Monday, April 4, 2022

Stranger Danger

That's my Blade and Soul character up there, showing of the new outfit Jeff Bezos gave her. Generous Jeff we call him around here, as well we should. 

Jeff handed out a bunch of stuff today. There was the Velvet Rope outfit on the left, suitable for any red carpet premiere event, especially when accessorized by the Velvet Rope Accessory on the right. He threw in a whole bunch of upgrade materials and buffs and suchlike, too, although I think those may have been from last month. I have nearly two dozen unclaimed gift packs in my mailbox, most of which I daren't open for fear of overwhelming my inventory.

On that thorny and hoary topic, as I was checking just how much space I had, I was surprised to find I could buy several more rows of inventory for a small amount of in-game currency, eight slots for just six silver, then another eight for a further twenty-four. 

I'm fairly sure this is new for the simple reason that I would have already bought them if wasn't. If there's one thing I never begrudge paying imaginary money for it's bag slots. I'm just sorry I had to stop at two rows. The cost ramped up heavily at the third, jumping from a few silver to over a gold. Since I've only managed to accumulate a couple of gold in all the time I've been playing that seemed like an offer I ought to refuse. For now.

I was less impressed with what Jeff had for me in Guild Wars 2, although I'm sure many would find it useful. Even the name sounds utilitarian: Convenience Set. After a bit of a struggle I got it open and out popped a whole bunch of the kind of things that already take up space in my bank. Too useful to throw away, not useful enough to, y'know, use.

Those were just the mini-gifts, anyway. Fluff and fancies. The trinkets that fly out of the cracker before you get down to the serious present-opening. Only at Jeff's house it's Christmas every month.

This April, Amazon Prime has five games to give away. I took four of them and politely declined the fifth. Whether I'll ever install them, let alone play them, is another matter. 

The one I was certain I'd never need (Or want.) was something called Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. Every single thing about that title raises red flags for me. Turnips are not amusing vegetables and anyone who thinks they are does not have a sense of humor. "Turnip Boy" is not an amusing parody of a superhero name and ditto. Tax Evasion is morally reprehensible. 

Other opinions are available but I refuse to be swayed. As the extraneous "u" in the claim that "this is a very specific brand of humour" suggests, it's a humo[u]r that appeals to a particular, self-identifying group. They know who they are and I know I am not one of them. 

Okay, I realize my having included a Bonzos' track from the mid-60s in yesterday's post severely undermines my authority here but dammit I am not one of those people!

Moving swiftly on, the other four games are three flavors of RPG ("Turn-based", "Puzzle" and "Indie".) and yet another bloody Monkey Island adventure. Seriously, how many of these things did they make? However many it was, I assume Amazon plan to throw the lot at us. I guess I'll keep taking them but I don't expect to play all of them. Or possibly any.

This one ("Monkey Island 2 Special Edition".) does at least look newer than the rest. Maybe it's a remake or whatever they call it. The others (Guild of Ascension, NanoTale -Typing Chronicles and Galaxy of Pen and Paper.) all look considerably more interesting. They're also all meta in one way or another. I do like a bit of thematic unity. I might actually try all three of them, one day.

And that's it. Except it's not.

If I hadn't happened to have read it somewhere (I think it was on I might have missed this month's Big Ticket Feature. It's not even mentioned on my Amazon Games page. It only appears if you click through to the "In-game content" section where all the stuff at the start of the post lives.

This month, if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can have The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for free. I know it's been around a while and eveyone who ever wanted it probably has it already but still, you'd think they might have made a bit more of it.

Then again, it does only cost £4.49 at, which is where the link takes you if you decide to have it. Given that the cheapest of the other games this month clock in at three times that much, I guess it's not that big a deal after all.

I don't own it, though, and I've never played it. I don't like Elder Scrolls games much. Even for free, I
probably wouldn't have bothered making a GOG account just for this but as it happens I already have one... and it still works. So now, I, too, own Oblivion, like every other person who'll ever read this.

That means I have 91 games in my Amazon Games Library. That's fifteen more than I own on Steam, where, paradoxically, I own two more Amazon titles, New World and Lost Ark. There was a time when Sony Online Entertainment catered for nearly all of my gaming needs. If things go on like this, pretty soon that'll be Amazon.

I bet that's just what Jeff wants, too. One minute you're petting the puppies, the next you're in the van. That's an analogy, by the way. I'm not sugesting there really is a van. Or any puppies for that matter. There are never any puppies.

D'you know what? I have a personal anecdote about that and this post's running a bit short so I'm going to share. When I was maybe nine or ten years old, I was at a village fete not too far from where I lived. I was wandering around with my cousin (I think it was.) and we were on our own because it was the 1960s and no-one cared about stuff like that back then.

Some guy came up to us and asked us if we wanted to see some puppies. We were nine (Or ten.) Of course we wanted to see some puppies. He said to come with him so we did. 

He led us off towards the trees at the edge of the field, out of sight behind some parked vehicles. He had a van there.

And some puppies. He really did have puppies. He was trying to sell them. We played with them for a while, then we went back and found whatever adults we were nominally with and said there was a man who had some puppies in a van and could we? 

No we couldn't. And that was that. No-one told us we'd done anything we shouldn't have done. No-one ever mentioned it again. 

I told you. It was the sixties. No-one cared.

It taught me one thing that I've always remembered, though. 

Sometimes there really are puppies.


  1. A few days ago on my Youtube/Twitch playthrough of Monkey Island 1, I wondered aloud if there'd ever be another game (after the four whole games + 5 chapters games there are).

    Announced rather unexpectedly today was game 6, Return to Monkey Island, which may really be game 3a if original creator Ron Gilbert has his way. Which he seems to be.

    It's nice when the universe answers my rhetorical questions so quickly, but this implies I may be partially to blame for the Monkeystorm around you. Apologies, I'm sure.

    1. Almost the first thing I saw after I finished writing the post was a news item about Monkey Island 6. Those monkeys breed like rabbits!

  2. You know, Bhagpuss, I'm pretty sure Jeff is more concerned about his latest yacht more than whether you get a few video games. Which is to say, not concerned about either.

    1. I'm pretty sure he likes money more than anything, which is why I'm thinking if he's giving me games for free there has to be a catch.

  3. That puppy story did not turn out at all like I expected :-) When exactly did parents start watching their children? I know in the 70s and 80s I would have needed to not show up for dinner before my parents would have been at all concerned, and even at that I would have probably needed to be missing well into the night before they ever would have called the police.

    1. It's a topic we discussed a few times while the kids were growing up in the 90s. We agreed it was definitely regional, for one thing. Even though we live in a small city, kids here in the 90s had much more freedom to roam than relatives kids living in the urban/suburban sprawl around London. Kids still walked or cycled to school on their own here when elsewhere they were always escorted and while there wasn't that "You've had lunch, now go out and play and I want you back before it gets dark" that I had even as a nine or ten year old, there was still plenty of freedom to go from house to house in the area and down to the local playing fields without an adult tagging along.

      On balance, I'd say it started changing in the mid-90s and was full-on "not until you're a teenager" soon after the millennium but even then I imagine there were plenty of local variations. I think maybe we were allowed to be a bit too feral when I was growing up but I'm happy I had the chance to make my own mistakes - although I guess I would say that since I survived them!

    2. Weirdly, my son who just turned 23 and his friends never seemed to have the slightest interest in roaming the neighborhood unsupervised while growing up. They planned very structured activities at known locations and times without any real prompting from us.

      I think part of it is the video game culture: would I have roamed around my neighborhood unsupervised when I was a kid if Super Smash Bros Melee was available? I think not. Maybe another part is cellphone culture: you don't have to go to a kid's house in person to arrange to do stuff anymore. Part of it, though, is just that kids' perceptions of "play" seem to have changed in general.

      I'll bet my son was never even in a dirt clod fight. How… sad, I guess?

    3. Hah! Dirt clod fights! We had a stone fight once. That didn't end well.

      It is true that the boredom of being indoors in the pre-everything age had a lot to do with how attractive the outdoors seemed and it would have depended on where you lived, too. I was lucky enough to have a river, some woodland and a playing field with pitches all close enough to walk to in a few minutes. If I'd lived in a suburb with nothing but houses all around it would have been very different.

      My feeling is that I'd still have been roaming the countryside in my pre-teens but as a teenager I'd probably never have seen the outside of my room if I'd had the internet.

  4. Monkey Island 2 SE is indeed a (very good) remaster of the original MI2, and it's one of the greatest point & click adventures ever made - if you like the series' humor, that is. I can't recommend it enough.

    It's kinda funny that you have actually played dozens of p&c adventures that I haven't, but seem to have missed out on some of the classics pretty much everybody loved and adored back in the day. ;-)

    1. I actually own a boxed copy of one of the Monkey Island games. Must have bought it in the 90s, I think. I have only the vaguest memory of playing it but I know I barely got started before I decided it was too annoying to go on. I've read a couple of people's accounts of playing it over the years and every quote I've ever read from the dialog strikes me as being about as funny as catching your fingers in a car door. Definitely not my style of humor.

      I might try this one, though. Maybe the jokes land better when you're actually playing.


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