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Spoilers for the Hearts of Stone expansion to the Witcher 3


The kid was sick last night, which is very sad except that he fell asleep at 6:30 instead of 9:00, so I actually got to play. Several days of ignoring the giant robot apparently allowed my brain to figure out the timing, and I was able to dodge and hack more effectively, and this time killed it without even having to drink any potions.

Then there was a rather effectively creepy haunted house, with spooky rooms and a wraith that came out of paintings and fled back into them to heal when it was damaged. Then I wound up in a painting-world made by a dead woman, where I’m trying to discover and defeat her fears regarding her husband (the guy whose wishes I’m trying to grant in order to fulfill my own deal with the devil or whoever), so that she can rest peacefully and I can find a mysterious rose that her husband gave her and take that to him to fulfill his final wish. So that I can get this weird mark off my face.

I found out that he’s been working on summoning beings from other dimensions, using the old pentagram/chalk circle trick, so I’m probably going to find out how he wound up making his bargain with whoever this guy is who’s messing with both of us.

Themewise, we have yet another explicit warning to be careful how you phrase your wishes. It’s all about being clear on what you want, because wish-granting powers, and even random talking dogs and cats (obviously I met a talking dog and cat in the garden once I killed the giant robot) are…not NOT out to screw you, even if their actual motivation may be ambiguous. And there’s tragic, doomed love, and the sorrow of finding that the person you loved is not who you thought they were (I mean, most of us expect that our new spouse will spend all his or her time locked in an office trying to summon demons, but this poor woman was pretty naive), and failed attempts to hold onto that love.

In between challenges that seem more difficult than necessary to me (complain complain, this game is TOO HAAAAAAAAARD!!!!), I keep thinking how cool this expansion story is. It’s got a lot of interesting stuff in it. I think it must be almost done, but we’ll see. I’ll try to finish this week.


Isn’t that the weirdest thing when that happens? (beating something after a break, not sick kid. Sick kid happens all the time. Permanently, when you have three) I’ve done that so many times, too. Congrats. Did you turn down the difficulty?

That sounds neat, the painting world. Creative. I wonder why so many games (TLOU comes to mind) wait until DLC to get really out of the box. I suppose there was some “face your fears” stuff in the main game (that whole ‘you’ll never have her’ bit we already did), but I love that psychological stuff. More of that! And balls.

No matter what dimension/gameworld you are in, when in doubt, if you want a demon, pentagram. Seems universal, that.

I’m utterly sure that when Mrs. McP says she’s studying, it’s really demons. I mean, she does do research….

These games are chock full of be careful what you wish for. I mean, this game did it in a very personal (and literal) sense, but then, this game was more personal than 2. Two had a lot of “Be careful if you think you want this king dead cuz that’ll screw it up worse” stuff, more of a global theme, and focusing on political wishes more than personal ones, but the theme’s all the same.

Can’t decide if I’m jealous. I mean, I’ve come to terms with the fact I won’t have time to play it, and even if someday in the distant unforeseeable future I do (which, let’s face it, is very, very unlikely what with games being games) I’ll be kinda over this game. I mean, some folks like to dust off old titles for old times sake or whatever, but I’ve never in all my years of gaming been that way. Sure, I’ll remember them fondly, even talk at great length about them on the internet, but that’s about it.

Different strokes.


I didn’t even wind up needing to turn down the difficulty! It is funny, you really do sometimes get better at things when you don’t do them.

Not reliably, and not everything, or I would be SO GOOD at so many things I never do (or maybe I am! how would I know?), but sometimes. It’s like part of your brain puzzles over the issue while you’re not paying attention, and when you go back says “OK, we got this.” They do say that for tests you’re often better off studying hard for a while and then taking a break before the actual exam, rather than trying to cram in information up to the very minute you sit down to the test.

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about tests much these days. But if I did “take a practice test several days in advance, freak out, then don’t even look at the questions until the day of” would be my strategy. Ha.

You can’t play everything. We know this, and have both come to terms with it. You’ve played lots of cool stuff I’ll never get around to playing. It’s all good. I’ve shared the exciting bits with you (pig herding! giant robot gardeners! painting world!).


That’s why I sit around doing nothing so much. Training. For….something.

It’s true. I’m even starting to see that with my son. He was getting massacred on spelling tests, so we changed up, started studying early in the week, not studying close to the test (always Friday) and boom. 100s. Weird.

Think of all the things we’re good at! Brain surgery! Rocketry! Macrame!

And yeah, I’ve played stuff you haven’t, but the cool stuff I played and you didn’t came out in, like, 1992.

On that, did play some Swan last night. I got to the point where vines started growing. Water is weird. And I WOULD have a chat about how this game (aesthetic aside) just keeps reminding of of Myst, and I don’t know why, but I KNOW you haven’t played Myst, as it came out before, what, 2009 or so, so I won’t even ask and start a conversation that’ll go nowhere.


I remember hearing about Myst! In 1994 or something. I thought it sounded cool, but I had no access to video games, so…whatever. And now, well, I can’t go back. There’s no time.

But yes, the water and the growing vines are interesting. O’Jr. enjoyed those bits. He’d just throw water and make leaves go everywhere.

Don’t jump into the canals.


Somehow I think the stuff I’m missing is better than the stuff you missed. Sure, I got FO 1 and 2, Baldur’s Gate, Myst, etc. But really, missing out on SnackMan that loaded from a cassette tape just isn’t the same as good witchering.

I jumped in the canal just to see the death mechanic. That’s some fast load time, that is.


I think it’s true, there were certainly historic gems that I missed, but games are more awesome than ever today, so missing good stuff today is probably more of a hit. Although history will have to be the judge of how much of what we think is awesome today is sort of ‘objectively’ awesome, and how much is awesome in the current context but will later to be seen to be just “good for it’s time.”

It’s interesting how games, unlike, say, books, are defined by the technology of the moment: not only in the way they’re put together and how they look, but purely in whether or not you can even play them anymore. We can all pick up old books and read them, but it’s work to figure out how to play an old game.

Film is a bit like this too, I guess. Technology changes, and certain old films can’t be watched anymore without a lot of effort because no one has the right projector.

Heck, even photography is going that way now that it’s mostly digital. In 20 years, are we even going to be able to access all the pictures people store on CDs or whatever?


Well, they are more awesome than ever. That’s true. Probably (hopefully) we’ll be saying the same in 5, 10, 25 years and we’ll be right then, too. Tech marches on. People who say the golden age was the NES or the dreamcast or the PC games of the late 90s are crazy.

I only bring them up from time to time as they were the foundation and origins of today’s awesomeness.

But I certainly hope we look back and scoff.

Shit, we already did. Remember when you went back and looked at witcher 2 footage? That was awesome in 2011. Not so much today. That’s only four years!

This potential problem has been noted by people that worry that so many games (and, thus, great works of art) will be lost to time. It’s important to preserve the machines as well as the software.

It won’t be the first time. My dad, for a while, got into old radio shows which, at the time, were done on reel to reel tape recorders. Obviously, that’s not a practical way to listen to them, but luckily there were enthusiasts who managed to digitize the shows before the tapes degraded or the last reel to reel broke or whatever. But sadly for us game nuts, even THAT is a labor of love and, well, a labor of labor, and all that is is recording sound. Games need the machines, the operating systems, hell, even the controllers.

Hopefully, someone figures it out.


Didn’t we once share and discuss an article about a ‘game museum’ that was carefully preserving a lot of old machines and games? It sounds familiar. All hail that museum!

Because yeah…it’s hard enough preserving classic paintings and stuff, when the colors fade and the paint chips, and those are static. All you really have to do is stick them on a climate-controlled wall. (Apologies to art preservationists who know how much more complicated it is than that.)

Maintaining the ability to even LOOK AT electronic arts is a challenge, never mind actually keeping the bits undegraded over the years. It’s got to be an interesting time to be in archives. I’ve heard people speculate that 100 years from now there’s going to be this huge gap in the historical record, because we’ve got all this printed stuff preserved covering a few centuries, and then relatively suddenly a huge amount of stuff goes online, and most of that is not going to be saved in the long term.

I mean, here WE are, pouring hundreds of thousands of words into email and a blog server. If the servers go down, that’s all gone. BIGGEST CULTURAL LOSS EVER.

Ha. But multiply us by millions, and it’s interesting to try to think what records will actually still be here.


That’s scary.

But with games, it’ll be practically impossible to preserve some of it. I mean, they just started this Game Hall of Fame, and a first inductee was World of Warcraft. Good, fine, it was a tremendously influential game. But it’s an MMO. How can you recreate what it’s like to play WoW without a million people playing it? You can’t. Play it 100 years from now without the Massive Multiplayer aspect and it’s not the same.

I hope it’s something recreatable, though. I mean, look at the Sistene Chapel. It got all dirty and whatnot, and people thought it was this dark, brooding piece, until they cleaned it and found it was bright and colorful and vibrant. The initial artistic intent was lost, then found. Maybe it’ll be the same in 100 years for games.

There is a place, I forget what it’s called, that has preserved a copy of every page ever published on the web, ever. Seriously.

As pages get bigger, will that even be possible? How could you even begin to deal with it? I mean, the sheer volume of crap is so much bigger than any time in human history.

We’ve got to get to Fallout soon. We’re getting too deep.


I know the Wayback Machine has “445 billion pages saved.” A lot of them at multiple points, though, so you can see how a site has changed over time. Which is pretty cool. Man, a lot of web pages used to be ugly. The internet was a hideous place.