the Traveler’s profile

♠ Hello, friend, and thanks for checking out my profile. ♠


Like everyone else here, I’ve amassed games via bundles/sales; I will probably never complete all my games, but with this group I hope to at least get more playtime across my whole library. I prefer co-op games and story-driven ones, but I’m also a fan of puzzles and niche oddballs. My overall gaming goals are casual and experience oriented rather than competitive and time-demanding. I’ll try anything once though.

Aside from games, I also have a book backlog that I’m working on. Other interests that compete for my free time are: going to night school part time, hitting the gym, geocaching/hiking when the weather is good, and board games/escape rooms when I have friends available.

Always taking friend adds. Also interested in joining online games for completion. I am in GMT-5 and generally only play after 8 PM for a few hours.


Book-Game Challenge for 2019

January Orwell: Keeping An Eye On You 1984 by George Orwell
February Conan Exiles The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
March Playne: The Meditation Game Stress Reduction for Busy People by Dawn Groves
April Sword Daughter Sword Daughter’s Quest by Rhondi Vilott
June Conarium At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

ABC Screenshot Challenge:

A Bella C D Edith Finch Fox
Gandalf *Hyun-ae initiate Jonah K Lara Croft
M N O P Q R
Sam Everett T U Victor Saltzpyre W Xûr
Yakira, Priestess of Derketo Z        

♠ Update 3 July ♠

Been MIA, my bad.

It’s been two months since I’ve last posted. After the semester ended, I originally decided I’d take a couple weeks off from all non-required responsibilities as reward. Relaxation and all that.

But then I started to enjoy my summer, doing a whole lot more outdoors things like hiking, swimming in creeks etc (though this Saturday I’m going to an astronomy presentation on the size of the universe, go nerdy ass me), and only played a handful of games with my best game friends so I had nothing much to report here.

So those couple of weeks turned into a couple of months.

I do want to keep chipping away at my backlog, but I’m not sure how structured I’ll be for the remainder of the summer.


Currently on tap:

  • Dragon Cliff
    Dragon Cliff

    222.7 hours playtime

    69 of 70 achievements

Go go idle games! This is the most I’ve “played” any game the past two months and frankly I’ve really enjoyed it, even enough to have written a review on it which is rare for me as I’m not really into reviewing.

Currently I’m in the endgame dungeon with around 30 more levels to complete before I’ve officially 100% this title. I might possibly get there today. I really will need another replacement to see me through the season!

  • SpaceEngine
    SpaceEngine

    7.4 hours playtime

    no achievements

This is not a game so much as a universe simulator, but I’ve found it so fascinating that I gifted someone else a copy so we can share coords of our discoveries and basically geek out together. You can DL a free older version online if you search, but this project is such a massive undertaking and yet so polished for what it is, I was happy to support its dev.

I have played a smattering of other games, mostly sessions with friends as said instead of linear singleplayers, but as I haven’t committed to finishing anything recently I don’t think it bears mentioning here.


Summer Sale:

I’ve sent more gifts than I’ve bought for myself, so far. I do miss the ability to keep game gifts stored on your account, summer sale is a good time to stock up on just-in-case gifts for surprise birthdays heh.

For myself, my notable purchases are Elite Dangerous (yay space, but ouch steep learning curve), Holdfast Nations At War (holy hell is this community fun), and the Monster Prom DLC cause a friend twisted my arm to get it so I can help her 100% her game.


Until next time,

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” - F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

♠ Update 3 May ♠

Progress on my book-game challenge:

Wrap-up post is coming – it’s been finals season so I really have not put in the time yet to write it up.

I do have a new pick for this month, and that will come too.


BLAEO Monthly Theme:

  • Bayonetta
    Bayonetta

    0.5 hours playtime

    1 of 50 achievements

As mentioned last week, I was given this game by a friend, and since it fits the Golden Week theme of the month, this’ll be my pick.

I’m pretty sure I won’t have time to 100% the game, but my plan is to at least finish out the storyline once.


VN:

  • Cinders
    Cinders

    0 hours playtime

    0 of 8 achievements

I could have easily chosen something with BLAEO’s monthly theme and done two categories in one go. But I think I’ll just go ahead and kill a new game on the backlog as I should have a free weekend now.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Divinity: Original Sin 2

    16.1 hours playtime

    10 of 97 achievements

  • The Watchmaker
    The Watchmaker

    0.2 hours playtime

    2 of 21 achievements

Holy hell guys, April was just a month of unexpected gifts from friends and I am both flattered and intimidated by the playtime I’m going to have to put into all if them! :)

Divinity 2 was completely left field and took me wholly by (very grateful) surprise. It’s been fun though, as the person who gifted it also plays and though we don’t play together due to timezones, we’ve been messaging back and forth about our progress and secrets we’ve found etc. So like my other co-op games, I won’t be pressuring myself to 100% it within some timeframe but just enjoy the journey with a friend.

I had some technical problems with loading The Watchmaker (which going by the discussions board seems to be a common thing), but I did get into it one night and played around on the first level of the game. It has some interesting mechanics, such as the puzzle timer being your character literally aging before you.

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    9.9 hours playtime

    18 of 40 achievements

  • Nyasha Valkyrie
    Nyasha Valkyrie

    3.3 hours playtime

    32 of 32 achievements

  • Mirror
    Mirror

    35 hours playtime

    114 of 114 achievements

  • Love Story of Sparrow
    Love Story of Sparrow

    0.8 hours playtime

    7 of 7 achievements

Mirror had been on my harddrive for a year and a half, played sporadically, just decided to finish the darn thing out finally and uninstall. Also finished Nyasha Valkyrie and uninstalled. Reached level 7 of Playne and have continued my streak!

I have absolutely no idea what the hell Love Story of Sparrow is about because I don’t read Chinese — but I once had a pet sparrow named Icky and I got all nostalgic with the game’s artwork. So basically I was only clicking through this game to look at nice hand drawn birdie pictures and playing dress-up with a sparrow repeatedly.


Until next time,

“Free time was the most precious time, when you should be doing what you loved, or at least slowing down enough to remember what made your life worthwhile and happy.” – Amy Tan

♠ Update 26 April ♠

Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Sword Daughter
    Sword Daughter

    6.5 hours playtime

    15 of 15 achievements

This is 100% done on both the game and book front, I just need to sit down and pound out my wrap-up post. I hope to do that this weekend, but it is final exams season so that might wait until I’m in the right headspace.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    9.3 hours playtime

    15 of 40 achievements

There is now an alpha test open for the mobile version of the game, but as it doesn’t connect (yet!) to the PC version I haven’t signed up to be a tester. I think that would divide my time with it a bit too much, until it does.

  • Worlds Adrift
    Worlds Adrift

    0.7 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Bayonetta
    Bayonetta

    0.5 hours playtime

    1 of 50 achievements

These were both gifts from friends this month, so I felt obligated to put at least a bit of play on them. They both seem fun in their own ways, but I just need more time + focus to really dedicate to solid play for them both.

  • Burning Daylight
    Burning Daylight

    0.8 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Nyasha Valkyrie
    Nyasha Valkyrie

    1.6 hours playtime

    16 of 32 achievements

Burning Daylight was just a rando free game that looked like it could be an interesting palate cleanser. Really cool plot theme, sort of a mix between Matrix + Soylent Green, so it was creepy and engaging at the same time. A small time investment for the experience, and I think it was a great project for the group of art students who apparently created it as a project.

Nyasha Valkyrie was played rather mindlessly as I sat chatting to someone. Just your run-of-the-mill slider puzzle, with anime styled sexy winged girls. I do not own the 18+ nudie DLC so I can’t comment on teh lewdz.

  • Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced
    Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced

    30 hours playtime

    40 of 80 achievements

This got little playtime this week as my co-op partner has been working overtime and thus hasn’t been around. Also, when he gets back I’ve gifted him a copy of Tomb Raider since I loved it so much, so now his time will be divided even more so when he does. :P


I’ll post next time with my new monthly picks for May. Until then,

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin

♠ Update 19 April ♠

Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Sword Daughter
    Sword Daughter

    5.4 hours playtime

    9 of 15 achievements

I’ve gotten up to 13 of 22 endings now, and the game having the option to skip dialogue certainly helps. Getting some good comments on my uploaded screenshots of the artwork, which is actually pretty nice. Not the usual anime VN style.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


BLAEO Monthly Theme pick:

  • Tales from the Borderlands
    Tales from the Borderlands

    10.3 hours playtime

    35 of 35 achievements

As noted in my edited post from last week, I changed my monthly theme pick because my first choice was just completely unfun to me right now.

Chose something else on theme that I knew I wouldn’t go wrong with and had a total blast. I binge-played it over the course of two days which is saying something for me.


VN:

  • Subsurface Circular
    Subsurface Circular

    2.9 hours playtime

    13 of 13 achievements

  • </div> </li>

Finished out this one this week too, going back and following the paths to unlock the achievements. It was a nice change of pace for a VN - the art style was fantastic, the story engaging and the gameplay (such as it was) was intuitive enough. A very short game with no replayability really, but worth checking out if your normal fare is VN.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    8.6 hours playtime

    15 of 40 achievements

Got another level and environmental unlock with my still-consecutive sessions! My session times have been very short though, too much other game distraction currently.

  • Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced
    Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced

    27 hours playtime

    37 of 80 achievements

Can we say lifesucker? Haha, think I played this with my friend almost every night this week. Really has been a blast in co-op. I’m not the best at driving the cars though (plus my friend really likes squishing bad guys for some reason) so been jumping in the gunner seat on those which makes for very convenient ninja-AFK times while he takes us between quest points lol.


Happy Easter!

♠ Update 13 April ♠

Possibly useful tool info:

Recently found out about this tool, which will sort your Steam Library by genre, HLTB times, tags, and more!

Maybe some of you will find it useful when looking for games to assassinate: Depressurizer


Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Sword Daughter
    Sword Daughter

    3.8 hours playtime

    6 of 15 achievements

Started this up one night and got a couple solid playthroughs of it, though apparently there are 22 endings to unlock so I’ve got a lot more sessions to go! The game is nearly identical to the book it is based on too, so going forward I’ll probably play and read in tandem.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


BLAEO Monthly Theme pick:

  • Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative
    Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative

    5.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

Meh. Still meh.

Edit: As I just haven’t had fun with this so far, I’m changing my pick for the month. No sense banging my head against the wall here if I’m just not feeling it right now.


VN:

  • Subsurface Circular
    Subsurface Circular

    1.8 hours playtime

    7 of 13 achievements

  • </div> </li>

Got a little more play time on this, but I haven’t yet finished the storyline out.

I find that games like this are pretty much made for times when you’re half-idling, chatting or listening to music.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Slappy Ass
    Slappy Ass

    1.8 hours playtime

    11 of 11 achievements

The game was updated with a new feature and a new achievement, so I finally decided to spend a few minutes ‘completing’ the game and then uninstalled. So hey, finished another gifted game.

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    7.8 hours playtime

    14 of 40 achievements

Still going with this program, maintaining my streak. Pretty sure all my sessions were short this week though.

  • Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced
    Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced

    17.6 hours playtime

    26 of 80 achievements

Most time-sucking game of the week again. Playing co-op, we finished out the Isle of Dr Ned DLC campaign and so I guess we’ll be headed back to doing more storyline stuff again soon. I wasn’t sold initially on the Siren as my character, always jealous that my friend snagged the Hunter because he’s badass. But after getting some decent elemental weapons and enough points to unlock better skills - she’s doing alright.

image

The other time sink game, played a session or two with another friend doing weekly bounties and helping her level a new character. Might be investing more time into this soon if my friend decides to pick up the expansion set like she’s talking about.


Happy Spring!

♠ Update 6 April ♠

Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Sword Daughter
    Sword Daughter

    0 hours playtime

    0 of 15 achievements

No progress so far.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


BLAEO Monthly Theme pick:

  • Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative
    Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative

    1.3 hours playtime

    no achievements

I’m not finding this to be as fun as the original Portal games so far, sadly. I know it’s fan made so I’m not expecting perfection, but it’s just not as fun. Hopefully that feeling will change as I get further in.


VN:

  • Subsurface Circular
    Subsurface Circular

    1.1 hours playtime

    5 of 13 achievements

  • </div> </li>

I was able to play this one a bit and so far I like the setting and style of it. It’s a nice departure from the usual art design of visual novels. I really hope to see more kinds of these pop up.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Horror Girl Puzzle
    Horror Girl Puzzle

    1.5 hours playtime

    18 of 18 achievements

New artwork was rolled out, so solved the puzzle to view it.

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    6.5 hours playtime

    14 of 40 achievements

I’m still managing my streak with this one, though I nearly lost it this week when I’d completely forgotten about it until midnight. Just barely skated into that session haha. But I’m intending on getting all the unlocks for my environment and I’m still happy enough to keep going with the program.

  • Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced
    Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced

    5.6 hours playtime

    14 of 80 achievements

This was the biggest time sucker for me this week and foreseeable future (I also have ~4 hours played this week on the original version, not shown here, which was played before the remaster was released). I’m playing co-op and my partner for this game is very excited by the whole franchise and BL3 release thing, so I’m just kind of being swept along with his fanaticism lol.

…. which unfortunately means I’m losing some time to play other time-intensive games. So Rise of the Tomb Raider game has been paused as has my Destiny 2 playthrough with another friend (who has been AFK anyways as she has real world visitors.) And I was just gifted both Bayonetta and Worlds Adrift by various friends too, but who knows when I’ll get around to those… my kingdom for more free hours in the day!


Hope your week is as awesome as you are!

♠ Book-Game Challenge for April 2019 ♠

  • Sword Daughter
    Sword Daughter

    0 hours playtime

    0 of 15 achievements

Game Book
Sword Daughter Sword Daughter’s Quest by Rhondi Vilott

Taking an easy month on this challenge, and focusing on kitschy retro ‘choose your own adventures’ style fun for April.

Yep, that is an original 1984 copy of a fantasy gamebook, the likes of which were so popular in the 80s and 90s - and it’s been remade in digital form!

So I get to relive all the branching pathways twice over, and I’ll let you know how I fared against the dragons and monsters around month’s end.

image

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.

♠ Book-Game Challenge for March 2019 ♠

To briefly recap, I chose to play and read this month:

Game Book
Playne: The Meditation Game Stress Reduction for Busy People by Dawn Groves

As a reminder, I am not doing straight up reviews of either the book or the game; you can find plenty of those easily online. Instead, my wrap-up posts are focused on how the two forms of media portrayed the same ideas and how they meshed for me personally as a consumer who enjoyed them concurrently.


“Many of these changes may seem small. However, as they accumulate you will find yourself breathing more easily and smiling more often.” - Stress Reduction for Busy People


Now just as a quick overview of both products for any reader who is not aware of their basic premise, courtesy of their storefronts:

Stress Reduction for Busy People shows that by starting with a few simple changes, anyone can find a few minutes each day to take care of their bodies with exercise, sleep, and good food; their souls with meditation and prayer; and their minds with pursuits that challenge and please.

Playne: The Meditation Game is a game designed to reduce stress, increase well-being and to promote personal growth by helping you build a habit of mindfulness.


There is apparently a Chinese proverb: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” And this, my friends, is as good as summary for my month of delving into meditation and stress relief techniques as any.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people have felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed and unable to cope. All of us have had to deal with various degrees of crises - whether from work, school, environment, society, family, health and finances. It’s something that we all can agree is simply part of existence - and yet as sentient beings we also have the capacity to develop the tools necessary to effectively deal with those situations instead of becoming paralyzed with panic.

I’m going to state now that my experiences this month are incredibly personalized to me and my own lifestyle, so while some suggestions talked about below may or may not have worked out, they could create different outcomes for other people. Take it all with a hefty grain of salt.


“Life doesn’t have to be a process of ongoing damage control.” - Stress Reduction for Busy People


March was a month of experimentation with this month’s challenge - and despite the topic, it turned out to be slightly more work for me than the previous challenges (and why this wrap-up is a few days late.) This is because the crux of this challenge relied on me testing out real changes to my life.

I walked into this as a relatively happy person with regular joe sort of problems. Like many adults with modern western lives, I’m overscheduled and never seem to have enough resources to do everything I’d like to do. I don’t have the most profound struggles in life, yet stress is still something that gets the best of me.

I’ll admit that underlying chronic tension was causing exactly what the author of Stress Reduction for Busy People stated as symptom in the first chapter: “You stop relating to family members as partners in life, instead seeing them as just another set of obligations.” Extrapolate that out to friends and acquaintances of all sorts, and I found myself constantly striving to meet external expectations. The perceived neediness had become a burden and I was not always the most pleasant person to be around.

Real suggestions for improving your ability to handle stress begin in chapter two of the book, and all of it is common sense stuff that pretty much everyone knows: eat healthily, get some exercise, and make sure you sleep enough. Strong body, strong mind: “You’re teaching your body to handle stress and recover from it quickly.” However, I already do eat fairly well and am a regular gym goer. It is true that I feel stronger, more confident and clearer headed when I’m hitting the weights hard and eating clean.

Where I can improve is getting enough sleep; I frequently stay up later than I should. As the book says, “Sleep is a form of surrender. The last thing a stressed out mind wants to do is let go.” So I tried those tips on successive nights: no electronics or reading in bed, trying a full-body stretching routine before bedtime, not taking naps, cutting back on caffeine, and oddly enough, wearing thick wool socks to sleep (warming the feet promotes blood vessel dilation.) I liked the socks thing - that was nice and cozy on a chilly night so I do think it was mildly helpful in getting more deep REM sleep - but in the end my sleep shortage is due entirely on stretching out my freetime longer than I should. I simply need to go to sleep earlier.

Meditation and spiritual practice (prayer) are key features of the book’s stress-busting plan. Luckily I was also using Playne to learn meditation in tandem, but I took the book’s mention of yoga’s benefits and decided to try it out. My gym conveniently offers yoga classes and so on two early Saturday mornings, I tried my best to maintain a very humbling one-legged, limbs askew pose for long enough to not be embarrassed, preceded and ended by shorter sitting sessions with eyes closed, chanting ‘omms’ while bells chimed and flower oils filled the air. This concluded with the willowy blonde instructor slowly bowing to us with a rather chipper voice saying, “The light within me honours the light within you.”

My friends, I respect yoga practitioners and understand that millions of people enjoy the tradition. There is nothing wrong with it and more power to you lithe flexible folks who manage to look good while doing happy baby pose. But personally, I just found it all very awkward. I did not leave either session feeling relaxed or exercised. I remain steadfast to my own weightlifting routine, where I can zone out to my music and leave feeling accomplished.

Later in the book, the author talks about breaking down enormous worries into smaller, workable problems to be handled step by step. This is solid advice as it’s very easy to become overwhelmed while looking at the big picture, but by narrowing your focus you can actually roll up your sleeves and get to work on chipping away at it. Part of this process is goal-setting, and the best idea I got from the entire book came from that section: extending your goal by adding a charitable action. An example of this would be setting a goal of saving enough money to buy a brand new mountain bike, and then contacting the neighborhood association about organizing a ride for kids.

I’m really stuck on that awesome suggestion and so I’ll go ahead and give two of mine:

  • When I complete this goblet squat challenge, I will donate a catcher’s mitt to the newly forming kiddie tee-ball league in my area.
  • When I finish a freeCodeCamp program over the summer, I will subsidize the cost of a new STEM book for my local library.

I realize that this post is long, but I still need to talk about the game!


On the flip side of things, Playne: The Meditation Game is largely devoid of spiritual practices and New Agey spiels. It does have a bit of an esoteric story you can unlock piecemeal with continual sessions and it features quotes from philosophers to inspire you, but nothing I saw really stood out as being mystical. On starting up your game, you are given the scientifically validated mental and physical benefits of daily meditation. You are coached on how to do it - how to breathe, how to be aware, how to let go of your thoughts but not limit them.

That was huge for me, because I honestly cannot comprehend how some people are able to empty their minds completely, or become one with the universe, or whatever it is that my yoga class ‘omms’ were supposed to do for me. Playne introduces you to meditation that is ridiculously easy to pick up: it’s just sitting there quietly, being aware of your breathing and not forcing anything. Your screen fills with the scenic view of your choice, you select the timing for your session, and the game shows you a pulsating bubble to help guide your breathing pace.

Although the game suggests that 10 minutes is recommended and 20 minutes is ideal, I started my month long consecutive meditation sessions at only 5 minutes because I thought I was just too fidgety to handle more. From there I worked incrementally up, adding one minute a day, intending to reach the full 20 minutes later in the month. However, at 17 minutes I was losing all focus on the meditation. It was just too long for me as a meditation noob I suppose. I’ve since dialed it back - I try for 10 minutes, but on days when I’m rushed or sick I go for 5 minutes, or even just 1 minute.

The more you meditate on the game, the more new things will very slowly appear in your meditation space on the screen. Trees, fireflies, birds and more become a part of the experience, and your on-screen guide, Fox will tell you more of his strange little story of how Playne came to be. You earn ‘streaks’ for consecutive daily sessions and the game keeps track of all your numbers: total time meditated, thoughts you’ve recorded by tapping your spacebar or mouse, sessions and levels.

By day 3, I was starting to look forward to my few minutes on Playne that evening, despite also playing far more exciting games like Tomb Raider this month. I knew it’d be a few minutes of calm at the end of the day - not a huge investment, but enough to feel recharged. By day 6 I found that my breathing had naturally adapted to the program’s guided breathing pace and I was hitting the spacebar slightly less than before. I genuinely was happy to see my first tree saplings appear for my 8th day session. Later on in the month I added in a stress ball for my meditations, which seemed to work out okay, though for the first minute or two it was distracting. When I adopted a squeeze pattern identical to that of the breath bubble of the game, it was easy to autopilot its use.

I will say that if you’re considering picking it up on Steam and have an active friends list there, be sure you disable notifications before you meditate. Nothing worse than being halfway in, relaxed with even breathing, then hearing a ding with a pop up that says “hey want to trade ur packs”

Now Playne is still an “Early Access” game, meaning that it is still in active development and will continue to change as the developer works on polishing it up. My experience this month will likely change with future updates. It’s probably premature of me to make rigid critiques of the program knowing that this is not a final version. But I will mention my one caveat for certain potential players: I feel that the gamification of meditation has the potential to actually induce stress in itself. In particular, the “streaks” aspect of Playne, where you grow your campfire and earn achievements for continuously loading up and meditating with Playne for a consecutive number of days - all the way up to one year. If you miss a day, your campfire extinquishes and you lose your days towards your achievement.

Unfortunately, life happens - we get sick, we get tired, we have emergencies, or vacations and holidays, lose power at home, and so on. While you don’t lose your overall progress as far as unlocks and evolution, I can imagine logging in after perhaps a very stressful situation which prevented you from using Playne like a hospital stay or funeral, and then seeing your fire has gone out for circumstances out of your control. If you suddenly lost your sixth month streak, would that motivate you to start all over again or frustrate you? I’m sure there’s some sort of higher message in that, maybe something along the lines of accepting impermanence, but for many perfectionist game players and beginning meditators the lesson may be a harsh one.


“What you dwell on, you empower in your life. Energy follows attention.” - Stress Reduction for Busy People


The most important question: was this worthwhile?

Yes and no.

The book was less useful to me, as many of the suggestions given were either already in place for me or were not ones I particularly wanted to implement. The few tips I took to heart - the ‘goals with giving’ notably - I feel could have been found by browsing some free self-help websites.

I would like to pursue more information on mindfulness in book form eventually, but for now, a good friend recommended I look into Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist author of many books on the subject. I’m not sure if that author will scratch my itch for deeper understanding due to their spiritual slant, but for the short term I plan on watching some of their free Dharma Talks to decide if it’s for me.

As far as the game, a big yes. Playne was able to bring me into the practice of meditation without the trappings of spiritual traditions or New Agey spiels. Although I see the use of Playne as a short-term one (once you know how to meditate, you don’t really need any special prompts or props to practice it), the fact remains that it taught me quite easily and effectively how to incorporate mindfulness every day. I’ve felt measurable results from its practice already.

I did get the opportunity to test out all this stress-busting with an unexpected real life situation involving a very expensive repair bill and also having my grandmother moved to hospice care. Happy to report that I took it in stride, and did not feel my blood pressure rise immediately as is typical for me. I did have a lot of extra thoughts during my next few Playne sessions, but nothing that upended my daily life. I felt at peace with things.

♠ Update 29 March ♠

Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    5.6 hours playtime

    12 of 40 achievements

Winding down now on this month’s selection, but I’ll post my wrap-up once I’ve completed the full 30 day streak for the game. I will again say that the dev for the game is very active - he recently added me on Steam, probably because of all the screenshots I keep taking.

This was definitely a very chill month as far as this personal challenge goes, and worth it for the new real life skills I’ve picked up in the process.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


BLAEO Monthly Theme pick:

  • Tomb Raider
    Tomb Raider

    31.4 hours playtime

    35 of 50 achievements

This is done and dusted, at least as far as all singleplayer content. I am still missing the multiplayer achievements; maybe there’ll be a few folks interested in getting those sometime.

I know I said I was going to pass on buying the next game in the trilogy, but honestly, the moment I got the very last achievement in Tomb Raider I felt a bit sad! I wasn’t ready for the game to be done! Seeing as I rarely feel that way and I don’t usually have an overabundance of freetime for longer games (Steam playtime for the last two weeks is ~21 hours currently) - I just took this as a sign that maybe I should go ahead and binge a bit.

So I did it. And I’ve played a wee bit:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
    Rise of the Tomb Raider

    2.3 hours playtime

    5 of 143 achievements

This one is more complicated than the first, with crafting and outfits with stats and new environmental mechanics (also harder on my old laptop) but still getting good Lara vibes from it so it’s a go.


VN:

  • Analogue: A Hate Story
    Analogue: A Hate Story

    6.6 hours playtime

    14 of 14 achievements

First up on my “learn to appreciate VNs” agenda based on tsupertsundere’s list of boss ass VNs, I finally got around to finishing Analogue. I took a week long break between sessions, paused at the reactor meltdown scene. This was a bad choice. See, this game has so many (mentioned, not visualized) characters and family lineages in the story and I found it fairly hard to keep it all straight, besides the AIs. This is my own flaw, not a mark against the game.

I think the game addresses some deeper topics that leave you pondering over it, and the plot is a neat idea with seeing how humanity manages to regress socially instead of progressing which is something we assume happens in sci-fi. I actually enjoyed going back and forth using the faux computer terminal. However I can’t say that I felt strongly about any particular character and I didn’t feel completely immersed while playing - more like a distant observer if you will. Again, this is probably specific to me personally but I’m just getting started in this genre so maybe that will change.

Once finished, I chose another short game off the list to download.

  • Subsurface Circular
    Subsurface Circular

    0 hours playtime

    0 of 13 achievements


Otherwise played this week:

  • When the Darkness comes
    When the Darkness comes

    3.4 hours playtime

    32 of 32 achievements

Holy hell, guys. This game. You ever play Doki Doki? With that fourth wall breaking creepiness meant to mess with your head?

Yeah. Well this game doesn’t even bother to try to lull you into a comfort zone. You know the minute you load in and start that the guy is out to royally wallop your mind. You got to play through it a few times to reach the full effect, and there will be easter eggs hidden in your files. Do not play this if you’re emotionally fragile. It was made by one guy and has some framerate issues at parts, but it’s free.

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Played a couple hours with my buddy, who has now finished the vanilla storyline. She wants to keep playing when we have time, and so I’ll still be poking around the solar system for the foreseeable future.


April Fool’s is coming - trust no one!

Update 22 March

Progress on my book-game challenge:

  • Playne: The Meditation Game
    Playne: The Meditation Game

    5.3 hours playtime

    12 of 40 achievements

Been an off week here. While I have still kept my meditation streak alive, due to sickness and life I’ve been cutting sessions short for several days.

As an FYI: previous months’ book-game wrap-ups are linked on my profile page if you’re interested.


BLAEO Monthly Theme pick:

  • Tomb Raider
    Tomb Raider

    26 hours playtime

    23 of 50 achievements

I’ve beaten the storyline part of the game and have been working on the extra stuff for achievements - finding all the hidden objects, unlocking more skills, getting kills, etc.

Really enjoy this game! If I didn’t already have a ton of things to play I’d definitely get the sequel now while it’s on sale. I’ll pick it up eventually.


Otherwise played this week:

  • Horror Girl Puzzle
    Horror Girl Puzzle

    1.4 hours playtime

    17 of 17 achievements

The dev of this tiny game tries to add a new piece of original artwork every week or so, and so I spent a few minutes solving the newest puzzle + achievement.

What Remains of Edith Finch

Off Steam. It was just a random playthrough - was taking a break from a project and had it sitting on my desktop.
Unsettling but sweet story, was worth the time spent on it.

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Also off Steam. Surprise of surprises, my friend has apparently taken to Destiny 2. Probably because it’s got a storyline with discoverable lore and plays well for casuals, but she’s also been very into the voice actors which I barely paid attention to until she mentioned it. I guess we will be playing this together for a bit next. I do not mind, I have a ton of stuff to do in that game either way.


I hope your weekend is as awesome as you are, my friends!