The Nicest Place on the Internet? No…Creepiest

Do you remember about 5 years or so ago on Youtube wwhen there was a huge campaign/revolution to give out “Free Hugs” in public places? No? Watch this video and you will:

Free hugs are nice right? VEry happy video for all that watch no?

Now what if some people decided to hug a camera instead of going out in public and hugging people for real?

They did, and it is creepy as hell to watch. Don’t get scared when the guy walks up to the camera. The nicest place on the internet? No way. Hope none of these guys are doctors.

Finally finishing our basement

Guest post written by Kathy Tenson

When we moved into our home, we were kind of excited that the basement wasn’t finished because we thought that we could make it into sort of a reading room or library for all of our books. Well, we put it off for a while, but I decided that I would finally get around to working on that project this year.

I knew that I wanted to reupholster this old couch into a really comfy and nice looking place to sit and read. While I was online looking up info for that, I ran across some info on Hardwood Flooring and decided that would be really nice in our basement. So I think that’s what we’re going to do as part of the process.

I did find some tips to use when reupholstering the couch. I know that it’s a pretty big project for someone who’s never done that before, but I thought that if I was going to decorate this room, I would make it into exactly what I want.

Monogrammed Gifts

Do you need to buy some monogrammed gifts for that special occasion when the only thing that will do is a monogrammed gift? Well take a look at Redenvelope.com and see for yourself what they have in the monogrammed gift variety. Surely there are a few things there that you can find for whatever occasion you need a gift for. Easily get it done and shipped right to your door.

Bastion Review

As I mentioned last week, one of the many games I bought from the Steam Holiday sale was indeed Bastion. After playing the holy hell out of Mass Effect 2 for a while I decided it was time to put it away and move on. Well…Bastion I sort of played in between it and others when I wanted something a bit more light. Bastion did well in this scenario, but it had a bit more to it than I though it would. Doesn’t mean there is a lot of things that need to be covered in a review, but gameplay time and such I think was a bit longer and more challenging (if you add in difficulty) than I though tit would be.

First off, Bastion looks wonderful. The art style is very colorful and cartoonish, but fantastic. Very bright and beautiful and a joy to wander around in the world. The video trailer at the bottom should be just enough to give you the ides.

The game itself is an Action RPG. You play as a young kid that wakes up in a world where everything, and everyone is gone. The world is torn a part and you are alone. You get out of bed and begin to start searching only to find destruction. You grab yourself a giant hammer and begin to crush everything you see. All the while there is a voice narrating the journey and it is quite a good voice narration I must say.

Eventually you find yourself in the Bastion. The central hub for your character where you will upgrade your skills, your weapons, and other upgrades you have at your command. This is basically the hub for your RPG leveling elements in the game. You come here after defeating a level, or anytime and you are able to switch out your weapon loads, skills, or change around some of your level passive abilities. It’s not complicated, but you do have quite a few things you can upgrde. All this is quite simple and very low level from a planning standpoint. There are some thins you can do as a strategy with what you carry with you, or the potions you use for certain areas, but overall it’s not complicated and anyone could do it.

That brings us the combat when saying anyone can do it. Early on you have very few troubles. Enemies aren’t ‘easy”, but they are certainly easy for anyone with RPG, or gaming experience as they should be early on. As you get further into the game however, enemies certainly become stronger, but they added a neat little option to the game. You can find these “Idols” of gods that you can activate to increase difficulties. 10 in all, and they do things such as make enemies more aggressive, take more hits, or cause you more damage. The more you activate the more EXP, and drops. This can REALLY get tough if you activate enough of them. Especially in a special are an type world you will run into eventually that you need to go to if you want to get the best upgrades and EXP fast.

You fight with a melee weapon, and a ranged weapon (For some reason at first only can carry one of each, but for me eventually I had 2 ranged weapons equipped only). You also get to carry one skill with you that either relates to a carried weapon, or is a general “magic” skill. You have HP and you heal with potions. Your skills use another potion that is a black bottle. Once you use the stash of bottles (you start with 3) you must find more in the level in crates or enemy drops, or when you get back to the Bastion they will replenish. With the Leveling up you can add a special tonic to your shelves that gives you more power boosts, more HP, more bottles, etc. There are quite a few and can be changed in the Bastion at any time. This allows for a bit of strategy in how you defend/fight with enemies. The combat is very much action orientated. You shoot arrows/guns, or pound on things with a hammer, sword, etc. You have the ability to roll/dodge, and you even have a SHIELD you can carry that basically blocks everything thrown at you if used correctly (It’s not as easy as it sounds, and doesn’t make you even close to invincible. You may think you, are, but you will find out quickly when you die you weren’t).

AS you go through fighting through the levels you are searching for cores to piece your world back together, and to find other people that may have survived. All along you are meeting new people along the way and hearing about your adventures from a narrator during the fights. I mean the dude talks the whole way through the game as if he’s reading a story about your actions. It’s not annoying at all so don’t think that is what i meant. It’s not CONSTANTLY, but just enough to give you some good chuckles while playing, and to keep the atmosphere perfect for the game.

The story is simple, and the gameplay is simple. The art style is beautiful, and the narration is a joy to listen to. It’;s a very good action RPG. Very few flaws, if any. Length is probably around 10 hours or so if you take your time a bit maybe. It’s really not possible to take your time since when you beat a level there is not much reason to go back. It has a few challenge areas you probably need to complete if you want materidal to upgrade your weapons. You find materials and get cores so you can add buildings to the Bastion which if you don’t you an’t upgrade anything, or buy anything. This is quite a fun game and well worth the cheap priced I got it for of $5.09 on Steam which cost me about as much as an iphone case. It’s still only $14.99 full price I believe, which is worth it.

EDIT: Forgot to mention this in the gameplay, but it is VERY important info IMO. The game at default uses the keyboard/mouse control system. It does however offer the abilit to use a gamepad. Personally, I am using a PS3 controller with motioninjoy set to the 360 config. It is set up to work with a Microsft/360 controller by the way the buttons are displayed in game. HAven’t tried to configure it as a PS3 controller since almost none of the games work right if you do, but it is HIGHLY recommended that you use a controller. Wtihout a controller movement is rather limited and the combat becomes quite a bit more difficult.

I would say this game deserves about 8/10 as a final score. TOTALLY worth it if you get it on sale for Steam, and still worth it at the full price. It has a decent length main quest of over 10 hours, and it has replayability, but really only if you are interested in playing with a bit more challenge I would guess. Activating the idols makes it quite a different game experience. It has Steam Achievements as well which is another reason to keep playing obviously.

So…How Much did the Steam Holiday Sale Set You Back?

Got a new computer and installed my old Half-Life 2 disc on it. Figured I’d roll it out at max settings and see what’s what. Installed Steam again, which I never even used before. Saw the add the first day and was like…hmmm these are some good deals. Next thing I know I was buying games everyday. So many, that I think I may invest in an adult diaper just so I don’t have to get up.

End of the day I think I spent only about $50 on 10 or so games. I think I may have picked up one dud, but I still played it for quite a while.

Fable III ($12.49)-The one dud. Cost the most of any games I bought and it is really just a tedious game with the same lame quests over and over again. It looks really nice, and you feel like it could be amazing, but it just gets so boring after a while.

Fable: The Lost Chapters ($1.49)-Beat this game so many times but figured I’d see the PC version and if it was any different. Controls kind of suck with a keyboard/mouse, but it’s still a great game and cheap as hell.

Terraria ($2.49)-PRobably 99% of Steam customers bought this during the sale. HAven’t played it yet.

Bastion ($5.09) -Throwback sort of RPG. Not real complicated, real time action combat. Weapons and skill upgrades. Great narration and beautiful art. Very nice game. Would highly recommend it.

Orange Box ($9.99 I think) -Already had most of this, but since I needed Episodes 1 & 2 for some mods I bought it again and gifted HL2. Mods are meh IMO. Didn’t really get a lot of enjoyment out of the major ones like MINERVA, SMOD, Garry’s, etc.

Mass Effect 2 ($4.99) -Nope…never played it before. Never played ME1 either. Played this more than all the others I bought combined though. Amazing game, and totally not what I expected. Thought it was going to have terrible combat and be some sort of all story game. It’s really a massive and amazing game all around.

Just Cause 2 ($4.99)-Already have this on PS3 as you can read here. Jsut wanted it for mods. Playing as a chick, and extra grappling cables. Worth it.

NOTE: BTW…I don’t have a 360 controller at the moment so I didn’t think I could play a lot of these games on PC since I didn’t think any good PS3 adapters worked. Fable 3, JC2, etc. (Keyboard is awesome for the rest including ME2). I looked around and found that MotioninJoy works awesome for PS3 controllers. I set it up with the 360 config for most of these games since they don’t show. Some you can use the native PS3 controls though. Fable III for instance shows all the 360 buttons in game so it gets a tad confusing, but you adjust if you play with both enough.

Amnesia: Dark Descent ($4.99) – Downloaded this a few times from a torrent, but it was always buggy and didn’t run properly. Haven’t played it yet, but I needed a survival horror game and this was the one people recommend most lately.

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All in all feel like I got some good value and a few awesome games I never would have bought otherwise.

Missed the Skyrim for $40 day. Already have Batman. Other than that nothing new I really wanted. Maybe Saint’s Row: The Third, but I’m just gonna buy that later on when it is cheap anyways.