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  1. Go for Hell. I looked up how to get there (I'm not the kind of player who enjoys finding out how obscure things work, and believe me it's hard enough to get there and finish it without having worked out how to do it first). I was going to type out how to get there - but seriously it's easier to Google it. Lots of work, but worth it. The Alien ship just gets you the Plasma Cannon. I say "just" but it's a monster. It's a hell of a fight to get to often, but so much fun to use (you can just chew up the scenery afterwards). I'll share my personal regime, which is this - if I die before I can use the ankh properly (meaning I can't get to hell), I then HAVE to take the path to the alien mothership at the end of 3-4. Because playing around with the Plasma Cannon is just too much fun (even if it will likely kill you). If I have a jetpack, a shotgun and a lot of bombs the mothership is fairly doable. If I have none of these things it's a proper struggle. It's all good. If I get out with the Plasma Cannon - result! There are also a couple of secret levels to look for (again, I cheated and used the wiki for them). Fun to play, and unlock extra characters, but ultimately skippable.
  2. To follow up - here's a story from several years ago that I remembered whilst typing my last post. The moment where Tom realises what's about to kick off is pure Spelunky for me. He knows the rules, he's seen what has happened - it's only a matter of time... https://www.pentadact.com/2012-07-13-shopstorm-a-spelunky-story/
  3. I was never a big fan of platform games before I played Spelunky, but something about it changed my mind. I think a lot of its appeal is the emergent gameplay built up from simple parts that all work together the way you'd expect them to. So whilst the arrow traps that shoot at you when you pass in front of them are really nasty, they'll also shoot at any enemy that passes through them, or indeed at a rock if you throw one past it first. So you can use arrow traps to kill enemies easily for starters, but a good bit of advice is to always carry something - a rock, an arrow, or the corpse of an enemy perhaps - so that if you have to pass an arrow trap, you can trip it safely with what you're carrying. And as advanced knowledge if you're carrying a damsel to rescue her/it, and you get hit by an arrow trap, the damsel will take the hit for you, so it doesn't matter if you're a little careless when carrying one. That coupled with the procedurally-generated levels means that you're constantly seeing new scenarios, and having to work out how best to approach them. Even after all these years playing it (and I've finished it countless times), I still get situations where - despite all that experience - I'm kinda stumped at how best to approach them. But the gist then is that you generally get better by learning constantly how the game works, and applying that knowledge. It can be harsh at first (those arrow traps seem brutal even now if I run into them carelessly), but the more you know the more you can use that knowledge to progress. As I said - bits of it seem harsh at first. I think the best bet is to go into each game expecting to die, and being pleasantly-surprised at how far you get, rather than expecting to get through, and being miffed when you don't. Because of the procedural-generation and interaction of systems you'll occasionally die in ways that seem unfair (sometimes they are, sometimes you can work out afterwards what happened, and see how you could have avoided it with hindsight). But the longer you stick with it the better you'll get because you're constantly learning.
  4. MarkN

    Gaming turn ons

    Allowing the player to level up beyond the game's difficulty level would be a huge one for me. In Morrowind I spent an enormous amount of time creating a set of armour that healed me faster than I could be hurt (by anything, or even by several anythings at the same time). It made the endgame a walkover. It was fantastic. I probably wouldn't have had the patience to do it properly.
  5. MarkN

    Gaming turn ons

    I'll have to give Noita another go. It never quite did it for me first time around. I wanted to love it, but it just felt a bit too ragged around the edges. It felt scruffy and loose, and whilst I am personally both of these things I want more from something I expect to sink huge amounts of time in. Nearly loved it, but actually didn't quite get there. Hard to put my finger on, but it wasn't quite right for me.
  6. MarkN

    Gaming turn ons

    This would be a big one for me. Gameplay mechanics that interact with each other to provide a playground essentially. It's one of the reasons I still play Spelunky on a daily basis. Another one would be worlds that feel like they don't just exist because I'm there. This is quite rare. Games are often set up to provide a journey for the player. Everyone and everything is there for you, and so you're afforded special status - either to do whatever the fuck you like with no consequences, or because everything wants to kill you (and no-one or nothing else). I like worlds that feel like they'd get on fine without me. Where other entities have their own lives and concerns, which may not involve me in the slightest.
  7. Vegan products still selling strongly: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/25/uk-demand-for-new-vegan-food-products-soars-in-lockdown The interesting thing for me from this article is that it looks like Beyond are moving into making vegan butter and cheese alternatives. If they can do as good a job as they have with the burgers that could be really good news.
  8. A friend who's working on it just posted this on Facebook, so I guess it belongs here:
  9. Genre: Futuristic Sport Theme: Based in the 70s Main gameplay mechanic: Getting a metal ball in a hole Short description: Two teams battle to stick a metal ball in their opponents goal, played on a banked oval track. The teams consist of roller skaters and motorcyclists. Must have: Lots of orange and brown, and those fonts that people in the 70s thought looked futuristic with fat rounded corners. Nice to have: A mini-game where you blow up trees Should not have: Been remade. Basically, I've always wanted a video game version of Rollerball. It would probably be rubbish, but from the moment I first watched it as a young lad many many years ago - I thought "videogame".
  10. Gutted. I got to Cardiacs very late, but fell in love instantly. Extraordinary music. Just fantastic. RIP Tim.
  11. Yeah - Wipeout was one of the trickier ones. After the first session was a bit wobbly, I next played it mildly drunk, and that helped enormously - really took the edge off. I shortly had all the comfort aids turned off too. Well worth persevering with - it's properly ace!
  12. MarkN

    Cricket Thread

    Such a shame the weather played up, but great to have cricket and TMS back - and highlights on the BBC too!. Very strange watching the highlights without the crowd present - whenever a boundary was struck there was just nothing. Was less jarring on the radio, perhaps because you're more focussed on the commentator's voice. The crowd hum definitely worked for me too.
  13. My Picross game (Picrastination) is 95p for the duration of the Steam Summer Sale. That's less than a 3rd of a penny a puzzle. I still haven't ported in to Mac though, I'm afraid, because I'm a shiftless wastrel. But if you've got a PC you'd be mad not to (IMO). https://store.steampowered.com/app/799110/Picrastination/ It contains perhaps the best joke I've ever made (admittedly not the best level ever, but worth it I think for the punchline) Edit - this is from the "A is for Anthrax" extra set of levels, where each letter of the alphabet represents a word that has never been used in a Picross game before - these are some of the very best levels (again, IMO):
  14. A funny one from The Death Of Stalin (said to the orchestra):
  15. I've got a three-quarter-finished Space Invader clone project (it's a project I may yet revisit one day, because it's a little different). It was actually trickier than I first thought. Normally with games you want enemies to take care of themselves - i.e you put a script on them that tells them how to behave, and let them get on with it. With Space Invaders all the enemies act as one, so you want one piece of code somewhere that takes care of all of them. Even realising this I struggled with getting the behaviour right - getting them to speed up nicely as their numbers dwindled. It was only after reading exactly how the original game worked that I managed to get it working correctly. If you want any pointers let me know.
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