Saturday Update – Onward and Upward

I’ve noticed that since I began making videos my blog presence has been… well okay, it’s mostly dropped off completely (save for my own video link dumps). So I’ve decided to rectify that by doing Saturday Updates every week. I’ll talk about what games I’m playing, how video production is going, any gaming news I find interesting, stuff like that. That way this will become more like a blog again!

So welcome to my first Saturday Update! It’s actually Sunday afternoon here, but since I upload videos on a US/Western-European-centric time schedule I figured I’d stick with it here as well. Spring is full on here now – the few trees that do drop their leave in autumn are budding again and the flowers are in a lovely bloom! We got a lot of yard work done yesterday. I planted some red bell peppers (capsicum as they call them here) and an heirloom tomato plant, which I am super excited about! Hopefully it won’t die :(

Apologies for my video uploading schedule this past week – we had plumbers and electricians in this week to do some work on our kitchen. Most importantly we finally got a dishwasher, which means I don’t have to spend ages washing dishes by hand and can spend more time gaming and making videos! Woohoo! But that meant my recording schedule got a bit messed up. Promise that my next Don’t Starve – Willow episode will be up tomorrow, though!

The past few weeks I’ve been playing a lot of the Binding of Isaac. When I played it the first few times after getting it in the Steam sale it seemed okay but I would continuously die very early (we’re talking like Basement 1, for those who have played it). However after a bit more practice I’m finally getting better and can consistently make it to the 3rd or 4th level down. I’ve also been watching a lot of Northernlion’s Binding of Isaac series (Today he uploaded episode #620!!). Not only are his Isaac videos great to watch as he learns and masters the game, but he’s just a great games video maker in general. I definitely draw inspiration from his success! He is also very helpful to other Let’s Players – he frequently posts in the LetsPlay subreddit with advice on getting review copies of games, what kind of things you should worry about for you channel and what you shouldn’t, how to effectively tag your videos, all sorts of stuff.

And so I’ve been thinking of starting an Isaac series myself. I feel like now I know what I’m doing a bit more I could add in another game to upload every week on Mondays. Isaac seems like a good choice because of its near infinite re-playability (did I mention Northernlion has done 620 episodes of it so far?) and it’s fast-paced gameplay lends itself to flowing commentary. The problem with it, of course, is that lots and lots and lots of people do Binding of Isaac series and a lot of them do it very well. But I think the ‘pro’ that trumps that ‘con’ is that… I just have a really fun time playing that game! And I feel like I would be able to do some good/entertaining commentary with it. So this week I’ll try recording a few play-throughs and see how it goes.

In gaming news this week Steam made three pretty big announcements – their creation of a Steam OS, a Steam Machine and a Steam Controller. This is all very exciting! At our house we have a PC hooked up to our TV that we use as a “media PC”. It’s Windows 7 and it stores all of our TV shows and movies and we use a program called XBMC to run them/have a pretty UI on the TV. However with these Steam announcements, we could instead install this Steam OS on our current media PC and use it not only to watch our TV shows and movies but also to play games with. OR we could buy a Steam Machine that fits our requirements and do the same. And we can use the Steam Controllers as remotes/game-pads. It’s definitely a very interesting prospect and I look forward to seeing how this shapes up. I’ve entered myself in the pool for the Steam Machine beta. If I’m super lucky I’ll get picked! But I don’t have my hopes up.

That’s about it for this week. If you have any feedback on how my blog/videos are doing please feel free to let me know! I am always looking to improve. Also if you have an idea for a game you’d like to see me play and record, let me know!

Videos From This Past Week:

LOTRO Lore-master Episode 15: And His Boots Are Yellow

LOTRO Lore-master Episode 16: Lalia Must Die

Video – Farmer’s Faire Overview – 2013

This video is a bit different from my usual episodes in my Lore-master series, but I felt like a Farmer’s Faire guide/overview was something that could be helpful. I walkthrough all the main quests in the Faire at Bywater and provide tips and hints to get through some of the trickier ones – including the Egg Scramble and Mushroom Hunt. Hope you enjoy it!

What I’m Excited About: Starbound

Starbound is a game slated to come out later this year (no specific date from what I’ve seen) and I am very excited to play it! In many ways it is similar to Terraria – it’s a 2D, sandbox game in which you craft and mine and build. However there are differences. And they do make quite the… difference? The first big difference is that while Terraria is recognizably fantasy-based, Starbound is more science fiction oriented, as you may guess from the name. You start on your ship and can travel to different planets, seeing new landscapes and coming across new monsters and resources. The other big difference is that there are actual quests. As the website says, “It’s a story inside a sandbox!”.

So far, this game meets all of my personal “things-that-I-love-to-see-in-a-game” bullet points: sandbox; pixely retro graphics (done well); nice electronic music; lots of character customization. That’s not to say of course that I wouldn’t play a game that doesn’t meet some or all of these points, but these are just some of my favorite things. And Starbound meets these points and is probably why I am drawn to it.

Starbound is being developed and produced by Chucklefish, the same company that is producing another game I am looking forward to: Stardew Valley which I wrote about here.

Another really nice thing about Starbound is that the developers post updates on their progress nearly every single day! They haven’t yet gotten to beta stage yet, but the level of communication with fans is great.

Anyway, below is a demo video of some players building a base. I love all the details you can put into it!

Anxiety and Why I am Doing Let’s Plays

“Why are you calling my texting device?” from Blag Hag

I’m sure that many (most? all?) of you don’t know that I suffer from a lot of anxiety and anxiety attacks. It’s not fun. I thought finally finishing university would help ease up on my anxiety, but that has not been the case. But why am I telling you this? Well today I saw the above linked article and it resonates with me a great deal. A lot of what she talks about regarding phone conversations is also true for me. I want to specifically point out her second bullet point though:

I prefer written communication because it gives me time to think about what I want to say, and to digest what others are saying. A phone call has the pressure of instantly responding to what you just heard. I can never fully understand and process what I’m hearing, and I’m never eloquent about what I’m saying. It makes me feel ignorant and like I’m bumbling through a conversation. The anxiety is even worse when I’m talking to someone who knows I’m a writer, because all I can do is wonder if they’re thinking “This person is actually a dumbass, maybe they’re a fraud.

This touches on why I have started doing videos so much. Writing blog posts gives me time to think about what I want to say and what is going on in a game. A Let’s Play has the pressure of instantly responding to what just happened. By doing these videos, I am trying to get better at verbally explaining what I’m thinking while I’m thinking it. I am trying to work on verbally working my way through situations. Hopefully as I continue to make videos, this gets easier and easier.