Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Come On, Irene!

I wasn't going to bother doing an Amazon Gaming post this month. The games are getting less and less interesting, while the weekly release cadence makes a monthly post feel less purposeful. 

It is crazy hot, though, and I don't have the energy for anything complicated, so here it is, more than a week after I got the memo, my handy guide to September's free games on the platform. Ignore it as usual. It deserves no better. 

September 7: Football Manager 2023 - I think this is the big ticket number for the month, god help us all. It's not even available directly from Amazon. You have to go through the Epic Games Store to claim it. Also, if you live in Brazil (Or, more accurately, have a Brazilian IP address.) you can forget it:   

"Please note: Football Manager 2023 is not available in Brazil."

That was actually the most interesting thing about the game for me so I thought I might ask Bard what the issues were:

 "Football Manager 2023 is not available in Brazil due to licensing restrictions. The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has not granted Sports Interactive, the developer of Football Manager, the necessary licenses to use the names, logos, and other intellectual property of Brazilian clubs and players.

In the past, Sports Interactive has been able to reach licensing agreements with the CBF, but these agreements have lapsed. The CBF has been demanding higher licensing fees in recent years, which has made it difficult for Sports Interactive to reach an agreement.

The lack of licensing in Brazil has led to a number of workarounds. For example, there are a number of mods available that add the Brazilian leagues and clubs to the game. However, these mods are not officially supported by Sports Interactive and can be difficult to install.

Another workaround is to purchase a copy of the game from a region where it is available, such as the United States or Europe. However, this can be expensive and may not be legal in Brazil."

I haven't checked any of that but it's pretty much what I imagined so I'm happy to accept it, unlike Brazilian gamers, who I imagine are probably quite cross. They're welcome to my copy. I won't be using it. Pass.

September 14: Ozymandias: Bronze Age Empire Sim - Another one you have to go somewhere other than Prime Gaming to get, in this case GOG. I'm starting to wonder if Amazon are really committed to the Prime Gaming platform any more. 

I have no interest in these kinds of sims, which have always seemed to me like the kind of thing itinerant accountants might play on their laptops, alone in their generic hotel rooms, as they while away the dead hours of the evening. Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec would love it, I'm sure. Good storytellers like Wilhelm do a stellar job of making these things sound a lot more interesting than I suspect they really are so I'm occasionally tempted but I always manage to resist. Pass.

September 14: Absolute Tactics: Daughters of Mercy - A turn-based tactical rpg with a "mixed" rating on Steam. Hold me back, someone...

I'm not sure I've ever actually played turn-based tactical rpg. I've read plenty about the genre, not least from Tipa, who once again makes them sound like they could be fun. Just not fun for me, I'm pretty certain. 

There is a dog in it, which tempts me slightly, and it is native to Prime, which is a definite plus but... nope, I think not. Pass.

September 21: Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space - Finally! Something to interest me. This is a "classic point and click adventure" in which "taco-loving Dexter Stardust... and his good friend Aurora, go on the greatest adventure of their lives and discover the mystery of the Robot from the Planet X!

Saves me having to buy Starfield, I guess. Which, obviously, I wasn't going to do anyway. Remind me why I bought that new graphics card again, because apparently the kind of games I get excited about  would run on perfectly well on the PC I took to the recycling center two years ago. Claimed (Or it would be if I didn't have to wait another two weeks...)

September 21: Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate - Say what, now? The elevator pitch for this is "Chess, but you replace your entire army with a royal shotgun". Ever get the feeling some people just have too much time to think about stuff? Also, crowbarring "royal" into that tagline really loses the impact. Just sayin'.

I can play chess (Badly, of course.) but I don't like to. I've never found that gussying the game up with fancy graphics or larding it with whimsy made it seem any less tedious. This one doesn't even have the fancy graphics going for it. The funniest thing on the game's Steam page are the minimum specs:

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: yes, you should have one
    • Graphics: you'll need a screen
    • Storage: 80 MB available space
    • Sound Card: if your computer can play sound, you should be good
    • Additional Notes: in theory, if your computer can run Windows, it can run Shotgun King
Is this really what they expect us to pay a Prime subscription for nowadays? Pass.
September 28: Unsolved Case: Murderous Script Collector’s Edition  - Another bloody Legacy Games hidden object "game". PASS in ALL CAPS!

September 28: Hundred Days — Winemaking Simulator - Seriously? You're just trying to get a rise out of me now, right? I realise there is literally nothing someone won't simulate these days but wine and video games seem like a really poor match. 

I watched the trailer until the painfully awkward voiceover told me "I failed and failed again until I got better", entirely without irony. Someone wrote that. Hard to believe, I know. Then someone had to read it aloud without laughing. I wonder how many takes it took? Pass.

And that's the lot. Not very impressive although I guess I should be satisified there's even one game I quite fancy. As for free loot in games I play or used to play or might play, I found a few worth grabbing.

I took the New Journey Pack for Blade and Soul. I had to have it - there was a hat. A beret, in fact. I really will play again one day. Honest! 

There was a hat in the Guild Wars 2 bundle as well but it was a fuzzy quaggan hat and I already have one of those. Probably. I have some fuzzy hat with bobbles, anyway. Doesn't mean I don't want another.

And finally there was the not at all creepy [Storage Maid] Fairy Irene for Black Desert Online. Giving away people isn't weird, is it? In fact it's an employment contract to hire her they're handing out, although I'm betting I don't have to pay her, so "employment" is something of a euphemism for "slavery".

Muddy as the ethical waters might be, Irene sounds just too handy to turn down:

"Moving items between storage has never been easier with Irene, your trusty storage maid that's available whenever, and wherever. Irene can move your item(s) of choice to and from the storage of the major city of the territory your character is located in."

I remember storage being a bit of a nightmare in BDO so anything that makes it more user-friendly is a must-have. You know there are going to be AI rights one day and NPCs are going to be striking over stuff like this. Enjoy it while it lasts.

And that was my lot for this month. This could well be the last of these posts. I guess it depends how short of things to write about I get and how many heatwaves we have...


  1. Every time I see a Football Manager release, I think that I might this might be the year I pull the trigger. Then I see the reports of the bugs, and I pass.

    Maybe one of these days...

    1. I can't say I've ever been tempted to try any of them. I'd be interested in a music or movie industry version, though.


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