Like a Needle in The Outback

Forza Horizon 3 • Find your first Barn Find • 10G • 49.72% of gamers unlocked this

I finally worked out the whole ‘barn find’ thing in Forza. Rather than it being a case of systematically working your way around the map to find cars, it turns out it is more a case of waiting for them to be unlocked, and then navigating to the site to unlock the car. So much for using an internet guide to knock that particular achievement on the head.

Nonetheless, this isn’t an entirely helpless achievement. For under $5 (microtransaction) I was able to buy a ‘map’ which unlocks all the billboards, the barn finds (once they’re unlocked) and other collectables – and I’m not too proud to be able to give myself a little helping hand from time-to-time, so I lashed out and made my way to what I think is the second barn find that has been unlocked for me – but the first I actually found.

Without really trying, I’ve just been working my way through Horizon with the view to having fun. Achievements seem to be coming pretty thick and fast, so I’m just rolling with the punches.

What I did particularly enjoy this morning was defeating Good Game host, Gus “Goose” Ronald’s Drivatar in a Warthog vs. Warthog battle in the Australian outback. Turns out going off-script and just going as-the-crow-flies across the desert to the finish line is a good strategy.

Maybe not the most honourable, but – hey – it’s 2018 … if we’ve learned anything it’s that, seemingly, the ends justify the means.

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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!

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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Asphyxia • De Quincey confides in Samantha

I feel like Fridays are a good day for some Japanese Visual Novel gaming. There’s something about the slow pressure of everything that is, or was, due the past week needing to be done before you go home, but at the same time, there’s elements of set-and-forget in VN’s that really appeal to the overlap between my sense of wanting to play games, and my needing to do ‘actual’ work.

Some confessions: yes, I’m using a guide to work my way through the multiple endings of this game, and yes, I’m using auto/skip mode. This is nothing more than an achievement harvest for me – and I make no apologies for it. For purists, I promise you, I have a whole swag of achievements ready to pop on Forza Horizon 2 and 3 tonight (I didn’t realise how close I was for some achievements of FH2 until I looked at the ‘Forza Hub’ App this morning), and I have plenty of indie games kicking around if you really, really need something ‘more’.

But, this is my blog – my challenge. And, as I say, no apologies.

In other gaming news, my usual coffee lady discovered that I had a passion for esports, and introduced me to her husband who I’m led to believe has a stake in the Direwolves. I had to hover between being commercially envious, and simultaneously excited about the opportunities that someone with the same level of passion and enthusiasm for gaming as me had. Like a giddy fan, I left him my name, email and number – but I feel like he’s in the same position as me … ready to make the leap but not quite sure where the market lies and how to go about it.

Time will tell how this plays out.

In the meantime … there’s some Japanese Visual Novels to play … well, read … well, turn on and start, anyway …

The Architect

Forza Horizon 3 • Blueprint and complete an exhibition • 10G • 47.82% of gamers unlocked this

I am utterly committed to platinum’ing Spider-Man, but of course, Sony announced overnight that they’re finally bringing name changes to PlayStation, and now I have a great moral dilemma (again) about which account to use. The thing is that they don’t seem particularly committed to bringing about the change holistically, only on titles that appear to have been launched since mid-2018 … which is pretty useless for my Vita collection, along with a whole bunch of games – not just PS3 games, but a lot of PS4’s early-generation titles – which I consider classics. The solution from Sony’s perspective is not to try and work through any of those issues, but rather to let you change your name ‘back’ for free.

Colour me less-than-impressed.

So, with the snifter of disappointment in mind, along with some fatigue from just swinging around mindlessly in Spider-Man waiting for crimes to happen (which is all I have left to do now before a Platinum), I decided to jump on to Forza Horizon 3 having heard so much about FH4 over the past few weeks, and – well, quite simply, it’s a great game.

A lot of my play-time in Forza over the past 24 hours has actually taken me away from the Byron Bay staging area to set up another festival site in ‘the desert’, so I’ve been doing a lot of driving, not so much in sand, but actually on country roads that remind me a lot of home. I am genuinely impressed at the Playground Games’ team who travelled to Australia to capture the scenery’s ability to translate it into gameplay … everything from the trees on the side of the road, the colour of the grass you pass, through to the way fences and railway crossings overlap the roads – it gives me great hope that FH4 has captured the same sense of UK driving as FH3 did for Australia.

Of course, despite growing up 15 minutes away, I – and nobody that I know of – have never been able to drive along the sand at the foot of the 12 Apostles.

But then again, never say never.

In other Xbox news, I have finally been able to score myself a new Avatar! Sometime over the past few days, the Xbox updated itself to the new system software and invited me to create my new Avatar. While I’m still a bit on-the-fence about body shape options, I do think that they are a step-up from the original Xbox avatar.

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There doesn’t seem to be much option beyond the Xbox Avatar App to interact with your little creation though, so I hope that there’s further dashboard or in-game opportunities to use avatars going forward.

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.

Kill Boxer 01

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BanHammer • Kill Boxer 01

This post didn’t publish properly for some reason … I have tried again.

Time for something a bit different today after a lengthy stint of Spider-Man (which I haven’t finished yet, but I’m working on it!), I lashed out with something a bit different today, seeking out a smaller title in my Steam library in the way of BanHammer.

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The premise seems to be ‘kill poachers’ + ‘save the animals’, but I think it’s going to take a bit more game time before I fully appreciate the nuance associated with BanHammer. In either event, I made my way to what looked to be the ‘easiest’ of the ‘big bosses’ and pretty much just laid into him with my automatic weapons. One dead boss.

If only ending poaching in the real world was this easy.

Back in the Slammer

Marvel’s Spider-Man • Take down each Prisoner Camp • Silver Trophy • Rarity 28.7% (Rare)

Today I actually earned a small handful of 0G achievements from Forza Horizon 3 (the Australian one, not the recent one, FH4, set in the UK) identified as being a part of #Forzathon (sic), but given that I can’t actually pinpoint whether this is a real thing that’s happening at the moment or rather it’s part of a glitch (as it seems to have been in the past), I felt it safe to stick with one of my Spider-Man trophies that I earned as part of the ongoing trophy clean-up.

As part of my clean-up, I only actually had one Prisoner stronghold left to complete, and by now I’ve gotten the combat down to a fairly good art, so this didn’t take too long. In the past 48 hours I think I’ve successfully managed to clear-out the R&D labs, taken down Taskmaster, and the rest of the base-style achievements.

Not bad for a day’s work.

There are a couple of ‘hidden’ trophies which I’m hoping will form part of the side missions – of which I have hardly completed any, so I’m slowly going to start grinding my way through them now. Perhaps my biggest worry on this front is that the trophies are going to require ‘perfection’ in some of the bigger challenges – all of which I can do ‘OK’, but I typically fall short of earning three-stars … so soon enough it’s going to be a case of comparing complete trophy lists with the ones I have already earned.

Talk about a first-world problem.

Right now though, I have a new Xbox controller for use with my PC, so I’ve downloaded a couple of games that work with the controller to give it a spin. The backup Logitech wired PC controller has been relegated to the bottom drawer – while it’s functional, it’s far from comfortable … and I’m not getting any younger! Of course, I’ve been a console gamer for so long it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to use a controller on PC if-and-when that opportunity presents itself.

Borderlands, however is one game that does. It has just finished downloading, so with that in mind – I think it’s a good place to start.