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About GavinTheAlmighty

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    Donkey Kong Demilitarized Zone

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  1. Who's Buying the Switch Lite?

    I ended up getting one and I love it. It's built quite well and feels very solid. It's heavier than I thought it would be, but feels comfortable in my hands. I've played the SNES game suite and Skyrim, and the small screen definitely makes some aspects of Skyrim tougher - text can be challenging. But all in all, I'm more than happy with my purchase!
  2. Designer Notes 45: Rami Ismail

    Rami has a very interesting story, but man, if I was his partner at Vlambeer, I would NOT be pleased. He really went in on the guy. It was a little uncomfortable to listen to at times.
  3. Stumbling around Hyrule - A Link to the Past Randomizer

    Hey, I've just gotten into the LTTPR scene as well! I stumbled across it through a YouTube channel and found it to be fascinating, so I've been playing it through a SNES emulator on my phone. What a wild way to revisit the game! You don't realize how jarring it is to take the game out of order until you do it. There's nothing like the satisfaction of finding a major item in a chest when you weren't expecting anything. It definitely requires an above-average-to-expert level knowledge of the base game. You have to know where EVERY chest in the game is, because otherwise, you could just end up not finding the item you need to finish the game. During my first run, the fire rod was hidden in the Ice Palace, so I had to find the Bombos medallion and stock up on magic potions until I found the rod. I'd searched EVERYWHERE else for it! The best part is that every run is completely different. You'll have different items at different points in each playthrough. You really have to be quick on your feet for strategy. God help you if you don't find the lantern early...
  4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - Return of Grumpy Chiselarms

    I have a lot of opinions about this game, but ultimately I was quite disappointed with it, given that it follow Human Revolution, my runaway favourite game of 2011 and one of my favourite games of the decade. It looks beautiful, art direction is top-shelf (despite lacking the unique aesthetic of HR), it feels mechanically sound and the environmental storytelling and world-building is exceptional. Unfortunately, I didn't care for many aspects of it. The story feels lower-stakes than HR Characters often felt bland or unlikeable. When I compare Miller, Mac, Chikane and Rucker to Sarif, Pritchard, Malik, and Taggart, it's just not a competition - I much preferred the HR characters. To that end, it's possible to not interact with several characters that MD wants you to believe are important for ages in the story. You can completely and 100% avoid Mac after the first visit to TF29 right up until the last mission in APEX. I know this because I did exactly that. I don't need my hand held entirely throughout a game, but you have to do some of the work in presenting me the characters. The only character I actually liked and wanted to see succeed was Aria Argento. Does anyone really care about Marchenko's motivations? The segment of playing as Miller in Breach mode grinds the game to an absolute halt and feels incredibly tacked-on There were major technical glitches. if you search for "Mankind Divided Subway Crash bug", you'll find a litany of people who experienced an issue wherein you could not continue the game because it would crash when attempting to go from any station in North Prague to South Prague. This occurred around M11/SM07 and meant that you had a corrupted save file. Normally, these types of bugs happen on PC, but I experienced this on Xbox One. It happened when I had to choose between the bank heist and saving Alison Stanek. I ended up having to perform the bank heist to get around this, but in the process, I lost out on the serial killer side mission. Also, the game hard-crashed every time I tried to leave the shooting range. This was also a common problem. The tone of the game was drastically different from the other entries in the series. DE and DEHR focused more on the "cyberpunk" aspect, whereas DEMD focused more on the "dystopian" element. It was grim and brutal and depressing, and a million NPCs were constantly screaming in your face about how much of a piece of shit you were for being augmented. It suited the story, but it was not a fun experience as a player, and was about as subtle and nuanced as a jackhammer to the face. Also, no mid-level boss fights. It never felt as though the levels were actually building towards something - everything just felt like an impediment towards the next thing. It's not a bad game - I spent a lot of hours in it and did beat it - but MAN was it ever disappointing compared to DEHR. I have little desire to go back.
  5. Endorsements from Thumbs Readers

    Oh man, I have a lot of endorsements to give, but I don't want to just spam the thread with products and experiences and all that. I guess my first endorsement is MADD de-alcoholized white wine. My wife and I tried it recently as she wanted some wine, but can't have alcohol due to some medication she's taking. We tried both the red and the white - the red tastes a little bit too much like juice, but the white wine tastes surprisingly like a very smooth white wine. It lacks the sharp punch of alcohol, but is otherwise fairly indistinguishable from a decent cheap white wine. Strongly recommended. Up in Canada, it sells at Loblaws for $10 CAD a bottle, which is pricey for a "cheap white wine", but it's nonetheless quite enjoyable! For my American friends:
  6. American War, by Omar El Akkad

    Has anyone heard about this book? It's the debut novel from Omar El Akkad, former journalist with The Globe and Mail, in Toronto. He spent some time as a war reporter in Afghanistan and saw war up-close. Here's the summary: Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war as one of the Miraculous Generation and now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past -- his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others It's gotten some fairly high praise so far for a debut novel! My copy is on the way and I look forward to reading it! (yes it's from his former employer, but it was written by Lawrence Hill, of The Book of Negroes fame) Disclaimer: Omar is a friend of mine from university.
  7. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    I tried so hard to love The Witcher 3 on the Xbox One, but I couldn't. It's an immaculately crafted game with meaningful dialogue, quests, and environments, but I just wasn't having a lick of fun with it by the end. Crafting and alchemy were too complex for my tastes, inventory management was a pain, and replenishing potions by drinking alcohol is hilariously and stupidly arcane. It's a terrific game that I have absolutely zero desire to play. I just wish that I'd realized that sooner than 48 hours in.
  8. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    Sorry, I should be clear - I don't think that H&D are deliberately and purposefully evil, but their decisions went beyond thoughtlessness and well into the territory of selfishness, like Henry's decisions re Julia's job and her illness, them not wanting to report two potentially missing girls because they think it will be easier if they don't, Delilah's nonchalant attitude about Henry getting assaulted, their general lack of desire to report or confront anything that might be upsetting or unsettling, etc. They don't seem to be cruel or evil people, but they appear to deliberately choose not to "do the right thing", at least according to my own morality, which is why I'm not surprised that there is no happy ending for them.
  9. Firewatch Spoiler Thread | Henry Two Hats

    I suspended my disbelief long enough such that the actual reveal of what Ned was up to out there made logical sense, but my main issue was that it didn't really impact me all that much. It sets up a Lost-style mystery, and in the end, it's not really that mysterious at all. It makes perfect sense, but it is a bit anticlimactic. Part of my problem was that I didn't really connect with Brian. I was looking for something bigger than Brian, so I sort of glossed over the stories Delilah told, just taking them more as world-building than as a core plot point. So when I discovered his hideout, it was neat, and it made sense in the context of his character, but I just couldn't tell if I should be paying more attention to it or not. When I discovered his body, it didn't really affect me all that much. "Oh, I guess I was supposed to be paying more attention to this guy and not trying to invent wild theories in my head". I didn't get enough of a chance to connect with Ned to care about his motivations. I think, ultimately, my biggest problem was that Delilah was fascinating to me, so I spent most of my time thinking about her character and sort of skipping over the other details. Cissy Jones' voice acting was top-shelf, and the chemistry between Henry and Delilah was magnificent. To me, most things happening in the game that weren't interactions between Henry and Delilah were just simply not as interesting as their conversations. I actively looked forward to every chance I had to radio her, because I wanted to hear the conversation. I tried to rationalize it as the mystery being incidental to H&D's interactions, because that's what I was really interested in, but the mystery took centre stage. Something that ultimately ended up being not all that outlandish tried to compete with wonderful characters and dialogue. I don't want to sound too harsh. I really enjoyed the game a lot. It's beautiful, it's well-written, clearly well-designed, and I found a lot to which I could relate in H&D. The ending was unsatisfying, but in the right way - it really parallels some of my own experiences, and while I wanted a happy ending for H&D, it's increasingly obvious as the game goes on that getting that will be difficult, if not impossible. H&D aren't good people, so they don't necessarily deserve a happy, or even satisfying ending, just because I, the player, really want one. Everything about the ending made perfect sense to me. I felt hollow afterward, but I imagine that's not dissimilar from how Henry would have felt. Reading through this thread and others, it's amazing how much I missed.
  10. The games that made you buy the system

    I've had several consoles/systems in my lifetime. The Wii and the Wii U didn't really have that killer application for me - I was more about the potential of the system. SNES: Super Mario World Xbox: Fable 1 Xbox 360: Gears of War 2 and Fable 2 3DS: Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I've played other games on the 3DS, but honestly, if I only bought the system to just play that one game once, I would have been perfectly satisfied.
  11. Recently completed video games

    I just finished Black Mesa over the weekend, and I am extremely conflicted. I adored Half-Life 1 when it came out despite its problems, but I acknowledge that the game has aesthetically aged like butt. So, I loaded up BM and yes, it's a facelift. The work that the team did was loving and dedicated, and I acknowledge and respect that. The problems come in with the areas that the team changed to modernize. It's not just a new skin - some areas are completely revamped, which is messing with my head. I can't tell what I do remember from the original HL, what I don't remember, and what the developers changed themselves. It's like going back to your childhood home, only to realize that the new owners have torn down half of the house and rebuilt it. There were some interesting decision in the game. You can't fight the Gargantua enemies directly; you need to engage in a specific sequence of events to defeat them, but there's nothing in the game to tell you that this is the case. I wasted a lot of time and ammunition on the first Gargantua in Power Up, only to discover that you have to run right past it the first chance you get, and then you defeat it in a completely new sequence. I found that this section wasn't communicated properly, considering it's such a fundamental change from the first one. By the time you reach the second Gargantua, you at least remember that you can't fight them directly. To that end, the Security Checkpoint sequence from the original HL has been removed. You no longer need to retrieve the security guard and have him unlock the door to the parking garage (apparently in the original, if this guard died, the game put you into an unwinnable state because you couldn't proceed past the door. I never knew this). The "alien trampolines" are also gone. So is the sequence where a Grunt throws a soldier through the brick wall, which I always liked. All in all, BM is a good, faithful reimagining of Half-Life, but if you have strong memories of HL, it will absolutely mess with those memories. I found it got disconcerting and disorienting at times. It was a good experience, but I probably won't pick it up again anytime soon.
  12. Life

    Definitely excited. Work-life balance is incredibly important, and I do have a good balance right now, but I do have to consider that I still have a few decades before retirement, so I need to consider how fulfilling my work is, and whether or not I can move, because stagnancy is a morale killer. Anyway, it's all a moot point - I accepted the job and I'll be starting on February 29th. Exciting times ahead!
  13. Life

    How do you know when it's the right time to leave your job? I have a very comfortable and stable job with decent pay and benefits, but the work itself isn't inspiring at all. My co-workers are all generally nice people, but workplace morale is low. I was offered a job earlier in December, but turned it down as it was a significant pay drop. I've been offered another job, this time with work that I know I'm going to enjoy and pay that starts lower than where I am but goes higher, but the benefits and perks are slightly lower (less vacation time) and it's going to be very busy and less flexible with a steeper learning curve, compared to my ludicrous comfort right now. Accepting this job is the best step for my career, pretty much no questions asked. I'm sort of stuck in my current job with limited advancement prospects, but this new job opens a lot of doors. But, I'm EXTREMELY comfortable in my current job. They're very flexible about personal concerns, and I'm a big fish in a small pond - I am respected as a subject matter expert in my field at this job. I have more vacation now because of my specific contractual arrangement, and I am a member of a good union, whereas the new job isn't unionized. Generally, I fear change and am very much a creature of habit. There's a lot of mental jiu-jitsu going on in my head right now. My wife is extremely supportive of either decision. If I turn it down, I know I'm comfortable here, but a) I don't know when that opportunity might come up again, and I've already turned down one job. Turning down two seems like very bad karma, and I don't want to be known in my industry, which is small, as the guy who can't commit. If I take it, there's a chance I won't be as generally comfortable and have as good a work-life balance as I currently do. I know I have to rip that bandage off and just go for it and not actually be afraid of change for once in my life, but my brain is amazing at putting up roadblocks when something can take me out of my comfort zone. tl;dr I should probably shut up and appreciate my position in life because jobs are hard to come by.
  14. Purchased, along with the soundtrack. Can't wait!
  15. Cibele

    I just played it last night and I am of two very distinct minds about it. Mechanically, I wasn't crazy about it. I know that the MMO sections of the game were meant to play out as they would in real life, but I spent too much time* just waiting for someone else to say something. Also, no keyboard shortcuts for closing the windows you opened up on her desktop (at least, none that would work on my computer) made it a bit longer than I wanted it to be, especially with the small closing buttons. The mechanics felt like an obstacle to get to the actual interesting parts. That said, artistically, it was fascinating because it was so raw and honest. Playing as a real-life person, with their real-life pictures and experiences presumably their real-life schoolwork really grounded the game well. Games almost never handle romantic love and sex beyond the superficial, but this one felt mature and properly realized. Nina's voice acting and delivery was tremendous and natural, but Blake's felt very rigid and forced. To that end, I really cringed when Blake was talking because if you listen to all of the things he says to her, he's commenting on her appearance like 90% of the time. It really made me uncomfortable. I just wanted to shout "NO! NINA, DON'T FALL FOR IT!" I had high hopes that it would turn out well, so at the final development, I actually said "Oooooffffff" and was very sad for her. I felt badly for Blake's obvious social issues - we at least know about Nina's offline social life through e-mails, even if she prefers to spend time online with Blake - but I struggled to identify with them and with him; I identified much more with Nina. All in all, I was glad that I played it, but I acknowledge that this may not resonate well with people who don't have experience with internet-only relationships. *yes I know it was short, so "too much time" probably doesn't carry a lot of weight as a criticism, but I didn't feel like I was accomplishing anything when I was waiting for someone to talk.