As I noted previously, I've gotten hooked on computer game play-throughs on YouTube. Not only can I waste a lot of time that way, I'm always tempted to buy the games, myself (so I can really waste a lot of time).
Well, last fall I started watching a Fort Zombie play-through by Revocane, and it really looked like fun. (I can't find the original series, but he's started a new one here.) I'm pretty bad at games like that, but heck, for less than $10 from GamersGate, why not give it a try?
As it turned out, the controls were terrible, at least for someone as inept as I am at action games. Some games, I just can't play at all, and this one was more frustrating than fun. So I set it aside and moved on.
Then, last week, I started watching another Fort Zombie play-through, this time with a melee character. And you know? That looked like it might work out better for me. And yesterday, I was really looking for some mindless fun.
Sunday, I went out to net one of my fruit trees, an Asian pear, and I discovered that I was too late. The birds had destroyed the whole crop. There were maybe four pears left on the whole tree that weren't bird-pecked and rotting.
So I decided I needed a day off. Yesterday, I decided to do nothing productive. Hey, I don't normally do much that's productive anyway, but yesterday, I did nothing. In fact, I spent most of the day playing Fort Zombie. And it was, indeed, a lot of fun.
On YouTube, Lethal Feline - thedeathcat - was playing a crowbar-only character. He vowed to use no other weapon, no matter what. Well, Fort Zombie characters always start with a crowbar, and it's supposed to be the best club in the game. So he could design a character to specialize in that.
For me, I wanted to play a melee character in general, but not to restrict myself to anything in particular. I don't need to make the game even harder on myself!
In fact, I wanted to use a bladed weapon, which tend to be more powerful than clubs, but you have to find one of them first. So I made a character with some club skill, some blade skill, and some firearm skills - a jack-of-all-trades who would start off using that crowbar, but switch to a better weapon when he could.
And that worked. Admittedly, I was lucky enough to find a broadsword, the best bladed weapon in the game, on my second day. But I find melee weapons easier to handle than firearms. And you don't run out of ammunition!
Ben Riley, your character, starts out in front of three chests containing food, some medical supplies, a crowbar, and a crappy handgun, with ammunition. His first goal is to get across town to the police station, where he can safely spend the night.
Note that you can't save the game except in the police station (or in one of the other locations, depending on which difficulty level you chose at the start of the game). But you don't want to hurry there. You need to scavenge for supplies as you go, not heading for home until your inventory is full.
That first day, I almost died at the police station. It was absolutely packed with zombies, far more than on any of my previous attempts, last fall. And they all came rushing out the front door as I approached.
I survived, but barely. And it's been a narrow thing ever since. I was down to 11% health at one point. I'm only on Day 4, but I lost health every day until this last one, when I finally had a few survivors backing me up.
At any rate, as a melee character, I learned from that video to walk everywhere, conserving my stamina. I play deliberately, taking my time. There are dangers in that, since time is always short, but it's been working for me.
In this game, zombies can carry weapons, and it's the policeman zombies, with pistols, and - especially - the army zombies, with assault rifles, which have been the big threat. My character has been shot and killed a few times (requiring me to restore a saved game).
Note that they're not very good shots - well, they're zombies, after all - but they never run out of ammunition. (And they never drop anything useful, either. You can't get loot from dead zombies.)
I do use guns myself, when necessary, but I'm not very good at it. I mean, my character isn't too bad at it, but I'm not very good at it as a player. For other zombies, my broadsword works very well, but when I get a mixed group - melee zombies plus police or army zombies - it's tough.
Well, as I say, I'm very, very bad at games like this. I hate the controls, too. But most people probably wouldn't have as much problem with them as I do. And it is fun. At least I can play the game this way - so far.
Each day, Ben Riley goes out looking for food and tools, weapons, or other survivors, depending on what's available that day. I usually take a survivor with me, for backup and to use as a pack mule. The other survivors stay busy at the police station, building barricades and/or traps.
We have a deadline. After 13 days, zombies will attack the fort en masse, and we have to be able to fight them off.
The town - Piety, Indiana - is procedurally generated. Every play is different, and every location is different, although built with the same buildings - businesses, homes, churches, etc., which become quite familiar. Most everything is trashed, to a greater or lesser extent, but there's still loot to be found, if you search for it.
And zombies - lots and lots of zombies.
As I say, my character has been badly injured almost from the beginning. For the first three days, every day found me worse off than the day before. And part of that is because I've had trouble finding survivors. (Survivors with medical skills will heal me a bit every night.)
On the other hand, I've found an abundance of food. And as I say, I found a broadsword on Day 2. We still use guns, but relying on a melee weapon means that I don't run out of ammo. If I have a survivor with me, I equip her with a pistol, but restrict her to short range attacks. So she only shoots if I let a zombie get past me.
I'm a skeptic. I think it makes sense to have reasons for what I believe, so I apportion my belief to the evidence. You're welcome to disagree. Please, tell me I'm wrong. I probably don't agree with anyone about everything. Why should disagreement be a problem? Check the Pages section below for series posts and links to book reviews and game posts, as well as contact info. I have varied interests, so there's a little bit of everything here. I encourage you to look around. - Bill
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. - Robert Wilensky
It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong - Richard Feynman
The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other. - Sir Francis Bacon
When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
No matter how many times a theory meets its tests successfully, there can be no certainty that it will not be overthrown by the next observation. This, then, is a cornerstone of modern natural philosophy. It makes no claim of attaining ultimate truth. In fact, the phrase "ultimate truth" becomes meaningless, because there is no way in which enough observations can be made to make truth certain and, therefore, "ultimate". - Isaac Asimov
The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams (1797)
I don't doubt the sincerity of dowsers, but even after we've demonstrated that they can't produce results that are any better than chance they'll still go away believing in their abilities... It is like the mother whose son is caught shoplifting on tape. She wonders why someone would want to frame her child by producing a fake video. - James Randi
During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church ... imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. - Mark Twain
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths. - Bertrand Russell
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. - Friedrich Nietzsche
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. - Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.
This is not about proof. Science does not use proof. We favor evidence, and the work consists largely of the slow accumulation of evidence in support of ideas, not magically potent proofs that establish an idea as unassailable. - PZ Myers
No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. - President Barack Obama
The formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world and then stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat. - Shekhar Gupta
We are prodding, challenging, seeking contradictions or small, persistent residual errors, proposing alternative explanations, encouraging heresy. We give our highest rewards to those who convincingly disprove established beliefs. - Carl Sagan
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer. - Sam Harris
To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. - Michael Servetus, burned at the stake in 1553
Democracy is not about majority rule; it is about minority rights. If there is no culture of not simply tolerating minorities, but actually treating them with equal rights, real democracy can't take root. - Thomas L. Friedman
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. - Thomas Macauley, 1830
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men. - Edward R. Murrow
The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best - that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. - Thomas Huxley
There is no absurdity so obvious that it cannot be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to impose it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity. - Arthur Schopenhauer
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To be elected in America, no matter from what party, the candidates have no choice but to year after year pledge to lower taxes further and further. We have become the nation of Ken and Barbie, looking good but very poor at the math. - Rack Jite
Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them. - Steve Eley
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In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H. L. Mencken
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill