That feeling of Dread Formidolosus’ profile
Oh my gosh, you’re here! I can’t believe it’s really you. Please take a seat, and make yourself comfortable. Tea? Crumpets? I made them fresh this morning. So what brings you here today? You’re just browsing. By all means, we all do it. Oh… what can I tell you about myself? Well, let’s see… I like finishing games. I mean really finishing them. Not just ‘hooray we saw the end credits, the games is over’, but really sinking my teeth into those things until they are bled of content. Of course there’s some games that want me to play them for the rest of my life and I just can’t make that kind of commitment, so I resolve myself to just doing what I can for them. For the others I will keep them installed on my hard drives until they are done. So far the longest has been around 6 years from start to finish. 6 years sitting eating up space on my computer while I play everything else. But we get there eventually. And it feels good, so we keep doing it.
I’ve arranged all my games into lists, as one does. Over here, in the folders labelled ‘Beaten in’ are records of all the games I’ve beaten in any one year. I sometimes go back to those lists and think about all the good games I’ve played and enjoyed. And of course as each year progresses, I add the games as I’m beating them, so it’s nice to watch that list grow.
As we continue, you’ll also see the ‘Playing in XXXX’ list. Which I set up at the beginning of a year, with games I would like to at least try in a year. I probably won’t beat most of them, but the list serves as a reminder of some cool games I’ve got waiting, in the hopes I don’t let them slip through the cracks.
Then on our left, we have the “Big Game hunting” list, which is a list of mostly “AAA” games that I’ve beaten or am trying to beat. I guess the best way to describe this would be games that everyone should know. Of course the irony is that these are not usually the biggest games in terms of ‘time to beat’, ‘difficulty’ or much of anything apart from ‘popularity’ I guess. But it’s a fun list for me to track and make sure I’m getting my money’s worth on my ‘big’ games.
Up ahead, is a list entitled ‘the Almosts’. These are games I’ve started a while back and got quite far, but never quite finished. So I guess this list is just a way of reminding myself to give them another try one day. And so far it’s worked quite well. All the games I added were incomplete, but I’ve done half of them already. And I’ll continue to add to it as I finish more and more games lapse into ‘abandoned’ territory.
And over there is the ‘Long game’ list, which keeps track of all the games that I’m taking my time to beat. Usually games I got ages ago, played for a bit and then abandoned and now it’s been years and they are still on my hard drive, waiting to be beaten. The list is arranged by more or less length taken so far, and it’s helped add motivation. When the list was created, most were incomplete, but we’re now over halfway complete. Feels good to uninstall a game after that length of time.
So that’s the end of the tour. Oh of course, I also have my ‘won on steamgifts’ list, which shows my rather sad efforts at leeching, but at least shows that I have also played the games I won, so that’s something. And the almost ‘obligatory’ abc list, showcases my attempt at having a full alphabet set of completed games. Nearly there.
I generally only post once a month just to make my progress and comment on the games I played. I don’t expect any one to read an comment, but it’s always welcome.
It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here
Beaten in April 13 Games
Well that was a 'bumper' month by all appearances. Not really in the sense that it was mostly shorter games I played, but I think like a lot of people, being forced to stay at home with out being allowed to see any friends and family has put me in a bit of a 'funk'. I'm fortunate to be unaffected as far as work goes, but my family is at risk of losing their business, and my gran broke her leg and we aren't allowed to go and see her, my wifes family were supposed to have come here from overseas and we were going to go on a beach holiday, so it all just adds up to make for not the best frame of mind. Anyway short distractions do help and once again I'm glad that my hobby doesn't require leaving the house and I'm also glad to have a lovely wife and great kids for company. I just wish this stupid virus, and the hype surrounding it would go away so people I care about won't have their lives permanently ruined.
So with that rant out of the way, asides from the games I did beat, I've also been playing a hat in time and the excellent Celeste. Also spent more time in insurgency sandstorm hardcore co-op which is always a good stress reliever. I have now beaten a total of 34 games this year, with one third done, so I'm ahead of my goals a bit, and hopefully can focus on some longer games. My own attempt at building a game took a bit of a back seat, but I now have 40 puzzles made out of hopefully 60 total, and I've got the core mechanic programmed in Unity. So It's making progress. I have a list of about 200 sprites I'll need to make and that's probably the biggest job ahead of me. But I think once the puzzles are done and I start getting people to test them it will motivate me more to carry on and finish it.
In other news, my achievement streak hit 4 years on April 28. I don't know if that's good or just sad, but there it is. Every day for the last 4 years I have earned at least one achievement. The fight against the backlog hydra is a marathon, and I've taken at least one step every single day for the last 4 years, so I think that is something.
Here's hoping May is a better month for all of us, and that the year takes a turn for the better. Stay safe!
March into a world gone mad
At least there's games at home
Beaten in March 8 Games
Wow, what a month, the world suddenly seemed to go from normal to mad, and it was a real eye-opener to how tenuous the lives we lead often are, and disruptions can throw thing out very quickly. We are in a lockdown here, and my wife and I always joked that we are perfect candidates to never leave the home, as I work from home and our kids are home-schooled so we normally only need to leave the home a few times a week, but this feels different. We are introverts through and through and very happy with each others company, but it's highlighted for us how important those times we leave the house are. We will usually go for a meal with my parents and siblings a few times a week, and we're realising that even this limited interaction is important. Even worse, 3 of my family have their birthdays in this time, and we just can't go there to give them a gift and share a meal. Anyway, we will be fine, and my work carries on uninterrupted, I just worry about those who have no income at this time. I think even once this is over the impact it's had will be felt for a long time and things might never quite go back to the way they were for a lot of people.
Enough of that though, I'm certainly grateful for games at a time like this, and I played a fair number this month. Asides from that I've also been finally learning Unity, and making puzzles and I think I am on track to finally realise my dream of releasing my own game. I'd started in gamemaker a few years ago but was getting frustrated by the limitations in the gamemaker engine. Unity is at least a full programming language, so the only limitation is my lack of knowledge. The game is not particularly complex, but the idea is just to have logic problems that you solve by moving things into boxes. Think of the classic 'zebra problem' and that's the type of puzzles they would be. The goal is to have about 60 puzzles starting out pretty basic and hopefully growing to a real challenge. I'm not sure anyone will even play it or enjoy it, but it's the type of game I would love to play, so maybe others will get some enjoyment from it. And it's also a learning experience in many ways to adapt the programming skills I use in my day job and applying them to something like a game, where there's a lot more moving parts and things to consider. I've set up a website to test the puzzles and create them, and once I've got the full quota I'll be looking for some testers to go over the puzzles and make sure I'm not missing anything, whilst I work on all the sprites I'll need to make. When that times comes I'd love it if some of you could try them out and help me balance them.
Quick February Update
Better later than never
Beaten in February 6 Games
Well this update is now a month late, so I won't talk too much now, but save it for the next post. A bit of a quieter month all round, but no harm in that.
A late ode to January
AKA Where did the first month of the year go???
Beaten in January 7 games
Wow January certainly came and went before I could even catch my breath. It started out with the last week of my holiday, which was great. I can't remember the last time I actually took 3 weeks off and just spending time with my family and doing things around the house really refreshed the old body and mind. And then of course work started again and everyone was keen to get things going, so I got loaded up with more work. As such, I spent less time gaming than I would have normally. I also spent a lot of time working on Hitman 2 and to a lesser degree 'Rise of the tomb raider', so there wasn't a lot of game completing action happening, but I have been enjoying the games I played, which is what we all want after all.
7 games done then for the month, although 3 of them were so quick, I don't really know if I should count them on my goal towards 90 for the year, but we'll see how desperate I get as the year winds down. So I guess we'll see how February pans out, but things may well get worse before I get ahead on my various projects and find myself with more free time again.
A farewell to 2019
So as expected 2019 was a quieter year for me on the gaming front. It was a fairly big year for me and my family personally, between having a new baby and buying a house, which meant less free time. And it has been fantastic watching my daughter grow in her first year, and putting in the hours working on my house. So yes, on the games side of things I always knew there'd be less time, which is why I set my goal for 90 games completed in the year, and I finished up on 93. So still not too bad, but it's the first year I finished less than the previous year, and I also earned 800 less achievements. I also had a list of 25 games I wanted to play this year and only got to 15 of them. Which is probably the biggest failure of the year for me.
In order to keep the BLAEO home page free of clutter, I shall hide the rest of my ramblings, behind this big button, press it at your own risk
The full list of games I beat in the year is here but here's a list of my top 10 of the year
- Assassin's Creed Origins
- Sniper Elite 4
- Saints Row: The Third
- Mount & Blade: Warband
- LEGO® City Undercover
- Borderlands 2
- West of Loathing
- Tropico 5
Assassin's creed reborn
Just when the AC series was getting pretty stale, this game came along to revitalise the whole thing. I think it redefines what is possible with an open world in many ways, and I loved every minute spent in the game. Looking forward to playing odyssey on day as well
Possibly the best one yet
With this entry to the Sniper Elite series, I think they are finally reaching the potential the series always had. Big open maps and open objectives which encourage experimentation, and allow you to perform some insane shots. The hardest mode is just insane, and finishing that was possibly one of the hardest achievements I did this year
Wow, this took a while
SRIII was one of the first games I bought when I started playing games on steam, so it felt amazing to finally beat it. I still think this is the best one in the series, leaning hard into the inherent silliness of the premise, and I honestly think it’s a better game than the grand theft series. GTA is like the ‘jock’ of the open world crime series, fuelled by testosterone and machismo, littered with enough sex jokes to make it ‘fun’, whilst SR is more like the class clown.
Can't wait for bannerlord
When I started playing M&B I will admit I was a bit lost as to what to do next. It’s such a sandbox experience that it can be confusing to know what you should be doing. But that freedom quickly became a reason to love the game as it really leaves so much of your experience up to you. Do you become a rebel leader, hell bent on conquering the world? Do you lead a small band of mercenaries performing jobs for whoever is hiring? A merchant making money through cunning trade? Of course it would all be meaningless if the combat wasn’t so comfortable to ‘get’. Here’s hoping bannerlord can keep the core of what makes this game great.
Take me down to lego city
I play the lego games for the kids allegedly, but I will admit a certain appreciation for them myself. They may all play very similarly, but it’s still fun, and they are one of the best co-op games to play with a kid. This particular one, is one of the best in my opinion. Completely original characters and story, nice big map and plenty to do. My eldest still insists on playing it, but now it’s with his own characters and made up storylines, which I guess is another reason why open world games can be great fun
Ok I get it now
When people were raving on about the Borderlands game back in the day, I didn’t get the appeal. I still didn’t get the appeal when I played Borderlands 1 years later. But after playing through most of Borderlands 2 and it’s various DLC with my brother, I now get the acclaim. Whereas the first game lacked character, and the pre-sequel tries a bit too hard, BL2 gets it just right. Fun quests, interesting enemies and epic boss fights. Just a fun ride all in all.
A quirky little puzzler
I enjoy the quirky and unusual games a lot of the time. I think they break up the monotony of games the follow the same formulas and showcase a different way of making games. I enjoyed this developers previous game, Back to bed, and was pleased to see the figment upped the ante with better characterisation, a deeper story, and quirky soundtrack, complete with villain monologue songs. The puzzles were also pretty well thought out.
Fun times in the wild wild wild wild west
I have a love hate relationship with RPGs. Some of my favourite games ever are RPGs, and a lot of the other games I really enjoy have borrowed RPG elements, but I just find a lot of them are too grindy and stats driven to just enjoy in small bursts. So this game was perfect for me. I never felt like I was getting outmatched because I didn’t have the perfect gear, and the humour is just perfect. There’s also tons of little secrets and sub-plots to unravel, and it took me a couple of playthroughs to get a lot of it. ( I did 100% the game, but then they added DLC. Thanks devs)
This is probably the shortest time I’ve taken from release date to beaten, especially for a game this long. I have a deep love for Nintendo and this game feels like a perfect mix of Metroid, Zelda and some Portal level puzzling to boot, so once I started playing I just got hooked into it, and before I knew, it was finished. Looking forward to getting the DLC and sequel some time. GOTY 2019 for me definitely. (Missed the deadline to nominate it here unfortunately)
Your kingdom awaits, El-presidente
I love city building simulation games, even though I’m rubbish at micromanagement, so I’ve always loved the Tropico series for being kinder in that regard. You still have a lot of stats and things to pay attention to, but it’s more forgiving and with just a bit of common sense it’s not hard to succeed. I also love the quirky scenarios and random events that pop up. I don’t know why I took so long to finish this game, but once I started playing it again, it quickly sucked me in again and I’m glad to add this one to the list.
Most disappointing game
- Flat Kingdom Paper's Cut Edition
A great game and concept which I enjoyed playing… up until the point there was a randomly occurring bug which meant the one boss fight became a fight against pretty tough odds to beat. I wasted far too much time restarting that fight just to hope I could get lucky on all 15 of the attack selections and that honestly has a way of ruining a game a bit.
Plans for 2020
I suspect the amount of real life busi-ness will still be pretty high this year, so I'm setting my goal for completed games in the year to 90 again, or to reach 540 completed games total. I'd also like to increase the average completion from 76 to 80, but that might not happen, if I start too many new games.
I have put together a new list of the 25 games I'd like to beat this year, but as we know, that may turn out to be completely irrelevant.List is here
9 in 11
Beaten in November 9 games
And just like that we are staring down the barrel of another year. November was a bit of a strange month for me. Started out in a burst of activity but then I had to go to hospital for a couple of tests and some minor surgery and things really slowed down towards the end of the month. The upshot is that I only need to beat 4 game in December to get my 90 for the year, which should be easy enough. Getting to 77% completion might be a little harder as I've recently started a lot of new games that brought me down again, but we'll see. I will take leave over the last couple of weeks, so maybe I'll find inspiration to play a lot during that time.
Asides from what I beat, I also started a few new games, the biggest of which was Hitman 2. Wow, it's really a great game. The level of detail and thought that went into every level is outstanding. The series always seemed like it had the potential to become a murder sandbox and I'm glad technology finally got to the point where a game like this is possible. So many approaches to every problem. I'll be playing this a while as it's got a lot of content, and I also don't want to burn out on it, but it was definitely worth the purchase.
I succumbed to a few purchases on the sales, mostly smaller games, but I will probably get a 'big' game in the winter sale later this month. I really want to try Just cause 4, and maybe AC odyssey, but I'll need to do a deeper cost/benefit analysis... haha
Lucky number 7
Beaten in October 7 games
Well just like that we are staring down the end of another year. It always seems like the last 3 months of the year hit the gas in a big way and next thing you know it's Christmas and another year. This month I made a concerted effort to revisit some games I'd started years ago and abandoned with a completion percentage of 20% or less. It resulted in a few completions and also a few upgrades to a higher completion percentage. I figure even if I can't beat them all, just moving them up a few notches will help fix my graph break down on completionist, where there's a big number of games stuck in that zone. Asides from that I didn't really play any 'big' games this month. I've been a bit tired in the evenings and so loading up something that requires my full attention is not always an appealing option. So thank goodness for the smaller games doing their part to keep me entertained.
And so with 2 months to go, my average completion is up to 76 percent and my total for the year is 77 games done. So I think the goal of 77% AGC and 90 games total is still very much on track. In terms of adding to the backlog however, this month was terrible. Fanatical had a couple of decent bundles and then the humble monthly had good games, and the hydra grew far more heads than I wanted. But when I take leave at the end of this year I will get brutal with the library and remove anything I'm probably never going to play, and see if I can't shave the library back down to less than 2500.
10 out of 10
Beaten in September 10 games
Well that month certainly recovered. About halfway through I'd only managed to beat 2 games. And then the steam library update came and I started exploring my library in all sorts of different way. And it highlighted a few games I needed to get back to and finally did. So there was a sudden flurry of shorter games and returns to older ones that resulted in September being one of my best months this year. 3 months left to go and I think we're well on track to hit 90 by the end of the year.
Apart from what I finished, I played some co-op games with the kids and wife, and I'm sure a few of those will be done before too long. I didn't really spend a lot of time playing 'bigger' games, just because I wasn't in the mood really, guess it just goes like that sometimes. With spring in full effect there was of course also a lot to do in the garden, so that was where I spent a lot of my weekends.
That's a wrap for September, I think October will probably be spent more on longer games, so less completions, but you never know, moods change. Have a great October everyone
A gust of wind
Beaten in August 5 games
So a little less progress this month. But there's a good reason. I spent a lot of time playing 'big' games. Asides from borderlands 2 and Sniper Elite 4, I also 'beat' Assassin's creed origins, Deus Ex mankind and spent a lot of time playing Borderlands: the Pre-sequel. So that was where most of my evening game time was going. I also started a whole bunch of games with my sons. I'm not sure if I'll ever finish all of them, and they dragged me down in the completion ratio, but we found some good ones to play, so I guess that was a win.
My progress towards my year goals is still on track, although a slower month meant I erased the 'buffer' I had built up. But I will no doubt have some busier months at the end of the year, as my work slows down and I take leave
Bored on the 4th of July
Games I beat this month:
Beaten in July 8 games
The Room Three
Snail Trek - Chapter 4: The Final Fondue
7 Billion Humans
Super Lucky's Tale
So of course July was the tail end of the Steam sale, and as I usually tend to do, I went through my wishlist and picked up a bunch of really cheap little games for a few cents each. Some of them were in bundles with other games so all told I gathered another 15 puzzle/casual games for about $9. A lot of them are perfect 'coffee break' games. Little brain teasers I can do during a work break. So most of my completions this month were those, being as the 'main' games I have been playing are all longer and likely to take a bit longer to finish.
Asides from these that I beat, I also played a lot of Borderlands 2 with my brother and his girlfriend. It has been a lot of fun and I'm very close to beating it now. I did not get the appeal of the series after playing the first game, but everything improved so much with the second game, I get why people like it now. I'll definitely pick up the third one when it's on steam and has a GOTY version.
In real life, things have been busy with work and the kids and the gardening. Feels a bit like spinning wheels some time, but it's good mostly. I mostly finished clearing the jungle around our mini orchard that the previous owners had allowed to grow unchecked, so the fruit trees will hopefully have a better chance of survival. By my count, we have 3 lemon trees, 2 peach trees, 2 guava trees, 2 avocado trees and something that seems to produce some form of tangerine or easy peel orange. There's also a grape vine and several goosebury bushes, that I had to cut right back as they were interfering with other plans. Hopefully the vine can recover when spring arrives, but the grapes were so sour, it's no great loss, but I guess the birds liked them.
Happy August to everyone. Hope it's a good one
The Room Three
10 of 10 achievements (100%)
I picked this up on the sale, because I loved the first two games and the price was too good to pass up. I normally consider mobile games to be inferior to 'normal' games, but this is one case where I think it would probably be superior on the phone, with a more 'hands on' and tactile approach. But I'm glad to at least be able to play it. They are perfectly crafted little escape room puzzlers, and the focus is perfectly maintained so you are never distracted by useless things, and the end result if you feel very clever for figuring things out, even if you're aware at the same time that the game was nudging you there. It's brilliant game design, and I look forward to playing the next one in the series
Snail Trek - Chapter 4: The Final Fondue
9 of 9 achievements (100%)
After beating the 3rd last month, I just had to finish the little story. Love the aesthetic and game design. And of course a great sense of humour. I'd love to see the dev turn their attention to a longer form 'sierra' type adventure game. The modern conveniences like the auto-suggestion text box are nice touches that avoid some of the more obvious design frustrations of those early games, but otherwise the design feels spot on.
7 Billion Humans
19 of 19 achievements (100%)
Played the first in the series and enjoyed it, so naturally picked up the sequel in the sale. If the first one was an introduction to 'single thread' commands, this one is very much more focussed on 'multi-thread' programming. Being a programmer in my real life job, I was able to solve most of these without too many problems, but then it has the challenges for time and max instructions, and some of those are brutal. I will happily admit to using a guide for those, and being impressed with how much difference different approaches can take. One day I want my kids to learn programming, and I think games like this will be a great way to teach them.
8 of 8 achievements (100%)
A well worn puzzle concept, taken to the 3d realm. Join the matching colours with non-intersecting lines. It works alright I guess, but a lot of the time, it felt like the solutions could be more elegant, so where you end up with the entire cube covered, rather than having optional routes and squares in many levels. Some of the times the solution I used on a level felt wrong because so much space was still free on the cube. Anyway, it was part of a steam 'complete your collection' bundle, so it was pretty much free, and I guess for that price it was worth it.
8 of 8 achievements (100%)
Another little puzzler, this one was much better. Similar to minesweeper, or hexcells, you're presented with squares the give information about which squares around them are 'dangerous'. This has a few interesting twists, and I liked the fact that each level was solvable without guess work.
35 of 35 achievements (100%)
A simple concept. Move the ball to gather all the droplets in a minimum number of moves. Levels range from stupidly easy, to really long winded. And then they also added hidden collectibles to each, for an added challenge. Not bad, but not revolutionary by any means. It's part of a trilogy, so I guess there'll be more 'quell' in my future.
Super Lucky's Tale
58 of 58 achievements (100%)
Got the DLC for this in the sale, so finally felt like I could focus on it a finish it. The game is a fun little PS2 era type 3d platformer, where you gather collectibles and enter levels from a 'hub' level. So similar to Yooka-laylee I guess. The hardest achievements are probably from the DLC, specifically a couple of 'no death' challenges for certain levels. Which was more frustrating than it should have been thanks to some random elements. But the worst achievement is probably the one for gathering 100 000 coins. I hate when developers add things like that into a game to inflate the 'game time'. So after you've beaten the game you must now add another 5 or 6 hours of repeating the same action just to complete. Anyway the actual game is fun and great for kids, so I would still recommend it.
23 of 23 achievements (100%)
Oh look, another little puzzle game! This one takes the match 3 concept and adds a nice twist with tiles that can only move a certain way, and tiles you can click on to erase. There's also puzzle levels to solve in a certain number of moves, and some silly story I didn't quite understand. Anyway, does it's job pretty well, so I'd recommend