Update on Things

Da Books

I’ve finished a few more books along the way.

The 2nd book in the Three Body Problem series, Dark Forest, is done.  I enjoyed it a lot more than the first one, mainly due to pacing.  When the first book ends, there’s a 450 year countdown to the end of the Earth.  The second book starts with 4 people assigned to think of a way to avert that destruction, while being limited to today’s technology.  The baddies have found a way to prevent the quantum leap in technology.  From a writing perspective, this is actually pretty neat.  It makes the entire tech relatable from a human perspective, and the aliens tech work like magic.  The twist in the story is logical, which helps a whole lot, though the 4 people all use the same gambit. Of course, you can’t read this one if you didn’t read the first one…

I also picked up and finished Red Shirts.  As you can guess, this is a book about the Star Trek (TOS) phenomena where all the red shirts die on away missions.  It’s written through comedy and is quite meta.  It borrows a fair chunk from Last Action Hero, Stranger than Fiction and similar stories, but adds a human touch to it with the Jenkins character.  All of it is relatable, and quite hilarious.  The final quarter moves away from the main story and provides a different view on the problem sets.  I found it oddly similar to the Douglas Adams series of books, with quite a few absurd situations.

I’m now digging into some golden era books, starting with Stranger in a Strange Land.

Da Games

A little break from XCOM2 for a bit.  I have a few ideas as to what my next playthrough will include.  Going to plan a bit before starting up again.

Meanwhile, I found Assassin’s Creed Pirates on my tablet.  This exemplifies what I did and did not like from AC4.  The game is more or less a set of mini-games focused almost entirely on the ship on the sea.  There’s a very small component of infinite runner for some customization upgrades, but overall, it’s just about finding other ships and blowing them up.  The navigation is good enough, the combat is acceptable, and the art is quite nice.  It’s a F2P game that used to be B2P, so there are very few hurdles aside from time played.  It’s grindy, since there are really only a few types of missions in the game, but it’s fun.

The worst part is the storyline, which I think is endemic to the entire AC series.  It makes no sense whatsoever and the actual missions are horrible. It could have been any other IP and just pasted Pirates on it, and you wouldn’t have seen the difference.  It should be said that the main story is like 2% of the game though, so it’s really just a jarring stop to the gameplay when you encounter it.

Finally, The Room 3 is worth every penny.  It took about 6 hours to clear all the various parts, and aside from a single puzzle (the pendulum) I was able to get it all done without any hints.  The production values are amazing.  After playing these games, it really does beg the question why there is no competition in this field on tablets.  Firewatch, the Witness, and Monument Valley can show that puzzle games are really quite good.  Hopefully this section of the market can expand.  Really makes me want to play Myst again…

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