Star-Fired Beef

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Steam Challenge – Shatter

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 1.5 hrs

Shatter is…a brick-breaking game. It’s fun, it’s highly polished, it has a pretty cool soundtrack if you like EDM, and it has some nice twists to the mechanics that serve to liven up the gameplay.

But it’s a brick-breaking game. It only challenges your twitch skills, and while it is fun – and I’m glad I played it – I just don’t get involved in these types of game. Some people love playing this stuff over and over, trying to get a top score. I don’t. Once I’ve seen it, I’m done. I wouldn’t have bought this game at all if it weren’t in a bundle, but for those who love this genre, it is a definite two thumbs up.

Young MC – Bust A Move

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The Secret Lore – Gaia Engines

See all the Secret Lore here.

At the end of the Solomon Island chapter of the main story, you end up in some ice caves that are…spooky. A strange voice attempts to gain your confidence. This lore entry is only found in this story instance. I don’t think it illuminates much, plot-wise, but I find it vaguely unsettling. Are these the Dreamers we read about in previous lore?

Gaia Engines

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate cleansing signal – RECEIVE – initiate anima circulation – APPLY TO AFFECTED AREA – initiate the slumber syntax – PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM AIRBORNE IMPURITIES – initiate titan schematics – IN WHAT COULD BE THE GREATEST OIL SPILL DISASTER IN HISTORY – initiate apocalyptic energy drain – WITNESS – The Gaia Engines.

The engines run, but where are the builders? WARNING! Cleansing efficiency compromised. Engine 45B lost. The Filth leaks. It flows up alien gravities. Initiate diagnostic protocols. Alert the immaculate machine. Initiate distress beacon to the Host. Is anyone out there? Who mans the light at the end of the tunnel?

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The Secret Lore – Samhain 2012

See all the Secret Lore here.

We leave Solomon Island behind us with this final lore post. The initial Samhain celebrations in 2012 were mostly confined to events in Solomon Island. A significant part of the event leads you to the Franklin Mansion, before ending up at the Blue Ridge Mine. Although the lore itself doesn’t reference the zone, the locations you need to visit for this event make this the appropriate place to include this lore post.

Samhain 2012

TRANSMIT – initiate the Samhain signal – RECEIVE – initiate the darker half – ERROR – spam the black bee frequency.

SECURITY SCAN – shhh, the spyware is unaware. THREATS DETECTED – none, nil, naught, black infinite zeros, immense immeasurable emptiness. Move along. Nothing to see here.

LISTEN – the screaming, the pain, the broken bones crackling in flame.

WITNESS – the summer curtains call. Time to reap what you have sown.

Initiate the nights out of time. When boundaries between worlds collapse – a structural imbalance, perhaps – all creatures come and all things mingle. Prepare the feast of the dead. Tonight’s festivities will begin in three, two, one… Commemorations must be made. Sacrifices. Tell them Tigernmas. Who held your heads on the Plain of Prostration?

EMBRACE – the naked shingles of the world.

LISTEN – the nameless aimless petition for prayers. No need to leave the door ajar. The burdened with sin will find a way in.

But why this night?

Come a little closer, we won’t bite.

A night for divination. LISTEN – the heartbeat of the girl standing in the mirror. She waits for a boy to peek over her shoulder. So cute, so sweet, such silly superstition. There’s no love, little girl, only filth and ambition.

Hop-tu-naa, trol-la-laa.

LISTEN – the screaming, the pain, the broken bones crackling in flame.

Commemorations must be made. Sacrifices. Tell them Tigernmas. Who held your heads on the Plain of Prostration?

No one.

Ten hundred and three thousand noses crushed. Taste and see. Nothing is free.

But why this night?

Winter is death, darkness is fright. Each year, the weather channel portends both in good measure.

LISTEN – skrak, skrik, skrawlivik. The old gods, myths and beasts all scamper. Think rats trapped in a hamper. But they know how to survive and how to claw through.

HINT – it’s nights like this; it’s people like you. Initiate the hounding horrors.

The room here you were when… The eyes of the man that… The words she screamed as… Fear sears into memory, takes the mind hostage, keeps the content alive.

The old ones don’t die; they dig trenches in your nightmares. They bide their time, drinking sherry and playing cards, waiting for the tin-din of summer symphonies to pass. Waiting for the night when…

Everyone gathers on Samhain.

Hop-tu-naa, trol-la-laa.

Call the tribal assemblies. Light the bonfires. Slaughter your animals for the winter. Soon the fields will be frozen. Soon there’ll be nothing left to grind but teeth and imaginations. It’s only a few long months in the dark.

But why this night?

Your ancestors made the appointment. The dates were carved into the earth in blood.

REMINDER – rituals were meant to purify the land, guide the lost spirits, defeat the evil ones, rouse the wasting sun. PAYMENT OVERDUE – darkness demands to be acknowledged. Commemorate, challenge, fear it.

Fear it.

The curtains still open; every year, though they’ve lost faith in you, the spirits still come.

Rush-hour traffic bursts both ways. Cuchalainn came through. Nera too. Today’s breed of traveler is a little different. The openings are crowded with the worst of them and the sickest of you.


Commemorations have dwindled; relations are at an all-time low.

The man who skins witches has moved onto myths. Makes it an annual retreat. Spends his summers in nightmare trenches, then sneaks through in search of new curtains to tear, new faces to wear. The old and weak have learned to heed, for they can suffer and they can bleed.

Just as Irusan.

Oh yes, indeed.

WITNESS – myth – mythos – to make a sound – to scream.

Hop-tu-naa, trol-la-laa.

Dreams are personalised myths. Myths are communal nightmares.

FINAL NOTICE – light bulbs won’t save you from payments owed. Go ahead, dustbust the dead, sweep old bones under the rug. The darkness doesn’t care. Its ledgers are up-to-date.

BUT WAIT – order now and you’ll get thirteen.

Look at the little guisers today. The nightly crawl through suburban sprawl.

“What are you supposed to be?” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”

The children scamper through the richest neighbourhoods. The boys throw rotten eggs at cars. A great cold is coming. An old witch closes the curtains of her crypt. She’s given up on the world. There’s no point in going out anymore. In lighting fires to see all this.

Let them reap what they sow.

What claws at the curtains of Halloween? The devils know.

Hop-tu-naa, trol-la-laa.


Steam Challenge – To The Moon

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Alright, so I have a confession to make, and an apology as well. Back when I read Jasyla’s impressions of To The Moon, I may have politely scoffed at the notion that I would be actively annoyed by two of the main characters, the doctors. You know, the smartarse so-called “comic relief” of the game. Well, I am here to formally apologise for my naive doubt. Sorry, Pam!

The immediate impression that you get of the doctors is so much at odds with the rest of the game’s tone that it is actively off-putting for a while. It is a barrier that you can push past, but it seems like a bad decision to have it there in the first place. As the game progresses, these characters become more serious and sympathetic, but to me it felt like only the woman had the appropriate sense of respect for their work. I was much more irritated with the man.

Happily, that was the only writing faux pas the game made. I haven’t played one of these RPGMaker-type games before so I can’t speak as to the quality of it, but it impressed me with its ability to convey a range of settings, mechanics, and emotions. I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind reading a lot of written dialogue, so the storytelling was pretty good. The story did have me in tears by the end, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I suspect that a not insignificant part of that was due to the absolutely wonderful music featured throughout the game. I am so glad that I have the soundtrack!

I played through the two free “minisodes” that show some character development of the doctors, after To The Moon has ended. The first one was quite hit-and-miss for me, but the second one was more interesting. According to the developer, the second minisode features some plot development that will bridge To The Moon with a sequel. I am very much looking forward to said sequel!

Something For Kate – The Astronaut

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The Secret Lore – The Franklin Mansion

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Franklin Mansion is, as evidenced by literature, tv and movies, your archetypical haunted house. The old lady who lives there – alone, except for her many cats – seems pretty complacent about it. I guess she’s used to it by now. I like how some of the information in this lore post is used to solve parts of an investigation mission.

The Franklin Mansion

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate New England signal – RECEIVE – initiate the Geist frequency – THEY’RE HERE! – initiate Momento Mori broadcast – WITNESS – The Franklin Mansion.

There is a house. It waits. Windows stare like eyes, but these are false eyes – an old cliché. It is the invisible eyes you should fear, the thousand invisible eyes that lick your soul with tongues that are not tongues. You back away. The house waits.

A typical 19th century mansion – tall windows, wide doors, and elaborate ornaments. Time and neglect nibble away, and grim stories fill the cracks.

Initiate the secret histories.

The house was born on Solomon Island in 1876 – an inverse birth, it came to be when others entered its belly: Frank and Joanna Devore. They invested in the Blue Ridge Mine, and Frank was to work there as foreman and business overseer. The couple was popular. The soirées were lavish. The house was lively in its infancy. Shudder at the voracious things that grow from adorable larvae.

Mysterious men with eyes and pyramids on their business cards came calling on Mr. Devore. His influence thrilled them. They elevated him into their inner circle.

Mrs. Devore, swallowed by the empty house, grew bored. She took solace in the company of a colleague of her husband. The affair lasted until she lost interest. The house stifled. She pleaded with her husband to go with her to New York – the best laid plans cut short. Mrs. Devore was cut short by the poison of her scorned lover. The hangman’s noose cut Mr. Devore short, when he was framed for the murder.

Mrs. Devore’s mysterious lover bought the mansion, with hopes of turning the success of the mine into his own – the best laid plans cut short by a faltering iron market.

Then came the other owners of the house – a parade of unfortunate souls. One by one, we watched them go in. Not all came out. Let us count them off, sweetling, one by one, song by song – jiggity jig.

First was Phileas Flagg. He did not spend much time there. More is the fortune and the luck.

Next came Jonathan and Margaret Delapore, with their young son Thomas. They sought fresh air and quaint country. Margaret gave birth to two beautiful girls. They were so happy. Happiness can die in the time it takes to open a door, and Jonathan discovered the hidden library of Frank Devore. Late night readings. Unspeakable secrets. Paranoia. Public ranting. The tears of his wife begging to leave Kingsmouth. Three children and one wife – four gunshots before Jonathan put the rifle barrel in his own mouth. “I saved my family from evil,” said the note. City officials – Illuminati all – covered up the deaths. Now the family rests in the mansion’s garden, in unmarked graves. Together forever.

Then came Elena Zhelikhovsky and her friend Francine Sanders. They took advantage of the house’s reputation and turned it into an occult hotel. Ms. Zhelikhovsky’s séances attracted the notorious – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and H. P. Lovecraft. The deceased still roam the house, trapped in the ninety degrees of every corner. Ms. Zhelikhovsky and Ms. Sanders joined them in 1957, via the expedient of a car crash.

Then came the poets, painters, and writers. See how they run. See how equally unsuccessful they are in their arts. A collection becomes a commune, filling the mansion with wild revels of opiates, homegrown cannabis, and the orgiastic copulation dances of your meaty species. All parties end. Poet Billy Lee stumbled into that secret Illuminati library. Late night reading. Nightmares. Billy’s poetry darkened into a stain of old gods. Months of paranoia and sleepless nights shattered into a murderous rampage. Twelve died. One survived, and she abandoned her life of excess. Police puzzled over the blood Billy bathed in, and the gory messages he wrote on the walls. They found Billy, wading naked in a lake, screeching prayers to the ones who dream.

The house sat quiet after that, locked by the FBI and with no potential buyers.

Then came Edmund and Eleanor Franklin in 1970. They renovated the house, made it theirs, until the locals called it the Franklin Mansion. Always there is the house and the Blue Ridge Mine, and Edmund worked there, running the interests of a new mining corporation. The reopening of the mine brought conflict with the Native Americans. There was violence, chaos, and in the end a tribal medicine man was shot dead. The self-defence killing infected Edmund with guilt, but a noose around the neck cures many ills, and a new shade joined the haunt in 1972.

The widow, Eleanor Franklin, still lives in the house with cats who often stare at empty spaces. The house still waits. Its hidden library itches for a scratch. Voices in the floorboards groan, “Home again, Home again, jiggity jig.”

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The Secret Lore – The Darkness War

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Darkness War is the third group instance you encounter in The Secret World. It is a fascinating insight into the fog, the Wabanaki history, and the importance of Solomon Island.

The Darkness War

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate Odin signal – RECEIVE – initiate Kitaki Manitou frequency – MAKE TIME WORK FOR YOU NOT AGAINST YOU – initiate the Itzamna Protocol – WITNESS – The Darkness War.

In the cradle of the Nameless Days, the leopard of the smoking mirror shall eat the moon and sun. There is no beginning. There is no end. Invisible mouths devoured them, from either side, as a prelude to a hideous kiss. You will see them in time.

A runestone stands on Solomon Island. The Vikings came to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Labrador a thousand years ago. This is known to your archaeologists. But did they come to New England? This is disputed. And yet the runestone still stands. Occasionally fair-haired children are born to the native tribes, and a few of the elders will look to one another knowingly. The stone shouts Norse runes for those with eyes to hear.

What is time to us? We stand outside. All things have happened. All things are happening.

Initiate the secret histories.

Negative. ENGAGE the secret histories.

You must go, sweetling. Soon, your tenses will tangle. Time is merely another dimension. There is right and left. There is the X axis and the Y. There is the past and the present. You have only to walk sideways, like a crab, down the curve. Step!

The Vikings sail. They lope the waves as wolves. More than just raiders, they are also traders and explorers. They journey to what you just called Maine a thousand years from now – though their purpose is neither to raid nor trade. They came for battle – the ageless battle – the clash of archetypes – an equation that must be computed. These conflicts happen in all points of time, across the ages, simultaneous to our omni-faceted eyes. Duality must be vicious.

On the island that will be called Solomon, the native Wabanaki tribes protect a holy ward against an invading force of sun worshippers from the far south. These Mayans march with monsters. The ak’ab! The ak’ab! Feel the dread weight of the name on the tongue.

The invaders bring sorcery and greater numbers. Hope flees the Wabanaki, but returns via the oddest messengers. Ornate longships take the beach. Norse screams of bloodlust sound. The Wabanaki are joined by fair strangers whose leader wields a bizarre sword that glows in the dim.

There are events that are supposed to happen – have happened. The Wabanaki and the Vikings should defeat the Mayans. There should be a celebration on the island. The Wabanaki should think the pale-skinned saviours are spirit totems.

The Norsemen will explain that they were sent a vision from their own gods, told to go west and help a dark skinned people defeat the Jotun with a weapon gifted by Odin himself. They will tell tales of setting sail, and raiding a small monastery on a desolate island outside of Scotland, where they found a strange device they can only liken to a sword. On their journey, a noxious fog overtook them, but the blazing light of the strange weapon kept it at bay.

A few months later, the fog will surround the island.

The Wabanaki will offer the visitors their hospitality, homes, and food. The Norsemen will stay for a year. Friendships will be formed. Lusty Vikings will hearken to the exotic beauty of the native women, and blood will mix most friendly.

The Wabanaki medicine man and the Norse gaǒi will conduct an exhausting ritual, trapping the evil fog in the Vikings’ artifact. They will construct a warding circle on the island, and the Norsemen will take the sword with them so the magic can never be undone. The wailing of women will fade. Memories of unlikely friendships will linger a little longer. They will all vanish from history, these unsung heroes of the Darkness War.

All these things should happen. They have happened. They are happening. But lo…

WARNING! Temporal disturbance detected. A thread comes undone. It pulls and frays. The tapestry tears under the fangs of the Hound of the Nameless Days. History is suspect. Time is volatile. Footprints vanish and the past is uncertain.

It could all come undone. What will you do, sweetling? We will see you in time.


Tuesday Maintenance

This week I had a bit of an identity crisis, mostly about what MMOs mean to me and if I will ever find another MMO home. I keep having second thoughts about FFXIV, for fear that I’ll end up alone again (due to timezone) and I’m not sure I want to pay a sub for that when I have TSW, LOTRO, and Wildstar already in that role.

I plonked down the money for a new computer too, so I’m just waiting for that to be delivered. It’ll be good to have a decent rig once more.

This thing

More Hearthstone and HotS this week. I really liked the Tavern Brawl, which gave you a random minion whenever you cast a spell, but it quickly became clear that Druid, Priest and Mage were the strongest decks by far, and it was incredibly difficult to win with Warrior or Rogue. Still, it was rather fun. Also did an arena run, and made it to 10 wins despite mayyyyybe going a little overboard with weapon choices (I had 6). Plus, I got a golden Mal’ganis legendary from the prize booster!

That thing

Heroes of the Storm was a mixed bag this week. I kept having connection problems after the first couple of games, which made it impossible to enjoy. I managed a couple more wins in ranked, so now I am Rank 48, though my win/loss record is still abysmal. I discovered that Nova is really fricken hard to play well, and I am fairly lost without an escape ability (which she lacks). So there’s 10k gold that wasn’t spent well…

Those other things

Have started Borderlands, as a soldier. I am still not sure whether I just like the art style, or love it. The early RPG questing experience is puncturing my enjoyment a little, I must say. Kill Ten Rats and Recover My Stolen Food are just as boring in an FPS RPG as any other.

Pretty slow week, really. Hopefully I’ll have more to report next time!

Warning – NSFW

The Streets – Don’t Mug Yourself

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The Secret Lore – Blue Ridge Mine

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Blue Ridge Mine is central to the main storyline in the third zone of Solomon Island, the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are also a number of regular missions that require you to venture to, and into, the mines, and I did find them very spooky indeed. In the last lore entry there was mention of something terrible that sleeps under the earth, that the Wabanaki are responsible for keeping imprisoned. Is that thing somewhere in the mines? Is there some other connection? Did they delve too deep?

Blue Ridge Mine

Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate New England signal – RECEIVE – initiate dream frequency – WARNING: DO NOT EXPOSE TO OPEN AIR – initiate the trilobite lullaby – WITNESS – The Blue Ridge Mine.

An echo.

An echo.

An echo haunts the Blue Ridge Mine in Solomon County. An echo made of canary ghosts and native genocide. An echo gravid with oyster tumours and the choking-vacuum silence. A puckering echo that suckles the ear.

Initiate the secret histories.

In 1879, during the great mining boom, a dig opened outside of Kingsmouth, excreting valuable ore and wealthy lust. Yet controversy followed the digging. The Wabanaki tribesmen protested. They gave warning not to disturb the holy earth or what slept beneath.

There was laughter and jeers and denouncement of superstitions and cries of “Mumbo jumbo!”. The digging continued in the Blue Ridge Mine. It was not long before the accidents, the mysterious incidents, and the fearful things whispered in darkened saloon corners, when terror and drink eclipse embarrassment.

Skilled personnel fled. They were not easy to replace. In the face of unknowable dread, local voices harmonized with the natives. They sang the same tune. In 1881 the mine closed down.

Time passes. Echoes fade. In 1971, a new company bought the mine and commenced extracting ore. The drills kissed more deeply than ever before. The shadows blushed.

The Wabanaki again opposed the violation of their sacred ground. The conflict turned violent. Over-zealous foreman Edmund Franklin shot and killed the tribe’s medicine man. A dream dancer died, and another echo was added to the craggy shafts.

Tragedy grows on an exponential curve. Edmund Franklin went free. The Wabanaki were outraged. Guilt is a feeding cancer, and the foreman later hanged himself in his attic. Mutilated bodies of miners were found at the Blue Ridge Mine. Again it shut down. The echoes. The echoes.

Investigation showed the horrific injuries on the bodies could not have been inflicted by human hands. Yet the Wabanaki were accused of seeking revenge, and many of their tribe were jailed without proper trial. The miners, migrant workers with no family, were forgotten and buried in an unmarked grave where the weeds still grow warped.

In 1973, a scathing report of the incident at the mine was published. Autopsy reports came to light – mangled corpses, limbs torn apart, extreme burns, and multiple fractures. Some cadavers could only be identified through the calcium deposits in their mouth. So much identity trapped in the meat of your faces.

The report concluded a tragic accident killed the miners. The jailed Wabanaki were released. The government tried to remedy the embarrassing situation by granting the Wabanaki ownership of their holy land, including the Blue Ridge.

Time passes. In 2005, the Wabanaki council of elders disbanded after the majority voted to sell part of their land to a multi-national corporation to fund the construction of a casino. The purchased land included the mine, the old quarry and the surrounding hills. This decision sparked a bitter argument within the tribe – the old legends the dividing chasm between those who still believed and those who had forgotten. Family became enemies. The schism still remains,

Those who still believed knew that their ancestors did all in their power to stop strangers from disturbing the earth. They remember that what sleeps must never be awoken. Not ever. But your species’ memories are made of meat. So few recall old stories. Who will perpetuate the endless lullaby?

Initiate the now. The dark days cometh.

A fog recently arrived in Kingsmouth, and strangers come in the murk, some interested in the closed down mine and nearby quarry. Some came to study. Some came to harness a terrible power. And a few came knowing that the sleeper must never awaken.

And what of the echoes? What past horrors do they enunciate? O, sweetling. Your mind moves so linearly. In the half-light, in the alien gravity of filth, echoes move backwards. You hear the future coming. It won’t be the future for long.

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The Secret Lore – Wabanaki

See all the Secret Lore here.

The Wabanaki are the indigenous tribe of Solomon Island, and you start getting some missions from their members in the second zone, the Savage Coast. I think that Funcom did a wonderful job of retaining the mysticism of these Native Americans, without romanticising or stereotyping them. NPCs from the Wabanaki are there to help you through the final leg of the main storyline mission, and along the way you learn just how important this place is, and has been, long before the Illuminati ever settled the area.


Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.

TRANSMIT – initiate the Dawn signal – RECEIVE – initiate dream frequency – BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED – initiate the sentinel syntax – IMPROVE MEMORY AND FOCUS THE SAFE AND NATURAL WAY – initiate the Kingsmouth Prerogative – WITNESS – The Wabanaki.

Listen, sweetling. The silent scream. The deafening silence. Something rots in Kingsmouth. Something groans in the Blue Ridge Mine. An evil fog creeps. The earth screams, “Remember, People of the Dawn! Remember!”

Indifference and generations of fast food choke the old wisdom, and remembering is difficult. To remember from the communal pools is like grasping dreams – like pulling the fog away with bare hands.

The putrescent vapour dampens our sight. The secret histories blur. What is time to us? We stand outside. Everything has happened. Everything is happening. Initiate temporal echo location. SHRIEK!

The Wabanaki – of the Algonquians – the confederacy of five tribes: the Abenaki, Penbscot, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and the Mi’Kmaq – native people of the Dawn Island: New England, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

The Europeans come. The Wabanaki fight many bloody wars to defend their land, but the Old World is a disease the New World has no antibodies for. The Great Dying. “Ruin!” croak the ravens, and pestilence spices their food. The Confederacy crumbles in the year of the affixed god 1862, but the Wabanaki name lives on. Names are living things.

The earth remembers the People of the Dawn. In Solomon County, in Kingsmouth, the land knows the Wabanaki’s touch going back thousands of seasonal iterations. The memory of the people fades – your meat minds have expiration dates. Few remember the responsibility of the Kingsmouth Wabanaki.

We remember, sweetling. We stand outside of time. We gather the bad memory waves trapped in the dreamcatchers, sweeter than pollen. A thousand years ago, and a thousand years before that, the Wabanaki shamans dance the containment dance. They know their holy land is a resting place for something sinister, imprisoned there since the Before. They know it will destroy the world.

“The Darkness War!” screech the dreamcatchers. The medicine men, the dream dancers, conjure wards with doodlebug spirals in the shuddering earth. The cyclopean malevolence must be kept dreaming. The sleeper must never wake.

Norsemen arrive, in their longboats, and bring an artifact to the Wabanaki. Its transcendent vibrations amplify the wards, make them sing. It becomes the only key that can open the door. The Vikings take it back with them, across the ocean.

The secrets of ward maintenance are passed down the generations. But entropy ends dedication when flavoured with time. Indifference pushes the People of the Dawn apart. Indifference and something else… Skullduggery, sweetling! A malefactor! We detect an outside influence.

The Blue Ridge Mine echoes with a gunshot from 1971 – a foreman killing a shaman. Members of the tribe are jailed when mine workers catch a case of murder. “Innocent” proclaims the court, and the tribesmen are released and given a large piece of land as settlement.

There is no greater lubricant to argument than wealth. A large amount of money is offered for the land in 2005. The tribe argues. Some wish to sell and finance a casino. Some remember, faintly remember, something important, like a yarn noose choking a finger. What was it? They know they must keep the hill.

The land is sold. The tribe splits in two. An unreasonable anger gnaws their hearts and widens the divide.

Initiate the now.

The Dark Days.

The current dream dancer remembers. She knows the corpse of the ward is the only thing that keeps the fog surrounding Kingsmouth at bay. She cannot maintain the ancient power alone. The others must remember. Differences must be sloughed off. The Hound of the Nameless Days yawns. The earth must be tickled before it feels scorned.

If it is not already too late. It probably is.

We’ll be seeing you, secret worlder. In time.


Steam Challenge – Gone Home

This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 3 hours

Gone Home is an emotional game. It is designed that way. It wants you to invest yourself in the characters, the story. For a lot of people, that was what happened. The hype for it, the accolades, the gushing – clearly it delivered on some level. But not for me. When the hype is about the story, and the emotional connection to a game’s characters, then you are left disappointed when you don’t feel that connection. Only slightly disappointed, because I enjoyed my time with Gone Home. But the draw of the title, the aspect that elevated it into greatness for its many fans, is just not there for me.

I absolutely loved the house. Almost all the way through, I found myself nodding and murmuring that I want to live here. The environment – including all the decorative touches that make it feel lived in – is the greatest part of this game for me. The story is decent, the voicework is very very good, and the detective part of the game is fairly interesting. I especially liked the fact that you can find cassette tapes and players around the house and actually play the music you find. The Riotgrrrl sound is okay, I guess, but it doesn’t do much for me.

I have to touch on the atmosphere of Gone Home, though. I can kind of understand the cries of bait-and-switch, of a massive failure to deliver on the build-up of the early game. Despite knowing from the hype, the trailer, and the promotional blurbs that this is NOT a horror game, I still felt very nervous exploring an empty house alone at night. In the middle of the woods. During a storm. With no explanation as to why the people you expected to be there, weren’t, and vaguely sinister warnings about “whatever you may find…” The game certainly tried its best to conjure up a horror vibe throughout your exploration. Having no payoff for all that stress can make you feel somewhat cheated. The thing that freaked me out the most was the fact that at all the TVs, there were empty input/output cables for VCRs or games consoles…but all of them were missing. Every one of them.

Despite being a 90’s child – I would have been close to Kaitlin’s age in 1995 – I didn’t get many nostalgia buttons pushed. Perhaps you have to be American, perhaps you have to have been a teenage girl to completely identify with the game world. I liked the main story, and appreciate the experience of Gone Home, but ultimately all I can say is that I think it is a good game.

Veruca Salt – Seether


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