Category Archives: Video Games

Age of Wonders and Why I need just One More Turn…

Hello, my name is Sarindre and I am an addict. You might think that I am addicted to WoW or other video games, but really I can stop playing most video games and even WoW and make sure I get to bed at a good time at night for work in the morning. But turn-based strategy games are my vice. I love them. I used to play Civ 5 all night long. I could not stop. I mean every turn only lasts like a minute or two, why not take just one more? That one turns into two which turns into 10 which turns into you being up until 3 AM and you still have not beaten the campaign!

Age of Wonders 3

Cut to Age of Wonders 3 which was on sale about a week or so ago on Steam. I have never played an Age of Wonders game before but a friend talked my husband and me into trying it. We saw it was only 13$ so we picked it up. Once I logged on, I instantly knew I was hooked. It encompasses all the elements of Civilization 5 that I love and includes great new features. Where I am addicted to doing the Culture victory in Civ 5, in Age of Wonders I am focusing more on war. There is a different learning curve with this game than with Civilization, but once you are able to walk through and figure out the steps, it is easy to follow. One thing I do think that needs improved is the tutorial. I am a hands-on learner and when I am unable to learn all that I need to in a tutorial I get lost and frustrated. Granted Age of Wonders has a great guide that you can search and find pretty much everything you need, which I use all the time. But there are times when there is so much going on that I wish they would have just went over it in the tutorial.

What I enjoy is that fact that the game is hard. It is not so hard where I cannot handle it but there are times when my armies get destroyed by the enemy and I lose the level. The enemies are challenging and the campaign missions and sometimes go astray. But I think once I get it all down, I will be able to do it easily.

We do have a play by email (PBEM) going on right now, my husband, a friend, and me. So far we are only on turn three since we all play at weird times. It is a neat concept though for friends who might work different shifts and still want to play together. I will have to see how it goes as we get farther along.

Civilization 5

Civ 5 was probably my first experience with a turn-based strategy game. My husband was working for a gaming company and was actually a tester on the Mac version. He thought I might like it so I got it and was hooked from the moment it installed. I instantly took to Russia and had a blast dominating the map with culture, which is my go-to win. It really never gets old. I have played the same country on the same map with the same people against me about a hundred times. The only NPC I ever remove is Gandhi because he is mean and will go to war within the first 5 minutes of the game only to have the LARGEST ARMY EVER standing outside of my zones. Not cool Gandhi, not cool.

New Games!

As I have stated before I own a ton of games and have no time to play them. So I figured, let’s add more to this list. Yesterday I bought the BioShock Bundle off Newegg for 10$! It has 1, 2, and Infinite! What an amazing deal. I have really wanted to play all of them again and this will help! I also picked up the Alan Wake deal from Steam. I have never played but I have heard great things. And for 8$ you cannot go wrong!

Happy Gaming!

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Dang you Alien: Isolation, Give me the Knowledge to Play Effectively! 

On Thursday I decided that since I got past those androids it was time to continue onto mission five. This mission is all about sneaking around an Alien and trying to find a passcode and a key card to get down an elevator. There were some moments that I would spend about 20 minutes in a locker or a small box just to hide from this rampaging Alien. Trust me, he was out for my blood. But I was being super patient. After playing for about an hour and a half, I was finally found in a locker by the Alien and killed. Really I had NO chance since right before the Alien looked into the locker I was in, the game told me to use LS to lean back. Before I even had a chance to try this and hide from the Alien, I was pulled out and killed. Plus, I never found a save point…an hour and a half of progress, all gone… Just saying game, it would have been nice to know this method before I was in this situation so I could have lived. I did quit playing after that on Thursday since it was late, but I was not very happy. I am glad to say that I beat mission five last night and even got a stealth achievement! See, I did learn something! 

  

Quicktime Events and Lacking Information

This sort of game play made me think of other games that put you in this situation or that have quicktime event which this game does have a good many of thought so far they only seem to be ones with minor importance, like removing blocks from doors and the like. Resident Evil 4 is one of the major games that pops into my mind that thrived on quicktime events. I remember the first time I hit a quicktime event in that game I died since it caught me off guard and I was too busy looking at the beautiful graphics. Many of these events determined life or death and of course the one I miss was a certain death for me. God of War is another series that has a lot of quicktime events. 

Now I really wouldn’t call the action given to me in Alien:Isolation a quicktime event since once you learn it you can do it automatically and it was really just informing you how to hide from Aliens. Or the time it tell you how to hold your breath when you are in a locker. I didn’t get the button in time and was killed by an android.  But the moment that it tells you that you can perform this action is very untimely and feels like a quicktime event for me the first time it happens. In fact, it made me wish that I was given more of a tutorial in the beginning. I know this is a survival horror game, but I hate feeling like I was set up to fail. There is a high possibility that the user manual might have said these in it and I didnt read it, which then it would be my fault entirely. However, I feel that the best time to teach a player to hold there breath at least would have been in the cut scene where you see the Alien for the first time. There could have been a better quicktime event to show you the ropes since you did have a moment when you were staggering breathe and the Alien PROBABLY heard you…just saying. 

 

Surprisingly Cool Mechanic

Like I said earlier, Alien: Isolation allows you to hold your breath in a locker or other object where you can hide so the Alien doesn’t hear you. What you do not notice at first is that as you hold your breath you start to die.  The screen flashes red around your edges, and then there are heartbeat noises and what looks like veins. I really enjoy this aspect of the game. Though I wish that I could see my health while I am hiding. This has almost caused my death a few times as I get too low in health!  

All in all I am still enjoying this game so much! I cannot wait to play more tonight, though it will have to be after the Game of Thrones premier!!! So excited! 


Find your Rage Stage!

Last night I raged and really I didn’t just rage, I RAGED. I normally do not get mad at games. Sure I am upset in WoW when raid bosses do not go our way, but normally I do not get really frustrated with video games. I see it all the time though when the hubby is playing Dark Souls, Demon Souls, or Bloodborne (really any and all of the souls gaming are rage inducing) so I created the Four Stages of Rage.

Stage 1 – Grumbling

  • You have died or failed your objective once. It is annoying but you are pretty sure it will take just one more try and you will complete your objective. You might sigh a little bit or mumble to yourself some minor obscenities but really if you do beat that boss or complete the mission the next try, you knew you could and it is not a really big deal anyway
  • Rage factor = 1-3
  • Obscenity level = Minor – could be said in a PG movie
  • Common quote – “I got this.”

Stage 2 – Posture

  • OK so that first time you died, it was fine and it happens to the best of us and you were just learning the fight. But that second and third time were completely uncalled for. If you just sit up and focus you can beat the boss this time. Make that back nice and straight, scoot your butt up closer to the edge of the chair, place your feet firmly on the floor, and if you are playing with a controller, hold it steadily in front of you. Focus and you got this!
  • Rage factor = 4-6
  • Obscenity level – Mild – You are pushing into a PG13 rating
  • Common quote – “You have GOT to be kidding me! I mean c’mon how is that even possible.”

Stage 3 – Force

  • This is the fourth time you have died and it is crap. Nothing is going your way. First there are about 10 extra guys have to fight. Then the boss pulled out a totally BS ability and killed you in one shot. You squeeze your controller really hard or push the keys on your keyboard with more force than what is needed. You are pretty sure if you would just mash the “X” a bit more than the system would have registered it and you would have hit faster, harder, and wouldn’t have died. Sometimes you shake or tilt the controller and that is sure to help you dodge attacks. Everyone knows the more force you put behind your button mashing the better you do. You will definitely beat the boss now since you are using all of your strength!
  • Rage factor – 7-10
  • Obscenity level – Medium – You are a PG13 rating and one more F-word and you are going into an R mister!
  • Common quote – “This is horseshit! Did you see that? Did you? I see how my abilities just passes right through them and they hit me every time. I was like 40 feet away!”

Stage 4 – Rage Quit

  • That is it. You are done. The game is cheating and you are pretty sure there is someone on the other end playing the bosses and laughing at you as you die. You turn off the system before you throw the controller into the screen or bash the monitor with the keyboard. You will have to wait and play until you cool down some. It could be 1/2 an hour or three weeks. But a break is needed for sure.
  • Rage factor = Turn it up to 11
  • Obscenity level – You are rated R, but some of those words you are using are confusing the MPAA since they are a mix of 2-3 curse words and you might just be banned from theaters.
  • Common quote – “Fuck this game.”

Like I said, last night I RAGED. I hit stage four after I died five times to some stupid androids, who cheat and  know where you are at all times no matter how sneaky you are. Oh and they choke the life out of you and no matter how fast you mash the A button you cannot beat them more than once. Plus the jerks grabbed my wrench mid air! Screw that game….I am done….until tonight that is. And tonight those androids will have no idea what is coming.


This Weekend in Gaming: Alien Isolation: Adventures of the Constantly Crouched Gamer

This weekend I got the itch to play new games. Do not get me wrong, I love WoW and I love playing it for hours and hours, but other than playing Civ 5 and some Diablo I have been stuck on WoW for a long time. This is mostly due to the fact that I have very little time to play games anymore (pretty much only when the kids go to bed) so it is just easier to stick with one and WoW is such a big game with so much that I have to do, it just worked out that way where I was spending hours on there. Then my husband got Bloodborne and all this changed…

While I was watching him play I thought about all those games that I wanted to play too: Alien Isolation, Bioshock Infinite, Pillars of Eternity, and about 20 more just on my Steam wishlist. Plus since he was so enthralled playing Bloodborne, I knew it would be hard to drag him onto WoW. So over the weekend I got on Steam, looked at my wishlist, and then added a few more games (it had been awhile).  The next part was the hardest. What should I play? I had a gift card so I knew I could get a few if I liked, but it is better to only stick with one or two so that I really play them and do not just game jump. Also, if I could wait on a few games they could be cheaper at the Steam sale that will hit usually around June (crossing fingers on this one!).

I ended up picking up Resident Evil 5 (only 6 bucks!), Alien Colonial Marines (I know it is a meh game, but it was 3$), Final Fantasy 8 and Alien Isolation since it was on sale for 12.49$! I know most of you are sitting here going “Final Fantasy 8?! Who would buy that? 7 is WAY better!” This is something that I have been told about a million times. But I wouldn’t know that since all the further I have ever gotten in FF7 is when…not to be too spoilery… that thing happens to Aeris and I have actually beaten FF8 a few times, it might be one of my favorite games. Let me take a quick detour and talk about Aeris and how I grew to stop playing FF7. Do NOT read the below paragraph if you do not want to be spoiled about one major thing that happens pretty early on in FF7

The Scene that Ruined FF7 for Me

When I first got a Playstation, many many years ago, I was pretty young and all I would play was Crash Bandicoot and Spyro (in fact I got the first Spyro game in my Easter basket, apparently the bunny is a gamer too). My tastes grew and evolved and finally I picked up FF7 I was so excited! In fact, I was on break from school when I started playing it. Well I ended up loving the game. It felt like I could really get into the world. Cloud was super cool. Tifa was my favorite chick but man I was really good at playing as Aeris. I had her all maxed out and she was just kicking butt. Remember people, I was young; no more than 12 or 13 so naivety comes into play here as well. Well I am playing along, enjoying myself, and in fact, having a merry old time. Then I get to the church scene. Tears….absolute tears. I was in shock. How could a game kill a great character? Plus I spent all my time making her amazing (probably what I am most mad about) just to have to die! That dang Sephiroth (PS – I ended up loving him as a character in the Kingdom Hearts games).

I promptly stopped playing FF7 and (I will never forget this) my aunt took me to Hollywood Video and I rented FF8 and immediately fell in love with it. I bought it when the rental was up! And soon after I then started moving to my favorite genre survival horror and picked up Resident Evil and Silent Hill. I know I should have kept playing, and I wish I could tell my 12 year old self that but I can play it now on Steam and it is on my wishlist!

Back to the non-spoilers!

So I played RE5 first since like I said I love the Resident Evil games. I have played this game before, we bought it on PS3 a long time ago, got kinda far and it was just OK. But I thought I would give it another chance. I tried playing it on my laptop and for some reason I just could not get the controls down. I have never played a game like this on a computer. Most of my computer gaming knowledge is WoW, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Vampire: Bloodlines, and other games like that. But playing a survival horror like this threw me for a loop and I really could not get it down. The next day I went and picked up an Xbox 360 controller and it really helped a lot. Boy could I tell a difference, I was actually killing zombies!

Next, I gave FF8 a go since it was only a 1 gig download! It was as I remembered it, well except as I was sitting there playing I would look up and see Bloodborne on the TV and weep. Oh how far we have come in all these years with graphics. Such a major change! It runs very well on the PC though and the controller works perfectly.

Alien Isolation: Adventures of the Constantly Crouched Gamer (might have minor spoilers)

What I really wanted to play though was a game I had not tried out before, Alien Isolation. After it downloaded I jumped right into it! I am a HUGE fan of the Alien games and the movies. (New Alien movie yay!!!!!!!) I really enjoyed the Alien Trilogy game on the Playstation, though Alien Resurrection was pretty good too. I was hoping that Alien Isolation took the route of those games (great story and in-depth game) and was not so much like the AvP games. When I started the game at first, I thought I woke up in a deserted ship and I moved so slowly, expecting an Alien to pop out at any turn. But that didn’t happen and I finally ran into some of the crew. Once you get over to the other ship is when things get really freaky. The music is beautiful and so are the graphics. But at every turn I was jumping or gasping at some noise. And once I found out you could crouch, I perpetually moved in a couching motion. One thing I am enjoying about the game (and I am only probably about 3.5 hours into it) is the scare factor. I have not even seen an Alien yet but my heart is still racing and I am taking my time since I have no weapons!

Oh and I accidently used my last flare….ok all my flares…This is my one major complaint so far, and I might just be missing something. Once you bring up your little menu and you have an item that can be equipped, ie a flare or your med kit, you cannot unequip it! So I had the flares equipped since I went into the menu and they magically appeared and I had no idea I even had one equipped when I hit the X button on the controller and it lit up instantly. Crap. “Ok,” I thought, “I will never do that again”…until 5 minutes later when I tapped the X button again by accident. Say goodbye to flare number 2. Then about 45 minutes later…say goodbye to flare number 3….yes I used ALL THREE flares I had by accident. UGH. I am lucky that I cannot use the medkits just by tapping the button (you have to hold it down) or else I would be out of them too.

Other than that minor issue, I love this game! It is scary, thrilling, and it is building up the fear factor! Pile that on top of not even seeing an Alien yet, it is great. The humans are scary and always trying to kill me which was something I was not expecting. What happened to ‘let’s all get along before we are killed by a giant Alien’? I am going to keep playing this in the evenings and will keep you posted on the progress!

This looks safe…

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Here is the scene from Sunday at our household: Bloodborne on the TV, WoW on the laptop (had to check my garrisons before bed!) and Twiching a Super Smash Brother Tourney on the iPad. Total Nerdom.

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“Game over, man. Game over!”


Update and Some.

As all of you can imagine, moving makes you very very busy. Well this is true. So I have not been able to post much because I have been working during the day and playing Fable 3 packing a ton of boxes in the evening. D-Day is next week and we still have a ton to do. Ok…ok…my husband has a ton to do because he is not working and should be packing all day, not playing Fable 3 or Fallout 3 or League of Legends ( I know what you are really doing! Get off the interwebs 🙂  ). I am restricting myself due to the whole 7 months pregnant thing along with the great ability I have to fall asleep at 8 every night!  

I have been doing a lot of blog reading though, so check out my blog roll for some good stuff! My goal is to write a ton of posts that will pop up during the move so that I will not have to write in the car…which would end very very badly.

Also Monday November 1st marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where writers of all sorts take the month of November and write 50,000 words! Not as easy as it sounds but it rounds out to about 1,667 words a day. This will be the third year I am participating in this epic event. I would recommend to anyone who even enjoys writing just a little bit to try it out. Heck you can even write about WoW! Get some friends and participate in some write-in’s, they truly are the best way to get the word juices flowing. Anyone out there participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Finally, a quick discussion. I know we are all gamers, and we all love to game. However, there are some people who just take it way too far and hurt those around them with their “addictions.” While reading Kotaku this morning, I happened along a post about a woman who killed her child because they were interrupting her Farmville time…yes you just read that correctly, a Facebook game has driven someone to murder. For reference, find the article here.

I am just appalled and frankly, I am not sure what else to say. This is wrong on so many levels, not that murder in general is not wrong, but to let a game affect you that much is just sad. Not that this needs to be said, but when a game is getting you to the point of anger and rage, just stop, take a breath, and walk away from the game. No game is that important to ruin your or someone elses life. So please remember, game with love, not with anger. Games are supposed to bring us joy, not sorrow.

What were your reactions to this article?


The Geeky Mom!

Welcome to The Geeky Mom Blog! My name is Sarindre. I am 24 and currently 22 weeks pregnant with my first child, a little girl due Janurary 27th.  I am also an avid gamer, reader, and movie watcher, just to name a few hobbies. I decided to start a blog for the geeky moms out there where I could discuss video games, books, and the like along with focus on pregnancy and being a mom. I also write a Resto Druid Blog (Through the Eyes of a Tree) for World of Warcraft but I thought I would like to have a general blog where I could talk about more games, books, and babies!

Right now, I work a job as a financial analyst. It is a temporary job that I am for sure not in love with, but I will do so that I can save up some money. My husband works as a game tester for a gaming company here in Austin Texas (I know lucky right!). I am planning on going back to school here next fall. I have a bachelers in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and am about 15 credits into the MBA program. However, recently my husband and I moved from California to Texas and I have to switch schools, losing all but 6 of those credits. I am not sure what I would like to go to school for now. I may switch back to Psychology or even go to something new!

Here are some of the things I am taking part in currently:

Games –

  • World of Warcraft (Playing a Resto Druid)
  • Bioshock 1
  • Final Fantasy 13
  • Halo Reach
  • Starcraft 2

Books Reading Now –

  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • The Eye of the World. Book 1 of The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

Books Just Finished –

  • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
  • Something Blue by Emily Giffin
  • Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

I will be writing about each of these topics in the upcoming weeks in the form of book and game reviews and along with adding some baby news and pregnancy talk.

So join me here at The Geeky Mom to talk about all things geek!