Author Archives: Bruiser

The great Trek Game Review

This Train is bound for glory, this train…

We’re planning an episode of our award winning Podcast (Trek by the Numbers) that deals exclusively with classic Trek games! And in order to do that, yours truly has to play through them.

Oh my.

We’re going to start with Star Trek: Star Fleet Academy. Reviews and maybe some LP’s will be posted here as a companion to the podcast episode which will come later. So watch this space for the hottest takes on 30 year old Star Trek games.

That’s very much what I want.

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

We’ll always have Paris…

When you look up lists of point and click adventures to play and write about for your blog that no one reads, the Broken Sword series is a name that keeps popping up. I have to admit that I had never heard of the game and, $5.99 on GOG later, I was ready to rectify that. And boy am I glad that I did.

1996 Me would have died.

We’re going to be playing through the Director’s Cut version of the game (the only version of the first game available on GOG or Steam). In doing research on this game, I found out that it was available on every platform… I’m not joking- this game is like the DOOM of point and click adventure games. When it came out, it was available for Windows, Mac, Playstation, GBA, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile.

Told you.

Upon launching, there are three things that set this title apart from your typical 90’s point and click. The first thing that strikes you is the quality of animation. The character animations during cut scenes are the same kinds you would find in an episode of Archer. In game animation uses a cartoon style to create a smooth, visually appealing environment that your character lives in.

The second thing you’ll notice is the quality of voice acting. I’m a huge voice acting nerd, and bad voice acting takes me right out of a game. A notable example for 90’s point and clicks would be “Flight of the Amazon Queen” which is being played currently for a review. You combine this with the excellent score from composer Barrington Pheloung, you’re in for a great time.

…Lana??

The game opens up with the Nico receiving an invitation from a french media mogul who may or may not have known her father. After doing some reading, it appears that this prologue section is only found in the Director’s Cut version of the game. All other versions pick up with the main character George Stobbart, and American Tourist that survives a terrorist attack perpetrated by a costumed assassin. What ensues is an adventure for the ages as George and Nico solve try to outwit the costume killer and get dragged into a conspiracy with the Knights Templar.

If you’re one of the 8 people who haven’t checked this game out, you really need to. It’s a great introduction to the point and click genre.

Broken Sword is available on GOG, Steam, PalmOS, Windows CE, and Gucci SmartToilet.

Alcoholism and and why “Crossroads” should have won Best Picture in 2002.

I had a problem with drinking once. I’ve been sober a long time. That should be the end of the story. But I was in a situation recently where the topic of alcohol abuse came up with a group of… well they’re not friends. But they’re more than acquaintances. Kind of like the 2001 coming of age anthem “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” by Brittany Spears. It was arguably the most memorable song from the oscar-snubbed film Crossroads. A film which really spoke to our generation and the ennui of coming of age in the confusing aftermath directly after 9/11.

Xanga, Myspace, and Operation Iraqi Freedom

Anyway, we were casually talking about another mutual friend. They thought that this person may have a problem with drinking because of a situation that’s not worth mentioning. Before I could really think about it, I causally said, “You know, I could talk to them, maybe. I used to have a problem too. It’s a really tough thing to approach.”

It got awkward. Fast.

Me relating alcoholism with A Beautiful Mind’s weak plot and bad pacing

Thankfully someone changed the subject and we moved on; but that got me thinking. In 2001, Brittany Spears was 20 years old. She was clearly already a woman with a history of rich experiences. The single from this album just doesn’t make sense!

Also, why should I feel guilty or ashamed about a problem I used to have?

I think that’s about as absurd as hiding the fact that I broke my leg ten years ago. Look, I’m not proud of the person I used to be. Thankfully most of the memories are fuzzy, but when I remember them, it’s like that feeling you get when you remember an awkward thing you did in high school that one time. It happened, and here we are. More importantly, no one remembers it.

I’m proud of the person I am now. That’s not to say that I’m anywhere close to perfect- far from it. But I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome something and hit the other side a stronger person because of it. My past history with alcohol is part of what makes me who I am today. It’s the reason why I appreciate life more. It’s the reason why my wife and I have found a group of amazing friends who are a positive influence. It’s the reason why I chose to go to graduate school and work in the public sector helping communities.

It’s also why we took a once in a lifetime trip to find friendship, and ourselves

Cleaning up and drying out is one of the single best decisions I have ever made, and if it ever naturally just comes up, I’m not going to hide it. Am I going to start with that when I meet someone? No… but you can be damn sure we’re going to talk about the absolute travesty of the 2002 Academy Awards.

3 Years Later…

I get an automated email once a year informing me that my domain has auto-renewed and thanking me for my business. I decided to log in for the first time since 2016 and take a look.

Eeesh.

At the time of that post, I was about to quit my dead end and abusive job and go back to finish my bachelor’s degree. Since then, I’ve graduated, moved to an entirely different area, and am halfway through graduate school. Oh, and we also started a podcast. Life has gotten infinitely better since then, and I’ve rediscovered this site. As for the old posts, I’m not going to take them down. I think if you look at those, you can see the makings of our podcast… kinda? It’s hard to quantify. I’m most proud of the Be A Better Person videos. Hopefully we can do more.


I want to do something more with this site. I think I want to talk about life and use my love for gaming as a framing device. Stupid? Maybe. Overdone? Definitely. But I don’t care. This one is for me. On the off chance that people show up and start reading, then okay.

Jesus, I need a new header image.

Let us Pray: Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

It’s times like these that I remember my papaw’s words. He said to me, “Son, you’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to stop trying to make indie point and click games interesting. Know when to run.”

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the abandonment of the Blackwell Legacy LP. I tried to make it funny and interesting- but I just don’t have the chops for it.

With that being said, Laz (and maybe a special guest!) and I are currently working on an LP for Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. The FMV sequences are what really make this game a National Treasure. Here’s our trailer for it:

8 pages of notes and only two Jeff Lynne jokes…

We put up the first video for our new series yesterday, and it honestly did way better than I expected. So well, in fact, that we started work on our 2nd video (which should be finished by Friday). It’s always been easy for me to start new projects, but actually finishing them is a different matter entirely. And maybe that’s something you can relate to…

I always seem to get really excited about the next big thing, start working on it, and almost immediately drop it. Right now, for example, I’m staring at 7 posts in the drafts folder. At home, I’ve got scale models stacked up, and un-assembled from when that was going to be my thing. Walking through my storage unit is like walking through a mass grave of half finished ideas and hobbies that never got off the ground.

I don’t know if this is going to take off, or if it’s going to end up like so many other [thing’s I wanted to do]. The only thing I know is- right now, here today, I’m excited to make more riffs with my friends. I’m happy writing jokes and helping to put something together that I think is going to be really cool. I’ve got 8 pages of notes and only two Jeff Lynne jokes- and that’s good enough for me. God willing and Jesus tarries, that’ll be good enough for you too.