Tag Archives: Steam Games

Trucking Around California


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

Thankful for Console/PC in 2023


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.

Death and Taxes: Great, Good, Decent


I write often of my exploits with Humble Bundle. Many are the games that I discovered through their generous bundles. Also, many are the programming books that I used to expand my repetoire and learn more about coding, just in case. Honestly, though, so many are the games I never played and the books I forgot I ordered. That never stopped me from learning about and ordering from another bundle page. And, so I found Death and Taxes.

You may think that because we went to Germany that I won’t update the page regularly. Especially since nothing posted since my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. I set up the page to auto post first this article and then three more over the next couple of weeks to keep the page active and in your brain space, if you’re a fan. Let’s kick of celebrating indie gaming in July with this article.

The Decent

Limited Gameplay: I give them credit for putting as much into the game as they did. However, even with the added elements, it ultimately boils down simply to sitting in your office, receiving a dossier of people to live and die, and then choosing who actually lives or dies. If that sounds boring, well, that’s the whole point. THe game takes the job of grim reaper and makes it mid-level management hell.

What? re: Controls: I watched through the introduction comic (more onthat in a minute). Even though I don’t usually, I even paid attention during the introduction during the tutorial levels. Even so, it took me some trial and error to figure out how to move the elevator from level to level. Believe it or not, that’s a crucial skill in the game.

The Good

Introduction Comic: As one of the last few people who enjoy comics. I saw an article again the other day saying something along the lines of comics dying. Now, Chris and I pronounced them dead more than once. But, like the titular Marvel Zombies of lore past, they keep coming back. Well, Death and Taxes gives you the skinny on how to play the game and the back story through an engaging interactive comic.

Humor: In spite of the serious nature of deciding if people live or die, the game provides a light hearted approach to delivering that fate. More than once, I found myself laughing out loud at the dialogue or description of a person’s life.

The Great

Voice Acting: I never expected thegame to contain any voice acting. That it did and the acting was some of the best I’ve heard in a game impressed me. All characters have their own unique voice that gives the game a life that it wouldn’t otherwise have. I commend the designers for this choice and am glad they pulled it off.

Moral Dilemma: I might be taking this game too seriously, but I find myself faced with a genuine moral dilemma every time I get the dossiers and start reading their stories. Sometimes the requirements tip their hands when it comes to who dies. Other times, it leaves it up to you to wrestle with your own beliefs and what you think the game wants you to do in order to make a decision. Again, masterfully done.

The Verdict

I came into the game expecting a certain game based on reviews that I read. However, Death and Taxes exceeded those expectations, whatever they were. Having only played through the tutorial, I want to finish it first and then discover if there are alternate endings. I assure you that they exist. Can’t wait to see them.

Enter the Gungeon: Games I Love


Ever since discovering Unix based operating systems and then eventually Linux, I set up all of my computers as dual boot machines now. Honestly, I can’t think of a reason that I still have Windows on this laptop. In the past, I kept a version of Windows for gaming. However, most of my games that I play now are on mobile. What does any of this have to do with Enter the Gungeon?

Patience, my friend. I intend to answer that question. Since I never boot Windows on this machine, I downloaded and loaded Steam in Linux. It helpfully includes a list of Linux compatible games. Unfortunately, for some reason, you can only play 1 Screen Platformer on Windows. But, even though I miss one of my favorite games, Steam still offers quite a few others.

Bullet Hell? That Sounds Interesting

Because I purchased this computer mainly for updating this web page and the minor audio/video editing necessary to that end, I only trust it to run less powerful games. Sure, when I open it, Steam tempts me with games like Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead. But, I know my limitations. So, intrigued by the visuals, I loaded up Enter the Gungeon.

Even having lived through the various eras of gaming, I still can’t reliably explain what bit a game might be or why. I know the general go-to is 8-bit, which means the games run on hardware comparable to the NES. Even the font that I use for the page advertises as an “8-bit font”. But, I don’t remember any of the letters looking that detailed back in the old NES days. Heck, I worked the last couple of years to pick up some computer programming experience and I still can’t make heads or tails of it. But, I digress.

Retro. Enter the Gungeon is a retro style “bullet hell” game. What, exactly, is bullet hell? Well, after some research, I can finally tell you what “rogue like” and “rogue light” games are. So far, nothing inspired me to research “bullet hell”, but let me try to explain. Bullet hell games revolve around a randomly generated dungeon crawl with multiple enemies per level that you shoot using a variety of moves and targeting techniques. Man, that sounds good. Maybe I missed my calling as a marketing executive for small game designers.

Seriously, Though, What Does That Mean?

When you start the game, you get a choice of four characters. Having only played a couple of times and I chose the same character each time, I can only assume that the characters have different abilities. I can confirm in a future article about the game. After choosing your character, you get to play through a tutorial set of levels that gives you helpful hint of how to play the game.

If you are like me, you promptly forgot most of those hints. Either that, or you don’t possess the skill necessary to utilize them efficiently and effectively. I’m sure that with time my skill level will improve and I might even last until one of the boss fights to use the hints they gave me. Aside from all of that, you move your character and shoot your gun. I believe the bullet hell comes from the fact that you can constantly shoot and move yourself in full 360 with little to no penalty.

Enemies of various style and difficulty greet you with every new level. Again, if you pride yourself in being a noob like me, then it takes more than a couple of plays to figure out the best way to approach every type of enemy and style of room.

The Verdict

Even given my limitations, I enjoyed the game. I want to lead it up and play more. Who knows, with more free time next week, maybe I even get good, as the kids say. We all know stranger things happened. See you tomorrow for the next installment of Noob’s Book Club. Or, will I? That’s what we call a teaser in the biz.

Thankful for 1 Screen Platformer


For the last few weeks, I dedicated Thursday to my Dungeons and Dragons club play through of Curse of Strahd. As you can read if you follow the link, one of the reasons I am not doing so is because my group is slowly falling apart. Last week, I stopped the game early and this week I threw out two of my group from the club before we got a chance to play. Also, Spooktober is over, so time to focus on other games I enjoy. Today, I write about how I’m thankful for 1 Screen Platformer.

I wish I remembered how I became aware of the game. Being that it is on Steam, I either purchased it during a Steam sale or it came as part of a Humble Bundle. A quick search of my Humble Bundle history shows no evidence of the game, so apparently, I bought it as part of a Steam sale.

Why I am Thankful for 1 Screen Platformer

In any case, I played the game obsessively for a month or so last year. Every now and then (like earlier this week), when I load up my Windows partition I give the game another shot. I never regret the decision. The game’s title tells you all you need to know. Instead of moving from one screen to another to advance in the level, the camera follows your character as it pans left/right/up/down to capture the game play. But the catch is that the game fits on one screen. I’ll let the trailer give a better explanation than I ever can.

The Verdict

See what I mean? Tight controls, challenging levels, varied characters and achievements for each of them come together to make (possibly surprising) for hours of entertainment. Even if you get bored after a few plays, I guarantee that you’ll be back for more. What do you have to lose? The game only costs 2.99 and there’s a “prologue” level for free to give you a better idea of the game play and if it’s something you’d enjoy.

Yu Gi Oh! Duel Links First Impressions

Note: Yu Gi Oh Duels Links Image found on http://www.konami.com


In my last article, I wrote about my experiences in the paper version of Yu Gi Oh! That reminded me that I had learned of a digital game available on Steam. My lab assistant from last semester also played the game a couple of times before class. Since this week’s podcast centered around Yu Gi Oh, I figured it was a good time for me to finally try the game myself and give my impressions. I have just finished playing through the tutorial and a couple of the “quizzes” for about an hour.

Note: I have not done any PvP dueling yet, so I can’t discuss things like matchmaking. However, as this web page makes perfectly clear, I’m not much of a competitive gamer, so if you’re coming here for that analysis, you’re in the wrong place. I can talk about how much fun I had playing the game and whether or not the game will make it into my daily rotation of digital card games.

The Good (Yu Gi Oh! Duel Links is Polished)

I’m not sure how long the game has been available, but it is a well designed and polished game. Given the target audience, I didn’t expect much. I thought it might just end up being a Hearthstone clone. This isn’t an unreasonable expectation. Many digital card games coming out are using the basics of Hearthstone as their template. It has slowed down a bit, but Hearthstone was a force on the level of Fortnite not too long ago. It makes sense for games to emulate it.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yu Gi Oh! is a completely different experience from other those games. First, the game appears to try to mimic the experience of the show for fans. The board is not simply a top down view like other card games. It’s a small touch, but different enough to make it noteworthy.

As this screenshot shows, there are some decent animations in the game, too.

Add in decent voice acting for the characters that almost made me feel like I was watching an episode of the show. The game has a very different feel to it from other card games. On the strength of the game design alone, I recommend people try it. However, those aren’t the only things that make it worth your time. Like many card games, it is initially very noob friendly.

There is a quick tutorial that deals with the basics of the game, monster summoning and spell/trap cards. While the tutorial is short, it is helpful. I think I’ve mentioned more than once that I never quite understood Yu Gi Oh! to any satisfactory level. This tutorial changed that. There are also quizzes to help you understand more of the game. Even better, the quizzes give you prizes to help advance in the game.

The Bad (Yu Gi Oh! Duel Links is a digital card game)

Admittedly, this isn’t much of a “bad”. You might even argue that it isn’t a bad at all. Yu Gi Oh! Duel Links is a digital card game. Okay, we are in agreement. As such, we have to take the bad with the good. I’m only including the bad to stay on format. Why? Is it even that great of a gimmick?

Plus, this movie is 50 years old. Who on the internet has even seen it at this point?

The tutorial is short. Maybe for some of you that’s a good thing. As a longtime novice in the game, this worried me. Also, I enjoyed the spectacle of the tutorial. Hmm, maybe I would like the show, but probably not. As a card game tutorial, it was fun. As a full length show, not so much. But, I digress. My main point is that I wish the tutorial was a bit longer.

Another point of contention follows directly from the idea about the show probably not being very good. I had to walk away from the game for a few minutes. When I came back, I started to notice the background music. Rarely is that a good thing. It wasn’t this time. The music is annoying.

Two weak “bad” points about the game and I still nothing about why it is “bad” that the game is a digital card game. Patience, I’m getting there. After finishing the tutorial, the main game opens. On the right hand side, there is “news”. Part of the “news” was a welcome pack of 3 packs plus an ultra rare card. Only available for 7 days! Sure, it was only 99 cents, but this constant push to get people to pay real money for digital goods is annoying to me. Plus, the packs only contained 3 cards.

The Verdict (Yu Gi Oh Duel Links is Fun)

I reiterate that I haven’t played any PvP duels yet, so I can’t comment on that aspect of the game. What I saw of the interface I liked. I could only come up with two minor bad points and the one thing that irritates me about all digital card games. There is no ugly as far as I could see. Usually, those show up pretty early in the experience. I can say with confidence that I will be playing more of this game. I’m not sure yet if it will make it into the rotation as a regular, but maybe I’ll sign the boys up and we can play a few games of digital Yu Gi Oh!