“Home” means a few things in the title. It means the house I grew up in from first-grade onward. It means the house of my friend from high school, where my friends and I would descend every Friday. It means Chicagoland, which I designate as the area from (at the very least) Chicago proper, down and around Lake Michigan, and seeping into Northwest Indiana. Home, as I think of it now, is where I could get good Chinese takeout.

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Chicken Potstickers

Wrappers:

Flour, 3 C. +(for dusting)
Boiling Water, 1–1.5 C.

1.) Place flour in stand mixer with dough…


Captured in-game

I didn’t expect to find a parable of management and supervision in Red Hook Studio’s Darkest Dungeon, but in my hours of (incomplete) play so far, that’s where I’ve ended up. Players control a roster of adventurers delving into an ancestral estate, now an eldritch hub of gruesome activity. It is the player’s responsibility to manage the adventurers’ health, stress, light, and strategy as they dive deeper into their ancestral home, growing stronger through each successful mission. Simply put, as a game, it hits everything on the head: stats, planning, execution, a bit of chance and luck, all married with…


After the last calendar year, everyone can use a friend. Why not put your computer to good use with developer Not a Sailor Studios’s Buddy Simulator 1984? Once you boot your new friend up, you’ll never want to leave the simple comfort of your monitor!


Who doesn’t love a good mystery? The jotting of clues, information coming to light, suspects. Who doesn’t love alligators? The snoots, the clampy jaws, scales. And who doesn’t love adorable animation? Exaggerated design, silly movement, and god their faces are so adorable. Later, Alligator, developed by Smallbü and Pillowfight, is a masterpiece that combines all three of these very lovely elements into an unforgettable interactive experience. It’s not quite a game, not quite a cartoon, but if you like any of the three aspects mentioned above in any combination, Later, Alligator is your jam.


Some things, we feel, are better left forgotten. Old mistakes, poor choices, the people we were so long ago. Unfortunately, the universe has found a way to continue dredging up those old memories: memories and “on this days” on various social media platforms remind us of every stumbling block we took to get to who we are now. What’s strange is, even if it doesn’t pertain to us, the residual embarrassment of Who We Were is crippling. That’s the primary experience of Hypnospace Outlaw, developed by Tendershoot: an unabashed look at how things were, how insufferable we all used to…


Image captured in-game.

Keeping on the topic of peace in games after Dorfromantik, I stumbled on a game that’s not usually in my purview, thanks to the Epic Game Store. Horizon Chase Turbo, by Aquiris Game Studio, looked at first glance to be a pretty simple, low-res racing game. I was a straight up Mario Kart kid and haven’t deviated much from that formula, save for F-Zero and a short stint with Burnout Revenge. But it was free, and I literally had nothing to lose. If I only knew what I know now, I would have willingly purchased it at full price. Horizon…


When I’m having A Day™, I have some standbys when it comes to games, just to help me decompress and come back to level. My standbys have just a few criteria: minimal to no plot; good vibes; ability to pause (if needed) without penalty. Obviously, there’s Kind Words, but as can be expected, a lot of chill puzzle games tend to take up the top slots: Mini Metro, Frostpunk (on an easier difficulty, let’s not kid ourselves) or even just a literal print of Sudoku. …


The strange thing about being a Midwestern transplant on the East Coast is just how amped Midwesterners get over long car trips…just hopping on the highway, hitting cruise control, and starting towards a far-flung destination. As much as that same can-drive attitude runs through me, too, I’m more of a “local run to Aldi or Target” kind of guy. Stop lights, streets, and roundabouts, feeling more attuned to the other drivers on the road. Both are fine and good for me, gas emissions notwithstanding. But there’s something to be said for rising above all of it and having a birds-eye…


I don’t know how to properly start talking about Little Misfortune. Are you looking for a game? There are gamey elements, yes. Are you looking for a story? I’d say there’s a pretty good one in here. Are you the kind of person who finds amusement, however mild, as you screech, “Oh, no!” as a funky little eight-year-old has the weirdest day of her life? Boy howdy have I got a recommendation for you, but not any children in the house.


Science-Fiction has long been a beacon of hope for me. Even in the worst-case scenarios, the most run-down cities, the most destructive of governments, there is always a beacon of hope. There is always something, whether and individual or organization, trying to do better. Trying to make it better for others. There is always light. And then there’s Crying Suns, daring you to be good at the expense of precious resources while the galaxy’s light blinks out before you. But damn, it’s intriguing.

Crying Suns, developed by Alt Shift, is a dystopian science-fiction story at the tail end of humanity’s…

Mike Shepard

Just an amateur reminding himself of what he loves. Looking to write about all the things and experiences that make the end of the world worth living in.

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