Best guitar picks I’ve tried

For many years I used the yellow and green Dunlop Tortex picks, and especially gravitated towards the slightly thinner yellow version.
Recently I tried the Graphtech TUSQ .68mm. It’s thin enough to bend just a little bit when you pick making fast passages easier and less fatiguing. It’s also substantial enough to not feel flimsy or make an overly percussive overtone like really thin picks do.
Overall highly recommended especially for fast alternate picking.

Alchemic Dungeons – a New Awesome 3DS Digital Game

The 8-bit/pixelated graphics of “Alchemic Dungeons” definitely remind me of old DOS or NES games – but the colors seem more vibrant and the graphics more sophisticated.

You choose one of four classes (Fighter, Hunter, Dwarf, or Witch – I think the Hunter is the best class) and go on your way adventuring in a hack and slash sort of style. There are about a hundred items you can craft with materials you collect on your adventures.

I finished the first real stage (not counting the short tutorial), the “Phantom Forest”, after trying again and again – but I definitely learned the basic strategy of the gameplay, and I think later stages will be easier if strategy is applied.

The only real issue with this game is the music gets a bit repetitive… but other than that I highly recommend it!

UPDATE: I’ve since beaten the second stage, which was even more difficult. And an important note: this is a turn-based hack and slash, so you only get to do one thing, then the enemies move/attack, etc.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim… forever!

I used to play Skyrim on a gaming laptop – fun, but recently I bought Skyrim: Special Edition for PS4, and it looks incredible compared to the laptop version (though not as good as some PS4 games). One of the expansions has started, in which you hunt down vampires… but there are countless other general quests to take on. Overall, really fun game with good graphics and lots of stuff to find and figure out; few games have captivated me like Skyrim, and I highly recommend it.

Removing Google Analytics

For the sake of true user privacy, I’ve begun the process of disabling and removing Google Analytics cookies and server software from all of my sites.

I’ve already removed my sites on the server side with Google Analytics, and in the coming weeks or later I’ll go through all of my pages and sites and remove the leftover client-side JavaScript that Google provides to enable web traffic reporting.

For now I’m leaving my old privacy policy as it has been for years – when this process is finished I’ll update it accordingly.

Game Review – “Assassin’s Creed II” for Xbox 360

Game Title: Assassin’s Creed II
Game System: Xbox 360

Rating
Graphics: 9 / 10
Gameplay: 9 / 10
Replay Value: 6 / 10
Difficulty: Average. Short challenging moments in between longer easier adventures.

Having only begun the first Assassin’s Creed after finishing the second, I can’t really do much of a comparison between the two. However, I think the sequel stands on its own as a genuinely fun, captivating game of mild difficulty – it seems easier than the first one.

Most of the gameplay revolves around avoiding the guards, parkour around the rooftops and eliminating certain targets, and it’s the kills which are the main anchors of the storyline (perhaps unsurprising given the game title). While there are open-world elements in that you can explore the environments (read: cities) that you visit, there is a clear path of how to move the story forwards. Your “next step” is generally made clear by blinking icons in the mini-map and full map, and between the maps and the compass it’s easy to find your next activity.

As the game progresses certain “meta-tasks” arise, that is, activities that span across multiple cities and parts of the game. The two most prominent examples of this are codex pages that you have to have deciphered, and certain locations that hold secret relics (which are hard to explain without revealing certain sub-plots).

The combat is fluid and fun, but due to the abundance of “medicine” that heals a significant part of your health, fighting is rarely much of a challenge, even when it’s many against one. As you progress, you get to buy better armor, which gives you more health, and better weapons that increase your attack speed and damage.

While the game is so easy that at times it almost feels like watching a movie rather than playing a game, the story and gameplay is continuously entertaining and I highly recommend it.

Retro Game Review – “Dragon Warrior” for NES

Game Title: Dragon Warrior
Game System: NES

Rating
Graphics: 7 / 10
Gameplay: 8 / 10
Replay Value: 4 / 10
Difficulty: This game is more a time investment than a difficult challenge

I finally beat this game a week or two ago. It’s one of my absolute favorite old RPGs, and was a fairly early hack and slash RPG. The premise is you’re a warrior tasked with defeating the dragonlord to basically save the world. You’ll spend most of your time leveling up to face more and more difficult dungeons and roaming monsters over the course of maybe 20 hours. You wander around an overworld map facing enemies that appear at random intervals, wandering from town to town and speaking to locals for clues to the fairly simple puzzles/hidden items spread throughout the game.

Gold, to buy better weapons, armor and items, as well as room and board at inns to restore health and magic points, is difficult to amass early in the game but is absurdly plentiful later on. As you level up and have increased stats, you face enemies that both provide more XP and more gold, making it possible to buy increasingly expensive and powerful weapons and armor.

The best part of the game is the monster fighting sequences. Each monster has a brightly colored image that pops up when you encounter the enemy. Some monsters are just variations of color or minor detail built upon other monster art, but there are many unique designs overall.

The most dangerous part of the game is questing too long and letting your health get so low that you can’t make it back home – but the entire time I played I only died a few times.

Overall a classic RPG for the NES that’s a blast to play once, but not so much a second time.

Warcraft, the Movie…

This past weekend I watched Warcraft… pretty disappointing. Poor acting, not much of a script and nothing too surprising or interesting.

I’ve never played World of Warcraft, but I did thoroughly enjoy Warcraft and Warcraft II, in the days when it was an RTS game not an RPG (I didn’t find Warcraft III as interesting as the first two). There were a few nostalgic references to those RTS games but that didn’t make the movie that much better.

Should have rented it before buying… oh well.