• Loophole

    I had just come in from the garage carrying the grocery bag when I saw him. “Sorry Doctor.” he said, pointing what looked like a gun made out of glass at me. “I can’t let this happen.” He squeezed the grip. Nothing happened. I sighed and stepped around him into the kitchen, putting the bag on the counter. He looked at the gun then pointed and squeezed it at me again. More nothing happened. He yelled in frustration and threw the gun at me. He missed and the gun bounced off the side of the refrigerator. “Watch it!” I said, getting annoyed. “You could break something.” He yelled again and charged at me but tripped over the leg of a chair. He hit the ground hard and lay there unmoving. I sighed again and started putting the groceries away. Some minutes later I had finished and was looking in the back of the refrigerator to see if I had any beer left when I heard him groan. I looked over to see him push himself up into a sitting position. He looked around and saw me then staggered to his feet. “How?” he asked finally. “What did you do?” “Nothing.” I said, popping the tab on the beer. “No need to. I figured that out a while back.” He paused. “What do you mean?” I leaned back against the counter. “Who do you think I am?” I asked him. That seemed to startle him. “You’re Henry Armstrong, right? The physicist?”

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  • The PaleoGamer Plays: The Longest Journey – Part 12

    April returns to Marcuria to clean up some loose ends; demonstrating to Captain Nebevay that she has restored the wind, finding navigator Tun Liac for the ship and getting herself fired from working for the map merchant. Then she has a conversation with Vestrum Tobias where he tells her she may be the next Guardian. Oh, and by the way, an army is about to invade. Good thing we’re leaving for Ailias. Too bad April is seasick. The latest episode of The Longest Journey.

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  • Fear of the Unknown

    I’m setting up to run some Delta Green this weekend and while pulling some books off the shelf noticed the Trail of Cthulhu, Fear Itself, Night’s Black Agents and The Esoterrorist sitting next to my Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green and thought briefly why even though I have the books (and love a lot of the scenarios that have been written for them) I’ve never been tempted to run one of them instead of Call or Delta. Then I realized that it has to do with Fear, and its relatives Uncertainty and Doubt. 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 Trail and its sister games are all based on the Gumshoe system, the central premise of which is “the players always get the clues they need to proceed”. The rules were actually created in response to a problem in other games where the players could fail their rolls, miss important clues and not know how to proceed. For example, all the players in a Call of Cthulhu scenario could fail their Spot Hidden roll, preventing them from finding the essential clue and thus progressing with the scenario. The Gumshoe system avoids that by insuring the players always get the clue. If the characters have the proper skills (and the character design rules are set up so that the players work together to make sure the

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  • The PaleoGamer Plays: The Longest Journey – Part 11

    April finds the castle of the mad alchemist Rupert Klacks and gains entry via strategic use of hand lotion. She then negotiates a maze, discovers other uses for mathematics, teaches herself alchemy, reveals that classic Star Trek is still popular in the 23rd century and, oh yes, restores the wind with a bit of help from Crow. Yet one more step on The Longest Journey.

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  • The PaleoGamer Plays: The Precursors – Part 1

    The worst FPS player in the world takes on the game The Precursors. Watch Treece Crichton crash his starship, get his space marine colleagues killed by acid-spitting plants, make friends with the Empire by killing bugs then no longer be friends after playing tag with a rocket launcher, run from a giant robot then find out he’s in the Matrix and he’s the One. Or something. Welcome to The Precursors!

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  • Review – Afterfall: Insanity Edition

    In my continuing quest to clear The Pile™ this time around I played Afterfall: Insanity, a post-apocalyptic FPS from Polish developer Intoxicate Studios. It’s a game I wanted to like but in the end I felt it fell a bit short. Now stop me if you’ve heard this one. There was a global nuclear war and the only survivors were those who were able to get into one of a few underground vaults. People have lived for years in these vaults under the control of a general overseer, but now problems are appearing and one person must go up against the General in order to protect the vault. Or not. In Afterfall you play Dr. Albert Tokaj, the psychologist for the vault Glory. The inhabitants of Glory think they are the last survivors of the human race and they have been living here for years, long enough that Tokaj is seeing more and more cases of what he calls “Confinement Syndrome” and the number of patients he is having to treat are increasing. So much so that he even falls asleep during one session. Then he is sent by the General running Glory with a team to investigate a problem on a lower level. He gets there to find that a plague of some kind is breaking out. People are becoming mindlessly violent and attacking one another and even mutating into horrible creatures. Tokaj comes to discover that someone is behind the plague and violence but then finds that he

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  • The PaleoGamer Plays: The Longest Journey – Part 10

    April heads deeper into the forests north of Marcuria, makes contact with the Bandu and falls into a trap so obvious even Admiral Ackbar is facepalming. She also discusses eating birds with a talking bird, has an argument with herself and, oh yeah, finds the first part of the Guardian’s disc. Another day on The Longest Journey.

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  • Review – The Bureau: X-Com Declassified

    OK, I just finished this one. I don’t normally negatively review games as I finish them (because I usually just give up before finishing) but I wanted to talk about this one. Because by Cthulhu I hated it. I love any number of horribly broken games. I give a pass on any number of things as long as I am entertained. As long as a game has a story I find interesting I’ll put up with whatever janky mechanics you throw at me to get through it. By the end I hated everything about this game. I hated the mechanics. I hated the story. I hated the characters. I hated the world it created. I hated what it did to the X-Com name. I admit using a cheat code to get through the final battle just to see if it managed to redeem itself at the end and it still failed. It was bad. Really bad. Hugely, mindbogglingly bad. Bad beyond all possible conception of badness. OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but f’htagn it wasn’t good! I bought it plus the DLC in the Steam sale and regret it. I’m not even going to try the DLC because I really can’t bring myself to go back into it. Great Cthulhu, where to begin? I’ll start with the story, because that’s why I play games and why I got this one. (And I’m not going to spoiler anything because everyone needs to be warned of this one; it’s spoiled like

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  • The PaleoGamer Plays: The Longest Journey – Part 9

    Having found out all she can in Marcuria, April sets out to find a way to get to the island of Ailias. But to do so she has to convince Captain Nebevay to allow a woman on his ship, find a replacement navigator and somehow restore the wind, which has been captured by the improbably-named alchemist Rupert Klacks. So naturally she decides to take a walk in the woods instead. At least she has a companion now, the talking crow named Crow. Another step along the way of The Longest Journey.

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  • Random Musings on the Steam Summer Sale

    Well, another Steam Sale has come and gone. I didn’t pick up much this time around. Part of it of course is that I have way too many games currently in The Pile™, but part of it too is that I think I’m starting to get tired of certain kinds of games. There were a couple of games that I was interested in that hit sale points. Bioshock: Infinite and Far Cry 3 both came in at $7.50 and Borderlands 2 dropped to $5.00. I had fun with the predecessors of these games so I was a bit surprised when I found myself hesitating over the “Add to Cart” button. I think part of it is because while I enjoy stories in games (and I’m told Bioshock: Infinite at least has a good one) I’ve decided I’m tired of shooting thousands of people in the face in order to get to them. Maybe it’s because I’ve been playing a lot of adventure games lately because of the “Let’s Play!” videos I’ve been doing, but I’ve started thinking that the story is more important than the gamey things I have to do to get to it. I enjoyed Lifeless Planet that I talked about last week because story and exploration were more central to the game. Yeah, I thought the jumping was a bit annoying after a while, but entering an area and seeing a dozen rock outcroppings doesn’t provoke the same groan I give when I see a dozen chest-high

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