Drink a Redbull, take a nap.

That’s how I intend to time travel.

So this past week was a short family get-away. But more like a working away from home trip. We were house/cat sitting. Working remotely.

I didn’t bring the Xbox so that we could curb the screen time a bit. But this raised an interesting problem. How would I play games?

Well, we made do with what we had. What we had: Nintendo Switch, iPhone, iPad, internet.

With the Xbox Xcloud I was able to play Golf With Your Friends with touch controls on the iPad and used my iPhone for the Xbox party chat. And I was able to play Rocket League on the Switch with cross-play enabled. So I still got to have some fun with friends.

Golf with your Friends on the iPad w/touch controls.

On Friday Oct, 1 my Week 1 Drawtober was posted. So I’ll upload it here too, below and on the Drawtober 2021 gallery. I’ve also found the time to put out another Stranger Than Friendship webcomic. My plan is still to post a new #Drawtober picture every Friday. And I also have another webcomic idea brewing for next month.


I think that’s all for this week. Take care and be safe.


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I Think They Like Me

A quiet week with little progression. But some weeks call for a little down time.

Games: We played some more Aliens: Fireteam Elite this week. We’ve passed the halfway way point of the story. One of our players has already progressed through the story once, unlocked the final character and levelled up quite significantly. I think for this reason alone we’ve been able to make steady progress without much grinding, as the game ramps up the difficulty with some pretty serious wave-based survival sections. The gameplay has been enjoyable, but from a story perspective, it’s mostly told through radio chatter and the initial loading screen before the level starts. So there’s not really a lot to absorb and it’s easy to tune out.

AOTW: Achievement of the week goes to, unsurprisingly, A:FE. I always find achievements that ask you to fail in some way to be kind of funny. “I Think They Like Me” asks you to get pounced or grappled 5 times in the same mission. Getting pounced or grappled takes a pretty good chunk of health off, so without help this can easily end your run quick. Early on in the game this is quite doable organically, as you are running down the halls a large alien can be waiting for you around a corner. Later on, with the right sensors you can see the aliens waiting in advance so its easy to avoid. I intentionally went for this, running ahead of our group so I would get pounced knowing my team was there to back me up. It was also a failed run anyways as we were not adequately prepared for the final sections of the level and got overrun.

Comic: Outside of playing video games I made a little more progress in my Stranger Than Friendship webcomic. The latest comic is focusing on Surgeon Simulator and the results are pretty funny, if I do say so myself. Here’s a little preview, should be able complete it this weekend as I’m currently not at home:

“Cruz, where are your clothes?”

Drawtober: As I mentioned above, this week I won’t actually be at home as I’m house-sitting. This has put a twist into my drawtober plans as I will not in fact be able to get as ahead as I wished. I will share my first week’s post though, which I will be publishing on Friday. And then every Friday going forward I will be showing off a new coloured piece. Hopefully. That’s the plan.

Colour gradient tests
Looks good in print.

Anyways, a small update this week.

Be good. Stay safe.


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Tell me if you’ve heard the one about the Orc, Alien, and the Surgeon

As I try to update this site more frequently (my goal is once a week, still deciding on a specific day – leaning to either Sunday or Monday), I am reminiscing of the times early on, years ago, when I would update it daily. Before the wife, before the kids, the house and the cats. Just me and my computer and my Xbox. Writing about game news, and E3. Simpler times.

These days I’m stretched pretty thin – obligations pulling in all directions, hobbies reaching for their time in the spotlight as well. But in a good way. Kids before comics and Xbox. Try to get some drawing in during the week. Sleep is important too.

I’ve thought about incorporating my comics passion into this site somehow too. Like a “What I’m Reading” segment. I go every Wednesday to the comic book store, like clockwork. It’s actually the one reliable constant. I’d have to think of a way to make it interesting though. More than just a photo gallery of cover pages.

I updated the Screenshots page to include Spider-Man and Outriders. Currently building up the gallery for Shadow of War as well.

Currently also prepping for Drawtober 2021. Last year I did 14 full drawings, mostly black and white ink. A few had splashes of colour. This year will be very different. I’ve taken three drawings from last year’s drawtober, 1 from this year and a brand new one, and will be full rendering. Colour, poster quality. So only 5 in total. 1 per week. Quality over quantity this year. As I just don’t have the time or energy. That’s the plan anyways. I have 1 done already, for October 1st. Currently working on a Surgeon Simulator webcomic idea for Stranger Than Friendship, and then I’ll jump into the 2nd Drawtober drawing before the end of the month. This way I have a 2 week buffer.

This past week we made a bit more progress in Aliens: Fireteam Elite. Made it to the 2nd mission where we are introduced to the Synthetics enemy type, and the levels get a lot more open as we’re planet side and not in the tight corridors of a ship. The game continues to be enjoyable, but the lengthy chapters and no checkpoints does sting when your team wipes at the climax of the chapter, and you have to start over. 30 minutes of progress lost.

Trudging through the lands of Middle-Earth as well. 11 hours in. Finishing Act 1 opens up the Nemesis system to allow me to start building my army, turning Orcs over to my side, allowing for bodyguards and spies within the Orc ranks.

Act 1 appears to conclude the Shelob part of the story, so I’m not sure if she’ll make a return.

The Ascent and Surgeon Simulator took a back seat this past week as its been difficult to coordinate co-op game time, but hopefully we’ll get to play those more.

In the last bit of news, the wife has finished her play through of Psychonauts 1 and 2 as she’s gearing up towards Extra Life in November. I’ll post more about her campaign next month leading into the big day.

Be good.


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12 Minutes a Surgeon

Wrapped up 12 Minutes this week. So spoiler warning if you’re interested about the ending, I’ll be discussing it a bit.

Ok. I enjoyed the game but I found it tricky. The game essentially takes place in one small condo. Living room, one bedroom and one bathroom. So every clue and solution is here somewhere. After 10 minutes a cop shows up and places your wife under arrest. Asking about a watch. And then kills you to get the answer from her. That’s the gist.

The idea is you are stuck in a twelve minute loop and after you die or leave the condo the loop restarts until you get the endings. To progress requires a series of trial and error attempts. Each loop you ask new questions and find out more about the situation, and your character remembers everything from previous loops.

It’s a cool concept and pulled off well, and I think the simplistic restricted setting helps a lot. I was confused about the endings though. The finale has you find out that you and your wife are actually brother and sister and have a kid on the way. You share the same father as a result of an affair and your mom died early and you were never adopted by your father. So you never knew you had a sister.

But the confusing part is the death of the wife’s father which is the reason the cop is even here. She believed she killed her father and ran away and kept it a secret this whole time. But the dad actually survived and was killed later on by you the main character. But somehow you don’t remember that? And the endings see you confronting the dad earlier and he’s telling you you can’t continue to see his daughter. Or go through with the pregnancy. And you can choose different outcomes. One had you agree to leave her alone. One had you fighting for your love and killing the dad. And one had you hypnotized. I was kinda confused as to when these happen in the timeline as they mention the pregnancy. Anyways. I’ll probably have to read up on it. Someone smarter than me can explain better.

This door allows us to go forwards but not back in time.

I’ve also been playing more Surgeon Simulator 2, and I’m really happy about the story. It has a Portal vibe. Doors are locked. Lots of questionable scenarios. You’re being directed along by this woman doctor voice, but keep hearing this random voice through the vents which is the doctor’s assistant. Then you escape the main floors into an underground network, and start doing surgeries in the dark basements. Very cool and excited to see where it all goes.

Playing in co-op has its challenges due to the physics and the stability of the network. Sometimes your co-op buddy will be holding a tool or syringe and suddenly they get all glitchy and their character will start ghosting all over which inevitably leads to the patient getting mutilated and failing that level. But definitely a fun title.


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Shadow of the Surgeon Simulator Too

After wrapping up Outriders, I was stuck with what to jump to next. I always try to have a few different games on the go. Usually a racing title that I plod through, a co-op game or three that I play with Illestrader, and then a lengthy single player story game, for me.

Outriders kinda filled two of those holes, but I found myself playing that game mostly single player as it was hard to find time to coordinate co-op sessions and I really wanted to see that game through to its conclusion.

In the racing game category I’ve playing Dirt 5, checking off the DLC races while I patiently wait for Forza Horizons 5.

Co-op, I’ve been playing The Ascent, Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Zombie Army 4, and recently tried Surgeon Simulator 2, as a new Game-Pass addition. Played through the tutorial and first level, and I’ll tell you… that game is not easy to grasp the controls. But it was a riot.

I’ll probably write up a separate piece on Aliens Fireteam Elite, as I have a few things to saw, but I want to progress further in the game.


Moving on to single-player choices, as I have a few in the queue to say the least: Assassins Creed Valhalla, DOOM Eternal, Immortals Fenix Rising, and Watch Dogs Legion. Tip of the iceberg.

But the choice I ended up landing on was Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. 2017 sequel to Shadow of Mordor. And I really can’t explain what directed that pick. I can really only guess that it was because it was still installed on my HDD after all these years. I’ve always wanted to play it as I really enjoyed the first one. But there were so many distractions along the way. At the end. of the day I really just wanted a game where I could swing a sword and kill lots of enemies. Like just surrounded by them, hacking and parrying. AC Valhalla easily offers that but I just re-emerged from the AC depths with Odyssey not that long ago, well over 100 hours invested, and I honestly need a break.

Mordor: The Road

ME: SoW still looks good and plays well. I find the main character to be a little slower than before but that could be my memory. Slow walker that is, purposeful, methodical. But I just run everywhere and use the boost.

An interesting choice they made was to turn Shelob the Spider into a sexy human female for most of her appearances. Interesting choice. Not a complaint.

The Nemesis system is still a lot of fun as well, so I’m glad that made a return. I am still early on in the game, with lots left to discover, so I’ll check back in later with the results.


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