Nov 12

X-Com Enemy We Know

Pahn, Gremio, Cleo and Valeria board the Skyranger hurriedly as an emergency situation has begun in Germany. Aliens have been sighted and they are abducting people. After what seems like a long flight, every minute getting more tense they touch down outside a small construction site.  There could be some close quarters fighting, things may get nasty.

Pahn moves into the site behind a crane conveniently parked at the entrance, Cleo then moves up into cover behind a plow to the right of the entrance. Still no sign of the hostiles. Gremio and Valeria move up to the site entrance but decide to hang back at the gates. After a moments waiting 2 Sectoids appear, Pahn Gremio and Valeria all react quickly firing at the approaching hostiles but in their haste all 3 new recruits miss their mark.  Cleo peeks out from behind the plow and spots one covering itself behind a small stack of girders, she lines up the shot with her rifle and shows the others how it’s done and neutralizes the target.  Gremio then takes a good aim on the second target and bags his first kill. Everyone’s adrenaline pumping we can do this! they think to themselves. Pahn moves towards a small office building a spots a second pair, takes aim and gets his shot dead on. Valeria moves up cautiously and leans out and takes down the second of this new group. Further examination of the site reveals no more hostiles. They clean up the area and head back to base.

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Nov 12

Cerberus Casual Card Club

For a few months now we have had an idea in our head for hosting a board/card game night at Cerberus bar in Dundee. It’s our local and the licensee was saying he was looking for some ideas for midweek nights when it’s a bit quieter.

For a variety of reasons we hadn’t got round to it yet. Then on the Facebook page of Major Arcana someone asked about casual gaming in Dundee. Hesitant to invite someone we had never met to a house I queried when everyone was free. Checked with the bar and booked the Wednesday night for gaming.

We had to arrive a bit early and grab the few rectangular tables for the gaming (2 together for bigger games). Slowly people started to trickle in including some faces we didn’t know.

In the end about 10 people played a variety of games including Carcassonne, Cthulhu Fluxx, Fluxx, Last Night on Earth, Munchkin, Star Fluxx and Zombie Fluxx.

The bar were quite happy and said we could use it on Wednesdays.

We then ran a second night and had fifteen people there including more new faces. New games included Magic: the Gathering, Munchkin Bites, Settlers of Catan, Small World, Tsuro and Zombie Munchkin.

So right now we are sorting things out a week in advance – in case of gigs, or other festive events coming up in the next month. But expect to be running something at least once a fortnight if we slip back from weekly.

So, if you are in the Dundee area on Wednesday nights and fancy a bit of gaming check out Cerberus Casual Card Club to check we do have something on that night and pop in to play some games.

More importantly – bring along some game you have and introduce some new people to it.

Nov 12

1001 Video Games You Must Play Saga Begins

We are all gonna die…

Its true fact of nature that we are all gonna die soon.  Its inescapable and ultimately unavoidable unless scifi becomes sci-fact then we are basically at the mercy of death. Since the moment we are born and even if we lock ourselves in our gaming rooms and never come out we are destined to be dead, dead as a doornail.

Now we have established this known fact I can continue with my mission.  There is this handy book that us gamers and geeks can use to ensure we have played the “must play” games up till about at least the 2010’s before our goose is cooked…

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Nov 12

Major Arcana – New Shop in Dundee

A couple of weeks ago a new geek emporium opened in Dundee called Major Arcana.

We were excited and took a trip down. It’s in Exchange Street, the former location of Bike Worx. A fresh lick of paint and it looks like a really nice space.

Some tables for gaming. A range of board such as Small World, Descent 2nd Edition and Last Night on Earth and card games including a full set of Fluxx and of course Magic. The RPG selection included some nice games and a Buffy Revised Core Rulebook (the only Buffy RPG book Alan G is missing so it’ll be being bought at some point). The tabletop games included Warmachine, Hordes, Malifaux and Urban War.

So basically the stuff that’s non Games Workshop which gets really good reviews on podcasts and the like.

They also had a range of t-shirts and cups and graphic novels and Manga. The selection was a bit thin but we put that down to it just opening. I can certainly see the JoyStuck crew spending some time and money there in the near future.

Aug 12

Dare ProtoPlay 2012

Alan G gives a quick run-down of some of tomorrows smash-hit games.

This weekend saw the latest showcase of Dare to be Digital the student games development competition started at Abertay in Dundee. There was also an indie games developer conference and indie games company showcase.

(It’s also about the 13th since my course-mates and I applied to do Dare in the summer between 3rd and 4th year and were rejected.)


Cloud Monkey Colouring Competition

I had arranged to meet some friends first thing as it gets very very busy later in the day, so at 10am I was queued outside with the rest of the nerds to play some new innovative computer games.

There were 15 teams competing and you are supposed to play each before voting for your favourite. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to play them all before heading off to a barbecue but at least watched someone play each to get a general idea.

So a quick run down on the games.

Games I played

1. Slick. Probably by third favourite game. An interesting platformer where you play a snail racing through levels. Three were included in the game and more actions were added each one. I did find parts frustrating as you had to dump slime before you explode. Unfortunately in some cases you ditched it, going faster which made you jump over one jump, the landing bit and into the next pit. A bit of tweaking to allow you to do such mega jumps would have helped move it up for me.

3. Mr Montgomery’s Debonair Facial Hair. Enjoyable and original. You have to groom customers in a barbers shop and kill bees and sharks which attack them. I really enjoyed this and thought this was second best and later found out the artist is a friends daughter.

9. Pixel Story. This was the first game I played and I really enjoyed it. Later went back to play to completion to confirm it was the game I wanted to vote for. Really innovative 8-bit pixel styled platformer. It later won a bunch of awards and funding to help it be made. Drop your hat, turn switches to move obstacles and teleport to hat. Teleport to hat after jumping on spring to carry momentum over walls etc. Really really fun. My final comment as I finished was How can I give you money for this?

10. Ready Steady Roll. Android tablet game where you race catching debris to make the ball you are rolling on bigger, and faster, whilst avoiding obstacles. This was quite fun.

12. Project Thanatos. The only game which was 16+. Virtual Reality headset in a horror game. I played the monitor/headphone version rather than queue longer. Jumped a couple of times. Another wee bit of graphical polish and it would stand on it’s own against commercial titles.

13. Grav Tech. Fun platformer where you use a gravity gun to make giant blocks heavy or light to move them and move through the level.

Didn’t play

2. Liminal Magibrawl. Using the Kinect to fight. It looked quite fun and saw loads of kids loving it and then voting for it.

4. Castle Crusade. This looked like a graphics-enhanced version of Rampart on the Master System. Some kids were playing it as I stood at Debonair Facial Hair but it didn’t interest me enough to play.

5. Interstate Outlaws. Racing game using Kinect. Stood watching people play and giggled saying Fork in the road when a giant fork appeared. One of the developers was amused and liked it when people spot the visual puns.

6. Colour Captain. I didn’t play this due to it’s reliance on subtle colours (Colour Blind) but the friends I was with loved it and voted for it.

7. Starcrossed. I can’t even remember seeing this. Sorry.

8. What a Day!. A friend played this for a while and seemed to enjoy it. Play a worm leading fish to a hook on the iPad.

10. Badgers vs. Turtles. Don’t remember this – either it wasn’t memorable or it was too crowded to get near.

14. IsoChronous. This had a bit of buzz from the other teams but few demo machines and people hogging it for long periods meant I didn’t get to try it.

15. Marcelo. Don’t remember this either. I suck.


I hadn’t looked for a while at it but managed to play around with Scratch for a few minutes to make a basic game. Made me want a Raspberry Pi even more than I already do.

Dare Indie Fest

Proper Games. Just as I was leaving the area I spotted Proper Games stuffed in the corner. As I mentioned that I hadn’t seen their CEO for a while he turned round and I ended up blethering to him for a while. I bought Yo Deshi on iPhone after demoing it. Signed up for their beta test list and was reminded to play Flock! again after encouraging someone to play it. (Disclosure: I used to go to lunch with the CEO once a week as a colleague was a friend of his)

WallaBee. The guys who make the HoneyBlend app to accompany WallaBee convinced me to become addicted to this whilst demoing it to someone else. I was at the time downloading the app. If you have OCD or are a completest – avoid this game.

BrainDeadApe. Had Highway Hobo on show – a game where you play a hobo wandering down the middle of the road getting drunk and burping at oncoming cars.

TigerFaceGames. Had Equator which was a 2-player co-operative maths game aimed at kids for the iPad. Mo’Adore and I sat playing it for ages. It was quite fun, unfortunately they had made a new build the night before and I discovered a bug which kept crashing the level.

Mo'Adore and AlanG play Equator

Final Thoughts

There was a really good mix of games shown in both halls. Some of the ones in Protoplay were probably better than those produced by existing companies in the Indie Showcase. A really positive sign on the future of indie games development.

Aug 12

Robot Exhibition in Dundee

Whilst attending a Cafe Science talk in Sensations in Dundee I took the opportunity to pop round the current exhibition which is all about robots!

Some of the non-blurry pictures are below – some of the other JoyStuck crew and friends might have taken more pictures of the ones which I have terrible versions of. Missing are Robbie the Robot, Kryten and more.

These guys came in peace.

These guys definitely didn’t.

Bad ass Locutus of Borg

This one tried to come in peace

One of the few decent characters in Voyager

These guys have already left to travel back in time

T800 – available from all good retailers

And if they go far enough away they might bump into these ones

This Way R2, this planet looks familiar

Jul 12

Scottish Gaming T-shirts

We’ve recently come across a website with lots of Gaming t-shirts in a Scottish style. Created by Brian Baglow of http://scottishgames.net/ there are some real belters.

Our favourites are the Space Invaders one

Space Invaders awa tae get malied

The Pacman one

Popping pills and washing it doon wi buckie

and of course the references to Dundee

Jute Journalism and Coding Jams

Jun 12

Indie Game: Connectrode

Connectrode is a highly addictive indie puzzle game available from the Apple App Store.

I first discovered the game reading about Shay Pierce’s story on Gamasutra.

Connectrode Title Screen

Connectrode Title Screen

Zynga bought out OMGPOP (the company he was working for) and refused to clarify if their ridiculous contract would result in them owning the game he made in his spare time or stop him releasing any in future.

A new version has just come out to thank all those who purchased the app in support and it includes two brilliant features. The first is a new Push Mode where new chips are pushed from the bottom of the screen rendering your well laid plans obsolete whilst you wait on the correct ones coming out.

The second is the ability to change the chip colour. As someone who is colour blind I found 2 sets clashing and had to repeat something about the animation on the chips to remember but wrecked many games by placing the wrong tile down. This allows me to customise the colours and sort that problem.

Push Mode with customised colours

I seem to be doing ok.

Alan Gs Scores

May 12

Hero Quest Update

After writing the blog post about HeroQuest I hunted around on Twitter and the like and found someone in Dundee talking about it – he has written a series of posts pimping his painting skills – Parts (1), (2), (3), (4).

I then took a trip up to the parents house to enjoy some of the weather instead of sitting indoors on the internet or playing games (nerdpoints–). Digging around in the attic for some old toys for my nephew (he’s not old enough for He-Man or Action Men yet, but soon) I found some random stuff. Looking in old room with niece for some other cool stuff I spotted something out the corner of my eye. It was another HeroQuest box. I have 3 copies of the second release where I only remember buying 2. It also contained a copy of WitchLord so I have 3 of that expansion. A couple of days later I did an audit and managed to check which sets were complete and complete Deks (missing a door and had some broken figures). Alzo will get his set checked at some point so hopefully we will all have at least one complete set.

May 12

Temporary Interruption in Servive

Please be aware there is a temporary interruption in service.

We have all set aside time for retro games to kill demons in Diablo 3.

We also have some guest keys left so contact us if you want one.

Does the sequel to one of the first PC games we played over LAN count as retro? It might be justified but we doubt it.