Dankest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon teaches you to be an unfeeling monster, force feeding people into horrible situations for your own personal gain. You promise them treasure and riches. Instead, they get debilitating mental issues or just straight up die in an attempt to hoard artifacts from your predecessors and clear the land of horrible eldritch monsters.

I’m not so sure the issues that are afflicted on my ‘heroes’ stops at them. I have a tough time separating myself from my roster and treating them like expendable resources. Even though I know that there will be a new set of fresh adventurers to toss into the grinder. The ones that do survive multiple trips are usually too damaged to do much good or have predilections that make doing more missions difficult without expensive rehabilitation.

Needless to say: This game has me hooked.

Press (Y) to honk

Yes, I’ve been playing that game.

More than that, I’ve enabled a little feature on my site. Seems to only work with Blink/Webkit browsers, but it’s too good to not keep. But first, a story.

Way back in the day, I administered a little website for a law school. This was, at times, painfully boring. As one does when one is bored and feeling a little overworked at times, you tend to add “features”. Easter eggs is their technical term. One day, I had a particularly bossy client who had rapid fire changes that needed to be made to this static site he had forced us to use for his pet project. I was getting annoyed because the code was in shambles and I was required to support it, which meant fixing it all. In addition to fixing up the code, I added an easter egg to the site behind the Konami code that would invoke Cornify to… redecorate… the site.

I obviously had to show it off to my co-workers. It was a great success and people loved it. They wanted me to show it off to everyone who came by for meetings. I eventually cleaned up the original trigger code and applied it to the site template for all the pages on the site. That way you could get your pink unicorniness on regardless of the boring subject you were reading about.

Yes, that was all a massive aside to tell you that if you press Y on my site, and click on a link or other element, you’ll hear that good ol’ goose honk.

End of an Era

I got rid of my Linux gaming workstation the other day. The ~10 year old machine had served me well, especially considering it had cost me less than $1000 when I built it. Additionally, I only put minor upgrades into it. A generally unneeded extra 8gb of RAM and a sorely needed Nvidia 1060 6gb graphics card. The decision didn’t come lightly. I have been a gamer on some level for most of my life. I’m moving on from that, generally, now.

The decision to stop playing PC games was not one I wanted to make, but it was somewhat forced on me. As I grow older, I’m loosing out on time to more important tasks. I have schooling I’m trying to focus on, and I have a job, family and other responsibilities that I can’t ignore. Couple that with the fact that I don’t really need multiple gaming systems dividing my attention for entertainment, and that I just got a laptop that more than covers my mundane needs. I made a choice to remove excess.

Right now, I’m siting here, looking at all there is left of that system. A stack of Corsair RAM, several HDDs/SSDs and the 1060. I can’t help but wonder if it was the right decision to make. I’ll miss out on Doom: Eternal and probably the PC port of Monster Hunter: World – Iceborne. I find that I don’t care, though. I’m well enough entertained and the future is bright as far as the Switch, 2DS and iOS gaming goes. Maybe when I retire I’ll build myself a gnarly-ass rig and go all out — I doubt it, but it’s a nice thought.

Here’s to you, old PC, you got me through more than my fair share of downtime.


Warning: The game I’m about to talk about is not for minors, people who aren’t up for handling intense themes or really bothered by suicide and self-harm.

Doki-Doki Literature Club (henceforth “DDLC”) is a “visual novel” game that appears, at first, to be another game following the “Dating Sim” trope. Released in 2017, it has been a cult hit and free-to-play. That all being said: It is not a dating sim game, it’s cleverly packaged computer/horror.

Suffice it to say, if you’re not into it, you can read a summary of the game and the various acts it goes through on this wiki, or watch any of the playthroughs on YouTube. Honestly, you’re not missing much “gameplay” by doing so. I will be discussing spoiler like material, so if you want to play blind, read no further. Otherwise, it’s a almost three-year old game, get over it.

One of the biggest shocks, and painful moments of the game (and there are many) is the death of Sayori. While I’m sure not everyone who plays the game is sympathetic to every character, I identified with her especially.

You see, Sayori is depressed. Deeply so. She hides it behind a carefully designed mask of cheerful aloofness. This throws people off, even if she lets the mask slip (on purpose, or by accident). Her behavior of sleeping in, clumsiness and desire for others to be happy is a really clever cover and one that I identify with. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to see through it. As the kids say: Game recognizes game.

DDLC even goes so far as to drag you into a false sense of relief as you “end” her segment of the game, making you believe that, while not better, things are on the up-and-up. Only to throw it back in your face. I know I was warned. Still, I felt it.

Obviously the game begins to slide right off the rails into surreal horror/computer spookiness, subtexted by realistic people issues. The Yuri character enjoys self harm, which is something people suffer with every day. Natsuki is the child of abuse and neglect and offers up a tough front because of it. All of these characters are sympathetic and probably why the game is so popular. Additionally, the developer did some neat behind the scenes stuff with files in the game directory.

Overall, I really enjoyed the relatively short play through. It’s packaged as a type of game that I’d normally avoid, on principal, but recommendations and mild spoilers directed me otherwise. If you’re not bothered by some of the material in the game, then you’re in for a treat. It’s got more depth than it has any right to, and delivers real emotional stuff in a genre rife with the direct opposite.

The best part is that the game is free to download and play. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and if you’re so inclined, the developer has some extra special stuff in the $10 DLC.

Humble Bundle

A long time ago, I used to be a Mac guy. Because of that, I participated in several app bundle stores in order to get great deals on the (relatively) expensive Mac apps. All of these discount stories have gone the way of the Dodo. I even still have some licenses hanging around that reference them.

It seemed like these sort of discount stores were a thing of the past, and for many years that was the case. Until Humble Bundle showed up and started giving great discounts on collections of games. At first they were just indie titles. The shtick was that in addition to the games, you could gift part (or all) of the sale to the charity that was being represented, and that these games would be DRM-free, allowing you to play them whenever and wherever you could get them to run.

Eventually, they expanded to include digital books, comic books, desktop applications, mobile games, and more. Additionally, they now operate a proper storefront and host a monthly quasi-mystery box program where you get a collection of games for a small monthly fee of $12.

While the DRM thing didn’t quite last, they were soon purchased by publishing giant IGN, which cooled a lot of their public goodwill. Soon, though, people forgot about it, as Humble Bundle was being run as a subsidiary and generally untouched by their parent organization.

It’s nice to see a model for discounted and bundled offerings that doesn’t undercut their users by offering them low-value shovelware or being predatory with offers and upsells. The price is the price and you can adjust how much of each component goes where. This honest transparency is nice to see and goes a long way in making sure customers feel comfortable paying.

I’ll continue using their service as long as they keep up-front about their deals, give great options and provide great customer service. Not an easy act to balance, but one that keeps me coming back to check out whatever it is they’re selling.