Media Recap: Q1 2015

Posted on Sun 03 May 2015 in media recap

It’s all there. Great books, diverse games, some movies and a whole lot of educational presentations.

Video Games

I’m trying something different this year: In order to avoid buying loads of games that I don’t play at all, I only buy one game per month. I’m blaming all those Steam sales for that one. Furthermore, that game is mostly something that’s at least partially randomly generated and without much story content. This is in order to have some shorter games while I play the longer, story-heavy titles (of which I possess quite a collection) together with my girlfriend. In essence, I want to avoid replaying and therefor sucking the fun out of great stories.

  • Audiosurf 2 (Steam, Early Access) - Enjoyable. Still needs work though. Game sometimes crashes, autofind music is problematic. Updates unfortunately very infrequently.
  • The Bridge (XBLA, link goes to Steam) - Puzzling Puzzles. Non of them obvious. Gimmick is rotating the screen to abuse gravity. Solved together without looking up solutions.
  • Craft the World (Steam) - Tried campaign, got frustrated rather quickly, so maxed out tech tree in a sandbox game, lost interest after that.
  • Darkest Dungeon (Steam, Early Access) - Strong Recommendation, dark, gritty, hard. Works well. Updates frequently.
  • Dungeon of the Endless (Steam, free weekend)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited (“Welcome back” weekend) - For some reason TES:Online fails to entertain me every time I try it, be it the beta back then, or this recent free weekend.
  • Kingdom Hearts 1 Final Mix HD (PS3, part of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX collection) - Simple and Clean.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories HD (PS3, part of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX collection)
  • Ratchet & Clank HD (PS3, part of Ratchet & Clank collection) - Tried to get more achievements. Whoever drafted “Get 1.000.000 bolts” seemed not have had any idea just how long that was going to take.
  • Secret Files 3 (Steam) - Tried this one with my parents and the girlfriend as entertainment for an evening instead of agreeing on a movie. Mild success, but the parents said it was refreshingly different to watching a movie. We sat on the large couch together and collaboratively solved riddles. I liked that quite a lot.
  • Shattered Planet (Steam) - Bought recently. Seems laden with puns and pop culture references, which is a good thing.
  • Sunless Sea (Steam, was Early Access) - I need to figure out how to make this less blurry on my Retina screen.
  • The Witcher Adventure Game (Steam) - Successfully got the girlfriend interested in the Witcher books with this digital board game.

In addition to playing the Kingdom Hearts games, we also watched the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days videos that come with the 1.5 HD ReMIX, in order to get a grasp of what happened in that game. I was tempted to make sense of both timeline and canon of Kingdom Hearts here, but remembered better than to do that for a series that convoluted.

Books

  • Bound by Law by James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins and Keith Aoki - Great comic about copyright law in the US.
  • Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick - Enlightening insight into social engineering.
  • Halloween Frost by Jennifer Estep - Mythos Academy bonus material
  • Saved at Sunrise by C.C. Hunter - Shadow Falls bonus material

Daniel Faust

I first came across Daniel Faust by Craig Schaefer in the newsletter of StoryBundle a pay-what-you-want book sale similar to the popular Humble Bundle. For some reason I can’t quite put a finger on, I never use these opportunities but end up buying single titles of such bundles later. I put a few books onto my reading list.

Right after I finished the first book and even while I was still considering if this was inspired by Constantine or just stealing ideas I ordered the next and then the next in the series. I heartily recommend books in the Daniel Faust universe if you happen to like mature, demon-infested novels.

Web Series

This time the Extra Credits team’s Extra History section was another mini-series spanning 5 episodes the South Sea Bubble in England. There doesn’t seem to be a link to only this section, so here’s the full Extra History playlist.

Until recently I haven’t been aware of Youtube gaming celebrity TotalBiscuit, the cynical brit. While opinions about his personality may differ, I find his “WTF is …?” a good overview of recent games.

  • Bloodsports TV
  • Convoy
  • Hand of Fate
  • Hero Generations
  • Ironcast
  • Kaiju-A-GoGo
  • Sid Meier’s Starships
  • There Came an Echo
  • Sunless Sea
  • War for the Overworld

Due to a recommendation I watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO) on Youtube, which I am not sure to recommend. It gives a frightening picture of the American people but is painfully embarrasing to watch.

Netflix

31C3 Presentations

After talking about the copier presentation at work I remembered having saved Fefe’s recommendations of 31C3 topics and had a look through that as well as the complete list of 31C3 talks available for streaming at media.ccc.de. Initially I was overwhelmed due to the amount of interesting presentations, but I moved most of the ones that sparked my curiosity to my Instapaper list anyway.

I watched too many talks to be able to pick a definitive best. If I had to pick one for entertainment value I’d suggest the one about copier errors, since it was both hilarious and less technical, so can be recommended to people who are not tech nerds too.

Let’s Play

Official Game Additions

In order to obtain both the soundtrack as well as maps and other PDF material I acquired both Alan Wake and The Witcher 2. Have been reading comics, watching Making-Ofs and similar activities related to that fan material.

  • Alan Wake
  • The Witcher 2