Indietail – Outer Wilds

Exploration is one of those key features used by a lot of video games these days. Usually, you end up exploring an area for secrets, collectables and shortcuts, which – when done right – can be very satisfying and essentially encourage you to do it more. In today’s review, we’re talking about a game that is all about exploration and that doesn’t rely on any of those features but rather makes the player piece together all the different clues and information in order create a bigger picture of sorts. Today, we’re taking a look at Outer Wilds.

Developer: Mobius Digital
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Release Date: Jun 18th, 2020
Genre: Space, Exploration, Puzzle, Mystery, Adventure
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, XBOX 1, PS4
Copy was purchased.

In a distant Solar System, we are tasked with finding out clues about an ancient civilisation only to find ourselves in a time loop similar to Majora’s Mask and Minit. After 21 real-time minutes, the sun is bound to explode, leaving us with the mission of finding out why this is happening.

Why does this universe end?
What do the ancient Nomai have to do with this?
How can we stop it?

To do this, we set out to different planets, solve a variety of puzzles, translate scrolls and ancient scriptures, so that we can get closer to the truth, one step at a time.

The Reveal Trailer is probably one of my all-time favourite trailers!

This is where the game shines. You retain all of your information whenever you die or whenever you reset. Hence, at the start of every loop, you get to lift off from the launch pad on Timberhearth, after having seemingly just dozed off at the campfire.

By scanning and translating different scriptures on walls and ancient ruins, you find out more about this ancient civilisation of the Nomai, who at first seem quite noble and distant but later become rather relatable and “normal”. You end up learning more about different tribes of Nomai that all worked together for Science and that all lived on different planets after they crashlanded in this universe.

While the leads and clues may, at first, seem daunting and overwhelming, your ship log usually tends to help you out by telling you if there’s more to explore in certain areas. It also displays the clues, all linked together, hence giving you some sort of lead to explore, if you ever find yourself in trouble.

There are two “modes” of movement in this game. You either travel from planet to planet and manoeuvre around the planets’ surfaces with your small little ship. Or you explore by foot, relying on your jetpack to reach high places if the gravity allows, and scanning things using your transcriptor. When you have a rough landing, you have to repair certain parts of your ship, like its oxygen tanks, electrical systems, the landing gear and other ones that are essential for safe travels. When you travel on foot, on the other hand, you have to watch your health and oxygen but also be sure to not get stuck somewhere without fuel. This makes for some interesting mechanics as different planets come with different hazards and gravity levels. On top of that, you, at times, have to reach certain places before your oxygen supplies run out, hence adding a little bit of pressure to you.

The different planets all shine in their own way. While Brittle Hollow has a black hole at its centre and while Dark Bramble is an enigma of its own, Giantsdeep features high gravity and a very harsh climate that allows vortexes on its surface to lift your ship and even islands into the air. I could assure you that every single planet and planetary body features a unique experience and that every journey to different sites and locations feels unprecedented and adventurous! At least, that’s something I fancied in my playthrough. Since there is no set starting point for every planet, though, you have to figure every planet out yourself and understand its systems, although you should have plenty of times for that – being trapped in a time-loop gives you a lot of time to think, eh?

Making use of a time-loop mechanic gives every 21-minute long adventure a unique vibe, that I really dig. At first, I felt a certain rush to find out as much as possible in every single loop, but then I noticed that it’s alright to take a breather at times and to enjoy the views. After all, Outer Wilds is a charming and gorgeous game, featuring a great score, some lovely dialogues, and a lot of clues, secrets and easter eggs to find in the ruins of the “old world”.

The soundtrack, composed by Andrew Prahlow, gives this title a certain adventure-vibe that helped me enjoy the ride a lot better. Different places feature different tracks while some other tracks get played when you’re getting close to your inevitable death, creating a rather fluid and non-linear experience every time you venture out into the Outer Wilds.

I love the soundtrack. I love the graphics. I love the gameplay. I love the story.

In summary, I love Outer Wilds.

Outer Wilds created a novel experience for myself, even when it has some shortcomings here and there:

Your experience at the beginning can be somewhat slow, for instance, as you try to figure out how certain planets work, where you have to go, what you’re supposed to do. I enjoyed that, myself, but I’d be able to see how this would influence other people’s experiences and how it could bother others.

You don’t have a lot of directions given to you, although there are other astronauts on every planet that you can visit to ask them for “interesting places”. Based on where you land on a planet, you get to see different places to find out other clues. At times, this can mislead you into thinking that you found out everything about a planet, resulting in you seemingly “getting stuck”. At other times, you may just be wondering how an end-game location like the Hourglass Twins tie into the whole story and what you’re supposed to do with these “timed locations”.

Overall, I wouldn’t deem this too much of an issue though. By revisiting places and by making use of your ship log, you should be able to get “unstuck” in no time and figure out new leads whenever you try out a different location or find out a new piece of the puzzle.

Another issue that I found with the game is the fact that there are some issues in the PC version of it. Your ship can seemingly take way too much damage when bumping into certain objects and at other times, you may just die from a fall that you usually would make, which I found a bit frustrating at times. Bugs are, however, very few and very rare, so usually, this just left me in confusion and didn’t make me suffer too much.

Alas, my verdict is that Outer Wilds is an exceptional game that is worth checking out if you’re interested in a “true” exploration experience with a non-linear time-loop-based story. The presentation is just magnificent and charming, the story and the end of it are just more than grand, and I’m really glad about having played through it after 24.4 hours. That whole day that I spend in there was 100% worth it!

Cheers!

The “How are you?” controversy and Fleeksie

Today a tweet by Twitch streamer “Fleeksie” blew up and went viral, causing a relatively one-sided discussion about small talk, streamer-to-chat-interaction and toxicity. I usually wouldn’t write about this since it’s just gonna pass after a day or two at max anyways but I thought it would be an interesting topic for a blog post.

Either way, first things first: What happened?
On September 6th, Fleeksie tweeted the following thread where she effectively complains about people coming to her stream and asking how she’s doing. While it’s somewhat understandable that she, as a bigger streamer, gets that question a lot throughout one stream I don’t think that this is the right approach to the problem. Obviously, she’s entitled to her own opinion and she can think and say whatever she wants (to a degree) but I don’t think that her response to this “problem” is valid at all, which is my opinion to which I’m entitled, obviously.

The “problem” at hand is the fact that people tend to ask a question at times and when other people join in later they may ask the same question as well not knowing that it was asked already before, resulting in the streamer answering the same question over and over again. This can range from a simple “How are you?” to stuff related to the stream or the content, like “Does Zoe’s Q proc her passive twice?” – a question that Vicksy has to answer relatively often throughout every stream.

My stance on this matter is that streams that are community-focused often rely on a little bit of Small Talk to get a conversation going. People joining in and being curious about your day or about your well-being is never bad – on the contrary, this opens up potential other topics like your job, your hobbies, your stream so far, games you’ve been playing, news you’ve heard about and other things. On top of that, you can ask others how they have been (which I do anyway, even if I didn’t get that question), resulting in you finding out things about your viewers, their well-being, job, hobbies and other things that they have done/read/heard, etc. You can then essentially just latch on to any of those conversation points to never run out of topics.

Hence, I wouldn’t say that Small Talk is essential to streaming but it is not the worst thing ever either and if anything it can actually help you.

Back to Fleeksie, she continues saying that she feels puke coming up whenever she reads “I’m good how are you?”. It’s apparently painful to respond to that question. Even if this physical reaction to a harmless question was real, being rude to others wouldn’t solve it at all.
To solve this “issue”, streamers could introduce a chat rule saying that you aren’t allowed to ask how the streamer is doing. It’s that simple. Especially with mods, you can just time people out or ban them when they do that and you’re fine. It’s not going to be necessarily helpful to do so, though, as people getting timed out for formalities or small talk is just stupid.

And as per usual, Twitter… was Twitter. The tweet went viral and all kinds of people ended up either meme-ing about it, asking her how she’s doing… or they had constructive criticism, saying that they personally don’t agree… or they were just toxic. But Fleeskie also didn’t make things better, constantly tweeting about how she’s not getting scratched by it while also still going on about it, showing that it affects her. And while I don’t agree with her attitude and how she’s handling the situation, I don’t think it’s alright for people to straight-up attack her. Even when she’s now tweeting about how “hating small talk is controversial”, trying to fix the narrative… It’s not about “hating small talk”, it’s about making it sound as if every single streamer in the world thinks that way and as if every single viewer in the world is doing it wrong. It’s about biting the hand that feeds you. It’s about acting as if you’re entitled to people’s kindness and interest in and for you. That’s what’s ticking people off and that’s why people are getting so agitated about this.

If you cannot deal with people caring about you or people asking you something as simple as “how are you”, then Streaming on Twitch may not be the best thing to do since a lot of people ask questions and talk to the chat/streamer at times. I struggle with conversations, people and all of that stuff all the time, being an autist, but I’d never go as far as to attack others for being curious or for being nice. I don’t think that you should bite the hand that feeds you. I don’t think that attacking others for essentially nothing is the way to go, and I don’t think that being rude to people for asking a question that others have asked before is going to solve anything at all.

Twitch is currently in a peculiar state already. There are a lot of users and streamers that are just way too toxic or that harass, bully and attack others, on a whim. Especially women and people of colour have it rough on Twitch and I don’t think that this kind of stuff is going to help the case. Call me a hippie, a dreamer or even a “Gutmensch”, but I believe that there’s one good person for every ten people and that kindness and reason are able to solve more problems than rudeness and madness. Being nice to people and reporting offenders is a better way to handle things compared to attacking people that attacked you or being rude to people that were trying to be nice.

And since this is the internet, it’s only understandable that there’s always going to be some person (or rather a lot) that is really toxic… but it’d be great if there were more people out there that would promote positivity, respect, kindness and inclusiveness so that people would have a place to return to from all of that toxicity. I don’t want to watch a stream after having had a bad day only to see that I’m not welcome or that I’m being treated badly. I’d rather see others building each other up and us all having a good time.

But maybe that’s just me. Do you have any thoughts on this matter? What’s your stance on small talk in Twitch streams? Would you handle this any different?

Indietail – Occupy White Walls

Art is something that should be accessible to everyone… but it’s a bit rough to get into. I don’t know a lot about art but I do enjoy going to exhibitions and museums – and while I don’t know a lot of the big names or techniques or epochs or whatever… I don’t think that I need to.

But there are often people that make it hard for newbies like me to get into that hobby. It’s hard to enjoy something like that if other people constantly are talking in a very condescending way with you while wielding big words and termini that you don’t understand.

Today we’re taking a look at Occupy White Walls, an art gallery simulation game that is trying to fight that problem. It’s trying to make art accessible to everyone – in a very unique way.

Developer: StikiPixels
Publisher: StikiPixels
Release Date: November 14th, 2018
Genres: Casual, Art, Simulation, Multiplayer
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was available for free.

In Occupy White Walls, you create your own gallery. You build it from scratch using different floors, walls and structures, which feels quite sandbox-ish. You also are able to buy paintings, photographs and drawings of famous and underrated artists, so that you’re able to… occupy… those white walls… yup!

My gallery is nowhere near finished but it’s looking cool so far, even though I’m only using glass panes right now. I’ll probably completely rebuild all of this at a later date – but for now this is already turning out quite well!

By opening your gallery you’re able to earn more money… and by buying new artworks, you unlock new structures, frames and other cosmetic features.

What’s very lovely about this is that the whole game is kind of built like an MMO of sorts… You’re able to visit your friends’ galleries or teleport to a random user’s gallery: You comment in their guest books or have discussions with other people on different paintings. You open their gallery so that they earn money while you’re enjoying the paintings… and when you see something that you like, you can put it on your wishlist or buy it yourself!

The tricky bit to Occupy White Walls is that you cannot just search for paintings. You cannot go for Van Gogh, da Vinci, Munch or Sargent and just take their paintings. Instead, the game works with artificial intelligence called Daisy that essentially recommends paintings to you based on your preferences. You then are able to find more paintings that are similar to the paintings you pick or you even search for more paintings by the same artist.

I love this view over here to bits!

Using this method, I was able to find an artist called LARSKRISTO who does a lot of very colourful and obscure pieces but also creates very dark and enigmatic paintings… I really love his style!

Another great feature of OWW is the information that you get about each painting. You can learn about the background of the artist and some other information if you look at a painting. Most paintings have a ton of information available and hence you can also discuss interpretations with others and analyze these paintings yourself, if that’s your jam – or you just look at them and enjoy the view: All based on your preferences!

And Daisy learns from the pictures that you buy and is always to find something new and interesting for you – and if there is nothing of interest in the selection, you can always request more. So far it has been fairly accurate for me… and just now I found about de Goya and that I actually like his stuff…

The game is completely free to play and progression is purely based on your creations: You build up buildings and galleries and buy new paintings or unlock new cosmetic features for your avatar but you’re never asked to pay a single dollar out of your actual pocket – in case you really want to, you can support the developers by buying the game’s official soundtrack.

Moonlight Surgery by Alnilam is one of the paintings that I found today.

Speaking of the soundtrack, it is just enigmatic and mesmerizing. There are a lot of very relaxing pieces there that perfectly work with what you’re doing. It’s relatively easy to sink a lot of time into this game once you found some pieces that you like and once you’ve got an idea of what you want to do.

Originally, I planned on having a “café” or bar of sorts with a lot of different seating areas and art pieces around it… but I need to be a higher level for that to unlock some other furniture pieces. Hence, I’m right now working with a different concept of a gallery in a glass box of sorts that is surrounded by an ocean and that features a lot of surreal and contemporary pieces. So far so good… I’ll revisit the café/bar idea later, though!

When you open your gallery, you’re getting joined by bots that wander through your gallery and look at paintings. After a while, they explode into paint splashes and leave money on your desk that you then can collect to invest it into more paintings or more space, furniture and building materials. Every now and then, you’ll see actual players that you can interact with but more often than not, you’ll only see the bots and you’ll only notice that players have been there due to the comments in your guest book.

This is another painting that I really adore. It’s by John Singer Sargent and it’s titled “Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)” and there’s just something about it that I just love.

And of course, there is a chat function where you can discuss all kinds of topics with other people… but since it’s Free-to-Play and since it’s online, won’t there be any trolls or toxic people there?

Well,… the developers have heard all of these concerns before and I’ve heard that they are working on a system to remove comments that you don’t like from your guest book while also detecting hateful messages. The comment feature was only recently introduced and the game keeps frequently getting updates! With each update, the developers are introducing more art pieces (old AND new!), new features, and items.

The community is super helpful and seems quite alright. Of course, you get the occasional “I was here” comment but once you’re able to remove that kind of stuff, those won’t be a problem. My initial concern about toxicity and trolls has also not been that much of an issue, yet, since there just don’t seem to be all that many people out there that know about this title or that appreciate art in that way. On top of that, you have to create an account for the game and while that is a bit annoying, it apparently is helping a lot with the process of keeping trolls out. Hence, I’m quite confident that the game won’t get tainted that easily by the internet!

The only issue that I had with the game is how many resources it requires to run properly, as in: Having a lot of paintings, objects and effects can make the game lag at times… but a lot of people avoid that by just creating small galleries on multiple accounts and by connecting them with portals.

It is still in Early Access and it still is getting updated… so that kind of justifies all of that jankiness. You have to wait a bit for stuff to load up and there are some issues here and there with floor-tiles glitching out a bit, but it’s usually not that bad compared to other EA titles.

All in all, I’d say that this is a great game and if you’re into art or if you want to look at cool paintings or meddle with some architecture you should definitely check this title out!

Oh, and if you want to visit my gallery: My name in-game is MagiWasTaken. And on another note, if you wanna check out some of the art that is featured in-game, visit this side.

Cheers!

Indietail – Best Friend Forever

I’m not exactly a dog person. I always thought that I’m not fit and active enough for dogs and hence I never considered if I wanted to have a dog. Obviously, with how the market is, it would be hard to find a flat or anything that would be dog-friendly and alas, I’ll have to rely on other media to maybe live that experience of owning a dog and taking care of it. One of these mediums is Best Friend Forever, an attempt to mix the genre of dating sims and management-types.

Developer: Starcolt
Publisher: Alliance
Release Date: August 27th, 2020
Genre: Dating Sim, Visual Novel, Management
Reviewed on: PC
Available for: PC, Switch
Copy was provided by publisher.

After having worked at a big corporation and after some other experiences, you, the protagonist, decide to move to Rainbow Bay. Rainbow Bay is the dog-friendliest place in the world (?) and essentially, the to-go city for everyone who’s searching for a cute little doggo and potentially even happiness, success and other good things. At least, that’s what the city means to our main character.

Early on, you’re prompted to type in your pronouns, blood type, Zodiac, and name before you’re getting unleashed into this short Visual Novel where you adopt a dog, take care of it, and where you try to find love… or something like that. On top of that, you also get to meet a vast cast of different characters that are all quite special in their own ways! Awoo!

From the get-go, I noticed that this game is quite different. We had some weird questions that we needed to answer for our Woofr profile, at the beginning. It’s a Visual Novel after all that is all about your little bowwow. You spend a lot of time picking up and throwing away your dog’s faeces or petting it or training it. Yes, you heard right: You can pet the doggo. It’s an interesting mix and I kind of like that about this title:

You get to date all kinds of characters and you get to min-max your dog’s training schedule to pass the dog school’s exam! Hell yeah!

While getting to know the characters, you stumble across different events and you have to decide where the conversation goes. Picking one of the options available to you usually results in people liking or disliking you – but you can also chicken out and go for a neutral approach that is somewhat boring, I guess.

And the game spans around 15 weeks that you have to spend training your tail-wagger. To do that, you plan your days with them by either going to encounters with the different people or by participating in Pawspirational Events (that have a chance of raising certain stats) or by participating in randomly-appearing Dog Events.

These Dog Events range from your furbaby getting scared to it leashing out a bit or to it pooing on the floor… usually, you have to either move your mouse cursor in certain motions or comfort it by petting it – and these events tend to award you with experience for the different stats:
Manners, Smartness, Trust, Sociability, and Fitness.

Apart from that you also have the training schedules that you can set for them where you essentially can choose to work on two different stats at the same time by IE going for a walk, cuddling, playing, and many other options. Afterwards, you need to take care of your good boy’s (or girl’s!) needs (see above) by feeding or tending to your mutt… Generally, all of this is quite fun at first but later it feels somewhat… pointless?

The story is light-hearted and short. It took me 2.5 hours to get through the game for the first time and to play through Astrid’s romance route. There are a whole bunch of other options that I could take or romantic partners that I could ask out next time, so there is some replayability to it, as well… but the flea circuit isn’t really involved in this. Your doggo is just there in the corner to brighten up and lighten up the game at times… and the management-aspects that are required to pass the exam at the end exist… but they do not really involve your pupper too much. You plan out events and sometimes people comment on your furry friend’s behaviour but effectively, it’s just there to be petted. As far as the exam goes… at the beginning I got mostly silver and gold medals and as time went on, I noticed it going down to bronze medals…

Regardless of that, I got my passing grade, which I found somewhat weird. I get that the Academy is only there to determine whether or not it’s alright for you to own a dog and I get that it is a very light-hearted game but it seems odd to me to just pass it like that. I would have loved more of a challenge or maybe an extension period and supplementary classes instead where you make up for the missing training, maybe get to know a nice dog coach that you can fall in woof with, and unlock more dialogue options. It would have been quite nice… and while I don’t know if you can fail the Academy, I don’t really wanna try it out as I don’t want to my pupper to be taken away from me. On top of that, it would be interesting to see what happens if you neglect your pawl’s needs… but I can’t let my little bowwow starve or get ignored just like that… Some horrible human out there will probably have tried it out… so uh… check there?

I didn’t notice the dog pooping less indoors when the manners stat got up, for instance, so that’s something that I would have liked a lot: Actually seeing the results of the training.

Your little fuzzball (She was called “Titan” in my case!) essentially just provides you with a minigame of sorts that to pass the time for a bit or to stretch out the game, which was somewhat disappointing… And I loved the idea at first and everything but midway through the game, your dog is just there while the focus switches to the other characters, which I found quite bothersome. It’s “best friend forever” but suddenly, it’s more of a dating sim – your dog is secondary. Or rather it feels like it’s not about the dog anymore, which I found actually rather add… tending to your dog becomes a chore while obnoxious people step more into the foreground. (I really don’t like Sascha at all… can we kick him? Like out of the city? Just push him off the edge of the world?)

Another issue that I was facing was that I had a hard time dealing with the writing at the beginning. The game is at times mocking the whole hipster culture or ridiculing it to the point where I thought that it’s not taking itself seriously – and yet, there are characters that talk about their actual fears and their actual problems… and some of the joking and obnoxious characters (the secretary and your neighbour, for instance) just end up breaking that feeling of intimacy that you had with your partner. You talk about problems and in the next instance, you get to talk to Sasha again, which is just painful at best.

I couldn’t really handle some of the writing at the beginning due to the in-your-face-hipster-ness. It was a bit too much for my cup of tea but I guess some people could enjoy that.

Towards the mid-game, it was acceptable and tolerable. I had fun with some of the references and stuff… and your relationship moves relatively fast forward, which is quite interesting as well.

And at last, I reached the end and it just didn’t feel alright or finished yet. I would have loved to continue past the 15 weeks but instead, we see the “what happened to these characters later?” trope before the credits roll. Quite annoying. And again, the dog gets less important later on despite it filling in a key role in the game.

But while that was a bit bad, I guess, I really enjoyed the game overall. It was fun, it was cute. It conveyed a message of sorts that you don’t buy a dog but rather adopt it since it’s very close to you. It’s like a family member of sorts, you could say – not your property or anything like that.
On top of that, the game is really inclusive as it not only lets you chose your character model and pronounce but it also enables all relationships to you whenever you want them and while your sexuality never gets asked for, it is made really well in a way that your past partners, as an example, get named with “they/them” to allow any kind of interpretation.

So, what can I say about Best Friend Forever… it mixes two things that are somewhat different and is hence quite innovative, in my opinion, but it fails to convey the importance of your Woover as it doesn’t give it more credit or more special scenes. Instead, it’s just about you training it while you’re doing stuff with your love encounter. I would have loved to see more CGs of the Barksy to make things, right… in fact… CGs and a CG gallery are features that are missing completely! Especially, considering that you’re a photographer in the game…

The inclusive aspects, however, are really well-made, the soundtrack is alright, the characters all are somewhat quirky but feature a lot of nice traits and conversation options, and overall, it is a well-crafted game, in my opinion, even when the management aspects fell somewhat short. The short length of the game makes it possible to play through different routes and try out different things in several relaxed sessions. And yes, you can, of course, pet the pupper. Hence, this must be a great game.

I’d recommend this game to people that want to play a wholesome, cosy and rather short visual novel that has dogs in it. I wouldn’t recommend this to management fans as those would not be happy with this title. If you’re a cat person like me… it might take you a while to fall in love with your four-legged new family member… but once you get there, it’s super lovely. Despite some issues, I had fun, though, so I’m definitely recommending Best Friend Forever to anyone who’s looking for a short but lovely experience.

Cheers!

Humble Choice – September 2020

September’s Humble Choice is out now and this one is somewhat tricky!

The bundle contains a lot of games that I want to own… but also games that I already do own, so I’m still not sure what I’ll do about this. I think what I’ll do here is that I’ll list the ten choices I would make if I didn’t own any of these games from the 10th spot to the 1st spot!

10 – Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair 

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a brand-new 2.5D platformer from some of the key creative talents behind ‘Donkey Kong Country’. With their arch-nemesis Capital B up to no good, the buddy duo needs to spring into action once again to save the day. To thwart his evil plan of using a “Hivemind” device to enslave an entire kingdom of bees, our heroes need to take the fight to Capital B’s “Impossible” Lair. Things look tough, but with the help of Queen Phoebee and her Royal Beetallion, Yooka and Laylee might just have a chance! 

While I like the idea of it being a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie, I never liked that game due to my hate for platformers. And I’m not going to like this one either. But it’s better than the other two remaining games and it’s probably going to be a good gift to someone who’s more fond of platformers.

9 – The Shapeshifting Detective 

The Shapeshifting Detective is a supernatural-noir murder mystery FMV game where you play as a detective who can shapeshift into other characters, allowing you to unlock secret conversations and private encounters. 

The game features more than 1600 full HD video responses, a simple questioning interface with unique ‘delete’ mechanic, and a randomly chosen murderer at the start of the game. – This seemed quite interesting but I don’t usually play games that are based on video responses made by people. Hence, this is one of those games that I’d give away to other people. 

8 – Lethal League Blaze

 Lethal League Blaze is an intense, high-speed ball game, with unique characters, outta sight sounds and none of that weak shit. In Shine City, the anti-gravity ball game has long been illegal. The group who kept playing was dubbed the Lethal League. Even now, with their sport pushed underground, players and crews compete in the League for challenge and respect.

Lethal League was quite a lot of fun but nothing I’d constantly play… Lethal League Blaze is a better version of Lethal League and I’d love to play it with friends.

7 – Golf With Your Friends

Why have friends if not to play Golf… With Your Friends! Nothing is out of bounds as you take on courses filled with fast-paced, exciting, simultaneous mini golf for up to 12 players!  

Every now and then people want to play Golf… but online… and then some people have Golf it! while others have GWYF… and I already have Golf it but don’t own this one, so I’d go for this one in case that I really wanna play Golf with my friends… through crazy Parcours and stuff… yup.

Honestly, these last four spots are just on the same level.

6 – Evoland Legendary Edition 

Evoland is a journey through the history of action/adventure gaming, allowing you to unlock new technologies, gameplay systems and graphic upgrades as you progress through the game. Inspired by many cult series that have left their mark in the RPG video gaming culture, Evoland takes you from monochrome to full 3D graphics and from active time battles to real-time boss fights, all with plenty of humour and references to many classic games.

I already played Evoland but I’d actually go for this since it includes the second game and the first game… and I have yet to play the second one. Evoland was a very cute and fun journey through the ages of RPGs that is constantly referencing and mocking stereotypes and features from other games, such as Zelda, Final Fantasy, and others… It takes itself not too serious while also providing you with a bunch of entertainment. Honestly, just great – and with the Legendary Edition, you get two games for one choice!

5 – Strange Brigade

Egypt, 1930’s. Erased from ancient history and buried in a nameless tomb for 4,000 years, Seteki the Witch Queen has risen once again. Only one troop of daring heroes can stand against the fearsome power of Seteki and her army of mummified monstrosities: The Strange Brigade! Explore remarkable ruins, solve perilous puzzles and uncover tantalising treasure while blasting your way through an array of undead enemies in thrilling third-person action that’s certain to bring out your inner adventurer! 

Strange Brigade looked interesting… it’s a Co-op Action-Adventure game that you’re able to play with up to three other players and that features Zombies – or rather Mummies! It kind of reminded me of Left 4 Dead 2 but with an Indiana Jones setting of sorts… and even if I’m not the biggest shooter-player, I think I’d enjoy myself a fair bit with this one since it, again, seems a bit similar to the likes of Serious Sam and L4D2. 

4 – The Occupation

The Occupation is a fixed-time, investigative thriller set in North West England on Saturday 24th October 1987. Your role is to uncover evidence as a journalist by sneaking through restricted areas and questioning people on their actions through a series of one-on-one interviews. All this takes place in a detailed, systems-driven world where people will react to your actions and where time is your biggest enemy. 

This title seemed really interesting to me since it fills the need for another Stealth-Adventure game that is more along the lines of an Immersive Experience. It’s also another Indie game so I may review it in the future once I’ve played it. It seemed quite interesting and has a lot of positive reviews, hence I thought I’d go with this.

3 – Generation Zero

Welcome to 1980’s Sweden. The local population has gone missing, and machines of unknown origin roam the streets. Explore this vast open world to unravel the mystery of the invaders, perfect your fighting strategies and prepare to strike back. In Generation Zero, living is winning.  

Generation Zero has been something that I have been aware of… but I never really looked into it since I didn’t want to the game for myself in case I ever play it… and well, here’s the game in the bundle. This one might very much be a reason for me to go for this bundle. It’s a Survival game that can be played with up to three friends and where you have to strategize a bit and be stealthy instead of brute-forcing your way through the game since the machines are quite strong and they do not forget!

2 – Forager

Forager is a 2D open-world game inspired by exploration, farming and crafting games such as Stardew Valley, Terraria & Zelda. 

I reviewed this title a while ago and really enjoyed myself, especially with the newer content. It’s a great game that gets you a lot of content for relatively low bucks and a relatively simple but addictive game formula!

1 – Catherine Classic

Explore the pleasures and horrors of love as Vincent, a man with a hard choice to make: marry his long-time girlfriend Katherine or move on to the incredible blonde he just woke up next to — named Catherine! But beware! Make the wrong choice, and you could end up dead. Delving into themes of free will and the delicate nature of relationships and the choices we make, this action-adventure-puzzle game is an experience unlike anything else.

This game is an all-time favourite for me. I loved it when I first played it and I still, every now and then, play through it again. I love the characters, the story, the different endings, the game mechanics. It’s a unique mix of a puzzle game and sort of an Anime Romance-Horror-story where your choices matter. The soundtrack is great, the puzzles are quite challenging and a lot of fun, and there are some interesting sides to everything in this game… my favourite part probably is the bar in the game: The Stray Sheep. There, you’re able to decide what you drink, you can get drunk, talk to others and help them with their problems, which is really cute. Oh, and then, of course, there is plenty of room for humour, philosophical themes and other lovely features, making this an excellent game that I can highly recommend to everyone that loves games where you influence the outcome and games with challenging puzzles!

Dropouts: 

  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York 
  • Fun with Ragdolls: The Game 

I own the other Vampire game from last month’s Choice but this one is a Visual Novel set in a universe that I have no clue about. It just didn’t feel like the right choice. Fun with Ragdolls seemed like it was a game along the lines of Human Falls Flat and some other Simulation-type games with janky controls and janky physics… and I’m not a fan of those. I get quite frustrated with some of the controls and hence didn’t go for this one.

Now, out of these ten choices, I own Forager, Catherine Classic, and (technically) Evoland… I think it might actually be worth it to go for this. I’ll be able to give Forager and Catherine Classic to friends or give it away on Stream since these are great games, and as for Evoland, I get to play the second one, which is quite excited and I may replay the first game as well while I’m at it!

Overall, this month seemed mixed a lot better compared to the other months. There seems to be something for all kinds of people but I could see how it maybe is a bit rough to choose for people that aren’t particularly into Indie stuff or that don’t know or appreciate games like Evoland or Catherine. Honestly, I’d say that Catherine Classic is a real powerhouse in this one as it essentially “carries” the whole Choice this month. If I didn’t own it already, I would have immediately gone for this Choice. In the end, I’ll probably still go for this month’s Choice due to Generation Zero, Strange Brigade, The Occupation and Evoland – and I’ll make sure to give these extra-copies to people that like and appreciate these kinds of games.

The extras include Alt254 and a sneak peek of Carto, two cute little games that I’ve never heard about. But they look adorable and I’m looking forward to playing them!

Anyways, that was it for this month’s Choice. I hope that you enjoyed this post and in case you’re wondering where I got the idea from, check out Naithin! He’s another lovely blogger and I thought providing people with my opinion on Humble Choice might be also quite good. Be sure to check out his post here! 🙂 

Cheers!

Indietail – Try To Survive!

I don’t usually play Horror games… and I don’t usually play all that many FPS games either… but some games combine these genres quite well or have something special about them. Some games out there are able to provide a lot of fun and a big challenge with little to no effort and a rather simple premise… and then there’s Try To Survive.

I’m honestly not too sure about how to approach this title. The game can be summed up quite easily: Shoot waves until you die.

Developer: INGO
Publisher: INGO
Release Date: August 3rd, 2020
Genre: Action, FPS, Horror, Rogue-like
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was provided by the devs.

You’re in a forest and have to fight off waves that get increasingly stronger. After every wave, you’re able to upgrade certain aspects of your character like the range or damage of your weapon, for instance. You may also end up with equipment, like a flashlight or mines and grenades.

Try to Survive doesn’t seem revolutionary.

It’s fast-paced and dark but more than anything else it was disappointing. After half an hour, I’ve seen everything already. After a while I got a hang of it and just ended up kiting enemies while strafing away before grabbing health kits and damage upgrades to just continue like that… and that got boring quite quickly, to the point that I ended up losing on purpose to finally quit the game. There are games that are frustrating and that make you ragequit… and then there’s this title that isn’t too challenging, not all that frustrating, and for a Horror-title not exactly scary either… Is there a word for when you quit because you got bored?

And while this review may sound like a rant so far, I’m actually trying to be at least somewhat nice here since the devs sent me a key for this game and asked me to review it. There are just a lot of issues with the game – and the devs…

First of all, you don’t have enough options and the ones available to you don’t really seem like they change a lot. On top of that, the game looks kind of unfinished, no matter the options you choose. The enemies that you fight each wave don’t really have a cohesive theme either… some are more eldritch while others are just flies or they look like Psychos from Borderlands. It just feels like an attempt to create something “new” out of a lot of different styles and games and whatever… but it’s not new at all.

Secondly, the promotion that the studio is going for seems super sketchy. The devs noted in their mail that they’ll distribute $15,000 to the top three players of the leaderboard once they have a playerbase of over 30,000 players. Every 10.000 players, they will pay $1,000 to three random players, and they are planning to have “tournaments” with bigger price pools in the future as well with budgets of potentially $25,000 and more money… And I don’t think that’s a good way of handling promotion.

I’m not a fan of this “practice” since it just seems super dodgy. They are luring in potential players by offering a prize to them. It’s not about their game anymore. And let’s say they’re really reaching those numbers, there is no guarantee that they’re actually giving money to anyone. It’s a studio with no games so far, with no actual social media pages or any websites or any other info about them. When I asked about a press kit, they were not able to provide me with anything.

Regarding my question why this game was special, unique or worth playing, the devs told me that they’ll give money to the players.
That’s not what makes a game good or unique or special… it just turns it into some sort of weird scheme. And it makes it sound even more as if the devs didn’t care about the game at all and as if they were just trying to rip off players by luring them in, taking their money and leaving them with nothing.

And I don’t think I’m reaching too much here when I say that it looks like a scam to make money with a bad game… that is being sold for 10 bucks.

Originally, I was going to compare this game to a very similar Indie Game that costs less than half of this game’s price… but I don’t think I should compare games in a review. I don’t want to recommend a game in a review about a different game. I’ll post a separate review on that title later this month, instead.

To sum everything up: I cannot recommend this game and I tried my best to be nice about it, but in the end this game is boring and doesn’t bring anything new to the table… and it doesn’t justify the 10€ price tag at all.

Hence, no recommendation here. Cheers.

Blaugust Promptapalooza – Caught Up and Done!

While originally, there were plans for a whole bunch of posts and the Promptapalooza prompts on top of that, I ended up still not getting anything done ever since I arrived at my parents. Hence, here’s a catchup post.

First things first, why am I not getting anything done?

Honestly, I’d say that I’m missing my usual work atmosphere or rather the physical work station that I need to write blog posts. I’m currently at my parents’ and while I originally planned to blog in the morning when my parents are at work and when my siblings are at school – or rather when I’m all alone at home… I noticed that there was a huge dip in productivity for me. I’d end up starting to write a post but it wouldn’t feel right. The fact that my OCD would give me a headache because I don’t have my usual dual-screens, I don’t have my desk lamp, I don’t have my usual mug with my usual tea, and the fact that I have to write on a laptop in a completely different home in a completely different state of Germany… all of that combined resulted in me being super lazy and unproductive in terms of blogging. I tried creating a bunch of posts but none of them felt right. 

My “I’m so excited post!” ended up getting postponed over time… I had to finish my prompt about the username question since I signed up for that but I didn’t get any of the other prompts done, just yet, mainly since I’m not at my flat. I’ll effectively be able to write again when I’m at my home again… the plan was to leave for “home” on this Sunday but since my aunt is visiting this weekend and only leaving on Sunday, I’ll have to stay here until Monday… and even then, I don’t know if I’ll be away in the morning or if we’re leaving in the evening or whatever’s the plan. 

Why is it so important to me that I’m in my own four walls?

Frankly, I don’t know. I’m used to it. I can’t really stay here at my parents’ for too long since I start to get anxious. 

On that note, I don’t want to talk about this more personal and more emotional stuff on my blog anymore. I think I’ll move The Stray Sheep and all the personal crap over to my fresh and new blog, the Lich Diary, where I try to describe how I deal with my anxieties, insecurities, personal issues and how I’ll (try to) overcome them. If you’re into that, check that out, if not… it’s all fun and *games* over here, haha.

Note: This blog link up here… is gonna be mentioned a lot over the course of this blog post… so, uh… “see above” refers to that.

But seriously, I can’t really work or study here. The work environment is different here and I don’t feel at home at all. On top of that, there is construction work happening outside and I fucking hate the fact that it’s that loud. Even with in-ears and my music turned up to the max, I still hear that construction work and everything… super annoying.

So, what’s up with this post?

Essentially, I’ve seen plenty of people do the catch-up posts instead of actually writing the prompts. Instead of writing a whole post dedicated to only one prompt, they have their own normal posts at times and either pick out one or two prompts here and there that they write about… or they just write a sentence or two for each prompt but all of it in one post. 

And I’m not judging that. I would have done all the prompts in 31 posts… but life’s a bitch and not everything goes as planned, so here we are with a catch-up post. It’s a smart idea to have one like these in there. 

Effectively, I’ll write about most of the prompts in this one and try to link to the blogs that host them and I hope you enjoy that and I hope that it’s alright that I’m doing it like that. 

Prompt 11: Tell us about your physical creative space, and how it influences your “content creation”.

This is a prompt that I want to dedicate a whole post to but I didn’t do it yet since I can’t take pictures of my desk and everything since I’m not at home. So, I’ll do a post in the future about my PC specs, my set-up, my preferences, my desk and how I create certain posts and stuff instead… but for now, I’d like to say that I have two monitors set up on a desk that is way too small for two monitors… but it works so far. It’s a bit cramped I guess when I do stuff for uni and have a notepad on top of it and have to write on physical paper while doing research and stuff… but more often than not, I’m doing that kind of stuff at our library on campus and I resort to Open Office and Word on my PC when I’m at home. Between the two 1080p monitors is a desk lamp that usually provides light for me in the evening, for the night is dark and full of terrors. I tend to blog in the evenings, so naturally, that desk lamp is turned on. 

Next to my desk, I have another small and rather thin desk that I use for my tea setup where a small candle is providing heat to a pot of tea… and my teacup is on that separate table as well since I don’t want to spill liquids on my keyboard… again. Essentially, that’s the physical workspace that I use for creative stuff as well as normal work. I also stream there and game there and all of that, but again, I’ll talk about that in a different post.

Prompt 14: What are some of the things that get you excited in life?

I’d say video games, people and food. 

I follow a bunch of indie game devs on Twitter and get excited when I see their dev blog posts or WIP-screenshots and animations and whatever… and eventually, they release their full game, which is just glorious. The last game that I was super-hyped about was Children of Morta, I think, which I’ve been following for about three years… and before that, I was even more hyped about Risk of Rain 2 as I loved the first game ever since it came out… and since I followed Hopoo Games’ dev blog for ages ever since they announced wanting to create a sequel to Risk of Rain 1 but in 3D… and that sounded just rad. Over time, while following their dev blog, I also learnt about one of their other projects, Deadbolt… and it was just glorious when I first played it, though the review is still in the works.

Apart from that, meeting certain people can be quite exciting and actually doing something with close friends of yours can be really good. A close friend of mine and I haven’t seen each other since March, so we just met up like last year and were gazing at the night sky in hopes of seeing some shooting stars, the other day, while drinking a bit and talking about life, love, dreams and fear, and all of that stuff. On top of that, I also get excited when I go to live concerts, though that’s a bit rough right now in the midst of a pandemic. The last time I went to a live concert was a year ago when I went to a Crywank concert nearby and actually go to talk to Dan from Crywank and I even got an autograph, a photo with him and I was able to hug him. Was just awesome.

And well, food… I love trying new food and new recipes and when it tastes good afterwards, I’m happy about that… or when I tried that insect patty at a burger chain once… I was excited about it… and then it arrived and it was just awesome. 

Prompt 15: Tell us about a person or thing that has greatly influenced you.

I could go on about my grandfather and some of my neighbours and my uncle and all of that stuff but that’s something for my private blog (mentioned above). I guess a better answer for this prompt would be a lot of musicians that I followed over the years. Crywank, for instance, had a great influence on me when I got bullied. Arctic Monkeys, for instance, helped me a bunch after a few of my break-ups. Bonaparte were always a jammer for my longest train rides. Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Bakers Eddy, Amarante, The Amazons, Chris Christodoulou, Anberlin, Badflower, AnnenMayKantereit, Arcade Fire, and many other artists always provided me with great music while I was getting into bad headspaces or when I wasn’t doing too well and needed to cheer up or when I had good times. I feel like the music that I listened to, the games I played, the shows I watched, often lead to me feeling better when I was down.

And obviously, my best friend, her boyfriend, and my girlfriend are probably the biggest influences in my life. They are people that make me want to be a better person or rather a better human overall. I want to be the best possible “me” that I could be. 

Prompt 16: What is one of your earliest memories from one of your core fandoms?

As we’ve established earlier this month, I wouldn’t say that I’m part of any core fandoms… but at the same time, I did and still do watch a bunch of Anime and I did and still do read a lot of Manga so I guess that that’s one of my “core fandoms”. Hence, my earliest memory of that probably is when I watched InuYasha, Naruto, One Piece, and some other shows in FreeTV back in the day… although I only watched it sporadically and often wouldn’t watch all of the episodes due to me not catching all of them. My absolute favourite show back in the day was Detective Conan (I think, the show’s called “Case Closed” in English). 

When I first started sitting down and watching Anime, I remember really liking Mirai Nikki, Sword Art Online and Attack Titan… until I watched actual good shows… then I noticed that the “good shows” I knew weren’t actually all that good… and that was somewhat disappointing. And Season after Season the quality seemed to drop with some good shows occasionally showing up… but most of the newer shows seem to just be average at best, which is quite disappointing. Oh well.

Prompt 17: Write that one post that you always wanted to write but always postponed. Finally, do it!

No.

I have a few reviews lined up that I always wanted to finish writing but never could do. One of them is on Dungeon of the Endless… but whenever I start up the game, I notice that I want to rewrite my review… so I do that and go through the editing process… and then I play the game again for another run… only to notice that I’m not doing this game any justice with my review…. so I rewrite it and then play it again and then notice that I am still not doing it any justice. I just love that game too much. 

The other post that I’m always postponing is my anniversary post… it’s not done yet. It’s a month late. It will have to wait until I’m finished with it… once I’m at my flat again. 

I don’t like this prompt all that much. It wants me to finish a post on the spot when it’s not ready. It’s postponed for a reason and it will be postponed until I’m either back at my flat and happy with it… or until someone puts a gun to my head to make me finish that post (which is quite unlikely). 

Prompt 18: If you could meet any of the people that you look up to, who would it be? 

I’d love to meet my grandmother but she died before I was born. I’d love to meet one of my neighbours again but he died just last year. I already met Dan from Crywank, so I don’t need to do that necessarily… I guess, there are some bloggers like Mr Peril that I’d love to meet eventually but since the UK and Germany aren’t too far away, there is always a possibility for that. I’d also love to meet Naithin eventually although that’s gonna be a bit harder to accomplish since he’s a lot farther away… and well, there are a bunch of streamers from the US that I look up to that are quite far away like XilentFlex or Nickodimas or Tugboet… Oh well, maybe in the future. As long as they live on the same planet as me, it should be possible, right? 🙂 And of course, I look up to a lot of other streamers and bloggers and people in general, but I can’t possibly mention all of them, right? I mean, I could, but it would take a lot of time that I don’t have and I’d forget someone either way, right?

Prompt 19: Do you “finish” games/hobbies/projects and move on or do you come back to the same things again and again?

Oh, that’s a good question. There are games that I tend to 100% when the 100%-completion seems achievable… but when it seems too fiddly or too far away, I tend to just stray away and move on. Often, I end up drifting away from Open World titles, for instance, or I just finish the main storyline + some of the side quests before moving on to a different game when I’m bored of it. Similarly, some projects go on for ages with no end in sight (like this blog… hopefully…) but also short-lived projects that die before I know it (like my tomato plant, Felix… RIP).

Prompt 20: Tell us about some of your hobbies outside of the realm of your specific niche.

I love reading plays, poetry and tragedies. Apart from that, I sometimes do write short stories and poetry though I don’t publish them too often. As already mentioned, I enjoy good shows and also anime, cartoons and manga. I used to be part of our school’s Drama group and later our university’s Drama group but since I have to focus more on my university studies now, I don’t really have the time to go to all the rehearsals and stuff. Alas, I’m currently mostly doing the blog stuff, streaming, and occasionally reading or watching a show in my free time. My hobbies really stay in the realm of my niche currently since every other hobby of mine either required too much time (like my science fair projects or my Drama club rehearsals) or I just couldn’t make a lot of time for them (like poetry or reading in general). I also used to do some martial arts stuff for quite some time but also had to stop that due to a shift in priorities. I plan on maybe doing Jiu-Jitsu or potentially Muay Thai again, eventually, though that depends on my schedule again and the people there as well as the price, so uh… I’ll see.

Prompt 21: Tell us about your favourite antagonist(s) and explain why.

There are a lot of great antagonists out there but my absolute favourite is probably either Cave Johnson from Portal 2… or Virgil from Lightmatter… or Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2/Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Cave Johnson and Virgil strike the same note of company bosses that tried to achieve greatness but failed to do so and ended up walking down a dark path (hehe)… and they’re crazy but not too crazy, which I really adore about them. Since Virgil is supposed to be a rival of Cave and since the games play in the same universe, I feel like it’s understandable that I like them both in the same way.

And Handsome Jack was one of the first villains I got to know in video games that had some actual depth to their character. I felt pity for him and somewhat understood him at some point and the reasoning as to why he’s… like that… he’s also a great character, very charismatic and… handsome… I may be lowkey crushing on him here and there but I really love his voice actor (who just randomly improvised about bretzels during some of the lines? Like… that’s awesome!). Honestly, this is easily my favourite. Fuck Virgil. Fuck Cave. They’ll share Spot 2. 

…and I’d like to name a female character here for inclusivity but I can’t exactly remember any other antagonists overall. GLaDOS, for instance, is a victim and not a villain. And more often than not villains tend to be male and not female. Recently, I played through Destroy All Humans! and the main antagonist, first off, didn’t feel like “the main antagonist”… and secondly, it wasn’t a good “main antagonist” that I’d call “my favourite”. This doesn’t have to do with sexism or anything like that… the reveal that Silhouette is female just didn’t have anything to do with the game and didn’t seem surprising or whatever… it was just “eh”. I guess I can write a whole post on whether or not gender matters when it comes to antagonists or protagonists, so look out for that.

Prompt 22: What piece of content would you most like to have a sequel or reboot?

While I certainly feel like a lot of games deserve a second chance to do stuff better… I don’t think it’s necessary to rewrite them or to remake them. Remakes and Remasters usually lure you in for the sake of nostalgia, like the recent “Destroy All Humans!” remake, and then they end up disappointing you after you cannot refund them anymore. Two hours in, I still had fun and enjoyed myself with it… Three hours in, I got frustrated occasionally… After 11 hours I was done with the game, despite having paid 30€ for it when it effectively offered me 15-20€ worth of content… at most… I shouldn’t have bought it at full price (or rather, I shouldn’t have gotten excited and pre-ordered it). Lesson learned, I’ll write a bad review on it because it’s absolutely not worth the full price and it’s super frustrating and has a bunch of issues that they didn’t fix. 

I feel like a remaster or a remake should introduce at least some improvement to its gameplay systems, some quality of life changes, some additional content without taking away from its original gameplay formula. Most of the games I love and play regularly, don’t really need a remade or remastered version, because they’re good games. I’m excited for the new Left 4 Dead 2 Update that is coming out soon… but I doubt that it’s in line with the prompt if I go on and rant about bad remakes and bad design choices and bad purchases on my end. I’ll dedicate a whole post to this topic, eventually.

Prompt 23: What is your greatest fear, and how does it impact the type of content you create or consume?

I have a lot of fears that I’ll eventually cover on my personal blog (again, see above). The only fears that kind of effect my “content” are probably the fear of missing out, the fear of not fitting in, and the fear of not standing out. While that may be contradictory, I don’t want to be “just another gaming blog” or “just another review blog” or “just another indie blog” as that would result in me being or becoming boring. While I blog because it’s fun, I obviously also want to grow, so that my reviews get read and so that people get to play some true indie gems. But I also don’t want to stand out too much with an opinion that people don’t like, as that could get me “cancelled”. I don’t really believe that “cancel culture” is a thing… but I also am scared about it… Again, see above. I’ll write more about that on the other blog. And as far as FOMO goes, I don’t want to miss out on some lovely interactions with other bloggers, so I try to read their posts and I try to post about certain topics that are popular, at times, again for the sake of growth. 

But while those fears exist, I’m not exactly anxious about a lot of the things there. I tend to ignore them and do my own thing… even if that’s not always the easiest thing, I know that it’s the best thing to do for me and my health. 

Prompt 24 was my prompt. So, I already uploaded that.

Looki looki at my blog-gi. 

Prompt 25: How did you get started in content creation?

There used to be a blog called peteback (can’t link it since it doesn’t exist anymore) that did essentially a similar thing to me here… review games and shows and write about their hobbies and I really liked that. And then I started my own blog. 

Prompt 26: With the pandemic, we are going through an unprecedented time. In what ways has this shared global event impacted your content creation?

Well, when everything just started, I ended up blogging as per usual. I already was done with all of my exams, so I had more free time and ended up participating in Blapril while also publishing 45 posts in total during that time! While I was streaming three times a week before that, I ended up changing my schedule a bit to have four streams per week since people are now at home and since those people needed a place to hang out at or rather a place to entertain themselves at. The pandemic hasn’t ended yet and Germany is on its way to a second lockdown (Covidiots, hooray!), so I may actually stick to the four-stream-schedule for quite some time… and I honestly, really like it. 

With less social interactions and with me not going out as much, though, I ended up feeling less productive and I even got into this weird headspace that a lot of people were talking about already. More often than not, I’d end up posting less or less frequently… and eventually, Uni@Home started and I had my online classes which kept me busy so that lead to fewer posts.

But then I picked it up again and once I’m back home, I’ll be able to post more frequently again. 

In the end, while the pandemic is bad for a lot of people… it ended up benefitting the gaming industry as more people at home meant more people to play games and more profits from games that people at home want to play (the maths add up!) – alas, content creators also benefitted from this as there were more people watching streams or reading blog posts or doing all of that… but due to me not feeling too well at times, my stream quality ended up dropping a bit again, so that resulted in a drop in views and overall, fewer people watching. 

Again, once I’m back home again, I’ll work on that. I’ve got a blog post lined up for that as well for the Live in Purple category (name to change) and I’m looking forward to writing about issues I’ve faced while streaming and my advice for people that are starting out on Twitch or that are new to all of this. Again, more posts to come and more stuff in the drafts and, ugh, I’m sitting at 54 drafts, right now, despite this post going out soon…

Prompt 27: What piece/s of technology would you have the hardest time living without?

This is a relatively easy prompt to answer. My mobile phone, my computer and my internet router. 

I can’t stay in touch with the world and what’s going on without access to the internet… and for access to the internet, I need either my mobile phone or my PC… and obviously, I need my internet access/router. When I’m offline, I get to read more books but overall, I end up struggling due to FOMO… and while books are great and all of that, I love playing games and watching shows and watching YouTube videos, so that kind of ended up being a big part of my free time activities. 

Prompt 28: What are some of the things that you wish you knew before you started creating content?

Honestly, I don’t think there are many things that I would have wanted to know beforehand… Well, the existence of Grammarly (#notsponsored). I would have checked my grammar and spelling and all of that in my first few posts… and I’ll fix that soon… if I remember.

Prompt 29: What are you looking forward to the most over the course of the next year?

Uh, the vaccines for the Rona. When it’s happening, I’ll be able to visit my grandparents without getting anxious about potentially killing them with my hugs.

Prompt 30: Tell us about some community that you are a part of and why it interests you or how it impacts you?

Uh,… the Blaugust community? I don’t know. I’m not a part of many communities and the ones that I am a part of usually don’t have the sense of community that the Blaugust community has. I actually feel like I’m a part of something when I talk to other Blaugustans and when I participate in the events and stuff. I’d love to play some games with more people there but timezones and schedules and all of that is hard to get around… but we’ll manage it somehow. 

And yeah, when I need help or advice, I’m able to rely on others there. Can highly recommend the Blaugust community. 100% not biased!

Prompt 31: What is your favourite thing to do in order to relax?

Video games… okay, that’s kind of obvious. 

Let’s go with music then. I sometimes have some very busy and very bad days full of shitty people (again, coming soon on the other blog, see above) and when I get home, I just fall into my bed and lay down for a while. Then I take a shower, pop a can of Dr Pepper, put in my ear-plugs and enjoy my music for a bit while sitting on the balcony… In the winter it’s the same thing but inside and while browsing blogs or whatever. 

Some of my favourite playlists:

And yeah, that’s essentially all of the Blaugust Promptapalooza prompts done in one day. I know I’m a bit early but I wanted to have all of them done by the end of the month and Monday is gonna be hectic, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to post them by then. Apart from that, I haven’t posted in quite some time, so I wanted to give out a sign of life before continuing with the usual frequency next month. 🙂 

Hope you liked this one. 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Blaugust Prompt #13 – 5 Facts

Jen from Bookofjen has a prompt for us: 

Tell us five things about yourself!

Thanks for the prompt, Jen! Check her blog out! The next one in line is Heather from Geeking By! Check her blog out as well! 🙂

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Alas, the five-fact-list is starting now… This one should be not too depressing!

Fact 1: I’m getting better at cooking.

This should be no surprise since I’ve lived alone for nearly two years now (The 3rd of September marks the beginning of the third year!) but I actually am getting better at that cooking business.

Over time, I’m really good at knowing what spices and what things are missing in dishes and I’m very good at spicing up veggies, for instance. I don’t have too many mishaps anymore with too much salt or too much pepper and am also getting better at cooking meat through to certain points.

That’s something that I’ve been excited about lately. After all, food is important but it should also taste good and since I love cooking for other people, including friends and my girlfriend, I want them to enjoy their food as well. 

The things I work on right now is getting faster and more confident with the knives and actually being able to create dishes that look good. 

The latter is somewhat of a bad habit of mine where I don’t care about the look of the food if it’s food for “only” me. I’ll eat it regardless of how it looks… but I wouldn’t want to take a dump on other people’s plates and serve it to them, so I’m trying to get better at actually making it look good. For that, I tend to take a look at different veggies and their colours and stuff to essentially balance out the colour palette. Before cooking them, I tend to boil them for a bit before putting them into cold water… “to blanch” veggies is very good to stop them from cooking too much and losing their colour, which is important in the case of sweet potatoes who turn brown instead of orange… or beans that lose a lot of their green. You can also peel off tomato skins using that method.

Hence, I go through a bit more of an effort to make the actual dish look good. Forming the rice is also really nice… experimenting with the look and presentation of the sauce on the plate… that kinda stuff. 

The former thing about knives is a bit of a fear of mine. Before I started my blog, I accidentally stabbed myself with a knife into the left hand. So, now, I tend to be super scared of using knives since I don’t want to cause another red wedding in my flat, worrying everyone and passing out on the floor and stuff. 

To get better at knife-work, I try to challenge myself while cutting up veggies and to try and filet meat easier while also trying out different techniques… overall, it’s a process and I’m excited about getting better at it.

Fact 2: I hate tier lists.

While maybe surprising, I hate tier lists like this one. I don’t enjoy writing about something without connecting different dots in some way together. Lists don’t have anything to do with knife-work or food. Shopping lists are handy but as a post? I’d hate that! So, let’s try and get this over with…

Maybe, it’s a bit of an ego-issue but I tend to devalue posts like “top 20 games budgets” that essentially represent a five-minute Google search… Obviously, these posts also take work… obviously, they are also a time investment for the author. But I just don’t like them. My list right now already took more time to write than their post over there – and yet, it’s content produced for the masses. Stuff, that people enjoy and like. 

I hate it. I devalue it and I doubt that’s a bad thing either. It’s just opinion that I don’t rate posts about facts or lists or whatever highly.

I’ll hate this post, even if it probably does a lot better than my other posts. 

Fact 3: I enjoy anime.

This one is probably no surprise after the manga review that I did on Girl By The Sea or after talking about Necrobarista and Milky Way Prince. 

Generally, I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan” as the fandom consists of weebs and self-proclaimed “otakus” that constantly use at least one Japanese word per sentence… and I also don’t like a lot of the gatekeeping and hate that is going on in the fandom… and the sexism, bigotry and double standards… and the harassment of cosplayers… and the number of people thirsting over girls while obviously being toxic assholes… yeah, I don’t want to be part of that community.

But at the same, I guess I’m a “fan” since I enjoy a fair amount of anime and watched a fair amount myself so far and since I still actively watch shows whose episodes come out every week… it’s just that I don’t enjoy all of the fandom-aspects of it. I talked about it for a bit in the fandom-post a while back… But there are a lot of things that I’ve left uncommented…

Fact 4: My favourite numbers are 17 and 19.

Honestly, I don’t know why people would choose any other numbers… 19 is my absolute favourite number, so I had the habit of using it a lot when I created exercises for students of mine… but sometimes, when they were about to notice, I’d use (the inferior… but also really pretty) 17 to confuse them. They are both prime numbers as well, which is quite cool! 

A past professor of mine really liked 15 and 28. What a weirdo. 

And a friend of mine really liked 5/7, though I can understand that he liked that number a lot… 

…I really hope that I meet normal friends when I study English studies. I really hope that we can talk about normal stuff… my math friends were weird and they made me even weirder. 

Fact 5: I used to do Kendo, Iaido, Iodo and Muay Thai.

Okay, the latter was something that I initially wanted to do… but I ended up not being able to since I moved away shortly afterwards… but I did train Kendo (The Way of the Sword), Iaido (The Way of the Drawing of the Sword), and Iodo (The Way of the Stick) for a bit more than a year. 

It was a lot of fun and helped me with a lot of issues from my posture to my self-discipline to anger-management, I guess. I really enjoyed it when I passed one of the exams, the 6th Kyu (it’s the first thing you do and it goes down to the 1st Kyu and then you get the 1st Dan, all the way up to the 6th – at least in Germany).

Quite often, we’d travel somewhere as well to learn more about other schools and techniques and we’d also have joint exercises with other schools and dojos. Once, we had a workshop of sorts with other dojos of other martial arts and we were able to experience some more Iaido taught to us by a 4th Dan who passed the exam for the 5th in Japan (!) but didn’t accept it since he felt that he didn’t deserve it yet. I even got to learn a bit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and we did some exercises on Kung Fu, or specifically the Pak Sao techniques. 

Sadly, it didn’t work out with that since I had to work, I had my girlfriend at the time, school stuff, the training, and lots more going on. In the end, I had to make the right call and prioritize something… 

When I had less work, I wanted to train something again, and Muay Thai seemed like a cool thing that I could enjoy, mainly since my ex-girlfriend at the time talked a lot about it. My long legs were quite optimal for it since I had the necessary speed and height to kick people’s head without them reaching me but sadly, I couldn’t practice it too much… Once the “Rona” stops, I may actually pick it up again and start over. I would have loved to do Iaido or Iodo again but I don’t have my old equip anymore…

Cheers!

Blaugust Prompt #12 – Dwell in the past

Blaugust Prompt 11 about my physical creative workspace is… in the works… but I want to post pictures that I can’t get right now… I’m not there after all. Hence, we’re writing about Prompt 12 instead, for now, which is hosted by SDWeasel over at USS! The next post in line is by Jen over here. Check her out. (Usually, this would be at the end, but in this case, that’s not possible at all with how the post is set up and written.)

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

“What’s something that you’ve lost along the way… that you’d like to get back?”

And well, the short answer to that would be my childhood and the relationships I had with my family. 

I often dwell in the past and get nostalgic but essentially there used to be easier times. I’m the oldest brother and have three younger siblings. When we were younger we would go for a walk into the mountains nearby and I would make up games and fantasy stories about us hunting monsters or saving the world or other adventures. Even my sister (at the time, more of a tomboy, tbh) would come with me and my brothers to play and have fun and it was a lot simpler at the time.

One time, we met some tourists who got hopelessly lost. We guided them to “the old castle ruin” and I told them a bit about the city’s history since I’m a crack for my hometown’s past… and in the end, they gave us 2€ each, so we got 2 ice cream balls each! – At the time, that was insane for us.

My sister is three years younger than me and my brothers (twins btw) are four years younger than me. As the oldest brother, I was supposed to help them out with school stuff since I at the time knew German better than my parents. They’d let me help them and I was actually helpful to them back then. 

It was a simpler time and it all changed when we got our first computer. 

Long story short, video games changed my life. While I used it as a much-needed escape, it drove my siblings and me further away from each other. We ended up drifting apart and over time, especially with me moving out two years ago, they don’t really want to talk to me too much and even with me visiting for a week, they don’t really desire to spend too much time with me.

Essentially, I’ve lost the close relationship that I had to my siblings and I’d love to have that again. I’d love to chat with them. I’d love to play with them and hang out and all of that. My girlfriend and her sister are very close, so I somewhat envy her because of that. I really hope that it gets better eventually and I definitely need to work on my relationship to my family members but at the same time, they also have to make some steps to improve it.

As time goes on, they’ll understand how important these things are. They’ll also try their best to get closer to me, hopefully.

I’m here for four days already and it’s making me anxious right now. My father has different appointments to tend to due to his health issues. My mother has to work all the time. My sister is either at her friends’ place or at work. My brothers have school or are spending time with their friends. Hence, I’m left here as if nothing changed. I don’t really get to spend too much time with them and that’s one of the things that are making me anxious right now.

Luckily, I know that everything will turn out for the better eventually. And I also have my blog to turn to and write about things, though I admittedly changed this post now in hindsight, as I don’t think that it’s too fitting to talk about my personal issues too much on a blog like this.

It’s a small relief to be able to write about things. It’s a big relief that I’ll be in my own four walls in just a few more days. It’s an even bigger relief that I’ll be able to talk about all of this when I’ve got my first ever therapy session.

I can’t wait for all of this.

Blaugust Prompt #24 – The username question

Blaugust is here! But what’s this? This isn’t the usual Blaugust? It’s a special Promptapalooza with a prompt hosted by me! Welcome in! If you have no clue about all of this… then check out the two links in the box below the post… and if you’re here from Beej or other bloggers, welcome in! Nice to meet you! Grab some tea, soda, coffee, or your beverage of choice and let’s have a cosy time today! I hope you’ll enjoy this post of mine. 🙂

So, let’s see… I’m currently at my parents’ and enjoying my time off… and in the evenings before giving in to slumber, I try to read my way through some of these awesome blogs here while thinking about my own prompts… and I still need to catch up to the last ten or so prompts… So those prompts will come out soon and then I’ll change the date in hindsight… but I’ll have to host this one, so this one is coming out before all of the other prompts. I’m sorry for the confusion that that may cause you. I hope it’s somewhat understandable that I may be dead… but I still am human.

Before I explain that last sentence and today’s prompt, I’d like to give a shoutout to Beej from Geek to Geek Media! They hosted a very well-written and amazing post yesterday about their fears and how it affects their content production and consumption. Their very real fears are very similar to some of mine and hence, I can really recommend checking that post out! If you’ve read it already, do it again! Beej also was super adorable at the end with their shoutout to me… really made my day. Thanks a lot for that!

Now… what’s today’s prompt? 

“How did you get the name that you regularly go by online, and what if anything does it mean?”

Tadaa! A very cool prompt! Really like this one! Hope you enjoy it!

As far as me goes… it’s somewhat tied to my character over here that I mentioned in my mascot-post! Uh, it’s a bit of a silly story and I think I mentioned it somewhere before in some post… but essentially, I’m from Germany and I love mages and magic and wizards and that kinda stuff in games and movies and other media. The German word for “mage” is “Magier” but when I typed that word into the character-name-box of some game at the age of three or four… only four letters were allowed. Hence, I went with Magi without knowing why exactly it didn’t allow the “-er”. I was young at the time. I knew the word from some show and just remembered what these letters looked like and all of that… and in the end, my name was “Magi” at the time. 

Later on, I had these toys from all kinds of sets… there were toy soldiers, different figurines, a barn set and cars and pirates and animals and dinosaurs and whatever… I jumbled up everything much to my siblings’ liking who all would believe the stories I told them about all of the different characters and adventures and stuff… I don’t know… back then, I really enjoyed doing that and my siblings and I were a lot closer. Anyways, there was this black mouse with red eyes that I had there and I essentially claimed that mouse figure as my character “Magimos”. I combined “Magi” with the very “cool”-sounding suffix “-mos” because I liked that name… I imagined it to be some sort of dark undead mage who has been trapped in that body while still being incredibly evil and dangerous.

Eventually, I moved on from toys and – as we had our first ever PC – I started playing online video games… like Dark Orbit and Minecraft. I even played stuff like NeoPets or social games on Facebook… “Magimos” always was my username of choice and for the longest part, it even followed me to Spotify, League of Legends and Twitter, until I eventually started to not feel attached to the name anymore. The “mos”-part really bothered me all the time and most people would call me “Magi” anyway… so, whenever possible, I would end up using Magi… which was essentially never. Magi is quite the popular name, it seems, and hence “Magi” is taken… more often than not. Alas, I used that name on Twitch and Minecraft and League of Legends (after I had enough BE for the name change) and eventually rebranded my whole character to that persona of the lich/necromancer “Magi”.

I always liked the idea of a necromancer or summoner type. Summoning minions to fight by your side in your stead is really cool after all. And as far as the “lich” or “undead” part goes: I quite often enjoy playing the “bad guy” more than the actual heroes in games. Games that leave you the option to wreak havoc and sacrifice humans and stuff are lovely. I really enjoy those. 

That mouse character in the past eventually got freed and took the form of a recoloured black mage from FF1 that was supposed to be a necromancer instead. The darkness that is enveloping the face, the pale hands, and the red eyes are something that I use in most of my character-iterations. My character has that as a feature and I really like how it turned out in the end.

Now, while “MagiWasTaken” is quite cool for a name… I also go for some other names every now and then. In some MMOs, the male character model sucks and I create a female one since they’re cuter… “Magimos” never worked for those and “MagiWasTaken” is to username-ish for those… so I ended up using “Lizz Winterfield” in BDO and GW2. It’s another name that I use whenever I see it fitting. It’s my name on Spotify… I have a Facebook account with that name (unless I deactivated it already?)… I use that in Minecraft since I like that one a lot as well. Overall, “MagiWasTaken” and “Lizz_Winterfield” are my go-to-names. “Lizz” is a lovely name after all while “Winterfield” is the most human-sounding name I know. 

Where are your usernames from? What did you use in the past? How did your name evolve over time if at all? Why do you stick to it? 

I personally feel like I can identify with this mage character quite often in games when I use a name like “MagiWasTaken” or “Magi”. Meanwhile “Lizz Winterfield” really works for me when I play female characters and when I’m trying to roleplay or play a different class instead of my usual stuff.

That was it for today’s post. Hope you enjoyed this one. The next post in line is by Joar from WoW Alt Addiction! Join them and their prompt for more blogging-awesomeness! I can really recommend checking them out and again, check out all the other bloggers who have participated so far and are participating in the next few days. 🙂

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!