Editorial: April 2018 – Pick ‘n’ Mix

March has been a mixed bag for me over here at Hundstrasse. I guess I’ll kick off with the bad stuff which is me breaking my three month streak of meeting my Wednesday posting regime. I missed a week somewhere in the middle of the month for the arguably weak excuse of just being quite busy and not getting around to writing it. Heck, this kind of thing happens but, whilst nobody was kicking my door down demanding a post, I’m still disappointed with myself that I couldn’t meet my own.. pretty relaxed… schedule. I’ve also felt a little less engaged with the community this past month; I know that I haven’t been as chatty with my blogging comrades, my twitter activity has been low, and I’m generally behind on keeping up with my reading. I do as much as I can with interaction, and I’m sorry if you’ve felt that I’ve been absent recently, but  I’ve always been there in the background taking in what I can handle.

… that’s the bad stuff out of the way… 

I had a fairly extraordinary month in terms of views entirely due to this post about F:BR which seems to be picking up a good handful of hits each day, largely (I’m guessing) because of the popularity of the title and almost all from search engines. Unfortunately, the views feel pretty hollow without the engagement to go with them and I’m doubtful that many of those wandering readers are sticking around to absorb that darn fine piece of videogame commentary – I mean, graphs are interesting… right? Continue reading “Editorial: April 2018 – Pick ‘n’ Mix”

April Showers: Rain in Games

Rain is one of my favourite things… although that’s something that I more-often-than-not keep to myself; I regularly (and guiltily) partake in the British tradition of complaining about the weather when I’m in the office. Enjoying the rain tends to be unpopular, and the opposing opinion only gets raised eyebrows and suspicious glances which don’t go well with my general aim to come across as “regular” when I’m in at work. Those that know me better however will have noticed that I rarely rush when I’m caught walking home in a sudden downpour, I watch storms excitedly from the window, I’ve been known to purposefully suggest dog walks when those little beads of liquid are making their way down from the clouds, and lying is bed listening to the rain against the window is the best way to fall asleep. In short, despite the lack of sleep, the wind & rain pummeling the walls of our holiday dwelling last night was a treat matched only by this evening’s walk at the seafront with the windswept droplets highlighted by the trapezoidal glow of the streetlights.

Now that we’ve entered April, the month that officially sponsors rain, I think maybe it’s a good time to take a quick look at ingame precipitation. My affinity extends from the real world to the virtual one, and given the option I will always slide that weather setting to “Rain” whenever I’m allowed to regardless of the game. Without any real criteria, I’ve decided to pick out five of my favourite rainy moments from games – enjoy! Continue reading “April Showers: Rain in Games”

Cooler Master MasterMouse MM530… is not a good name for a mouse…

Some time ago, I mourned the loss of that ever-present manufacturer responsible for everyone’s “other” controller; Mad Catz. I can’t comment on the commonly held view that their console controllers aren’t up to par because I’ve never owned one, but from a PC gaming viewpoint they did make my R.A.T. 5 gaming mouse that faithfully served me for several years…

… and that’s kind of a weird PC/console divide that’s rarely mentioned. On a console, in general, the official controllers rule supreme; tell me I’m playing an XBox and I’ll instantly know which controller I’ll be handed. Sure there are some pretty snazzy branded or skinned controllers available, but in the most part 90% of players will all use the same hunk of plastic to move their pixel-men around the screen. On a PC, for keyboard & mouse gaming, the same ubiquity doesn’t exist.  Continue reading “Cooler Master MasterMouse MM530… is not a good name for a mouse…”

The Wild Eight: It’s a Mixed Bag

This article is based on the Early Access game around March 2018

Following the completion of Resident Evil VII, I was in that drifting void between titles; not quite wanting to go back for DLC at the moment, but not really ready to move on to a more solid single player experience (I’m still playing F:BR in the background to satisfy my multiplayer needs). Luckily my wife and I both spotted that “The Wild Eight” was reduced on Steam and having been struck by the low-poly visuals we saw it as a good chance to give it a shot and check out this Early Access Survival game…

My long-held misgiving about the perils of Early Access are well documented, and in this case likely justified. “The Wild Eight” has been Early Access for some time and still isn’t that much of a polished experience. I’m writing this bit in italics because I don’t like criticising a game that isn’t full release for being buggy, but this game is full of bugs and it needs to be mentioned. Just starting the game was often a challenge, getting the lobby to work the next one, and this was before we even managed to play any of it. We saw animals walking through walls, at one point my character wouldn’t walk anywhere, some enemies didn’t seem to do any damage, some areas seemed to be filled with toxic gas, but there was no visual indication, we restarted once because the animals wouldn’t attack (they just stood there whilst we pummelled them)… oh, and one time the entire contents of my backpack from a few lives ago suddenly spawned in front of me…   Continue reading “The Wild Eight: It’s a Mixed Bag”

Resident Evil VII: A Most Terrifying Herb Garden

Spoiler Warning: I have tried to avoid spoiling major plot points, but I do mention and hint at some in game events… You have been warned.

Horror isn’t something that I would normally list amongst my interests; if someone suggested a horror movie to me then I’d likely scrunch up my nose slightly and suggest we watch Jurassic Park … again… but taking a more objective view, many of the games and movies I enjoy have horror aspects to them. Anyone who happens to have taken a passing stroll past my blog in the past will know that I’m a huge fan of the original Resident Evil trilogy for PS1 and upon hearing that the seventh instalment was a return to form for the series, I finally plucked up the courage to take a look.

… and I do mean plucked up the courage! I’ve been wanting to play this game since it was released, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed less of a stomach for outright horror, or maybe it’s just that horror has become more visceral in its presentation with improving technology. Either way, Resident Evil 7 did involve me playing for short bursts with breaks inbetween… Continue reading “Resident Evil VII: A Most Terrifying Herb Garden”

Editorial: March 2018 – It’s Coooold Out There!

The UK is experiencing a huge blast of Siberian air at the moment which the media is dubbing “The Beast From the East”, presumably in an effort to panic the masses and encourage sales of “essentials” (seriously, no milk at all in our local shop the other day). The upside is that this gives the perfect excuse to sit around trying to keep the house warm and playing Video Games!    Continue reading “Editorial: March 2018 – It’s Coooold Out There!”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Missed Consoles

Staring out at the vast sprawling gaming metropolis in front of us now there’s so much going on: the overpopulated Steam district buzzing with indie and shovelware; Sony & Microsoft towers, each continually building to be the tallest in the land; and the pleasant Switch district with its artisan shops and quirky antiques. It’s easy, in this metaphorical kingdom, to forget that things weren’t always … Continue reading Weird Retro Mumblings: Missed Consoles