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Blue Christmas, “Bang It Out On the Uke” Edition

https://whatever.scalzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bluechristmas.mp3

For no good reason other than I felt like it. What it lacks in polish it makes up for in being short! Enjoy.

— JS

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Athena Scalzi

Thoughts On Hades (So Far)

Image credit: Supergiant Games

Hades is the first roguelike game I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never played a dungeon crawler type game before, nor did I know what a roguelike even was before I started playing Hades. For someone who plays as many videogames as I do (which isn’t a ton but is a decent amount) you’d think I’d have run into one by now, but I only came across Hades when my friend showed me art for it. A few weeks later, he told me I should buy it, and since it was only twenty bucks on the Switch, I figured I’d give it a go.

Let me tell you, this game is awesome. There are many things in this life that I have spent twenty dollars on, and Hades is for sure one of the most worthwhile things (another would probably be a bowl of black garlic tonkatsu ramen, but who’s keeping track?). Technically, Hades was 20% off when I bought it, so the original price was like twenty-five dollars instead of just twenty, but I would’ve gladly paid twenty-five for this amazing game.

If you’ve never played a roguelike before, from what I’ve gathered so far, you basically go through a bunch of different rooms that are arranged in random order, and fight your way through each new chamber, in an attempt to get through all of them without dying. And if you do die, then you lose everything and have to start all the way over.

In Hades case, you play as the son of Hades, Prince of the Underworld, named Zagreus, and you’re attempting to escape the Underworld and make it to the surface. You have to battle through Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium, to escape. Of course, your father doesn’t believe you’re up to the task because he built the Underworld specifically so the souls trapped there could never escape, but surely you’ll prove him wrong, right? Right.

I’ve also learned that Hades is what is known as a “roguelite” because when you die you get to keep (most of) the treasures you found while fighting through the everchanging chambers. You can unlock weapons, strengthen your abilities, and get items that make the game a little easier. So the iconic “permanent death” feature that roguelikes usually have is toned down in Hades.

I’ve also discovered permanent death PISSES ME OFF. As I mentioned in my Dark Souls III post (which I haven’t played for a while, admittedly), I am a very sore loser and a big time rage quitter crybaby, so permanent death in a game makes me really upset and want to scream. However, Hades does a beautiful job of making me not completely despise dying. When you die, you get to interact with characters and unlock more of the story each time. Dying is like, an important thing in Hades! I think it’s a great mechanic to make dying almost a fun thing, because I always look forward to talking to the characters and leveling up.

Part of the reason I decided to try out Hades in the first place is because I love the art. It’s so unique, and the character designs of the gods are so cool!

Image credit: Supergiant Games

I mean LOOK AT THIS BITCH. SO COOL. What a freaky, unique, awesome looking being. All the Olympian gods look awesome, too, and the main character, Zagreus, is pretty spicy if you ask me:

Image credit: Supergiant Games

Not only is the character design and animation in this game amazing, but the voice acting is great, too! There are so many voice lines, and tons of interactions you can have with lots of different characters. I honestly can’t get enough of this game, which is probably why I’m on attempt 40 right now.

I’m really hoping to beat this game, but I’m not very good at it, and I doubt I’ll even make it through Asphodel, but I’ll keep trying. Games like this require perseverance. And patience. Lots of patience.

So, even though I haven’t finished this game yet, I’m going to go ahead and recommend it. Usually I try not to review or recommend things unless I’ve completed them, but this game is too good to pass up! I’ve spent probably about twenty five or thirty hours playing it so far, which I feel like is enough time to at least be able to say, “hey, check this cool game out.”

If you’re interested, check out the trailer!

If you’ve played this game before, tell me about your experience with it! What weapon did you use? What keepsake did you equip? How many tries did it take you? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments! And as always, have a great day.

-AMS

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Systems Check: Nnnnnnugggghfff

Ooof, I’m a little out of it these days. This is for a combination of factors. I’m behind on the novel, which I’m writing slower than I would like. One part of the reason I’m writing slower than I’d like is I’ve been hit with a (non-COVID, I checked) bug that basically makes me want to sleep for twelve hours a day and stare blankly at walls the parts of the day I’m awake. The second part of the reason is 2020 resolutely deciding to be 2020 all the way through to the end of the year. I’d go into more detail about that but just the thought of doing so is draining me of my will to live, so I’ll skip that, if it’s all the same to you.

I’m not going to say I’m going to disappear from here through the end of 2020, since there are a couple of things I want to write, and also I know my own temperament. But I will say that if between now and January most of my posts are cat pictures and music videos, the above paragraph will explain why: Deadlines and fatigue, basically. Fortunately Athena’s around, and we have Big Idea posts, and at the end of the year I always have end of the year stuff for you. It’ll be fine! And maybe I’ll have a nap. Or two. Or six.

Also, speaking of cat pictures, here’s Zeus, just chilling. You have the right idea, Zeus.

— JS

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