For the Puppies.

Four’s a Party — December 5, 2018

Four’s a Party

Brawlhalla • Played 3 games in the Free-for-All matchmaking queue • 15G • 25.18% of gamers unlocked this

I played some Brawhalla earlier this year when visiting in-laws, and it looked like a fun free-to-play game for mainstream console owners who missed the frenzied combat of Super Smash Bros. It was easy enough for my son to play, largely attributable to its simple controls of move, jump and attack, and some slight variations on those themes, and I like to set him as the benchmark for what he should and shouldn’t be in the lounge room watching the TV for.

I got another achievement essentially just for logging in, so I figured that a few games wouldn’t go astray. In the space of three games I managed to come last, second last and then second! There’s certainly room for growth!

Right now though, I’m falling asleep writing this entry – so I that makes a brilliant idea.

Give to the Poor — November 3, 2018

Give to the Poor

Red Dead Redemption 2 • You donated $250 to the gang tithing box • 10G • 40.02% of gamers unlocked this

Despite my best efforts, it appears like the Xbox might be starting to teeter. Even after making some adjustments to its setup, I had another overheating shut-down last night, though I discovered that the vertical stand – which came with the console – actually blocked off quite a bit of the vent room, and so I’m hoping with moving the console back horizontally, removing the stand and giving all the vents a good clean … I might be able to prolong the life of my One X.


I had planned to grab this achievement just after midnight, but after the shut-down, I thought it best to leave it until morning, so that’s what I did. I’ve made what I consider to be some fairly good progress through the game’s story, though I can already feel that there is such an epic scope to the narrative, that it’s going to take a while. I actually like the way they’ve delivered some of the missions, or at least the prefix to the missions. In one instance, as I was re-entering the camp, one of the matriarchs of the gang came and passed on a message for me. In another instance, I saw a letter sitting on a table near my tent, and after I read it, it seems like there’s a whole other mission waiting for me from a long lost love who is ‘staying in town’ for a few days.

A+ pacing from Rockstar.

In other gaming news, I’ve been eyeing off the latest toys-to-life game from Ubisoft, Starlink, which looks like another game that can tickle my insatiable appetite for collectables, but also isn’t available on PC. While this wouldn’t normally bother me, the fact that my Xbox has been teetering, and my PlayStation is little more than a glorified Netflix box now that I’ve finished Spider-Man (still haven’t Platinum’d it though … gotta get to that), then I can increasingly see the appeal of being a PCMR’r. With that in mind, I’m not sure whether to hold-off until I can see my Xbox becoming more stable or just collect the toys anyway (I suspect everything will get quite cheaply quite quickly if both Skylanders and Ubisoft+Christmas Sales are anything to go by).

Of course, that is all assuming that I have my life back before Christmas. RDR2 is going to be a while.

Back in the Mud — October 31, 2018

Back in the Mud

Red Dead Redemption 2 • You completed Chapter 1 • 20G • 79.56% of gamers unlocked this

It feels really, really good to be making progress on RDR2. I mean … it’s not heaps of progress, but the fact that I’m now out of the tutorial and into the wide open world feels both refreshing and overwhelming. I know that there’s a lot to do, and I want to do it all – even wandering around the camp at the start of chapter 2 feels daunting! But … the journey of a thousand miles, etc.

I am keen to make some serious headway into the game as quickly as possible, but I know that I’m looking at a Witcher 3-level of dedication to completing it. My strategy for the immediate term will be to focus on the main missions and then go back for achievement cleanup later on post-campaign, but as much as I love a good plan, I am also incredibly flighty, and I’m just as likely to get distracted by side quests as I am the big cinematic levels – particularly if they have the same gravitas as the side quests from The Witcher 3.

Oh boy, this is gonna take a while …

Sunfish — October 29, 2018


InnerSpace • Encountered the Sunfish • 100G • 14.70% of gamers unlocked this

I’m going to be perfectly honest. I have no idea what this game, InnerSpace, is about or what I’m doing. From what I can gather, there’s a bit of flying, a bit of ‘collecting stuff’, and I worked out enough to get through what is, ostensibly, the ‘first level’.

In the perfect world, I’d be sitting down to play RDR2, but time and competing priorities meant that I had to look for a quick-and-easy achievement today. Having downloaded a couple of – what appear to be – ‘indie’ titles from Game Pass over the weekend, I’ve looked to them to meet my challenge for days like today, and so I’m considering this an ‘experience.’

The jury is still out as to whether it’s a good experience or not.

One thing I’ll note for this game – it is very kid-friendly. I haven’t seen any shooting or stuff just yet, just a lot of flying (and swimming), along with puzzles that don’t require anything more from you than just that – some strategic wing-work.

I don’t know if I’ll race back to it – I like a bit more ‘meat on the bone’, but I can see this appealing to the puzzler niche.

First Love — October 26, 2018

First Love

Forza Horizon 4 • Buy your first car from the Autoshow • 10G • 62.50% of gamers unlocked this

I didn’t actually realise that this was an achievement on its own, considering I’ve been buying up cars – particularly Forza editions – from the Auction House, so when I went to do an off-road race and there was only one buggy in my garage available to race with (and it didn’t really float my boat), I clicked on the ‘buy car’ option to see what else I could get for my money. As it turns out – a Toyota Landcruiser!

A purchase, as it turns out, for the heart – not the head.

The race that I had chosen to run with the Landcruiser wasn’t even a close competition. Within seconds my D class Landcruiser had fallen way behind the A and S1 class off-roaders … resulting in an opportunity to do little more than just take a couple of screenshots.

I was actually fairly content just doing that, considering I’d already earned my achievement from the purchase and now I had moved into ‘influence harvesting’, chasing down the unlock for my next season – Spring. Once again, the second showcase event didn’t come with an achievement, and so these events served as not much more than … well … ‘fun’, which I did for the experience but – as the saying goes (it doesn’t really, but I should get bumper stickers made up) – I’d rather be achievement earnin’.

Today is PAX Australia Day, so I’ll hopefully collect some thoughts about that experience either today or by the end of the weekend – but needless to say, I am very pumped.

Time to head on to my philosophical home.

Snow Problem — October 25, 2018

Snow Problem

Forza Horizon 4 • Qualify for Horizon Winter • 10G • 61.44% of gamers unlocked this

Here we are at pre-PAX Australia eve, and with a little over twelve hours before I’ll be walking in the front doors of the one place with the most relatable marketing slogan I’ve seen: Welcome Home.

In the meantime, there’s achievements to be earned – and today’s was a tactical choice in Forza to continue on to the Winter season. The environment isn’t as bad as I thought it would be – in all honesty I’ve really only hit one bit of trouble – going uphill in a Citroen through thick snow. You can’t say that would be a normal everyday occurrence.

In terms of the rest of the game? Well, I’m literally just ‘chipping away at it.’ A race here, a stunt there, interspersed with the occasional scenic stop or reward board. I feel like the release of races is too slow, but if I’m objective about it, I can tell that there’s always been a ‘new’ race to complete and I’ve never felt ‘stale’ in the core gameplay.

Forza Horizon 4 is a very very good game.

I haven’t played any Destiny the last few days so I might swing past and run a gambit match or two before bed tonight, which isn’t far away. It’s been a long couple of days, and with PAX, there’s a few long ones to come!

Optional Extras — October 24, 2018

Optional Extras

Forza Horizon 4 • Apply your first Car Mastery • 10G • 67.31% of gamers unlocked this

Horizon 4 certainly isn’t as generous with its achievements as its predecessors, which I guess isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it doesn’t give me that nice satisfying ding-ding-ding of multiple unlocks after one or two events.

Even the first great showcase event, a Toyota Baja vs. Hovercraft, wasn’t enough to get me a bit of digital recognition.

Still, that was a damn good race though. Not quite vs. chinook or fighter jet, but it certainly did a good job of capturing that Top Gear feel.

Today’s achievement is fairly rudimentary, an upgrade which you get as part of the drip-fed tutorial as you play. The upgrade itself didn’t really – no pun intended – ‘float my boat’, but it seemed necessary in order to progress the story, so I grabbed it, an achievement popped, and I moved on with my life.

In other news, my expectations were met with the accountant last night which was a real personal blow, but now I can quantify my position, strategise a solution and move on. It feels a bit like an opportunity to learn more than anything, albeit an expensive one. I am torn between the philosophical benefit of tax, and the personal cost of doing business. Perhaps that’s a conversation for my personal blog … but my point is simply this: we’re all dealing with personal stuff in our lives, but gaming can – and does – remain something that can be a constant outlet and a distraction from the tsunami of life. Even the world’s worst game has been crafted by real human beings for your benefit … and I think that small sliver of joy is worth reflecting on.