Hurry Up!

Minefield • Finish the game under 10 seconds • Silver Trophy • Rarity 9.9% (Very Rare)

Today I struck while the iron was hot and grabbed a trophy before I left for work this morning. I had anticipated grabbing a trophy for one of the ‘larger’ Minefield maps, but in my haste to get a trophy and get out the door I kept … well … I kept stuffing it up.

In the end, I reverted back to a smaller map and went for broke to get a sub-10 second finish … and, like most things in my life, I got it done earlier than I needed to.

Thus ends today’s Dad joke.

I’m a bit excited tonight, because my wife has proposed another rewatch of The West Wing, which we tend to do about once every 12-18 months. I still think it’s hard to beat in terms of great television.

And it, hands down, beats contemporary real world politics.

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First Victory

Sea Battle 2 • Earned first victory

I know this sounds silly, but I still consider Battleships to be one of the ultimate military strategy games. For a long time I’ve loved strategy and the narratives that surround them – think Command and Conquer, or even something more contemporary like Company of Heroes – but Battleships is a game that is raw strategy. There’s no storyline – no ‘Axis vs Allies’ or ‘The Brotherhood of Nod’. Just pure, unadulterated gameplay.

And then, of course, some developer called Byril OOO brought it to mobile.

I like the concept. It’s pretty much hard-and-fast Battleships, with a pretty good pen-and-paper design and the option to go one player versus AI, or against an online opponent. For this achievement I just kept it simple – one game, medium AI … as much to give myself a sense of the game over anything else.

I haven’t had a good look at the achievement list yet, but I will see if there’s anything else worth picking up in the meantime. You never know when a backup iOS Achievement will come in handy!

Welcome to Your Horizon

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Forza Horizon 3 • Celebrate opening your Horizon Festival site by putting on a spectacular Showcase • 10G • 79.02% of gamers unlocked this

It’s been a long-time coming, but finally, finally, I’ve been able to play Horizon 3 … and on my PC as well! I have a lot of both stock and faith in the Xbox-on-PC model … remembering that I was one of the early champions of the unpopular Games for Windows Live, this finally feels like a step in the right direction – and we should all take our hats off to Phil Spencer for driving a lot of this innovation in Microsoft.

In Phil We Trust.

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Before I started playing, I had to go through a bit of a setup process, which was strange considering most games I’ve been playing on PC lately are – with the exception of a minor installation screen – pretty much click-and-go. Horizon went through a lengthy PC optimisation cycle before I could start, which is fine I suppose, but doesn’t really tell me what it’s doing as far as ‘optimisation’. I thought, perhaps, that if I’d chosen a higher resolution, this might be the time it downloads better visuals, but it’s speculation from a man who – in the end – really just wanted to play himself a video game.

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The game starts off much the same as the Horizons before it. Your player character is driving to the festival in any one of an assortment of gorgeous sports cars, before launching the festival with a farcical, Top Gear-style race – this time around against a Jeep being transported by a chinook for most of the way.

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Fun fact – I actually grew up close to the Great Ocean Road and worked it for many years, so for me – this is home. While I know that one doesn’t make a quick turn to get from the Daintree to the Twelve Apostles, I actually think Turn 10 have done a good job of building transitions into the races – in this instance, a cave network that immediately gave me echoes of the cave at Loch Ard Gorge.

And so, thus concludes the opening volley of Forza Horizon 3. This is an up-late achievement on account of me being on-the-road much of this weekend for the Melbourne Esports Open (which I’ve mentioned every day for the last few days!), so we’ll see if this has sharpened my Forza skills up enough to win a game or two on the tournament floor … stranger things have happened!

Crystal Relic Collector

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Knack • Acquired a Crystal Relic • Bronze Trophy • Rarity 62.9% (Common)

It’s the freakin’ weekend, and do you know what that means? If you guessed housework, and a day out-and-about, then you’re absolutely correct; but if your guess ventured into something about having to entertain the kids when they’ve had a full day of the aforementioned ‘out-and-about’, and they’re eyes are hanging out of their head … then I’m happy to give you a silver medal as well.

What does this all mean? Why, time to fire up the closest friendly family game, of course – and Knack fit the bill. While we’re pretty much tag-teaming the game for the most part, it really is a case of my son playing for a bit, getting killed, and then me having to go back and get through the next chunk until he feels like playing again. Repeat, ad nauseum.

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Even though he still falls over along the way, he’s certainly got the grasp of the game, and he knows when to look in side doors or areas where chests might be. Even though he breezes past a lot of these things while he’s playing, it pleases me that he’s getting a good grasp of side quests. I’ll turn him into a professional gamer yet!

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This trophy is simply for unlocking a particular type of collectible, or ‘relic’ as the game labels them. I noticed that collecting the full set of these crystals appears to be the requirement for unlocking ‘Vampire Knack’, which – perhaps most importantly – is necessary for another trophy entirely! I can’t see myself in the likely multiple playthroughs needed to obtain the full set, but by the same token, I said that a lot about Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, and then I had to keep going back to it to cater to my son’s obsession, and used the time to 100% it. Silver lining and all that.

Tomorrow is pretty much a dedicated family day, so I’m not sure where I’m going to land when it comes to achievements. I still have many of my quick-and-dirty achievements on Steam there to work my way through, which might be a nice change from the more ‘meaty’ stuff I’ve been working on lately. Final Fantasy VII, in particular, is proving particularly taxing on the mind.

I’m not sure if that reflects the game, the twenty years since it’s been out or … more troubling … my mind!

Open Level 7

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aMAZE ZERO • Open Level 7

I am going out for dinner tonight and I can’t wait – it’s going to be Korean and if I don’t have a stomach ache from eating too much Kim Chi tomorrow, then I’ll consider it a wasted opportunity.

Today’s journey through some of the new indie games on my system continues, with a bit of a session on aMAZE ZERO, which – as the name suggests – is really just a whole series of mazes that you guide a little widget through until completion.

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Look, I’m not going to lie – even after seven levels, the mazes are not that hard. The basic premise of sticking in one direction, or working your way backward from the centre (the end of the maze) is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and – hey, it’s a maze game. The screenshots on Steam show a game that does increase in difficulty as time goes on, but really, none of it looks particularly hard, but, at best, time consuming.

And sometimes I have more time than inclination.

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Achievement Hunter: Begins • NEW_ACHIEVEMENT_DESC_1_0

Wow. This game. What an absolute travesty of achievement collecting. And by travesty I, of course, mean why haven’t I discovered this before?

The giveaway, of course, should probably be in the title. I assume this series of Achievement Hunter games is going to play out in much the same way, whereby simply loading it up nets you a cool few hundred achievements in rapid succession.

I suspect these games offer a philosophical lesson in the fallacy of achievements, and – if I’m perfectly honest – that’s fair. What value do achievements hold if there is no effort in collecting them? My response, however is that achievements reflect a commemoration of an experience. Yes, they vary in the mileage required to earn them, but even in a game like this – I can demonstrate that I experienced Achievement Hunter: Begins as it is supposed to be experienced. The fairly simple gameplay, the overwhelming number of achievement pop-ups that don’t stop the entire time you play – all these things add up to reflect an experience, regardless of the effort applied or the enjoyment obtained.

And trust me, I now have a few hundred extra achievements on my Steam account to prove it.

Survivor!

Rayman Origins • Survived a Piranha Pond without a scratch!

I’ve played a lot of Rayman in various forms over the years – but it’s been so on-and-off I haven’t really worked towards a particular trophy. Between different accounts and different games, it’s always been much more of a casual pleasure than on steady rotation, and so when I was playing around tonight and this trophy popped, it seemed like a good a time as any to celebrate.

Ironically, for the hours I’ve put into the game I still don’t consider myself very good! Every time I attempt one of the timed runs (for another one of the little purple creatures) I fall just short or fail miserably. Que Sera, Sera.

Grabbing this trophy frees me up a bit tonight, so I’m thinking a bit more Fortnite or something more shooty bangs on the fixture.

Either way, flexibility is good – as good as a nostalgic walk down memory lane with a good ol’ Vita game to keep you company.