Week 3 - Spinball Has Not Aged Well At All!

 Third week down in my self-imposed Sonic 2021 Challenge and it's been up and down. Down as in we were stuck on Spinball for nearly 2 hours and I lost a stream(that's three hours I need to make up somewhere) and up as in we're now sailing through Sonic Adventure! Let's get right on and get Spinball out of the way and done with before we discuss the rest of this week's blogs contents.

Sonic Spinball (1hr 52mins) - a hard game, but mostly owing to crap controls. If you're expecting anything like Casino Night from Sonic 2, walk away now. The game is slow and clunky even on the fastest speed setting, trying to aim Sonic feels so imprecise I would have had better luck letting my half blind girlfriend play in my place - it almost felt more like luck when it came to hitting targets, and very little in the way of skill. I had seen many videos completing this within 35 minutes and hoped an hour was a feasible target. Alas, that was far from the case. If it wasn't for quick saving with Kega Fusion I would have been there for a very long time. Thank you, Kega Fusion, for saving my hairline from receding any further than it already is. 

Here's the latest copy of the spreadsheet and as you can see there's a lot more colour on it this time(sorry colourblind folk!) as I had need to figure out how I'm actually going to complete this challenge! As always if you click on it, this should make it bigger and easier to view.

To break it down: green are games I've completed; blue are games installed and ready to go, purple are titles I have lying around somewhere and need to confirm where they are for access purposes before turning them blue; red are games I don't have in a streamable format and need to get somehow(example, I have Shadow and Heroes for PS2, but am unsure whether to use a HDMI upscaler or an emulator - either way this needs some work and consideration to get working). A couple of the arcade games are playable in a browser, some I'll need to get extra items(for Sonic Free Riders, I'll need a Kinect and lots of luck because apparently it's shit). We're currently on 9 games completed and I'm actually a little worried I will miss my goal of completing all 65 games within the year(wanna watch my progress? I stream every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 7pm UK time for 3 hours, hit that Follow button even if I'm offline, then come on over!) but illness and bad cheaty games won't hold me back. 

Speaking of cheaty games, let's talk about Sonic Adventure(hereafter referred to as SA). The first properly 3D game in the series, originally released in 1998 on Dreamcast, suffered from a common problem that plagued platformers as they transitioned from 2D sprite game to 3D polygon glory - the camera often bugs out. I'm about 4 1/2 hours into SA - we've completed Sonic, Tails and Big and are progressing nicely with Gamma about 1/2 way through. I've given chat the power of choosing which hero we go with next, and I think they're saving Amy until last. Can't possibly imagine why. Thanks, chat. (Want to join my community? Come check out my Discord server - Springyard Palace - for stream notifications, Monday Night GIF Battles, and more - just read the simple rules and answer the question - giving a role out is manually done so be patient!)
Aaaaah, the amount of times we've lost a life because the camera bugged out. Want to jump onto a platform close to a wall? Woops, the camera ate the wall before you got there and somehow threw you down to a fall death - oh yes, we can fall from space, regularly do skydiving from aircraft and other stupid stunts not limited to breathing in space, but if you try to jump down too far to skip part of the level, you die! Feel like bouncing from platform to platform over a bottomless pit? Camera shifted to under a platform blocking your vision, you die! Fighting a water monster on a pond? Camera moves to face away from the beastie, you get stuck and drown, which means you die! Also connected to the camera is slightly twitchy controls whenever running down a narrow corridor, which SA loves to use. Wanna run straight? Nope, you're wall running at a weird angle so you're actually going slow. Try and steer down this corridor? OM NOM NOM WALL. Try and let the character go forward on their own following the pre-defined path? OM NOM NOM WALL or WHEEEE FALL DEATH.

The dodgy camera isn't stopping me from enjoying SA though. When it works, the game is an absolute joy to play - fast, pretty, great soundtrack, and a solid plot(TAILS SAVES STATION SQUARE AND IS VERY VERY BRAVE, TAKE NOTE SONIC TEAM OH WAIT YOU FINALLY SACKED YOUR SHIT WRITERS LOLOLOLOL). Good luck keeping up with it across all six stories though, there's slight variations across each of them - for example when playing as Sonic and you face off against Knuckles, for some reason you replay this when you're going through Tails' story. I don't know whether it's a lost in translation thing or if it's intentional, but it does raise an eyebrow when you're playing through, you think you've already seen it and rather than seeing it from a different perspective you become the perspective. It's a weird shift to keep on top of.

Also, and this will be brief, but Big's fishing mechanics suck.

Roll on the final parts of SA, after completing this it's straight onto SA2. Thankfully instead of seven unskippable credit scenes, it only has the three and it has far fewer camera bugs. It's been a fun challenge so far, but before long I'll have to think about what's next. Cheers for reading, will be back next week to discuss how the end of SA went and whether we're busy swearing at SA2 or not.

Final note before I leave you alone, as part of the #GameOverMND gaming weekend join @ScepticalSquiz, Whipstitch and me for a fun Minecraft building challenge! On Sat 6th Feb 2021, we will be starting at 12pm UK time (that's 1pm for our European friends, and anywhere between 5-7am for our US friends) and going for a full EIGHT HOURS. That'll be 8pm UK/9pm Europe/1-3pm US. You can catch all the action over at twitch.tv/scepticalsquir. All donations will be towards the bigger charity drive for @mndassoc

Grinning face with smiling eyes


Week 2 - Forcing My Way Through

 Week 2 of the Sonic 2021 Challenge is almost over, and wow what a frustrating week of gaming it's been! This is my first blog entry since I decided to start this wonderfully hair-brained idea of trying to get the true ending to 65 Sonic games, we've completed 8 games so far and the focus of this particular entry will be how each of those games went! So without further ado, here's the eight games we've completed so far...

 Sonic 1 (54 minutes) - a smooth run to get us started. Only used the save state system within Kega Fusion once for a Chaos Emerald, the rest was plain sailing. Could have maybe gone quicker, but happy to get it done under an hour.


Sonic 2 (1 hour 6 minutes) - first deathless run of the challenge! All emeralds gained within Emerald Hill, used a save state a couple of times to do it but after that it was a case of hold right, press jump, collect 50 rings and turn super. Also helps that after a high school loss in a competition(speedrun Death Egg, was given a dodgy controller to use) I've practised that last boss lots over the years. Can get it done quite quickly now!

Sonic Eraser (5 minutes)
- first joke entry of the challenge, and another deathless/lossless run. Doesn't matter which mode you choose, you get the same ending - so I set the difficulty to 0 and went for it. Easy win.

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (2 hours 12 minutes) - and then we get to the first shit game of the challenge. Puyo Puyo itself is a fun game, especially in multiplayer - but oh man, single player mode employs that most horrible of tropes, the Cheating Bastard AI. What should have been a simple run ended up with spending up to 20 minutes on some levels as it cheated that hard. "The AI can't possibly win now, it only has 2 gaps to hang on I lost just like that wtf" and it wasn't just the one time it happened. I actually won the game on a massive fluke, Robotnik threw the game by stacking all in one column for no reason and hitting the height limit. Very frustrating game to play, glad I don't have to go back to it.

Sonic 3 (1 hour 11 minutes) - all the endings are more or less the same bar a change of sprites, so I went for Sonic as he is without doubt the fastest character. All emeralds were easily acquired, abused Super Sonic where possible and if I'd pushed a bit harder, maybe I'd have gotten under the hour mark. Ah well.

Sonic & Knuckles (Sonic's path) (1 hour 48 minutes) - similar story to Sonic 3, except Warzak85DF asked if I was going to replay the game as Knuckles. The aim of the challenge is to get true endings, and S&K has two different paths with different endings. So it looks like I'll be revisiting these pair of games to complete them as Knuckles. As for the run itself, emerald big rings were tricky to find - I'm used to playing the two games as a complete experience, which means a lot of subtle differences including big ring locations. With a lot of patience and some help from the chat, we got them all come Lava Reef and blitzed the rest of the game.

Sonic 3D Blast (2 hours 10 minutes) - looking back I should have played this with an analog stick instead of a d-pad. Wasn't very well received at the time but has aged well, in my opinion. Especially if you use an analog stick! Emeralds were easy to gain(apart from that last one, screw you) and I died a small amount of times but they were by and large my fault. It was nice to play a non-Sonic Team Sonic game that let me feel like failure was my fault and not badly coded AI. If you ever get the chance, I implore you to find the Director's Cut of this game and try that.

Sonic Forces (3 hours 9 minutes) - a part of the challenge is to not skip cut scenes, so as to give the audience something to watch other than me holding right and pressing jump. I swear there were more cut scenes and pointless dialogue exchanges than actual gameplay,which was filled with challenge-less platforming and cheaty deaths. Boss fights were a test of endurance as opposed to skill(wait for the window of opportunity, press jump 3 times, repeat), and there was little to incentivise me to go do the side quests. I first played this when it originally came out three years ago, and uninstalled it after. This time, I was happy to have the chance to uninstall it on stream for everyone to bear witness to.

Elapsed time so far, 12hr 35min. Currently we're about 1/2 way through Sonic Spinball, another frustrating experience and I'm wearing out F5/F8 in Fusion. It's okay though, I'm happy to get another crap game out of the way - but I don't think I'll be playing '06 any time soon, I need to balance the books with a few more good games before then!


The Great Sonic The Hedgehog 2021 Challenge

A new year, a new post to the blog? Eh, why not. Let's actually try and keep this going for once haha!

I'll cut to the chase - I'm parking Matilda for the rest of the year. In fact, I don't think she's even been fired up once this year so unless I host another 24 hour livestream, there will be zero miles acquired throughout the whole of 2021.

What I am doing though is probably given away by the title - it's a challenge of epic proportions. I'm going to attempt to complete, on my Twitch channel, 65 Sonic games in 50 weeks. That's right, 65 freaking Sonic The Hedgehog games in slightly less than a year. As I stream 3 hours a time and 3 times a week, that's 450 hours in which to complete all these games. Which really isn't a lot.
And not just any kind of completion! I'm going to try and get the True ending in every single title. Not 100%, I'd like to get that one out there straight away otherwise we'll miss this by a loooong shot!

Hopefully you can click that image above and make it bigger, but that's a list of 63 titles from the Sonic catalogue. The final two are rumoured releases for the 30th anniversary of the blue blue, one 2D and one 3D. I was originally aiming to get this done for 23rd June but I'll be lucky to get this done by the end of the year if I stream every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday - which is what I'm going to have to do to even have a hope of doing this.
Some titles, such as the classics, I can speedrun with my eyes closed. Others - such as Sonic Chronicles - I'll struggle with as they'll be very time consuming. And others still - looking at you, '06 and Heroes - I've never completed and expect to swear at lots.

"So," I hear you cry, "if you're not playing ETS2 at all then are you giving up on the charity angle of your channel for the year?" Nope. My friend Sceptical Squirrel(otherwise known as Squizzy) does a lot of physical activities for charity and this year is no exception. He's going pescatarian for the year, running a half marathon, a 1364 mile cycling challenge and more! All this is in the name of MND Association, a cause which is quite personal and close to Squizzy's heart for reasons I'll let the big guy explain for himself on his fundraising page. Where possible I want to support my friends, and Squirrel in particular is one friend who's been amazingly supportive to me over the years and gotten very little in return other than an earful of abuse, so here's where the Sonic challenge comes in.

 For every game I complete with a true ending, I will donate £1 to Squirrel's link above. My other half, Mirtai, has decided she's going to match that - so in actual fact for every game I complete, we're donating £2.
If I complete the full set of 65 games, then I'll bump it up to £100 - and Mirtai will match it to make a sweet £200 for MND Association! 

Squirrel's challenge is a year long one, and so is mine. I reckon if we can get the four-eyed moron up to, say, £3,000 by the end of the year I'll finally get that haircut y'all have been begging me to get for a while now. Give generously, and even if the target falls short you are donating towards a most excellent cause.

A reminder that I stream every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 7pm UK time on my Twitch channel and you're all very much invited as I try my damnest to achieve something I've been wanting to do as a Sonic fan since I first started my YouTube channel all those years ago. Thanks for reading, dream big and see y'all soon!


The First 24 Hour Livestream

Okaaaay, so I haven't sat here writing words of (apparent) wisdom for you lot since February! As always, what started off as a fun idea got shoved to the sidelines in favour of other things(improvements to my channel, pandemics, etc) but it's all good, we're back here now.
Since the last update, my Discord server is running and active! Plenty of good chatter with friends new and old alike, and it's serving as a hub for all things MoD related(I let Team Tuxedo tag along for the ride, whether they like it or not haha) be it sharing updates for the channel, managing the playlist that accompanies ETS2(thanks DF for looking after this!), posting VODs, planning gaming sessions... Honestly, it's been a godsend for building a great community.

Community has been the biggest strength behind my biggest challenge ever; my first ever 24 hour livestream. Back in the YouTube days, whenever I wanted to have a big event for charity I'd jump onto Twitch and we'd have a party. Lovestream, Race Across Europe, Hopeathlon to name just three such events. However, since I switched over to Twitch permanently(the 1 year anniversary of which is coming up!) there's been a problem. I regularly stream for 3 hours at a time, but the older charity streams were 3 hours by themselves. So how on earth do I hold a special celebratory event to the same standard as the previous ones?

Simple. Let's go for twenty-four hours. In one go.

Oh boy. What started off as a simple idea rapidly snowballed into a combination of epic support from friends and a descent into madness because who in the hell decided to go for 24 hours in one go??

It gets better than that. I'd be playing Euro Truck once again - my go to for charity events, as I strive to add ever more miles to Matilda(at the time of writing, she's on 146,938 miles and I'm on course to finish the Million Mile Challenge in 8 freaking years) but this wasn't the issue. Nope, I'd be using the Logitech G29 wheel setup - wheel, 3 pedal box and H-pattern shifter - that I'd borrowed from Watson before lockdown happened - so for 24 hours I wouldn't be using a joypad, I'd be using every part of my body and reading chat talking to everyone. Yay, genuine challenge.

And what a challenge it was. After 3 weeks of advertising and planning with Mirtai, I rocked up ready to start at 10pm on Friday 26th with the intent being to say hello to everyone before they went to bed and I'd be getting the hardest part of the stream, the graveyard shift, out of the way while still fresh and awake-ish. Oh were we all in for a surprise! Mirtai went for a nap at around 12am for 8 hours leaving me with Draz, Tort, Petzy, Jav, Meno, and loads of random people who joined in for the duration. By the time the Americans were heading to bed and the Europeans were waking up, we'd managed an average of 15 viewers throughout what everyone thought would be the hardest part of the stream! It dipped to 7 for all of 15 minutes before everyone started to come back in again.

That's the most surprising part - I was expecting the majority of viewers to pop in for an hour or two, and appear at the end to help me across the finishing line. What we actually got was people logged off to sleep.. and came back for the rest of the stream. Which brings me back to the big strength behind a challenge like this - everyone cheering me on as every second ticked by and every mile Matilda drove. As the hours went by and the fatigue set in, having you guys continuing to talk to me kept me going.
There were also guest speakers too - we had a Draz and a Tort, Meno popped in, Jav had a turn and I swear there was someone else before the Race Across Europe... but yeah. What was a loosely structured event turned into quite possibly the biggest and best charity stream I've had the pleasure of putting on for everyone.

Big thanks to everyone for your time helping me set up, promoting the stream, chatting away with me on the day, and of course your donations. We managed to raise, with Gift Aid added, £484.69 for Macmillan Cancer Support which is amazing, and will help them so much!

Special thanks to Mirtai who didn't even blink an eyelid when I threw this out as a suggestion. It meant you were on your own for the day with the cats and your ailments, but at no point did you complain. Insert cheesy comment about how you make me a better person, yada yada yada.

Parting shot: Don't expect another 24 hour livestream until next year. They're way too intense to do too often.


Building Up Again

Over the most recent holiday period, I celebrated a couple of milestones regarding my... what do you call this? Entertainment? Youtubing? Broadcasting? Whatever it is, I've been doing it for a while. I'm swinging towards entertainer, because it's something I've always wanted to do but for one reason or another get knocked back. Entertaining people is good fun, I enjoy putting a smile on your faces, even if it's only a temporary moment of joy.

We're getting off track. Milestones. I celebrated 7 years of being on Twitch, which amusingly enough coincides with Team Tuxedo's 7th birthday. Team Tuxedo, for those of you that don't know, originally started of as a gimmicky label a small group of friends attached to ourselves. Seven years on it's become a larger small group of great friends and just hearing the words "Team Tuxedo" fills me with a sense of pride, I've been onboard since day 1 and I've watched it go up and down, and my friends along with it.

Once my YouTube channel started to take off, I thought using the team name would be a great way to say thank you to those friends who'd helped me grow my own channel. It originally consisted of myself and Watson690 when we played Minecraft in tuxedo-skinned avatars, then we recruited a guy who hates labels - the little metal goth boy with metal in his soul, Tort333. After that we invited A02034040 to the party.
After that it's a little fuzzy as to the order, but Sceptical Squirrel was the first "fan" to cross over from fan to friend(thanks Tort, we're stuck with the four-eyed prick now), Warrlokk reached out to me through my F1 videos(we used to game together on a website called Pitwall) and he brought his friend Mr Kris Viking along to play too. Mirtai(my other half) and Whipstitch(Squirrel's other half) gatecrashed the party, we had a German invasion in the form of the Pastafarian and then there were the collaborations with people we though had potential to join us as team members. I grew. The others grew. Team Tuxedo was growing as a brand which only served to help us all out in a happy circle.

However, it all came crashing to a halt.

It all came with one single moment - the integration of Google+ onto YouTube.

My channel growth had just crossed 1,600 subs and the numbers were rubbing off on everyone else. I was just beginning to let myself believe that not only could I make YouTube work as a career for me(and scratch that massive itch to entertain people) but I could drag my friends along for the ride too, and help them make some money too. That all ended overnight with Google+. The integration of the unwanted social media platform(which would ultimately fail) was so tightly woven into YouTube's coding that it broke the algorithms for a lot of people with differing results.
For my channel, my videos disappeared from sub feeds and I was no longer being recommended to viewers on their video listings. My channel stayed at 1,604 subs for over 12 months despite my best attempts at networking and advertising, because the YouTube platform itself held me back.

It didn't matter in the end, as a fan click-bombed the adverts running on my videos. They say it was fraudulent activity and banned my AdSense account without any right to appeal, and as we all know with YouTube it's almost impossible to get in contact with an actual human. It took about 3 years but I finally managed to contact one, to which they told me to pretty much suck it up, not gonna happen - not getting my AdSense back, I was a naughty boy without any evidence of my encouraging people to click on adverts, which is also against YT T&C.
Eh, at this point I was beyond caring - I'd long since given up on YouTube as its constant altering of algorithms meant my channel was getting even less exposure. Real Life was a thing(Mirtai had started to get ill) and so my enthusiasm for YouTube was on the wane. But I had to try and at least get closure for the subject in question or else it would be constantly nagging at me that perhaps I didn't try hard enough to fix that particular situation.

So, closure on the YouTube part of my life. I learned a lot of valuable lessons, developed my time management skills quite nicely, relearned Photoshop and taught myself some basic video editing. I'd made some great friends, most of which are still in my life now.
Which brings me nicely into the next part of my ongoing journey to entertain people. I still wanted to put on a show, and this is when Mirtai - who has been unbelievably supportive of the whole video-making-schlick since pretty much day 1 - suggested that it would be a shame to let my gaming computer and related equipment go to waste and my sitting around twiddling my thumbs was a sign I was missing putting on a show, so why not try out livestreaming more regularly than celebratory occasions?

She had a point.

So off we go again. And thanks to the YouTube adventure, I'd already built up a solid base of friends and fans who'd follow me to Twitch. I tried to stream as often as I could, playing with stream schedules before eventually settling on a Sunday format. I'm not a high energy gamer, I'm laid back and chilled so that became the main theme of a Sunday evening whether it be Euro Truck Simulator 2 driving around in Matilda(oh yeah, we're still going there), building in Minecraft on The Dreylands or any other game you can think of. I always preferred the comments section on YouTube because that's where I could really interact with people, so having a chat window open while streaming gave me instant gratification; I was talking with people, live, and gaming in real time without worrying about editing!

It seems that the love for making videos on YouTube for the rest of Team Tuxedo died at around the same time as my own motivation. We all helped each other out, and once I stopped it kinda sucked the life out of that side of the team. I think everyone got quite burnt out from that particular journey, and I can't say that I blame them - but intact the core of Team Tuxedo remained, a solid group of friends from across the globe. I drifted in and out as Real Life took priority(we have one rule in Team Tuxedo, pretty much - Real Life Comes First) and for months, only Kris and Lokk really kept the Skype(and eventually, Discord) server alive. If you're reading this chaps, it didn't go unnoticed.

I'm trying to go somewhere with this, but it's a hell of a lot to process that I've not really put on paper before, and events of the last couple of days have made me realise just how unbelievably lucky I am to still have a bunch of friends that are still willing to help me out.
I've been dreaming up new ways of developing the growth of my stream, and currently the number 1 question I get on my channel during a stream is "do you have a Discord?" So eventually I bit the bullet and have been working on something.
But then it struck me. All this help I've been getting, and what do I do in return beyond saying thank you and putting on a show? I can't afford financially to pay anyone for their help(Watson690 created the Team Tuxedo Bot that myself and Tort use during a stream; Squirrel and Mirtai do a brilliant job moderating during my streams and supporting me on social media; Menoetia has been massively brilliant with building up the public Discord server that is still being worked on; to name but four people) and the vibe I get seems to be that thanks and a good show is gratitude enough.

The author of this blog, yours truly, is very unbelievably lucky. So many people have helped me out before, and are going to do it all over again. I'm paranoid as all hell that Twitch is going to bite me in the ass before long, but I've got 6 regular subscribers - and one of which is a person I don't really know! I'd completely forgot that aspect of supporting me, so thank you again guys and gals! And anyone reading this thinking "I'll sub to you when I can afford it," don't stress it. Real Life Comes First. There's better things to spend your money on than a once-a-week stream that lasts between 2 and 3 hours.
In addition, I have a solid moderator team that doubles as tech support for my hardware and software issues and arguably the best cheerleaders out there.

I have nothing to offer but my most sincere gratitude, guys and gals. I feel incredibly guilty knowing we're off on another adventure and it could go wrong again, but reading the chat and seeing everyone have a good time during a stream makes the guilt worthwhile. Sometimes it feels like people think I set up Team Tuxedo with Watson just to rope people into doing things for me and that I'm using them for selfish purposes, and it does genuinely keep me up at night. But then a Mirtai or a Squirrel will remind me that nobody's being forced to do anything, they all volunteered to help out before I'd asked for the help and they were all capable of telling me if they wanted to stop.

So we're at the end of this blog. I started off with the intent of writing up about how hard it's been to get back into making video-based content once again, but actually the only hard part was deciding to start. With friends like these, anything is possible.

Parting shot: if you can't accept a delay with the release of a video game, you're a part of the problem.


Comfort Zones

As I sit down to type this, it's a cold Wednesday evening. The sun has set on us, the cats are going stir crazy(for anyone new to my ramblings, we have six of them) and I've come down with a lovely case of Cold+, for want of a better way to describe something halfway between a cold and the flu. I'm wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog set of pyjama bottoms, t-shirt and socks. The heating is up and the music is down(Surprise surprise, it's hedgehog related music I'm listening to but I'm feeling like crap), but quietly playing in the background. I can't stand the sound of silence but I have a pounding headache from all the coughing. I feel a need to just retreat into a comfort zone, and I wish I'd had this before the holidays because firstly it'd be out of the way and done with and secondly, I don't get paid sick leave so every day I'm off, I'm getting poorer.

To pass the time, I've been playing games that don't take much effort. Amusingly enough, I'm not playing any Sonic games right now - Town of Salem has been reinstalled, and I've been piss-arsing around on GTA 5 on my PS4. I don't really want to play anything that requires much thought or effort; ToS I've just been a gobby little bitch in chat and GTA has been a case of driving around, running people over and getting chased by the police. I also took the time to reinstall C&C: Red Alert for the first time since upgrading my computer to an AMD CPU and Win10(I hate Win10 on a good day) and it's been good fun just playing as the Russians, getting a Mammoth Tank rush on the go.

It's not just computer games I've been messing around with. I enjoy tabletop games too (as do a few of my friends in Team Tuxedo - go ahead and ask Squirrel what he's currently working on!) and a model railway in N gauge. The railway is very much a work in progress, but it's a semi-permanent setup(5'x3' board with the rails firmly attached, but is made to put on top of other tables as opposed to a proper baseboard which is left up) and I currently don't have the strength to either move the railway around, or put any scenery on it(because I have to put it away after each session, the buildings and suchlike are designed in such a way to be able to be removed from the baseboard and put safely away to avoid damage) so I've been resorting to watching YouTube videos and reading magazines to scratch the railwaying itch.

Board games on the other hand are by definition a social interaction activity. Feeling a lot like a cold rice pudding means I don't really want to be sociable and pass this on to anyone, so much like with the railway I've been spending a lot of time reading, revisiting old games and discovering new ones. As an example, I'm a big fan of Gaslands. It's a cheap entry into wargaming - get a book, some toy Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars, and pretty much away you go. Think Mad Max as a board game. It's great fun but the issue I've had is finding opponents local to me so I've put it on the back burner.
Which kinda brings me nicely onto the newest game to come from its creator, A Billion Suns. It's another space combat game, but this one has a few interesting twists that have piqued my interest. I'm definitely going to keep my eye on it, and I'm either going to 3D print my own models for it or re-use my X-Wing stuff.

The point I'm trying to make is, we're all sad bastards. If you're sat there reading this thinking I'm a sad bastard, then turn it into a shirt and let me wear the shit outta it. I don't overly care what others think of my hobbies(Mirtai said I have so many hobbies that one of them is... collecting hobbies) and you shouldn't care too. Surround yourself with people that don't care. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind.
Unless you're a paedo or similarly unhinged individual. Get help, you sick fucks.

Embrace your favourite past times. You never know when you're going to feel all ikky and grotty and need that safe space to retreat into. And on that note I'm going to slink off downstairs to harass Mirtai and see if I can steal the TV for some more GTA V.

Dream big,

Parting shot: Single player games that don’t require internet are going to be extremely valuable during the apocalypse.