review [tag]

Review | 2023.01.14
All the genres

Maybe not all the genres, but FPS, 4X, tabletop, and a meme game are a good sampling.

Gallerypost | 2022.12.03
New quest

J came out to play games and try local brews. It's been a long time since we'd done couch co-op.

Review | 2022.09.03

In this post:

Review | 2022.08.24
Space plane games

This isn't actually about space flight simulators but rather Switch games I picked up for the Hawaii downtime. Both happen to have a sci-fi setting.

Review | 2022.07.15
Plane games

This isn't actually about flight simulators but rather Switch games I picked up for the Hawaii downtime.

Review | 2022.06.05
Slay the spire

Slay the Spire was one of the PS+ games a month or two ago. I'd heard good things, so I gave it a whirl. Here's a pictoral commentary:

Review | 2022.05.20

I try out a new kid carrier, do some data entry, and slay my first Elden Ring dragon.
I mostly stick to video game and ETF reviews, but this baby backpack is worth a shout out. It's something we probably wouldn't own were it not for Connie, so I'm glad she's so outdoorsy. Here's why I like it more than the stroller:

Gallerypost | 2022.04.29
Lands between

Just some scenery and light commentary from mine and J's Elden Ring adventuring.

Review | 2022.03.30

I have another post queued up for real world stuff like Ukraine and the market/return of Gamestonk, but let's talk about the big March PS5 releases.

Storypost | 2022.03.08

The plan for this month to rave about Horizon: Forbidden West and Elden Ring. The Ukraine crisis was an ominous but interesting situation three weeks ago. Sadly, now people are fighting for their country and seeking refuge and having their lives destroyed by a pointless invasion.

Review | 2022.02.04

My Mass Effect Legendary Edition playthrough has come to a close. Since it's wordy and spoilery, I'll put it last.

Storypost | 2021.12.19
Off repeat

So other than progressing plot and content, I don't expect to have much to add to my initial take on Far Cry. Well, except a surprise visit from Danny-f'in-Trejo.

Storypost | 2021.05.26
Risk mitigation

The backyard terraces need fencing. Since there are two terraces, it almost made sense to connect the two and create a verdana/gazebo/pergola/palapa over the middle terrace.

Infopost | 2021.01.20
Current events

The last two weeks have been... strange. Since the controversial stuff seems to have finally burned out, I'll do what I can to recap the lunacy and the memes. For posterity.
Review-by-chat that (*warning*) spoils the premise:

Infopost | 2020.10.10

A little starfighter chat and then my next iteration in trading. I passed pilot level 15 after maybe a dozen dogfights and fleet battles, that doesn't intrinsically mean much except in the context of unlockables. I have most of the mods I want, leaving a few to acquire for tuning and experimentation. And I've acquired some fun cosmetics like the Twi'lek skin and some neat fighter paint jobs. I'm pretty happy with the rate of unlocks, though it'd be neat to have more variety in cosmetics.

Review | 2020.10.03

I'm a few hours/levels into Squadrons and I'm pretty happy with it so far.
So here's a little more info about the game with some review/commentary material. It's not too far off my hype post.

Storypost | 2020.09.13
Hot start

Pretty fun football this weekend. I have to agree with Rich Gannon however, the fake crowd noise is just silly.

Storypost | 2020.08.08

Covid time is time to revisit old projects and entertainment.

Storypost | 2020.07.03
High/low country

The album isn't new or anything, just decided to use the art.

Review | 2020.06.24
The Last of Us Pt. II

Saturday I put the remodeled media room to good use with some socially-responsible zombie killing. The Last of Us Pt II was released on Friday; the long-awaited follow up to a game that ranked third on J's all time list and fell just behind Metal Gear Solid on mine.
I'm not sure how or why, but there's been an interesting internet response to this game, brought to my attention by Gage and Derrick. Apparently the plot was leaked and that might have primed the pump for scathing, anonymous reviews. This is more about the internet than the game, but I found it fascinating.
We'll start off with someone who is reasonable. Even though Hello_There23 has 1 rating and 1 review to his name, he seems to capture that TLOU games are about the story. I haven't gotten there yet, but I think I'm in for a controversial ending.
Now let's get to the fun stuff: 0s and 1s across the board from users with no history with single-sentence reviews that are deemed "helpful" by other users. I thought about writing a script to create a histogram of user histories, but I got too much going on to deal with if there's any js to get around.

Storypost | 2020.04.20
Plenty to do

Another week of quarantined programming, video games, and hitting f5 on economic news.

Review | 2020.04.19
Shadow of the Colossus

Here's a little gallery/writeup on Shadow of the Colossus, the PS+ free update on the PS2 classic. In case anyone's considering a playthrough, I start with a short summary of the gameplay then - with callouts - progress to show each colossus (gameplay spoilers) and finally wrap up with the ending (plot spoilers).

Storypost | 2020.04.05

The uncertainity of two weeks ago has given way to various stages of compulsory home isolation.

Infopost | 2020.01.26
Neural fails

I did some more Keras dabbling since there was cold weather and time off. I continued down the autoencoder thread that I'd explored a bit previously.
I happened upon a poster and wanted to know more, Katherina Michael's Amazon review.

Storypost | 2020.01.04
P-games only

Cattle's xmas Steam gift this year was Pako - Car Chase Simulator. It had me pretty well captivated for my first two-hour session. I think I worked out a little bit of strategy:

Storypost | 2019.12.29
Up and back

We headed up the coast for some holiday time with the family.

Storypost | 2019.11.30
It's nicer indoors

Winter has arrived, it's cold and wet. But that's why there's egg nog and 500W graphics cards.

Storypost | 2019.11.10

Friendsgiving this year was up in Santa Cruz. On top of the usual fare (kids, turkey, burned killa bread), there was great beach weather.

Storypost | 2019.10.27

Taking a few weeks off for the mcl tear, I did a photo session at volleyball. I started with a post-mounted off-camera speedlight triggered by the on-camera flash. It had the best lighting (side lighting woo), but was hard to keep the flash out of the frame. Probably would have been better to use the 20mm rather than the 50.
Me and J finished our TVHM playthrough, hit 50, and have done a few arenas and side quests. The Halloween event dropped to mixed reviews, we liked the variety and challenge it introduced.

Storypost | 2019.10.03
Another lap

I'm on MCL tear number... err too many. Still, that just means no vball or sball, I can still game and do GBES events. For Brian's expedition, we started with Tiger Tiger donuts and finished at Street Car for some unbelievably hot chicken.

Review | 2019.09.14
New games

The August-September handoff has been hot and muggy - perfect weather for AM runs and surf sessions followed by afternoons in the cave.

Storypost | 2019.07.20

July is beach month, we did some vball at dog beach where Lana and Kaf and Herman got some swimming in.

Review | 2019.06.03

Review time. Well, review + how-to. Written like I might copy and paste it as a product review.

Review | 2019.04.24
Europe: food

I'm not really a fan of photographing food, but as this was a food/wine tour, I figured I'd at least aggregate food photos/commentary to a single, skippable post.

Metapost | 2019.04.06
Some improvements

A couple small changes that are fairly evident below: I created an about page and a list of lists.

Storypost | 2019.03.16
Bouncing around

Last month's journeys were followed by an early March trip out to the east coast, so suffice it to say I've been happy to spend some time in the man cave.
As many real reviews will probably quickly say, it's L4D2 with swords. Like, pretty identical: 4up squads, swarms of baddies, surges, specials (duplicates of hunters and smokers and tanks). And it's a very good formula to start with...

Storypost | 2019.01.27

2019 has been all work and all play.

Storypost | 2018.10.21

The Brogue Squadron finished the Heroes of Eturi campaign, winning three victory points to one with one VP mission to spare. The final few scenarios included some cool variations like a space station and ground station.

Storypost | 2018.08.30

First and foremost: Tori and Jon got a pup.

Review | 2018.08.04

Still more heat, still more man cave.

Storypost | 2018.07.23

Brutal heat has meant lots of tabletop and video gaming between surf and pool sessions.

Storypost | 2018.04.01

Since Jes enjoyed rafting, I thought maybe she'd like an ocean kayak for her bday. We did a sunset paddle before going to see Isle of Dogs.

Storypost | 2018.03.25

Jon, Dan, Derrick, and I took a trip to Park City. After considerable research, it appeared Snowbird would have been the preferred resort (acreage, conditions) but has a small and expensive inventory of on-site accommodations. To add to that, many of the ski areas have insane rental tax rates. Who would have thought Park City would be the more reasonably-priced option (for a ski-in/ski-out trip plan).

Storypost | 2018.01.28

Few spoilers inside. But first, more renovation.

Review | 2018.01.07

Santa brought me Horizon: Zero Dawn. Here's some media and discussion, nothing in the story beyond an hour of play is spoiled.

Review | 2017.12.17

Jes and I took Kaf down to the cove. Rain had washed part of the path away, so we had a difficult descent and even more challenging return.
It does kind of feel like a hack and slash button masher where instead of mowing down squishies you're making no visible impact on a legendary monster. Even if the combat isn't a main selling point, it could be a great experience in its totality. We'll see what the reviews say. In any event, it's good to have an upcoming co-op title for the PSN sessions.

Review | 2017.11.25
The craft

The Duc needs a new clutch, a valve adjustment, and maybe some troubleshooting of the cutch hydraulics. Between that, 50k+ miles, and having my eye on the ebike scene since I first saw them at Laguna, it seemed like a good time to go for it.

Storypost | 2017.10.31

The Cooley Halloween party moved to the Tonkers' place due to special circumstances, but it still had costumes, pizzas, and beers. Jessica's Gamora costume won best of the night, (another) Chris's beekeeper won worst.

Storypost | 2017.10.24

Jes and I took a trip up to Oakland to catch up with the hometown crowd and see some Raiders football. There was a bit of haze from the Santa Rosa fires, but not, like, SD in '03 or anything:

Storypost | 2017.08.20
Fancy, flying

Of course more east coast trips. I can't be mad, I brought some Pot Belly peppers back this past time. And the one before that I got to ride the sweet Detroit airport tram that is overhead in the terminal.

Storypost | 2017.07.22

Finished a few things this month, the first of which was a resurface job on the pool. It wasn't in bad shape, but since I'd drained it I figured I'd go ahead and apply a new layer of epoxy. The canopy made all of this considerably easier, although epoxy in an enclosed area has some disadvantages.
Since the reviews have been rave, I thought I might give Persona 5 a go. Unfortunately they disable the ps4 screencap feature, because one of the most striking features of the game is the art style. The game is a series of cool ideas/features juxtaposed with tired ones:

Storypost | 2017.06.09
Killing Floor 2

Since Dying Light was just a bit too cerebral for two-day gamefest, J and I mixed in some Killing Floor 2.

Review | 2017.05.30
Dying Light

The newest game J and I are playing is Dying Light: The Following. AKA parkour simulator. AKA lockpicking simulator.

Review | 2017.04.21
The calm

Mark brought Civ into the office and we've played through it twice. It's pretty amazing - it captures the spirit of the franchise while making it tabletop-able and adding a few elements that don't exist in the computer game.

Storypost | 2017.03.31

Two work trips this month. Luckily, there's Fire Emblem Fates, Liar's Dice, and some awesomely-named beers.

Storypost | 2016.12.31

Between the Jeffsea xmas sweater party and being recruited to photo a couple of Christmas cards, seasonal garb has been in full effect.

Storypost | 2016.08.14

Storypost | 2016.07.17
Back to work

After a morning paddle out with the bros, Jes and I went down to the cove to watch the fireworks. The bluffs above the caves were a great spot, although the people on kayaks might have had more fun.

Storypost | 2016.06.22
Spare time

Ty got married.

Storypost | 2016.06.01

Last year some League of Sporters undertook an incredible journey, one that proved too strenuous for a single weekend. But like any semi-casual athlete, giving up just isn't in our nature. To celebrate Dave finishing his master's, we completed the second leg of the Camp'n'crawl.

Review | 2016.05.07

So J and I are letting The Division rest a bit and give the developers a chance to get their act together or move on and deal with the irate fans. I'll defer to his analysis:

Storypost | 2016.04.20

We went to Austin for Ty's bachelor weekend. The shirts were absolutely top notch.

Review | 2016.02.20
Moving earth

I judged Monster Jam at the ballpark because a friend/parts dealer needed a last minute replacement.
During my recent urge to do some city building I looked to find a new game worthy of the SC2K mantle. The updated reviews to the new SimCity seemed to indicate that it was worth maintaining the boycott. The Tropico franchise received high praise, but so did Cities: Skylines. Since CS was on sale for Steam's Black Friday event, I went for it.
The lack of an all-encompassing challenge isn't necessarily bad; it makes for a chill, lego-like experience. And you can create your own challenges. My greatest enemy in life - simulated and otherwise - is traffic. I once spent a solid thirty minutes rehashing an offramp/main street layout to significantly reduce congestion. And it was cathartic. I beat traffic using design where my irl city just throws stoplights at things. Okay, yes, I can bulldoze houses at will, but it's not like I went to school for this.

Storypost | 2015.11.16
Bombing it

At long last we can crawl the postapocalyptic wasteland again, Fallout 4 is here. I haven't played all that much of it, and it's taken awhile to settle back into the gameplay style.

Review | 2015.03.22

A little more on Far Cry now that I've reached the end.

Review | 2015.02.09
Far Cry 4

A weekend of running, surfing, and sun is not complete without restorative video gaming sessions. J and I recently started co-oping Far Cry 4.

Storypost | 2014.12.01

Somewhere along the way the Duc's voltage regulator decided to crack and leak. The problem manifested as a dead (new) battery and may well have been the reason my led tails blew. The prescribed voltage/resistance tests indicated that the alternator was fine, to my relief. When I pulled and inspected the regulator it seemed pretty certain.

Review | 2014.09.09

I finally stepped into the new gen of consoles with Destiny for ps4. No xbone for me. Microsoft angered me far too much with crappy hardware and paid-for internet on 360 followed by the kinect snafu, subsequent lies, and a too-high price point. I'm no Sony fanboy, but a few leaked credit card numbers and prosecuting people who put Linux on their consoles started to pale in comparison to Redmond's transgressions. Sadly, Sony began charging for internet play with ps4, but at least they try to add value with free downloadables.

Storypost | 2011.11.23

Everyone made it out alive. No zombie flu, only a few stitches between the lot of us. The food rocked, there was a massive handegg match, dogs were all over the place.

Preview | 2011.10.30

Friendsgiving is returning to San Diego next week so I've been working hard on the house.

Review | 2011.01.30

+ Zombies.
+ Does not shy away from gory, mutilated undead.
+ Plenty of real estate. The protagonists aren't stuck in a mall or suburb.
+ More production value than I would expect from a high cable channel.
+ Replaced the non-zombie scenes (typically groping around in the darkness being scared) with character development.
- Character development is primarily people boiling over in anger and pistol whipping and/or drawing down on someone. You'd think these people would have been the first to go.
- Some tropes. E.g. 'That gun you pointed at me? You left the safety on.' or '-We can escape through the basement because this building is from the 1930s and therefore has sewer access -How do you know that piece of highly technical and useful information? -I used to work in zoning.'
- Every shot fired at a zombie from any range hits the melon. No center of mass. No misses.
- Zombies come and go based on what needs to drive the plot, they're not a constant threat.
- Stupid characters think they're the only ones alive in the world even though they constantly run into other survivors.

Storypost | 2010.10.04

As expected, life and times got pretty exciting. The Cathcart breakdown:
Halo Reach; feather in the cap Did a Heroic coop playthrough with Ty. I'm glad they kept the set piece element of ODST and accompanying Forge mode. The space combat mission was unexpected but they kinda pulled it off. Jet packs introduce new tactics and skill. I'm sort of shocked the game didn't end with the requisite Warthog/Puma getaway, but it wouldn't have had quite the same effect.

Storypost | 2010.08.08
Casual weekend

I added a second sunsail to complete the effect.

Review | 2010.08.01

I bought Starcraft on Friday, it's been awhile since I had any rts fun. The game's great, but I think I'm done with Blizzard, they pulled some serious Sony crap with this one. It all stems from the innocuous system requirement listed on the box, "Broadband Internet connection". Here's about how it went down:

Storypost | 2010.01.31

I bought the Sealy cal king that Costco stocks. It's comfy, it's big, it needs a frame.

Storypost | 2010.01.27

There are reviews everywhere, a few other thoughts:

Storypost | 2009.11.26

Two weekends ago was a trip out east to the Commonwealth. J and I co-opped Army of Two, ODST, and New Mario, start to finish on consecutive days. Monday featured some epic Halo firefight scenarios. Of course we mixed it up with some MST, Always Sunny, and a trip to the Dulles air museum. Mandy was awesome throughout, and filled me in on some of the great new J-isms that I've missed.

I downloaded Dragon Age since it's Bioware and got killer reviews. I have a long way to go, but it doesn't strike me as much of an improvement on Mass Effect. Of course, anytime EA's involved...

Storypost | 2009.11.04
New stuff, brah

Jessicat and your favorite east county bro spent Halloween was at Mesa. Everyone else's costumes were not G rated. Particularly Ty's.

Review | 2009.10.09
Some reviews

So Bungie finished their contribution to the Halo series and did the dreaded franchise handoff. This has led to the titles Halo Wars and Halo ODST. After Dan came down again I had a jones for more shooter action so I picked up the recent release. As expected, it plays pretty much the same as the last three with minor visual tweaks and new features.

Storypost | 2009.04.20
Unexpected surprises

This past Friday I was honored with my first piece of original art. My old boss came over with his family for some steaks and wings, his wife brought along an awesome Japanese-style painting. (And I did in fact straighten the frame after taking the photo.)

Storypost | 2009.04.12
A few events

Wednesday was Settlers night. There was great anticipation as we finally cracked open Cities and Knights. The expansion adds considerable complexity to the game, it's a little intimidating at the outset, but is great for playability. The development capabilities in the expansion add quite a few options up front, but they also change as progress is made. I am simultaneously excited for- and fearful of the inevitable Settlers/Seafarers/Cities stratorgy.

Review | 2009.04.05
Speed night at the theater

Rides has finally been done right. The featured machines hail from many countries, decades, and backgrounds. Caymans, Camaros, Skylines, new Mustangs, M3s; the list is extensive because no car survives more than a fraction of the film.
One of the main draws of Fast and Furious is that it reunites the core of the original cast. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez haven't risen to glorious Hollywood stardom in the last eight years, but their careers haven't languished either. It's great to see a cameo by Han, the most amiable character in the series. Walker is only distractingly bad on occasion and the female leads do a good job of portraying unsympathetic characters. I glanced at a review beforehand, it spoke disparagingly of Diesel's acting, claiming he comes across as tired and effortless. I actually saw this as understandable anguish that peaks at an excellent scene that is pointlessly destroyed by O'Connor's spontaneous make up sex with Mia. - CR

Storypost | 2009.04.01
A few more shots of the carnage

There are a few wires to dispose of, all in due time. The couch is a bit off the wall to center its occupants more and provide a space for the woofer. Um and I'm terrible at pillowing couches.

Review | 2009.03.28
The return of the leaderboard

The leaderboard updated and redistributed:

Storypost | 2009.01.26
The unnerving bits

New lighting for the living room. You probably didn't notice, but I ms painted in a bookshelf to indicate what it'll look like sans line of sight to the light sources. Here's how it is now:

Review | 2009.01.21
DC never looked so good

I picked up Fallout 3 a couple days ago.

Storypost | 2008.12.17
I can haz blinds

Impressed: My blinds came in yesterday - a pretty quick turnaround from whenever it was that I ordered them.

Review | 2008.11.21
Gears of War 2

Ty and I just finished Gears 2 with some help from Kevin. It was a two-sitting playthough thanks to a midweek cold.
The baddies in Gears do sometimes charge, and often flank - which is much different from having them pour in from every direction. This game presents a number of scenarios where the cover moves or disappears. The ars reviewer was all hyphy about this. It's okay but I'm glad they didn't overuse it.

Review | 2008.06.24
Rifftrax II

Jon, J, and I watched the Aeon Flux Rifftrax. Such great commentary for such a terrible movie. If only we'd had the time to also do Over the Top.

Review | 2008.05.25
Indy film

Never has shark-jumping been more punctuated. The new Indiana Jones movie is impressive until you see Shia LeBeouf straddling moving jeeps whilst sword fighting - looking very much like he's on water skis. From this scene on Lucas and Spielberg work their hardest to wreck the film.

Review | 2008.05.11

Is it a shame I have new wheels and tires before Jon? Yes. Will that be the case when his come in and they're shiny and scratch-free? No.

Review | 2008.04.28
Cheers and tears

Review | 2008.03.16

Smash Brothers Brawl is pretty good. At first the game appears to be little different from the previous installment. The controls and mechanics are the same, in fact you can play with a GameCube controller. The canon of characters, moves, and levels has been preserved but with quite a few additions.

I imagine the first thing people look for is motion control, as it is synonymous with the Wii. There is none. And that is as much a relief as it is a disappointment. I dreaded the possibility of a difficult control scheme (and I don't doubt the developers experimented with more than a few) simply to exploit the Wii's trademark feature. I expected something simplistic like shaking the controller to perform an attack, as in Mario Universe. But the controls are 100% old school and that adds some approachability to the game.

Review | 2008.03.03
A winning combination

If it were 'Japanese Rides' the score would asymptotically approach a perfect ten, but as it stands, we are left with a lopsided field. The only American entry is a Corvette with a bad custom interior, and I really hoped our evil German would bring his Carrera to the streets of Hong Kong to test the rice, but no such luck.

Review | 2008.02.12
The leaderboard

Still to come...

Review | 2008.02.11
You must have eight cylinders to ride

Three more automotive blockbusters spanning three very different decades.
The locale fairly depicts the outback and the bush-whacking rustics of decades past. The yellowish tones of neglected dried grass and rolling expanses of barren, desert land bears resemblance to remote Australia. - Guest reviewer (a real Aussie)

Review | 2008.01.28
Bring on the band aids

We finally got on the bandwagon. Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah. Apologies, sore tendons makes me giddy. Rock Band is basically Forza with instruments instead of a wheel. It takes practice, patience, and you really can't compete at a high level without knowing the track. Damn, pun counter is at two already. I'm on fire.

Storypost | 2008.01.13

Today featured a long-anticipated Del Mar session followed by a screening of Streets of Legend. Unfortunately the movie did its Sundance award little justice. And there wasn't much in the way of racing. But I have high hopes for Driven.

Review | 2008.01.01
Riding dirty

At long last I got my hands on Colin McRae's DiRT (henceforth referred to as Dirt). After Polyphony introduced rallying in GT2, off road competition has been a necessary complement to racing sims. Since Forza is all tarmac, I had my eyes on Dirt since its release.

Storypost | 2007.12.05
There and back again

The flight out was excellent all around. No rush, no traffic, no waiting. Jon was happy to take me to the airport at 5:45 and I got into Portland on time. Getting through Portland was smooth, the trolly is adjacent to the baggage claim and will take you all the way to Beaverton for a mere $2.00. I got through a fair amount of I Am America (And So Can You!) on the way.

Review | 2007.07.04

Eight reasons to like it:

Review | 2007.06.01

First impressions (midnight until two last night)...

Review | 2007.01.05
Call of Duty 3

This game will have you squatting behind every bush in sight. But hilarious duty jokes aside, COD is a lot of fun.

Review | 2006.12.30
From under the tree

Santa brought me the four gig e260. It's compact (i.e. very portable/small screen).