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35 year old that enjoys games from 1980 to today. Pokemon/Final Fantasy fan. Loves RPGs. Twitch Affiliate. Trans woman. Other interests include bad movies, history, cheese and camp, leftist politics, and humor.

Mastodon profile: retro.pizza/

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Here's 3 reasons I'm actually pretty optimistic about Dragon Age: The Veilguard despite being an old school RPG sicko (www.pcgamer.com)

As a long time Dragon Age fan, I’ve been really, just iffy about Dragon Age: The Veilguard, especially since the very first trailer that they put out. The vibes were way off, like they were making a trailer for a Fortnite crossover rather than a dark fantasy game. The gameplay trailer afterward did seem to be more of what I...

UngodlyAudrey, (edited )
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I’m doing a replay of Dragon Age Origins. Slogging my way through my least favorite part of the game(the Deep Roads) right now. I’m not that good at the game, so for the harder encounters, I’ve cheesed them by having one member of my party run forward to aggro one group, then run back to where the rest are in order to deal with them one group at a time. If I let my party fight normally, they accidentally aggro multiple groups and they get overwhelmed. That plus saving after every difficult encounter is helping me get through it.

My warden is an elven mage; she’s mostly built for casting ice magic and healing. I usually use Alistair as a tank, Zevran as a dual wielding damage dealer and Leliana as an archer/support unit.

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Just so you know, you’re commenting in a Beehaw community, and we expect that people be(e) nice here. Being gatekeepy isn’t nice.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first game I ever played, waaaay back in the early 90s. That hooked me into gaming for life, and every few years, I do a no warp playthrough of the game that started it all for me.

Then, a few years later, I tried Super Mario 64 in a Toys R Us. It blew my mind and I absolutely had to have an N64.

I despise Nintendo’s business practices, but there’s no doubt they had a formative influence on my childhood.

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Why are we quoting each other? I remember the comment before yours. I made it. Idiot.

This is a beehaw community you’re posting on. We expect you to bee nice here.

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Live service games have always kinda rubbed me the wrong way, and that’s past just the obviously predatory stuff. I like to hop around from game to game to game. But the live service games are all like “what about the daily log in bonuses and weekly challenges?” I can ignore that, but it still bothers me how much they try to badger you into being obligated to play. Give me a regular old single player game any day of the week.

That being said, I suspect that as time goes on, AAA single player games are going to be harder and harder to find. Multiplayer is simply where the money is(and where the players are), and in this stupid “perpetual growth no matter what” economy, that’s all the suits will pay money for. Thankfully, we still have indies making great stuff.

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That’s so cool! The original Super Mario Maker is what made me get a Wii U, and I obsessed over that game for a couple years. I made a few levels that were fairly well regarded, too! Funnily enough, I’ve barely touched the second one.

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I’ll list some of my favorites that haven’t been posted yet:

-TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect

-Onimusha series

-Dynasty Warriors series

-Soulcalibur II and III

-Tekken(any of them)

-Burnout 3

-OutRun 2006 Coast2Coast

-Simpsons Hit and Run

-Dark Cloud I and II

-Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

-Ace Combat 4

Billy Mitchell has surrendered (perfectpacman.com)

Billy Mitchell didn’t win his defamation lawsuit against Twin Galaxies. Not only was Billy not in a position to get a financial settlement, Billy’s cheated Donkey Kong scores were not reinstated(as he’s claiming), and his claimed Pac-Man score from 1999 is also not on the main scoreboards. What had happened is that the...

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I really hope it was Billy that caved and not TG. Dude really is awful in quite a few ways.

If anyone wants a ridiculously long deep dive on the Billy Mitchell stuff(and is willing to read instead of watching a video), I recommend checking out this. There’s also on that website a huge deep dive into the story about his alleged “perfect Pacman” run, and his history of gaslighting the classic gaming community into thinking he was the greatest gamer ever.

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I couldn’t get past the second area(I think?)of Cuphead, there was a dragon boss that was just a wall for me.

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I got an entirely new gaming rig up and running (Ryzen 7 7800X3D / Radeon RX 6700) so I thought I’d grab a couple more recent games to push it a bit, as I had a potato before. Been having a lot of fun with Forza Horizon 5 and the World Tour mode of Street Fighter 6. Thinking about maining Juri in SF6, she’s fun to play.

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Been on that F-Zero 99 grind. Got myself up to A- rank, so I’m not doing too badly. :)

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Soul Caliber and it’s predecessor which I’ve forgotten the name of.

That’d be Soul Edge(which was renamed Soul Blade for the PlayStation port).

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It really sounds like the latter. If it were a misunderstanding, Xbox would have clarified the situation back when the story started getting traction.

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damn, was working when I posted it.

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The site has been having issues since I posted it, so I’m reposting it here from my RSS reader.

Libraries in fantasy literature and media are always magical and mysterious. In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Unseen University’s library books have to be chained down for the safety of the students. In Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, the library in the Dreaming contains every book ever dreamt. In David Tennant’s Doctor Who run, the Doctor and Donna visit a freaky space library where people’s bodies are stripped to bone and others disappear, supposedly saved by the library itself. Libraries are weird and scary and cool, librarians have magic powers, and visitors never leave unchanged.

The Librarian’s Apprentice Almost Bedtime Theater 2023

Sidequest was provided with a copy of The Librarian’s Apprentice in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Prior to playing The Librarian’s Apprentice, my day-to-day work experience had sucked the magic out of libraries for me. The first time I volunteered in a library I helped with a teddy bear story time, where we donned pajamas and read books to children on the theme of teddy bears and bedtime. Before they left, each kid gave us a stuffed animal, and after the library closed we staged silly photos of the animals having a sleepover. They snuck into the workroom fridge for a late night snack, got up to shenanigans in the stacks, and I, a normal civilian, got to be in the library after closing. It’s super dorky, but I remember how cool that felt! Now I know my workplace intimately, I have good and bad memories there, and I curate the material that it contains. There is no thrill, just public service.

The mockup of the print version of The Librarian’s Apprentice, showing the covers of volumes 1 and 2 and character sheets.

Playing The Librarian’s Apprentice allowed me to reexperience the magic and mystery of libraries. It’s a solo journaling game, which isn’t usually my bag—I’d only played Remember August before this—but the premise was just too good. Rather than describe it myself, I want to share the beautiful description that pulled me right in:

Infinite, ever-shifting, and sometimes dangerous, the Great Library exists in the space between worlds and times. Among the many who call it home are the Librarians, and only those who truly understand it may join their ranks. You seek to do so.

The path of a Librarian’s apprentice is a long one. Your current task is designed to test your skills at traversing the Library and finding information. Retrieve the six documents requested by your Librarian before the day is out and you will have completed one more step on your journey.

The lure of the infinite, ever-shifting, and dangerous library was stronger than I realized, because when I finally sat down and played The Librarian’s Apprentice I was much more interested in the setting than in my character. The mechanics also play a role in the draw of setting over character, so let’s take a moment to break them down.

As with most roleplaying games, the first step is to create your character by filling out a character sheet. In The Librarian’s Apprentice, this is quick and simple: you name your character, assign a +2, +1, and +0 to each of your three skills—Navigation, Research, and Lore—and answer three questions to create three truths that fill out some of their history and personality. Your character also gets a familiar who can take one point of fatigue and has a +1 to one of the aforementioned skills, which you can use until they get that point of fatigue.

I do want to take a moment to compliment the “truths” that you create, because they’re pretty intriguing! They cover your character’s background and the community where you live, and allow you to immediately create some lore for your library. This third truth in particular is really brilliant, because it gets the player thinking immediately about how they can create and influence the world of The Librarian’s Apprentice. This was, for me, really a game about world building and leaning into the fun of imaging a complex, wild, and magical world. By layering an aspect of that process into character creation, the game’s creators get players swiftly into that mindset.

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Alenka’s game map - two rows of cards with messy scraps of scratch paper on them and a small button token. My incorrectly made map.

I will also note, for the sake of fairness, that I made my character sheet intending to start playing swiftly, and then didn’t play for a few weeks. When I came back to it, I decided that my familiar was a catacoon, gave it my cat’s name spelled backwards and pretty much her exact personality, and that was it! The long wait between character creation and actually playing the game likely had an impact on how I felt about the apprentice I’d created, but I do think the world of this game is more engaging than the character development. That’s not a bad thing! The setting is really what makes this game, so I wasn’t bothered by this aspect of the gameplay at all. Your apprentice can interact with others depending on events and complications that occur, and that does push you to think about who this person is and how they respond to conflict and danger, but the focus of the story you’ll ultimately create is more likely to be the setting.

The Librarian’s Apprentice was built using the Firelights game system, which has players draw two cards from a standard deck of playing cards, roll two d6s, and then compare the numbers to decide an outcome. It also includes mapmaking, which players in The Librarian’s Apprentice accomplish by using a drawn card to represent a location, placing a token on it when your apprentice is there, and scribbling down notes about that location on note cards or scrap paper to leave with the playing card. I used a pinback button with my tattoo artist’s studio’s logo and ripped out paper from a tiny notebook—literally whatever you have lying around works for game play! The fatigue mechanic also comes from Firelights, and in The Librarian’s Apprentice your familiar can take 1 fatigue, which means they can no longer give you a bonus to a skill roll, and your apprentice can take up to 4 until they have to rest and end their day.

I liked how the fatigue mechanic added an element of time to the story creation, and ended up structuring my journaling around it. I used “DAY ONE,” “DAY TWO,” and so on as headers, so I know my apprentice’s journey ended up lasting four days. Traveling from place to place, or playing card to playing card, can happen many times in a day or not at all depending on how many complications arise, which cause you to take on fatigue. An aspect I really liked about the game was that complications didn’t have to be solved in a specific or heroic way. The game manual provides a list of complications that you roll to establish, and the descriptions are VERY short, so it’s completely up to the player to decide how the complication cropped and how the apprentice resolved the issue.

This was the aspect of gameplay where I felt my apprentice—Carter—got the most development. Carter ended up being a bit world weary, introverted, and exasperated. For example, when they encountered a Keeper of the Forbidden, I decided that the Keeper was an older and hyper-critical librarian who was set on judging Carter’s methods. Carter was escorting the spirit of a beetle who’d grown agitated because their body was preserved in an entomology section instead of dying and returning to the earth naturally. They’d not yet found a space with earth where they could bury the bug, and the spirit’s presence woke up a colony of bats and caused them to start feverishly snapping at and devouring bugs in the room, which then made the spirit more agitated. Instead of trying to help or even being impressed that Carter had calmed and established trust with a spirit, The Keeper started spitting criticisms at them until they basically fled. This entire scene grew out of rolling an event about bats feeding on insects and the complication “A Keeper of the Forbidden.” That was it!

The green cover of The Librarian’s Apprentice volume two and some of the interiors of the volume.

As my description of the older, judgmental, and unsympathetic librarian might allude, I did get some catharsis out of this game. When I hit my first complication, I decided Carter had to save a library patron who had been attacked by a dangerous creature called a gnosiphage. The patron was physically fine but took a long time to recover emotionally and mentally from the attack, and Carter, who grew up dealing with gnosiphages, was very frustrated with them… until they finally were well enough to leave and expressed their deep gratitude by presenting Carter with a gift.

Is this reflective of actual patron interactions I’ve had? I’m not going to lie to you—yes, yes it is. Sometimes the public is frustrating. Sometimes the public is frustrating because they’re dealing with a difficult situation, and once they’ve got what they need, their gratitude makes you feel like an asshole for all your internal exasperation. I absolutely did not plan to pour all this out onto the page, and when I did, I laughed! It was honestly very funny and relieving to see such a familiar emotional arc play out in a little fantasy story. And hey, I’ve never had to fight off a freaky fantasy book zombie! Maybe this will help me chill out about managing the study rooms.

The one aspect of gameplay I struggled with was using the “Events & Secrets” table. I might have missed it in the rules, but there doesn’t seem to be a set way to use this table. Because I was reviewing the game, I really wanted to play it right, so I got a bit self-critical whenever I struggled to understand the rules. I think this table is really meant to add intrigue and fun to the game, and I eventually just used it whenever it felt like a good time for an event. That worked for me just fine, and maybe a different kind of player wouldn’t stress over it the way I did, but I’d have appreciated a little more guidance about what to do with the table.

I don’t think I played The Librarian’s Apprentice to its fullest, not simply because I didn’t use the Events & Secrets table heavily, but because there were multiple mechanics I didn’t engage with as much. I didn’t really do research, which is one of the possible actions, and I never asked a question, which is another! Ultimately, I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think this is a sign that this game is replayable. Journaling games, to me, feel very one and done, but I could see myself playing this again so I could dig deeper into the unused mechanics. I also didn’t quite build my map correctly—there is a certain order to how you’re supposed to lay down the playing cards—and while I don’t think this error negatively impacted my playing experience, I wouldn’t mind a shot at paying more attention to the map. I would try to be more thoughtful about how and why the locations connected to each other.

While solo journaling games still don’t have a huge appeal to me, I very much enjoyed playing The Librarian’s Apprentice. I loved fleshing out the simple descriptions of documents and complications into more complex objects and scenes, and I wrote something fun just for myself! It’s been a very long time since I wrote just for fun. When I’m ready to slow down my workaholic brain and take more time doing something creative for leisure, I’ll likely go back and play this again. Almost Bedtime Theater, AKA Dan Bronson-Lowe, is currently running a Crowdfundr for some beautiful print copies of the game, and it’s already fully funded so you’re guaranteed to get one! Fund it before July 27th to snag a copy, or get it digitally right now on Itch.

Post-review update: while watching a playthrough of The Librarian’s Apprentice, I discovered I’d missed a rule—you’re supposed to discover all six documents within one day. This rule feels a bit in conflict with the description of fatigue: “When all your Fatigue is marked, the day is over. You will have to attempt the task another time.” If you have to collect six specific documents, I don’t think you could start over, but if you’re collecting documents that meet criteria, maybe you can start over by finding additional documents that meet the same criteria? Doing so would certainly extend the length of the game, which personally I’d find frustrating—but maybe a player who loves to set lots of time aside for games like this wouldn’t. Additionally, I also don’t see why you should have such a time constraint when working in an ever-changing magical library. Avoiding danger and resolving conflicts can be time consuming. Ultimately, I think having noticed this rule would have detracted from my play experience, and this is a solo game—if a rule isn’t serving you, I think it’s fine to throw it away.

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I mean, if you’re basically getting GamePass for free, I don’t think anyone would blame you for using it. May as well, right?

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I was offered a month of PC Game Pass for $1, so I took MS up on it. I’ve mostly been playing Forza Horizon 4(my computer can’t handle 5) so far, the game’s really fun.

I’m open to suggestions on games in the PC Game Pass library, btw. I plan to cancel before Aug 26th, so I want to get my gaming in before then. I honestly do prefer straightforward action games and RPGs(and strategy as well). Things I prefer to avoid are puzzle solving and super open world stuff. I generally strongly prefer single-player experiences, too.

The cold dead hand of Games for Windows Live has pulled 5 Capcom games into the abyss for 600 days and counting (www.pcgamer.com)

I get that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense financially for Capcom to update these games to make them playable, but it still sucks to see them let some of their back catalogue wither on the vine like this.

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