The Beginner’s Guide

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Developer: Everything Unlimited | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This was a short walking simulator facile adventure again by the same developer that also created The Stanley Parable. His style in level design and narrative was unmistakable right from the first few sentences. But where his previous games had a conscious focus on humor and sarcasm, this game was a little more serious. A least most of the time.

The developer himself narrated consistently all the way through the less then two hours it took to play it through. He told about his friend Coda and the small first person games he created, each presented in a linear manner with usually nothing to do but move forward and listen. Sometimes there was one door switch puzzle that was sometimes repeated, and I even had a rifle two times for a very short time.

There were 17 chapters (including an epilogue) and the levels were amazingly varied.

What I Played in 2001

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This is a new series related to my previous attempts at transcribing my diary sessions to this blog format. I did a couple of those starting with The Beginning of the Millennium (2000-2001) and then the two single posts about Outcast played in 2001 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare played in 2011.

Since it’s a lot of work transcribing the diary sessions, I’ve decided to make this series instead with just a sentence or two for each game, along with a small gallery of six screenshots and the rating bar from my page with all the PC Games I’ve played. The screenshots will be my own unless stated otherwise.

Quote from Reddit

What do you find annoying about your neighbors?

Whenever the elevator doors open up there are two situations:

1. I’m well dressed and sober, heading out for a productive day. The elevator will be empty.

2. I’m a hungover disheveled mess on a Saturday morning and smell like disappointment. All I need is greasy food and coffee. The elevator will be packed full of my neighbors from every damn floor. They will all silently judge me. One time a lady even pulled her young daughter closer with the “stay away from that man” look.Corporate-Asset-6375, /r/AskReddit

The original thread is here.

Wildermore

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Wildermore was a region that felt consistently segregated from the rest of East Rohan. Not just because of the unusual snow and ice theme, but also because of the tale of how the great ice giant Núrzum devastated the human settlements. It made for a solid but also at times depressing story.

I actually made the wrong entry into the region at first, going in from the south. I was amazed at the amount of road-guard uruk’s here. Although I made it through their forces, a later chain quest made for a proper entry in the east side. Part of that chain required me to retry that bugged quest I parked earlier in Harwick. Now it worked, and it opened up for quite a few more (now green) quests.

After that was done I went back to Wildermore and into the settlement Scylfig. Here I met the mighty thane Thrymm. He had hair so red it looked conspicuously dyed. But make no mistake – Thrymm was strong as an ox. A surrogate quest later on put me in control of him to defend against waves of orcs as well as dual trolls, and he single-handedly took them all on in mounted combat with barely a drop of sweat.

If only I had him on my side when I tried Crúmgam in Snowbourn.

Sutcrofts

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Sutcrofts had another three of the typical human settlements with a mead hall, houses and a big wooden fence around it. These settlements and their war quests had now inevitably become a hackneyed theme repeating itself over and over. I was starting to feel like a rat in a wheel.

Go talk to the thane in this mead hall. Yes, it’s exactly the same big prefab building as in the previous dozen settlements. 95% of mobs in these Rohan regions are orcs, so guess what? You have to spy on their camps, burn their tents, and kill a bunch of them. And then kill some more over there.

Again. And again. And again.

Although there were attempts at mending this, for example by collecting resources and bringing food to soldiers, I couldn’t help but think that the developers could have done more to mix it up. Why only have boars together with orcs in Sutcrofts, of which I didn’t even get a quest to kill them? Why not sprinkle a few other kinds of mobs in there? I get that we’re getting closer to Mordor, but still.

Grumpy Owl: Nature Documentaries

I hereby declare that the following should be exempt from all future nature documentaries:

  • Penguins (especially emperor penguins)
  • Sea elephants
  • Sea lions
  • Polar bears
  • Salmons climbing rivers and bears slapping them
  • Cuckoo chicks pushing other chicks out of the nest
  • Lions or cheetahs failing to make a kill after a long setup
  • Elephants
  • Birds and whales working together in an epic scene to eat a shoal of fish
  • Sea turtles laying eggs on the beach and baby sea turtles trying to reach the ocean
  • Flamingos
  • This beautiful coral reef is dying because humans
  • Tigers

Why does it always have to be the usual suspects? There are so many interesting animals on the planet that we still haven’t seen.

Entwash Vale and The Eaves of Fangorn

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Entwash Vale was more hilly and with weeping willows.

The orcs were clearly strong in this region and had burned down a couple of human settlements. However, the first settlement in the middle, Eaworth, was so big that the orcs had only managed to burn the south part of it. Citizens had moved back to cry in the ashy remains of their houses.

Eaworth had an eerie yellow glow in the middle of the night, like city lights bouncing off rain clouds.

The northernmost settlement, Thornhope, was burned all the way down and now sported orcs and goblins. Even so, the thane and some of his citizens had fled to a small grove outside and still had quests for picking up stuff and killing mobs in there. There was even a repeatable quest for abortively attacking it.

Norcrofts

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I was right – lots of opportunities for mounted combat in Norcrofts. It was an enormous grassy region with most of the orcs on wargs or horses. Sometimes I got a pop-up quest for dealing with them.

But apart from one short test to verify that it was indeed execrable, I refused to do any of them.

In the quest chain for the last human settlement in the south, there was even a final part where I was supposed to ride around together with one mounted NPC after another, each hunting down mounted orcs. The orcs rode around with hot hoofs. Nevertheless, I set out to prove this quest could be done completely on foot. I had to rely a lot on my damage-over-time spells to make them suffer at a distance, but I did it.

The most ironic thing is – because mounted damage is so much weaker, I’m not even sure it took longer.

The Wold and The East Wall

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Following some of Dunland and most of The Great River, I finally embarked on the first two regions in the expansion pack Riders of Rohan which originally released in fall 2012. This brought along a few interesting new features I was quite curious about.

First, The Wold – the northern region of East Rohan just below The Great River.

The first thing I noticed right away as I rode into this region was the new music. It was wonderful. Just the right spirit and style of composition that brought me right back to when the game was launched in 2007. There was especially a repeating theme among the hills of The Wold that I was really fond of. I never grew tired of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the same praise for the music in The East Wall.

It just used a symphonic version of the Tom Bombadil theme.