Posts in the category "Games".

I’m a computer game addict! I like first person shooters, good ol’ adventure games, funny games, card games. Some of my favourite series are Splinter Cell, Half-Life, Assassin’s Creed, and maybe Halo too :-) Yes, I’m a girl and I like killing binary people.

Fine line between gamer and crazy

It happened again: I’m walking home and see one of those cute compact cars drive by. My first thought is “Oh, oh! Where’s my rocket launcher?!”

“What?!” you may ask.

See, I’ve been playing this game, Saints Row the Third for quite a long time now and there’s a challenge where you have to destroy 50 Emu cars. I’m on my second round of the game now. The Emu challenge was one of the last ones I finished on the first round — not because it’s difficult but just that everything’s a blur when I’m usually zooming by in a fast sports car — so this time I’m making a conscious effort to keep my eye out for them as I’m moving around Steelport. That way I won’t have to resort to driving one out of my own garage just to blow it up to get the few remaining ones I’m too impatient to search for…

Emu in Saints Row the Third

Kuh, Boom!

It also happened with Saints Row that first I had spent a long time trying to finish a difficult Insurance Fraud where you have to hurt yourself by getting hit by cars for instance, the more extravagant the manner the better. (It doesn’t damage the character.) Once the fraud was at last completed I was still in the accident-seeking frame of mind and started hurling myself at cars in the normal game world. (That did some damage…) No chance of that happening in real life, thankfully.

It’s been a while since I’ve played Portal but I do remember that after having played through some tough Advanced levels where a “portalable” wall was difficult to find, I looked at the narrow bit of white wall between my fridge and bathroom door and thought “hm, that’s a great spot for a portal.”

Should I be worried…? Nah.

Saints Row also has you do 500 headshots (and, ahem, 25 nutshots) but that doesn’t mean I think about doing them when I see other people. That would be just… crazy.

Thumb workout

A while ago, on January 22 to be exact, I noticed how my thumbs looked very scrawny compared to my other fingers. I mean, I do type a lot on my mobile but on the computer all they get to press is the spacebar and occasionally some buttons on the mouse and touchpad. (In this day and age, what else is there for thumbs to do?)

I had to do something — stat!

The only cure I could think of was an Xbox 360, so I had to buy one of those. For thumbs’ sake. I got a 250GB one bundled with Kinect. The only game that came with it is the Kinect Adventures which means no controller to use (duh). For first-aid I ordered Alan Wake from an online store but it wasn’t going to arrive in the mail soon enough; I had to go shopping some more and ended up getting Dragon Age, and Condemned after it was recommended to me by the guy in the little game store I went to. (I got recommended a horror game — excellent! If he’d suggested Sims, I would’ve punched him in the face.)

Dragon Age (pretty easy-going) and Kinect Adventures (no controller, besides myself) have been getting the most TV time so far, but when I played Alan Wake I could really feel the exercise affecting. I better keep at it!

Assassin’s Greed

Must. Find. All. Flags.

In Assassin’s Creed you find different flags all around the world and cities.

There are

  • 100 King Richard flags
  • 100 Saracen flags
  • 100 Jerusalem flags
  • 34 Templar flags
  • 33 Hospitaler flags
  • 33 Teutonic flags
  • 20 Assassins flags

That’s 420. That’s a lot of flags.

And of course, I have a huuuge temptation to try and find them all. Because, I just like collectables.

There are also 60 Templars to (find and) kill…

Finish one before you start another

I have to start following a game decluttering policy: finish one game before you start another.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that I bought Spore on Saturday and now I’m itching to install it. Luckily I have the patience to wait for the price to drop on the newest Splinter Cell until at least this Christmas because I haven’t even finished Double Agent yet.

There are so many games I’m “currently playing”:

  • Tomb Raider: Underworld
  • Indiana Jones: Emperor’s Tomb
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
  • Fallout 3

And loads more I have installed on my old computer (Fear, Half-Life 2 episode 2, Fable, Splinter Cell Double Agent (which I’m going to install on the new computer and start over), Morrowind) and some I cannot even remember.

Thankfully, I finished Prince of Persia and Lego Indiana Jones a while ago. I still have well-hidden treasure chests to find in Lego Indiana Jones so I haven’t got it 100% finished yet. Also, TR: Underworld is advancing nicely now once I got past some monsters that killed me and my motivation in January (hey, I was completely out of medikits!). Thank you, vacation.

I better get at it, this is my last day off!

The Orange Box

Fiiinally the Half-Life 2 Orange Box was so inexpensive that I decided to buy it. Ever since it was released over a year ago I’ve been annoyed that it contained two games I already had (Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2 Episode 1). Sure, it was a bargain anyway but why buy duplicates? At first it seemed that Episode 2 and Portal wouldn’t be available in any other format (except digitally on Steam, but I like the smell of game boxes) but I suppose they’ve released them individually by now.

On Tuesday I saw an advert for a game store’s “grand opening” and they had a really good deal on the Orange Box — it was only 9.90€ while in other stores it was around 30-50€ still. After some persuasion by my co-workers to once in my life “play hooky”, I decided to come to work later than usual and stop by the game store on Wednesday morning. I did, and I got the game!

I installed it the same evening and decided to try it out. I had real difficulty getting connected to the Steam servers which were too busy to handle my request and it prevented me completely from launching the game. Apparently it required some files downloaded or some thing to be done first even though I had turned off automatic updates. Eventually it worked but this got me thinking: what happens when the servers get overloaded? What happens when they are closed completely? Could that happen in the near future?

Kory was just telling me about a 5-install limit on some games. Game companies are doing their best preventing people from playing today’s games in the future. That’s so sad.

Dangerous addiction

Human Brain Cloud.

It’s so easy to keep adding words there instead of doing something mandatory, like writing an essay on localisation — due tomorrow.

So many games, so little time

Recently I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for hours on end (especially on Easter weekend — four full days of all-day playing, and that’s not much of an exaggeration). I haven’t been concentrating on the main quest; instead, I’ve been doing miscellaneous quests and guild quests. I even made a list from the quest descriptions at the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages Wiki; I listed only the quest titles of course and now I am crossing them off as I go along.

The strange thing is, I don’t much care for role-playing games. At least I didn’t know I did. I’ve never got into the having to train your skills (and choose which skills to concentrate on) side of games. I’m generally really bad at RPGs, too; I don’t fight very well. Well, I suppose that in Oblivion I’m trying my best: I concentrate on sneaking, lock-picking, and marksmanship. No one hears me, and I can shoot an arrow through their head from amazing distances.

Because of my sudden enthusiasm for Oblivion (I’ve had the game borrowed from a co-worker since October even though my sister got a copy for Christmas), all the other games have gone on the back burner. I should be practising Splinter Cell: Double Agent, because I don’t think I’ve had the patience to play it properly and it has felt a little difficult. (And I love Splinter Cell! That’s what makes it doubly worrisome.)

I’m apparently quite far in the Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay because my sister finished it last weekend and said it wasn’t a long game I don’t have much left. I can’t remember if I’m stuck or just taking a break that’s gone on for too long. Perhaps I should try Riddick for a change this weekend.

Not to mention Deus Ex 2. I’m probably in the final battle and I gave up after an alien killed me just once. Guess when I’ve installed the game? August 2005! And it was then when I actively played it: my latest save is dated September 3rd 2005.

I also have these installed: Path of Neo, Tomb Raider III, Silent Hill 4, True Crime: Streets of L.A., The Sims 2, Black & White, Area 51, Obscure, Constantine, Half-Life 2 — not to mention a dozen of little time-killing games. (I noticed that the hard drive had “only” 61 Gb free space so I uninstalled a few. Now there’s roughly 80 Gb free space.)

Having it in black and white (or dark grey and purple) now, I realise it’s not really about the large amount of games and small amount of time. At the moment I just seem to be lacking the motivation and patience to finish any of them. I need a vacation (for games, not from them).

Happy pre-birthday to me!

I went shopping today in order to find some summery(-ish) clothes for Australia (and in general, too). I actually did find clothes: a dark purple lightweight shirt, a red/gold striped shirt and a white shirt. Now, all I have to do is find strappy tops to wear with those. I still have to find something festive, but I have 3 weeks left.

While I was relocating myself from one clothes store to another I walked by a gamestore with big SALE signs at the door. Well, of course I had to go in. Guess what I got? Splinter Cell Double Agent! (I had to call Dad to make sure he hadn’t bought it for me.) I just installed it and luckily Twin Peaks, which is on tonight, is re-run tomorrow so I can start playing right away. Ahhhhh. Or should I wait till my birthday? Naaah.

Defeating Sudoku in five simple steps

I, like many others, have taken a liking to Sudoku puzzles. I started with some simple scanning techniques (examples 1-3) which worked with the easier puzzles. Angus Johnson’s Simple Sudoku program has a delightful Help containing many strategies to solving a puzzle. I haven’t got the hang of (or memorised) the most advanced techniques but recently I finished even the “Ultimate Challenges” in two Sudoku books (about 200 puzzles each) with the following strategies that I’ve found the most effective — and enough.

1. I always start a puzzle by looking at the smallest area possible which is the 3×3 square. I check the missing numbers starting from 1 and see if I can put a number anywhere.

Sudoku example 1

2. After I’ve gone through each of the 9 small squares so many times that I can’t add numbers anymore, I check each horizontal row.

Sudoku example 2

3. After horizontal rows don’t help, I check each vertical row.

Sudoku example 3

4. I repeat steps 1-3 until I can’t add any numbers. Then I write down the “candidates” in each square. Often this reveals new numbers to add when a square has only one possible candidate.

When the candidates are written down it’s easy to see pairs or small groups so I can strike out candidates in other squares. In the example there are three squares that have to contain the numbers 1,4, and 5 so I can discard them in the square that is outside the group. I do this scan on horizontal and vertical rows, too.

Sudoku example 4

5. With the candidates in view it’s easy to find numbers to strike out when I go through the rows horizontally and vertically and notice that a number has to be contained in one of the 3×3 squares. Then I can strike out the number in the other 3×3 squares on the same row. Also, if a number is restricted to a 3×3 square and a vertical or horizontal row, candidates can be struck out within the 3×3 square.

In the example numbers 3, 6, and 9 have to be found on the first row so they can be struck out elsewhere in the second 3×3 square.

Sudoku example 5

Before I learned the strategies 4 and 5 I had trouble finishing the tougher puzzles. I suppose I had thought of checking the pairs but not the larger groups.

Perhaps next I should take on making the puzzles because I tried that on Simple Sudoku and couldn’t get a single one pass the check (= only one solution).

Disclaimer: The examples are not trying to be realistic situations or solveable puzzles, they’re just diagrams.


Recently I’ve been playing Tomb Raider 4: The Last Revelation quite enthusiastically (when I wasn’t playing Quake 4 or Area 51, or replaying Splinter Cell 3) and today I reached level 33 (out of 35). I’m carrying 3 star-shaped “shaft keys”. I go to a room where there are star-shaped receptacles. An in-game movie starts. It shows the left wall… receptacle 1. The middle wall, receptacle 2… a lever… receptacle 3… The right wall, receptacle 4…! Oh no!

I take the oldest save game I can find and it starts promisingly. I go back through the level, jumping on little slopes on a pyramid, running in underground corridors. And then I come to a ramp where I cannot climb up.

Just great.

I tried some save games I could find but they crashed the game, so I guess I’ll have to give it a little time and start over. In the mean time I could continue Area 51 and I also installed True Crime just now. I would just like to play something relaxing after the insanity of Quake.

[Update July 25] Hurraah! I found out that the place where I thought I should have gone and couldn’t wasn’t the right place! I did in fact have a very good saving point and now I can continue with the adventure! [/Update]