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Can't Staycation

This is a week of much transition for me because I am being forced by circumstances to relocate.  I expected to be spending a lot of time moving, so I took a week off, but the actual amount of time needed for that turned out to be a bit less than expected.  This left some time to catch up on my leisurely pursuits a bit.

I Beat Danganronpa 2.

Chiaki is best waifu.
Earlier, I was concerned that the murder mystery focus was deviating too much from the main drive of the plot: you're trapped on an island for reasons unknown, who is responsible for that, and why are you being forced to kill your follow classmates?

I'm happy to say that the final chapter wraps up every loose end and brilliantly leverages the entire story to produce a resounding conclusion!

Fantastic game.  Currently #4 on the list of all Steam games for Windows sorted by highest rating (by users)... and not just ironically this time!  Anyway, I look forward to seeing the anime conclusion when it comes out next month, although I would prefer to play another visual novel as good as the first two.

Although Danganronpa 2 is proof that the appeal of a visual novel is strong for me, I am still left with nothing to do afterward because novels are stories which must end.  The included island mode is an alternate story that allows you to touch base with the memorable cast of characters, even see what it would be like to date them.  However, island mode is more of a means to say goodbye; a completion activity; the cherry to top an excellent dessert.  Can no game be a cake I can both have and eat?

I Beat The Original Galactic Civilizations III Campaign.

This three-part campaign involving the Terran remnants returning to Earth turned out to be nothing more than a protracted tutorial.  The Drengins, the alien menace responsible for Earth's imprisonment, mostly just sat around in large fleets defending their worlds and waited around for me to kill them.  The player learns the fundamentals in the game while doing this, but the real focus turns out to be outside of the campaign; the real game is the procedural-generated scenario mode.

Having played about 100 turns deep in an instance of the real game, I have to say that Galactic Civilizations III feels surprisingly dated.   As I noticed before, it's pretty much just Civilization with space trappings in most ways, but I have already bored of a few such games in the past.  I feel like I have better things to do; I am past a game like this.  Despite the flaws in Stellaris, a product which has had considerably less time in release to be refined, it really is an improvement upon the 4X space game genre due to the introduction of novel new mechanics.

Trying to get back into Minecraft.

There's something charming about Minecraft.  Even after playing the likes of Space Engineers and Fortresscraft Evolved (better games in many ways) coming back to Minecraft is like coming home.  A janky JAVA-run virtual world with bad AI and no long-term purpose to play, Minecraft lives securely ensconced in a cottage somewhere on my hard drive, a charming (if dottering) grandma who I enjoy the company of immensely... but I'm not above augmenting the old gal to keep her interesting.

Applied Energistics 2 is pretty awesome.
The progress of Minecraft mods have finally reached a point where version 1.9 can be played comfortably via Feed The Beast's "unstable" build.  1.9 is a lot more tolerable when you can enjoy a Not Enough Items alternative, but there's even working versions of amazing mods such as Foresty, Botania, Blood Magic, and EnderIO!  Of course, given that there has been so little time to debug these mods for the new version, there's a reason why the Feed The Beast crew refer to this modpack as, "unstable."

Of course, version 1.7 remains where the majority of the modding scene is at, and I find the likes of Applied Energistics 2 and Thaumcraft to be hard to leave behind.  Once those two mods make the jump to 1.9, I would have little reason to look back.

What I really need to do is come up with a good long-term goal in the game to drive the action.  I feel that Minecraft does not really provide its own because earning beacons is a trite use of a virtual world of this caliber.  My cheeseburger factory scenario was one that leveraged existing mods in an excellent balance to accomplish a goal, but even that feels too limited.

For now, I have settled for playing the game in "hardcore" (permadeath) mode.  The reason why this almost works is because survival becomes so important that it becomes a worthy goal in itself.  However, assuming I do manage to survive, I still have to come up with a long term goal anyway,  The "hardcore" mode solution also leaves me at an old impasse where it's hard to feel invested in the virtual world knowing how quickly I could lose it.

In another entry, I phrased the problem I have with Minecraft from a different direction:
I guess what I want to do is marry the cool factorization mods in Minecraft with something that actually needs that much production.  Sure, I could be playing a city builder game, but that just does not have the same cool appeal of doing it yourself that Minecraft does.  Dwarf Fortress-inspired games like Rimworld are too impersonal... I want to keep that first person immersion.  Games like Planet Explorers and Factorio come close, in their own ways, but are not quite there.  I probably just need to get off my lazy butt and try to make something myself.
It's an old problem for me; that entry is two years old.  It really comes down to my never-ending quest for The Right Kind Of Sandbox.  If I can't mod Minecraft to become such a sandbox, my options are either to keep looking for more games or make my own.  My quest continues, I need to keep working it.


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