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    Balatro (PC)    by   jp       (May 19th, 2024 at 22:05:30)

    Having spent the last few months playing a lot of deckbuilders, and then hearing a lot of buzz around this one..well, I had to try it out! (fortunately I got it for my birthday as well, yay!)

    And, is it fun? Yes.
    Is it hard? Yes.

    I got really lucky with wins in 2 of my first 3 games. Really lucky. But, now I have a better idea of how the game works, what's good, not so good, and when to invest in different things.

    As far as deckbuilding games go it's got a few unusual things going for it...

    1. Your deck starts out really large! (a regular deck of playing cards) Generally it's pretty hard to make it smaller - there are a few options you might get, but it's not a general/typical option as you play the game.

    2. You can easily add cards to your deck, but mostly you want to upgrade either the cards themselves (not THAT easy, but doable) or (more often?) the value you get from the different poker hands you do. So, increasing the multipliers/base value of two pairs might be better than improving one card that may not appear in a hand all that often.

    3. You can sell your jokers - these all have different effects and, if you get a n interesting one at the start you can (hopefully) lean into it and shift your deck in the direction that takes the most advantage of it. (and then hopefully pick up other jokers that "double down" on that option). For example, a joker that gives you money when playing face cards coupled with a joker that treats all cards as face cards is good.

    So far I've won with a few different decks (there are starter decks that have a different effect) and I'm trying to get the green one to work! (you get money for not playing all the hands). I thought I had it when I last played earlier today - but no luck.

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    Mass Effect: Andromeda (PS4)    by   jp       (May 13th, 2024 at 17:44:13)

    After an "ooh, that was close" moment where I almost bailed (there was a door that bugged out and didn't open, wasted a lot of time backtracking to figure what I missed, went online saw that it was supposed to open and quit the game, next day, when I loaded again I was thankfully at the door and it worked), I must say that I'm really having fun with this. Mostly I'm enjoying the fantasy the game provides: lead a community in creating a settlement in an undiscovered (to you) galaxy.

    So far I've created the first "foothold" on a planet (a science base instead of a military one) after "magically" (deus ex machina moment for sure) being able to interface with an ancient(?) alien technology that somehow near instantly controls the weather making everything work. There's apparently a whole network of these alien structures across different planets and I imagine I'll be investigating more of them!

    Doing this unlocked a new mechanic/system in the game where I can automate some resource generation because there are enough "viability points" (well explained in the game's narrative!) to bring out a group of people from cryo-hibernation to continue working on settling.

    I think I'm a little over 8 hours in... I have no idea how much longer I'll engage or id this will start to drag/grind a bit? We'll see..

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    Battlefield 4 (PS4)    by   jp       (May 13th, 2024 at 14:39:55)

    I decided to bail from the game - in frustration - I Was making "fine" progress in the campaign, but after losing a few times in a mission I decided to call it quits because - the checkpoint was too far (I had made slow but significant progress, then died, and had to go back to the beginning, and it was too many times at this point). But, more importantly, I just ran into too many technical issues that sort of "broke" the game experience for me. A few examples:

    a. AI partner is 2 meters away from an enemy, both are shooting at each other - super close, and no one hits. The partner AI just seemed obviously too ineffective (as well as the enemy AI).

    b. In the "escape from jail" mission - the part right after you turn off everything from a tower in the middle and then have to go back down to guards waiting for you - all the guards were somehow completely unaware of my presence, so I knifed them all, they died and then more respawned and ran in, and still did not see me. I eventually just moved on...

    c. I'm shooting at enemies, through the scope and clearly and obviously hitting them - but there's no effect. I wasn't "hitting the ground" nor was there anything in between myself and the target. And the target wasn't that far for the ballistic drop off or weapon range to be an issue. I have no idea what was going on to be honest but I had experienced earlier similar issues.

    d. They story/narrative started to rapidly decrease in its comprehensibility. I was captured in china, taken to a prison that was then in Singapore? Or that's where I arrived after escaping, but it was in the jungle, but the jail was at the top of a really snowy mountain? Maybe I'm just confused by the geography here? But there's also some super secret that involves a Chinese national I helped bust out, whose "wife" (not the wife?) was a double agent, she got us all jailed, but then she's "the good guys" again? But what's this all about anyways? Now, there's a difference between "the story's simple, but it's kind of stupid" which I'm usually fine with. But here I feel like it's in the "kind of stupid" camp - but too complicated to follow along with easily?


    All that being said...

    I though the weapon system was interesting - you can hit the "boxes" in the level and just equip whatever you want (that you've unlocked/found). I was partial to some of the Chinese-manufacture weapons (are they based on real weapons?). It was also fun to ride around in vehicles (once I learned how to exit them). I also thought it was pretty neat how the art direction on the cover (blue/orange color palette) is also part of the game - at least in some of the earlier missions!

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    Portal Reloaded (PC)    by   dkirschner       (May 13th, 2024 at 12:38:28)

    I played about an hour and it broke my brain. This is immediately harder than Portal Stories: Mel because of the time dimension. Reloaded adds a third portal. It is green and allows you to move between a "past" Aperture and a "future" Aperture. Various rules govern how time works. For example, you can move objects from the future to the past, which basically creates an extra object, but not vice versa. Manipulating an object in the past will change it in the future (but not vice versa). I struggled to understand how past and present objects affected one another, and didn't even make it to where you can shoot your own green portal; it was always placed for me. I watched some videos of later test chambers and there is no way in hell I would have figured them out. This was really like Mel-level difficulty plus a third portal and fourth dimension. Really neat, but nah, I'm not motivated to think about it that hard.

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    Cobalt Core (PC)    by   jp       (May 8th, 2024 at 14:25:11)

    I've since played a bunch more, unlocked more characters, etc. The story unlocks are a lot slower/grindy than I'd like and I've realized that some character combinations are pretty bad! I think I've reached the point where I've figured out a bunch of things, but am not quite ready to take my play to another level - as in, there are things it has not occurred to my to try out. This is sort of the moment where I might look at some guide online or see what the player community is saying - what does expert play look like in this space? can I pull off some of the more challenging strategies? I don't know...I'm sort of interested in exploring some more, but also looking at a (digital) stack of other unplayed games... hmm. choices!

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    1 : jp's Balatro (PC)
    2 : dkirschner's Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)
    3 : jp's Signs of the Sojourner (PC)
    4 : jp's Loop Hero (PC)
    5 : jp's Mass Effect: Andromeda (PS4)
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    1 : dkirschner at 2022-10-12 08:51:09
    2 : root beer float at 2021-11-21 13:15:48
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    4 : jp at 2021-04-08 11:25:29
    5 : Oliverqinhao at 2020-01-23 05:11:59
    6 : dkirschner at 2019-10-15 06:47:26
    7 : jp at 2019-04-02 18:53:34
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    Random

    Super Smash Brothers (N64)    by   bdesai

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Tuesday 30 January, 2007
    The second session of 45 minutes went by very fast. This time we focused on team battles and single player mode. This game has many variables for a fighting game, such as the bonus stages dealing with breaking targets under a timed setting. The games customizable multiplayer setting is quite nice. Being able to change which weapons appear or how often is good for tournaments or adding a random factor to the game. I find that stock is a better way to play then the timed setting, and the team battle is more fun when battling real people. As tough as the computers can be, real people present a better challenge.
    When starting the 1 player campaign, I wasn’t as rusty since I had just played team battle. The enemies are tough in a one on one situation and it is a fun challenge. The bonus stages require you to think outside the box and over come the challenge in a creative way. Break the targets was always a difficult one for me, I also like that strategies change according to what character you chose. There is not anything I can currently think about changing in the main game, because it is al set up challenging and fun. I do think it is odd that the last boss is a hand, which is abstract and was always strange to me.

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