Love or Hate: Open World Games

Open-world games are one of many genres of video game that is out there. These days there are many massive games where you can freely explore a map as long as you want without it having an adverse effect on the story. I asked my gamer followers on Twitter if they enjoyed open-world games or if they preferred a more linear experience; below are some of the responses:

Open-world games aren’t just a recent evolution of gaming. They have been around since the 70s, with the game Western Gun being released in 1975. In this game, you controlled one of two gunmen that could openly explore the game map while trying to shoot the other player. Western Gun might not be on the same scale as open-world games are now, but it is nevertheless the origin.

Over the years, this type of game evolved, bringing a larger map for exploration – like in the original Legend of Zelda for the NES – all the way up to games like GTA V, Assassin’s Creed, and Fallout. Each world allowing the player to complete quests from far and wide alongside the main story quests, as well as collecting items or just exploring to see what the map has to offer.

As seen in the response from gamers above, some people enjoy open-world games, others not so much. For me, I’ve always gravitated towards open-world games over the more linear ones. I relished the challenge of completing quests from the arse-end of the map or exploring some of the hidden places that others might not venture to. I enjoyed spending hours inside a game, seeing everything that it had to offer. Over the past couple of years, however, as much as I still enjoy a massive game, I find that I haven’t got the patience to explore as much as I would have done previously. Doing all of what I said above has somewhat lost its shine, and I find myself getting bored with wandering and then just running through the main questline. For some – I’m looking at you Skyrim – this will cut the game down to a matter of a few hours rather than hundreds, and it leaves a bitter taste because of missing out on so much.

Some open-world games are easier to play than others. Games like Death Stranding are amazingly beautiful to look at, and that makes you want to explore more of the environment. I find myself wandering just to see the prettiness of the map. For others, that just isn’t enough. For example, I really enjoy the Assassin’s Creed games – I know they’re all very similar – but recently, I was playing Odyssey, and I just can’t get into it. Now, it might be for a combination of things, but it’s a huge game that I just can’t be bothered to explore and I think that’s my main issue with it. I feel like if it’s a big game then I should be doing as much as possible in it. Maybe if I’d played it a few years ago, it might have been different; who can say. I just know that I’ve tried to get into it a few times and just can’t. Maybe if it was a smaller game, I’d find it easier to play.

For some open-world games, looking good just isn’t enough. If it has a character that you just can’t connect with, has overly complicated mechanics or just too much going on, this can also put me off it as a playable game. Linear, more story-oriented games sometimes have the same issues, but I can forgive most of them for it because they’re generally pretty short games, and they don’t usually take much brainpower – which on some days, let’s be honest, who needs that.

Like with most things in this world, it all comes down to personal preference. As I said in my last blog, don’t let someone make you feel bad because you can’t be bothered spending days in a game or if you just want to wander and explore some beautiful locations. Play as you want.

Why Play Video Games?

Video games have been around for many years now, from Pong to Mario Bros. to Skyrim; they have captured our imaginations and, for some of us, have been a part of daily life for as long as we can remember. But why do we play video games? I recently posed this question to my followers on Twitter. Below are some of the replies:

For some lure of video games is to escape into a world where you be and do anything. For others, it’s a coping mechanism for when the real world gets. And still others, it’s purely for fun. All of these, of course, are valid, and it’s not up to anyone to tell other people why to play. Whether you’re male or female, video games are there for everyone.

For me, video games are something that I think I will always rely on in times of crisis or even just downtime. Each game has a different effect and purpose, and it depends on the way that I’m feeling as to what I will play. For example, if I’m feeling down or I’m unable to concentrate, I might go back to some old favourites like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I’ve played that game so much that it doesn’t require much thought, and no matter where I’m up to, I can jump straight into my saved games and play until my brain feels better. If I’m feeling angry or upset, then I might try something like a shooter a la Bulletstorm. Again this doesn’t really require much thought, but it’s something that I can take some of my frustration out on without externally expressing my emotions. However, I play a lot of games for the experience as, at a base level, this is what all games are. They are an experience to be enjoyed (if frustratingly at times. I’m looking at you Crash Bandicoot) and are designed to stimulate you in the same way as movies or books – some games now are pretty much a cinematic experience, for example, Heavy Rain or Detroit: Become Human. This is made all the more true by the graphics capabilities of systems these days.

I’ve played video games for most of my life, but my tastes haven’t always stayed the same. Like the games themselves, my tastes evolve over time. I used to love playing side scroller platformers and shooters, but now they tend to infuriate me more than anything. I’ve historically been really bad at finishing horror games, but recently I’ve been able to play them without any issues – maybe I’m getting braver, I don’t know. Likewise, my reason for playing them has changed. When I was younger, I would play them mainly for fun, I didn’t have the same worries and whatnot back then, so there was no need to use them as a coping mechanism. Whereas now, as I said above, I play them for many different reasons. And in the future, my reasons will probably change again.

If there were no video games, then I would probably turn to something else to get me through tough times, perhaps books. Whereas as much as I love books now, they will always play second fiddle to video games. Both for the effect they have on my and the experience that I have while playing them.

There are many different genres out there, so there is something for everyone, but I perfectly understand those people that choose not to play them. Maybe they don’t have time, or just don’t want to and prefer to do other things – God forbid, outside! The fact is they’re not for everyone, and that’s okay. I see a lot of things being thrown around these by people who think that if you’re a gamer, you should play all the time, or you should/shouldn’t like a particular game (but let’s be honest, Call of Duty is a bit wank), Or that if you don’t game at all, then you’ve got no right to an opinion on anything. This is what I like to call “bullshit”. Game or don’t game, it’s up to you, and if you do, it’s up to you how you play them and why.

Gaming is a hobby. Enjoy it however you want.

Awkward Trophies: Skyrim Edition

If you read my gaming blogs you’ll already know that I’m always up for a good trophy hunt, especially if some of those trophies are a but of a pain in the arse to get. I recently posted about some awkward trophies in the games Vampyr and Fallout 4.

Below are a selection of the more awkward trophies that are up for grabs in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Thief – Pick 50 locks and 50 pockets


Locks are easy enough, pockets on the other hand are not! Easiest way to get your pickpocket number is (bear in mind that only successful pickpockets count) by training your pickpocket level with the trainers dotted about. For pickpocket, the Expert trainer is Silda the Unseen, a homeless beggar who can be found wandering around outside of Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm. In addition to Silda, there is also Vipir the Fleet, a Master trainer who can be found frequenting The Ragged Flagon in Riftin. Training with them will grant you a higher skill level in pickpocket, therefore giving you a higher chance percentage for a successful pickpocket. Worth keeping in mind, training will get increasingly more expensive to complete the higher your skill level is, and you can only train 5 levels in one day.


Master criminal – Bounty of 1000 gold in all 9 holds


This is tricky because you have to have a bounty of 1000 gold in all 9 holds at the same time. The easiest way to do this is to cause chaos in all 9 holds one after the other. Something to note; once you’ve gotten the trophy, make sure that your inventory is clear of all stolen items before you go to clear each bounty, otherwise you’ll end up losing them when you go to jail/pay off the bounty.


Golden Touch – Have 100,000 gold


This is a slog. If you like smithing, having a high level of this skill will make obtaining this trophy so much easier for you as armour and weapons (especially the dragonbone/scale and daedric sets) sell for a ridiculous amount of septims. It’s also worth noting that enchanted armour and weapons, and armour and weapons that have been “improved” further, e.g Exquisite, Epic, and Legendary, sell for more than your bog-standard forged armour and weapons. The higher your smithing skill level also dictates the amount that you can improve items, so smithing isn’t a bad skill to try and obtain Skill Master with (more about that particular trophy below).


Delver – Clear 50 dungeons


You clear a fair few just progressing through the game, but this will take some wandering around and clearing whatever you’ve missed. The map is useful here as it will come up with “cleared” next to any locations that you’ve been through.


Skill Master – Get a skill to 100


Unsurprisingly this is a slog, as mentioned above, you can kill two birds with one stone and work on Golden Touch and Skill Master in tandem.


Explorer – Discover 100 locations


If you don’t naturally wander around and explore while playing games this will be a slog. Not so bad if you spend some time walking from place to place, exploring as you go. I mean, come on, it’s Skyrim, it’s practically made to be explored!


Reader – Read 50 skill books


Once again, the theme of a Skyrim trophy is slogging away. Read (i.e open) all books you come across, especially if the value of the book is high. That’s generally a good indicator that it’s a skill book and will cause you to level up, as well as contributing to this trophy.

Oblivion Walker – Collect 15 Daedric Artifacts


This involves completing ALL of the Daedric quests. Most you can trigger just from playing the game but a couple start in strange and unexpected places, such as “A Night to Remember” which starts with the dragonborn (you) entering into a drinking contest with Sam Guevenne. Guevenne will spawn in the tavern of the town closest to you upon reaching level 14. If you’ve played through Skyrim before but largely ignored the Daedric quests it’s worth another playthrough just to complete them all. The vast majority are completely batshit, and the artifacts that you receive at the end of each quest are bizarre but, in the most part, really useful.

Master – Reach level 50


Last but by no means least; Master. This is yet another slog, but luckily you get a lot of it done just by completing the main quest lines and mopping up a few miscellaneous objectives along the way. A super sneaky (not so) secret way to make obtaining this trophy easier is by completing the above mentioned Skill Master, and then proceeding to make that skill “legendary”. This will allow you to retrieve the skill points that you invested into that given skill, as well as allowing you to level it back up, gaining additional xp as you go along.

And there you have it. If you can unlock these trophies you should be well on your way to the elusive platinum (or 100%, whatever).

Batman: Arkham VR (Review)

Batman: Arkham VR is a virtual reality adventure game that was release in October 2016 for PlayStation 4 and later in April 2017 for PC and the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Valve Index VR headsets.

The game takes place between the games Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight and follows Batman as he investigates the disappearance of Nightwing and Robin. It’s set in a first-person perspective as you use Batman’s skills and gadgets to solve puzzles.

I was a little indecisive about whether I should buy a VR headset or not but when I saw a bundle with this game and Resident Evil VII I had to get one and give them a go.

As soon as you start the game, even though it’s just a menu, it looks amazing. You’re stood on the edge of a high building in Gotham City and you really feel like you’re there. For someone like me who has a fear of heights it’s a little disconcerting but the lure of the game was too great for me to tap out this early.

The game starts off in Wayne Manor where you learn of the disappearance of Nightwing and Robin upon which you enter the Batcave. In a word, this is amazing. You really feel like you’re down in a cave underground (although you don’t feel the damp.) While here there’s a number of things that you can do before you continue with the story. You can practice your Batarang throwing, check out some character models and get up close and personal with the Batmobile.

When you go out into the streets of Gotham you use some of Batman’s other gadgets to solve a number of puzzles that lead you to find out what happened to your companions. This investigation takes you from the streets and alleyways of Gotham to a morgue, the city’s sewers and Arkham Asylum – it’s not a Batman game without a visit there.

As you’re seeing things through the eyes of Batman, you can feel all too well the peril that he faces and when you get a visit from Killer Croc your heart will jump into your mouth.

This was the first VR game I played and it did a lot to show me what the headset can do. There is no walking around in this game, you move by pressing one of the buttons on the move controller, this alleviates the motion sickness that I’ve since felt with other VR games – Skyrim VR I’m looking at you!

It’s not a huge game as it just serves as bridge between the two main console games, but there is enough in it to keep you busy for a few hours at least and if you want to hunt for the trophies and truly explore you’ll definitely have a few extra hours on top of the playthrough.

The graphics are amazing and as I said earlier it makes you feel like you’re really standing in Gotham and seeing the world through Batman’s eyes.

If you’ve not played any VR games, Batman Arkham VR is a good introduction to it and does a really good job at showing you what VR can be like.

I’ve dipped in and out of this game since I got it, and each time I marvel (or is it DC) at it.

I’m going to give this game an 8/10. It’s much shorter than the other games in the series, but for it’s use of VR it is a well deserved score. I would definitely recommend it.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Review)

**Possible spoilers ahead**

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that was originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the seventh full instalment of the Final Fantasy series that dates back to 1987 when Final Fantasy was released on the NES.

This instalment follows main character Cloud Strife, a mercenary employed by an eco-terrorist group named Avalanche to stop a world-controlling corporation from using the planet’s life essence as a power source for the city Midgar as well as other towns and locations throughout the game.

When this game was first released back in 1997, I remember my brother buying it and us spending hours playing it. This was possibly the biggest game I’d ever played up until that point, and I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.

In a previous blog, I stated that along with other games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII is one of my most played and favourite games.

At the time of its release, FFVII was one of the most beautiful games I’d seen, and the cutscenes blew me away. I know, if you look at them now, they seem a little dated, but they still look pretty great.

Anyway, FFVII was recently remade into an even more epic and beautiful game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (what an original title for a remake, eh?) was released back in 2020 and was a game that I couldn’t wait to play. However, I only recently bought a copy of it and got to play it for one reason or another.

During its pre and post-release, I did my best to avoid anything about it (other than the demo). I’d heard things like “it wasn’t the full game” or “the story had changed”, and I didn’t want anything to ruin my own experience of a game that I love being remade.

So a few weeks ago, I finally got a copy and started to play it. I’d previously played the demo, so I knew how the combat worked and what the first 30-40 minutes of gameplay would be like.

During this demo, I couldn’t help but compare it to the beginning of the original, and I was impressed with just how well it had been done. Yes, it changed certain aspects – like the combat mechanics going from random turn-based encounters to real-time – but I found these just brought the game into this new age. It did away with some of the original’s clunkiness and made it feel more streamlined and clean, and I was there for that.

The further you get into the game, you start to see other changes to the story; for example, side characters such as Biggs, Wedge and Jessie all get a more significant role, and you get to see more of the story in relation to these characters. I found this a great addition as it just added that little bit extra to the story.

The other thing that the remake has that the original didn’t is quests.

At certain parts of the game, you have a little bit more of a free-roam ability (in the original, when you were in Midgar, it was pretty linear.). This too, added that little bit more to the story, allowing you to find out more about certain characters and really feeling the plight of the citizens of Midgar’s slums.

If you were used to the original turn-based random encounters, the new combat system takes a little bit of getting used to. It all happens in real-time (aside from the pauses when you’re selecting an ability or spell), and this seems to make the battles feel a little faster and less clunky – there’s that word again… For me, the removal of the random encounters was a good thing. Back in the day, I would get really annoyed when – having just come out of a battle – you get thrust into a fight without time to heal up or sort your gear out. Over time, this system just wound me up and marred what otherwise would have been a perfect playing experience.

As far as main characters go, you’ve got the standard Cloud, Barret, Aerith and Tifa, but the thing that confuses me is when you get to the part of the game where you meet Red XIII, you can’t control him. Of course, he’s with you in battle, but as an uncontrollable AI character. I’m not sure why they made him this way, I for one, I was looking forward to controlling him as he was one of my favourite characters from the original. I just hope that when it comes to the other characters you meet along the way – Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith and Cid – that you get to add them to your team and play as them. I’ll be disappointed if not.

The magic system is very much the same. You pick up and equip materia to your weapons and accessories so you can use them in battle. One of the differences with the summons is that you only have the chance to use them in bigger battles and only when a bar that appears on screen has been filled. The big difference comes with the summons. In the original, the summons were a spell that was cast and did a single move doing a lot of damage. In the remake, though, the summoned entity joins you in the fight, and as well as doing automatic smaller attacks, you have the chance to perform extra attacks using the action via the ATB menu. Once the bar on screen has ticked down, the summon will leave the battle, but not before doing their main move for ample damage. I feel like this system does work, although, like other changes to the original, it takes a bit of getting used to.

I said at the start that it’s not the whole game, and that’s true. You play the game, up until the point where – on the original – you’d be asked to change discs, which kind of makes sense. Even though it’s not the full game, you still have hours and hours of gameplay, plus the ability to replay chapters should you want to.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake. It does build on what was already an incredible game and provides you with more background to the characters and the ability to walk around and explore different areas. I’m interested to see what happens with part 2, whether they allow you to explore the map as in the original or whether it will be a bit more closed off. Either way, I look forward to how it’s done, especially when it introduces some of the higher level summons.

I have no option but to give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It’s just brilliant, and despite only being a part of the game, it’s well worth it, and I honestly can’t wait for the next instalment. I highly recommend this game, whether you’re a fan of the original or not.

Trophies: Yay or Nay?

To platinum, or not to platinum. That is the question – well, it’s not really it’s just a nice intro to a blog about trophy hunting. For ease of typing I’m going to generalise and call them all trophies. Don’t come at me saying the Xbox doesn’t have trophies, because we all know they’re the same thing.

Trophies have been around for a while now, whether you play Playstation, Xbox, Steam or even mobile games. You can choose to ignore them, collect them through general play and then forget about them, or specifically spend your time hunting for them.

I asked my followers on Twitter what their thoughts on trophies were;

Through my time gaming since they’ve been about, I’ve done pretty much all of them. Some games I play through just to get through them, others I will spend a bit more time going through and doing the extra quests or missions, and some I play to death and try to get the elusive ultra rare trophies.

For me, there’s a time and a place for trophy hunting. There are some games I just wanted to finish, ones I’m not really inclined to play any further past the last mission. But then there are some where having trophies adds that little bit of extra playability.

I don’t generally go into a game looking at what trophies it has, or how easy/difficult they may be. Some games I would play again regardless, so having the extra trophies to get is a great way to enjoy more of the game that you may not generally have seen the first time round.

I have some platinum trophies that were easy – like the ones from the Tell Tale games – but I also have some that were harder to get and required a slog – Skyrim, Death Stranding and 2064: Read Only Memories.

Of course, some games are easier to get all the trophies are than others. I’ve seen people looked down on because the only platinum or 100% games they had were the ones that were fairly easy to get through a single playthrough. This makes no sense to me. What people choose to get or not get is completely up to them, and shaming them saying that their achievements are just easy is a bit pointless and just seems like you’re being a bit of a dickhead.

Having said this though, for a long time I would compare my Gamerscore/trophy count with other people and try to beat them. It became a bit of an obsession of mine, constantly playing the same games over and over again until I got the rarer trophies, just so that I could be higher than people I’d never even met. Eventually I realised that this was a bit silly, and slowly started to not worry about it so much. Trophies are a nice thing to get, but it shouldn’t be the reason why I play games. I was there to enjoy myself and being that competitive made it far less enjoyable. But as I said above, I still like to get some rare trophies, but if I’m not having fun then what’s the point?

Myself and Alex do compete a little bit, but we also help each other to get some trophies. Some games I’m better at than her and some she’s better at than me – damn you Spyro! It’s a fun thing for us to do together in games that ordinarily may only be single player.

I don’t know if it says something about the quality of today’s games, if the only reason you go back and play them is to get trophies. I go back to many old games that I played growing up before trophies in games were even a thing. They don’t lose anything because they lack this element but I can understand why some people don’t like to go back and play these types of games, after all what are they getting out of it?

I see this kind of thought process going on with consoles like the Nintendo Switch. You can play through a game but you don’t have anything to show for it so it’s like you didn’t play it…right? I mean, what’s the point in playing something if you can say, “Hey, look at these trophies I got while playing this game. I told you I played it, here’s the proof.” I find this mentality odd. I play games for me. Not so I can show people I’ve never met what games I’ve been playing. Yes, I talk about what I’m playing, but in the end, I’m playing it because I enjoy it. If the game happens to have a trophy that shows I completed a certain bit in a certain way then that’s just something for me.

How do you view trophies? Do you spend your time getting them or just get what you get and not bother with the others? I’d find it interesting to see what other people do.

A Link to the Past

This morning I started playing the Final Fantasy VII remake, and it got me thinking about how much time I put into the original when it first came out. I also started to think about other games that I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing, games like Skyrim or Sim City. But the game that I think I’ve played the most is probably my favourite game; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

I can’t remember when I first played it, but I was only young when it was released back in 1991, and we probably bought it not long after.

The SNES was one of the first consoles that we had after the original NES, and I spent hours playing the likes of Super Mario and Street Fighter II. Although I wasn’t very good at either, I still put the time into learning how to play.

When A Link to the Past came around, I’d never played a game like it before. It was one of the first open-world games that I played, and I was hooked straight away.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why I got so into it. I just remember loving the graphics, the combat and -later in the game – teleporting to a different world, I also loved the fact that it game with a game map – a map that I blue-tacked to my wall and that hung there for years. I would spend hours in Hyrule slashing my way through enemies and bosses. It took me quite some time to finally finish it, and I didn’t give up until I did. But that wasn’t the end of it.

With ALTTP, there aren’t the same story choices as you get in games these days. It was pretty linear despite being open world, and if you finished it once – other than going back and getting the upgraded gear – there really wasn’t anything else to do. But after I finish and put it down, moving on to something else, I still wanted to go back and replay it.

We got rid of the SNES – for some reason, I can’t fathom – many years ago. And when I bought another one when I started to gather my collection of retro consoles, ALTTP was one of the first games that I had to get, and when I played it, I felt the same joy that I did when I was younger – although this time it took me a fraction of the time to finish it.

I said at the start, this is the game I’ve probably put the most time into, and all that time culminates into probably finished the game around 25-30 times, and yet I’m still not bored of it.

When A Link Between Worlds came out on the 3DS, and I saw that it incorporated ALTTP into a new game, I couldn’t help but buy it. This too, I’ve finished a few times, although not as many as ALTTP.

When I bought the mini SNES when it came out, ALTTP was the first game I played. I honestly can’t play this game enough.

A Link to the Past will always have a place in my heart and mind. When I’m feeling less than great, it’s a game that I can always come back to. I don’t have to think about it all that much, but it gives my mind something to focus on when I can’t concentrate on anything else.

Although I’ve played the other Legend of Zelda games, none have stuck with me as much as ALTTP and – as much as I’ve enjoyed playing them – I don’t think any of them will.

Do you have a game like this? A game that you can keep going back to over and over? One that holds a special place in your heart for whatever reason? Let me know.

No One is Going to Steal My Sweetroll (Recipe)

Skyrim. Is there any place where I have spent more time slaying dragons, raiding towns and trying to find a woman named Lydia?

It’s a huge game with a lot going for it even a decade after its release. in this blog I’ll be showing you how to make one of the most well-known deserts in the land; a sweetroll. You will no longer have to cry because someone stole yours, because now you can make your very own.

This is what they look like in-game;

Appetising eh? Scroll to the bottom to see how ours turned out. If you don’t want the spoiler then just keep on reading.

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 50g raspberry jam
  • 2tbsp Chambord liqueur (optional)

For the Glace icing:

  • 125g icing sugar
  • 15ml milk of your choice
  • Dash of vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

  • STEP 1 – Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Grease your bundt tin until fully coated and set aside. Combine the butter and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until creamed.

*Note*If you’re using the Chambord; add this to the mixture now. If you don’t want to use the liqueur then you can add the equivalent amount of extract of your choice in it’s place.

  • STEP 2 – Crack the eggs into a smaller mixing bowl or jug and beat until combined. Beat a third of the eggs into the cake mixture until combined. Then add around a third of the flour; folding it into the mixture rather than beating. This will retain the cake’s ability to rise so mix carefully! Continue alternating between eggs and flour until all have been combined.
  • STEP 3 – Place have of the mixture into the bundt tin and smooth it out. Once this is done, place the jam into a bowl and mix it until there are no big lumps of jam remaining. You don’t have to do this, but it does make it easier for the next step.
  • STEP 4 – Dot the jam around the bundt tin, almost so that it forms a ring on top of the smoothed mixture. Once all the jam has been added you can go ahead and pour the remaining mixture into the bundt tin on top.
  • STEP 5 – Smooth the mixture out again and then place in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted close to the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool before turning out of the tin.
  • STEP 6 – While waiting, enjoy a brew.
  • STEP 7 – Once the cake is freed from the tin you can ice it; combine the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract (if using) into a bowl and mix until completely smooth. If your mixture isn’t runny then add a splash more milk; if it’s too runny and very thin then add some more icing sugar.
  • STEP 8 – Once you’ve made your icing then go ahead and spoon it over the top of your cake, adding “drips” in various places to recreate the Skyrim Sweet Roll look. Once you’ve done this leave the icing to set so that it doesn’t go everywhere when you cut into it.
  • STEP 9 – Enjoy!

So that’s how to make your very own sweetroll. Ours didn’t last very long as it tasted amazing. I hope yours turn out just as good. If you do have a go, let me know how it turned out and maybe send me some pictures.

We did this when my brain wasn’t letting me write and the process of baking did calm my chattering mind. Not enough to allow me to write, but it did help. I hope it helps you too.

Good News Monday

Yet another Monday hits us in the face like a brick.

I woke up feeling sick and in pain, but as the pain meds kick in and the sickness fades away, I’m left with at least some good to come out of a Monday.

The Next Stage and Creatures are now available on Google Books in 66 countries.

With this new outlet, it means that my books are now available through Amazon, Lulu, Payhip, Apple Books and Google Books. I’m hoping that these distribution channels will mean that more people will be able to read and enjoy them.

I’ll add the new Google links to the Books page of this blog with the others.

Last week I also started a giveaway with the Apple version, I’m going to extend this giveaway until Friday of this week and add in the Google version, so when you enter you can let me know which version you’d prefer to receive a code for.

In other news, I’ve several more reviews in for The Next Stage, and I’m happy to say that the full 5-star rating on Goodreads hasn’t been changed. Everyone seems to really enjoy this book and every time I receive a new review – and it’s another 5 – it makes all the work I put into the book worthwhile and spurs me on to want to get it out to as many people as I can.

As far as the writing goes, I’ve not done a great deal over the past week, that’s to say I’ve done none…

I’m hoping that now I’ve been on these new pain meds for a week that the side effects start to settle down and I can concentrate on things again. The only thing I’ve really been able to do this past week is play Skyrim. That’s not a bad thing, and I got another platinum trophy out of it, but I miss writing, and I want to get back into it as soon as I can. But I also don’t want to write for the sake of it and end up churning out crap.

Once I’ve posted this and update the links and whatnot, I’m going to attempt to do some; I guess time will tell.

Skyrim, Ho!

Yesterday was a bad day for hip pain. So, not feeling like I could concentrate on writing, we played Skyrim.

Skyrim is probably up there with Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Last of Us, and Mass Effect, for the games that I’ve played the most.

Yes, it’s buggy as hell. Yes, all the characters have 1 of 4 voices. Yes, it’s almost ten years old. But it’s a game that I can always go back to.

But now playing it through alongside Alex I’m learning that I’ve still missed a pile of things. How, after spending what probably amounts to months of playtime, have I missed so much?

My go-to fighting style is as a mage. What? I enjoy setting people on fire, okay. So, I’ve never really done all that much with the blacksmithing and by the looks of things I’ve missed out on some truly badass armour and weapons.

With our current playthroughs, we’re going for the platinum, because why not? So, we’re spending time wandering and getting everything we can. There are so many locations and quests that I’ve missed. I feel like I’ve never truly played the game and I’m playing it for the first time.

In my game, I somehow killed Lydia, Uthgerd the Unbroken kept being set on fire so we gave up reloading and trying to keep her alive and my follower is now the Jenassa. She seems to be faring a little better, so I’m hoping that she’ll stick around for a while. I don’t know if something has changed, but I don’t remember the followers being so easy to kill before, or maybe I just didn’t set them on fire as much…who knows.

The other thing we’ve seen in this playthrough is an increase in things that try to kill you. I mean, we’ve both had groups of three bears attack us, way more sabre cats, and we’ve even had 2 dragons attack at once, I mean what the f*ck?

Hopefully someday soon we’ll also be able to playthrough the VR version without the motion sickness setting in. It’s a game that screamed out for VR and it looks amazing and definitely like you’re actually there. Maybe if we do it in small stints we’ll be okay. But for now, we’ll keep working on the normal version.

Anyway, I’m back working on It’s All in the Eyes today. Current word count is 24525, and I’m on chapter 11. I still have no idea where it’s going until I write it, this method seems to be working for me, so I’m going to stick at it.

More updates on Friday. Maybe I’ll have killed Jenassa by then, perhaps she’ll survive. Who knows? It’s the mystery of Skyrim.