Zombies? Snow problem! (a QotM answer)

April’s Question of the Month is brought to you by Nathan from Hurricane thought process: occasional blogger, good friend and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. To find out more about him and his site, as well as how you can get involved, take a look at this post.

Imagine a world where there’s no colour. A planet where the temperature is so cold, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers seem to form in front of your eyes during the short periods you’re able to see when not blinded by the light of the sun on the snow. A place where the only sound is the howling of the harsh wind; and the low moaning of hordes of shambling undead, who are constantly on the hunt for their next meal…

This desolate picture is one painted by Nathan as part of April’s Question of the Month. It’s a version tailored to me as a result of my birth date: which three video game characters would I choose to help me survive this icy zombie apocalypse? After thinking long and hard about my choices, here are my brave recruits – let’s hope they’ve got their winter thermals on.

Recruit 1: Guybrush Threepwood

Guybrush Threepwood, man, pirate, face, smile

From:   Mêlée Island
Profession:   Pirate
Strength:   Wit

  • The original zombie-killer
  • Knows how to use root beer as a weapon (and nobody drinks that stuff so there’ll be a good stock)
  • Combines all sorts of random stuff in his endless inventory space to make more useful items
  • Has a supply of fine leather jackets stashed away for when it starts getting a bit chilly on the arms
  • Provides comedy value

  • Recruit 2: Aloy

    Aloy, warrior, woman, face

    From:   Mother’s Heart
    Profession:   Seeker
    Strength:   Intelligence

  • The saviour of the world
  • Experienced at surviving in the frozen wilds and hunting animals for food and other resources
  • Knows which herbs to collect to keep our medicinal pouches full, functioning as the team’s doctor
  • Always looks perfect regardless of the situation, so maybe she could give me some tips and do my hair
  • Who doesn’t want a badass on their team?

  • Recruit 2: Dragonborn (also known as Ben)

    From:   Skyrim
    Profession:   Warrior
    Strength:   Magic

  • Twisted firestarter
  • I’ve seen how Ben dual-wielded magic during our GameBlast18 stream – I wouldn’t mess with him
  • Can use fire magic to melt ice for water, cook food, provide warmth and slay zombies
  • Can use shock magic to provide a constant source of electricity when the world starts shutting down
  • Why not bring a friend along to the apocalypse?

  • With a team like this, the zombies wouldn’t stand a chance so bring on the apocalypse! Which three characters would you choose to help you survive?

    For sale: video game real estate

    Last week I wrote about my dream development team and how all we needed was an idea (plus the necessary budget, technology and skills) to make a best-selling video game. Once that’s happened and we’ve found fame, fortune and critical acclaim, we should really start thinking about investing our money and upgrading where we live. So what’s available on the market?

    As part of the Liebster award nomination from Morgan over at Fistful of Glitter, the people she selected were asked the question: if you had to live in a fictional world, which fictional world would it be? Join me as I step into an estate-agent role in this post dedicated to this lovely blogger, and take you on a tour through some of the most sought-after properties in video game settings.

    A rustic chateau in an idyllic setting

    The Witness, video game, castle, lake, trees, sky, buildings, gardens

    With natural harmony and traditional design throughout, this rustic chateau is in need of renovation but has plenty of scope for improvement. Spacious rooms are accessed via a state-of-the art security system giving peace of mind; and seven well-lit bedrooms and nine bathrooms split between three buildings would suit a large family.

    Flat-roof terraces suggest warm summer evenings spent looking out over the beautiful shoreline and idyllic surrounding areas. With the nearest train station situated over 300 miles away and no incoming roads, this property provides privacy and tranquillity for a buyer looking to get away from it all.


    A modern apartment in the heart of the Citadel

    Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, video game, personal apartment, living room, fireplace, sofa, stairs, modern

    Featuring a weapon bench, armour locker and private terminal, this modern apartment is conveniently located in the heart of the Citadel and would suit an active Commander. Its sleek interiors and high-end furnishings provide a place for buyers to move straight into without need for redecorating or maintenance.

    Three bedrooms, each with their own bathrooms and the master with a hot-tub, provide plenty of privacy while several seating areas give comfortable spaces for company and lively conversations. With an art gallery, gym, bar counters and gaming table, this is the perfect property for those who like to entertain guests.


    A cosy cabin at an attractive price

    The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim, abandoned shack, cabin

    Situated along the northern coastline, this single-story cabin is the perfect for a buyer willing to take on a long-term renovation project. The original stone fireplace would make an excellent focal point for a cosy living room, with new windows offering views of the beautiful mountains and lake in the surrounding area of Hjaalmarch.

    Traditional wooden walls hold a rustic charm and any engrained stains can be hidden with a lick of paint. The current owners have priced this property at an extremely attractive price and are looking for a quick sale; they have assured us that the cabin will be fully cleaned before the keys are handed over.


    An ancient castle steeped in history

    The Beast Within, Gabriel Knight, Schloss Ritter, castle, mountain, trees , sky

    The grand Schloss Ritter was originally built in 1223 and stands high above the cobble-stoned streets of Rittersberg with its traditional shops. Previously passed down through generations of Schattenjäger, its walls hide plenty of ancient Bavarian history and mysterious secrets for those with an enquiring mind.

    The castle’s aged exterior encloses an expansive entry hall, library, chapel and reception room, with staircases leading upstairs to ten grand bedrooms which would be perfect after modernisation. A new central-heating system combats against freak summer weather conditions and protective external walls defend from wolves.


    An art-deco apartment in a unique location

    BioShock 2, video game, personal apartment

    Looking for a home in a unique location? This gorgeous apartment may be just the place for you, situated in the underwater city of Rapture and accessed via personal bathysphere. Its original art-deco features, high ceilings and curved windows provide for one of the most sought-after properties on the market.

    Although some water-damage is evident and small repairs are required, the in-built gene bank mean genetic modifications are available all day without leaving your home. A three-sided fireplace and glass bay window in the bedroom make for a romantic and relaxing space after a long day at work.


    Thank you so much to Morgan for nominating Later Levels, and congratulations to all of her other nominees! Start boxing up your belongings and loading up the removal van, and let us know which video game world you’d like to move to.

    The Later Levels Official Album

    Other than hearing the radio alarm go off at a ridiculous time in the morning, I don’t often listen to music. My other-half, stepson and I have tastes which are so completely different that it makes finding something we all want to hear pretty hard.

    That makes responding to the Shuffle the Music Tag from Halsdoll a little difficult. But there are plenty of tracks which bring back memories of times spent with family, events with friends and playing excellent video games, that would go into my list. So for your listening pleasure, may I present to you and dedicate to Halsdoll

    The Later Levels Official Album



    1. I Feel For You
    By: Chaka Khan
    Released: September 1984
    Reminds me of: Going too see ZoonNation perform Into The Hoods in London and wanting to do the robot whenever I hear this song since. Although I’ll never be able to do it as good as the dancers in this video.
    2. Waterfall
    By: Toby Fox
    Released: September 2015
    Reminds me of: Christmas last year and playing Undertale for the first time. I love the way the song builds into something that captures both the loneliness and hope of Frisk’s journey at that point in the game.
    3. Be the One
    By: Jack Peñate
    Released: June 2009
    Reminds me of: Buying my first flat and feeling very grown up doing so; it was so tiny but I loved being in that place. I had the Everything is New album playing while unpacking boxes and getting convered in dust.
    4. Hold My Hand Very Tightly (Very Tightly)
    By: Whistlin’ Rick Wilson
    Released: August 1989
    Reminds me of: Watching my other-half play Lumo while writing blog posts last year, dying a hundred deaths and screaming a thousand curses. This song has an interesting backstory and ended up getting stuck in our heads for days.
    5. Turning Japanese
    By: The Vapors
    Released: 1980
    Reminds me of: My other-half and stepson. Wherever this song comes on the radio, they do this stupid dance where they kick their legs and wave their arms as fast as they can – they can be a pair of loons sometimes.
    6. Shop Theme Acapella
    By: Smooth McGroove
    Released: March 2013
    Reminds me of: Introducing my stepson to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and curing his Minecraft obsession. Plus Smooth McGroove’s cat (a minute into the video) looks just like our very own furball Link.
    7. Music Sounds Better With You
    By: Stardust
    Released: July 1998
    Reminds me of: Being a teenager before adulting became necessary. Dodgy nightclubs, luminous alcopops, too-high heels and singing at the top of your lungs – don’t look at me like that, I know you’ve all done it.
    8. Moves Like Draugr
    By: JT Machinima
    Released: March 2012
    Reminds me of: Naughtily showing this to my stepson and watching him almost wet himself laughing! It features a guy in homemade armour, dancing around a forest with a sword – it’s immature but what’s not to love?
    9. Little Bit
    By: Lykke Li
    Released: May 2008
    Reminds me of: Getting dressed up for a Christmas do with friends and getting the chance to wear a purple 1950s-style evening gown. An aerial hoop artist performed to this track at the event we went to.
    10. Everything’s Alright
    By: Laura Shigihara
    Released: November 2011
    Reminds me of: Playing To The Moon, one of the first indie games I tried, and crying my heart out at the end. I now can’t hear this song without getting a little tear in my eye – let’s see how I fair with Finding Paradise.
    11. Never Too Much
    By: Luther Vandross
    Released: July 1981
    Reminds me of: Going to a Halloween party with a few friends and my other-half. Pete dressed up as a zombie, had a few too many beers, got drunk and serenaded me with this song on the dancefloor at the top of his lungs.
    12. Passing Breeze
    By: Hiroshi Kawaguchi
    Released: September 1986
    Reminds me of: Stealing my brother’s Game Gear when we were kids (I had a Game Boy instead) just so I could play Outrun; and then getting into many arguments with him when I ran the battery down.
    Bonus: Young Hearts Run Free
    By: Candi Staton
    Released: 1976
    Reminds me of: Take me to a karaoke bar, buy me a few glasses of wine and this is the song you’ll hear. I’m not going to say anything else right now for fear of incriminating myself further.


    Creative Christmas: winter gaming

    Welcome back to day nine of the Creative Christmas collaboration, where a group of bloggers are joining forces to tackle 12 video-game-related questions based around a loose festive storyline. Following on from yesterday’s answer about a Christmas feast made only from gaming food items, the next one we’re facing is:

    The presents have been opened and dinner has been eaten, so you’ve got a bit of time for gaming while Gran is snoozing on the sofa. What’s the best video game to play during the holidays?


    My answer

    There’s something about Christmas which gets everyone nostalgic and that’s exactly what I like from my video games at this time of year. I always seem to return to titles I’ve played before: games which are familiar and bring back good memories while I’m cosied up on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie or two. It beats watching the Queen’s speech any day (apologies, Your Majesty).

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim usually comes somewhere near the top of the list, although in recent years this is slowly starting to be replaced by The Elder Scrolls Online thanks to my addition. There’s no better place to be on a cold winter’s day than in front of a blazing fire at an inn with a bard and tankard of mead nearby. Here are games which can hold you in their world for hours on end and see you right the way through the holidays.

    A fantasy fairy-tale vibe fits in so well at Christmas time and that’s one of the reasons why I like to play Fable. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but this title is one of my favourites: it’s full of magic and secrets, with tongue-in-cheek characters and a Monty-Python-esque sense of humour which remind me of a pantomime. You can dive straight into Fable II after the first instalment (but let’s not talk about Fable III).

    And of course, there’s always my favourite wannabe pirate. I played The Secret of Monkey Island as a kid after receiving it as a gift so the nostalgia factor is definitely high with this one. After working my way through the Creative Christmas questions, I’m tempted to start a Monkey Island marathon and replay all five titles yet again; there’s just something about telling buccaneers they fight like cows which puts me in the festive spirit.

    Then what about the annual Steam sale? I must admit, these haven’t seemed as good in recent years; but it’s still impossible not to make at least one purchase and add more to your backlog. There are still titles sitting in my library which were bought last year and haven’t been played… yet it wouldn’t be Christmas without this gaming tradition.

    Other answers

    🎁   Thero159 from A Reluctant Hero
    👪   Joey from AlunaRL
    🎅   Athena from AmbiGaming
    ❤   ClanGeek
    🦌   Morgan from Fistful of Glitter
    🎄   Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog
    🎮   LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release
    🤞   NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
    🎉   Dan and Jon from nowisgames.com
    🎁   Chris from OverThinker Y
    👪   Austin from Reaper Interactive
    🎅   Retro Redress
    🎄   The Gaming Diaries
    🦃   Kevin from The Mental Attic

    The Creative Christmas collaboration is open to everyone and further details can be found in this post if you’d like to join in! Tomorrow’s question: You’ve been invited to a swanky New Year’s Eve party but have nothing suitable to wear! Which video game character do you call to ask if you can borrow an outfit?

    Creative Christmas: let’s eat

    It’s day eight of the Creative Christmas collaboration, where a group of bloggers are joining forces to tackle 12 video-game-related questions all based around a loose festive storyline. Following on from yesterday’s entry about the perfect Christmas present, the next we’re facing is:

    It’s now time to head out to the kitchen to put on your oven gloves and start preparing Christmas dinner. It consists solely of video game food; what’s on the menu?



    Kim’s Kitchen

    Hors D’oeuvres

    Crunchy Chicks, courtesy of Fable
    The perfect amuse-bouche for the evil among us: a perfectly-seasoned feathery morsel, with a chicken after-taste and beak garnish.

    or

    Holy Tofu, courtesy of Fable
    For those watching their waistlines (and alignment), a block of coagulated bean curd pressed in holy water with an extremely subtle flavour.

    Appetiser

    Vegetable Soup, courtesy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    Restore both your health and stamina with this warming soup, full of healthy seasonal vegetables. A classic Dark Brotherhood favourite.

    Fish course

    Hearty Salmon Meunière, courtesy of Breath of the Wild
    Perfectly-pink and crispy-skinned, a fillet of salmon with a texture in a class of its own. Recommended by a famous green-suited hero and talented blogger.

    Main course

    Wall Turkey (and all the trimmings), courtesy of Castlevania
    The star of any Christmas feast: a roasted bird served in the traditional manner. Accompanied by Floor Potatoes, Window Vegetables, Door Stuffing and Ceiling Gravy.

    Dessert

    Butterscotch-Cinnamon Pie, courtesy of Undertale
    Decorated with dog-prints, the perfect dessert for determined heroes who can’t decide whether they prefer butterscotch or cinnamon.

    Cheese course

    Hidden Cheese, courtesy of Perfect Dark
    A triangular selection of cheeses from all over the world, including the windowsill and behind a door. Served with biscuits and grapes.

    Drinks

    Grog, courtesy of The Secret of Monkey Island
    One of the most caustic and volatile substances known to man, a popular pirate pick-me-up created from kerosene, battery acid, rum and pepperoni.

    or

    Root Beer, courtesy of The Secret of Monkey Island
    For the designated drivers and sailors of the evening, a sparkling non-alcoholic beverage to wash down all that festive food and fend off zombie ghost pirates.


    Other answers

    🎁   Thero159 from A Reluctant Hero
    🎅   Athena from AmbiGaming
    🦌   Morgan from Fistful of Glitter
    🎄   Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog
    🎮   LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release
    👗   Log 1932
    🤞   NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
    🎉   Dan and Jon from nowisgames.com
    🎁   Chris from OverThinker Y
    🎅   Retro Redress
    🎶   Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie
    ❤   Brandon from That Green Dude
    🎄   The Gaming Diaries
    🦃   Kevin from The Mental Attic
    🎮   The Optimistic Gamer

    The Creative Christmas collaboration is open to everyone and further details can be found in this post if you’d like to join in! Tomorrow’s question: The presents have been opened and dinner has been eaten, so you’ve got a bit of time for gaming while Gran is snoozing on the sofa. What’s the best video game to play during the holidays?

    Creative Christmas: need for speed

    It’s day six of the Creative Christmas collaboration, where a group of bloggers are joining forces to tackle 12 video-game-related questions all based around a loose festive storyline. Following on from yesterday’s entry about cheeky mistletoe kisses, the next we’re facing is:

    You’re woken from your drunken haze by another frantic call from Santa, who’s worried he’s not going to make all his deliveries in time. Which video game item or vehicle would you recommend for him?


    My answer

    There are over seven-billion people in the world, meaning that Santa has an awful lot of stops to make on Christmas Eve. It’s therefore no wonder he’s fretting that the reindeer won’t be able to move their butts quickly enough! What we need here is top speed over a variety of terrain and there are plenty of video game vehicles and objects to give the man in red a bit of a boost (sorry Rudolf).

    Super Mario, video game, Mario, pipes, warp zone

    Both Chris from OverThinker Y and Kevin from The Mental Attic picked up on great ways to travel in December’s question of the month. The fast-travel option in games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will instantly teleport you anywhere you’ve already been, making zipping around the world an awful much quicker; and the warp pipes from the Super Mario series would take Santa straight into people’s houses without the need to sneak down the chimney.

    World of Warcraft, video game, vehicle, Mekgineer's Chopper, chopper, bike, sidecar

    In terms of rides, how about the Mekgineer’s Chopper from World of Warcraft? Activate the sidecar and there’s room inside for plenty of presents and perhaps an elf with a mince-pie or two. Or if something more animal-orientated is to Santa’s tastes, there’s always the Strider from Horizon Zero Dawn; this horse-like machine can be overridden and will come whenever you whistle if you have the Call Mount skill (which the big guy obviously does, because reindeer).

    The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild, video game, Link, fire, cooking pot, recipe, hut, trees

    There’s also the option of taking a little something-something to boost your speed – and it can be healthy at the same time. The Energizing Glazed Vegetables from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will instantly refill your Stamina Wheel and are a healthy antidote to all those mince pies (check out this recipe from Teri Mae at Sheikah Plate). And the Potion of Swiftness from Minecraft, as recommended by my stepson, will increase your speed by 20% so drink up.

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, video game, sweetroll, cake, lizard, plate

    No child will be left disappointed on Christmas morning: there’s no way Santa can be late in making his deliveries with this range of video game items at his disposal. And the thought of that nice tankard of mead and sweetroll waiting for him by the fireside at home will make him move all the faster.

    Other answers

    🎁   Thero159 from A Reluctant Hero
    🎅   Athena from AmbiGaming
    ❤   ClanGeek
    🎄   Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog
    🎮   LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release
    🤞   NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
    🎉   Dan and Jon from nowisgames.com
    🎁   Chris from OverThinker Y
    👪   Austin from Reaper Interactive
    🎅   Retro Redress
    ❤   Brandon from That Green Dude
    🦌   The Dragon’s Tea Party
    🎄   The Gaming Diaries
    🦃   Kevin from The Mental Attic
    👗   The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

    The Creative Christmas collaboration is open to everyone and further details can be found in this post if you’d like to join in! Wednesday’s question: Your help must have worked, because it’s now Christmas morning and presents are under the tree! There’s a fancy box with your name on it; which gaming-related item are you hoping is inside?