For the Puppies.

Mad world! — November 30, 2018

Mad world!

Rayman Legends • Complete the “Mariachi Madness” painting • 10G • 14.27% of gamers unlocked this

Believe it or not, I actually scored myself two achievements in Red Dead Redemption 2 today … and I got some pretty good screenshots to match! But it is this achievement, in Rayman Legends, which I’ve decided to celebrate today – for no other reason than the simple fact that I managed to setup the blog post for this one first.

It is great that a family game like this can still surprise me. My son loves to ‘play’ Rayman, but it’s inevitable that he finds a bit too hard and he passes the controller to me … to the point where I end up just playing the entire game, so as a result, I’ve started doing it exclusively on my Xbox account (can’t miss an achievement opportunity), and when (and this is unlikely) he wants to play it solo, he does so in his account. The structure of the game in that they are short, sharp levels rather than a linear experience makes this perfect for this style of play, and – so far – it’s worked well for us.

Tomorrow is a busy ‘family’ day, so it might be a quicker, easier, mobile achievement if-and-when time permits. Wait-and-see.

Gardener — November 26, 2018


Rayman Legends • Pull 100 turnips out of the ground • 10G • 15.15% of games unlocked this

My son and I have been going through some of my old YouTube videos this week, and one of them was my attempt at the perfect run of the ‘Black Betty’ level of Rayman Legends, which, naturally, prompted a childhood urge to play it again.

Well, I can tell you now that the urge doesn’t really change between the age of five and thirty something years senior.

My first inclination was just to have a mindless romp through Rayman, but I was tempted with a look at the achievement list to see what was close, and so this one naturally stood out as being ‘nearly complete.’ And so, I did what any good achievement hunter would do … I started to grind. I knew the early levels would be a good starting place, and sure enough, the first level itself has a spot right near the start where you can grab 2-3 turnips really easily, so after a few minutes I managed to unlock this achievement, and – finally – mix up my streak a bit from the past week.

Side bonus: it’s good to be back playing Rayman.

I am away with work for the next couple of days, so I’m not sure what or where I’m going to plan in regards to an achievement – but I know I’m an innovative sort of chap, so I’ll certainly give it a red hot go!

Might be time to polish up the Vita.

Survivor! — July 19, 2018


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.

Ubisoft E3 2018 Thoughts — June 12, 2018

Ubisoft E3 2018 Thoughts

adult ancient arena armor
Photo by Pixabay on

For starters, I’m going to leave everything associated with Just Dance 2019 aside, because I think that it’s still a ridiculous title to lead E3 with. The only time I get a hint of enjoyment out of Just Dance is when costumed superheroes or dinosaurs try their best to hit the moves on the dance floor at things like PAX. My loungeroom, and my beautiful big coffee table which sits in the middle of it, are not dancing friendly. Heck, ever since Xbox Fitness died, I haven’t had a need to gesticulate in front of my TV for a long time.

No, instead, let’s get into the meaty stuff.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 is another of the titles that make me feel guilty for never finishing their predecessors. I am fairly certain I got the original as part of a Games with Gold Backward Compatibility title, or on PC (I can’t remember), but in either event, I haven’t had the inclination or the drive to get this over the line, and so the emotional attachment to the game just isn’t quite landing for me. Visually, it looks quite good, so I’m interested to play it – but this will probably be a 2020 game for me at the earliest, considering everything else I have in my backlog to get through!

I spoke a little bit about The Division 2 yesterday following Xbox’s conference – and I quite enjoyed the first game, but can completely understand its limited appeal. There is a big focus on games-as-a-service these days as everyone tries to be the next Destiny, but I don’t think the inclusion of ‘raids’ and free DLC is going to be enough to get anyone over the line. For me, I still have a swath of achievements I haven’t unlocked from the first game, so I’m not holding out any great burning desire to get back into The Division 2. Sure, it looks great – and the gameplay looks sensational, but it’s more of what made the first game good. I want to play it … but I just don’t know whether the investment is worth it. A story run might be the best I can hope for when it comes to the latest instalment.

I don’t even own a Nintedo Switch, so the new Mario + Rabbids Donkey Kong DLC doesn’t float my boat … one day I’ll get a Switch (because I’m a sucker for Pokemon) but because of my long-standing love of achievements, the absence of a reward system, as well as known issues with the career setting on the Nintendo Network means that I’m holding out.

That, plus I grew up as a SEGA kid.

I like the look of Skull & Bones but I remain a little bitter that it doesn’t just pull all the piratey goodness out of AC4 and dump it into a new game on its own. The focus on naval combat is what gives me the most pause, because what I enjoyed most about AC4 was running around the island settings … complimenting the naval combat. If anything, what really gets me excited about Skull & Bones is the prospect of a really good collectors’ edition. Ship-in-a-Bottle Anyone? Ubi Collectables certainly know how to make me happy – and if they can’t do it with a great pirate setting, how can they do it?

I could do without the whole ‘working together’ aspect of piracy … I don’t like it as a general rule for most games, and 2018 had a fair amount of focus on online co-op gaming. Has nobody told these studios that playing online with people is a terrible idea?

Next up was Starlink, which is going to fill the gap that Skylanders and Disney Infinity have left in my collectable obsession. The inclusion of Star Fox in the Switch version is fairly inconsequential, seen as the series is coming to all platforms, but if you put that to one side (remember there was a Donkey Kong special crossover in Skylanders for the Wii U), then you can begin to feel the anticipation for the game. Time will tell if kids are on-board as this thirty-something adult is, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.

I only played the main campaigns in For Honor, nearly a year ago when it had a free weekend. It’s not really my kind of game – well, online certainly isn’t anyway – so the news about an expansion doesn’t really float my boat. I think it’s good for those people who are obviously still passionate about it … I’ll be honest, I’m surprised it continues to have such traction in the gaming community – but I can appreciate that people thrive on variety, and For Honor certainly brings variety to the gaming landscape beyond the shooters and sports that fill the esport landscape.

Last, but certainly not least, was the close of the conference with some Assassins Creed Odyssey. I was a huge, huge fan of the series taking a bit of a break, and I think it helped AC Origins come back bigger, better and badder than ever. I have some concerns that the reintroduction to a yearly title might start to stretch the friendship, but for now I have to just take comfort in the fact that this entry actually looks pretty good! The focus on gender-selection at the start is a nice touch – I can’t imagine it’s entirely being begged for by the community, but I think any step towards equal representation is a good one.

Plus, if Mass Effect is anything to go by – female protagonists are actually more thematically believable.

Do you know what was missing from all of this? Splinter Cell. Walmart Canada really made me angry with this one – all I have been excited about out of this E3 was Splinter Cell, given almost everyone else had their titles on-show today, I was simultaneously disappointed and surprised not to see Ubisoft pull out a ‘one last thing.’

Will I get over it? Of course I will. If anything, I’ve been treated to a stunning variety of games that are going to fill up my library (and their prequels which I’ve never played), and they all signal a great future for game quality on the horizon.

But, you better believe I’m going to get back to Splinter Cell: Conviction this week to get my fix.

One Last Time — June 10, 2018

One Last Time

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia • Complete Memory Sequence 1 • 25G • 23.33% of gamers unlocked this

It’s E3 week! This morning kicked off with the ‘non-E3’ (eye roll) Electronic Arts press conference at 4am, and while I didn’t get up for it – I did want to watch it unspoiled so I was hoping for a quick-and-dirty achievement. Games with Gold delivered.

It took me probably 10-15 minutes to make my way through the first level of AC Chronicles in Russia. This isn’t the first time I’ve played a Chronicles game, but I certainly haven’t given these games a lot of traction. The reason is simple: I don’t really enjoy them that much. They are essentially a platforming strategy-come-puzzle game, and there are others in the genre that I really enjoy, but for some reason I just can’t get into these ones. I don’t want to write the series off entirely, because in all fairness, completing one memory sequence in two games isn’t really a fair run, but I don’t find myself thinking about it at every waking moment like other games in the same style. Inside by Playdead immediately comes to mind.

Anyway, that is it for today. Tomorrow at 6am is Xbox’s turn to run the E3 gauntlet, and I’ll be there on Mixer to cheer them on.

Given my current sleeping patterns – I suspect a very strong cup of coffee will be joining me.

Revelations — June 4, 2018


Splinter Cell: Conviction • Discover Anna Grimsdottir’s dark secret • 10G • 45.41% of gamers unlocked this

Here’s a little secret: I actually have no idea what Grimsdottir’s secret is. I spent most of the final cutscene in the Third Echelon level trying to skip it – and even when I couldn’t, I have to overtired kids trying to sleep off a big weekend – so the TV was on mute and I was subtitle free – meaning that there could have been the greatest narrative plot twist happening on-screen and I’d be non-the-wiser.

Insert shrug here.

I’m feeling a bit jaded today, after the media have been touting Melbourne as the new ‘home’ of esport. What I’m particularly upset about is my efforts two years ago to build Victoria up as an esport hub, and was flat-it told that the Government didn’t want to be in this space and it was to be – quote – “industry-led.” My wife, quite rightly, points out that there’s not really any incentive for the Government to treat me as an ‘industry leader’ in this space, but it still stings, and I am allowed to indulge in some petulance on my own blog!

Here’s what it boils down to: for someone who has so openly and willingly put themselves on the line for esport, often at the expense and ridicule of others, to be so summarily discarded as having any influence locally in the esport scene? That’s the bit that bites. I acknowledge that there’s political traction to be made out of this – I was quite openly involved in discussions with the State Treasurer’s Staff – but obviously the reality slap of being a small fish in a large pond has hit a little harder than I wanted it to. I’m going to need a day to work out my next steps.

Anyway, it seems like my day is still marginally better than Sam Fisher’s, who just infiltrated and escaped an NSA office, blowing it up in the process – so all disappointment is subjective, I guess!

Lincoln Memorial — May 31, 2018

Lincoln Memorial

Splinter Cell: Conviction • Complete Single Player Story “Lincoln Memorial” on any difficulty • 20G • 51.58% of gamers unlocked this

With the announcement – or confirmation – today of LEGO DC Super-Villains, it is looking increasingly like that Walmart leak out of Canada is more-and-more real.

And do you know what that means?

We’re going to get a new Splinter Cell! And Just Cause 4! All aboard the hype train!

To give the gaming news a boost – we also got a new Fallout game, Fallout 76, announced overnight as well.

Toot! Toot! Toooot!

Long story short – it’s going to be a good year (or two, or three, depending on when these games are actually released) for gaming.

I decided to keep pushing on with my Splinter Cell: Conviction run this morning just by virtue of having it still front-and-centre of my live tiles, and wanting to play something that wasn’t a mindless arcade game. The level today was a nice mix of stealth and puzzle and action – none of it particularly hard – but it required a little more involvement than a popcorn gunner.

Do I have any idea what’s going on yet? I’ve read the Wikipedia plot summary – but to be honest: No. No, I don’t – but it doesn’t really matter. The superimposed text does a good job of pushing me forward, and I also discovered that the pause menu gives me a quick 1-2 line description of what I’m supposed to be doing. For all the dialogue and narrative beats that I miss, this is incredibly handy.

Off-script, I’ll be making another run at Dark Souls‘ Taurus Demon if I get a chance tonight. I am absolutely mad-keen to beat him … and I’ll likely be so excited I’ll do a blog entry on it if/when I do. I’m also in the process of grabbing some PC games to take away with me on the weekend when I’m away from the console, but I’ll likely be sticking with Age of Empires or something else I’ve neglected for a little while to fill-in-the-gap.