My Current WIP: A Teaser

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have seen earlier this week that I revealed a little teaser for my latest WIP. It wasn’t much, but I wanted to show you at least something about what I’m working on.

And Then I Killed Her has been progressing quite well, until this week when I’ve not really been able to do a great deal on it for one reason or another. I’m hoping that this will change next week.

This story is something that came from a #vss365 writing prompt, and straight away, I knew that I had to write a full story. I don’t know if it’ll be a full-length novel or a short story yet; I need to see where it goes first before deciding. Either way, it will likely be the next thing that I publish, and I can’t wait for you to read it.

It’s a paranormal-horror-thriller (if that’s a thing), and in it, we follow Peter Finch, a serial killer whose latest victim just won’t stay dead.

I don’t want to reveal too much of it for now (mainly because I haven’t written it yet), but I’ve wanted to reveal something since I started writing it.

Below is the teaser video, and I hope to reveal more as I go – both on social media and on this website.

I hope I have piqued your interest enough for the moment, though.

Have a good weekend!

Fallout 4 and it’s Platinum Trophy: A Guide

Fallout 4 is an action role-playing game that was released in November 2015 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It’s the fourth main game in the Fallout series. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Boston and Massachusetts region known as The Commonwealth.

The main story takes place in 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after The Great War. You take control of a sole survivor who has been cryogenically frozen in an underground shelter called a Vault. The character has witnessed the death of their partner and the kidnapping of their son and goes on a mission to find him when they venture out of the vault.

Personally, I have loved the Fallout series of games for years, all the way to the turn-based isometric original on the PC. The worlds and characters that are crafted draw you into the story and let you live the apocalypse.

Fallout 4 expands on its predecessor by adding a crafting element. You can collect all sorts of junk on your travels around The Commonwealth, take it back to settlements that you set up and craft items to improve the living conditions of other survivors. The settlements vary in size, from the large starting one named Sanctuary to the smaller Hangman’s Alley. Each has its own challenges to overcome, be it space to build, or raider and super mutant attacks. This crafting element adds just that little bit more detail to your environment and makes your actions feel more like they have a purpose.

I got Fallout 4 when it first came out on the Xbox One, but I have also since repurchased it for the PS4. I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve put into it, whether building up my settlements, exploring the map or trophy hunting. It’s a massive game that you can get lost in and easily spend hours playing.

This brings me to what I want to talk about in this blog; trophies and hunting that elusive platinum.

Over the past week or so, we’ve been working hard trying to get Alex the platinum trophy for Fallout 4. I managed to get it on my account a few months ago, so you’d think that getting it again wouldn’t be an issue…well, you’d be wrong.

For the most part, the trophies are pretty straightforward; you’ll get many of them for simply playing the game and completing quests. I’ll go into some of the more difficult or confusing ones here.

Some trophies require different playthroughs – at least from a certain save point. This is because you have the option to choose from one of three factions and get different endings. If you want to get the trophies for all you need to make a separate save at a particular point in the game – I chose to do this before undertaking the “Battle for Bunker Hill” quest. If you save at this point, you don’t have to replay the entire game to get the different endings. It’s a good spot to diverge into the various factions as not long after it you’ll end up pissing off the other factions to the one you chose and losing the ability to use their resources or complete their quests.

Once we finished the main game, it was time to do a mop-up of other trophies. For example, to get the two – yes, two – bobblehead trophies, you have to wander around the map – probably to places you’ve already been but weren’t paying attention – to pick up each one.

Each bobblehead gives a boost to a stat too, so it’s well worth grabbing them when you see them, even if you don’t care about the trophies. I used a great guide from game-maps.com to find the ones that I had missed. It shows you where they are on the maps with a brief description of its location within the given area – it’s really easy to follow.

The next trophy I’m going to talk about is called The Harder They Fall, where you have to kill five giant creatures, i.e. Mirelurk Queens and Super Mutant Behemoths. To get this trophy, you need to fight said creatures and get the last hit on them. If you’re with a companion and they get the final blow, it won’t count. Below are the locations of 5 of these big nasties;

  • Swan is a unique Super Mutant Behemoth found at Swan’s Pond in Boston Common.
  • A Behemoth can be found south of Walden Pond at a location where cars are stacked on top of one another like some kind of druid meeting place.
  • A Mirelurk Queen is killed as part of the Taking Independence quest at The Castle.
  • A  Behemoth can be found outside of Fort Strong.
  • A Mirelurk Queen can be found to the west of Salem, northwest of the Museum of Witchcraft.

Next up, it’s Mercenary. This quest involves completing 50 miscellaneous quests. These are quests that appear under the miscellaneous heading in your Pipboy quest list. Below I’ll list a few of them which you may miss.

  • In Diamond City, next to the shop on the end is a “Wanted” board. You can get several quests from this, all of which will be classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit the Atom Cats Garage on the east coast of The Commonwealth, they will give you several quests; again, all are classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit Bunker Hill, Joe Savoldi, Deb and Kessler, they will each give you a quest.
  • In the Third Rail in Goodneighbour, Whitechapel Charlie will give you a mission to clear out some warehouses.

Now comes the biggest pain in the butt trophy to get in Fallout 4; Benevolent Leader. There are a load of guides out there that work for some people and not others. I’m going to go through what worked on our last playthrough as what I did to get it on my account didn’t work on Alex’s.

First off, you want to get your settlement up to what’s considered “large”. This means that you need to build and build in your chosen settlement – in our case, this was Sanctuary – until the bar in the top right of the screen fills and turns yellow.

Second, make sure you’ve got enough settlers there that you can assign wherever needed. In our case, it was the more, the better. I think we had around 24 when the trophy popped. If you’re not getting new settlers, make sure you send any companions that might be present to other settlements. To get them quicker, visit other populated settlements and tell them to go where you need them.

Third, build the last stage of the Clinic storefronts – you’ll need the perks Local Leader level 2 and Medic level 1 to be able to place these. These increase happiness as long as someone is assigned to them. So build and assign as many as you can. Of course, you have to make sure that you’ve still got some people working on food production. If not, this will cause your happiness level to drop. This will make all your hard work on creating a kickass settlement for nothing, but it seems to be the only sure-fire way to raise happiness enough for the trophy.

Fourth, get into a pattern of sleeping and ringing the bell that gathers everyone around you. From around 80% happiness, you want to make sure that you never stray far from your settlement. Ringing the bell is a good way to get everyone to gather around you and bask in your benevolent glow. We did this for around an hour or so for the final few happiness points.

That should hopefully be it. As I said, this method is just what worked for us. This is a good starting point to give you an idea, but you might have to tailor it slightly to make it make for you.

Hopefully, Benevelont Leader is the last trophy you need to make that platinum pop.

All I can say now is good luck, and happy (trophy) hunting.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part IX

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII

Part VIII

Part IX


The next few days were relatively quiet, but things escalated and started to happen more frequently. As I’d been seeing more shadows and shapes near the front door at any time of day, I decided to set up my camera in the main bedroom and point it at the door while I busied myself elsewhere and had a shower.

There wasn’t much to be seen or heard on this video for some time, but around 3 minutes 50 seconds into it, there is a whooshing noise that sounds to me either like “Gareth” or “get out”. The other odd thing about this video is that at the exact time the noise occurs, the hall light (the light in the communal hallway outside my front door, goes on. This light was movement activated, and there was no noise from outside of people moving around that could have caused it to come on. I find it very odd that it comes on at the exact moment that “something” speaks.

For the remainder of that night, nothing much happened, and when I watched the video back, I didn’t feel particularly scared of what was being said; I just found it weird and very interesting.

For the next few days, things were relatively quiet. Although I’d see shadows in the usual places, there wasn’t much in the way of interaction, i.e. doors moving, knocking or anything of the like. But on the 25th of July, I caught something very odd.

It was the evening, and I was sitting in the lounge watching some TV when a loud and constant banging came from nowhere. I sat for a few moments trying to work out where it was coming from. I’d grown accustomed to the noises that came from the other flats that surrounded me, and this one seemed as though it was coming from inside my flat. After a while of sitting and listening, I decided it would be a good idea to start recording.

Still sitting in the lounge, I started my camera up and tried to explain what had been happening. I wasn’t in a great mood on this particular night, so I decided to tell whatever this was to leave me alone and stop doing what it was doing. Almost as soon as I’d finished talking, a rattle came from behind me (around 1 minute 47 seconds into the video) that sounded like pots or cutlery rattling. This unexpected noise understandably startled me, and I turned to face the camera into the kitchen. There was nothing that could have made the noise, but the other tapping noise had stopped.

After this, I end the recording, and the rest of the night is quiet, and I don’t experience anything else out of the ordinary.

Both the videos of these experiences are below. So have a watch and let me know what you think. Especially if your think you hear or see anything that I haven’t mentioned.


Recorded 19/07/12

Recorded 25/07/12

It Takes Two (Review)

It Takes Two is a co-op adventure game that was released in March 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Like the publishers previous game, A Way Out (see my blog this game here), there is no single-player option and relies on either online or local split-screen co-op.

The story revolves around a married couple that are due to divorce. Their daughter Rose creates two dolls in her parents’ image and tries to repair their relationship by acting out actions with the dolls by using advice from a book about relationships – don’t ask why she has this. When Rose gets upset, tears fall on the dolls. This causes Cody and May – the parents – to get trapped within the dolls. When they wake up in their new bodies, they have to find a way to get to their real bodies by traversing their house and gardens, ably – if somewhat annoyingly at times – assisted by the now talking book on relationships – again, don’t ask why.

The levels consist of various sections of the house and gardens, where the pair of dolls have to fight their way through enemies – like, wasps plants and anthropomorphised toolboxes – and using the powers that they receive – like reversing time, a giant flaming sword, hosepipe and the ability to sing and break glass.

We loved A Way Out – it was a game that we took away on holiday with us – so we were really looking forward to the publishers next game. When It Takes Two was announced, and I saw the trailer, I thought it would be another great game that Alex and I could play together as there are precious few true co-op games for the current generations of consoles. We picked up our copy when it was on a weekly offer on the PlayStation store and jumped right into it.

Straight away, this was a very different game to A Way Out. The latter is a more realistic looking game, whereas the former is more cartoony in its style. However, this isn’t a bad thing as it does detract from the seriousness of the subject matter.

For the first level, you’re thrown into, you’re in the shed and have to traverse the environment to make it to Rose. You’re given powers that involve throwing nails into certain sections (Cody) and using a hammer head to swing on said nails to new areas of the level (May). Throughout the story, there are puzzles that you need to solve in order to progress. At times this can be very frustrating as you need to get the nails thrown into the correct section of a moving platform for May to swing across to another. The camera doesn’t help with this as it can be very touchy and difficult to control, and sometimes the view that you have means that you can’t really see what you’re doing. This only gets worse and more annoying as the game progresses.

Speaking of annoyance, I’m going to take a minute to mention the irritant that is the talking book. The book is meant to be the author taking its form and serve as a therapist to help Cody and May fix their relationship. What it does do, however, is bug the ever-loving sh!t out of you. It’s basically the book version of Lovelace from Happy Feet, and it gets even more annoying after you’ve spent your time trying to kill a box that was only difficult because the camera view was crap. The more he talks, the more you want to rip off its purple eyebrows and pull out of its pages.

The levels themselves and the bosses you face and necessarily difficult, but sometimes the controls and camera mean that you die for unnecessary reasons, which just adds to your anger.

Throughout the levels there are multiple mini games that you can find. Most of these games are fairly simple, button-bashing affairs that allow you a break from the main game for a few minutes, but don’t serve to do much also – except help you with a trophy.

We managed to complete the game in a matter of a few days – this includes getting the platinum trophy. The platinum isn’t a tough one to get, but we did nearly scrap the idea of getting it when we had to face the damn Helltower in one of the levels. But after throwing the controller down a few times, we finally did it and carried on with the trophy hunt.

The controls aren’t the only thing that let this game down. The two main characters – Cody and May – aren’t especially likeable, and we found it hard to care about their relationship. By the time the game ended, we wanted the choice to select them, not getting back together. In addition, the constant sniping and one-upmanship grated on us after the first level and having to go through the remaining levels with it just made us hate them even more.

Most of the levels are okay, but the garden level was our favourite. There was just something about it that made us enjoy it more than the others.

The graphics are pretty decent but aren’t enough to take your attention away from the games issues.

As it is, the game is alright. It’s nowhere near on the same level as A Way Out and was a bit of a disappointment coming off the back of this game. I just hope the publishers next game is better. I’m going to give the game a 5/10. It was okay but had so many issues that I can’t really rate it any higher.

I’d say if you want to test your real-life relationship, this is an excellent game to do it with.

If you’ve played this game, let me know what you thought of it.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part VIII

Click the links below to read the other parts of the story:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII

Part VIII

Part IX


Early on the morning on the 17th of July, I was still reeling from the previous night’s events and what I had found on the video that I had recorded throughout; the day had been relatively quiet, but that wasn’t to last.

That night I was sat watching a DVD in my bedroom when I started to hear banging and shuffling on the other side of the door in the hallway, so I decided to start recording again.

There was a strange feeling in the air that was hard to describe. I’d had these types of things happening before, but it didn’t feel off, but this time it did. Earlier in the night (the previous video), things had felt odd and heavy, but that was usually the case when it felt like something was messing with me.

Eventually, I got fed up with hearing noises – and felt a bit braver – I opened the door and looked into the hallway. As I opened the door, I saw a shadow stood behind the front door. Unfortunately, this wasn’t caught in the video. But by now, I was starting to get freaked out. Every time I moved my camera, the noise would be in another room. It was as if it was moving around but not wanting to be seen.

Later on, when I went through the video, the camera is breaking up in its usual way as all this is going on.

As I’m stood in the hallway – mainly in the bedroom doorway – looking around, I turn, and the spare room door has closed. In the video, I try to prove – as much to myself as anyone else – that I couldn’t have done it. I can’t reach the door from where I’m standing, and I’ve not moved anywhere near it to have knocked it. This only happens when I turn the light on my phone off, and everything gets much darker. When I open the door again, I feel a cold breeze, almost as if something passes right through me. I can also feel a cold spot that seems to have shape and distinct edges right in the doorway to the spare room.

Whenever I look at the front door – where I had seen the shape a few minutes before – everything looks darker.

All this time, I’m getting more and more freaked out.

I decided to have a wander around the flat to see if I could feel or sense anything elsewhere. As I move, I feel like I’m being followed, and I can hear soft footsteps on the carpet. Whenever I go back to the spare room doorway, I can feel the cold spot. I try my best to explain where the cold could be coming from. I climb up on my windowsill to check the vent above the window and can’t feel anything. When I go back to check the spot in the doorway, it’s gone.

I stand back in my bedroom doorway as I talked about what was going on when I feel something poke me in the shoulder. It felt as if someone had jabbed a couple of fingers sharply into my shoulder. I turn around instantly and see nothing there.

As I’m getting more and more freaked out, I decided to go back and climb into bed again. When I do, everything seems to go quiet again.

On this night, a lot of things that had never happened had happened. So it all felt very intense.

With the door to the bedroom now shut, I feel again as I’m being watched, and as I pan the camera around, I see a shadow stood in the corner of the room.

I feel like whatever this is isn’t going to let me sleep. So I decide to upload this video, like the other one, straight to YouTube. But, for some reason, when I do, I have to split it in two.

I decide to watch some more TV as I don’t feel like trying to sleep just yet.


Check out the videos on the links below:

Recorded 17/7/12 AM (Part 1)

Recorded 17/7/12 AM (Part 2)

Fallout Baking: Buffout Cookies (Recipe)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a recipe post so I wanted to do something a little different.

A while ago I bought Alex The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook, which contains numerous recipes based on things from the Fallout games series. We had a flip through and I decided to make one of the biscuits – Buffout ones specifically. All credit for this recipe goes to Victoria Rosenthal, it has just been adapted slightly by me.

The recipe in the book works with cups as measurements, but as I’m British and don’t work with that I’ve converted them to grams, which is why they may seem a little random – but they do work so don’t worry.

Ingredients:

  • 128g of unsalted butter
  • 64g icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 192g plain flour
  • 64g almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Combine butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.

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  • Add vanilla and almond extract and mix.

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  • Add remaining ingredients and mix.

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  • Cover baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball in your hands.
  • Gently press the ball down on the greaseproof to form a large disc. With a knife cross the top of the biscuit.

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  • Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Put in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until set or until top is crispy.
  • Allow cookies to cool.
  • Enjoy.

Our Buffout biscuits ended up less green than the ones in the book appear to be, but they tasted amazing.

If you give these a go yourself, let me know how they turn out and what you think of them.

Mass Effect Andromeda (Review)

Mass Effect Andromeda is a space action role-playing game that was released in March 2017 for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One. It’s the fourth entry in the acclaimed Mass Effect series and is the first to focus on a new protagonist in a new galaxy. You take on the role of Ryder and have the choice of playing as either the male or female of the two siblings. Both are inexperienced recruits of an organisation named “The Initiative”, whose goal is to populate new worlds in this new galaxy.

The game is set between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3 as the four council races – human, turian, salarian and Asari – plus the quarians send 20,000 citizens in what are termed “Arks” on a one-way journey to the Andromeda galaxy to explore and populate new worlds.

Through events that take place at the start of the game, your Ryder becomes a Pathfinder. A Pathfinder is a leader of sorts that leads a squad of military-trained explorers through the galaxy. They are trained in combat, survival and diplomacy. You have to lead your team through new worlds, against new enemies and establishing new colonies on alien planets.

Mass Effect is one of my favourite game series. It’s an epic series that gives you complete control over how you play. The first three games in the series told the story of Shephard, who you follow through to a massive conclusion. This new addition to the series had a lot to live up to, and it had a hard act to follow.

Of course, with this being a favourite series of mine when a new game was announced, I couldn’t wait to get into it. It seemed like a long road, filled with very little information and delays, but as soon as I could preorder it, I did.

When it arrived, I dove straight in. I wanted to know what the story could be after the massive events of the third game. But as much as I wanted to play it, I just couldn’t get into it.

I don’t know what it was, whether it was because it was a new character or whether I just didn’t like the start of the story, but I spent a few hours playing and then just sort of gave up. Theirs is a lot going on in this game. It has a much larger open world than any of the previous games. There were new elements like the strike teams – teams that you send on missions for rewards that can also be played using multiplayer. There were new puzzles that I to solve – sudoku like puzzles that allow you to unlock technology on planets that make them more habitable (when aliens came across sudoku, I’ll never know.) It was all just overwhelming, and I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters. First off, the main protagonist isn’t particularly likeable, and of course, you’ve not got any of the same characters you spent years getting close to in the previous games.

Recently though after playing through the original trilogy’s legendary remaster, I’ve restarted it and have actually now got the hang of it and am really enjoying it. There is a lot to it, and it is still overwhelming in parts, but I’ve just been methodically going through the list of quests and tasks and doing them in order rather than going all over the place to explore, and I’m finding this much better.

I still don’t feel like I have much of a connection to Ryder, but the other characters like Drax, Vetra and Peebee, I’m starting to like and enjoy having them around.

Once I got into it, the story is really enjoyable, and I am finding myself getting more engrossed in it, but like the rest of the game, there is a lot going on.

The graphics are amazing, and the difference between the worlds that you visit is amazing and variable. Each one has its quirks, whether being too cold, too hot (or just right) and having all sorts of different flora and fauna. There is a lot to explore on each planet and all kinds of hazards that you have to fight your way through or around.

Without a war going on in the background – as there is in the original trilogy – this game feels altogether lighter, and there is more humour peppered throughout, which does an excellent job of lightening the mood at times.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a good game, even if it does take some getting into. I would recommend to anyone that is a fan of the original trilogy to give it a go, but I would say to change your expectations. Although it’s a similar game, it’s still very different. I’m going to give it 7/10. I’m yet to finish the game and still have a long way to go, but what I have played is promising, and I feel like I will actually get to the end of it this time. Please give it a go yourself and let me know what you think.

Ghostly Occurrences in Apartment 42: Part VII

Click the links below to read the other parts of the story:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII

Part VIII

Part IX


Over the course of the next few days, I continued to record as and when things happened, but I was unable to find anything of note on the videos when I went through them. It was around a week before something happened that I had proof of. On the 18th of July, I got caught something stranger than I had before.

I’d been sat watching TV in the evening when I started to hear a consistent banging. This was going on for several minutes when I decided to grab my camera and begin to film. The banging, or thudding, didn’t seem to be coming from anywhere in particular. I sat for a while on the sofa while talking about what I’d been experiencing and listened to the noise.

Rewind a little bit to earlier that day. I’d experienced a few things throughout the day. I’d seen a shadow stood by the front door when I’d come out of the bathroom at one point. While I’d been watching TV, there had also been a shadow in the corner of the room, like someone was silently watching me.

While I filmed, the noise continued, and I decided to get up and walk around the flat to see if I could figure out where it was coming from. As I moved around, the noise seemed to come from all over the place. No matter where I went, the noise didn’t change in level or how it was occurring. I spent some time standing in the hallway and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.

After another few minutes, I walked into the spare room, and the banging stopped as if something just wanted me to go in there.

At one point while I’m filming, I walked out of the spare room, across the hallway and to the lounge. Something made me turn around – I heard a shuffling noise – and I see the spare room door swinging open. Something had caused the door to swing closed behind me. It hadn’t caught, so it was swinging slowly open again.

Everything in the flat seems to go quiet as it had done before, and a heavy feeling seem to fall on me. Then, after a few seconds of investigating the door, I heard a bang coming from the main bedroom – my bedroom. I turned to see what it was, but I couldn’t work it out.

I start to feel like something is messing me. Like whatever this is is leading me around the flat and getting me to go where it wants to. I found out later on that when I mention this, there is distortion on the video, the same that there had been previously when things had been happening.

By this point, I’m walking around the flat in the dark, and the strange feeling is only increasing in intensity.

Around eight minutes into recording, I hear a noise in the kitchen – it sounds like my pot of cutlery is moved and rattles. Something makes me turn back to the spare room, and the camera starts to go in and out of focus on the corner where I have sensed things previously.

I continued to record in the dark while things continued to lead me around the flat, and I struggle to figure out what’s happening.

Once again, the banging starts up again in a similar pattern to before, and it still feels like it’s coming from all around.

With everything that’s happening, I decided to stop filming and see if things calmed down. Instead of going through this video at the time, I uploaded it straight to YouTube.

Things in the flat seemed to be escalating, and I didn’t really know what to do with that other than to keep trying to gather evidence and work out what was going on.

Later on when I did finally watch the video though. As I go through it, I’m amazed at everything that I see and hear happening, even though I’d just experienced it in real-time. I was so happy that I’d caught as much as I had, but I hadn’t finished yet.

Around eleven and a half minutes into the video, I hear a sound. I increased the volume as much as I could and put on my headphones so that I could get a clearer listen to what it was. After repeated listens, I decide that I can hear the word “us”. This sent a chill through me. Did it mean that there was more than one of whatever was in the flat? Or was it just another way to mess with me?

After the word, I can hear a wooshing noise and some sort of click or snap, which I can’t really work out.

About a minute after the spoken word, the banging starts again, and the video ends. I sat back, amazed at all that I had caught in such a short space of time.

The banging continued for probably another half an hour or so before stopping and ending for the night.

Later that night, early in the next morning, I would record again.


To be continued next week.

You can find the video talk about in this post here. Let me know your thoughts.

Stuck in a Depressive Episode

At the minute, I’m not feeling great. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been descending into a depressive episode, and I’m struggling to keep my head above water so that I can get out of it. This isn’t to say that I’m not happy in my life. I’ve got an amazing partner who does everything she can to make me happy, we’ve just moved to a beautiful house that we’re still in the process of making our own, and I have a lot of things going for me. But I can’t seem to bring myself out of the funk that my brain is putting me in for whatever reason.

I feel like I can’t do anything and that I’m just no good for anyone or anything. I’m not as bad as I have been in the past, and as much as I don’t see any point in me being around right now, I’m not feeling suicidal or anything, but unfortunately, I feel like it probably wouldn’t take a lot to make me feel that way.

I’m struggling daily just to get through and generally feel like I just want to spend my days in bed doing very little. But, I’m not doing. I’m getting up every day and doing whatever I can, no matter how little that is.

To help me through this time, Alex and I have created a schedule for me to give me some sort of routine. It’s not much, but it at least tells me what I should be trying to do that day. For example, today (I’m writing this on Monday) is a blog day, so I’ll be spending my day – working the same hours that Alex does – working on blog posts and trying to get ahead of the game.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be a writing day in which I will be working on my new WIP. I’ve not really spoken about my latest WIP all that much. In last week’s Friday blog, I said that I’m working on it and how much I’d written, but I’ve so far not revealed much else. I feel like I’m going to keep my cards a little closer to my chest than I have with previous novels and maybe only reveal some details when I’m a bit further on with it. However, I will say that it’s a bit different from my previous novels, and I’m really enjoying writing it.

On Wednesdays, I’m going to be working on game stuff. This might range from just playing stuff because I can or to review or even doing streams over on Twitch. I did my first proper stream at the weekend – I’ve finally got a set-up that allows me to use my camera and mic – and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know who watched it, but I had a few viewers, and it did a lot to help me keep my mind off the way that I’ve been feeling. I’m hoping that I can come up with a schedule that will allow me to do it on a more regular basis.

Thursday and Friday will be reserved for more writing. Writing does help me, although sometimes I struggle to get going, but when I do, I get lost in the story and characters. It’s a great way to get out of the depressed side of my head and create something that I can be proud of.

As of writing this, I’ve contacted the doctor and I’ve been given a new medication that’s been added to the ones I’m on already to hopefully help me through this tough time. As with every depressive or manic episode, there’s no telling how long it will last. I just need to try what I can to get through it and to the other side. I want to be positive as I know deep down that I have a lot that I can be thankful for and proud of, but at the moment, it’s hard to push past the part of my brain that’s telling me I’m just not good enough. I know it will get better; I just wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m just going to carry on with my schedule, adjust it if I need to, and get through this depressive episode the best I can.

I hope your week has been good and that you have a great weekend.

Two Point Hospital (Review)

Two Point Hospital is a hospital simulation game that was released in August 2018 for PC and Mac and February 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and Switch. It is a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital by Bullfrog and even has some of the same developers. Throughout the game, players are tasked with building, operating, and maintaining a selection of different hospitals in the fictional Two Point County. In addition, you have the goal of curing fictitious comical illnesses such as animal magnetism, cubism, eye candy, jest infection and pandemic to progress through each hospital.

When this game was announced, I knew that I would have to play it. It looked almost identical to Theme Hospital – if with improved graphics – and because I spent so many hours playing that game, I just had to play Two Point.

Two Point has the same tongue in cheek humour as its predecessor and does its best to satirise the entire hospital experience. I mean, no one likes going to the hospital, so having so many humourous illnesses that poke fun at the real world is never a bad thing.

When you start the game, and you’re put in charge of your first hospital, everything seems so simple. You’ve only got a handful of illnesses to cure, and you only have to build a few rooms, like GP’s Offices and pharmacies. Still, as you progress through the levels, things get decidedly more complicated. You have to deal with more patients with a wider variety of problems, which means you have to build more rooms, ranging from psychiatry to x-ray to all the different machines to cure the ailments.

But that’s not all. As well as managing and curing your patients, you also have to maintain your hospital. This not only means hiring janitors to clean up and fix your various machines but also hiring/firing doctors and nurses, putting your staff through training, promoting them when necessary and making sure that they’re all happy lest they quit. You also need to make sure that you’ve got enough staff available so that when some tire and require breaks, you have others there to fill in for them. Sometimes this may mean that you end up with more doctors than you necessarily need at any given time just so you have them when you need them, which may mean you’re paying more for salary than you might need to and therefore end up spending more money than you have. It’s all a juggling act to make sure that your hospital runs as efficiently as possible.

Two Point Hospital is fun and challenging and, at times, infuriatingly so. There are so many times when you feel like you’re doing everything right. Still, for whatever reason, patients start to die (and haunt the hospital), you run out of money, or your reputation tanks, so you end up not getting as many visitors as you need to keep afloat. To see how you’re doing, at the end of each game year, you have the chance to win a selection of different awards such as Doctor of the year and the no death award, these serve to increase your hospitals reputation and also come with cash bonuses that can help you at difficult times.

I spent hours playing Theme Hospital back in the day, and although I haven’t played Two Point anywhere near as much, I feel like it wouldn’t take a lot for me to get hooked and while away hours in-game running my hospitals into the ground. There’s enough to this game to keep you coming back for more, and even if you play the same hospital multiple times, it’s always different. For example, you get the same illnesses but not in the same ratio. Also, things like the random VIP visits or emergency patients you have to treat in a specific time period come at different times, so you’re never truly prepared for them to happen.

There is so much to this game and so many different ways to play it that it never gets tiresome. If you enjoyed Theme Hospital or even just simulation games in general, I think this is a game that you will enjoy. I love both, and Two Point will be a game that, much like Theme Hospital, I will come back to time and time again. However, unlike some games in the genre, it’s not too tricky, and although it eases you in gently with the first levels, there isn’t the sudden spike in difficulty that you can experience in some simulation games.

I’ve played the game on both PC and PS4, and even though the controls are different on console with having to use a controller over a mouse, I haven’t experienced any glaring issues, and the port works just as well as the PC version.

I would recommend this game to any fan of the genre and I’m going to give it an excellent 9/10.

If you’d like to see the game in action before you pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out a stream that I did the other day over on Twitch.