Monday, 1 August 2016

Interactive fiction review #11 - Gardening for beginners

Gardening for beginners by Juhana Leinonen

Gardening for Beginners by Juhana Leinonen is a short speed-IF game describing the misadventures of a budding gardener.

What is supposed to be a peaceful and upbeat day of work quickly turns into a nightmare as the player is beset by the horrors of nature.

I can recommend this game as a choice to suggest to text adventure newbies, as it is uncomplicated, easy to play and funny to boot.

Personally I would add an option to name your fish to add some more personal involvement to the game. In fact the enclosed framework of the game world even would allow for a game allowing the player whatever he wants to do (e.g. drink the poison, or eat the fish).

Anyway, quite a fun little title to play.


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Entropia hunt logs #2 - Gallard, 5000, Hunt III

Gallard - 5000 - Hunt III

This log spells the end of the Gallard iron mission chain, and not a second too early. Now I can move on to some other monster, or maybe leave Arkadia altogether and explore what else the universe holds in stock, if that opportunity comes up.

Documenting this log frustratingly got screwed up with me interrupting my sole focus on swunting Gallards to enter the Gold Rush event. The Universal Ammo count definitely is off by some 40-70 peds, the Weapon Cells and BLP numbers seem rather wonky too, though I have no clue what happened there. Those last two are incorrect either in this, or the previous Gallard Hunt II log.

As a consequence, I definitely will create a cover-all log form before starting my next run. This must not happen again, as it's a massive loss of time if one element of data ruins an entire log. This log is basically worthless in terms of calculating my total loss on this hunt.

All the other loot values definitely are correct (plus minus a few PEC with the handgun drops).

Side note: Sweat gatherer level gain has slowed down considerably, but still is increasing motivatingly enough for me. I sold 20k sweat for around 1.75/k at some point.

Globals: 0

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Retro Achievements Update #2

What I've been doing over the last few months...

New score:

11039 points - Rank 437 (of 14110 registered players)

About 70 places closer to the top, quite nice for the fact I haven't really accomplished too much since the last update.

Games I spent time on were:

-) Yugioh World Championship 2005 - 7 Trials to Glory (GBA)

A title overshadowed by the 2006 version I used to play a lot, years and years ago. This 2005 incarnation is severely crippled in its deck building mechanisms (to this day I don't know how to sort my cards!), I literally needed to ask for help to even be able to build my first deck! The actual gameplay is nice and fast though (speedup also helps), even though the very limited AI and old-school-ness of the card pool makes this a very easy game compared to more recent incarnations. The mechanics of game progress are a jumbled mess in this game, to be able to play various tournaments and do challenges you need to "sleep" in order to pass time - with the aforementioned becoming available randomly. Quite annoying and needlessly complicated, needless to say that the formula has been much improved again with the 2006 sequel. Still, it's a Yugioh game and therefore enjoyable enough by default. Not sure whether I will try to GM it as I would need to start a new game in order to be able to do so (and need to possibly do a lot of retries for some of the achievements).

-) Super Tennis (SNES)

I've been working hard on becoming the first person (!) to GM this game's very time-consuming and rather boring set (well it IS a sports game, what would you expect...)

Super Tennis is a more than decent SNES tennis game held back rather sharply by its ridiculously low difficulty and some limitations in ball control and swing selection. I won't elaborate any further on this title as my mini-review should match (PUN) the blandness of playing this monotonous and unrewarding title. Btw, topspin return = RIDICULOUSLY OP! Didn't they test this game before they released it!? *facepalm*

As the achievement set (which has the STUPIDEST achievement names possible!) requires me to win the game again and again with all the different players, I've been doing just that. About 8 players x 3-4 hours per playthrough are left. Super Tennis has an absolutely atrocious password system; thus I am pretty much limited to grinding this game on weekends (I currently am working in an office, which is the best job I've ever held actually!) in order to be able to avoid the pain of entering 40-something letters, numbers and question marks (seriously...) per password *facepalm*.

-) Super Bomberman (SNES)

One of the best multiplayer experiences I've ever had was 4-player multiplayer Bomberman (not even an official version, but some Windows freeware clone) with mates and family members. 15 years later, I got very little fun out of this first Bomberman title on the SNES. The campaign mode is rather boring (remote bomb = OP), with the last boss being an extremely negative experience to boot. You need the "fist" powerup (not the "boot" unfortuntely, or I could have made a pun :-() to be able to defeat said... and you lose (some of) your powerups on death. Ergo, if you die to him, you are better off fast-forward suiciding so you can play the previous level again and farm the fist and remote bomb. A very painful and frustrating experience that certainly coloured my opinion on this title quite heavily.

I am reluctantly attempting to grind down the battle mode challences, but as these are very hard and need a lot of luck, I'm pretty much stuck at the third level and don't know whether I'll brute force these after all as the process certainly isn't any fun at all.

-) Donkey Kong Land (GB)

A more than decent title (very good for a Gameboy title, but lacking in comparison to the eternal classics on the SNES). Controls have some wonky moments (e.g. bouncing on enemies is very jumpy, also rolling feels rather off compared to the SNES games - a platformer of course lives and dies with how precise and fluid its controls are, and in the case of this game, they are a valid reason I can't see myself replaying this title too frequently). Levels are, oddly enough, usually much longer than SNES ones and therefore fittingly have multiple save points. I'm currently at the beginning of World 4 (of 4), so I can't give a final verdict on the difficulty compared to the "Country" games. Overall, it's a quite good game. As usual I can't judge music or sound since I play with those off, listening to music or watching videos on the side instead.

-) Chrono Trigger (SNES)

I've been trying to play this RPG several times over the last 10 years, but never got too far, being hampered by the tiresome combats and my general weariness to complete games (I have actually stopped playing games ON THE FINAL BOSS, no joke! only to start them again from the beginning and quitting them at some point again... and so on!)

Now, since I have a reason to play games all the way through (points!)... nothing has changed. Mood is, as is common knowledge, only a thing for cattle and loveplay - but in my case mood is everything when it comes to long-winded non-action titles like this one, and said mood doesn't hit me too often. Right now, I'm in the second section of the game (the past) and have very little motivation to boot this up - but tomorrow this might randomly be completely different! Chaotic neutral!

-) Frogger (SNES)

Doesn't need many words, it's just a very late (1998!) port of the classic arcade game. I got to stage 4, then it gets too hard for me. LOL

-) Zelda: Link's Awakening (GBC)

Now this is a game I actually played back in the day when it came out! Same as Pokemon Blue (I think), I beat this game on the original machine but never on emulation. I might not be able to complete this 100% as you need to do a deathless run (to see the epilogue or something), but I'll try to beat as much as I can otherwise.

I only count the top-down titles as "real" Zelda games, so this one, along with the eternal classic Link to the Past, is - for me - as good as it gets (haven't played the GBA titles though yet). Ocarina of GRIME for all I care!

Of course (people actually called me arrogant partly because of using phrases like "of course" a lot!), next to all this retro shit, I've been playing Entropia Universe 24/7. There is never a reason NOT to sweat, so I've been working on the last batch of 5000 gallards in order to be able to finally check off my first iron mission. Also dabbled a little in the Arkadian Gold Rush (Category I) event, but quickly got bored of shooting the same damn monster for hours. Injecting some uncommons or even a boss into the mix would have worked wonders here... Additionally there was the problem of getting the right weapons for this kind of monster - I've never been hunting big stuff, so I couldn't do much more than randomly get a gun from the auction I deemed able to do the job.

Stuff I'm planning for the "near" future (think 6 months *sigh*):

-) Game of Thrones season 1 review (ugh!)
-) Why I dropped Yu-No (visual novel)
-) Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime review (this will be another big one!)
-) Working on my first serious fanfic "Sennen Empire" (a Yugioh fanfic, basically a project for me to get back into writing fiction after a more than 5-year break!)

StuffIcouldreviewifIhadtakennotesbutIdidntsoIwouldhavetowatchthisstuffagainwhichprobablyisnt worththehassleeeee *pant pant*:

-) Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei anime
-) Another anime
-) Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (visual novel) (...though it would be a lot of fun to tear apart this clusterfuck!)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Entropia hunt logs #1 - Gallard, 5000, Hunt II

Gallard - 5000 - Hunt II (first one with full tracking)

Another 5000 Gallards down, still 5000 more to go to complete my first Iron Mission chain! I swunted a lot more this time around. Very happy with the skill gains. Net loss on the hunt much less than I had thought beforehand. Compared to Hunt I loot was somewhat worse (unfortunately I didn't track expenses in that one so I can't really compare the overall result). I occasionally healed other people with the mindforce chip, so it's not 100% accurate.

On a side note, scanning has gotten very frustrating now, barely any skill drops any more. I hit Level 7 Humanoid Investigator with big pains.

Globals: 0

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Interactive fiction review #10 - Last Resort

Last Resort by Jim Aikin

Imbalanced relation of size and difficulty

Last Resort by Jim Aikin is a large, ambitious mystery/fantasy game.

The player controls a teenage girl (unfortunately we don't learn much about her other than she's rather superficial and shallow) who, as we soon learn, is heading towards a rather grim destiny in the course of the day. To escape your predicament you have to perfectly solve a large number of puzzles which I would easily label INSANELY DIFFICULT. Herein lies the main problem of this game.

The player's puzzle-solving ambitions are hampered both by invisible timers and dead ends, which is an absolute no-go in a game of Last Resort's magnitude! The inclusion of puzzles which can only be solved in a short window of time completely contradicts with the game's non-linear approach to gameplay. Twice I progressed through a larger part of the game, only to be stumped with finding me in an unwinnable situation. (I gave up afterwards, as would most people.)

It is really a shame this game is held back by this ball and chain, because the writing and general approach are quite good. The game's events are somewhat unrealistic, but to a degree that can easily be forgiven. An example: Would you really let the girl you are going to sacrifice later in the day wander around freely? On the other hand a more interesting main character would likely put the player over the edge of trying to complete the frustrating puzzles. (In such situations, the game Portal always comes to my mind.)

To summarize, brave players might find quite some fun in this monstrous game. It's a trip best aided by the complex hint system. (I have asked the permission of the author to post the password - the usage of one should never be necessary in the first place! - here.) Password: Gertrude Stein

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Entropia Universe stuff #1 - 5000 Gallard drop list

5000 Gallard drop list

Blogger is being retarded when it comes to spreadsheets (or really anything other than plain text!), so this is the best I can get out of it.

This time unfortunately I didn't keep track of my expenses (600 PED of ammo... maybe?), but next time I'll be more careful. Piron PBP-0 (L) count and tt values are an approximation.

Oh yeah, and also extracted 27876 units of sweat out of these little space turkeys (before I got bored of swunting). Plus a trophy head (unfortunately there's no figurine for them). Fun time... but 10000 more await me!

Globals: 1 (about 15 PED)

Sum of returns: 376.90 PED

Item PED Quantity
Gallard hide 40.66 2033
Shrapnel 86.69 866992
Animal muscle oil 31.20 1040
Animal oil residue 27.01 2701
Animal hide 13.99 1399
Soft hide 0.40 4
Socket I component 3.30 33
Tier I component 1.10 11
Body fat 0.48 6
Nova fragment 0.04 4332
Blazar fragment 0.00 746
Corria timber 20.40 102
Hair gel 11.70 90
Wool 0.20 1
Thin wool 0.25 1
BLP pack 15.10 151098
Weapon cells 96.38 963831
Piron PBP-0 (L) 28.00 28 


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Retro Achievements Update #1

But why doesn't the picture center...

Retro Achievements is a project very dear to my heart. I've grown up with (a schoolmate's) SNES and been playing old games (mostly the SNES games I knew from my childhood) ever since I first downloaded an emulator (around 2004 I would guess). RA provides exactly what the name says. You simply register a RA account, download the modified emulators from there and the roms from any rom site and BAM you can play retrogames with achievements. Nintendo and Sega consoles and handhelds are available.

I found the site (by random googling) when there were 1000 members or so (some 3 years ago) and now it has over 10000, so it's growing nicely. I've entered the top 500 today, so still a way to go - I doubt I have the potential to become #1 since I never was one to quickly learn and master new games (or even play them for more than 2 hours if I didn't immediately figure them out) after I entered my teenage years (and especially during the last 5 or so years where I barely played anything new), but that's not much of a concern to me now. My only hope of ever getting to a competitive level in a multiplayer game died with League of Legends (which I am still sad about, though I don't miss it anymore - in fact I can barely remember ever playing it), so now the only thing I can excel at is to reach world class in certain single-player retrogames.

Back when I joined RA, I introduced the concept of a hardcore mode (i.e. no save-stating) to the administrator of RA, and he actually implemented it! Certainly a rare and blissful moment of being able to convince somebody on the internet of doing the logical thing. ^^

Anyway, my most important accomplishments so far are:

Grandmastery (i.e. getting all achievements for a game in hardcore - by the way, I only play hardcore! achieved in the order listed below):

-) Super Mario World
-) Donkey Kong Country 3
-) Kirby's Pinball Land
-) Donkey Kong Country 2
-) Donkey Kong Country 1

Achievements that were specifically hard to get included beating Lost World K.Rool in DKC3 and King K.Rool in DKC2 while taking no hit in the respective battle - I had massive trouble with both of those and actually consider the first-mentioned the hardest thing I've ever done in a (single-player) video game.

Other noticeable events included me beating a Pokemon game for the first time in my life (on emulator at least, I probably beat Pokemon Red or Blue on a schoolmate's gameboy back when it came out) and scoring the highest legitimate score on Kirby Pinball I could find documented video-wise on the internet - one guy has over 17 million but himself basically admitted that score had been scored with cheating). Sure, that game can be cheesed pretty easily, but it still takes a lot of effort to stay concentrated during the many hours (pinball is like that) it takes to score big. Digital pinball games are the video game genre I'm absolutely best at, and I hold some de facto world records (even though of course competition on these games was never that high - but still!)

So, more thoughts on video games when I full clear some more games. Right now I can't really see what the next one will be though...