Almost a full week of “real” work is in the rear view mirror and it’s time to take a look at why we work: the weekend. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked so forward to 5 o’clock on Friday, but it’s not just because of my new gig. I received something via post earlier this week that’s had my game juices flowing and I’ve been dying to try it out. What am I talking about? Keep reading.
Lumines Remastered will never be uninstalled from my Switch and I will not stop playing it until I can complete the 100 level gauntlet in one go. The game is just as good as I remembered it on PSP, maybe even better. The game uses the Switch’s HD Rumble to get you into the trademark music-puzzle trance almost instantly, especially if you’re using a good pair of headphones. I sit down to play and everything around me just melts away.
7,62 High Calibre (and more)
Friends! TGIF, or in the case of us to the immediate west of the International Date Line, hope you’re having a killer Saturday.
This weekend, the usual suspects. Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, because it’s Deadlock and it’s the best. Smidge of Atlas Reactor here, maybe a touch of Shellshock Live there. But here’s an oddity that I’ve had the briefest of trysts with, and decided that it’s time to settle down and commit.
7,62 High Calibre, or more specifically, 7,62 Hard Life. And yes, those are indeed commas. High Calibre was the Russian successor to the venerable Jagged Alliance 2, and while busted, wonky and ugly, High Calibre took the increasingly geriatric combat of JA2 and gave it 3D fluidity a few extra layers of crunch. Hard Life is the free community mod that actually comes served with the game on purchase, to the extent that it’s a completely independent download to High Calibre. It fixes bugs, overhauls systems, and balloons the content payload. It is, for lack of a better comparison, the 1.13 of High Calibre.
It’ll be a journey not unlike freeing Arulco from the despotic grip of Deidranna, only with a lot more of those utterly Eastern Bloc fidelities. Obstinate interface, brutalised translation, exhausting combat, inscrutable quest logs, but absolutely Soviet in its pursuit of an all-encompassing mercenary management experience. Flak jackets and ciggies for days.
Failing that, there’s always Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Allow me to die on that particular hill another time.
Have a lovely one, Statelies.
- Battlestar Galactica Deadlock for PC via Steam, $20 (on sale)
- Atlas Reactor for PC via Steam, free
- Shellshock Live for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $4 (on sale)
- 7,62 High Calibre + Hard Life for PC via Steam, $1.25 (on sale)
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
It’s been a long-term goal of mine to get a Private Pilot License at some point in the future (when I can afford the thousands of dollars it costs) so I’m really enjoying flying small aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. Playing with a controller is not as good as I imagine a joystick would be, but it’s precise enough to actually make me feel like I’m actually flying a plane.
The best part of the game is that it offers several guided lessons that mimic the experience of learning to fly in real life. I can see why this game is such a mainstay for flight simulator fans. It’s immersive without being overly difficult for a complete beginner such as myself to enjoy, but you can also play it hyper realistically if you so choose.
If you’ve ever been curious about flying, I’d pick this thing up – it’s on sale for 9.99 on Steam for the Summer Sale.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Donkey Kong has joined Mario and the Rabbids in primary-color XCOM, and I’m quite looking forward to returning to that game. Looks like status quo on iOS for me (KoDP never stuck for me, so I’ll be giving these new ages a pass), but I’ll see if I can get my new Steam Link working for some new couch options. I tried it this afternoon, and I’m still in search of curses sufficiently mild to convey my ability to keep this in perspective but firm enough to communicate the foolishness of this design. It works with numerous controllers I own as well as a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so you’d think I’d be all set, but you need a wired mouse or Steam controller, neither of which I have, to set up any of those. Once my eyeballs cooled to hot coals, I realized that my wireless trackball with the USB dongle will sort of work, but then I had to update some drivers on the Mac. Had some games which said they weren’t designed for controllers, but that you could use them anyway, so I got all the way to looking at a blank screen with a little blueish cursor before taking a break. Reminds me of why I gave up on building my own PCs and now do most of my computing on a Mac and gaming on iOS, consoles, or tabletops.
Speaking of tables, after much consideration of exactly what I wanted to do for a new basement game table, I just bought a simple one via Craigslist. It’s 4’x3’, which is the size I wanted for the interior of my vault, so I have plans for how to adapt it. But now I don’t need to buy chairs or worry about the legs, which was never going to be the interesting bit.
Anything I can throw on the table (and American Truck Driver)
While I’ve been busy in the office all week, sitting in my basement is something I’ve only dreamed about: a real game table. You know, one of those obnoxious hunks of wood you see in all the board game videos because real gamers have tables just for games, or some such nonsense. I’ve wanted one since the heyday of places like Geek Chic, but could never even get the courage to ask Ms. Neumannium to drop $5-$10K on a dining room table just so I can pump up my game cred. Enter Game Toppers. I met them at Gen Con last year and was instantly intrigued. Instead of an entire table, they just give you the playing surface and rails and you throw it on your existing dining room table. This had a few advantages for me. First of all, it was easy enough to stash away when company comes over, making our dining room table into a regular dining table again. Secondly, it was cheap, relative to the other options. Rathskellers, for example, sells dining-room sized tables for up to €4500 whereas my baby cost about $1K. I’m sure it’s not as nice and lacks a lot of their bells and whistles, but, for a fraction of the price, it’s an amazing table.
Anyway, it’s been calling my name all week and this weekend I’ll put it to the test. Plans include playing the Crusader Kings board game, of which I have an early prototype, as well as more Darkest Night and Nemo’s War. Friends are coming over tomorrow and that means we’ll get some 18xx action or, maybe, I’ll pull out Brass. Yeah, Brass is sounding good right now.
If I can pull myself away from the game table, I’ll also put some more miles on my rig in American Truck Simulator. I know, I can’t believe I’m playing it either, but it’s actually a really fun and, mostly, relaxing way to see the US west. Of course I’ll also be putting time into Istanbul and Twilight Struggle on mobile, not to mention the ever-present Through the Ages.
- Game Toppers (The whole Scotland Yard package was mine), $1199.00
- Darkest Night (Second Edition) for tabletop via Amazon, $97
- Nemo’s War for tabletop via Amazon, $75
- Brass for iOS Universal, $6
- Brass for Android, $7
- Brass for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $10
- Istanbul for iOS Universal, $7
- Istanbul for Android, $7
- Twilight Struggle for iPad, $10
- Twilight Struggle for PC/Mac via Steam, $15
- Through the Ages for iOS Universal, $10
- Through the Ages for Android, $10
- Through the Ages for PC/Mac via Steam, $10