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So You Say You Want a (Tron) Evolution, Well, You Know...

Another free game this month is Tron Evolution, free for Xbox 360 gamers and backwards compatible so it’s free for Xbox One users as well. I played it just now for a bit. It’s very pretty and all that but jerky and unforgiving and now I have a headache.

It’s got a lot of cut scenes that pop up all the time, telling the story that bridges the gap between the first Tron movie and the remakey-sequel. I’ve seen both movies but I don’t recall the plot too well, although I think I know what’s going on. There’s these things called Isos that have free will and all the programs that don’t have free will hate them.

Yeah, I know, not possible. But then, we’ve got entire moralities based on a bunch of angels hating these new beings God invented called “humans” so why not Disney have some fun with the idea and pay Jeff Bridges some more money.

The game is okay I guess, although I don’t see myself finishing it. I finally got to a light-cycle scene, for example, and it was sort of phoned-in from a game play perspective. But if you like overly-complicated fighting systems and dying a lot for no reason, give the game a try.

Free Games Are Sometimes Free for a Reason

Now that we’re in the second half of July, we get our other “free” game from Xbox Games with Gold. Tumblestone, it’s called. I played it for about an hour. Don’t think I’ll ever play it again.

At least, not on my TV or PC. You know how they sometimes port a game from console to mobile? I think they did it the other way around this time.

All you do is shoot blocks, clearing them, but once you shoot a block of a certain color you have to shoot two others of the same color before you can shoot a different color. Sounds simple, and it is. The challenge comes in getting the order right. There’s probably some algorithm for solving each board.

It’s all wrapped up in a cutesy theme that starts in Egypt and then there’s an ogre and then I got bored. Just like you did with this review.

Forgot to Mention This: Made Rank 10 (and then 9)!

Last week I was getting in a few games before my weekend of non-gaming. Managed to get to Rank 10 in Hearthstone. For people who are good at the game, that’s nothin’ For me, it’s my “legend” rank. And I did it in Wild!

There aren’t as many people playing wild, and there seems to be fewer metagame decks being played. I see the occasional Secret Paladin, but that’s about it so far. I’ll go up against someone a few rank higher than me, or lower- and that never happens in standard. And I rarely see warrior-- half my games in standard are against warriors.

So, while my Standard play struggles, my Wild play is hanging in there. I also got my 400th Mage win today-- just 100 to go, and I never have to play Mage again (ha). I’m still going to try and get that golden mage before the end of July. May be a little tighter now for having missed 3 and a half days, but I think it’s doable. Maybe I can get in a 20-win game on a day here or there.

Super Batman Brothers

For some reason, over the past week, whenever it occurs to me that I should actually play one of those games I bought, my head has a hard time wrapping itself around the idea. Maybe it’s because I’ve been binge reading e-books on my Nook? It takes a different kind of eyeball focus and brain-state to read than it does to two-thumb a shiny black superhero around a devastated cityscape.

But, in the interest of blogging, I fired it up this morning, the Batman. (What? Blizzard games were offline this morning due to the weekly update? But that’s just a coincidence, I swear.) It’s funny how quickly I forget how to do things. I was swooping around Gotham, running into walls. Finally I got back into the right rhythm. Noticed that for a lot of this game, it’s more of a platform puzzler than it is anything else. Got to find the right path, use the right tools in the right order.

And THEN, mash the A button until all the bad guys are knocked out and lying all over the ground.

Today I headed towards some chemical plant to find Scarecrow. Found him, and of course he laid a whammy on me-- and then something so crazy happened, I had to stop playing. I won’t give it away, but I seriously got me off guard. Well played, Rocksteady Studios!

Pokemon No Go

Was having a rough day, yesterday. Wife suggested I go for a walk. Apparently, there’s this place called “Outside.” It’s the ultimate sandbox, although the achievement system is kind of all over the place and the controls aren’t all that obvious.

Anyway, I decided she was right, and so OF COURSE I figured I’d try this Pokemon Go that everyone’s raving about (it was a front page story in the Seattle Times today, for crying out loud., Above the fold).

Downloaded it, and was told “Our servers are busy. Come back later.” So I walked for a bit, tried again. “Our servers are busy. Come back later.” Walked some more, tried not to look directly at that “sun” thing up in the “sky” which has +20 dmg to Eyeball Armor. Tried one more time. “Our servers are busy. Come back later.”

Fine. Later that night, sitting in front of my desk, I was finally able to get in! I got a Charizard on my desk (so much for “;outside.”) And then the game crashed.

I was into Geocaching one summer, and I played Ingress when it came out, for about a year. So all jokes aside, I really do dig the whole outdoors AR thing. But I’m going to have to wait a bit before I give Pokemon Go another try.

Lost my Gaming Mojo (But I’ll Get it Back)

Argh. No blog update in almost a week. What gives? I’ll tell you what gives: Hearthstone, me a headache. Grinding out these mage wins has been a chore. I mean seriously. Me slumped in my office chair, each loss another kink in my back, each win bearing barely a sigh. I tell you what. This life. It’s not for the weak.

Ah, who am I kidding. Brought it on myself, didn’t I, and no foolin. All things in moderation, as they say. But I can get obsessed me, so maybe I need an intervention. … NAH! I’m a soldier! I will press on. That breach, Hank, you and me!

So yeah, I’ve been able to stay on schedule with the Hearthstone. 10 wins a day, and have been splitting those between Standard and Wild. And my Wild rank is actually higher some days than my Standard! I just assumed Wild would be nothing but OP decks, but Mech Mage has been holding its own. And since it sort of plays itself, it’s not even that taxing, mentally. Sometimes I even do crossword puzzles while I’m grinding.

300 Mage Wins (200 To Go)

Note: I wrote this last week, but forgot to post it.

Been hitting it hard with Mage this month, going for them 500 wins, going for that Gold. Because that’s do-able, as opposed to hitting Legend. Heck, hitting Rank 10 is a chore. I can’t get up the gumption even for that.

But I can manage ten wins a day. Usually. (Thank the Yogg for Wild). Had a 10-10 day in Standard, and another day I went 5-14. However, I’ve also had a 5-3, a 10-7, and today a 9-6. When I get frustrated with Tempo in Standard, I switch to Mech Mage in Wild. 4-0, 5-1, 1-0… you get the picture.

Speaking of Tempo- was playing the Tempo Storm Meta Report version, and getting frustrated. Tried swapping in and out Antonidas, Pyroblast… nothing was really consistent. So I switched to Kolento’s version, which has a Polymorph, Ethereal Conjurors, and faceless Summoners. Those games have been a little bit better.

Here are few crazy moments so far:

Losing to Rogue and only Yogg in my hand, so I played him. After the dust settled, I wasn’t much better off, although Solemn Vigil drew me a few cards, and he was at 11 life. He gets a Sylvanas on board, pinged by Snipe. So I tossed down an Azure Drake and Mirror Image, ping for one. He plopped down an Abomination. I top decked a Roaring Torch. Torch with Azure is 7, Azure into Abomination is two more, and ping for lethal.

Losing to Warrior. My hand was empty and he was armored up all over the place. He played Malkarok, and got Cursed Balde. I top decked Ragnaros, who went face, and I pinged him for another two. He played something that didn’t kill me, and I top decked Frostbolt, and ping finished him off. Lesson learned: if you’re winning, don’t play Malkarok

Losing to Mage. He’s already played Rhonin, who died, but with Effigy in play to give him back a Chromaggus. He plays all them missiles, killing my Azure Drake and Brann Bronzebeard. I’ve got one card left: Yogg. Yogg does what he does: wipes the board, draws me a bunch of cards (Azure Drake, Archmage Antonidas, two Frostbolts, an Arcane Missile, and an Arcane Blast) hits the other guy in the face, hits me in the face. I’m at two life. My opponent is at 16. He has 6 cards in hand. He plays Arcane Intellect, Ethereal Conjuror, and pings me in the face for one. I draw Flamewaker. Frostbolt (3+2=5), Arcane Blast (2+2=9) Arcane Missiles (3+2=14) Frost (3+2=19).

Tavern Brawl: A Repeat, and Totally New

note: I write this last week, but forgot to post it.

Tinkertown gnomes are testing their prototype card-bot: Optimotron. The card you draw on turn 1 will be a 1-cost card, if you have one. On turn 2, a 2-cost card…

I have no imagination, so I went full C’thun. On my Pay-to-Win account: Zombie Chow for the 1 drop, C’thun dudes all the way up to 7, Alexstraza at 9. The only place on the curve that was out of my control was 8, where I filled out the deck so I’d have 30 cards.

I went 3-0 with C’thun Hunter to finish a quest, then 3-1 with C’thun druid to finish another quest. The game I lost? C’thun Shaman. And in all 6 wins, I never had to play C’thun at all.

So I switched over to my Free-to-Play account. That one doesn’t have all the sexy C’thun cards (like Twin Emperors). So I did what I could, tossed in Reno for 6, Kel’Thuzad at 8, Rafam at 9. Went 2-1… in both my wins, I managed to get Stalag and Feugen AND Kel’Thuzad. It was bananas.

We’ve seen this brawl before, but not since Wrath of the Old Gods came out. So it’s totally different. Betcha we see it again after the next expansion too… and since it’s “wild” rules in terms of which cards you can use, I expect it to get just better and better … until it’s broken.

Halo 5 Until Tuesday

I jumped onto my Xbox One to get the “free” game for July, and it said I could get Halo 5 for free, and I was all like “whaaaat.” And then it said for a limited time, and I was all like “whaaaa?” And then I started to download it and it said it was 90 gigabytes and I was all like “WHAAAA!?”

Took all day. I mean, like, I started at 9 am or so and by the time I was in bed at night it was still going. And I had to delete a whole bunch of other stuff first- which is not a bad thing, actually. And when I’m done with this “free “weekend”” (see what I did there?) I’ll probably delete it too and have a mother-butt ton of space for more stuff later.

(PSA: don’t Google the term “mother-butt ton.” Trust me.)

I finally played it a little yesterday. So, yeah. The opening cinematic was exciting. Seeing Nathan Fillion was cool. After that, well… I don’t know if this is any different from any other Halo I’ve played.

Which is a) not necessarily a bad thing, and b) not saying much since I have not played all the Halos. I may have played Halo 1 for about 5 minutes. Halo 2 I played a bunch, and Halo 3 a bunch more-- remember when they handed out a multiplayer beta to anyone who bought Crackdown? (The joke was: “They’re giving away a free game if you buy the Halo 3 Multiplayer beta!” Such yucks (P.S. Crackdown was $#%^& awesome, btw)). But Halo 4? I am going to admit right now I didn’t even know there was a 4.

It might because I didn’t keep up with the Bungie/Microsoft thing and also there were those other Halo games (Halo Wars, Halo ODST) which I messed with. And of course, Reach, Spartan Assault, and Spartan Strike-- which, again, I only just now heard about, looking them up on Wikipedia.

(Ain’t I just the best most informed video game blogger EVER?)

That’s a lot of Halo. And look you here: I may get to them all, eventually. I’m crap at the multiplayer but I’ll give it a go. I’m guessing Halo 4 is now cheap, so I’ll go back and play the campaign. I like running and shooting stuff. Last fall I was a Destiny junkie, so no reason why I won’t return to form after the running season is over this year too.

Rocket League: SO Many Achievements

Said I was going to buy Rocket League and I did. Except instead of buying it during the “sale” that was simultaneous to the free weekend on Xbox (I didn’t realize the sale ended when the free weekend ended, ‘cause I’m not too bright), I got it for even less from the Steam Summer Sale.

Played through the tutorials again (felt like going to practice, not a bad thing, back in the day when I was a soccer player) and went through a season (against bots). Lost in the first round of the playoffs! To rookie bots! In my defense, it was my own rookie bot teammates who scored most of the other teams’ goals for them… but that’s on me. Should never have let the ball leave their half of the pitch in the first place.

Finished another season today, and I DOMINATED. Rookie bots, though, so no real pride. Still, I AM pumped about all the achievements. I used to be a real achievement hound, and I’m getting that achievement jones again. So far:

Gladiator: Play a game on Utopia Coliseum| Sky High: Score an Aerial Goal| Friendly: Play an Exhibition match| First-Timer: Score your first Goal| Tinkerer: Customize one slot on a single Battle-Car| Know the Drill: Complete a Practice Drill| Still A Show-Off: Score a goal while reversing| Perfect Start: Win your first game of the Season| Singles Club: Win a 1v1 game| Triple Threat: Win a 3v3 game| Clean Sheet: Win a game without giving up a single Goal| Winner: Win a total of 5 games across any mode| SARPBC Forever: Play with both classic Battle-Cars (Octane and Backfire)| Team Player: Play against every team in a Season| Wall-Crawler: Drive on the dome walls for a total of 5 minutes| Pick-Me Up: Collect 5 Items| Drill Sergeant: Complete every Practice Drill (any difficulty)| Turbocharger: Use your Rocket Boost for a total of 5 minutes| Break Shot: Score a goal by hitting your opponent into the ball| Pitch Veteran: Play a total of 20 games across any game mode| Rocketeer: Complete the regular Season| Battle-Car Collector: Unlock all Battle-Cars| Helen's Pride: Score 6 Goals in a single game| The Streak: Win 10 games in a row across any mode| Champion: Win the Season Championship

That’s from just TWO DAYS OF PLAY- and I didn’t even look at the list and purposefully got for any of them! I mean, I will NOW, but sheesh. Just the ego boost I needed after a whole buncha Hearthstone losses. (smirk).

Obligatory New Month Hearthstone Report

Out with the old, in with the new. Fired up Hearthstone this morning to see how I did and what I got from the rank rewards. Free to Play (F2P) account: Rank 18, Restart at Rank 22. Played a few games with a cheap C’zoo deck to finish a quest. I heard rumors that maybe we get the Adventure this month? I’m sitting on enough gold now to buy it for sure. Feels good man.

Pay to Win Account (P2W). Finished at Rank 12, restart at rank 20. This month I’m going to get as many Mage wins as possible. So I jumped right in with Tempo Mage, and went 8 and 1! All the way to Rank 16! And then lost. Alot. Oh it was humiliating. Eventually got my 10th win of the day. Switched to Wild (rank 22) with a silly Reno Freezy N’Zoth deck. 2-0 with that, up to Rank 21.

Which puts me at 250 Mage wins, total. IF I can manage 10 wins per day, That’s Golden Mage by July 26th. Then again: I have a job, a baby, a wife who likes it when I’m productive, not to mention days coming up where I will not be anywhere near my PC. So, if I can get to, say, 400 or so, I’d count that as a good month.

Grand Theft Batman

I grabbed Batman Arkham Knight from the Steam Sale, and I’ve been spending more time trying to get screen captures to work than anything else. I’m using Bandicam, which had been painless and easy for a few days, but then Batman said my video card was outdated, and after I updated it, Bandicam stopped working. Also, Batman said my video card was still outdated.

Okay, I got Bandicam fixed, so we’re good there. In Batman itself, well, its a free-for all. I can resource fireman or search for Riddler clues or examine corpses hanging from bridges. Mostly what I do is glide around, eschewing my souped-up Batmobile, and punch guys in the face.

I know I’m supposed to be driving the B’mobile- the game keeps giving me all of these reminders. But I dunno, Gotham’s not that big, and they won’t tell me where the darn Firemen are that I’m supposed to rescue, so I’d rather just glide around and see what I accidentally discover.

“Accidentally discovering” things is one of the best part of a truly deep “sandbox” experience. Then again, in real life, the things you accidentally discover in an actual sandbox can be bad. Especially in a neighborhood that has cats. (Insert Catwoman joke here).

Anyway, Batman Arkham Knight delivers, so far, on that front. As of now I’m still kind of green so let’s see if I can maybe up my punching repertoire beyond the X button.

The Tuesday Morning Black Temple Grind

Was playing Legion Beta, was getting bored, decided to start a new Pet Collection. One thing led to another, and I’m trying to get a garrison started just so I can fast-level engineering. You know, for the pets. Got stalled, cause it’s beta and not everything works.

But it reminded me I like pet battles so I switched to regular WoW and messed around. I have a Shaman who’s level 95, so why not level her via dailies?

Remembered that I was only a few pets away from finishing the Raiding with Leashes III, so I decided to go for that too.

And now I’m down to just one left, the Aspect of Hatred, which is supposed to drop off of Three-Headed Crazy in Black Temple. So on Tuesdays, when all of the raids reset, I log in with all of my characters, one-by-one. Run Black Temple. Over and over and over.

Cause that’s what WoW is, isn’t it, when it’s not new. It’s a grind. And for what it’s worth, when I was writing this up, I thought I might title it “Cattlin’ Rustlin,” which I got from an ancient radio show that Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant used to do, back before they were famous. But I figured I’d Google it first, to see if anyone else had used it.

Yeah. I had. 2 years ago for a different blog post about WoW pets. At least I’m consistent.

The Gwent Mini-Game is Fun Too

I heard that they’re going to make a stand-alone mobile version of Gwent, a digital card-game, available later this year. So i decided to try the old-school version that came out last year. And I was delighted to discover that, in between matches, if I get bored I can play this mini-game with side-quests and sword battles and stuff. The mini-game is called “The Witcher 3” and some people like it almost as much as Gwent.


Anyway, like I said a few days ago, my plan was to grab The Witcher 3 when/if I could get it on discount with the Steam Summer Sale, which turned out to be day one, more or less. The only bummer was that it took forever to download, because I don’t have the best internet connection in the world, and forever to get started, since it’s mostly cut-scenes and I’ve got this newborn baby in the house, and also I’m no good at the combat system, and I never played Witcher 1 or 2 so I don’t know what’s going on.

Par for the course for Bukkhead. But I’m hoping this Gwent thing keeps me in it longer than games of this ilk have held onto me in the past. Dragon Age? I played it for about three hours. Skyrim? Maybe an hour or so.

I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, the Steam Summer Sale continues and I’m already spending my kids college money on games I’ll probably never play.

Wild YOLO Most-Gods Reno Milkshake Priest Nonsense

Made a cheap-ass miracle rogue deck on my free-to-play account, went 5-1 to finish off a quest. Hooray.

Hopped over to my pay-to-win account. Priest quest. Ugh. Well, let’s make the best of it. We’ll go Wild, and we’ll go wild. Deathrattle minions, steal-’em spells, C’thun minions. Reno and C’thun and N’zoth, oh my. And why not Yogg. Why the heck not.

Results? Well, I’m playing Wild at Rank 19, so, you know. Every loss is to be expected and every win is sheer luck. But oh my Old-Gods, the fun when it all comes together. Top decking Yogg and clearing the board, setting up C’thun, and then throwing down N’zoth.

I can only imagine how irritating this deck is to play against. The Reno come-back. The Sylvanas/Cabal Shadow-Priest/Shadow-Madness steals. Thoughtsteal and Mindgames and Mind Vision.

Back when the Hearthstone devs announced Standard and Wild, I assumed Wild would just be the land of broken OP decks. But so far, it has been, actually wild, as in wild-n-crazy.

I’m half-tempted to craft Y’Shaarj, just to put him in there.