QotM*: The Ultimate Video Game Setting

*QotM is a solitary waffle hand cooked by William Shatner himself and thrown at you from across the restaurant by Later Levels

I know what you’re thinking “What are you doing? This isn’t a regular posting time!”. Indeed, this is a bonus post to provide an answer to this year’s first Question of the Month. The puppet-masters have mixed it up for 2019 giving an overall gameplan to the QotM formula. Over the next 12 months they’re hoping to compile all the elements of “The Ultimate Video Game” by tasking bloggers to come up with a new element each month and then selecting the one that is ..erm… the most ultimate… does that make sense? No? Well there are plenty more details here!  Continue reading “QotM*: The Ultimate Video Game Setting”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Resident Evil Survivor – A Missed Opportunity

Few people know this, but way back in my mid-teens, I used to be a moderator on a Resident Evil forum (Wow, you’re learning so much about my gaming related past this month!). Looking back I guess it wasn’t for very long; after all there’s only so often that you can speculate on the seedy private life of Brian Irons or endlessly moderate a fanfic thread with the impossible task of keeping it from swerving dramatically out of the community content guidelines…

never venture on to a Resident Evil fanfic forum….

only get your Resi-fic from legitimate sources… like me..

Alongside these forums, the site offered a number of fan made guides and walkthroughs to the handful of Resident Evil titles that existed at the time. At some point the ‘top-website-person’ messaged me and asked if I would write a walkthrough for the newly released “Resident Evil Survivor”; a game that I’d picked up close to launch….

… I declined…

He persisted in his request so I finally jotted down a few notes on the various weapons and enemies within the game, but no way was I doing a walkthrough because that would mean I’d have to play the game through again at least once, but more likely several times to hit all the path branches. This wasn’t something I was prepared to embark upon; Survivor is not a good game, but it does fall in to that category of “Games that I really wanted to be good”. Continue reading “Weird Retro Mumblings: Resident Evil Survivor – A Missed Opportunity”

The Rise & Fall of My Team Fortress 2 Career

I may have bought Valve’s Orange Box for entirely different reasons, but I got the most mileage out of the inclusion of Valve’s standalone sequel to what was originally a Quake mod; Team Fortress 2. Honestly, the phrase “Most Mileage” is a bit of an understatement. With my current Steam playtime for TF2 reading 905 hours it sits proudly at the top of the heap of most total time I’ve ever spent playing a game… by some way. I consider a game above 20 hours playtime to be a big investment of single player effort and even games that have seen a good wedge of multiplayer rarely break in to triple figures. For a game that’s such a significant slice in my gaming past, it’s kind of strange that I haven’t mentioned it a whole lot before.

Of course that 905 hours was accumulated over years, but those years overlapped some of the trickier ones that I’ve had to face personally and, whilst I’m not going to go into all of those details, my own development and the game’s ongoing development come together to tell a story of my relationship with the eternal conflict between Red an Blu (and of course the Announcer who, like a puppet master, controlled us all). Continue reading “The Rise & Fall of My Team Fortress 2 Career”

Editorial: January 2019 – An Upcoming Event

… and a Happy New One to all of you Yearlings out there!

2018 was a good year for blogging given that I was pretty consistent and had lots of fun doing it. I also managed to write some pieces that I’m pretty happy with, although it’s tricky to tell if I’m just getting better, my standards are dropping, or I’m more content to verge on the nonsensical than I was when I started doing this a few years ago… Walrus…

From a community point-of-view I’ve enjoyed the conversation and friendship of fellow bloggers, been involved with a few collaborations, and even managed to meet the LaterLevels team at Rezzed. Hopefully 2019 will hold more of the same and I’ll actually manage to be a consistent reader; I try to read post of everyone I follow, but sometimes it’s difficult to find to the time.

Ultimately I try to find a balance between being consistent, trying new things, and having a fun!

Continue reading “Editorial: January 2019 – An Upcoming Event”

Sunset Overdrive: The Good Type of Grind

Some years ago, way back in the early days of my blogging exploits, I wrote about ‘Dying Light’; a first-person-zombie-blasting-open-world-free-running cocktail which, despite being good fun, carried with it a healthy dose of ingame annoyances that grated on my nerves given the extended playtime of this type of game. The article listed a handful of features that I felt were superfluous to the experience and could happily have been hacked away to create a more streamlined game.

In the weeks before festiveness ’18 I picked up ‘Sunset Overdrive’; freshly released on PC it dangled the temptation of some open-world exploration in front of those idle evenings when trying to digest too many mince pies with the added draw of being slightly reduced to entice in that PC market. In summary it is a third-person-zombie-blasting-open-world-free-running cocktail that comes with a chaser of not featuring any of those features that I found so annoying in Dying Light.

…ok…ok, so they’re actually humans that have been mutated by drinking a new type of energy drink, but fit all the criteria of zombies for these purposes.  Continue reading “Sunset Overdrive: The Good Type of Grind”

Hundstrasse Top 5 Games of 2018: Are You Excited?

Forget all the other ‘Game of the Year’ titles, all eyes in the gaming world are on my own Top 5 of the year, what is going to make the list and of course which title is going to land that illusive top spot!… I assume… 

It has undoubtedly been an exciting year in for gamers with Bethesda controversy, Red Dead Redemption 2, and the new Smash game, but strangely these are not things that I’ve been involved in. Looking back on the list of new games that I’ve played this year there are no signs of a big AAA release; I usually tackle at least one of the major releases in the year so in that way 2018 is an anomaly. It’s also surprising that I’ve relatively few multiplayer games in the list this year; Wednesday evening online gaming has been a little sporadic and when we have played it’s generally been to revisit old favourites rather than sampling anything new.

So what has characterised my 2018 gaming year? Two things: Retro & VR. Much of my gaming time has been revisiting, or playing for the first time, some classics of yesteryear. I’ve covered a good amount of PS1 ground and, in recent months, PS2 going back to my favourite ‘Resident Evil‘s, scratching an itch by completing ‘Men in Black‘, and finally getting around to that revisit of ‘Silent Hill 2’. On the PC I tackled the DOS version of Jurassic Park (to add to my meandering trip through all the JP games I can get my mitts on!), Theme Hospital, Max Payne, and even discovered that populated Unreal Tournament servers are still a thing!

Since entering the world of VR back in August I’ve also been sampling as many flavours of that particular ice-cream as I can stomach and, as many of these games are short experiences, it has undoubtedly ‘artificially’ inflated the number of new titles that I’ve checked out compared to previous years.

… but enough retrospective rambling, you’re all here to read the Top 5!  Continue reading “Hundstrasse Top 5 Games of 2018: Are You Excited?”

Skyrim VR: The First Few Hours

As I was standing the other day, waist deep in a horse, nauseatingly galloping over the rolling heath-land of Skyrim I realised two things: Firstly that I had no idea how to “get out” of the horse and secondly that I had no idea what as going on

I’d never played Skyrim. Kind of a unique confession for a gamer given how many different systems and versions this game has seen and also how many friends rate the experience so highly. I guess I’ve just never been drawn to that traditional fantasy setting preferring instead the post-apocalyptic Bethesda romps. At the same time I’ve also been caught in a bit of a VR conundrum recently; the Vive is pretty excellent, but in truth there just aren’t that many “full length” titles available. Sure, some of this is due to practicality; my back aches from standing in the virtual world for more than a few hours and having a special VR hat strapped to your face for that length of time can get hot and uncomfortable. None of that seems to be putting me off however and I’ve been keeping a look out for the more substantial VR offerings to feel that sense of immersion in a more expansive world.

Bethesda are one of the few bigger publishers who have embraced this technology releasing both Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR; both virtual re-jiggings of the entire 2D experience. I guess that Fallout 4 was the more obvious choice to satisfy this hankering, but I just couldn’t bring myself to fork out more money (even with a heavy sale discount) for that joyless wasteland romp; it didn’t captivate me in 2D and I doubted that VR would change that.

Instead I opted to pick up Skyrim VR; almost everyone raves about Skyrim so this open world classic in VR was surely a winner and gave me the opportunity to try something new despite being a little far removed from the type of setting I’d normally pick so I jumped in. Continue reading “Skyrim VR: The First Few Hours”