I laughed. I cried. I wished I had a giant seventies afro and a paintbrush:
Ghost Stories is both amazing and amazingly hard. Basically, you get a fancy robe and the mandate to save a village from Wu-Feng, who is not only a complete bastard, but is bringing an army of demons and monsters to his end of the world party. The bad guys are relentless, and they pretty much only need a toehold in the village to end life as we know it.
Fortunately, you are a complete badass. The Taoist monks can do things like slow down time to double their number of actions, pull resources out of thin air, fly to any place on the board at will, and yawn in the face of the most potent curses. But as powerful as they are, the forces arrayed against them can sweep them aside at the first misstep.
Which is, of course, the brilliant thing about it. It’s a co-op game that requires real thought and teamwork to win, which is frankly kind of a rarity. The theme is strong, the art gorgeous, and the replay value high. It’s much more of a strategic puzzle than what you would normally think of as a theme game, but that only strengthens the long term playability of it.
It’s not a new game, having been introduced in 2008, but this was my first chance to play it. I have to say, it lives up to its reputation. If you haven’t tried it, do so. Trust me on this one.
Now, on to serious business. Most game days we order pizza to go with our mountains of cookies and chips and what-have-you, but this time we were able to order from a new Vietnamese place down the road. I had high hopes, but what they delivered totally blew me away. The pho was as deeply flavored as anything I’ve ever had, with a complex blend of sweet/spicy/earthy notes that worked together in perfect harmony. The broth was otherworldly, the noodles perfectly balanced between tender and firm, and the veggies fresh and crisp. Every bite was a flawless composition of texture, taste, and heat.
Also, see that sammich in the background there, next to the Galaxy Trucker board? That’s a grilled pork bahn mi, and it was easily as good as the pho. I probably shouldn’t have eaten both of them at the same time, since one is pretty much a whole meal by itself, but I lacked the superhuman will necessary to stop.
I regret nothing.
As usual, I leave you with the soothing vocalizations of Tom Vasel as he raves about this very tough game:
Except for that one time in kindergarten when I told you that caterpillars were nature’s candy, have I ever steered you wrong? And last year, didn’t I drive you to that caterpillar rehab clinic on a Saturday instead of going to the movies like I wanted? Well, here’s your chance to finally pay me back.
Step One: Go here.
Step Two: Buy a copy of this game.
Step Three: Bask in the warm glow that you get when doing stuff you saw on the Internet and not having the cops show up.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, I really want to play the finished version of this thing. Adventure? Check. Word-based gameplay? Check. Sheep-shearing? Double-check. And when I found out that HOW you spell words is one of the puzzle elements? Well, let’s just say that I would rather have this game than a kilo of the finest Monarch caterpillars that money can buy.
It’s going to be finished no matter how many people pre-order, but the more that do, the faster I can get my hands on it. On the off chance that helping me with my crippling patience deficiency isn’t motivation enough, take a look at this video. That should do the trick.
The windows are open and the curtains are blowing lazily across his head. Behold: the autopetter 3000.
Best. Nap. Ever.
You already know how I’m constantly beset by cruel video games trying to steal my precious writing time, right? And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you also know that Bioshock:Infinite launched a few days ago. And that it was promptly hailed as the best game ever.
So, I kind of figured that’s where this most recent attack on my productivity was going to come from. Naturally, I did my best to resist. You know, by promptly downloading it and “just watching the intro”, but that wasn’t as effective at stopping me from playing as I’d hoped.
But I coped. Strict discipline on the whole quota-before-playing thing, turning Steam off during the day so I can’t see that my friends are playing, taping my mouse hand to my chair, the usual.
And I was doing pretty good, too. Until KBS showed up. I’m going to go ahead and make an analogy here. Let’s say that my willpower and productivity are like a beautiful, delicate unicorn grazing placidly in a field of waving grain. At sunrise. Next to an orchestra.
Then KBS sneaks up like a ninja with chainsaws strapped to its arms and legs and proceeds to blenderize the unicorn with acrobatic finesse in a cloud of blue chainsaw exhaust. All the while laughing and wearing unicorn buttocks for a hat. Now, Is that analogy perfect? Good question. I’m going to say yes. Yes, it is.
Even as I type this I’m thinking about strapping a dozen heavy lifting rockets to an astronaut and slinging him into orbit on a giant cone of fire that thunders so loud I can’t hear his screams. Or making a space plane by taping some wings onto a solid fuel booster just to see what happens.
Just so you know, I very nearly started the game after typing that last sentence. I swear to Cthulhu that this thing is as addictive as a fried bacon cherry butter pie.
And, of course, there’s a free demo. It doesn’t come with all the delicious bits, but it has enough for you to punt a tiny green man in a space suit
into onto his planet’s moon. All for free. And then wait until you find out the full game is only like twenty bucks.
It’s like they want me to play it all the time. Sick bastards.
In honor of the first ever International Tabletop Day, please enjoy my all time favorite gaming session (that I wasn’t part of). If you don’t have a gaming group today, watching this is nearly as much fun. I guarantee at least one warm fuzzy from camaraderie and one belly laugh from general goofiness:
This book made me cry on an airplane. And not like that time when they ran out of Ginger Ale one row before they got to me, either. That was cruel and hurtful. This was the kind of crying that every author strives to hit his readers with at the end of a story: cathartic and joyful.
On the surface, Suspect is a police procedural. But underneath that chassis, the real engine driving the narrative is the interplay of two very different protagonists fighting against the same pain and reaching for the same sort of redemption.
The kicker? One of them is a dog named Maggie. She starts as a Marine and winds up one half of a police K-9 unit, and she’s no less compelling a character than the human protagonist. She even gets her own chapters, told from her point of view. It might sound a little gimmicky, but Crais pulls it off beautifully and believably.
While the parts of the book involving the police work are well done and interesting, the power comes from the thread of hope and tenacity that runs through the book like electricity.
I can’t really give it any higher praise that that. This book is worth your time, go pick it up.
The Cupcakening begins! As we speak a gallon of frosting is being made in the kitchen in order to smother these lovelies in sugary glory. The house is filled with the heady aroma of cooling cake and the sound of mixers and jangling oven racks.
There’s a couple hundred tiny cakes here, but nobody is allowed to have any, apparently. Which the dogs and I feel is extremely uncool. Okay, that’s not completely true. Susie informed me that I’m allowed to have ONE, but I’ll have to eat it on the way to the emergency room.
I’m thinking about it.
My pal Erik is a coffee
snob aficionado, who is constantly laboring to educate me in the ways of the bean. He’s thinking about stuff like roasting times and water temperature, while I’ve just recently stopped drinking coffee flavored sugar and cream. I’m basically a coffee luddite. It’s hot. It has caffeine in it. I’m happy.
Or so I thought. Every once in a while, and almost always when hanging out with Erik, I’ll have a cup of something that surprises me. Something more than just a cup of scalding bitterness. Something that makes me think that there might actually be something to this whole coffee thing.
The picture above is from today’s lesson in coffee: the siphon. We stopped in at Ascension Coffee in Dallas and had the gurus there perform some coffee magic for us. I have to admit, the whole thing was kind of surreal to me, but the coffee was excellent. I’m all about experiencing new things, especially if it involves food of any kind, and this was without a doubt the most delightfully cool coffee thing I’ve ever tried.
Here’s what the whole operation looks like if you’re curious:
You know how sometimes your wife catches you doing stuff and then shows everyone proof of your weird “dogs and hammocks and god knows what” shenanigans?
Yeah. Me, too. Hope your Saturday was equally delightful.