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Media in May
Actually on time! Amazing.

Video Games

Overcooked – If ever you want to play a game where you will have to take frequent breaks for the sake of your sanity, then Overcooked should fit that criteria quite nicely. Apparently this can be played single-player, I don’t even want to try doing that since JJ and I had enough difficulty getting through all the levels in co-op. Essentially, it’s a manic cooking game where you have to do things like feed giant flying meatball monsters and cook turkey with a flamethrower, all whilst ridiculously designed kitchens work against you. Seriously, who decided that kitchens on ice, kitchens inside volcanoes and kitchens with thieving mice taking up residence were good ideas? It’s infuriating and fun – usually at the same time.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime – The other two-player game that has kept JJ and I occupied. You play as little alien blobs controlling increasingly ridiculous space ships as you fly around the universe trying to defeat the Anti-Love by replacing it with love. There’s lots of baddies, hearts, lasers and big bosses that are based on star constellations. There are also multiple components to the ships which require players to run and jump from different parts of the ship to keep up with the waves of baddies and upgrade gifts to collect which do things like allow you to fire buzz saws at your enemies. It is utterly ridiculous and completely brilliant.

Cook, Serve, Delicious – Yep, still playing. The intensity of my obsession has waned somewhat as progression hits a step curve. Seriously, making soup in this game is so difficult. Why does anyone even want this soup? The more frantic this game gets, the easier it is to make mistakes. Like serve raw burgers to customers – they get a bit grumpy about that.

Slime Rancher – A happy little first person game about vacuuming up slimes and imprisoning them in cages so that I can gather gems from them. Also raising chickens and feeding them to cat slimes. Or Tabby Slimes as they’re called in game. It’s cute and it’s fun but I’m already at the point where it’s starting to get a bit repetitive so I’m hoping that updates will be forthcoming. Also my Tabby Slimes are very good at escaping…

Tumblestone – I have finally finished the first set of levels with Cleopatra, I don’t really know what to add to that. It’s a strange little game but I can feel myself getting bored of it already so…

Orwell – If you want to be really paranoid about government surveillance then this is probably a good game for you. You play as an outsourced investigator who basically digs through every aspect of people’s lives in the name of “protecting The Nation” and then feed the “relevant” information back to other people. This includes looking at things like out of context quotes that can be used as leverage against people. Given the state of surveillance and everything now, this is a very current context game. The only problem I have with it is I finished it in two days! I wish there had been more sets – perhaps starting with minor surveillance that genuinely did save lives and was for good overall, and slowly descend into truly invasive surveillance and taking out of context information and passing it on.

Ghost 1.0 – I think I am some kind of mercenary controlling a ghost inside an android who has been hired to infiltrate an android factory by a pair of computer geeks. There’s lots of shooting and gun and lasers and all sorts of cool stuff. Platforming and RPG levelling up components go so well together, and this game has loads of hidden collectibles as well that do things like turn all of your health packs into fish or make your character shout like Tarzan. Because why the hell not.

Mahluk: Dark Demon – The Steam page for this has some interesting spelling and grammar errors which make the game look quite unprofessional, and when you get into the game it’s nothing particularly special. Plus the achievements unlock way out of order unless I genuinely managed to complete level 8 before completing level 2 (the achievements also have spelling mistakes). It seems to be a standard platforming game where the whole “Limbo-esque” shadow style has been used in pixel form because that’s easier than actually drawing stuff. Despite all that the game play is alright, just nothing special.

Super Rude Bear Resurrection – Playing as a bear from East London, you get zapped into an alternate world by a flying orb thing who wants you to defeat some kind of wizard (although I think the flying orb thing might be the Wizard or some kind of bad guy). From there you play through levels with all kinds of traps designed to kill you, and if you die you can then use your own corpses to get further the next time. Fell in spikes and died? Next time just jump on your impaled corpse to reach the other side. Like Super Meat Boy but with more bears.

Catlateral Damage – I think this is meant to be a VR game and it would be funnier in VR. Essentially you play as a cat and you run around houses destroying as much stuff as possible. Like cats do when they get the zoomies. The more stuff you destroy, the better your score. You also unlock other cats to then go and destroy stuff with.

Copoka – I generally don’t play the “non-game” games that are out there like the Walking Simulators or the “experiences” where you kind of wander about and there’s music and stuff but you don’t really do anything. I play games because I like solving puzzles or destroying stuff or killing aliens and dragons. I’m not sure I really see the appeal for me of games like Copoka where you play as a bird, flying around collecting shiney things for your nest and mostly just experiencing the world around you. When I overheard the first conversation about the government in this game universe withholding medicine from the citizens, my first thought was that it would be cool if the bird stole the medicine and distributed it by dropping it on people. So perhaps these chill out games aren’t really for me…

Mother Russia Bleeds – Pixelly fighting game fun based (surprise, surprise) in Russia where whichever character you choose to play as is kidnapped by a shady gang of people and drugged up. You then proceed to beat the crap out of waves and waves of bad guys as you go through the levels. It’s got a pretty steep learning curve in some places and I had to restart levels frequently because I got pasted across the floor or chewed up by a blender. Lots of fun then.

Inside – From the makers of Limbo so it’s not really a surprise that this is another super creepy game involving silhouettes and kids. Expect this has creepy-ass mind control stuff going on as well and then they send dogs after you and why the hell are people shooting at children anyway!? It’s really good but so incredibly unnerving as well – I’ve just got to a point where that are scary water-creature women who are trying to kill me whilst I’m driving around in my submarine.

Books

Fiction

Blood Test (Alex Delaware #2) by Jonathan Kellerman – You know when you read a book and realise that you missed a key detail from the previous book? That kind of happened with this one where I somehow completely missed the fact that the protagonist had his jaw smashed in the previous book! Anyway, whilst not as good as the first book – this has a lot more going on in it. I did at one point have to backtrack to check I hadn’t missed something else when a small cult that protagonist Delaware was spying on took all their clothes off and had a drug fuelled orgy… This definitely continues in the vein of exploring dark topics – even when justice is served it’s after a heap-load of misery and horrible, horrible crimes. Read with access to something cheerful afterwards.

Non-fiction

50 Cautionary Tales for Managers by Peter Honey – I have been trying to read up on management stuff since I will be managing staff within three weeks (a frankly terrifying prospect for me). I’m not sure how much this book will help but it was at the very least interesting to read just how awful some managers are and the advice segments at the end of each of the 50 tales was decent enough.

Weekends at Bellevue by Julie Holland – This is a ridiculously blunt, honest and not at all censored recount of one person’s experiences working at Bellevue. The author is not some kind of parable or saviour of mental health and at times the things she does are bloody awful. It’s kind of nice to have an autobiographical recount that doesn’t paint over all the times the author screwed up? It’s also pretty heavy reading because there are a lot of unhappy outcomes in the world of mental health, and along the way Holland also suffers personal losses.

That’s it for the reading – didn’t get much done this month unfortunately. I also forgot to tot up my numbers last month so I’ll add April’s in as well:

Games played in 2017: 33
Fiction books read in 2017: 35
Non-fiction books read in 2017: 16
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