March-ing Forward

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Yup. It’s March. January and February happened. I can’t say that I have much in the way of things to report, but what the hell, here we go:

Monster Hunter has finally arrived on a platform that I actually use. All of the reviews I’ve read have spoken of it very favorably, praising it’s visuals and appreciating the streamlining of certain mechanics. I’ve always been intrigued by the series but I’ve never played it. I bit the bullet, preordered it (the day before) and now it sits on my XB1X, languishing on my hard drive.

I played it the day it was released, but I really wanted to experience the multiplayer aspect of it and that was broken. And besides, whenever I asked around, everyone said they were on PS4. Once it was fixed I didn’t want to jump in with strangers because, well, stranger danger. Social awkwardness doesn’t end at the face-to-face.

And in playing I think I discovered something about my gaming habits at this point in my life. I just wanted to kill some time. I didn’t want to invest the effort to plan ahead, to craft my inventory to match the creature I was preparing to hunt. Now, it might be that over time I’ve lost my ability to focus and immerse myself in a game, or it might be that my now semi-pro level of alcoholism has destroyed my critical thinking abilities, but I just can’t sink my teeth in a deep game like Monster Hunter like I used to. If I’m not interacting with a real person or group to plan strategy and have a solid back-and-forth, I just want mindless, frantic action. I keep telling myself that Witcher 3 is going to the the play through that it deserves (f#^÷ing amazing game on so many levels) but in the end I’ve been playing a lot of Titanfall 2. (a special shout out to Elite Dangerous and Minecraft for some mindless grind-time)

On the tabletop front, I have finally received my copy of WETA Workshop’s Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters. I’ll do a second post with pics. It’s an impressive package and I’m really happy with the miniatures. The GIANT miniatures. I’ve picked up some additional games, one Steve Jackson game on Kickstarter, and there is a new Star Wars miniatures game in pre-release which I could see sucking up more of my income than I would like to admit, but at the moment I’m in a holding pattern with new purchases. The need to pay down the credit card before PAX East 2018 is great. In an ideal world the revenue from my Patreon and my Twitch stream would offset some of the costs, but for that to happen I would need a Patreon and a Twich stream, neither of which actually exist.

Here we are. This is the end of the post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Your coat should be in the back room, but I’ve had a problem with security in the tunnels lately so if you can’t find yours just grab one. That sort of makes it like game, yeah?

The End of the Year is Near

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With Christmas and the new year nipping at our heels, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you out there Happy Holidays, no matter what holiday it happens to be. Be safe, be well, and be good to one another.

-Stu

And Now a Word From October

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October is National Journaling Month, so why not give it a shot? Once a day, take a few minutes to jot down whatever happens to be on your mind, or use it as an opportunity to get something off your chest, or even have a little stream of thought about a project you’ve always wanted to do.

Pens are cheap, so why not give it a shot?
#NaJoWriMo

Autumn, the Noble Season

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Ah, autumn. It is my favorite season, when the days are still warm and the evenings are cool. Though I’m long since past my schoolboy days, I still think of fall as a period of rebirth, the start of a new school year bringing new people, reuniting friends, and opening up a new chapter of life and experiences. Holding hands with your crush as you walk down the street, crunching leaves under foot and rekindled fireplaces scenting the air. This doesn’t actually have anything to do with gaming, but I put it out there to balance out this somewhat sour post.

Now that summer is essentially over, this little corner of the earth will soon be covered in Halloween decorations and our Facebook feeds will be inundated with unusual ways to prepare squash and gifs of deep fried turkey explosions. Pumpkin spice will insinuate itself into every possible foodstuff to the delight of only the most troubled minds. The leaves will begin to turn. Blade Runner will return to the big screen to remind us why not every movie needs a sequel. Or a remake. Or a reboot.

Fall, or The Noble Season, as I like to refer to it, also brings some very important questions. Will Destiny 2 be any good? Will the indentation that the Xbox One X places on my credit card be worth it? (I mean, with a name like “Scorpio Edition”, how can it not be?) Will Kingsman 2 overload the over-the-top sight gags and use their bevy of a-list actors as a crutch to prop up an otherwise forgettable story? Will the sunken area on my couch magically restore itself if I start going back to the gym? Will It be “it” for It? All of these questions, save one, will be answered in time.

I’m seriously wondering if I should get Destiny 2. I enjoyed the first one to the extent that I played it. The meat of the game was in its multiplayer and my experience with the game was playing solo. It was a good looking game and the mechanics felt right, but I never had an opportunity to experience the game as intended.  This is due to the difficulty of creating a team as most of my friends are long since married an deep in the throes of child rearing. The open beta for D2 makes me inclined to think the situation will be similar this time around, a good looking, potentially fun game, but still a multi-player affair.

Elite: Dangerous has taken up far too much of my time. Though it has not taken up as many life-minutes as Game of Thrones (I’m still working on season 5, I should be caught up by the time session 8 airs in 2034), the galactic simulator has robbed me of more than 9 days of my life. Real, actual, hey it’s beautiful outside shouldn’t you maybe go out and be among the living, days. It’s a beautiful game and the controls on the Xbox work extremely well. The majority of my time has been spent exploring within the bubble of inhabited planets, but now I’m doing boom missions to grind out cash for insurance.  Crashing into a planet is easy to do when you’re not paying attention. I’m interested to see how it will be enhanced for the XBOX (Xbox One X….oh, I see what they did there). That said, I really need to get outside more.

After all, it is The Noble Season.

Till next time,

-Stu

(P.S. I don’t have a copy editor and I drafted this on a phone during my train ride into work so…yeah)

Inspired By A Title

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Hello all!

Every now and then I get on a creative bent. Sometimes I will see something that just starts the mental machine moving. In this case it was an image posted on Facebook of a faux Penguin book titled “How to live in an Unusual World”, or something similar, I’ll need to go back and check.

At any rate, it got me thinking that it would be a book that I really wanted to read, so I started writing it. I only got as far as the introduction. Here it is:

Who hasn’t run into one of these situations: You walk into a room and suddenly forget why you are there. You’re looking for something that you are absolutely certain was there a moment ago but has disappeared, only to return later to the exact spot you thought you left it. Or perhaps a close friend is recalling an event that is well-established in your mind but some of the details seem off. These are not random failures of memory or odd happenstance. No, these are the effects of slipping from one timeline to another and back again. It happens suddenly and without warning and its effects are usually mostly harmless. But what happens when you slip into an alternate timeline and fail to return? The information in this book will help explain what is happening and how to deal with it.

WHAT IS IT

The concept of alternate existences, call them timelines or universes or multiverses, is by now fairly well established. There are countless books on the subject, some based in science, such as string theory in theoretical physics, some more metaphysical and fantastic. The concept goes by several names, multiverse, timelines, realities, planes, but whatever you call it, the fact of the matter is that the walls between these timelines, as we will call them in this book, is thin. So thin that at times cracks form and items can pass through.  Usually there are so many similarities on what exists on either side of the wall that this transition is seamless and occurs without any indication that it happens at all.

Each timeline resonates with its own frequency. It is this frequency that maintains a timelines cohesion. It might be helpful to think of existence as a guitar. There are many strings, each tuned to its own note. On a string there are many notes that can be generated by placing your finger on a fret. The note may change but the underlying vibration exists throughout the entire string. Now, were there only one string, there could only be one note at a time and thus, one timeline at a time. But, in the case of existence, there are an infinite number of strings and sometimes this results in one of two things happening. The first is that two strings can be tuned so closely that items on one string crosses over to the other almost effortlessly. The second is that a string can be vibrating at a harmonic of another and causes a resonance so strong, that items can bounce, or “slide” between the two.  This second one is the tricky one and the one this book will spend most of its focus on.

You see, when we slide between timelines there is a tendency to slide back as soon as possible. This is because we are naturally attracted things vibrating at the same frequency. This explains how the pen you are sure was sitting on the coffee table five minutes ago is no longer there when you need to write something down. You will tend to find it ten minutes later after the need for a pen has passed. Or, and this seems to happen more often these days, you type in the same password four times only to have it accepted on the final try. You aren’t going crazy, you’ve just momentarily jumped strings and there is a pretty good chance some alternate you just had a similar experience. The exchange is usually 1:1 with only minor, subtle changes in each timeline. Now, when you hit a resonant frequency, all manner of hell can break loose. Items can be thrown off of a timeline and not return. The typical 1:1 exchange doesn’t occur and you can find yourself in a world that is similar in some ways but drastically different in others. It can also result in a timeline where both you and your alterniyou exist on the same string. This will be covered in Chapter 4: Do I Drink with my Doppelganger?

Well Now Here We Are

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It’s true, in still kicking around. Life has it’s ups and downs, and sometimes the downs are a little downer than usual. But the important thing to remember is that the ups are out there, even if the difficulty of getting up is bringing you down making it harder to get up.

Um…

Right, ok. Here we are. The first day of Boston Comic Con is today and I am all a-flutter, or I will be once I get out of work and head over to the BCEC. The venue this year is much larger than last year so it will be interesting to see how they utilise the space. It is the same convention center that Pax East is held in and while I doubt it will be of the same magnitude as Pax, the additional floor space should be a vast improvement. On another positive note, it’s not deathly hot this year, which helps.

So, I’m GTG to BCC at the BCEC, easily accessible by the MBTA.

See ya topside and give me a shout out if ya see me.

-Stu

What Could Have Been (and still might be?)

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It’s been too long, so I though I’d tease you all with a little something that you have yet to have had the opportunity to miss…
When I was initially thinking about doing my podcast, the original name was going to be The Stu Hambone Half-Hour Quarter Hour Power Hour.
 
I was planning on having fictional sponsors such as:
 
Dr. Hambone’s Toothpowder and Instant Mash – Combining the power of fluoride with the delicious taste of real butter, Dr. Hambone’s Toothpowder and Instant Mash is the only toothpaste in the world that cleans and whitens your teeth while you enjoy your dinner. Life’s too short not to consume your carbohydrates while practicing good dental hygiene.
Well…I thought it was (would have been) funny.
-Stu

The Towel Day Ambassador Contest 2017

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For fans of Douglas Adams, May 25th is a big day.  May 25th is Towel Day.

Towel Day was established in 2001 as a way to show appreciation for and celebrate the life and works of one of our favorite authors.  Over time the tradition of Towel Day Ambassador was established on Facebook as a fun way to engage the fan community.

Well Towel Day is almost upon us and voting is in full swing for this year’s Ambassador.  If you’re a fan of Douglas Adams, of his writing or his work with endangered species, or his work with Dr. Who and Monty Python, I recommend stopping by the Facebook page, checking out the user-submitted videos, and voting for the candidate that speaks to you most.  Me, I’d vote for Jay for reasons that will likely become clear to anyone who has been paying attention.  Of course you can vote for whomever you like, but if you vote for Jay, I have a sneaky suspicion he’d really appreciate it.

All you have to do is go to the Towel Day Ambassador Contest page page, like it, then scroll down to the final round of voting post and choose the emoji assigned to Jay.  Like this:

Like the page.pngSave here.png

Oh, and share the page with your friends sci-fi loving friends or people who just like Douglas Adams.

The Marmot thanks you.

-Stu

 

The Reflectioning – Addendum

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Yes, it’s true, I didn’t get all there was in my head out in my previous post, so here are a few things that didn’t make it the first time around.

* I was clearly oblivious because as can be seen on Kotaku, there was a great deal of great cosplay going on. Lesson learned: Take more damn pictures. 

* It wasn’t until the third day that the idea occurred to me that it would be fun to do a giveaway to help promote the blog.  I picked up a copy of Cards Against Humanity and announced on Twitter that the first person at PAX to find me on the floor and utter the passphrase would win it.  I went home with am extra copy of CAH.  Because the timeframe between the thought, the announcement, and window of opportnity was so brief, I dont even know if anyone saw the tweet. Lesson learned: These things really need to be planned in advance.

* I packed plenty of clothes but in trying to go for a signature look I only brought one hoodie. This was…a poor decision. Lesson learned: One hoodie is never enough. (That’s actually true for life in general)

* One of the great things about the hotel I was staying at was the hot tub.  There is nothing better after 8-12 hours on your feet than sitting in a hot tub.   This is of course if you didn’t forget to pack your bathing suit.  Lesson leanred: The lesson here is actually twofold. First, start a packing list for your next trip during your current trip so you won’t forget what you forgot.  Second, always pack a bathing suit.  Just do it.

* You are going to need to get around the city at some point.  This will require cash in most cases: Lesson learned: This is more of a rule of thumb rather than a lesson leanred, but always have some cash to tip your drivers.  It’s the right thing to do.

Well, the train is pulling into the station so it’s time for me to go.  Thanks for tuning in. 

-Stu

The Reflectioning

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Good morning!  With 18-24 inches of snow currently starting to blanket the Central Kingdom where my burrow is located, I find myself with enough time to sit down and quietly reflect on my time at PAX East.  I had planned on doing a post-mortum after each day but, best laid plans and all that jazz.

PAX was, as it has come to always be, packed.  There were demos and tournaments and vendors aplenty.  And panels and players and PCs galore.  There were streamers and dreamers and…you get what I’m saying.  It’s big.  It’s hard to really describe the event in a way that encompases its vast scale.  It’s not a stretch to say that as you are walking out on the third day something will catch your eye and you’ll say to yourself you wish you had more time to check it out.

PAXEAST2017-EXPO floor

The main expo floor at PAX East 2017

I’m always amazed at how well behaved the crowds are.  Last time I checked attendence was around 70,000.  That was a couple years back so that number might be higher.  Even with that many people in one space, everyone still manages to not be a dick.  Sure, you’ll get bumped and inadvertadly poked but I’ve yet to see an altercation or heated exchange in the four years that I’ve attended.  I think that speaks volumes about the type of people this expo attracts.

There didn’t seem to be as much cosplay this year as I’ve seen in years past.  That isn’t to say that there weren’t some impressive cosplayers out there, just not in the numbers present in past years.  I’m not sure if it was because of the extreme cold or perhaps I was just oblivious to my surroundings.  I do have to imagine it can get difficult navigating the expo floor with some of the more elaborate props and outfits.  I hold anyone with the confidence and the drive to cosplay in high regard.  That reminds me, I haven’t watched Face Off in a while…

PAX Cosplay

Aemiliaaaaaa and Thatchcosplay have left the Vault

This being the fourth year attending, I was familiar with most of the trappings of PAX and how things worked.  This let me spend some time doing something I don’t normally give myself enough opportunity to do, and that’s putting aside stranger danger and branching out and making new connections.  I was really fortunate to have dinner and hang out with a great crew of streamers from all over, including some folks from the Great White North.  A debt of gratitude to Falloutgurl4, Ember, Kelsey, MDee14, Carter, dclickner10, NagataLockII, DrooYoo, and Riggs for making this PAX a particularly memorable one.  Meeting them only reinforced the fact that it is really a community out there, and a solid one at that.  Do them a solid and check them out.

Oh, by the way, whoever was ultimately responsible for the Rocket League tourney on Saturday, please get your shit together for next year.  It ultimately worked out in the end for team I was rooting for, but seriously, shit, together, get it.

In the end, the biggest take-away for me was not the swag, but some realizations and lots to think about.  It’s hard to put into words which isn’t very helpful as this is a blog and words are, you know, necessary.  And stuff.  I’ll spare you the introspective bullshit but it’s along the lines of who, why, how, and where in the hell is that smell coming from (PAX can be hard on the intestinal tract).  Long story short, the experience will help me become a better blogger, and in the end a better person.  Blah blah blah.

Ok, so, games.  That’s probably why you’re reading this in the first place.  There were plenty to be had.  I skipped the AAA titles because standing in lines  with durations longer than an hour just did not appeal to me.  I’ve forgotten which game it was for but after deciding to bite the bullet I got into a line and the booth guy informed me that it was a two hour wait.  Nopity nope nope nope.

Here were some of the games I did check out.

Foxhole.  It’s a persistent war MMO and it struck me as an interesting take on the genre.  The demo I played was small in scale but it gave a good taste for the game.  You should, you know, download it and give it a whirl.  Currently in development.

Lightspeed Frontier.  Space combat with Legos.  Sort of.  Just take a look.  Out now in Early Access on Steam.

Space Wars. Tactical turn based MMO.  Didn’t get a chance to demo it, but it looked nice.  Currently in beta.

Dark Horizons. Mechs.  Is there anything else to say?  Out now in Early Access on Steam.

Auto Age Standoff. Sort of like Interstate ’76.  Sort of.  Kind of. In development for release this year.

Deliver Us The Moon The demo for this was very brief.  It’s a good looking game though.  It seems to be a single player exploring abandoned moon bases.  Currently in development.

Phantom Brigade. Another mech game, this one being turn-based.  It looked pretty slick.  Had a couple minutes with the demo and might pick it up. Currently in development.

And that is going to wrap it up for this post.  As always, thanks for stopping by.  Help a newbie out by leaving your questions and comments.

Cheers,

-Stu