This is where I track the games that I'm currently playing. I try to update it once per month if I've been playing something new (to me).

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June 2021

Stardew Valley

There is a bunch of new content out for Stardew, so I decided to play another two year game and explore the new additions. Thirty hours later, and well into year three I think I'm about done. This is the first recent playthrough for me where I didn't get all candles at the end of year 2 -- I was too busy exploring the new content and failed to get married or make many friends. There is a new island off the coast of Pelican Town called Ginger Island. It's tropical, has new mango and banana trees, and a whole new dungeon to explore. While exploring the island you obtain golden walnuts that can be used to unlock areas on the island, such as a resort for visiting townspeople, a trading post, and (most importantly) a second farm. The farm grows year-round, any crop, and has no crows -- so it's a huge moneymaker. It's like a giant greenhouse. The island also has a room where Mr. Qi hangs out and sends you on missions and gives you access to some awesome new items. You can also unlock more content if you achieve perfection -- which the criteria look a good additional ten or twenty more hours at least. Think I will pass on that for now.

May 2021

Hardware: new computer for my touch table

I spent this month playing Conan Exiles, Overwatch, and Quake Champions - all old games that I've reviewed before. But I also built a new computer. Ever since I gave my nephew the computer I had previously hooked up to my touch table, I've been running it off of a 10 year old laptop. That was no longer running some of the touch table games properly, so I had to retire it and build a replacement. You can read about my touch table here.

I already had the (obnoxiously big)case, power supply, and even the memory laying around in my storage pile so I only had to pick up the mobo, cpu, SSD, and OS. All said and done the components I was missing only cost $382. It's a competent machine; it runs Win10 on a hyperthreaded four core Intel 10100 @3.6 GHz, an ASUS H510M motherboard, 32GB of RAM, and a 512GB M.2 SSS. If I ever manage to get my hands on an Nvidia 3000 series card I will move my 1070 into this new computer which will become my full-time VR machine in my living room.

April 2021

PC Builing Simulator

I always thought this looked like a fun title, but it seemed overpriced. It showed up in Humble Choice so I got it pretty cheap. I'm glad I didn't pay full price. This is more of a game than a pc building simulator. They've taken the very basic modular components and gamified putting them together. You take orders from clients, clean the viruses off their computers, swap out their ram, and so on. I guess I was hoping for a more hardcore sim, where I can pick real-world components and stick them together and look at things like power consumption, temperatures, and maybe even some theoretical benchmarks or hardware conflicts for a build. In hindsight, I should have realized how hard that would be. I got a few hours of fun out of it, though. Definitely seems like this could be a free game with sponsorship coming from real-world component makers who want to advertise.

March 2021

Satisfactory Update 4

The long awaited (delayed by COVID) Update IV for Satisfactory finally dropped from Coffee Stain Studios, we have drone transport for our manufactured goods, along with lots of other cool stuff. I played another game from scratch - starting with nothing and working up to nuclear power, including the new plutonium reactor. The screen cap here is from my game (click for larger image) - and shows my new favorite factory location. Just up the hill is plenty of iron and copper for early game, there is a crystal mine nearby as well as sulfur, and with the addition of well pressurizers and extractors water is available as well. I still build a secondary base out along the northwest coast for oil products, as there is a convenient bauxite mine up there too. At last, we have power storage to smooth out the grid, and smart splitters with overflow, nice. They've done a lot of balancing and worked out some kinks in the liquids system. At this point it feels like a finished game to me, less the story elements that are coming (and possibly dedicated servers for co-op). I'll definitely be playing through again.

February 2021

Star Wars: Battlefront II

When this game was released, it had some serious grind issues to get certain unlocks - an obvious ploy to get you to spend additional money in-game. This led to "the most downvoted reddit comment ever" (you can search that phrase if you are interested). But it's been three years, and they've made a lot of improvements to the game, so my gaming group picked it up on sale for ten bucks and gave it a chance. We ended up playing quite a bit, and I feel like it now lives up to its predecessor in most regards. The flight mechanics are abhorrent, but the ground-based vehicles make up for it. There's a decent mix of maps and game-modes, and plenty of playerbase to populate the servers. No server selection though, those days seem to be at an end for online multiplayer. Cheating seems minimal, the graphics are great, and it has that Star Wars vibe you crave. Give it a try, I think they give it away for free once in a while.

January 2021

Doom Eternal

I finally got around to playing the sequel to 2016's Doom reboot, Doom Eternal, and it was every bit as good as its predecessor. ID Software's IDTech7 engine gives me a consistent 100fps of buttery smooth, 2K demon-slaying graphics on my nearly five year old graphics card, the GTX1070. No other game engine on the market cranks out the kind of graphics, at amazing frame rates, than ID's engine - and it really adds that extra dimension to an incredible game. Doom Eternal finds the Earth invaded by hell's worst, and the Doomslayer has to bring the invading demons to an end using all the traditional weapons in his arsenal, plus a few new ones. The adventure moves from Earth, to other worldly realms, to Mars, and back again. The story is great, the game mechanics are great, and the quality of the title is top-notch. Time to complete the campaign was about 25 hours. Released in 2020, the game can be caught on sale for $20 and I recommend it without hesitation at that price. Doom II, from back in the 90s, is one of my favorites of all time - and the reboots live up to the legend.

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