177 Posts

So, a few months ago, I made my very first Ark friend on the official forums. She ended up inviting me to join her on an official server. I was still playing in single player mode and this was also during holiday events, particularly Winter Wonderland when the entire map was covered in snow and temperatures dropped severely. This was not a good time to start a new character without fur armor as I would have frozen. This is a “PvPvE” (Player vs. Player vs. Environment) server. I’m really almost never into PvP type games or aspects of games, so that was a large part of my hesitation to join. However, this server pretty much had just made the snow biome the PvP area, although that wasn’t a set rule, just a general consensus, you could still fight people all over the map.

My new friend tried multiple times to convince me to join. One of the main tribe members was missing because he was having issues with his GPU and was waiting on the process of getting that replaced. Other tribe members were mostly inactive, so there were probably only a couple or few active. This meant that there we less people there to make sure all the tribe’s various creatures were fed, and then the tribe was getting raided by another. Eventually, I decided to go ahead and jump in.

She recommended I spawn in the north zone, but had also told me that many people die quickly by doing so because one of the spawn points actually puts people in one of her bases. So, new players are often killed by her creatures. So, I figured I’d spawn somewhere perhaps safer and in an area I had become familiar with, in the south. I figured we’d meet up eventually. I ended up, actually, making my way to the north and meeting up with her. I was impressed by the fact that I survived that trip, as the game is very dangerous for a new character. She invited me to the tribe in-game and then carried me with her Pteranodon over to the main pen. I was impressed by how many creatures were there.

This first day on the server was pretty eventful, too, as the tribe had just been raided and people were still attacking. So, even though I had just started a new character and had next to nothing, I still tried to fight off some attackers, which never turned out well for me, but that was to be expected.

Communication was difficult at first because I wasn’t aware of how to communicate within the game. I did eventually figure it out, how to talk to the tribe only, local only, and in the global chat. One thing I noticed right away was that many people use a microphone, which I don’t have hooked up to my PC. That, however, is going to change very soon as I’ve ordered a gaming headset so I can participate in the vocal chat app that my tribe uses (Discord).

Initially, I was offered a lot of things, armor, weapons, etc., but I declined because I wanted to work my way up and make things for myself. The tribe let me know about another base we had, where I could build. We call it “the Oasis,” but officially that part of the map is called “the Hidden Lake.” I found some damaged structures there, which I began to repair. I also found creatures I could use and started to help feed them. I hesitated using most of them because they belonged to others in the tribe, but I still used some and was very careful not to get them killed.

Eventually, my new friend left out a high level Rex for me so that I could help gather food for our creatures. At this time, there were still only a few groups of them I could feed since I didn’t have access to main parts of the base, because they are locked and accessible to only “admins” of the tribe. That Rex became my favorite creature on the server for a while. I gathered plenty of meat with him and killed some alpha dinos, which helped me level up very quickly.

Just as I had gotten a bit more comfortable with the server and leveled up, disaster began to strike. One time, some tribe members were trying to tame the over-powered Giganotosaurus. I tried to help as I had some tranquilizer arrows and a Mastercraft level crossbow, which I got from killing an alpha dino. Another tribe member knocked it out, but it eventually woke back up and then killed me. I unfortunately lost that awesome crossbow because your inventory drops as a bag upon death, similar to Minecraft, and I was unable to recover it. It also killed one of our Quetzals. That was very disappointing and we eventually gave up on trying to tame it.

Later, some tribe members were trying to tame a Quetzal and I managed to help and two of us finished taming it. This was my first experience with how very long it takes to tame a high level creature on an official server. This process took quite a few hours.

Another tribe had given us a Giga and Quetzal egg and we had bred our Quetzals for more, so we decided to hatch them. This is a very long process! After the egg hatches, you have to hand feed it by putting food in it’s limited, but expanding inventory for many hours. A Quetzal spends 18 ½ hours as a baby and a Giga is 28 hours. After that time, they continue to grow into juveniles, adolescents, and then adults, but at least once they’re a juvenile they can eat out of troughs. We decided to do this during the Valentine’s Day event which sped up this very long process. So, we hatched one Giga and 3 Quetzals. Unfortunately, that event didn’t last very long at all, maybe a day or two. Once it was over, the server had to restart to update. This was extremely unfortunate, because once we logged back on, we noticed that all of them had disappeared, except for the Quetzal I had claimed.

A few of us submitted support tickets and one of us finally got a reply that there was nothing that could be done for a creature that could not be seen. So, we were at a great loss and we were very upset about it. Quitting was definitely a thought for some of us, but we decided to keep playing. While this disaster was terrible, I did learn some things and my place in the tribe was upgraded to “admin.” This meant that I could use any of the tribe’s creatures, resources, gear, and have access everything that was locked up. It also means I could change various tribe options and invite new members to the tribe, but I haven’t done so.

We also realized that perhaps where we were raising those babies may not have been the best place. That’s because the floors are actually ceilings and creatures tend to render under or through them. So, we decided that next time we would raise them in our base that was built in the snow biome. It’s made of metal and the floors are foundations, which creatures don’t normally clip through.

So, here I am again helping the tribe raise some more babies. We hatched another Giga egg and 4 Quetzals this time along with a Bronto. We did recently finally tame a Giga, so we starting using it here to collect meat for the babies. Unfortunately the Giga is very temperamental and the slightest bit of fall damage causes it to rage and kill you. It’s been a day or two and still it’s going to take about a week for all of these creatures to reach adulthood.

So far my experience in the snow biome has been friendly. A while ago, I did make a raft and I sailed over here for some resources like oil and silica pearls. I didn’t run into anyone else. Since I’ve been here helping raise these babies, I’ve only run into two others that aren’t in my tribe. The first complimented the Pteranodon I was flying. The second asked if I had seen any high level wolves around, which I later found and told him about so that he could take away and tame. It was, pretty much, one tribe that was doing PVP here in this area, but that tribe was recently pretty much annihilated and very few are still playing here.

It has been cool getting to know my tribe members and getting some more Ark friends. I enjoy the co-op aspect of this, I enjoy helping out. It’s still fun to me, so that’s why I keep playing. I did, however, take a small break to play some Final Fantasy a couple of times, which made some of my tribe members think I was mad at them or done with this game. I explained to them that I wasn’t mad at all and just wanted to play another game for a little while.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit of my experience playing the game on an official server. I may post some more about this game and experience. I have been enjoying it and development continues, new patches are often released on a weekly basis and that’s been the case since I started playing this past summer. There are definitely things I don’t like about the game, like how long it takes to tame or raise babies on an official server or even how quickly the torpor depletes while taming some creatures. But, I also realize these things are in place for balancing. Still, there are things I’m waiting for, most especially DirectX 12 support, which will make the game able to utilize my dual-GPU video card. There’s also plenty that I enjoy, like the new beaver and various other aspects of the game.

Well, it's been over a year and Mojang is almost ready to release Minecraft version 1.9. I can't recall exactly when I was aware of this new version, but I know it's been quite a while now. As far as my own personal knowledge, this is called the "Combat Update" in which we will be able to dual-wield things such as holding a torch and a sword, maybe a shield? I also know that arrows are getting the various buffs or debufffs, so if you want to heal yourself, you can make healing arrows, shoot them straight into the sky to have them hit you, and then you'll have that buff.

Recently, I found out that the latest update is finally ispre-release and is expected to be fully released next week (2/25). Not much of what I've learned about this new release really makes me want to jump into the game again, but it also seems as the The End is getting a new area with new things, so I think that will be cool to check out.

I've recently decided to rewatch the Minecraft tutorial "Survive and Thrive" videos by Paul Soares, Jr. I watched all of his pre-1.8 videos before I played the game. It did take a while for me to become aware of the game. Initially, my son, Vinny, was really interested in it and I even had a copy for him to play on my computer, but I hadn't played it. Once I watched Paul's videos, I decided to jump in and it's hard to describe how it made me feel. I really enjoyed it, perhaps much more than I expected. I love the music, it seems so relaxing. I also enjoyed the open world exploration, mining, and crafting parts of it along with taming animals. So, since then, I've definitely fallen in love with the game and enjoyed it. It's even become something I've looked for in other games. I have, however, not done everything in the game. Re-watching Paul's videos reminds me of the things I've missed out on like the beacon and Wither boss.

So, I'm curious what my fellow Ghosts think about this new update. Are you excited about it or are you done with the game? Are you going to jump back into the game? After I told my son, Vinny, about the new release expected to come out next week, he's been pretty excited. He asked me how I feel about it and I honestly told him that I do want to play it again when the new version is released. He wants to play together again, on a server, which I've done for us before and I may do again. One of the cool things about the game is that it bridges so many generational gaps and allows people of all ages to play together and have fun. From my experience, it's definitely been something I've enjoyed doing together with my son.

Other versions of the game are expected to receive an update, too. I'll include links to those details below. I do have the Windows 10 and Kindle Fire versions of the game, but I've come to the conclusion that, so far, the regular PC version (for me at least) is the best. I expect other versions (like the Windows 10 beta) to grow and contain everything that's included in the main version of the game, but it's disappointing to play them now knowing that some things are missing.

I'm really hoping to jump in once the new version is released and I'll be more than happy to report my experience with it here at Cheerful Ghost. :)

1.9 patch notes news: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/latest-minecraft-patch-notes-include-bug-fixes-and/1100-6434894/
"Overworld" update for Windows 10 and other versions: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/minecraft-overworld-update-introduces-new-skins-re/1100-6434924/
Paul Soares, Jr.'s Minecraft "Survie and Thrive" tutorials: https://youtu.be/B36Ehzf2cxE?list=PL7326EF82122776A9

GregoPeck gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
GregoPeck gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
This is one of those Final Fantasy games that I actually have quite a few copies of. I have the SNES cart, which is actually called “Final Fantasy III” and I have the PSX version. I now have the Steam version and, like the other FF games I now own on Steam, I was not disappointed with this version, in fact I enjoyed it yet again.

Along with Steam achievements and trading cards, this version contains updated graphics, like the other FF games on Steam. The other major change for this version was the ATB. Instead of having a bar that gets more full and indicates when your character is ready to perform an action, the action menu rises to a point on the screen.

Since I played using my Xbox 360 controller that I bought specifically for PC gaming, the controls I'm going to mention refer to that. I didn't customize the controller because I was happy with the default settings. When on the over world map, I was able to press X (which is square on a PS3 controller) to get a tip from the game as to what I was supposed to do. This was really helpful, even though the map usually has an indicator of where you're supposed to go next. Using the controller was really a great experience.

The main issue I had with the game's UI was that I never could figure out how to exit the game without tabbing to Windows and closing it that way. After clicking on the Save button, that button changes to “Go To Title Screen,” which was a slight bother because I sometime accidentally selected it. Otherwise, I found no other way to go back to the Title Screen to Exit the game. There's also a Quicksave option, but I never used it.

One of the things that dawned on me after playing the Steam versions of FFVII and VIII was that VIII is very easy, at least to me. I'm not sure if that's because of the game itself or the fact that I've played it so many times before, I suspect both to be the case. VII was definitely challenging and VI was the same way, at least closer to the end of the game.

***Now for some slight spoilers and tips***

Now I'd like to address the things I did and didn't do and give you some tips. I did find all of the game's optional characters. I think I usually get Mog and Umaro (the Yeti) when I play this game, but I'm not sure if I ever got Gogo (the Mimic) before. I probably never really used Gogo before, but I found him (or her?) to be a really helpful character. I found Sabin to be one of my most powerful characters as his final Blitz attack does a lot of damage, so I often used Gogo's Mime action right after Sabin's final Blitz. This was extremely helpful, especially during the end of the game.

At a certain part of the game, the world changes from the World of Balance to the World of Ruin. During this time, the game gets very difficult. One of the things I missed out on in this part was that you can actually go back and save Shadow. Therefore, Shadow was no longer available to me. So, he was the only character I was unable to save during the World of Ruin before going to Kefka's Tower.

Kefka's Tower was a difficult place to be, especially since the game makes you divide up into three different parties. This is necessary as three parties are required to step on different switches so that your parties can access various areas. I didn't really like doing this as I was quite comfortable using only a party of four. I liked using Terra and Celes for magic and I enjoyed using Sabin, Edgar, and Cyan for their abilities that were very strong and/or ability to attack multiple things at once.
One of the most important things I missed out on was having multiple characters learn Ultima, which is the strongest magic in the game. The walk though I was reading recommended this and I suffered a bit for not following that advice. I did get the Cursed Shield, but it never changed to the Paladin Shield. I also missed out on getting Mog to learn one of his dances which can't be learned during the World of Ruin. Other Dances can be learned (as he levels up, I think) and I may not have learned all of the others.

The walk through I read also recommended taking Gau and Strago to the Veldt to learn special abilities. However, I grew a bit tired of waiting around for enemies to use certain spells for Strago to learn. I got a bit impatient waiting for Gau to get some more Rage abilities, too. I probably should have paid more attention to Gau's Rage ability because I didn't really recognize the enemies in the list that he could copy. I could have easily looked them up, but I didn't bother.

So, even though some of the difficulty in the game can be frustrating at first, it gets more enjoyable once your characters get more powerful. As I mentioned, the game doesn't get extremely difficult until a certain point. So, it's still very enjoyable in the early parts. This game is definitely a great one in the series. It has an epic story, music, and contains many things that appear in other games in the series. I definitely recommend getting this on Steam.


GregoPeck gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
GregoPeck gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Final Fantasy VII is undoubtedly the most popular game in the Final Fantasy series. While it is a greatly epic game, it's actually not my ultimate favorite of the series. That honor goes to FFVIII, which was the first in the series I played and fell in love with.

After being introduced to FFVIII, and therefore the FF series, I decided to play FFVII once I finished with VIII. I played both games many years ago on the original Playstation. Unlike, VIII, I've only played through VII a few times. I believe I finished it at least once in my college years and I've picked it up again a few times since then without completion. I've played both games on the PC, original Playstation (PS1), PS2, and even on the PS3. However, the very best version of both games that I've played was most recently on Steam.

It's been a long time since these games were released. If you look back at video from the original games, you may be put off by the quality of the graphics. However, the Steam editions come with updated HD graphics that make the game so much better looking. I found this alone to be extremely impressive. But, I've already written about VIII on Steam, this post is about VII.

The game not only got HD treatment with Steam, but also achievements, hardware optimizations, and a “Character Booster” that lets you cheat. I haven't tried the Character Booster, so I can't really report on what it entails. The description says that with it “you can increase your HP, MP and Gil levels to their maximum, all with the simple click of a button, leaving you to enjoy your adventure.” Considering the level of difficulty this game has, this is a tool that could be very advantageous. There are certain boss fights that are extremely tough including the final boss and optional bosses.

I'm kind of surprised that I've only clocked 44 hours in the game on Steam. Not only did I finish the game with characters around level 60, but I also took part in various side quests, some of which I've never completed before. I did not defeat the Emerald and Ruby Weapons. The wiki I was reading for a walk through recommended having mastered some special Materia. I did, however manage to collect all three Bahamut summons along with Knights of the Round, which is an extremely powerful summon.

This time around was also the second time that I actually did the Chocobo breeding and racing side quests. Luckily, the walk through I was reading made it easy to find the necessary wild Chocobos I needed for breeding. Since the game gave me instructions on how to operate various parts of the game by telling me what to press on the keyboard, I often became confused as to which button that linked to on my Xbox 360 controller (that I bought specifically for PC gaming). So, I decided to let my Chocobos race automatically on their own instead of controlling them myself. Luckily, to breed certain kinds of Chocobos you only have win a certain amount of races between the pair you're trying to breed. So in order to breed a blue Chocobo, for example, you have to win four total races with one or both of the Chocobos you're trying to breed. So you could win 2 with Chocobo “A” and 2 with Chocobo “B.” The information I found made this side quest much simpler than the way I attempted it many years ago.

FFVII continues to be greatly popular and fans continue to want more. Because of this, many other games and media were created as a FFVII compilation. Dirge of Cerberus is a shooter game for the PS2 featuring Vincent from the original game. There is also a PSP game called Crisis Core which features Zack and Sephiroth, giving fans a bit of story that happened before the events in FFVII.

A CG movie was also released on DVD called Advent Children. It was later released on Blu-Ray as Advent Children Complete with an additional 30 minutes of story enrichment. It also included a few extra bonus features. I really enjoyed the movie and have watched it a few times.

Fans have been wanting a remake and we thought we might see one on the PS3. I still have the FFVII technical trailer on my PS3. Recently, however, trailers for FFVII: Remake have been released. It seems as though characters have voice-overs similar to FFX. It also seems as though battle occurs in real-time instead of turn-based. I doubt it will be released for the PS3, but it may be a good reason to get a PS4 when it's released. We'll see how it turns out and whether or not it satisfies the huge hunger FFVII fans have for a remake. Right now, the Steam version is, in my opinion, the best to date.

So, if you're a fan of FFVII or the series, I strongly recommend getting the Steam version. I'm really glad that I got to enjoy this great game again. I look forward to the remake and playing even more Final Fantasy games on Steam.

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Compilation_of_Final_Fantasy_VII
FFVII Steam page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/39140/

GregoPeck gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
GregoPeck gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
It was about 15-17 years ago that I was introduced to Final Fantasy VIII, which was my introduction to the Final Fantasy series. It's kind of hard to believe it was that long ago, but since then I've come to love Final Fantasy games. FFVIII is definitely my favorite among them, I immediately fell in love with nearly everything about it including the characters, stories, side quests, music, and more.

The Junction system is one of the main things that sets this game apart from the others in the series. The typical FF summons, are called “GFs” short for “Guardian Forces,” like Shiva, Ifrit, Bahamut, and many more. In order to use them and magic, you have to “Junction” them. Doing also allows you to set magic to various character stats like HP, Strength, Vitality, and more. You get magic by using the “Draw” command at a Draw Point or from monsters. Some magic is better for certain stats than others.

My only problem with the game is when it comes to the parts when the story takes you back into the past. Only certain characters time travel at various points in the game. Their Junction configuration gets transferred to characters in the past. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes some members or the past don't get properly Junctioned. This means you have to reconfigure your Junctions before, during, and after these events take place. However, you can get by with not setting up all of the characters in the past with Junctions, but it gets a bit tedious to have to constantly reconfigure your characters.

In the years after my introduction to this game, I've played it numerous times. During a few of my college years, I often played it at least once a year. In more recent years, I haven't played it very often. I gave it a try a few years ago on my PS3 and HDTV, but I didn't finish it. Recently, however, I became interested in playing it once again after seeing that FFIX would be coming to PC via Steam. This rekindled my interest in the series.

So, I decided to jump in and buy FFVIII and VII on Steam. I played VIII first, deciding I would go a bit backwards. Immediately, I was greatly impressed by how this version of the game has updated graphics. Only minor backgrounds and character models reflected how the original game looks. This was really the first HD re-release of a game that I played and I was totally wowed.

The Steam version also includes numerous other additions such as achievements, a tool to “cheat” in magic, and Chocobo World. CW was a mini-game that, until recently, only those with a PocketStation could play, which was only available in Japan. Due to that, I was only able to try it out recently.

Chocobo World is a very small and simple game with simple black and white only graphics. It opens by default in a very small window. You gain access to it once you get a Chocobo in the main game. The very small mini-map contains dots which represent Event encounters. These encounters can be friendly creatures that give you items and weapon bonuses or, more commonly, fights with monsters. Initially, the main objective is to find MiniMog. After that, you can continue to explore CW and eventually you run into a female Chocobo who needs to be saved from CW's final boss.

There is little music in the game and it gets repetitive, but fans of the series will recognize it from FFVII. Controlling your Chocobo is simple using the directional keys on the keyboard and CTRL. When encountering a monster, both it and your Chocobo have to wait for the ATB to count down to 0 before they can attack (and they do so automatically). You can speed this up for your Chocobo by continuously pressing the left and right keys. Your Chocobo is equipped with a “weapon” which can be upgraded by encountering a Moomba. The weapon contains four squares, each contains a single digit. When you attack, the game randomly chooses one of those numbers to determine how much damage you do. So, having a weapon with the digits 9000 means that you have a 1 in 4 chance to actually hit your enemy. Once you defeat an enemy, you get a “stone” that randomly goes into a position on a 3 by 3 square. In order to level up, three stones must match up in a line. If your HP is reduced to 0, the fight is lost and your Chocobo will end up sleeping to regain HP. While exploring, your Chocobo may end up randomly falling asleep, watching TV, or going fishing to replenish it's HP. You can wake it up or get it back to exploring by using the CTRL key.

Getting your Chocobo leveled up helps you in the main game by increasing the damage that the summon can do. Cactuars in CW also give you items, which transfer over to the main game. So, this mini-game has a few ways to help you out in the main game. There's even a Steam achievement for getting the Chocobo to level 100. I accomplished that and beat the final boss, but I spent a few hours playing it, at least 4 or 5.

One of the things I didn't have to try to do in the main game was grind to get to level 100. My characters actually reached that level while I was grinding for rare items for weapon upgrades. Still, I finished the game and explored almost all of the side quests in just 64 hours. In some previous playthroughs, I did work on the card mini-game, but decided to ignore it this time around.

So, if you like Final Fantasy games, especially this one, I strongly recommend jumping back in and getting this Steam version. I've noticed that other games in the series are also available on Steam and I've decided to jump back in.

FFVII was what I played next, so stay tuned for a post about that. When I finished with it, I jumped back into VI. So, stay tuned for more about Final Fantasy on Steam!

Chocobo World: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Chocobo_World
FFVIII on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/39150/

I just read a preview about Final Fantasy VII Remake and watched a couple of videos for it. It definitely looks different in many aspects, not just visually upgraded. It looks like it won't have the classic turn-based combat style.

What do you think about this? Is this the reason to get a PS4 if you don't already own one? I'll wait and see. We don't have a release date as of yet, but this does seem like something that could get me to buy a PS4. Although, what I read seems to hint that it may be coming to PC and possibly even the XBox.

Final Fantasy IX is coming to PC via Steam!! I would like to know if you have any of the PC versions of Final Fantasy. I'd also like to know what you think of them and if they have "special features." While I have at least one version of almost every Final Fantasy game, I'm thinking I should get them through Steam.

"The PC version of Final Fantasy IX looks like it will let players turn off random encounters with enemies. According to the Steam page, it features seven game boosters including high speed and no encounter modes.

Additional features include achievements, autosave, and high-definition movies and character models."

Minimum PC System Requirements:

OS: Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS or ATI Radeon HD4650 or higher
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 20 GB available space
Recommended PC System Requirements:

OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (32 or 64 bit)
Processor: Intel Core i5 2520 2.5 GHz or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS or ATI Radeon HD4650 or higher
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 20 GB available space


2015 was an interesting year in gaming. I had fun with friends and I spent about half the year playing a single game. I didn't watch many movies, but I liked what I saw.

Early in the year, I went back to Diablo III, where I completed campaign mode with every class of character for both genders. There is still much for me to do in the game, outside of campaign mode, but this is a game I've really enjoyed playing.

Spring brought the release of GTAV for the PC, which I pre-ordered and got to enjoy once again. I had a couple of video issues, but I managed to resolve them with a simple configuration setting. This was the game that made me realize how ignorant I was about choosing a GTX 690 for my new Alienware PC. I didn't realize it was a dual-GPU card, until now. I played a little bit of GTA Online, but not much.

Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft is a really fun card game featuring WarCraft characters and mobs. I enjoyed it, although I wish the game had a much stronger single player aspect to it. I'd love to be able to play against an AI instead of people. That's really why I haven't spent much time playing it. Still, it's a good game. You can spend money on it, but I have not. I did save up some earned in-game gold to buy some stuff, though.

Summer brought the much anticipated 1.3 update for Terraria. It was amazing! I got to play on a server with my fellow Cheerful Ghosts and I had a lot of fun. Once we were all ready for Expert mode, I had pretty much already moved on. Expert mode didn't last very long for us, but that gives us another reason to run another server. I also learned how to use Tshock, which is really awesome.

About this time, I also found out about a new Early Access game called Ark: Survival Evolved. This has turned into my game of the year. I have really enjoyed it and continue to play. While the game has a strong PVP aspect to it, I've been playing strictly PVE on my own in a single player mode. It's a bit like Minecraft, but includes dinosaurs and other creatures that can be tamed. Many of them can be mounted and serve various purposes. I've also enjoyed the various holiday events. I'm very tempted to write a much longer post about why this is my Game of the Year.

A local friend told me that he was playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I found the entire series on sale on Steam, so I decided to go for it. The first two games in the series weren't all that wonderful, but the third was fantastic! I enjoyed riding around the open world on horse back with plenty of quests to do. The story was also very excellent.

This Fall, Fallout 4 was released. It was a bit difficult at first. In fact, it took me around 5 times of starting a new game to finally get into it. I ultimately decided to tone down the difficulty a notch. Once I got into it and was comfortable with it, I began to enjoy it. Perhaps my only complaint with the game is that some quests are never ending and you're constantly getting notifications that they are available. It took me a while to decide to just finally start ignoring them. One of the things I enjoyed was the fact that pretty much all that junk you collect can be used in crafting a variety of structures and mods for weapons and armor.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void was also released this Fall. I haven't spent much time with it, honestly. I struggled to complete the first prologue mission in Whispers of Oblivion. After a bit of research, I was able to figure it out and make my way through it and the remaining two prologue missions. This ended up how I've had to complete many of the beginning missions of LotV, having to do so research to figure out how to complete them. I've been playing on Normal difficulty and it's been a while since I've played any StarCraft, so I had a rough start. I have taken a break from this after once again having difficulty in a mission.

Jurassic World was fantastic! It seems like nearly a reboot of the original, but I thought it was quite awesome. New dinosaurs were introduced along with good characters. I enjoyed buying the JP Blu-Ray collection and watching all of the movies with my son.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was simply great. I really enjoyed taking my son to see it. While our 3D experience wasn't great, the movie was fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing at least a sequel.

Since I got an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas, I decided to use it to rent a movie and watch on my TV via my PS3. I watched The Avengers: Age of Ultron and I enjoyed it as I usually enjoy Marvel movies.

I thought I'd share the news with you that Ark: Survival Evolved is now available for the XBox One. The game is still in development and I've been following it very closely. I don't have an XBox One, but I've been playing this game on my PC since the summer, at least. I think it's a great game and it's certainly very popular. It also has issues which need to be addressed. Right now, I'm waiting for optimization updates. Unfortunately, the PC version doesn't run very well unless you have an extremely high-end GPU like a Titan. I only have a GTX 690 and I don't believe the game takes full advantage of my dual-GPU card. I can get the game to run well by using a command to launch the game using DirectX 10, although it looks much better using DirectX 11. Unfortunately, for me, it doesn't perform very well with DX11. DirectX 12 support is in the works and is supposed to increase performance by 20% according to the game's upcoming patch notes. If you're interested in how to get it running well on your PC, leave a comment here and I'll point you to some excellent resources.

Check the game out on the XBox store using the link below:

You can also get the game on Steam using the link below:

GregoPeck gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
GregoPeck gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
I was aware of Fallout 4 about the time when Bethesda showed it off at E3. I liked what hey showed. Since I enjoyed Fallout 3 and New Vegas, I was sure I'd enjoy 4, although I didn't get too excited about it. I did finally pre-order the game on Steam, but it wasn't until launch day or hours before that I realized it was ready for “pre-loading.” It took me a few hours to get it downloaded and installed, but once it was ready, I jumped in.

My beginning with it was full of anxiety. I had no idea how I wanted to allocate my S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points at the beginning. So, I decided to even them all out. I actually restarted my game quite a few times. One of the reasons was because it seemed too difficult for my taste. Luckily, Travis brought it to my attention that you can change the game's difficulty level (at any time) under the game's options, something I overlooked. I also decided to max out my Strength stat because I was looting everything and getting encumbered. Then, I found the perk that increases your carrying capacity. I also learned that companions have a limited amount of weight they can carry.

I also felt that ammo was too limited. So, I ended up trying to kill almost everything with a melee weapon. Speaking of weapons, I was also overwhelmed with how many are in the game, I wasn't sure which pistols or rifles to carry around. I ended up carrying around many more than I actually used. I also didn't even try to mod them. I only modded my armor a couple of times to help me carry more weight. The only other kind of crafting that I did was giving a few settlements things they needed like defense turrets and repairing my Power Armor when needed. I also did a lot of cooking. I ended up mostly relying on those items to restore my health. Travis helped me realize that even though you can use Stimpaks on your companions, you could save them for yourself. It doesn't seem as though companions can die, but they can become helpless during battle if they take too much damage, unless you give them a Stimpak.

Travis also helped me realize that the game's quests are very much like Skyrim, that is many of them are “radiant” or, in other words, never-ending. So, I ended up searching on Google to find out which quests were radiant and I ignored them, because I got tired of doing them after a while. I did run into some non-radiant side quests. I was trying to focus on them while ignoring the main quest line. Eventually, I decided to just go for it.

This was about when the game started to focus more on factions. Siding with different factions helps you gain allies, but it also creates enemies. This intensified later because I found out that two factions wanted the same thing from one location and the game forces you to decide which side to take. So you were given a choice as to go on to the mission or inform the other side. If you use the transportation provided by either side it will tell you that you will become an enemy of the other.

The only major technical issue I had with the game was when I got lost on a particular mission. I took an elevator back to the top of a building, because the game had me going around in circles. When I got to the top, the screen was totally black after it loaded that area. A few seconds later, I could see the world around me, but I fell to my death when I tried to move. So, I had to revert to a previous save which cost me a few hours of game play. In the end, I realized that I was supposed to be with someone on that mission, someone who wasn't there the first time I tried. I also forced this person to follow me by coaxing them into an elevator by moving in front of them, because I wasn't sure if the person would follow me to a lower floor.

I noticed other instances in which the game gave you the option of how to handle a situation, which could turn out in your favor or against you. During one in particular, I chose a path that didn't end very well, so I tried it again another way, which gave me a good result. Another mission started off badly if I didn't successfully convince another faction of my good intentions. A little later in the mission, I had to try to convince someone to join me, which failed every time until I decided to suit up in some clothing that increased my Charisma stat.

Eventually I became more comfortable with the game and how I was progressing as a player. After a while, I stopped looting everything, for instance. In conclusion, I think the game is good. I definitely recommend it for anyone who's played even a little bit of Fallout 3 and/or New Vegas and enjoyed it. In the end, the game forces you to choose sides, which can be a tough decision, but I think that just adds to the game's replay value.

I know I did not discover every place and I'm sure there's plenty that I missed, but I felt like I “finished” the game. However, since I picked one side and went with it, I decided to start a new game so I could play a bit differently and go along with the other side. One of the other main differences in this new game play is that I maxed out my Intelligence stat right away so I could get the most EXP possible right away. I think that will help me out greatly with leveling up and selecting the perks I want.

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