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Puzzles are certainly different in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments, intro screen

I’ve been playing Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments and I have to say, the game is BEAUTIFUL! Frogwares studios delivered another solid game to add to their Sherlock Holmes collection and I’m over-the-moon enjoying working the cases as I play through. So far I’ve completely two and started a third, the “Blood Bath” case. My husband heard a bit of the dialogue on the second case I played, “Riddle on the Rails” and told me he’d read the story that one was based on. I found that to be super neat!

Frogwares admitted, after putting The Testament of Sherlock Holmes out, that they went a bit too far on the puzzles and made some of them too hard. They said the next game, Crimes and Punishments, wouldn’t have those seemingly impossible puzzles and, to that, they’re right. The puzzles this go round aren’t hard to solve at all. That said, the floating ghostly ‘tobacco and cigar’ puzzles drive me batty. You’re presented with a sliding piece image and have to line it up correctly. You rotate the entire image and have to slide two pieces into place to complete it. Sounds simple, no? Deceptively! I’ll think I have the two pieces lined up correctly and when nothing happens, after barely bumping them a million times (seems!) I’ll rotate the image and again to a different view and start over. UGH.

Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments tobacco puzzle

The ‘lock picking’ puzzles are super simple. So far it’s the same basic puzzle (with minor differences) each time you have to pick a lock. I appreciate the simplicity I suppose but I miss the complexity of ‘lock picking’ from Testament. Think I’ve had this puzzle three times now … was hoping for, I dunno, different with each lock.

Sherlock Holmes Crimes and Punishments cab ride screen

Attention to detail is HUGE, again, and I love the cab ride ‘loading screens’ in the game. In the above Sherlock is reading Crimes and Punishment! Other times he’s deep in thought or reading a different book. Watson may be going over his notes or … Best loading screens ever! Baker Street wasn’t changed too much, still looks like Baker Street from Testament, something I deeply appreciate! If you have the game and haven’t checked out the telescope view from Baker Street, you must. (another throw back to Testament) So far the crimes scenes aren’t as stomach-flippingly gory as Testament but I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Just *is* kind of thing right now.

If you’re on the fence about getting this one, DO IT! Crimes and Punishments has several cases to solve instead of one gigantic case. I like both, having the one story and having several. It’s a great follow-up to Testament, the puzzles won’t do you in and make you rage quit and the stories are interesting. The deduction board does take getting used to but you’ll catch on pretty fast. I have a case to solve waiting on me (think I’m nearing the end of “Blood Bath”) so I must take my leave and get back to ‘work’.

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I don’t get it

(I didn’t intend for this to be such a long read but that’s how it worked out)

I’ve tried to raise my kids in such a way that celebrates diversity, the diversity of individuals and independent thought. I’ve told them that it’s not only that it’s okay if someone doesn’t agree with you, that it’s different viewpoints that bring about a greater collective, a better stage for discussion, a way for each of us to learn and grow both individually and as a whole. It’s a beautiful thing that we’re not all alike, that we each have unique aspects to us and it’s the combination of those parts that make us stronger. It’s not that you won’t find common ground with others. You absolutely can! That’s how we make friends, after all. It’s about respecting others and their rights to think or feel differently than you do. If you don’t respect another’s rights then, in my opinion, you can’t expect anyone to respect yours.

It’s a two-way street, that.

I found my common ground with other gamers. I LOVE playing video games on my computer, my consoles, even my phone. I played games in arcades growing up, at friends houses, whenever I could. As I got older I was shamed for playing games and learned I couldn’t talk about my hobby with just anyone. Finding a gaming community online was both freeing and fortifying for me. I no longer felt alone or that I had to hide it.

That feeling of acceptance, of not being shunned, it’s a magnificent thing!

My gaming community is made of up men, women, young, older (some older than me and I’m 43), people with kids, grandkids, people with careers, people who live at home with mom and/or dad, people who enthusiastically visit cons, movie premieres, shop Black Friday sales, bar hop, never (much) leave the house, religious folks, atheists, Doctor Who fans, pie-lovers, coffee addicts, tea drinkers, die-hard sports fans (#goBEARS!), people who can barely stomach seeing sports related messages and tweets. My group of gaming friends cover a wide and diverse group of people from so many different walks of life. And it works because of our common ground, our love for gaming. When someone is in need you can expect to see messages of encouragement. Likewise when someone is celebrating a boss fight or a job promotion, a birth or new elite gear, we celebrate with them. We’ve found we have more in common than just gaming and do relish those connections but we don’t shun each other for our differences. What we do, when we find something that we just don’t like or agree with, is filter that bit out. Ignore it figuratively or otherwise.

Why slam someone because they’re different?

This #gamergate mess caught me off guard. I first heard of it through one of my Twitter buddies. They are a passionately compassionate person that regularly gives their time to support rights for others. They are accepting and encouraging. They wanted to help rid the gaming press of corruption and insist on a code of ethics. I will admit that I didn’t pay this much attention at first, if at all. I eye-rolled at the idea of game reviews being legit. I’ve never done reviews for a couple of reasons, one being that if you give me the product for free I’ll feel more obligated to write a positive review. I’ve never thought of review sites as …. well, as trustworthy for opinion and when I’m reading an article somewhere and I get that first whiff of ‘they gave me it for free’ I tend to leave and go elsewhere. I don’t think negatively of the writers for this as I’ve always assumed the ‘review freebies’ either came with strings or strings heavily implied beit it on the part of the giver OR receiver and it’s their job. When I want to learn more about a game I’m thinking of buying I look for people who are posting about their experience, not ‘doing their job’. It’s just my preference really, and that has peppered my view of what I thought #gamergate was all about.

Now I’m so gosh darned confused I don’t even!

I had never heard of Anita Sarkeesian before #gamergate happened. I do not consider myself a feminist in any way. I stand for people rights where color, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs …. none of that makes you better or more … anything. I believe there’s a time and a season for all of us both individually and collectively. I believe that our differences make us stronger and that no one group should have more rights than another. Gender, for instance, should never have to enter the ring of equality. Equality doesn’t see curves anymore than it sees eye-color. ‘Least, in my utopia, that’s how it would work.

The last week or so I’ve been trying to understand exactly what #gamergate is for, why it is and who the players are. I’ve read countless blogs both for and against, picking apart the many heads of this beast we’re calling #gamergate. It was, for me, like a horde of hungry zombies with no discernible direction. How in the hell does wanting ethics in game journalism spiral into rape and death threats against women in the gaming industry??? That’s the part that was throwing me for a loop, one I just could not understand. Then last Friday happened and I saw some of these threats being hurled against ¬†Brianna Wu and her family … I just said that in past tense when it’s not anywhere near an ‘over and done’ thing for her, Anita or Zoe Quinn. They’ve fled their homes in fear, afraid to go back.

I know exactly what that’s like only my attacker was just one person and he had a face. We knew him and, for us, it was over after a couple of weeks. I know the fear but, in all honesty, I was never really sure he would have followed through on his death threats. My attacker was mentally ill, very sick, but he’d raised me (my step-father) and I’ve always wondered, ‘could he have really gone through with it?’ I was very fortunate in that once the cops found him, it was completely over for us. Haven’t heard from that man in over 20 years now.

Women in the gaming industry are being attacked. I’ve read stories of hostile working environments where, every day, they’re ‘not good enough’ because they’re female. How does that even happen? Why does that even matter? If you can do the job, why does your gender EVER come into question?? And now, in the name of #gamergate, horrible and vicious threats are being made to encite fear against women, and men, in the gaming industry.

I just don’t get it.

I do not hold the same beliefs as Anita Sarkeesian. I don’t feel, as a female gamer, that I’ve been victimized or portrayed in a bad light. It could be the games I play … I play what I want and don’t spend money on games that I don’t want. I don’t feel threatened by Anita either. I think there’s PLENTY of room in the gaming industry for everyone and, honestly, that’s exactly how it should be. I play games for a fun escape from real life, not wanting to emulate my life. I want to kill orcs. I want to behead dragons. I want to be the hero and the games I play allow me to do just that. The games Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu made don’t appeal to me in the slightest but even though I won’t play them, I absolutely applaud them having made them. Not because they are women but because they were able to make a game they believe in. There’s room for everyone.

#Gamergate has been tainted by a sick group of people who fear change. They fear difference. I don’t understand why Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu or any other women in the industry has to mean change for them. Demographics are going to change regardless of who’s working in the industry. It’s how life works. That doesn’t mean they can’t keep playing the games that makes them happy. It doesn’t mean they have to listen to Anita, for instance.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be so afraid that you feel you have to resort to such depravity and work so hard to ruin another’s life. But, then, I’ve never been a coward.

I think there are some very honest and well-meaning people in #gamergate who absolutely do not condone the violence we’re seeing. I think they’re fighting for a cause they believe in because they want to make the world a better place. I also think a group of cowards have worked very hard to ruin this for everyone.

I wish I knew exactly how to bring this to a swift and safe end, a resolution that would bring about a much needed change for the gaming industry. I do not think it’s fair that a group of individuals have ruined #gamergate and turned it into hate. I do think that’s what has happened, however. That hashtag is ruined and for those still fighting the fight for better ethics in the industry, you have to extend that to include a fight against those who have worked so hard to use your cause to encite fear against the industry you’re fighting to make better. Rise above. Your hashtag is hurting people and that has to count for something.



Update on the Torchlight 2 Giveaway

Torchlight 2 logo

Congratulations, Iogro Merrybelly, on winning Torchlight 2!

I had to redraw this go round as the first one never replied to my email. Could be any number of reasons as to why but I thought this was a good time to remind everyone to make sure your WordPress profiles have a valid email address, or at least one you check. If the address isn’t valid/checked ¬†I can’t contact you should you win the giveaway.

Grats, again, Iogro!

Steam recommendations are … funny

recommendation for games I might like via Steam


I found this on my ‘store page’ on Steam last night. I did buy the Looney Tunes game (supposed to have Scooby-Doo in it but I’ve yet to see him) but, really? A Winnie-the-Pooh animated story? That’s quite a jump if you ask me.

Not quite as far a jump as going from Pac-Man to Duke Nukem, however. Granted, I’ve never played Duke Nukem so correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t see how a cute little Pac-Man gobbling up little dots on a screen while running from ghosts is in the same league as the first-person shooter that Nukem hails from.


I think the recommendations need a little more polish.


Surgeon Simulator: Busted by Achievements

This post has already taken an extraordinarily long time to write because I can’t find the screenshot I would have *sworn* I took, anywhere. At all. Just gone. Lost in the nether (that is my mind, from the looks of it). So.

I started up a game of Surgeon Simulator last week for the very first time. I was learning the controls as I played with items on the desk top (or, really, about to start playing) when it hit me that the graphic on the screen was telling me each finger on my surgeon hand was controlled by its own button. I ran through the buttons quickly, A, W, E, R then the space bar. My fingers bent one at a time, one right after the other. I did it again, slowly. Then I made a fist fast by mashing all the buttons. I let the fingers unflex one at a time before repeating this again. It was fun! Different and a little quirky, but fun.

Then it hit me!

If I press A, W, R and the space bar ….

I giggled at the thought and giggled more as I, one by one, started bending all but the surgeon’s middle finger. I was being cheeky, on the sly, and rather proud of myself for sneaking ‘the bird’ into a video game. No one would know, right?


Surgeon Simulator achievement for flippin' the bird

Click to see this bigger!

Can you guys read that? If not, click the screenshot to enlarge it.

I felt so entirely and completely busted! I also felt set up and looked around behind me to make sure no one (in my house) had seen me ‘win’ my achievement for … for what? Being predictable? Cheeky? Silly? Immature? Yeah, they all fit I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny. FUNNY I say! I felt a bit of shame from that one, however, and after a few minutes closed the game. I’ll go back to that game later. (and probably flip the bird again)

I did manage to answer the phone, draw on the notepad and insert the VHS tape into the VCR before logging. I can see where being able to control each finger will be handy and comical all rolled into one. If you guys have played it, A) did you get the ‘bird’ achievement and B) any tips?


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