Off-topic video games thread

We can talk about those if you want. I was confused because I talked about things I had done and wondered what other members have done.

Though plats can include things like Prey’s no-upgrade run, which is not the easiest thing to do

My contribution:
REmake speedruns. This is 1 hr 26 min

My best time is just under 3 hours :frowning:


That’s generally my approach to all games, but the most over-the-top evidence of my gaming OCD is that I’ve 100%’d every “real” Assassin’s Creed game (excluding the platformers and mobile games, but including all the DLC and Liberation - and I haven’t gotten to Valhalla yet). This used to be a lower-key achievement before they started making them giant open-world monsters that involve completely clearing a scale map of an entire country, but so it goes.


Omg! That’s intense. Which 100% was the best experience?


Oh man, that’s a tough question! II and Brotherhood might have been the most fun to explore exhaustively, partially because I’ve been to Florence, Venice, and Rome, though the feathers in the former can be really hard to find and there are some annoying requirements to get 100% in the latter (Da Vinci tank mission, I’m looking at you). The mid-period games are typically a little more forgiving even as they get bigger; I have a soft spot for New England seaside stuff so III’s Boston I as lovely, and Syndicate has a good variety of side missions and its London is an entertaining theme park. And I love Thucydides, so tramping all over Pelopennesian-War-era Greece in Odyssey was very gratifying to my inner history nerd, though the RPG systems in it make the trip grindier than I’d like.

If I had to pick just one, I suppose it’d probably be Brotherhood, though - it’s hard to beat the Eternal City!


Good to know! Maybe I can catch it on sale. I own a handful of AC games, but my own completionism stops me from finishing. I just burn out before the end. I have beaten Black Flag, but that’s the only one.

Horizon Zero Dawn had a ton of collectibles (though less than Black Flag). I think that’s the most stuff I’ve ever gathered in a game.


On topic, I’m still plugging away at Heroes of Might and Magic III - I’ve now finished the main game, the Chronicles spin-offs, and the Armageddon’s Blade expansion, just leaving the Shadows of Death expansion, which is reputed to be the toughest so we’ll see how it goes!

Amusingly, I discovered from some Easter Egg jokes in the last campaign I played that New World Computing, who made Might and Magic and the Heroes games until they went out of business and Ubisoft bought the lot, were apparently based in the next random LA suburb over from the one I currently live in, which struck me as a funny coincidence!


Nice. I wish that Steam sold the version GOG has. Sigh. I’m going to have to buy it anyway, because now that it has been mentioned I MUST HAVE IT! Even with ergo gripes, I’m sure I could handle a mission now and then. I loved those games!

I’ve only been to LA once! I ate at the Source restaurant (this was the 90s) with a bunch of rich Brown University students. Talk about a fish out of water.

Meanwhile, over in Hyrule, I’ve completed every shrine in the Hebra region, and have nearly completed the Gerudo region as well. This included a very long detour into the Yiga Clan Infiltration questline. I have finally gotten to the second row of hearts on the HUD, which feels like a milestone.

I will be pausing over the weekend to do some playtesting.


I am way more than halfway through the shrines. I’m going to do it, I’m going to get it done. I didn’t attempt it with BOTW, but I like TOTK better. Won’t be doing the seeds, though. They’re ridiculous

Killed a Lynel. I burned up three weapons. I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble, as I had to heal several times, too. Plus elixers. Etc.

If anyone gets Final Fantasy XVI, please share your impressions. That’s Thursday, I think. I’ll get it eventually, but will be busy with BOTW for a little while yet. The review embargo hasn’t lifted yet. I wonder if that will be release day?


(unlocks childhood memories)


This might actually be a good moment to indulge in childhood nostalgia, since I just saw that GOG has a sale on a bunch of its old games right now, including HOMM3 Complete and the Heroes Chronicles package for $2.50 apiece. The former is inarguably the more robust package – it gives you the base game and both expansions, which includes something like 20 campaigns, probably 100-ish single-map scenarios, multiplayer, and the map editor. But if you just want to dip in and play a bit of single-player HOMM3, the latter isn’t a bad choice either; it’s only 8 campaigns, with no single maps or multiplayer, though they’re generally more robust than the campaigns in the Complete collection, with more of a plot and more hand-designed maps. The Chronicles campaigns are also generally easier than the ones from Complete, but that can be a plus or minus…

Speaking of, I’m just about to wrap up the second campaign in the Shadow of Death expansion – these are definitely harder than the others, but so far it hasn’t been too bad so I might actually be getting reasonably good at this game! It’s annoying that a lot of the difficulty is achieved by slightly unfair means, like secretly banning the player from getting certain powerful spells and invisibly giving the AI players bonus troops each week, but the game does have a fair number of unbalanced options and so far they aren’t overdoing things so far as to make it feel like a slog.

(The GOG sale actually has a bunch of stuff, like the Broken Sword games for $1.20 a pop, various of the Sherlock Holmes adventure games for $2 each… it’s kind of a sad comment on how older games are valued, but at the same time many of these are tied up in weird licensing agreements where royalties just go to holding companies rather than the people who actually made the games, so it’s really just the games industry being its usual messed-up self, I suppose).


Sorry if it’s side tracking but I finally finished all my playthrough of Disco Elysium!
I was so close to the end (I had been spoiled years ago, but forgot about the ending…), but now I can finally say I finished it! :partying_face:

Didn’t manage to save people tho… But this was such a cool game! I think I collected all the bottles :stuck_out_tongue:


Ah, one of the best games this century imo

I played through it twice.

The second time I got through the cryptid quest :slight_smile:


@EldritchHunter I saw that you completed TotK. Congratulations! What upgrades/side stuff did you tackle before moving on? I’d like to upgrade the fierce deity gear, but I don’t know if I have the patience for all the dragon bits. I have a maxed-out hylian set (dyed black) that has been my go-to ever since silver bokoblins started showing up.

Meanwhile, FFXVI:
I’ve followed a very busy thread at one of the larger gaming forums about FFXVI this morning. People sure get emotional over Metacritic averages. It’s at 87 right now, but scores tend to fall a bit over the first couple of weeks. That’s a good number, really, but I think a lot of fans hope for/expect more with a flagship release.

I’ve seen some criticism of the game’s handling of slavery. Not in an angry, incredulous way, just “this could have been more thoughtful” vibes.

I’m sure I’ll still play it.


Thanks, man! I maxed out the Hylian set except for the tunic. My torso armor piece was the Champion’s Leathers instead, which when fully maxed out offers 32 defense, so in tandem with the Hylian Hood (which I dyed green) and Trousers you get a max of 72! I did also go about in upgrading the full Fierce Deity set which gives you 60 total. I ended up not wearing it in the final fight because I wanted to face Ganondorf more fair and square, I guess, instead of having the attack buff. But Fierce Deity’s really good for facing the stronger enemies and if you upgrade the full set twice you’ll use less stamina when doing charged attacks.

So those were the two side things I wanted to do before heading over to Mr. Ganon–upgrade Hylian stuff and Champion’s Leathers, and then Fierce Deity also. I’d really recommend using Fierce Deity, but I also know there is that Phantom armor set somewhere in Hyrule that has that attack bonus but stronger defense so maybe that’d be a better one to pursue. I’m not sure though! I never came across that set.

Oh, and one other thing I also made sure to do was nab the Hylian Shield so that I could have the classic gear when I got to the final battle. If you haven’t found it already, it’s by the docks under Hyrule Castle which you enter around the north or northwest side, but be warned there are Gloom Hands nearby which of course means Phantom Ganon. There’s an unlit brazier around so light that and the chest will appear.

Good luck with the rest of your playthrough!


The Phantom set does have higher base defense than any other armor, but it isn’t upgradable, so the Fierce Deity and Barbarian sets are still better after a couple upgrades.

Armor-wise, I’d also recommend the amber earrings from Gerudo Town. They have higher defense than the Hylian set and are very easy to upgrade as long as you’ve been doing any mining at all. The Diamond Circlet also has high defense plus an attack boost, but it does require diamonds to upgrade.


I’m excited about FFXVI, but I’m still on FFXII lol. FF is one of my favorite franchises, but even though I’ve played several of them, I’ve never completed one. I’m really bad at that. So I’m going to try with this one, and maybe even get all the espers, who knows.

I also still need to complete Fallen Order :') And about a dozen other games. I may never get around to survivor.

For FF players, which is your favorite? 9 is the best or course, but I won’t judge lol


Dear Zelda Diary,

I got all the shrines in Tears of the Kingdom. It turns out this is the best puzzle in the game. I recommend the task to anyone who has the game and the time to spare—and I recommend it over reading the spoilers below. Do all the shrines. It’s worth it.

I forget how hard it was to find all the shrines in Breath of the Wild. I assume I had to look up the locations of the last few. But I barely found any cause to look for outside help for Tears of the Kingdom.

The attentive player eventually learns that the area called the “Depths” mirrors the surface world in more ways than the game initially lets on. Maybe first you realize that each shrine on the surface corresponds to a lightroot at the same XY coordinates in the Depths. The game teaches you fairly directly that wherever there’s a town on the surface, there’s an abandoned mining operation in the Depths. After you find one or two treasure maps, you start to notice that the best treasures of the Depths are directly beneath major landmarks of the surface. Maybe a little later on, you realize that wherever there’s deep water on the surface, there’s an impassable barrier in the Depths. Or you may figure these things out in some other order. But I think many players will realize last of all that elevations are inverted in the Depths: Where there’s a deep valley on the surface, there’s a mountain range in the Depths. The tall, narrow pillar of Akkala Citadel on the surface corresponds to a deep, narrow pit in the Depths.

As you accumulate this knowledge, you solve the puzzle of how to navigate the Depths, which mostly lack the visibility and clear landmarks of the surface. Without activating nearby lightroots, your map of the Depths is useless—but you can still find your way around the underground by consulting your map of the overworld. When you figure this out, you feel like a genius. And it becomes easier to track down lightroots, which obviously contribute to your Depths map and the surrounding visibility.

After I beat the game, I saw a spoiler of the reward for finishing all 152 shrines. I wish I hadn’t seen it. I wish someone had just told me, “Do all the shrines. It’s worth it,” the way wise people will tell you not to find all the Koroks. (I also was spoiled on the fact that there are 152 shrines, but that turned out to be indispensible information—the game really should tell you this after you beat it. It is against my better judgment that I spoiler tag it here.)

As soon as I saw that spoiler, I started working on finding all the shrines. I had skipped a bunch of them, only registering them as fast travel points before running off to continue more urgent quests. When I finished those, I had logged roughly 75 shrines. About half. I said to myself: Here comes the hard part.

I pulled up the map of the Depths and checked all the lightroots I had activated to see if I had found their corresponding shrines. There were also a few lightroots I had marked from afar, but hadn’t personally visited; I was able to mark their corresponding locations aboveground as shrines as well, and hunt those down. It wasn’t frustrating or tedious; I was just checking off a list of navigational tasks that I didn’t know I had been accruing during the main game.

I want to say “I logged another 30 shrines this way, and then I tried a new strategy” or something like that, but really the stages of this process overlapped quite a bit. I found several shrine locations that needed to be uncovered with puzzles I didn’t feel like solving just then, or they were underground and I couldn’t find a cave entrance right away. We all know the great thing about these games is that there’s always something else to do.

But eventually I started running out of shrines whose locations I could deduce from map data I’d already gathered. I said to myself: Here comes the hard part.

This was when I started really leveraging my understanding of the Depths. Activating a lightroot fills in the map and illuminates the surrounding area up to a distance where it would be overlapping the “zone of darkness” around another lightroot. Put another way, when you see the map area revealed by a lightroot, you know there are no other lightroots in that area. That means there are no more shrines in the area above!

This answers/solves/dovetails with a gameplay problem/question/issue/technique from Breath of the Wild, something that arises in many similar games: When you’re searching for shrines, one of your most valuable tools is your metagamey knowledge that the shrines should be spread out to some degree over the map. There shouldn’t be too big an area with no shrines in it, and no two shrines should be too close together. The reasoning is intuitive, but not exactly reliable, since no game is really obligated to obey these unspoken laws of design.

But the way lightroots behave brings this notion of “distribution of interestingness” to the surface (!!!so to speak!!!) and let me hunt for shrines in a way that made me feel incredibly efficient and smart. Now that my map of the Depths was mostly filled in, each remaining area of darkness stuck out as a lead on a new lightroot. When I found it, not only did I have the coordinates for its corresponding shrine, but I got to wipe away more of the darkness and possibly reveal more probable lightroot locations. Consulting my map of the surface was the best way to navigate the Depths, and now a full map of the Depths was the best way to locate shrines on the surface.

I got to the point where I had only eight or nine shrines left. I said to myself: Here comes the hard part. Then I identified some likely-looking blank spots on my map of the Depths, found their lightroots, and found their shrines. It wasn’t hard. It was really satisfying.

Now I was missing three shrines. I had lit up almost all the lightroots, and all remaining areas of darkness in the Depths were accounted for by shrines I’ve already found on the surface. If it wasn’t a matter of something evading my notice in the map screen, I had to be missing a few shrines up in the sky. This would probably be the hard part.

Well, I applied the “distribution of interestingness” principle to the sky, and found two more shrines without too much trouble. One shrine left.

This was in fact the hard part. I couldn’t see anywhere in the sky that a shrine could be. I couldn’t see any lightroot I hadn’t matched to a shrine on the surface.

It was at this point that I got kind of desperate. I started chasing down leads that I really knew had nothing to do with shrines. I started activating all the lightroots, just to see if I’d somehow reveal a new one, anomalously close to a known location. When I activated the last one, the game gave me a very stupid little prize, as if to confirm that I had wasted my time.

I should have been paying closer attention. I should have sat back and thought about it harder. When the game told me all the lightroots were activated, I was able to see that the total number of lightroots (and thus the number of shrines on the surface) was 120. The game probably should have given me that information more directly somewhere earlier on, but I also should have puzzled it out for myself without actually visiting all the lightroots.

That meant that there must be 32 shrines in the sky. This was based on my knowledge from outside the game that there were 152 shrines in all, which again is something the game should have told me at some point. Knowing the total number of shrines was absolutely vital to how much fun I had with this whole quest.

I counted the shrines I had found in the sky: 32. I counted them again to be sure. I must have missed one on the surface.

I checked my surface map against my Depths map, as I had so many times during this quest. If I had been a little more careful and observant, I would have seen it days ago: The one lightroot without a corresponding shrine. I got it.

I solved the big puzzle! The very last step wasn’t a transcendent moment of catharsis, but the overall process was incredibly satisfying.

And it taught me a lesson about design. When I had those first few realizations about the Depths, I wasn’t excited about it. It seemed a bit disappointing—uncreative, “unrealistic”—for the underworld to match the surface in so many ways. But soon I noticed that understanding these correspondences was really enriching my experience. Like the intersecting entries of a crossword, everything I knew about one map was a clue to something on the other map. And it gave me a feeling of proficiency with the world of Hyrule that was extremely, sorry I don’t have a better word, satisfying.

I’ve often tried to avoid that sort of matchiness/symmetry/patterning in things I’ve designed, because I worry the audience will see through it and find out how “lazy” I’m being. But I should have known that being lazy would never let me down.


I have a soft spot for FF8, tbh. Followed by 9, 7, the original tactics, 6, 12, 10, 10-2, and then the rest is a toss-up.


Excuse you, 6 is the best. 9 is a very close runner up, though. I’m also very fond of 7, which was the video game that seriously got me into gaming. I haven’t played the remake, though.