AFUT: Amercenaries XIV

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Hey youz!  Yeah, I am back.  It is another tabletop update.  I have been busy in my world, but it is time to focus on this one.

Out of the other scenarios, I find this one more satisfying, primarily because the story moves forward.  I enjoy the hijinks of these guys getting in the way of each other, but there has been too much of that as of late.  Due to some characters missing, thus not giving misinformation, the other players are able to move forward.  The next go-round, they might be able to complete their mission (which should have occurred in 2 to 3 games, but has obviously been going on much longer).

I really enjoy the insane conversations that come from this game, but it gets out of hand when everyone gets hung up on wrong details, and purposefully screwing each other over.  It is fun, but often gets in the way of the narrative.  Can I help the group stay focused on their target?  I don’t know…let’s see what the wild cards have to say about that.


See you on the other side, folks.


Hey everyone,

The last 9 weeks have been busy!  I know that I have been putting my writing aside, but it is for good reason.  My wife is pregnant!  Yup, I am going to be a dad, so as any parent would know, priorities change.  I will do my best to keep the blog alive, and I will spurt out many blog posts at times.  I still need my writing outlet after all.  I just know the frequency is going to be inconsistent.  I have plenty of ideas, and just general thoughts that I am willing to throw onto this digital canvas.

However, I have the next seven months to work on the many necessities for the little one.  Also, I am moving next week, so yeah, there is enough happening to keep me busy.  Also, I am planning on getting my MCSA certification next month.

Okay, this post is already getting a bit ranty, and sound more like a planner.  Let’s see if I can jump onto some gaming discussions for this weekend.

See you on the other side, folks.

Time Well Spent…

Hey everyone!

It has been awhile.  It has taken my being sick to screech me to a halt to allow myself to get some things done on the gaming front.  Last weekend, I was going to see my bud Bill along with Rico, but due to medical issues, Bill wasn’t available.  It was the hope in seeing him that I worked really hard on getting the new card game ready, but I only ended up getting a third of the deck finished, but that is the best progress I have had in two years.  So, maybe something might be publishable by the end of the year.  Maybe?

As for this week, since I have been sick, I finally sat down with Last of Us and Thomas Was Alone.  Despite the significant differences between the two games, I understand both their acclaim.  There will really not be much need for review on either, because my viewpoint doesn’t differ from the majority.  I am just glad (spoiler) that I didn’t end the game in tears like some other particular games that come mind.  Thomas Was Alone was done in a manner that had the potential for sadness in itself, but it was just a beautiful story that was done in a simple, puzzle-solving format.  Last of Us had plenty of sad, and intense moments, but I wasn’t left reeling at the end.  I just ended up more in contemplation as to what the actions really meant for each character.  The characters were beautifully, truly flawed, with strong, believable motivations, and I gave a damn about each of them, despite some of the frightening shortcomings.

As for what destroyed my weekend, and caused me to love it, then hate it, then love it, then really hate it…that was System Shock 2.  This game takes an average of twenty-four play hours, and the content is pretty heavy, but part of that game is going back and searching around old locations.  I HATE backtracking, especially if you are missing that one item.  It is one of the problems that plagued games of the time, despite all the leaps and bounds that System Shock 2 made.  I get why purists point to the game, but dually it represents both the good and bad of games in that time period.

Already playing the original Bioshock, I saw right away where Bioshock took its queues.  The surprises (spoilers) in each game can be related, if not considered a direct copy of approach in how the player progresses.  I haven’t finished System Shock 2, partly because it stuck me in the middle of finding one of fifteen items.

If you haven’t played it, be sure to get the graphics update patch to make it bearable on your new machine.  Even then, the graphics look dated, but you will thank me.  If you can’t find all of the mods (including audio), send me a message, and I will connect my DropBox to you.  Anyways, that is all I have to report.

See you on the other side, folks.

AFUT: Amercenaries XIII

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Hey gang!  Long time no see.  This is just an update on the tabletop side of things.  We have another tabletop session coming up within the week.

We did do another session last month, but it was done by another DM, and it was a Silent Hill special.  While we did record it, I haven’t gotten his permission to post.  Hopefully, that will change soon.

As for my recent addition…(by recent, I mean December), there is still trouble with forcing direction on the players.  For the most part, everyone is caught up, but an end to the mission needs to be seen.  This game has had at least a 4 to 5 session for just the one mission.  Everyone is still too cautious, and pointing fingers at each other that nothing is getting done.

So, to all who are listening…get your characters in gear.  You can only live so long.

See you on the other side, folks.

Vindictus Steam Exclusive Package Weekend

If you’ve played around in the MMO scene, you may have heard of this little gem.  Well, I must say that now is the time to try it.

There is an exclusive Steam package for this weekend only.  With it, you get the following:

“• 30-Day VIP Pass – For 30 days, live like a true Vindictus VIP. This Pass will provide your character with enhanced stats, a chance for additional Boss loot, one extra Raid entrance per day and bonus EXP. This item can be found in your NX Storage Chest. Right Click the 30-Day VIP Pass to activate it. This Pass will remain active for 30 straight days, so log in every day to experience the full benefit of the 30-Day VIP Pass.

• 30-Day Cadet Badge – Enjoy 600 Extra defense and 10 extra Luck for 30 days! This item will provide you with damage resistance and a chance to get extra loot in dungeons. This item can be found in the NX Storage Chest. Right Click the 30-Day Cadet Badge to equip it.

• 30-Day Unlimited Hair Pass – Upgrade your ‘do with the Unlimited Hair Pass, which allows you to change your hair style and color an unlimited number of times for 30 days! New hair styles and colors can be selected from the Avatar Shop. The Avatar shop can be accessed by clicking on the Avatar icon on the bottom left hand side of the screen. When purchasing your hair style, select Unlimited Hair Pass from the drop down menu in the payment confirmation screen. Your new hair style will appear in your NX Storage Chest. Right click on your new hair to equip it. Any hair purchased with this token can only be used for 30 days after you receive your Ultimate Hair Pass.

• 30-Day Unlimited Inner Armor Pass – Upgrade your skivvies with the Unlimited Inner Armor Pass, which allows you to change your Inner Armor style and color an unlimited number of times for 30 days! New Inner Armor styles and colors can be selected from the Avatar Shop. The Avatar shop can be accessed by clicking on the Avatar icon on the bottom left hand side of the screen. When purchasing your Inner Armor, select Unlimited Inner Armor Pass from the drop down menu in the payment confirmation screen. Your new Inner Armor will appear in your NX Storage Chest. Right click on your new Inner Armor to equip it. Any Inner Armor purchased with this token can only be used for 30 days after you receive your Ultimate Inner Armor Pass.

• 100x Merc Recovery Potion – Live to fight another day with 100 Merc Recovery Potions. Add these to your hotkey bar, and you can recovery 1300 HP Instantly!”

That being said, I have a love/hate relationship with this game.  It’s biggest selling point is the physics-based combat.  You can grab materials and use them to attack your enemy.  Anywhere from harpoons, to spears, to baskets, to stone corpses, to using existing traps that may kill you, there are plenty of ways to carry out combat.  It is a nice turn around on the MMO scene…although not recent, because this has been out for years now.  That being said, I only feel compelled to play it every now and then.  It struggled on my old PC, but the lag is still apparent at times on my new PC, and my upgraded 50/10 cable.  Perhaps, that is the cost of a physics engine that guides 10’s of objects on screen?  Also, while the graphics, overall are pretty good, I think that the effects are beautiful and the 2d art is nice in terms of NPC interaction.

Nevetheless, the game can be overwhelming in terms of quests to do and items to collect.  If you start from the beginning and stick with it, you may be able to keep up, but if you walk away for a bit, it just seems insane to absorb the old details in such a short amount of time.  Worse, this game, despite its unique style of play, doesn’t feel like it has a true identity.  There is the pay2getstuff aspect of decking out your avatar in garb that is powerful and stylish, but is as abrupt in its representation of the lore as an anime skin would be in Skyrim.  The style jumps from Victorian, to Ninja Gaiden, to Final Fantasy, when its original base seemed to lean towards medieval fantasy.

At the end of the day, it is free, and a different way to play an MMO.  Did I also mention that it is gorgeous?

If you enjoy what you read here, please give me a like.  If you wish to continue reading my work, please hit “Follow”, and I will be sure to bring some more articles your way.

See you on the other side, folks.

Handy in the Bed: Nvidia Shield Portable

Hey everyone!

Hope this article is finding you all in good spirits.  With no celebrations around the corner, I think it is time to get into something fun as local as the hard drive.  Really, it is more about the hardware at this point, and since I don’t do hardware reviews, this will be a general observation of what I have experienced thus far.

Looking at the Nvidia Shield Portable, I had a heavy debate as to whether I would even consider this for the gaming front.  Pricewise, I couldn’t be convinced to spend 200 dollars (plus the 150 for a proper network upgrade) just to extend my PC’s playing capability to the bedroom.  Well, thanks to GameStop (I honestly never thought I would say that), I was able to get it for 127 over the holidays.

In terms of comparing it to its bigger, but younger brother, the Nvidia Shield Tablet, I would have honestly preferred the tablet just due to its bigger screen, and general tablet uses, but the change in price tag is what sent me in the Shield’s direction.  Also, (other than the holiday deal) I would have had to purchase a separate controller for the tablet, adding another 50 to the price tag.  So, now that the expenditure out of the way…

So, going over the basics, it is a touchscreen with a controller attached.  It’s OS is Android KitKat.  It has little CPU fans that pull from the front to the rear of the controller.  It uses the Tegra 4 processor, and the recent release of Tegra X1 may very well be the reason for the temporary drop in price.

I found that when playing, this is ideal for when you are ready to go to bed.  The controller is a bit heavy long term, but if you are enjoying the game, you may find yourself up to the light of dawn, ignoring the pain in your wrists.  It’s ability to stream about 15 feet with a closet in the way was overall pretty smooth with the occasional hiccup every 5 to 10 minutes.  The hiccup wasn’t by any means game breaking, and barely distracting.

The biggest pro, compared to its bigger brother is the attachment of the controller to its screen.  It is a true portable in this sense.  However, game streaming is limited to local.  Nevertheless, if you are willing to use Nvidia GRID, you could  take advantage of lots of pc games through the streaming service from Nvidia.  Perhaps that will be worth a review, but I vacation so little, and I can’t justify the needed streaming through other wifi means in territories that aren’t my home.  When I am out the door, a good book or my PSP 3000 will suffice.

So, the only need is local, but for a relaxed state.  It is ideal for lying on my back to enjoy what games are available.  Despite the excellent design, I will say its biggest setback is the size of the screen.  Running at 720p, it isn’t a bad little touchscreen, but if you are playing a game with heavy details and a minimap (Shadow of Mordor comes to mind), then you are going to have some struggles with perceiving everything that happens on screen.

So, in the end, should you go for this device?  If you already have what is required, have a ridiculous backlog of Steam games, are a high powered PC enthusiast, and don’t care much for its limitation outside of your home, then this would be ideal, especially at $130, which is less than a lot of the portable game machines out there.  While I lay down next to my wife as she watches Netflix, I get to let loose on games that have long awaited my presence from many seasons back.

In the future, when reviewing games, expect my discussion about this Nvidia Shield Portable to be introduced for each one.  If you wish to see a general list of what is supported, go here.

If you like what you read, click to Like, and if you would like to see other articles, click to Follow.

See you on the other side, folks.

The End of 2014

Here we are at the end of another very eventful year.  There have been many happenings, both good and bad.  As I sit here and enjoy my stout, I realize how much I have been able to enjoy this precious time with friends and family.  Between tabletop, the cons, and video games, this year has been a wonderful experience.

There are a lot of plans that I have for the upcoming year.  The gaming front is looking excellent (especially with my newly built PC).

Beyond that, I don’t have anything new to say.  However, I hope that this article finds you all well, and that you got what you have wanted this year (whether some games, some playtime or time with those that matter to you).

Happy New Year!

I will see you on the other side folks.

AFUT: Amercenaries Part XII


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Hello everyone, and welcome again to another series of unfortunate events with the bumbling fun of our mercenaries.

While I enjoy this, it definitely doesn’t get easier as I get older.  As a GM, I still continue to face many challenges.  Sometimes, it is the success.  A lot of the guys enjoy it, but there is a lot of maintenance in keeping track of 5+ players.  Then, there is the challenge of keeping the player on the webcam engaged.  Listening to the audio, I found that for the most part, it all worked out.

The next challenge…keeping players focused.  Some of the argument was due to players forgetting the mechanics.  That laser cannon that is getting hauled around is causing more trouble for the group, and I was certain that I would have had to bury a few characters before the night was out, just due to misunderstandings.

The final challenge:  Social anxiety.  It hits hard for me when I just get tired and there are too many people in the room.  I have to say, if you are a GM, and deal with social anxiety, I really sympathize.  There are just moments in the game where I get lost in thought due to too many people in the room.  The loud talking and constant interruptions have been becoming a problem.  When too much is happening, I can’t process it.  I start talking, not even thinking about what I am saying, and start making a lot of mistakes.  The rib cage incident is what is sticking out in my head.

However, even with all the struggles, I still enjoy it immensely.  I can never recall laughing so hard at the incidents.  The amount of absurdity through conversation is utterly fantastic, and it is something you can’t get from any writing or show.  It is the back and forth between these guys that make it random and funny.  Collaboration at its finest.

Anyways, that is it.

See you on the other side, folks.

Game On

Hello everyone!

I hope you all have been able to enjoy your holidays, and didn’t go too crazy with the food or the sales.  If you did, I completely understand.  In making a budget for the next three years, assuming our income doesn’t change, my wife put forth a plan that allowed me the “go ahead” for a new PC.

So, thanks to sales, I built this sum6%!$#  I spent much less than what is listed here.  I highly recommend this site if you are looking at compatibility between your parts, plus keeping with the up-to-date sales.  Also, I have been stalking the reddit forums for “hot” sales as well.

When it comes to “next-gen”, I just can’t buy into the current consoles.  They don’t have enough exclusives to justify their purchase, nor the firepower to really meet the needs of what will be a continually expanding market (at least graphically).  The only reason I would want the Xbox One is for the Master Chief collection…yeah, that is the only reason.  The PS4, being the more powerful console, has a couple of games that look interesting, but no lasting appeal.  A good example is No Man’s Sky, but procedural generating is becoming bland in my eyes.  There are still plenty of good uses for it, but it just seems to be a crutch for game design.  I would love to discuss that in more detail one day.  Back to the point, I have plenty of backlog with PS3 games anyways, especially since they are getting to almost-Steam level of cheap.

Then there is the recognition of PC gaming that has finally taken a nice little stride.  I am talking about fighting games.  Street Fighter IV, then V, the Mortal Kombat series, Dead or Alive, Dynasty Warriors, and plenty others.  Best of all, I don’t have to utilize a subscription to keep the titles I have purchased (thanks, consoles).

Anyways, there is one important factor with a PC overall.  Modding.  Once I transfer my Steam database from my other machine, I will work on a higher texture Skyrim.  I can’t help it, but I just love that game, especially when it is modded with all those realism gems.

Well, there wasn’t much to this article other than an update to what has taken up nearly all of my time in the past month.  Also, I gotta shake the typing cobwebs off.  I think December is looking good for lots of reasons, gaming only being one of them.

See you on the other side, folks.

Writer’s Wall

Hey everyone,

It has been a busy month here. I just signed my wife up for the gym, so we have been working out together 3 to 4 nights a week. We are getting ready for a half marathon to run together in November.  I am ecstatic that she is joining me in this.  As for the rest of the nights, I have thrown myself into film editing and reworking a novel that I haven’t touched in years. So, the blog just hasn’t gotten much attention. More on that…


I had some ideas, especially relating to Payday 2, and Guns of Icarus.  Both are fun games that I have gotten to enjoy, but there is a stress in writing about them, and I realized that it may not just be them.  There is a definite stress when it comes to reviews that I don’t enjoy.  Besides that, there are plenty of writers who do it better, and have a better business sense in the approach.  As for me, if I find something worth writing about, I will do it, but the wave of inspiration comes and goes.  Honestly, why would you come here or other review sites, when there are plenty of reasonable reviews from metacritic, which you can weigh and balance, or on Steam, or sites that sell the said games.  If my reviews really benefited the reader, then there would be a stronger purpose in my writing, and it would be more regular.  However, the industry is white-washed with reviewers, who are far more critical thinkers than me, and I am okay with that, which brings me to my next point.

Too many.  Reviewers, that is.  For many this is a business.  For me, this has been fun.  However, in this territory, if one is committed to such a thing, then the person would have to review whatever he or she touched, good or bad.  I am not interested in a game that doesn’t grab me.  I have plenty in my Steam account, and I will not be short on the gaming world for a long time, but to write a review for each one?  Nope.  When a game entrances me, or strikes a nerve, then hellz bellz yes.


Also, when making this blog, I was going to focus on gaming and exclude shows, but realistically, I spend more time watching shows, and it takes something extra special to turn me away from my computer to stare at the TV and actually engage.  Lately, I have found TV shows more engaging than most games these days.  Also, since I don’t have one of the newer generation gaming machines, my reviews cannot keep up with the trend unless I am doing something Indie, and again, the freaking industry is white washed with that too (this subject will be a blog).  So, shows will be in.  I have been loving, and have been severely disappointed in what has transpired in the story telling field of television.  “How I Met Your Mother” comes to mind, and yes, that will be a review that may give you the feeling of my shouting at the screen, but again…later.

When it comes down to it, I am all things storytelling, and while I enjoy procedurally generated games, I feel like this has become a crutch.  Okay…trying to stay on subject.  I am not the most logical or business type person, so regular reviewing is not going to work on my end.  Of course, I will occasionally express an opinion, but no more of this categorizing garbage.  The central theme will always be the story in my line of work, and that’s all there is to it.

Don’t worry.  I will still post recipes, tabletop audio, and other events because I like to share fun and tidbits of knowledge to allow others to enjoy what I have.  I will be focusing on more frequent little blogging articles, but more importantly on in-depth discussion blogs.  Even though I haven’t been writing here lately, the amount of controversy in the gaming industry has been painful and downright appalling to read.  I may be able to write some more meaningful discussion on that, but also I have caution especially when seeing some of the backlash.

As for hopes and dreams, whenever I finish the novel and the card game, I will be certain to share tidbits here as well.  When I am finished with my film editing work, I may share some of that as well, but no promises.  Anyways, that’s all I have.

See you on the other side, folks.