Game Update – Avernum: Escape From The Pit

Current completion – 77%

Game review – My review of the original Avernum games can be found here.

For those that aren’t aware of this, I’ve been a big fan of Spiderweb Software‘s games for years – decades, even. Perhaps part of my liking of them is because they are based out of Washington State (where I grew up). But I think it’s mainly because they specialize in isometric, turn-based role-playing games. As I have often said, Spiderweb games are about as close as you can get to a tabletop experience without having to find an emulator to play the original TSR Gold Box games (and if you know what I’m talking about without having to look it up, you’re probably an old gamer like me).

Avernum: Escape From the Pit is a remake of the first Avernum game, which in turn is a remake of Exile: Escape From the Pit. The first Exile game, which was also Spiderweb’s first game, was released in 1996, and quickly gained a following – partially because of its native Mac support. Back with Exile I managed to get to one of the three endings (escape to the surface). Now, with the newest version, I am on the edge of getting all three of the end-game quests completed.

In order for me to get 100% of the achievements in this game, I’ll have to play through it on the harder difficulties, though – something I may try later on, but not now. Once I finish the game once, I’ll let it chill for a bit and play other games for a while. Probably something in a different genre (I have a few platformers I need to complete).

My review of the original series is posted above. The only real difference between the remake and those is that the remake has better graphics, a new quest, and revamped skills and spells. Otherwise, the plot is identical. If you’re into role-playing games like I am, you really can’t go wrong with the Avernum games.

At this point, my current overall game completion percentage on Steam is at 53%. It’s been holding there for a while. I think that, after I’m done with Avernum, I may have to find a game (or two) that I have less than 53% completion and try to bump it up over that number. It shouldn’t be too hard to nudge up that percentage, given enough time. I hope to get it over the 70% mark eventually. It’s just a personal challenge that I’m trying to hit.

You gotta have goals, right?

Until next time, keep on gaming!

One More Win!

National Novel Writing Month is now over, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve scored another victory! I managed to write a 50,000 word draft over the course of one month.

I hadn’t planned on participating this year. I really hadn’t been feeling creative, so I didn’t think I’d be able to produce anything. But I posted something on one of the Facebook groups (Supergeeks) about a book idea I had kicked around at one time. It received so much support, including from my wife, that I decided to give it a shot.

The premise of the book was pretty simple. Aliens arrive in orbit around modern-day Earth, and they have a mission – they’ve been searching the galaxy for Jesus Christ. They wonder if this planet might have clues as to where he walked.

I only had a rough idea about how I wanted to start the book and how to end it. But everything else I made up as I went along. I asked various questions and wrote down the scenes that came to mind. What would the aliens think about Earth culture? What about the multitude of religions on the planet? How does their own culture compare? In some ways it was therapeutic to write in this fashion – it allowed me to examine and point out a lot of the things that are wrong about our society, as well as craft a utopian society that the alien race is seeking. (Their culture on their world is pretty good, but not perfect – for example, there is very little creativity on their home planet.)

After I finished the first draft (or so I thought), I still had quite a ways to go before I hit 50,000 words. So I added three more chapters from the perspective of a second character. Once that was done, I was only 75 words from 50k. I managed to find a few sentences and scenes to expand on, and got the work up to 50,001 words. Victory!

My wife wanted to read it, so she’ll be my first beta reader. After I edit it a couple of times, I’ll decide if it will be worth pursuing, then see if anyone else would be willing to read it and provide feedback. (Incidentally, I’m a big fan of the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” approach. If you’d like me to take a look at your book in exchange for a look at mine, send me a message here or on my Facebook page.)

But for now, I should focus on some more gaming! Now that that project is out of the way, perhaps I’ll actually work on discussing video games on this blog. Until next time, keep on writing!

Change of Plans

I know I haven’t updated my blog for a while, but to be honest, it’s because I really haven’t felt like writing.

Several weeks ago, I got nailed by the Covid virus that’s been going around. The main thing that it did to me was just make me really tired – I slept a lot. I frequently felt worn down and sluggish. The rest of my family had it as well, and that seemed to be the most common symptom – feeling tired and sluggish thoughts.

So during that time, I decided to focus primarily on turn-based games, rather than more action-oriented ones, such as Street Fighter or Guild Wars 2. I also started paying attention to my Steam game completion percentage. It was around 45% at that time, so I figured, just for fun, to see what I could do to bump that up. At this time, it’s at 50% and climbing.

But I have recently noticed something else odd, which seems to have started around the time I got Covid. I have little to no creativity any more. None. I don’t have any compulsions or desires to work on my stories, or develop any new ones. It’s like my creative muse was killed along with the virus in my body.

The really strange thing is that I don’t miss it. Sure, it feels weird not to have this burden, this constant feeling of having to create and the despair for not having the time to do so. But it also feels like a great relief, too. Without this compulsion, I am actually enjoying things.

I may still publish one or two of my books, just to get them off my computer and out into the public. But I don’t really expect them to succeed – in fact, I doubt anyone will buy a copy. But I don’t really care at this point. Along those lines, I also am going to end my Web comic, “The Misadventures of Muffin the Mad,” because no one seems to be reading it. (Aside from my immediate family, of course, but I don’t need to post online to show them the results).

I might still do my other Web comic, “Sad W – The Stories of a Depressed Gamer,” but I haven’t decided yet. I’ve enjoyed the comic and have more than 25 drawn at this point (not colored, inked and lettered yet, but it’s much quicker to do those than Muffin).

Since I’m not focused on writing any more, what should I do with this blog? I had thought about bringing my Web page down, but I’m paying for it anyway… why not start writing about what I’ve really been enjoying lately?

So I think I will write about my ongoing quest to improve my Steam game completion percentage. I will post weekly about whatever games I have been playing recently, my overall thoughts about it, and how it’s going. When relevant, I also will include links to my game reviews – the greater majority of which can be found at Christ Centered Gamer.

My writing blog is turning into my gaming blog. Maybe I should look into starting up a Twitch stream, just for further kicks. Who wants to watch an old, balding guy struggle with video games?

If you’d like to follow my progress on Steam, you can find my profile here. However, keep in mind that I’ll respond to friend requests the same way I do on my Facebook account – unless I know you in some way, shape or form, don’t expect me to accept right away.

Talk to you later, and keep on gaming!