Lab Tested

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two • Finished Yen Sid’s Lab • 20G • 74.26% of gamers unlocked this

Had I have known that I was going to have the day I had today, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to try and squeeze in an achievement this morning before I left for work. But I did, and I got one. Que Sera Sera, Carpe Diem, or whatever your Latin phrase-of-choice is … the net result is that I got an achievement.

Go me.

Following the disappointment (achievement-wise) that was Victor Vran, I really was looking for a ‘quick win’ this morning. I had gotten the kids dressed, and served them breakfast, so with two sets of beady little eyes watching me, I stumbled across Epic Mickey … which I think was one of the Games with Gold titles from last month – but in either event, I didn’t realise that I had downloaded it already, so it seemed like as good a place as any to start.

Despite growing up in an era where it was cool to have understood Fantasia, I’ve never actually been able to watch more than 5-10 minutes of it at a time without being freaked out, so I was a bit unsure what was happening at the start of this game when small brooms started marching up stairs and Mickey was invited to follow. It seemed like that this was going to be, essentially, Fantasia: The Game, but the mechanics involved between painting and ‘thinning’ the environment meant that the background noise that would normally constitute Fantasia blended into the background.

Thank Goodness.

I am sure that the mechanics of the paint will become more-and-more complex as time goes on, but for now, I’m taking it slow. With any luck, this might become our new Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, which was a great family game … though I suspect the graphics in Mickey are going to be a step down from Max.

Time will tell how much of a graphics snob I have turned into!

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First Time Buyer

Forza Horizon 3 • Visit the Autoshow and buy your first car • 10G • 59.94% of gamers unlocked this

I’ve seen a lot of people getting around in this Mercedes in FH4 lately, so it was hard to pass this little beetle up when the opportunity presented itself following a festival expansion. One of the things I’ve been working – badly – on in Forza Horizon 3 is my car collection, going to some lengths to outbid people on auctions, or waiting until the last minute to put a bid in, eBay style.

In terms of story progress, I’ve never ‘finished’ a Horizon, so I don’t even know if there is a finish, but if-and-wherever it is, I’m not there – I can promise you that.

Wherever I am though, I’m having a blast!

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.

20 Locks

Pop the Lock • Unlocked 20 locks

Sometimes, the path of least resistance is the right choice. Yes, I absolutely copped out today, but it’s not for a lack of effort! If anything, this next set of 10 locks required a level of concentration and effort that I’m not entirely sure my bedraggled mind and body was ready for.

Today is my penultimate day in Bali, so I’m looking forward to some recalibration time back home, surrounded by my technology and game library. There’s still, of course, the long journey home so I might be able to get some Vita time in on the plane, but right now, I’d be happy with five and a half hours sleep in the air.

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!

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!

Wordsearch Workhorse

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Lexica • Complete 12 Puzzles

I thought I had finished 12 puzzles yesterday during some after-hours dabbling in Lexica, but it turned out that I was one short. So a quick flick of the wrist, and a bit of word manipulation and ‘presto!’ the first wave of puzzles done.

Admittedly, this lot was the ‘easy’ grouping, so I would be lying if I said that this was a particularly onerous achievement – it was more a case of just finding the time to complete it. Much like Apple, this game (at least in the first levels) is easier the less you think about it. When you stop over-engineering your thinking, you tend to find the simplest solution.

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In other gaming news, I finally gave up on trouble-shooting my PC and have taken it to a technical specialist. I suspect that there is a misalignment between my old hardware and the sexy new motherboard + processor combination, but rather than tweaking different things each night when I get home and spending more money on more hardware – I figure I’m just going to let someone who has the time, and the tools, to troubleshoot it for me.

If there’s one thing I like about capitalism, it’s that you can outsource your problems.