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Fri, 01/24/2014 - 12:43 — BlowMonkey


^^ not my review but one I used in deciding to pick the game up^^


my impressions after a few hours of play ==>

I play my guitar straight into the amp.  No effects, not even overdrive or distortion – I let the tubes handle that.  That’s what I like – basic and authentic.  That’s how I like my games to.  I recently stumbled upon Insurgency (on sale on Steam right now for ~$13).  It reminds me of playing Red Orchestra a lot but in a modern terrorist vs. anti-terrorist setup ala Counter Strike.  It’s stripped down.  No perks, no leveling up, no experience points, no cluttered hud telling where shots are coming from, no indication that you killed someone (other than seeing the body dead on the ground), no UAVs.  Just a nice clean HUD – keeps the immersion real, some dirty streets and buildings and bunch of dudes moving from cover to cover knowing that 1 bullet could end their life.


I love the intensity of a slower paced FPS – where you don’t run around at 60 mph twitch shooting all over the place (truth be told I do like that from time to time as well).  It gets your heart racing and then when the shit does hit the fan it HITS THE FAN.  To go back to the music analogy – if you come out playing 200 bpm guitar solo and play that for 2 minutes straight at 200 bpm nothing could be more stale or boring.  You got build up the anticipation – you gotta make that shit count and when it does it – when swells up into this massive cacophony  - it hits hard – you feel it!


Insurgency is an early access game based on the old Insurgency mod (HL2) so it is using the somewhat dated (10 years!) source engine.  Having said that – it runs great on my machine – very smooth and it looks decent (again it doesn’t have buildings falling down, an abusive amount of HDR Bloom, an overuse of particle effects etc.)  but it looks good and with the nice clean HUD it doesn’t take long to be sucked in to the world.


The game has up to 16v16 players and the maps seem well suited to the size (you don’t run for days without to get into the action and you aren’t tripping over other players either).  The game modes are similar to what exists elsewhere.  Firefight, search and destroy, VIP escort mission, Push, Strike, Skirmish,  - basically the modes are a variation based on attacking a number of objects and hold them S&D or VIP.  In a lot of the attack the objectives (Domination if you will) modes once you die you can spawn back in – in waves and that will occur when your team takes an objective.  I was in a game yesterday where I was the last man standing (the game notifies you if you are the last man standing) which meant if we had any hope of winning I would have to take an objective on my own.  I can’t describe to you the tension of that situation – being the 1 guy left, everyone else watching with anticipation through your eyes as you belling crawl around an objective hoping to capture it and save them all….I died lol but still it was great.


Another interesting thing I mentioned is that there is no upgrade path, xp, unlocks etc.  That’s not to say you can’t customize your player for the way you want to play.  You have limited number of roles (i.e. everyone can’t be a fucking sniper – thank the lord) but in most classes you can choose to take an rifle of some sort and you have load out points so you can add attachments, scopes, under barrel grips, flashlights, choose a secondary weapon, choose explosives (different nades/c4 etc.), armor, and ammo pouches etc.  Everyone has the same restrictions as you – you get to put the points into what is important to you.  The only thing you need to be aware of is your weight – i.e. if you carry too much heavy type equipment and heavy armor you will be noticeably slower in an already somewhat slow game.  Everyone is on an even playing field – the only advantage you have is your skill, team work and knowledge of the situations – that’s how it should be.  Perfect.


The game has in game VOIP.  You can mute people – including everyone.  The voice is also proximity – so if you’re yapping to your team and you’re near an enemy – they can probably hear you.


I have to say the weapons feel amazing.  They sound amazing.  I love the weapons to death.  The game manages to pull the authenticity and fear of being shot and shooting without some of the more cumbersome realism based games/sims (ARMA America’s Army).  You have that real smooth good feeling gun play and movement with the very real fear of instant death.  You don’t have regenerating health or a health indicator or anything like that.  You take 2 bullets and you’re dead – take one in the head from any weapon and you’re probably dead.


The game also includes some co-op missions which I haven’t yet played.  If you like your games a little more gritty, a little more realistic but still fun and tactical you might enjoy this little number.

New Guitar

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 10:08 — BlowMonkey

really you can never have too many.

This one is super sick.  2013 G&L ASAT Bluesboy USA.  Maple neck/Fretboard.  Swamp Ash body, Seymor Duncan Seth Lover Humbucker in the neck and a G&L single coil in the bridge (each pole can be individually raised/lowered in the single coil - I haven't messed with that yet and may never lol). 

The only issue I have with it so far is that the action is so low and awesome that I don't want to raise it to play slide.  I'm going to try another lighter slide than my current heavy glass slide (go to a light glass ala Trucks/Allman/Haynes) and see if I can play without bottoming out with those slides.  May just end up not sliding on it to be honest - it's setup so beautifully right now I just don't want to change a thing.

Also picked up a little tube VOX AC4TV amp.


So imagine a game where you could design and build space ships, land on planets, create space stations, fleets of ships, align yourself with like minded people in factions, explore, expand, exterminate, exploit (well maybe...) on a dedicated server with potentially hundreds of other players and AI driven space pirates, shops and AI trading ships.  Make alliances, infiltrate your enemies and take them down from the inside out. 

It exists.  It is real.  It is only in alpha and you can already do ALL that and more.....and it's free (for now - or get in at the low low price of $3).  It is greenlit on steam.....and it is madness!

So the graphics aren't great (I downloaded a skin mod which improved them a lot for me) the sounds are even worse (staticy cat farts) but the game play, building, destroying, harvesting resources, all works great.  Similar to minecraft figuring out how to make certain things work and do things is half the battle - watch videos, ask in game, read the wiki.  The game does offer some tutorials that will get you going down the right path.

Me and 2 other friends started the game last night.  We managed to get into some losing fights with AI space pirates a couple of times....we found a remote ice planet where we have declared the planet ours (our home Faction) and setup a spawn point for ourselves on this ice rock.  We have a couple of low level (i.e. wimpy) ships on the go - mostly being used for harvesting resources right now.  I think tonight I'm going to explore the trade options (buying resources from space shops and selling to other space shops in need at a higher rate).....maybe we'll take down some space pirates and get some of their random loot drop goodness as we build our empire.  Eventually I would like to plant a spy in another faction and take down that faction from the inside out.  I know just the man for the job too.....(looks in mirror).          Starmade home             Starmade texture pack I'm using (256x256 with hud is the one I have)            Starmade server where my Hoth planet exists.



Comedy Gold

Thu, 06/20/2013 - 05:58 — BlowMonkey

 Such Comedy.  I love the Dragon's Den / Shark Tank - this whole thing reminds me of those shows.  Like when a presentation is going really really bad and the Dragons/Sharks are just shitting on the guys/gals who are giving their pitch.  The presenters start panicing and just try to give the answers they think the Dragons/Sharks want to hear so they can get their money.  But the Dragons and Sharks see right through all the deception.

I choose the Rock.

Wed, 06/12/2013 - 18:49 — BlowMonkey


Another XBOX One Blog

Thu, 05/23/2013 - 13:23 — BlowMonkey

Here's how I feel the intial reveal went.  With each scooter accident being a "selling point". 


Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good heist!  And if it is truly a good heist - things will go very very wrong.


Monaco: What's Yours is Mine is a top down indie heist game where you can play with up to 4 players either local or online co-op (you can also go solo).  It has a very beautiful 8bit+shaders art asthetic (similar to Terraria in that regard).  It has a fantastic piano driven soundtrack that sets the mood - beit stealthy sneaking around or ramped up insanity when things go off the rails.  My advice is to play the game with friends.  Playing solo can be rewarding and really helps get you familiar with the mechanics of different characters and the in game mechanics of traps, alarms, etc. but the real charm of this game is found when instead of one clutsy bumbling nincompoop tripping alarms and alterting attack have four people.  The multiplayer is great because you can choose from many different characters who all have different special abilities which cause the levels to play out differently based on what mix of classes you choose.

the Cleaner can knock unsuspecting enemies out

the Locksmith can pick locks uber-fast

the lookout and show your team where the guards are even through the fog of war

the mole can spoon his way through walls to change the level

the gentelman can wear many disguises and go undetected

the readhead can user her charm to swoon enraged guards and make them forgot they were about to fill you full of led

the hacker can inject virus into the electrical/computer systems

the pickpocket has a companion monkey that helps collect coins faster / from a greater distance (coins are important!)

So far I've really enjoyed playing with the Cleaner and the Mole but honestly there are some characters I haven't even tried yet! 

The story is given to you via cut scenes with charming dialogue from each of the charactes that lead you from mission to misison.  It took me awhile to get into the game and even comprehend what was going on and at times I've lost where my character is on the screen.  The screen has brilliant colors and busy action and lots of darkness as you have a "line of sight" mechanic that shows you where your character can see - when that little area gets filled with guards, dogs, other players, coins, fire, etc. it can get pretty disorienting but after awhile you become attached and familiar with your character and you begin to see things more clearly.

Depending on your mix of characters in your group you can plot and plan to attack the level based on your teams strengths and layout of the level.  Levels are typically multi-teired (i.e. 1 screen does not equal 1 level).  Most levels have "equipment" that you can pickup and use, a bandage kit to heal, a shotgun to waste face, a wrench to speed up actions, a laser guided crossbow for the silent kills etc.  For the cost of 10 gold coins you can get a reuse out of these items.  Collecting all the gold coins on a level will unlock a level of increased diffiulty.  You can plow through the game basically ignoring the gold coins but I think if you make it your plan to get 'em all you'll have a more fun time and will be playing more as the game is intended.

The game has 16 levels + 16 more difficult variations of those levels (I believe that is how it works) and is well worth the ~$15.00 (or ~$45.00 for a 4 pack) especially if you have some chums to play with locally or online that love to laugh.  Rumor has it that a level editor will be released soon (not sure if that is for both PC/360 or not).



So my wife and four kids are all gone to her parents for the week.  Leaving me and the dog at home (I have to work and watch my crazy dog - who can't be kenneled because he would kill the people working there).  So I decided to drop some bones on some games.

First up Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm.  Easy decision for me.  I love Starcraft 2.  I play it with some real life friends and we have been greatly looking forward for HotS to drop.  I pre-purchased and am ready for some zergy goodness on Tuesday night with the boys.

Next up ARMA III.  I also pre-purchased ARMA III which gets you into the Alpha build right away.  I've put in a little time (maybe an hour) so far and it seems pretty damn polished for an Alpha build (retail is due in June).  It has about 4 or 5 little single player mini missions (each exposing you to a different part of the game infantry play, scuba diving, vehichle play etc.) and then it has online where you can jump into some big co-op or team play modes.  I tried to jump in a big 64 man co-op game but my game crashed (alpha it is I guess) and that was that.  Overall so far it looks much better than Arma 2 and it seems to run better as well. 

And last but not least.....Euro Truck Simulator 2.  You wouldn't believe the messages I've been getting from people on steam who see me playing this lol  I tried the demo on a whim.  Basically I have this racing wheel that I payed 300 dollars for and I'm always looking for something to play with it.  I do love racing games (iRacing, GT5, Dirt 3) but I'm really horrible at them....and the stress of playing them is almost unbearable lol  I know that sounds weird - but the thing with racing games is if you suck (I do) and play with other people they will hate you and send you death threats if you aren't playing "right".  Its a weird genre - I appreciate the skill and I love the games (racing games are some of the highest quality games in terms of look and feel and level of detail) but I find it so stressful to play because the potential for me to ruin someone elses gaming experience seems to be really high in these games.   Anywho on to ETS2!

So I downloaded the ETS2 demo and thought it would just be fun to hook up the G27 and bomb around in some trucks - why not.  Turns out the game is actually damn good.....and addictive!   I don't find it to be a very "simy" sim.  That is you don't really have to know much about anything, you aren't constantly pausing the game to learn how to do something in menus or manual etc.  I mean to start your hit the gas pedal lol  Also I don't find the different rigs / engines etc. feel very different.  They have different cockpits but really they all kind of feel and look the same (I think I have noticed a difference in how the truck feels depending on the size/weight of the load you are carrying though).

The world is huge - you can do runs all over Europe.  You'll see all kinds of scenary etc.  It can be disorrienting as a North American some countries you drive on the left hand side of the others you drive on the right (I thought it was all left in Europe....apparently not) and some of the road signs left me scratching my head trying to figure out what they were about.  I got a fine for driving in the rain without my headlights on (even though it was day time)....the overhead stop lights are on the wrong side of the street.  That is if you come to an intersection at red light.....the light is right above the line where you you can't see the stupid thing without hanging your headout the window and looking up lol  Also some of the AI is questionable.....some drivers are just I guess I take that back the AI is true to life lol  Apparently nobody in all of Europe knows how to merge either.....they pull in to the merge lane....STOP, signal and wait.  It's like they are all my mother or something.

Anywho driving around Europe is a blast and it's gorgeous and relaxing.  The game has a built in radio player which streams stations from all over Europe (and North America as well - actually you can add stations to it if you like or play your own MP3s etc.).  I listen to a lot Prague Rock stations - they seem to know what is up and it's hilarious to here some Russian metal every once in awhile :)  The game has dynamic weather, day night cylce, lots of traffic, a lot of varied terrain (hills, bridges, ferries, trains, windy roads, highways, backroads etc.) and it is just a real joy to drive around in.  In addition to being fun just drive around in you are trying to start a business.  You start out borrowing a truck but eventually you can buy your own truck (I just took out a loan from the bank and bought a truck this morning), you get your own home base garage which can upgraded, eventually you can buy more trucks and higher other drivers to drive for your company etc.  Also you get xp / levels.  As you level up you can unlock and buy upgrades for your truck as well as spend skill points to unlock different delivery options etc. (I have unlocked a level 1 license that allows me to transport some explosives, and a level 1 distance driving which allows me to take longer routes).  Your truck and cargo will take damage if you get into accidents...the truck is reparable the cargo is can be fined for all kinds of things (traffic violations....hitting other vehicles etc.)'ll need to make sure you have enough gas (you can stop for gas a stations all over Europe) and if the drive is long enough you'll need to sleep/rest (there are rest stops at the gas stations and at various other places in your travels).

The game has a decent sized modding community already.  I've downloaded a "real physics" mod which makes the truck feel a little more weighty and bounce around a little more - it also removes the  road-speed governors 55 MPH restrictor which I guess is put on trucks in Europe.  So now I can move a little faster :)   I've seen some mods and maps that include a North America map and trucks (i.e. PeterBilt etc. ), I've seen a snow mod and some other interesting ones as well.  I would love to see a "damage" mod - although that might be a rather large undertaking.  The game doesn't physically show damage (boo!) so you can flip your truck flying down a highway and wipe 6 or 7 cars and your truck might be on it's side but there won't be any fire, dents, smoke, broken glass etc.  That would be great :)  also would love to see a multiplayer MOD (have seen people have started work on this one).

Anywho I think if you have a wheel (not can play with M+K or game controller) and are looking for a more laid back kind of driving game I can't recommend this enough.  I've really been enjoying it.

Just downloaded Don't Starve.  An indie survival game.  Very nice asthetic / sounds / visuals and fun game play - made it only 3 days on my first (and only) attempt.

There were two indie games I REALLY wanted to pull the trigger on but for the sake of my marriage I just got one.  Both aren't out yet but if you "pre order" then you get into the beta now.  One was Don't Starve and the other was Sang-Froid - Tales of Werewolves.  Both look great - I opted for Don't Stave because I've been keeping an eye on for this one for awhile and I've noticed a relentless stream of new content being added to the game and I'm really in an "explore and do your own thing" kind of mood :)

Both are available on Steam.....if my wife isn't looking I may click buy on Sang-Froid sooner than later :)  


I'll be back in a few days with a review of the current beta build of Don't Starve.  In the meantime Don't Starve came with an extra copy for a friend if you pre-ordered.  So I have a give  away  - just PM me and tell me your favorite indie game from the last few months and the name of an indie game you're looking forward to! First PM with those two questions answered gets the steam key!


See video


See video

To the Moon (steam sale)

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 06:15 — BlowMonkey

You can pick up indie title To the Moon for $3.39 on steam this week (actually for another 7 hours) which is 66% off.


To the Moon is a critically acclaimed indie game (average metacritic score of 81).  It is a retro-style RPG with a fantastic sound track and an incredible story.  By all accounts there isn't much in the way of fresh and exciting or innovative gameplay but the story and setting are said to  be brilliant.   Worth gambling the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin on if you are in the mood for gorgeous music and a brilliant story.

"Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts have peculiar jobs: They give people another chance to live, all the way from the very beginning... but only in their patients' heads. Due to the severity of the operation, the new life becomes the last thing the patients remember before drawing their last breath."

See video


p.s. FTL is on sale for 50% off as well and if you haven't got that game yet then you are crazy because it's the shiznit! 

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