A collection of 3 posts

Juggling Joysticks

As I am chronically incapable of playing just one game at a time there is usually a host of games I cycle through as I get tired of one and need to play something else. I try to keep the genres varied and usually have some simple casual games on stand-by.

Since my pain levels fluctuate as well I cannot always play what I want and have to make due. If my hands are cramping up too much or I just cannot sit in my chair without pain I may couch game something simple instead.

There are games that keep returning to my playlist year after year, especially when new DLC or a whole new version is released like Civilization which is a franchise which I have literally played on and off since its first release in 1991. It is probably one of my most played games.

Then there’s the open world games that I have a big love for but have to add is still sadly not always done quite right. Too much traveling back and forth or too many side quests so that I forget what I was even doing doesn’t help. I like content but games like those often lack a proper internal journal of some sort other than the most basic “this is the quests you are on”. Thanks, but if I leave the game for a few weeks, or even months, it can take hours (or days) to figure out what I was going for and what my personal goals were. Like going for a certain skill in order to be able to upgrade a weapon or combining certain quests in the same area.

I mix these games with easier games like point and click adventures, which is a passion of mine, and true casual shit like card games and picross of which I have played – and finished – many. The casual games I often play while thinking about some of my current tech projects as they don’t take a whole lot of brain power and the added input, along with some music in the background, helps me focus.

Currently my playlist looks somewhat like this:

Big Games

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
    Currently on hold waiting for the major re-balancing patch. I also have trouble finished games in this one as turns start to take a very long time and it can get a little boring when you’re just going through the motions when you’ve technically already won but you still have to play 100 long turns.
  • Fallout 4
    As I have played this for well over 300 hours and have finished the game before, I am now doing a (slightly modded) survival run which keeps me busy but also made the game significantly harder. If I die before being able to sleep after doing a 1-2 hour run I may lose interest for a while so it can take a bit before I pick it up again. The “What was I doing again?” factor I mentioned above plays a big factor here as well.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Oldrim)
    Heavily modded because honestly it is needed to make it interesting. While highly praised and a game practically everyone has played at one point I find it hard to keep going. The lack of color and diversity in dialogue doesn’t help. While I have well over 100 hours in this game I have never even come close to finishing it. Maybe one day.
  • Assassin’s Creed IV:  Black Flag
    I keep coming back to this game. It’s just Some people say it’s not actually a good Assassin’s Creed game but I don’t care about that. I just care about how much enjoyment I can get out of a game and this is one that hits a lot of the good spots for me. Except the Quick-Time Events. Fuck those.


  • The Sims 4
    Another franchise I have played on and off since its inception. It just captivates me. Yes, the DLC can get out of hand but there literally is no other game like it. I always play it completely without cheats, starting with a dirt poor Sim trying to make ends meet and attempting to add more Sims to the (very gay) family and playing those and making them all succeed at their life goals. While highly enjoyable I do take long breaks between sessions as it’s easy to get burned out on it. Still, it’s one of my favorite franchises of all time.
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2
    Now I only got into this relatively recently but I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I snagged it during a good sale which included a bunch of DLC. It’s been hard work doing enough trips to make the money to buy my own truck but it was worth it. The game is very soothing and relaxing to play though I yell at other drivers sometimes. Just like real life! It’s not a game you can just play for a few minutes though and I have to be in the right mindset so my playtime frequency varies a lot with this one.


  • Faerie Solitaire Harvest
    One of my many, many card games I have played over the years. I don’t always finish them but they are good time-wasters and easy to just play for a few minutes.
  • Sam & Max Save the World Remastered
    I recently played through this. There was a bit of controversy about the rewrite of a handful of lines of dialogue and the replacement of a voice actor but it was way overblown and mainly came from SJW haters. The game was fun and fine. Worked great on the couch with a gamepad too!
  • Catlateral Damage
    This was a gem that made my days better, really. I just recently finished it and it was a great experience that I wrote about here.

Now this may not seem like that big of a playlist (or maybe it does, I don’t know) but this is far from an exhaustive list. I only named the ones I have played the most in recent months. The above game are all interspersed with others like Cities: Skylines, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Plague, Inc: Evolved, Slime Rancher, and many others. They are just less frequent staples at the moment. I have also finished some shorter games in the mean time. Then there’s Rocksmith 2014 Edition which takes actual hardware to set up that I don’t always have the energy for so I don’t play it as often as I would like. Plus I have to take my neighbors into account as I don’t play it quietly.

All of this is not taking into account all of the games I have on my “want to start” list. This list is absolutely massive but I try to keep it down to a few each time so I can replace one of the above games with a new one once I finish something or get too tired of it.

This list of games include quite a few nice titles that I simply have not gotten around to yet:

To-Do List

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
    Not everyone seems to be a fan of this Tomb Raider reboot but I enjoyed the previous two installments quite a bit and am looking forward to finishing off the trilogy.
  • BioShock Remastered
    I never got very far the first time around when I quit it but I hear so much good stuff about these games that I do want to get back into them eventually.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
    I’ve replayed Asylum and City a few times but since this game had a rocky start with lots of bugs it had fallen way down my list. Supposedly all of those issues have been fixed and the game is perfectly playable now.
  • So many point and clicks!
    There’s the Wadjet Eye developed games I haven’t started yet like Primordia, and Technobabylon; the Grim Fandango remaster; Fran Bow; and I haven’t even touched that new King’s Quest from The Odd Gentlemen yet!

There’s more. There’s always more. But those are pretty high up on my list. Too many games, too little time!

Time to make a mess!

I recently picked up Catlateral Damage from Steam while it was on sale for just over two bucks. I am always on the lookout for fun games to play that feature cats in one form or another and this one had been on my wishlist for a while.

Catlateral Damage start screen showing the logo, a menu, and cute 3D rendered cat with all kinds of stuff that was knocked down around it.
Catlateral Damage start screen showing the logo, a menu, and cute 3D rendered cat with all kinds of stuff that was knocked down around it.

The primary objective of the game is simple. Whack stuff so it falls on the floor, and do so repeatedly and everywhere you can. You will unlock more adorable cats as you accomplish more goals. The regular levels just have a set amount of objects you need to whack before the time runs out and there are a few specials levels you can unlock by whacking their respective unique objects. This includes a massive Supermarkat where you have to whack the items listed on your grocery list and a Mewseum (that includes a big dinosaur skeleton) where you have to do a high amount of monetary damage. There is also a litterbox mode where you can whack at your heart’s content without a time limit. And yes, the game is absolutely filled with cat puns.

I couch-gamed this on the TV with my Xbox Series X gamepad and it was super satisfying. Took me a minute to figure out the best way to about it but hint: books and plates add up fast! It took me 12 hours spent over several days to complete the game which has achievements along the lines of whack 20,000 objects, unlock all cats, and catch 10 mice. The last one, Play the game on a Caturday, I did on the main PC and one of our cats, Borko, was quite interested and started doing some whacking himself and knocked off a speaker and came very close to toppling the monitor as well. So I guess you could say it is feline approved.

For the amount I paid and the enjoyment I got out of it I would say it was money well spent and I highly recommend this if you need to release some frustration or just enjoy cat games. It has native Linux support and ran flawlessly. There’s a  Remeowstered version coming out but it looks like that will not have a Linux build. All in all I give this game a solid 8 out of 10.

Fallout 4 Survival Run Start

So I decided to start up Fallout 4 again a while ago and this time around try and do a survival mode run. I had to read up a bit on what it would entail as it is supposed to be much more difficult but a lot of players also seem to agree it is the way it was meant to be played. We’ll see I guess!

Now, after a reinstall of my OS I sadly lost a bunch of screenshots of the progress I made so a lot of this first bit will be from memory, which admittedly isn’t all that great, so bear with me. Luckily the first part tends to be mostly the same in every playthrough so there’s isn’t much variation until later in the game.

I play with a few mods, I try to minimize it to reduce impact and prevent potential crashes as much as possible, but there are a few that I deem essential, others that improve enjoyment, and some that just plain make the game prettier to look at. First of all I added the Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch because no Bethesda game should run without their specific users-made fixes. Then there’s a bunch of texture improvements, UI enhancement so there’s less scrolling and more data with less clicking, full dialogue so you don’t have to guess what you’re going to say when choosing an option.

Then what I absolutely never run without is Everyone’s Best Friend, which enables you to keep Dogmeat as a companion along with any other companion. This was always supposed to be in the main game but got disabled at release for some reason. All the code and even some dialogue is still in the game. All this mod does is re-enable it. It’s the way it’s meant to be played I’m sure.

Since Survival Mode is hard and I’m not the greatest gamer in the world I did make a few tweaks to make it easier on me by adding the ability to use established trade routes as a fast travel point using the Journey mod. This means once I’ve set up settlements and set a trade route between them I can travel from those settlements to any other that has a trade supply line set up. It still means I cannot travel to any that haven’t been set up yet, nor can I travel from anyplace other than a settlement with a trade route. So there is still a massive amount of walking involved, just less so from established settlements. I also use a mod someone recommended to me to dump your loot into any random outside container and put a Salvage Beacon in it to alert a Salvager NPC to pick it up and bring it to the settlement of your choice. This helps tremendously reduce the amount of running back and forth you have to do, especially when you’re knee deep in an area without any settlements nearby.

Portrait of my Fallout 4 character, Alex. An older black woman with big white rimmed sunglasses, and a minuteman hat.
Portrait of my Fallout 4 character, Alex. An older black woman with big white rimmed sunglasses, and a minuteman hat.

So I made Alex, an older black woman who just wanted to settle down but then the bombs fell and her life turned upside down. I never cared for the fact that her history is very heterosexual but thankfully that is a very minimal part of the story. I go through the usual starting antics. Son gets kidnapped, frozen for 200 years, wake up and find my way to Sanctuary. Blah blah, boring stuff and anyone who has played this game before knows this part by heart now. Since I have no desire to use a Mr. Handy as a companion I quickly find Dogmeat and start working my way to Concord and find Preston Garvey. As much as he gets on my nerves he is a pretty decent companion, especially for the first part of the game. I rescue the guy, bring him and the handful of additional survivors back to Sanctuary and set up my first temporary home base. I have no intention of staying here but as I progress through the first few levels of the game I make sure it is well protected before I practically abandon the place.

A lot of this first part is just desperately trying to gain levels for perks, find some proper armor and weapons, and not trying to die all the time due to illnesses. I was not prepared for how badly disease and illness would affect gameplay and it wasn’t something I could properly address until much later as I did not have the requirements to do something about it. I was going to turn Alex into a sniper build but I honestly didn’t pay a whole lot of attention during character creation so I didn’t have quite the right setup yet which would need correcting over the levels. I had no desire to start over, I just decided to ‘suffer’ for a while.

One of my main priorities was to set up as many settlements in the area as I can to make travel a bit easier though at first that was still a bit tricky, especially having to clear entire buildings before a settlement would align with me. Still, I slowly made progress and managed to set up places like Abernathy Farm and Outpost Zimonja. Eventually I made it to the Starlight Drive-In which I slowly built up to be my new home base. Once I made it to level 16 I had enough S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points to build a clinic to help ease the pain of the rampant illnesses though it wasn’t as helpful as I hoped and realized I was going to have to learn how to make antibiotics myself one day.