• Fallen London – Walking the Polythreme Streets

    After being away for about six months I have returned to Fallen London. Actually, I can’t say I’m in Fallen London. I’ve taken my Zee Clipper across the Underzee and have made my way to the city of Polythreme, the home of the Clay Men. I’ve been wandering the streets here while trying to make sense of the strange place in which I find myself. A place almost as strange as Fallen London has become. As you may have noticed I played quite a bit of Echo Bazaar (as they called it at the time) last year. I managed to hit the level cap in most of my attributes and had managed to complete most of the storylines. There were a few outstanding, but breeding a beast in the Labyrinth of Tigers or getting further involved in the machinations of Mahogany Hall didn’t interest me that much and the storylines I was still interested in seemed to have stalled. So I left the game for a while, waiting for it to advance. Then a couple of weeks ago I saw in passing that things had been updated and so logged back in to see what was up. And things had changed, but some of them in ways to make clear that you can’t always go home again. The game is now called Fallen London instead of Echo Bazaar. The developer’s explanation is that everyone called it Fallen London anyway, but I find it a less interesting name. Hearing someone talk

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  • Shalalm Baskur

    Shalalm Baskur, my friends. Shalalm Baskur.

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  • Hiking at Red Top Mountain

    I hadn’t been hiking in a long time but had the opportunity to get out for a bit this past weekend and went up to Red Top Mountain State Park. Red Top Mountain is basically a peninsula extending into Lake Altoona just north of Atlanta. It wasn’t a long hike, just a couple of miles, but it was nice to get out an walk again. Here’s a short video I shot along the way. Hopefully it shows how nice the park really is for something so close to Atlanta.

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  • The More Things (Don’t) Change…

    I had finished Skyrim for the third time and was trying to figure out what to do next. I thought about loading up a bunch of mods and starting a fourth playthrough, maybe taking the Nords side in the Civil War this time, then I thought maybe I would play through Morrowind and Oblivion again first. And that made me start thinking about how much things have or haven’t changed from those games. Now I’m not talking about the game systems themselves. Obviously the graphics are better, the gameplay has been streamlined and the user interface is improved. I’m talking about the game world itself. In Skyrim it has been over 200 years since Martin Septim sacrificed himself at the end of Oblivion but things in Tamriel are remarkably the same. Yes, parts of the Empire have fallen away. Yes, there was a war with the Aldmeri Dominion and the Altmer are now the enemies of the Cyrodillic Empire. But, overall, the world is pretty much the same as it was. You would have thought that something would have changed beyond a few broad strokes of politics, but that seems to be all there is. As someone living in the early 21st century we are used to the relentless advance of progress. Science, technology, society… all these things have improved or otherwise changed even in our lifetimes. The idea of complete stagnation, which seems to be what is happening in Tamriel, seems out-of-place. True, there have been periods of stagnation

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  • Stories and Worlds

    So I finished Mass Effect 3 last week and I immediately went back to playing Skyrim again. I think it is telling that I am done with Mass Effect after what Raptr tells me is around 35 hours (for now anyway) while I am still engrossed by Skyrim even though I am closing in on 200. I think the difference is that Mass Effect told me a story while Skyrim invited me to come live in its world. There was a moment in my first playthrough of Skyrim when I was scrolling through my quest log trying to decide what to do next when I noticed a quest called “Diplomatic Immunity”. I read the description and had to struggle to remember who gave it to me and what it was about before finally remembering “Oh yeah, that’s the main quest!” Skyrim gives you so many things to do and so many opportunities to do them that it seems as if the various storylines have minimal importance. Don’t follow-up on a murder in the streets in Markarth and you will never find out about the secret of Cibala Mine and the history of the Forsworn. Don’t bother investigating a rumor you hear about a child performing the Dark Sacrament and you will never even get involved with the Dark Brotherhood. The world is out there for you to explore and it is up to you to do so. Want to spend all your time clearing out tombs and hunting for Nirnroot

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