Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gaming Guilty Pleasures (Pt 2)

Part 2 in the trilogy of games I loved that most people hated, trashed and forgot about.

Too Human 

Too Human was a game I didn't even know about until it was already out. I actually tried the demo on Xbox Live and thought it was just "OK", but it started to grow on me. I got a really good deal on it when I bought it on eBay (well below the retail price at the time), and started really getting into it. I was completely sold on the idea of a futuristic take on viking mythology. You got to be Baldur, choose a play-style (mostly either ranged combat or "in your face with a sword"), and wreck endless hordes of ice giants. Well, OK, they were robots. Still awesome. The story was actually pretty decent, and they managed to weave in a lot of the lore to fit the game. The more I played it, the more I liked it, probably because I died way less over time. If you replay certain levels and grind a little bit to level up and hone your skills as a viking god, you learn what works for certain fights and what doesn't. Eventually, you just get a ton of badass armor and weapons - so many that you don't even know what to do with.

Ah, but the negatives do still ring fresh in my mind. When you died, they wanted you to know. You get to watch a cinematic of a valkyrie coming down to pick you up and take you to Valhalla each and every time. And for several hours into the game, you'll watch it a lot. There was a steep learning curve. Also, the inventory eventually became  overwhelming. I ended up spending a lot of time just sorting through what I wanted and what I was just going to sell. But none of this stopped me from actually playing. In spite of the glaring issues the game had, I loved picking it up and playing it - if only to take out a couple hundred giant robots... BY MYSELF.

I was hoping for the sequels to actually see the light of day, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Sad panda. :(

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hopstache Black IPA - Brew Night

I got home from work today and decided I'd start the batch of black IPA. The ingredients were sitting in my closet crying out for attention. Every time I opened the closet door, where I store all of my brewing-related items, I could smell the grains. While I really enjoy them, I've never made an IPA before (only standard pale ales), let alone a black one...

So I sanitized all the necessary items for the whole process and started the boil. The end result - my apartment smells like someone blew up a hops packaging facility in my kitchen. I opted to not use muslin bags while hopping the beer wort because I like to get as much hop utilization as possible by adding it directly. I should have used bags for this batch, however, or at least strained it out before pouring it in the carboy. There's almost an inch of hop trub that sank to the bottom, and that's still with a huge portion of it left behind in the boiling pot. Whatever - worst case scenario, I'll have a little less liquid, but a lot more hoppy flavor. This is also the first time I decided to use a blow-off setup for the primary fermentation instead of a regular airlock, mainly because it's a higher gravity beer, and I've heard the yeast can be incredibly active. I didn't want to risk having krausen (that's the foam while it's fermenting) all over my closet because of excess CO2 build-up. So now it's all done and ready for the yeasties to go "om nom nom".

EDIT: Less than 8 hours in and it's happily fermenting away. The blow-off tube is releasing the pressure just fine. Probably a good thing that I set that up - this is very active yeast.

Next steps:  dry hop to secondary, wait, bottle, wait...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holster Your Weapon

While traveling, I decided to post something quick and funny. Sometimes I love the fake billboards, posters and other ads in video games. There's a theme with these ones...