ve trained myself to be responsible even when I don’t want to be. It’s also extremely sporadic, and my “addictions” don’t tend to last very long.

Video and computer games tend to be a weak point for me, but I’ve found ways around this, such as playing games with episodes (typically beatable in a few hours as most) or online games where you only have a set amount of energy so you can’t play for that long. And I am royally terrible at any games that require me to use a joystick to move around, so that frustration also helps.

But MMOs–especially MMORPGs–are the worst. Basically, these games are giant worlds where you create your own character and run around doing quests for NPCs. There’s also a main storyline, if you want, and you can join guilds, fight other players, or work beside them to take down bosses and dungeons.

There’s always something more to do, and there’s no set break points, so it’s easy to run around for hours, killing spiders and carting letters between villages and learning how to farm or make armor.

In college I played an MMORPG called Dark Ages of Camelot, which was brilliant and lovely and very interesting, but it ate up all my time. Sure, I made it to class and practice, but I would get sucked in and eke out play time whenever I could. It wasn’t good. I swore off MMOs.

And I hadn’t touched one since. Til yesterday.

I’ve talked about Coursera here before, but I started a class that compares video games to literature and also explores storytelling across different mediums. (Or so the course promises, anyway.) And I’ve been really excited for it. But part of the class is to play Lord of the Rings Online which is, you guessed it, a MMORPG.

So I installed the game, created my character, and completed the tutorial. And then I spent another three hours running around, killing spiders, yelling at hobbits (hobbit errands are the worst, I’m going back to Bree-land), and also getting my butt handed to me by said spiders.

On one hand, I’m really interested to see how playing LOTRO ties into the subject matter of the course. (Maybe we’ll even discuss the tendency of people to get addicted to MMOs. That would be helpful.) But on the other hand, I’m worried that this is a bad idea, and that I’m getting myself into something that is going to negatively impact my life.

On yet another hand, one long gaming day does not mean anything. I mean, I played five hours for two days on Skyrim, and then never touched the game again. (Skyrim is fairly similar to an MMO, except without the other people. Also, you can teleport between places you’ve been, which MMOs should really get on because boo to running all over the place.)

Should I get out while I still can, Squiders? Or do I give myself the benefit of the doubt for a little longer, see how the gameplay ties into the the coursework? (In the interest of full disclosure, playing the game is not a required part of the class, though it does seem like you’re missing out on most of the content if you don’t.)

Defiance and Other Scifi TV Shows

We’ve talked in the past, Squiders, about science fiction and television. And we’ve got a new crop trying their hand now. (Personally, I’ve been re-watching DS9. The second season never ends.)

The one that’s caught my eye is Defiance. SyFy’s been advertising the heck out of it, so odds are that you’re aware that it’s coming up. (Starts April 15, in fact, so just over a week from now.)

I admittedly don’t know a lot about the show except that, for some reason, all sorts of races are living together on Earth and Defiance was once St. Louis, and there is some sort of war going on.

Oh, and they’re releasing a MMO to go along with it. (It’s in Beta in Playstation Plus, but I do not pay for Playstation Plus and so I have not played it.) This intrigues me as a marketing idea. On one hand, if the MMO is well-done, it could enhance someone’s experience exponentially. On the other, it’s entirely possible that no one will play the game and it will have been a lot of wasted time and money.

(Oh, hey, apparently the game is live as of Tuesday. Well.)

The show itself, well, I’ll probably give it a try. At least, being on SyFy as opposed to network television, it’ll probably make it to a second season unless it totally sucks, in which case, I probably won’t care.

What scifi are you watching these days, Squiders? Revolution’s second season is coming up too, if I recall correctly, though I didn’t watch the first season.