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  • Gamer Culture
  • Bolt Thrower: Automobiles, Hearthstone, Skyrim, Scott Walker

Bolt Thrower: Automobiles, Hearthstone, Skyrim, Scott Walker

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Bolt Thrower: Automobiles, Hearthstone, Skyrim, Scott Walker
There Will Be Games

 

The latest craze to come screaming round the corner with a roar of engines is Automobiles, which has taken my gaming group by storm. It's a deckbuilder that's been mutated into a bag-and-cube builder, neatly removing the fuss of shuffling and sorting that accompanies games in that tiresome genre. And with the addition of a board, some interaction and lots of excitement it's really quite the thing, the sort of game it's hard to imagine anyone disliking. Review over at Shut Up & Sit Down.

We're not playing much else except for Risk: Legacy which just makes me ever more excited for Seafall every time it comes out. Daughters seem to have given up on gaming for the moment in favour of My Little Pony cartoons. They'll get bored of it eventually.

The chance to write about Clash Royale got me back into the game again. It's still good, but often when I lose I have no idea why, and I worry that it's almost too addictive. Between them, those two facets of the game make losing streaks unpleasantly frustrating rather than fun. Especially since you can't play without risking your rank, and all the other little annoying gameplay tweaks to try and squeeze you to spend, spend, spend. I might give it up again soon. Games should make you happy, not angry.

Hearthstone is a different matter. The new expansion feels like it's almost reset the game to day one, so playing has the sense of rediscovering the joy all over from scratch. I love it so much that I've written about it more than once. If you've somehow avoided the lure so far, there's never been a better time to get involved, now that Standard Mode has limited the card advantage enjoyed by long term fans.

On the PC I've mostly been playing Skyrim and it's mostly gone like most Bethesda RPG's before it. Fifteen hours or so of exhilaration followed by boredom when you realise the beautifully drawn world is fundamentally flawed. I tried avoiding all enchanting and alchemy this time, since previous Elder Scroll games are just too easily broken with those skills. It still wasn't enough. Maybe I'll go back to it one day. The scenery is pretty amazing with a bunch of texture mods installed.

Finally, I wanted to talk about Scott Walker. A recent musical discovery, some of you may know him from 60's pop balladeers The Walker Brothers. Some of you may also know that after the group split, he pursued an increasingly bizarre and unhinged solo career. Then, after a decade of silence, he released Tilt and The Drift, two of the bleakest and most beautiful records you're ever likely to hear.

Do listen, even if only for the song where the only percussion is someone repeatedly punching a dead pig. You might never listen again but, then again, you might never hear anything else like it in your life.

There Will Be Games
Matt Thrower
Head Writer

Matt has been writing about tabletop games professional since 2012, blogging since 2006 and playing them since he could talk.

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Articles by Matt

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Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #228381 30 May 2016 16:36
This sounds GREAT, thanks for the review!
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #228388 30 May 2016 20:28
The worst thing with Skyrim is the starting sequence. The beheading scene, dragon attack, and the first duergar tomb (in the awesome looking temple on top of snowy peak, admittedly). I have numerous attempt to replay it aborted thanks to this sequence.

I'm okay with the world being sort of boring, because it actually feels like a *real* exploration, which can't be exciting all the time. In a time where games are designed around an intended effect, Skyrim being made from grounds up is really refreshing to me.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #228391 31 May 2016 08:16
I had the same experience with skyrim, Super amazing followed by boredom
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #228397 31 May 2016 11:41
Scott Walker is amazing...two you have to check out beyond "Tilt" and "Drift" are "Soused" and "Nite Flights" (Walker Brothers).

Soused is a record he did about two years ago with the US drone/metal/avant garde metal (?) band Sunn0))). It is as weird, dark, heavy and compelling as you would think it would be.

"Nite Flights" is the last Walker Brothers record, and it is kind of like if Brian Eno fronted The Righteous Brothers. The first half of the record is Scott Walker compositions, and it is utterly brilliant- the title track in particular (later covered by Bowie on "Black Tie White Noise") is just stunning and it is a million miles away from "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine No More"...or is it? The songs have this strange tension between Walker's more out there approach and his bandmates' struggling to play to meet him halfway. The other songs are fine- good Walker Brothers material- but side one just KILLS.

I just got into him last year myself after years of seeing him name-checked and referenced. I think anyone interested in a paradigm that includes Bowie, Eno, Lou Reed, The Fall, anything on Mute/4AD, etc. will find his stuff pretty interesting.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #228400 31 May 2016 12:22

Black Barney wrote: I had the same experience with skyrim, Super amazing followed by boredom


Much like your posts -- well, without the Super amazing part
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #228405 31 May 2016 13:43
Totally agree on Skyrim. Awesome, epic time for a while, then the sinking feeling that this isn't getting any better, and finally, remorse that you sunk 40 hours into trying to regain the feeling you had during hour 2.

Feck.

Thank God Fallout 4 is better. If they fucked that up, I'd have been forced to start a 1-man riot.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #228413 31 May 2016 14:40

I'm okay with the world being sort of boring, because it actually feels like a *real* exploration, which can't be exciting all the time.


Actually, exploration still feels like the most interesting thing about the game. I'm more thinking of everything else: combat, levelling, completing quests. It's just all the same old, same old and it drains me of motivation to play.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #228414 31 May 2016 14:42

Scott Walker is amazing...two you have to check out beyond "Tilt" and "Drift" are "Soused" and "Nite Flights" (Walker Brothers).


I knew that if anyone else had come across these records here, it would be you :)

I've heard Soused. It's fantastic. It actually sent me on a quest to discover some more drone metal, most of which was very dull in comparison. I did find a thrash band called Hatebeak, who have a parrot as a vocalist. It's a lot less fun than it sounds.

I haven't listened to any of his early stuff yet, but it sounds like Nite Flights is the place to start.
Sevej's Avatar
Sevej replied the topic: #228439 31 May 2016 21:26

MattDP wrote:

I'm okay with the world being sort of boring, because it actually feels like a *real* exploration, which can't be exciting all the time.


Actually, exploration still feels like the most interesting thing about the game. I'm more thinking of everything else: combat, levelling, completing quests. It's just all the same old, same old and it drains me of motivation to play.


That is actually a plus for me, so I can concentrate on the exploration. The thing is I have accepted the simplified combat as is (thanks Witcher 2!). I also don't want to do spend any more time on the leveling screen. I think they did a great job on the star-constellation leveling stuff. One thing I never did in Morrowind though, in Skyrim, I *paid* for training. Leveling takes time, but it's actually faster once you get off ground.

I just *love* exploration in Skyrim, with its natural-looking caves and rock formations (for the same reason I usually loathe dwarven ruin).

It dethroned my all time best fantasy RPG (Gothic 1+2).