The Last Five Beers XXXIV

Let’s take a look back at the last five beers a bunch of beers I’ve had to drink…

Swan Lake Samurai Barley Ale

 

Fremont Bonfire Ale

 

Full Sail Hop Pursuit IPA

 

Full Sail IPAPYA

 

Hale’s Ales Nut Brown Ale

 

Pfungstadter Hefeweizen

 

Scuttlebutt Tripel Seven

 

Stumptown Candy Peel IPA

 

Peroni

When in Italy, fancy hotels apparently only stock Peroni.

La Magnifiche di Petrognola Ambrata al Farro

The grain gathering lady here is pretty adorable.

Nastro Azzurro Firenze

This one was local to the Florence region. It was practically sparkling water.

Leffe Triple

Interesting to find a Belgian Tripel labeled a Triple in Europe. They must attempt to make it exotic for the American audience. This one also turns out to be an AB InBev product.

Paulaner Münchner Hell

 

Bernard Bohemian Ale

 

Lagunitas Sucks

I have always been confused by the name of this one.

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale

 

Reuben’s Brews Roasted Rye IPA

The rye comes through extremely strong; not a beer for casual consumption. I was taken back by the first one I had, but had another knowing what to expectat and found it quite enjoyable.

Boundary Bay Irish Red

 

10 Barrel Pray for Snow

 

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA

The lower ABV pale ale (above) was the better of this pair. I haven’t tried the IPA, perhaps it is Goldilocks.

Laurelwood Rando IPA

The tartness of the passion fruit really came through here. It did not pair as well with hops as I would have though.

Alaskan Husky IPA

 

Pike Kilt Lifter

 

10 Barrel Code 24

 

Shiner Kosmos

 

Hale’s Ales Red Menace

 

Paulaner Hefe-Weiβbier

I found cans of Paulaner in Zurich. The beta in the German looks very strange to English-speaking eyes.

The Backlog – Year Two Report Card

Checking back in on my effort to play all of the games I’ve acquired over the years. My goals from last year were to limit purchases to games that I intended to play immediately, scrutinize bundle purchases, and generally prioritize playing the games I already own. Let’s see how we did:

Old Games Finished:

  1. Dead Space 3
  2. BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
  3. The Witness
  4. Laura Croft and the Guardian of Light
  5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  6. Sly 2: Band of Theives
  7. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
  8. Crypt of the Necrodancer
  9. Retro City Rampage DX
  10. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  11. Diablo III
  12. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
  13. Teslagrad
  14. 3D Dot Game Heroes
  15. Killer Is Dead
  16. Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure
  17. Moon Chronicles Episode 1
  18. Legend of Grimrock
  19. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas

Purchased and Finished:

  1. Resident Evil 7
  2. DOOM
  3. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  4. Song of the Deep
  5. Shovel Knight
  6. The Banner Saga 2
  7. Inside
  8. Stephen’s Sausage Roll
  9. Super Rude Bear Resurrection
  10. Gone Home
  11. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  12. Okamiden
  13. BOXBOY!
  14. Overcooked
  15. Titanfall 2
  16. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
  17. Metroid: Samus Returns

Purchased to be Played:

  1. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  2. DiRT 3
  3. Assassin’s Creed III
  4. The Crew
  5. Odallus: The Dark Call
  6. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  7. Laura Croft and the Temple of Osiris
  8. PAC-MAN 256
  9. Ace Combat Assault Horizon
  10. ENSLAVED: Odyssey to the West
  11. Unravel
  12. DiRT Rally
  13. Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
  14. The Deadly Tower of Monsters
  15. They Bleed Pixels
  16. Hacknet
  17. Crashlands
  18. UnderRail
  19. Curious Expeditions
  20. GoNNER – Press Jump to Die Edition
  21. Metrico+
  22. This Is the Police
  23. The Turing Test
  24. Undertale
  25. Rebel Galaxy
  26. NBA 2K17
  27. Pillars of Eternity
  28. Resident Evil 0 HD Remaster
  29. Resident Evil HD Remaster
  30. Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
  31. DmC: Devil May Cry
  32. Day of the Tentacle Remastered
  33. Nongünz
  34. Wuppo
  35. War for the Overworld
  36. Offworld Trading Company
  37. One Piece Burning Blood
  38. Shadow Warrior
  39. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
  40. Killing Floor 2
  41. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  42. Worms W.M.D.
  43. Stories Untold
  44. HackyZack
  45. Eterium

Our Goals

  • Limit purchases to games I intend to play
    • We did better than it looks here. Out of 21 distinct purchases, I finished 13 games (62%). Compared to last year, where I finished 32 games from 65 purchases (49%), I did a better job both limiting overall purchases and purchasing things that I planned to immediately play. The raw numbers still look pretty bad because of…
  • Bundle purchases
    • I bought five more bundles this year. With the exception of one that I ordered by mistake, the bundle price was a good deal on a single game that I wanted. Getting hung up on accepting a good deal because it happens to come with some extra stuff is illogical.
    • On a related note, I accepted a strangely large number of free games this year. Ten to be exact. Sometimes stores are just plain generous.
  • Prioritize playing games that I already own
    • There is definitely room for improvement here. I made more new purchases than I played existing games.

Goals for the Next Year

With two years of results to inform my decision, I am simplifying to a single goal for the next year: play at least one game that I currently own for each game purchase that I make. This avoids the oddities of bundles and gifts, and while it does not guarantee that the actual number of “backlogged” games that I currently own will decrease, it does serve the more relevant goal of limiting the amount that I spend on games that never get played.

The Blogs Broke

At some point between the last time I blogged in June and the last time I thought about blogging in September, Bic and I’s blogs went down. It turned out to be a bad update pushed by one of the plugins we were using. Anyway, it’s gone now and the blogs are back.

More posts to come, perhaps…

Game Over – Some 2D Stuff

A handful of 2D games I’ve played across the past months…

Teslagrad

Teslagrad is a pretty solid “real physics” puzzle platformer, by which I mean that the majority of your actions are governed by force field simulations and everything feels a bit floaty in a fuzzy analog way. I found it quite fun – and wonderfully paced thanks to the combination of novel level design and a drip feed of physics (and thus gameplay) warping gadgets – with the glaring exceptions of the boss fights, which are very Donkey Kong Country without the comfort of the Diddy Kong life. If you think you can handle a half hour of trial and error boss fights, then the other five hours of Teslagrad are a solid recommendation.

Galak-Z

At first glance, Galak-Z immediately reminded me of Bangai-O, a really sweet Dreamcast game about giant robots that I never made it very far into. Galak-Z takes the side-on spaceship combat and controls of Astroids, adds a helping of sword-and-shield mech combat, and mixes it up into a Rouge-lite. This has the exact gameplay ramifications you would expect: it feels really great when you manage to push through and reach permanent progress at the end of a “season”, a set of five levels across which you keep any gear that you manage to find, but success at the start of each new season feels largely dependent on the random drops in the first level or two. Particularly in the later stages of the game, enemies become so relatively powerful that not being given the right weapon upgrades as random drops spells near certain death. These qualms were entirely predictable, however, and I certainly determined long ago that the Rouge-lite formula worked for me when I put 80+ hours into The Binding of Isaac. What is much harder to defend is the giant cliffhanger of an ending that is the apparent result of the development team deciding that they didn’t feel like bothering to add the fifth and final season to the game. Summing up Galak-Z: Pros – gorgeous art, solid music, quite stylish, gameplay feels great. Cons – incomplete game.

INSIDE

I played Limbo, Playdead’s previous game, several years back, finding it pleasant if largely unmemorable. INSIDE brings back the sort of puzzly, meandering platforming of Limbo dressed up in a (very) shiny new coat of paint and a (slightly) more present plot line. It is most notable for doing everything that it wants to do with extreme polish. It is, like Limbo, mostly forgettable, because it doesn’t set out to accomplish a whole lot. The puzzles are workmanlike, the platforming twice so. INSIDE is all in on the atmosphere, which is admittedly quite well done, elevating the game just above Never Alone.

Shovel Knight

I played through most of Shovel Knight on flights to London and back, from which I have no actual transition, but I wanted to note it here to aid my own future recollection. Shovel Knight is an homage to Mega Man and early Castlevania games with a Super Mario 3 over world and JRPG shops and towns. It feels fantastic to play and the modern checkpoint-based save system is very welcome alongside all the nostalgia mining. If you have any affection for 8-bit era platformers, then i have no doubt that you will love Shovel Knight.

Crypt  of the Necrodancer

Crypt of the Necrodancer mashes a dungeon-crawling rouge-lite together with a rhythm game, an idea which sounds mostly crazy. Practically speaking, the result is a series of enemies moving in a set pattern to the beat, a combo system that rewards the player with cash money for moving on beat, and a hard timer on each level (the end of the song). It works very well! I made it through the first few levels in real time, but the critical mass of enemies that the last level throws at you turned out to be more than I could track at once, forcing me to switch to the “move at your own pace” character. Fun game, great chip tunes.

The Last Five Beers XXXIII

Let’s take a look at the beers I had in London

Gadds’ Black Pearl Oyster Stout

I had this beer alongside a steak pie in Canterbury. It was from a local brewery and, unlike the one oyster stout I’ve encountered before, did not actually contain oysters.

Schiehallion Lager

I had this beer alongside a tasty Indian meal served as a collection of small dishes, similar to having Korean.

Flying Dog Easy IPA

I had this beer at a dedicated fish and chips place. I recognized the brewery; it turns out they’re in Maryland.

Park Brewery Winter Gold

I had this beer with a magnificent charcuterie board featuring the biggest capers I have ever seen at a pub across the street from Hampton Court Palace.

Curious Brew Lager

I had this beer on the sidewalk outside while we waited for a table. It was supposedly double fermented with champagne yeast and tasted like basically nothing.

Bill’s Cider

I had this beer at Bill’s, a Cracker Barrel-like chain featuring rugged furniture and their own branded drinks and canned goods.

Witchwood Hobgoblin

I had this beer from a grocery store, where the selection was very limited, then drank it alongside an array of leftover desserts from our accidental triple order of afternoon tea.

Brewdog Punk IPA

I had this beer from a grocery store. It was the only IPA on the shelf.

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Finally, I’ve had this beer before, but the first restaurant we stumbled into after landing Friday served exclusively Samuel Smith beers. It turned out they have a series of affiliated pubs scattered about London.