Category Archives: Personal Life

RIP System Drive

So I’m starting my day as usual, having coffee and watching a few YouTube videos, when suddenly the internet disconnects, programs stop responding, and then I get an unusual error message: “Microsoft Windows:  The application is not responding. ”

That’s strange, never seen that before. Usually it’s just Windows Explorer that crashes. After that the computer restarted and my system hard drive was dead. I spent a day waiting for a new one (Thankful for Amazon prime), and then another day reinstalling all of my programs.

During my break I read Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of by Ashens, and the Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alistair Smith. Books are cool when I get a chance to read them.

It’s been a while since I did any work on my hardware, and I needed a bigger system drive anyway, so this was a good excuse I suppose. The 60GB SSD was too small, and I’ve replaced it with a second Samsung 250GB 850 Pro. These one’s are supposed to last at least 10 years? That’ll be impressive, the dead one lasted 6.

I don’t think I lost anything important.

Also I destroyed the dead hard drive, for security, of course:
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Collecting Useless Junk

Lately I’ve started some new collections, and I’m wondering how long I’ll have fun with them before they turn into problems. A year ago I got back into Lego, but I’ve already gotten bored of the new stuff, and have specifically started collecting 90s sci-fi Lego. I got a few Aquazone subs, and I’ll probably continue with those. But all this Lego is taking up shelf space, and I know my love for it won’t last forever.  (I’ve already totally forgotten about my Amiibos, after collecting around 50 of them…)
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I also picked up the Samorost 3 Vinyl, since the art is so pretty. I haven’t played the game yet, but I’ll get round to that soon. Earlier this year Ronja got me the Hello Internet podcast vinyl, so this is turning into a bit of a collection too.

I’ve got this weird relationship with stuff, where collecting it gives me massive pleasure, but I also know that at some point it’ll just be wasting space and collecting dust. I tell myself I’ll give it to some deserving kids later, but chances are it’ll just go into storage because I don’t want to let go completely. That’s life I guess.
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I played games all week

Hey guys, I’m back from my gaming binge. I cleared out a lot of games that were on my playlist, and tried to relax a bit in general. It’s been a long time since I played so many video games in a week.

I started off with Shadows of Adam, which is a SNES-like JRPG that had quite a strong nostalgic impact on me. I spent so much of my teenage years playing Final Fantasy, Golden Sun, Chrono Trigger and all that, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve played a traditional JRPG. The newer stuff doesn’t grip me at all, and I haven’t replayed the old games cause I’m sick of random battles and the huge time sink. Maybe I should give the Final Fantasy re-releases a try, since they seem to have some nice convenience features. Final Fantasy 9 in particular, that’s my favourite. Anyway, Shadows of Adam was a mediocre game I guess, but it got me thinking about JRPGs again, which was nice.

I finally got round to finishing The Witness… well, the regular stuff anyway. I’ll probably keep working on the optional puzzles over time, as I’ve already done quite a lot of them. I think this is my favourite puzzle game ever. I’ve never been so captivated by a puzzle game before, I usually get bored of them quite quickly. I’ve played it for 30 hours and I’m still into it, even though it’s a very slow and often frustrating experience. The game just keeps calling me to explore and try to figure everything out. I think it’s the complete lack of instructions that does it for me. It just leaves me alone to wander around and curiously poke things at my own pace. Also, Ronja challenged me to beat the game without taking any notes. I’m quite proud of myself for achieving that, I think it stretched my memory a bit.

And finally, I got into the Shantae games. The music and character animations are so good. I was a bit surprised at how sexual the games are. I thought it was just going to be a sexy main character, but it goes a lot further than that, with tons of innuendo and weird fetish material. Not complaining at all. I started off playing Pirate’s Curse, which I enjoyed a lot until the later levels. It turns out I sabotaged my enjoyment of the game because I didn’t realize you could buy permanent attack upgrades, and all of the enemies had crazy amounts of health as a result. So that sucked. I played it through again on pirate mode, going for most of the achievements and getting 100% of the items. The levels designs are soooo good for speed running. You don’t even realize until you return to the earlier levels with all of your new abilities. So that game made me a fan of the series instantly. I played Half Genie Hero next, which in terms of gameplay and story I think was actually inferior to the previous game. It just wasn’t as gripping. But it was still a good game overall, and totally recommend the series.

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Brb

I won’t be working on EBF5 in March btw. I’ll be pushing out some maintenance updates to EBF3 and 4 and also just taking time off to catch up on games and stuff.

I’m playing Shadows of Adam on Steam at the moment. It’s worth checking out if you want something like the SNES Final Fantasy games but without random battles.
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Back from Malta

Hey guys, I just spent a week in Malta with Ronja, my brother, and his girlfriend. It was quite an adventure. This holiday was planned without my input, so it was all surprises for me. All I knew was that Malta was located somewhere around Spain or Italy, and was probably a lot like those places. (and it turns out it was)

We went in winter to save money, and the weather was kind of crazy. When the sun was out it was great, but as soon as it leaves it’s time to add two layers of clothing. Even at it’s worst it was still way warmer than Scotland though, so I can’t complain there. But the bigger issue was that the homes there don’t have central heating and not enough blankets, so we had to struggle a bit with inefficient electric heaters and air conditioners. The places were also very damp, drafty and dusty. We got used to it. It was all Airbnb places we stayed at. Maybe hotels were a bit nicer. Maybe not.

Another issue is that not a lot of tourist stuff was even open! Tons of restaurants and even some tourist attractions didn’t bother opening in Winter. Oh well, at least it wasn’t crowded.

That’s the complaints out of the way. Malta was really pretty! We stayed 4 nights on the main island and 3 nights on the smaller island Gozo, seeing both a lot of the towns and also a lot of the countryside. The architecture was all a bit samey, with everything being made from limestone, but there was still plenty of nicely decorated homes and churches, with all sorts of statues and patterns. The towns were all very cosy with everything squeezed in very close together (I guess you could call them cramped, but I liked it in this case). We visited a small cave under a house. The capital city Valletta had some impressive fortifications and cannon firing ceremonies.

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The seaside cliffs and arches and caves were great. We took a brief ride around them on a tiny boat – it rocked so much it was like a terrifying rollercoaster. Probably the highlight of the trip there. I also loved the mediterranean trees! I took a lot of tree photos to hopefully inspire EBF5 a bit.

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Visited some megalithic temples, which were 5,000 years old. You really have to use your imagination with those. It’s awesome that buildings from so long ago are still around… but they’re really not that impressive if you just look at them – they’re just a pile of rocks. So you gotta learn some of the history to get into it – I’ll have to find some documentaries!
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I need to mention that the traffic was mental. Malta has tons of cars for such a small country, and very tight roads. The drivers seem to be like those in Italy: very aggressive, trying to overtake the instant they need to slow down a tiny bit. The cars had many battle scars. There was also tons of old cars! Not fashionably old ones, just normal old. It reminded me of the 90s in a nostalgic way. Same goes for most of the technology there. They have all of the new stuff, but tons of old stuff is still lingering around too. They’re really taking their time updating things.

Well, I think that’s all of my thoughts out.

2016 in Review

Hey guys, here’s a summary of my year. Most of it was taken up by Epic Battle Fantasy 5 and learning how to live away from my parents. A lot of people felt 2016 was a terrible year news-wise, but nothing in the news really affected me at all. Anyway, here’s a list of important stuff that happened:

• Me and Ronja moved into a flat together! Had to learn how to do house chores and boring stuff.

• Upgraded my battlestation with new monitors, graphics tablet, webcam, and mugs! Should last me many years.

• Played a lot of indie games this year, but I think my favourite by far will have to be Undertale.

• Ronja got Rheumatoid Arthritis and was totally incapacitated for a few weeks. After a few months and hundreds of pills, she’s almost normal again, but still a bit feeble. She’ll be on meds forever and we’ll just have to see how much of her strength she can get back. Lots of visits to the hospital this year!

• Went to the Play expo in Glasgow. First time at major-ish gaming event like this. Tried out a bunch of arcade machines, pinball, and old consoles like the Vectrex.

• My family dog, Maxi, died. Had her for 15 years.

• Found an old sketchbook of mine from when I was 8. It’s full of hundreds of monsters. I scanned it all and stuck it online, and have decided to continue drawing monsters in it.

• Took 3 or 4 days off to play with Lego for my birthday. Managed to build some sets from my childhood, as well as getting a bunch of new ones.

• Ronja’s birthday party was good too. We broke in the flat and brought our friends round. Got more novelty hats for my collection. Later went to the local pub and there was a crime scene outside!

• Me and Ronja went on a quick road trip to Ayr by the coast. Found a cool pub called the Smoking Goat.

• Went on a Road trip with Ronja, my brother, his girlfriend, and a friend from Poland. We aimed for the island of Arran but missed the ferry and went to Bute instead. Hiked a bit, saw some beaches, and there were seals! Seals are really funny.

• There was a big power cut in my area! Never seen a city so dark before. It was spooky.

• I talked to a bunch of developers and got some cameos lined up for EBF5, including Chibi Knight, Sushi Cat, and the guys from Sentry Knight. Matt and Natalie also appeared in the new Sentry Knight game as NPCs.

• Me and Ronja went to Birmingham for the EGX expo. We hung out with the Massive Monster devs who we’ve met before, and also made some new friends. Hype intensified for Yooka Laylee, Snake Pass, and other games. Also saw a bit of Birmingham, including the impressive library and some random film set.

• I think my favourite book this year was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Very relevant in the age of outrage on the internet, and a fun read.

• Found more of my old sketchbooks, but they were all pretty lame. I had a habit of only filling the first page or two.

• The UK voted to leave the EU and no one expected it. Everyone lost their shit over this and I’m indifferent. A weak £ is even good for me since I get paid in $. Sucks for Europeans living in the UK and sending money back home though!

•  Started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. It’s a lot of fun but also a huge time investment, so I don’t join in too often. I play as a racist druid named Salazar Ratkin. Ronja’s a bard.

• After a few visits to some dog shelters, my brother and his girlfriend got a dog! It’s a Staffy, so it’s very bulky for its size and tends to bruise people while trying to lick their faces.

• Not long after, my parents got a Labrador! She’s really dumb but also very young so maybe she’ll get smarter. She also wiggles a lot when she sees people.

•  Mostly stopped pirating TV and migrated to Netflix and Amazon instead. Black Mirror, Mr Robot and Stranger Things were some great shows this year.

• I went on a road trip around Scotland with Ronja and some of her friends from Finland. We saw Glen Coe, Skye, Loch Ness and Cairn Gorm. Climbed some hills, saw some waterfalls, got stampeded by sheep, drove over a lot of cattle grids. It was good and I’ll have to do something similar again soon.

•  Got a huge pumpkin for Halloween and ended up making cake, salad and soup out of it. Took way too long.

• Stayed up all night with friends watching the American election results. What a rollercoaster of an election. Better entertainment than any work of fiction.

• Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is almost 3 years old on Steam and thousands of people are still buying it somehow.

• Made about 40% of EBF5 this year. Would have liked that to be closer to 50%, but not bad considering the circumstances.

• Celebrated Christmas with dogs and Lego. Ronja was away in Finland while I stayed with my family. It was nice.

2016

Christmas of Dog

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas!
I spent 3 days playing with Lego and dogs. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.
My parents and my brother each got a puppy, and they’re all temporarily living together, so it’s crazy over there.

Our landlord gave me and Ronja a big box of snacks and wine, which was unexpected. I guess that’s a good way of getting us to stay around. Only got a Christmas card from one of the neighbours despite giving them out to everyone, so it looks like only our nextdoors are cool people. Everyone else is obviously a scumbag.

The Steam Winter sale has also been treating me well. EBF4 is 3 years old on Steam, and thousands of people are still buying it for some reason. Thanks everyone!

I’m gonna start reading all the comments on the Christmas giveaway, and emailing the winners. It might still take a few days, as there’s a LOT to read there.

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I got all sorts of Lego, from up to 20 years ago! Look at the difference there

Road Trip to Skye and Loch Ness

Hey guys, I just got back from a 4-day road trip around Scotland. Two of Ronja’s friends came over from Finland, and the four of us took off in my heavily-packed car.

We first visited the Isle of Skye where we stayed for two nights in a self-catering cottage in the middle of nowhere. It was a long day of driving to get there, and we spent a lot of it driving through hilly countryside at night, which was scary. My car is not amazing so it struggles a bit on hills when it’s full. And the countryside has all sorts of traps like sheep standing next to the road and cattle grids. So it was an interesting drive.

On the way to Skye we stopped at Luss, Glen Coe (pictured) and Eilean Donan Castle briefly. There was no shortage of cool stops.

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On Skye we hiked up The Storr hill to see the huge spiky rock formations on it (pictured). It’s quite a  steep hike but it’s not too long or challenging. It takes less than two hours to get to the rocks even if you’re not particularly fit for hiking. The weather was mostly good, but while I was at the top it rained heavily for ten minutes and that was me soaked for the day – I forgot to equip my waterproof trousers. Overall though I think this was one of my favourite hiking experiences ever. Very good views for relatively little work. (well except for all the driving to get there)

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We stopped at the town of Portee and at the Sligachan Old Bridge (pictured) a few times, as these were nice places to take driving breaks.

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We stopped briefly for hotdogs at The Quiraing (pictured), which was a nice view point on a high mountain road. We visited the The Fairy Glen, which is a small area of strange looking hills that looks like The Shire from Lord of the Rings, or something similar. The Mealt Falls was another viewing area we stopped at for a good view of the seaside cliffs.

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While driving past the town of Uig, the highlight of the whole trip happened. We stopped the car as a stampede of sheep was herded around us. It was wonderful. (pictured)

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The next day we went on a tour of the Talisker distillery. I was the only one in the group that wasn’t interested in whisky, but I found the machines, giant barrels, and smells in the place interesting. It’s also the first time I’ve heard the word “hopper” used outside of Minecraft! We also visited the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle (pictured), which is a long stream with many varied waterfalls and makes for a great walking area.

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After that it was another long drive until we got to Loch Ness. We stayed in a small rural hotel in Foyers, where we got a good view of the lake. Foyers also has a nice little forest path  (pictured) and an impressive waterfall with a few viewing areas. The change of scenery was nice compared to Skye’s rockiness and lack of trees.

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From here we started driving back home, but on the way we visited Cairn Gorm, which is a popular skiing mountain in the Cairngorms national park. They’ve got a cool railway service that takes you to the top for a nice view. It looked like there was a lot to do in the area, but that’s all we had time for.

Then we went home. The end.

(credit to Ronja for most of these photos)

Update: Oh yeah, I should also mention that now’s a really good time to visit the UK! Brexit has caused our currency to become much weaker, so your holiday will be much cheaper than normal!

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