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Decent Enough PC Gaming To Be Had

Through the mercy of Steam sales, some good gaming has come my way on this, the eve of the Archeage release reckoning.

Space Run is hella great.

We are all quick to lambaste bad games and drag on for years about how awful they are, but when a game simply goes fine with no hitches, it risks running under the radar.  Of course, if you're a space cargo transporter, maybe being under the radar is a good thing, but I think Space Run deserved to make a bigger splash than it did.
This is because here is a fundamental reinvention of the tower defense concept that:
  1. Worked and worked well.
  2. Is both fun and genuinely challenging.
  3. Is presented extremely well.
There it is; what more can be said?  A description? Space Run is a game where you go from point A to point B, fighting off enemies and asteroids, while building various offensive, defensive, and utility modules onto the hexagonal grid of your space barge.
Bam; done.  An wonderfully simple, elegant description for a wonderfully simple, elegant game. 

As for faults, the best I can dredge up is that knowledge of how existing space runs go factors largely into success, and the game gets difficult fast.  However, neither of these are necessarily a bad thing, as they both enhance replayability.  It's a good game, if you've ever enjoyed tower defense before, expect this to breath new life in it for you.

Hack n Slash does not look like a great place to start to learn programming, but it is.

Another double fine product from Double Fine games, Hack n Slash was recently released in serviceable condition and is another AOK game provided you're not bothered that it's a somewhat short puzzler disguised a simple 2D Zelda game where everything has gone horribly wrong.  Your sword does not even hurt anything, but fortunately you can hack various entities in the game and change their variables and code to succeed.
Perhaps the most brilliant thing about Hack n Slash is that the game's code is accessible from in-game.  While there are undoubtedly hard-coded aspects of it out-of-reach, the vast majority of everything you see and interact with is actually hackable, and hacking in game actually changes aspects of LUA code that the game runs on.

Despite that, no previous programming skill is required, everything is presented to the players visually.  If you know what numbers are, and how to compare two numbers together, then you know everything you need to get through the coding portions of Hack n Slash, which start up at about Act 4.

The game seems rather short, I have a little programming experience and so I am pretty close to finishing it.  However, here's an interesting secret: I don't think finishing it is really finishing it.  Instead, once you beat the game, you can hack it to unlock previously sealed away portions of the game, probably including a missing Act 1, while adding your own content or the content of others via the Steam Workshop.

There's quite a lot of interesting potential here in Hack n Slash, time will tell whether the community warms up to it enough to make it happen.

Sims 4 turns out to be a fun party game.

I've run a session (soon to be a second) where I invite people to get into the Sims 4 game and leave them to their autonomous behavior unless they ask me to make them do something.  Leaving the Sims to their own devices is a bit of an art drift, it takes you outside of your normal ways of living, and various things tend to go wrong you normally would do nothing about...
...for example, absolutely every appliance in the house can break, leaving your sims no choice but to pee themselves for the lack of toilets.  I'm not sure if there's actually an aspiration on behalf of the sims to repair their own plumbing, but perhaps there should have been!


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