Tag Archives: PC Gaming

Trucking Around California

Introduction

Okay, you got me. This isn’t technically a new game for the new decade. Hell, you can even argue that it isn’t new to us. After all, I wrote a few months about my then obsession with Euro Truck Simulator 2. And, honestly, much that I said there can be said about this game. Still, in the interest of keeping the site as active in spite of everything else, I went trucking through California.

As you can see from those screenshots, the game obviously differs in style and theme from the European one. You know from one to the other that you’re in a different country. However, the fundamentals more or less remain the same. You drive a truck. In the American western states. Admittedly, I’ve only played it a couple of times to confirm that, but the driving bug hasn’t hit me again just yet. Stay tuned.

Starting Over

I can’t be 100% sure about this, but part of the reason might be because I already completed so much of the European version of the game. I bought my own truck, worked back from debt to buy another, took out a loan to buy a third and fourth, and hired three drivers.

That makes going through the process again a little tedious. Especially when there’s no hook to keep me coming back. California is great and all, but out of all of the United States, it’s honestly at the bottom of my list of ones I want to visit. I think I might have purchased some DLC (at actual cost because my key got stolen from my Humble account before I changed all my password) for the game, but the only state I saw that you started was California.

I tried picking Bakersfield as my starting city to get that hook. I also picked it because I am still perpetually an angry teenager that pines for the old days of “Nu Metal” or whatever they called it in the beginning. Oh, speaking of music, they give you a different choice of radio stations in the game, too.

The Verdict

I enjoy Euro Truck Simulator 2. After trucking through California, I no doubt will like this game, too. I just need to take some time to dig deeper into what it has to offer. Oh, I just saw they have an Oregon and Washington DLC available. Next pay check, I’ll pick those up and

Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite First Impressions

Introduction

Would you believe it took this long for me to come up with Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite first impressions? Of course you do. You’ve been here long enough to know that we take a while to get around to things sometimes. Honestly, I fully intended to cover this game when it first released. If I look back at my notes, I’m sure I’ll find at least one mention of the game in there over the last five years.

Then, I fell victim to the online troll factory that slammed the game as “not as good as the others” and it fell off of my radar. I genuinely forgot it existed until I went searching for a way to play MvC 2 and found out that I can buy the deluxe edition on Steam for like 11 bucks. Or I could. Looks like I missed the sale by a day. Hmm, that puts a new wrinkle into things.

Well, Isn’t That A Pickle?

I’m not paying 40 bucks for something that will be 8 or 11 again most likely by the end of the month. Instead, I’m gonig to set up an alert for the next time it goes on sale and we’ll all have to wait for my Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite first impressions. Until then, I’ll keep playing X-Men Arcade.

PC Gaming is a Gift 2023

Introduction

You may notice the word “console” missing from the title PC Gaming is a Gift 2023. This year saw several things happen that explain that omission. First, Aiden tried to fix the XBox by soldering the HDMI port back in and ended up soldering through the motherboard. Second, I never got around to buying a PS5 as I planned. We really want to play both Spider-Man games. I also wanted to play MK1. Neither of those happened because I came to my senses and decided to wait until a price drop for the purchase. Finally, we played almost no Mario Kart this year. Liam, Quinn, my brother Tim, and I played some of the new Mario game.

However, I fixed my old gaming laptop. The charging port broke a couple of years ago. I did some research to see how tough it might be to fix it. Turns out, not difficult at all. The hardest part was that because it’s a laptop, everything it jammed in there. So, it took some finesse to fit it in properly. Other than that, though, no problem.

Train Sim World 3

One of the reasons I wanted to fix the laptop was I remembered a Humble Bundle that I purchased several years ago. It contained a train simulator game. I don’t remember the original reason I wanted to play the train sim game. However, going to Germany and seeing first hand the famous European rail system sparked something inside of me. I came home with a new appreciation for the game.

That appreciation lasted for a few months. Then, I discovered another simulation game that caught my attention. When asked the other day by one of my classes what my favorite genre of game was, I had to admit that right now I’m obsessed with simulation games. They made the usual comment that people made (in jest), “Oh, you want to play a game of something you can do in real life?” Well, not quite. I’ve never driven a train.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

I also never drove a tractor trailer through the countryside of Europe. I drove a mid size SUV through Germany. So, when I saw this game, it took me back to that trip and time. I saw things that reminded me of being in Germany. And, so, the game became like a cozy blankie for me.

I played the hell out of the game. Started in Munich and branched out slowly to the neighboring countries. Eventually, I drove across the continent, took a ferry to the UK and drove into England and Scotland. After going back to school, I got busy and neglected the game for some time. I just said to my family the other day, “I haven’t driven my truck in a while. My employees probably think I’m dead.”

The Verdict

Truly, PC gaming is a gift 2023. I also flirted again with World of Warcraft, especially after the announcement of the next series of expansions. I saw the advancement of a plan that I came up with decades ago. The USFL of the 1980s is back through my USFL Distant Replay page. We are 12 weeks into the 1984 season and looking to bring some big things for 1985 in a couple of months. Join us over there for more.

Thankful for Console/PC in 2023

Introduction

Last year, I came up with the idea to theme each month with a special banner and color scheme. In fact, I came up with the idea years ago, but only started to implement it last year with any regularity. I started with the holiday season. Being the busiest time of the year for us, I combined Thanksgiving and Halloween. Then, I combined Christmas and New Year’s. This year, I gave each month its own. Since this week is Thanksgiving, I plan to write articles in that spirit. The first talks about why I’m thankful for Console/PC in 2023.

I spent more time gaming with my old laptop this year than in year’s past. I don’t remember if I told the story, but I dug out an old Alienware laptop that fried the charging port. I ordered a new one from Amazon, jury rigged it into the case, and the thing worked. I wanted to play Train Sim World 3. Instead, I became addicted to driving trucks around Europe.

Train Sim World 3

I laugh when I see the Progressive commercial (not a plug) where they talk about someone who just returned from Europe. While not as annoying as the girl who reminds you that it’s pronounced “kwoisaunt”, I can’t stop mentioning to people that we took Liam to Germany for his graduation gift.

Ever since traveling to Greece with Christine for her graduation, I wanted to go back to Europe. Having family who emigrated from Germany, I loved the idea of Liam choosing that as his big trip. We worked tirelessly to make sure that we saw as much as he wanted.

One part of the trip that stayed with me is we traveled by the infamous Deutsche Bahn train line. Christine commented how ridiculously happy I looked while riding the train. Aside from an semi-autistic obsession with trains, I just advocate as much as possible for public transit. When we came home, I remembered a Humble Bundle that included Train Sim World and some DLC.

My current laptop is only for basic office tasks. Besides, the Windows partition got stuck in an infinite reboot loop. So, I can’t use it for gaming. That’s when I came up with the idea to resurrect the old Alienware. I’m glad that I did.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

While I only played the Train sim game for a couple of weeks, (I got frustrated at the realism of the game and took a break. I returned after doing some research to figure out the brakes of the train that baffled me. By that point, though, I found another passion. You wouldn’t think that staring at life through a windshield like the one in the screenshot above would be very much fun.

Well, I assure you that it keeps me entertained for at least a half an hour a day. I start up the game, log in, find a job, tune into my favorite radio station, and start driving. Sometimes I take in the scenery. Other times, I marvel at the realism of the game. Okay, once in a while, they take the realism a bit too far like when a helicopter lands on the highway and cars just drive through it. Most of the time, though, it astounds me the detail that they put into the game.

Recently, I got a bit impatient and I took out a loan to expand my operation. Several people advised against that in the Steam community. But, I generally don’t take financial advice from strangers. So far, the strategy worked out for me.

The Verdict

Other than the two simulation games, I’m thankful for console/PC in 2023 because Liam used the laptop a couple of times. He played Marvel Puzzle Quest. I played through a bit of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 to celebrate the release of the third game. I always find time for Minecraft. You may notice that I never mentioned consoles. Well, our XBox broke and I want to buy a PS5 for Christmas because of the new Mortal Kombat and Spider-Man games. Look for them in the coming year.

Five Nights at Freddy’s First Impressions

Note: Banner taken from Deviant Art page.

Introduction

As many of you know, the movie releases this Friday. My oldest texted the group chat last week to notify his brothers that he and his friends wanted to go. Because our kids are close, he invited them to come along and even said Aiden could bring his girlfriend. Truly, the movie to heal our divided nation. I thought, perfect for a Spooktober I forgot to plan for this year! I can finally play the game and give my Five Nights at Freddy’s First Impressions.

Of course, I mean actually playing the game. I heard about the game from my kids. They all discovered it in middle school (Quinn earlier because he’s younger) and as far as I know, they played the game. At first, I thought nothing of it. Seemed like a mostly harmless jump scare type game more or less appropriate for the age range. Then, I stumbled on some lore or fan fiction (or both) and some parents seemed worried.

Worried About What, Grandpa?

Well, that’s the thing. I can’t quite put my finger on what about the game actually worries me. I tried explaining it to Christine when we saw the trailer. She said something along the lines of, “Wow, that looks pretty scary. Do you think Quinn will actually enjoy it?” I thought about it for the rest of the movie and then tried to explain my thoughts later in the car on the ride home.

It looks like simply a silly little jump scare game. But then, I read some more lore or fan fiction (or both) and I’m not entirely sure anymore how I feel about the game. The sensible thing would be to try to find those things that concerned me about the game. But, when have you ever known parents to do the sensible thing.

I Did The Sensible Thing

I went on a search for what I might have read and found nothing in the games that I consider inappropriate for my kids. What I found was a companion novel that “shares the same universe” but does not fit together with the game “like a puzzle piece”. It includes a “human element not before introduced in the games”.

So, what I read was that the animatronics were inhabited by the souls of kidnapped children and that seems like an unnecessary addition to me. I understand wanting to be scared. This game seemed to provide just the right fright factor for kids who remember going to Chuck E Cheese and being absolutely terrified by that rat and his minions. Why somebody added the element of abduction and soul stealing rituals to that mythos is beyond me.

Have You Actually Played the Game?

Once.

In anticipation of this week, I loaded up a web version of the game last week. In order to replicate what I understand as the “experience”, I went in with no instructions other than what the game told me. I clicked camers, heard some pots and pans bang around and then received the “Game Over” message.

Once that happened, I looked up some more information on the game. Apparently, the pots and pans alert you to the movements of Chica, one of the animatronics in the game. I needed to respond to that noise in some form or fashion to avoid “Game Over”. Hey, you live and learn.

The Verdict

After my Five Nights at Freddy’s first impressions, I want to play the game more. Unlike my kids, who spent much more time with the game, I have no interest in seeing the movie. However, I might try to record a special version of Noob and Sons this weekend to see what they thought of the movie.

Trucking Through Europe

Introduction

As promised in the outro to the latest episode of Noob’s Book Club, I’m covering a couple of simulation games that I’ve been playing over the last few months. I think I picked them both up as a Humble Bundle deal. But, I don’t remember exactly. I just looked it up. I received Euro Truck Simulator 2 through some Humble Bundle or another. And, so, I started trucking through Europe.

Point of fact. We took Liam to Germany for his graduation present. Actually, we ended up traveling to Prague in the Czech Republic and a couple of places just over the Austrian border, too. But, we spent most of our time in Germany. I enjoyed the trip so much that I seriously considered moving to Europe in 6 years or so. Christine eloquently said, “You want to live anywhere but here.” To which I responded, “Yep.”

Top is my in game shot of Allianz. Bottom is my trip to the stadium over the summer.

Wait, that’s it?

I know what you’re thinking. Because, honestly, I thought the same thing. You just drive trucks? Through European countries. And, to answer the question, at the heart of the game, that’s it. You pick a base of operations to start. Since we went to Germany and I liked Munich, I picked there. You take different jobs to make money. Eventually, you buy a garage, a truck, then another truck, then hire some drivers, and buy another truck. I’m currently at the point where I want to buy a new garage to expand my operation some.

Because of the basic premise, I skipped this game for a long time. I played much more of the train simulation game because I thought it might take more skill. In fact, it does. So much so, sometimes, that I get frustrated why my train isn’t acting the way that I want. In the truck game, I get in, drive to a job, take the job, and off I go across the European countryside.

The Verdict

Don’t be fooled by the basic premise like I was. This game takes skill. Sometimes you even have to think a little bit. Do you rest now or try to make it to the next spot to rest? If you do that, will you get tired and find it harder to control your truck? What happens when they land a helicopter on the highway, blocking every single lane? Yes, that happens. Quite often, actually. Those are just some of the scenarios that you’ll face when you come trucking through Europe with me.

Note: I meant to release this yesterday. But, I’ve felt crummy for the last 24 hours or so. Expect delays on all content this week while I get caught up. Sorry!

Street Fighter 6 Demo Impressions

Introduction

Chris and I recorded the reboot of the reboot of 2 Guys Gaming a couple of weeks ago. In anticipation of having to write about the game again, I saw that Steam had the Street Fighter 6 demo available. You may remember that I texted him after he suggested we record again, “Let’s do SF6 and MK1. Seems like the perfect soft landing spot for us.” He agreed and then we promptly recorded the episode three months later.

Hey, we’re old guys. We have lives that don’t often coordinate. The important part is that we recorded. I plan to edit and release it on Wednesday with my MK1 article, but it might end up being Friday instead because I can’t think of another proper way to end the week. Just trust that it will come at some point this week.

Play This Game for Eternity

After loading up the game, I clicked the button to start “Battle Hub”. It informs me that the game mode isn’t available but I can watch the trailer video. Sure thing. Why not. Naturally, after showing some game play via an arcade scene, a woman comes on to the screen to tell us about the mode. But, wait.

While the character sounds feminine and wears make up and booty shorts, some might argue (not me, mind you) “That’s no woman!” and angrily throw their controller at the screen. Instead, I watched the video and actually forgot about the whole thing until later while waiting for dinner with my wife. Then, I decided to look up what the community reaction to the character was. Naturally, I found a headline about some douche bag named “Johnny Chainsaw” or some other ridiculously overtly masculine username complaining about the game as woke. Just par for the course in our national conversation surrounding LGBTQIA+ people and their mere existence.

I, for one, liked the character. They brought energy and fun to the video. They may or may not be trans. But, that’s the thing. Capcom never confirms nor denies anything. Just this individual on the screen and leaves it up to you to do with them what you may. Like Gwen in Spiderverse, it makes the point that they are here and, well, you just have to deal with it. I, for one, am here for all of it and Eternity is one of the reasons I might buy the game.

“You bastard. You flipped.”

That’s a paraphrase of Chris when he responded to my text that I wanted to buy the game. I assured him, probably not at full price but after a drop or two, for sure. When we talked, we both said that neither of us wanted to buy the game because it felt like it just offered more of the same as Street Fighter 5. We both agreed that one was a dumpster fire.

Not so this time around. When he first said to me that I flipped, I texted back, “I know. But the graphics are awesome and the game play is solid. Yes, I made that determination after only about 15 minutes of actual game play. Honesly, though, what more do you need than the 2 minute video I recorded earlier. It’s Street Fighter. You fight…on the street.

The Verdict

I mean, it might be dangerous to judge a game so quickly because, as the Street Fighter 6 demo warns, “This game is still in development…followed by some other word that basically say the finished product probably won’t look or play the exact same way that it does here.” Some of that is true. Most of it, though, is just legalese to cover their butts in case someone takes better notes than I did and wants to sue them over the omission of a game mode or character. For me, though, I’m sold. Hell, if my check is big enough this week, I might just splurge and buy it then.

Minecraft Dungeons August 2023

Introduction

I first found and played Minecraft Dungeons about two years ago. As often happens, I lost interest in the game because others came into (or back into) my life. Maybe I played it through the summer and then school started and neither me nor Quinn had enough time for the game. Then again, I doubt that very much. Because, I happened to see Quinn playing the game last year and he beat it…or was very close to doing so. I might have joined him for a few rounds of combat to try to get back into the game, but it wasn’t meant to be. And, so, like my previous article, I struggle with what this Minecraft Dungeons August 2023 article will look like.

Relax. Unlike that previous article, Minecraft Dungeons means less to me. Only Quinn and I ever played it. I remember thinking that Aiden might. But, he never picked it up as far as I know. So, no waxing poetic and philosphic about kids and growing up. What, then, can I write for this article?

Maybe This Article Shouldn’t Exist

I chose Minecraft for this week early in the summer. I hoped it might inspire me to play the game with the boys again. Instead, I started a new world of my own and never played Minecraft Dungeons until a couple of days ago. I saw it on the Minecraft Launcher, installed it, and loaded it. So, I played just about as much as I played before writing the first article.

Yes, definitely, this Minecraft reeks of grand plans that fall short. It happens quite often around here. If you’re a regular, you don’t even feel bad about it anymore. If not, I apologize. I tried so hard to keep the page going in spite of a busy summer and I think I just ran out of steam. I said earlier to my wife, “I shudder to think what this year looks like. I have no motivation whatsoever to do any work.” Maybe I just need some time to recouperate.

Just a few more weeks of summer? Please?

Wait Until Minecraft in May?

So, in closing, I’m going to kill the Minecraft Dungeons August 2023 article. Go back to read the first look article and I promise to have another better update sometime in the future. If not before, I try to have a Minecraft in May feature week. In the meantime, download the game and see if you can inspire me to play more by sending me your progress.

Minecraft Boy in a Minecraft World

Introduction

I planned to write about Minecraft this week. Today I wanted to talk about the Java (PC) version. Then, on Wednesday, I wanted to discuss the console (or Bedrock) version. Honestly, I had no coherent plan for Friday and I wrote, “developing an RPG?” in my planner for that day. So, in anticipation of this epic update on the game, I started a new Minecraft world about a week ago.

A view from my front door.

I played through for an hour or so cumulatively. Mined. Crafted. Found some cool stuff like an amethyst cave and a desert village. The amethyst cave is a first for me. Oh, I also mined some copper during my first trip down in this world. And, ended up spawning near a type of forest I never saw before. Even so, I’m honestly at a loss of how to approach this article.

A Minecraft Update August 2023

This is usually how I approach these articles where I want to talk about new and exciting developments in games. However, with those games I usually play them daily and the update involves only a new set of cards. As I replied to all three of my kids, at different times, when they noticed I loaded up the game, “Yeah, I haven’t played it in a long time.” Traditionally, Minecraft is our vacation game. I play with Quinn, and sometimes Aiden. We have a Minecraft world or two with Liam, too, but he played Pokemon more than any other game.

In this game, I missed several updates. I kept an eye on them as they released and I even considered playing once or twice to write one of those traditional update articles. Obviously, I never followed through. One reason is because my gaming PC, the PC I’m writing this article on had a busted charging port and I thought it would take far too much effort to fix. A couple of weeks ago, that proved wrong and I replaced the port. So, I loaded up Minecraft.

The More Things Change…

…supposed to be the more they stay the same. I think people just say that to comfort themselves when things seem to be changing so rapidly. As a parent, you learn some harsh truths about, well, everything. One of those truths we are learning now is that kids are kids. Until they aren’t anymore. And that process seems to happen overnight. I don’t know if it’s because you don’t pay attention to those small changes or you only start paying attention when the rapid changes happen.

I wrote an article about going to the train show with Aiden one year. I worried that it might be the last year I got to go. He was the only one who wanted to come and I mused about how quickly childhood evaporates. It didn’t happen then. But, I think it is happening now. I mean, sure, the kids all came with me to the comic book convention in Fitchburg this weekend. And, they all had an absolute blast. It was a small one, so nobody felt too crowded (I think the reason they don’t want to go to the train show) but it still had the cool artists, cosplayers, and something for everyone.

We also found him!

But, Minecraft

Losing an annual train show is one thing. I can live with that loss. Especially if I can keep convincing them to join me at the smaller comic shows. But, like I said, Minecraft was a staple for us during vacations. We picked up old worlds. Sometimes, when bored, we created a new Minecraft world. But, we always played. This summer vacation is the 4th vacation with no Minecraft with the kids.

I think part of the problem is that I get caught up in other things and I don’t ask them to play. I’m sure if I asked Quinn or Aiden to play Minecraft, they would. At least for a couple of sessions before they got bored. I mean I saw Aiden playing Fortnight again the other night when I went up to visit him in his room. So, I need to take some responsibility here. But, parents, trust me when I say. Your kids are kids until they aren’t anymore. Cherish those moments. Take the pictures. And at the risk of sounding like a middle aged Facebook mom.

The Verdict

Who knew when I randomly picked up the game and created a Minecraft world that it would lead to such deep feelings and me fighting off tears? These episodes come at random times. About a month ago, my wife and I had a conversation because she talked about remembering when they were little. She thinks I have a limited memory, which I sometimes do, but I just said, “You just remember” and then fired off a few dozen memories, both big and little of them being kids. We have a week left of summer. Aiden wanted to disc golf. We are taking them all to the beach on Wednesday (so the console article won’t happen then), and now I need to figure out a way to

Undertale – What’s Next?

Introduction

When I planned this article at the beginning of the week, I hoped that I beat the game at least through one of the endings. Alas, best laid plans and all that. Instead, I played through the first level and part of the second level on Wednesday and wrote about my thoughts then. So the obvous answer to the question Undertale – What’s Next?

Beat the game through at least one of the levels.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but that needs to happen before I can even consider any other possibilities in the game and beyond. Those who follow the page know that I am, by no sense of the word, a completist when it comes to games. I think I have exactly two 100%s on my resume. Super Mario 64 and Ratchet and Clank. That’s it. A couple of years ago, I tried to follow Quinn on his mission to get all achievements in Minecraft. I also worked to finish MK11 last year. Both ended in utter failure.

*something something* *motivational quote about rising from the fires of failure as a phoenix of success.

Okay, But After That

Okay, after I follow a walkthrough to the “Pacifist” ending, how many of the 93 possible endings do I then chase? Death and Taxes has about a dozen endings and I stopped playing after achieving the Usurper simply because it connects with my world view. So, after defeating Undertale as a Pacifist, what’s the incentive to keep playing? Honestly, at this point, nothing.

I bought so many games through Steam, Humble, and Fanatical now that I need to start playing them. One thing that “Celebrating Indie Games in July 2023” taught me is that there are a ton of great games out there and that’s not even counting the fact that Street Fighter 6 and Mortal Kombat 1 release this year. Also, I want the PS5 because we want to play the Spider-Man games on it. Long story short (I know, too late) is that I don’t see myself playing this game much after achieving the ending.

But, You Know There’s a “Sequel” Right?

I learned about Deltarune (an anagram of Undertale, clever!) from a student while teaching at Conant. They asked if I ever played Undertale. Obviously, I responded in the negative. “But,” I said, “I bought the game for my youngest to play, so maybe I’ll check it out.” Well, I can finally say I checked it out.

So, after beating Undertale, I suppose there’s always Deltarune. Doing a bit of research, I found that only 2 of the planned 7 chapters released so far. That means that not much more of a time commitment required to play through those parts of the game. Maybe I will try to play through that one without a guide.

The Verdict

The most likely path forward is that I play through the first two chapters of Deltarune. I like Undertale but not enough to try for the multiple endings right now. But, maybe after playing the game more, I might. Stay tuned to see my actual answer to Undertale – what’s next?