• …And All the Stars a Stage

    A LONG TIME AGO, IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY… PART I – THE BEGINNING Chapter 1: Exile (Hythoth village, Rodia, Tyrius system) Later, Tans could never remember exactly what it was that woke him. Perhaps it was Khesta’s cries. Perhaps it was the screams from outside. Or, perhaps it was the unmistakable sounds of blaster fire and combat. Then again, perhaps it isn’t important. Instead, maybe all that matters is that he awakened suddenly from a peaceful sleep; the last he would have for many cycles. “Tans! What is it!” gasped Khyla, bolting upright in bed beside him. “Clan raid.” said Tans grimly, his hand automatically going to her shoulder. It was dark, well before dawn, but the room was being illuminated by flickers of weapons fire from somewhere outside. The bright flash and deafening roar of a thermal detonator erupted from somewhere nearby, prompting another round of screams. “Go get Khesta!” he said, rolling out of bed. He turned, seeing his mate still staring in shock out the window. “Go!” he said again. She started, then leapt to her feet and ran past him. As she left, Tans quickly moved to the armoire and pulled his blaster rifle from the top shelf. Seldom used but well maintained, it had been a gift to him from his father; an accomplished bounty hunter who had hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. He had been alternately dismayed and enraged when Tans met Khyla, a dancer in the local theatre,

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  • Review – Amnesia: The Dark Descent

    The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. — H.P. Lovecraft – Supernatural Horror in Literature Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror/adventure game from Frictional Games. However, unlike most “survival horror” you do not spend time fighting the creatures you encounter. In fact, you are not even capable of fighting them. All you can do is run and this, combined with the unsettling aspects of the world you find yourself in, creates a horror game that is truly about horror as opposed to being just another shooter with a handful of disturbing moments. Starting the Descent I commit these words to paper as I fear that neither I nor my sanity will survive this night, yet I am more afraid that my story will perish with me. Know that I have, for purely selfish reasons, committed many crimes against both man and nature. But also know that I am now attempting to set right a chain of circumstances started by myself through my own fear and ignorance. May the blind gods have mercy on me. In Amnesia you take on the role of Daniel, a man suffering from the amnesia of the title. While the concept of the amnesiac protagonist has been (over)used time and time again, Amnesia manages to introduce a new twist by revealing quite early on that you induced the amnesia in yourself deliberately. You discover this quite early on in

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  • Review – Borderlands

    Pandora. I have used the last of my savings to travel to this world. There are no regular transports here and the crew of the tramp freighter that dropped me off seem surprised when I told them I would be staying. And looking around I can see why; the starport is nothing more than a cleared area in what looks to be a junkyard, the local wildlife has already attacked me twice and the place smells like a landfill. But, if the rumors are true, it is also the location of a vault of lost, Eridian technology. If I can find the Vault, I can sell it’s location and contents for enough credits to let me travel to the core worlds and live the rest of my life in luxury. I just have to find it first. I have used the last of my credit reserves to take a bus to a town in wastelands near where the Vault is said to be located. From there I can start my search. Borderlands came out around a year ago but I ignored it at the time because I was somehow under the impression that it was a multi-player only game. I have since learned that while it does have multi-player support it is primarily a single-player game and I picked it up earlier this year during a Steam sale. And I am glad I did because I discovered that it is actually quite a fun shooter. Welcome to Pandora I have

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  • Review – Minecraft

    I have found myself on the shores of a strange land. I do not remember how I came to be here or know where I am. There are no signs of other people or habitation as far as I can see. I will explore, and see if I can find some indication as to where I am. Minecraft is an open sandbox style game being produced by Mojang Specifications. Players are dropped in an uninhabited world where they can explore to find resources they need to build tools and shelter to protect them from the hostile enemies that come out at night. That’s pretty much it. But despite what sounds like a very basic premise, the game offers a surprising amount of depth, detail and fun. I have managed to fashion a few simple tools for myself from the trees growing in this land and have used them to excavate a small cave for myself in the side of a rock wall. I had to do this because I have discovered that I am not alone in this strange place. Strange creatures walk the land at night and they have proven their hostility towards me. For now I crouch in this dark hole, but when the morning sun rises I will began my search for more resources with which to build weapons and armor for myself. To do this I will have to establish a safe base of operations and start mining for the materials I will need. When you

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  • Review – F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon)

    I was making my way slowly though the basement of the building, trying to find a way up to the main floor, when I found the first bodies. I’ve been in enough combat that bodies shouldn’t bother me anymore, but these did. Not because they were bodies, but because it looked like they had been partially eaten. And not by rats like the one I had shot earlier. These bites looked human. F.E.A.R. came out several years ago when I had an older machine that couldn’t handle it. Later I got a machine that could and looked for the game but by that point it was gone off the shelves. As a fan of survival horror games I was still interested in playing it and so was pleasantly surprised last month when Steam suddenly put the original F.E.A.R. and its expansions on sale. So I finally got the chance to play it. Even though the game has been out for five years now I still wanted to give my Paleogamer impressions of it. I finally got up to the main floor. The doors have been locked from the inside, so either things happened too fast for anyone here to escape or for some reason they didn’t want to. I’m going to… What was that? Strange… I could have sworn I just saw a child run down the corridor. Why would a child be here in the midst of this carnage? If she is here, I need to find her and

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  • Nine Rings in Mordor

    Excerpt from: NINE RINGS IN MORDOR (with apologies to Roger Zelazny) The hot ashes dropping from my pipe jerked me back to wakefulness and I swore quietly to avoid waking the hobbits sharing the room with me. One of them, I think it was the one named Merry, stirred briefly but settled back down again. Good. They had questions that I hadn’t thought of answers for yet. Puffing my pipe back into life I silently crossed the room and snuck a peek out the window at the Prancing Pony across the street. It peeked back at me, looking like every other tavern in every other town in which men had settled across Middle Earth. I watched carefully for a bit. No one saw me of course. I could have walked down the street in broad daylight and not attract much attention to myself if I wanted, so keeping out of sight at night in the pouring rain which was now sweeping through Bree was a piece of cake. It suddenly struck me that every time something of import was about to happen it was at night and raining. I wondered if there was some correlation but there was enough else on my mind this evening to keep me from trying to figure it out. I turned from the window and examined the hobbit they called Frodo. He stirred fitfully in his sleep and his hand gripped something tightly through the fabric of his shirt. Oh yes. I had more than

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  • Let’s Play! – Precursors (Parts 3 & 4)

    Part 3 In this episode, Treece visits the planet Sunax where he learns the importance of eating his fruits and vegetables while fighting off wild tagos. (Wild. Not domesticated. Definitely wild.) Part 4 Back on the planet Goldin, Treece learns to avoid raiders by driving cross country to avoid raiders. He also delivers a water purification chip to what may or may not be refugees from Vault 13, gets insulted in Russian, has his vehicle destroyed by a gorilla, steals an invalid’s stash of cola after giving him drugs and learns to avoid raiders by driving cross country. To avoid raiders

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  • RPG – RP = ?

    I love RPGs. I love the opportunity to become someone else in a game; becoming a valiant knight, a stealthy spy, a hard-bitten mercenary or a roguish star pilot for a brief time instead of a middle-aged office worker. So when BioWare, probably the premiere RPG gaming company out there, releases not one but two RPGs within a few months of each other, it should be a RPG gaming feast. And with Dragon Age: Origins this was fulfilled. My newly created Grey Warden was soon making his way across Ferelden. Fighting Darkspawn, picking locks, making traps and mixing poisons to aid in his quest, he was eventually able with the aid of his companions to defeat the Arch-Demon and save the world. Just in time too because no sooner had I finished then Mass Effect 2 was released. I had played and enjoyed the original Mass Effect so I quickly loaded it up, imported my character from Mass Effect 1 and launched into space to once again save the galaxy. And just as quickly realized that, even though I was enjoying the game, it wasn’t an RPG. As I said a few paragraphs back, the attraction of playing an RPG is playing a character that isn’t me. Hand me a sword and I’d probably cut my own leg off by accident before I could hit an actual Darkspawn with it. But this isn’t a problem for Dirk Rapier, human rogue and Grey Warden. I add points to his combat skills,

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  • Vacation – St. Simons Island – July 2011

    Just some pictures from our vacation this past week. Click through any of them for the full set.

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  • Steam Sale

    The Steam Summer Sale has been running this past week. Steam has started to make a tradition of their twice-yearly sales where a lot of games (mostly from independent developers) go on extreme sales with additional promotion coming from Valve in the form of various games and achievements associated with the playing of the games. This summer is no different. The “theme” for the sale this summer is a “summer camp” and there are achievements awarded for reaching certain levels or doing certain things in various games with different achievements being revealed each day. Most of these are for the indie games that they are promoting. When you gain enough achievements you can trade them in on various things, mostly DLC for other games (or the inevitable TF2 hats). For a variety of reasons I have had to cut back on my game purchases of late; the only full game I’ve bought this year was Dragon Age II, so the sale was a good way for me to pick up some new things to play on the cheap. For less than the cost of a full new game I’ve been able to add a good dozen games and/or DLCs to my pile. Here are a few highlights. Hydrophobia: Prophecy – This one doesn’t have the best reviews out there but the developer has apparently completely revamped the game based on the original (negative) feedback and it is supposed to be much improved. It’s an FPS type game apparently with a

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