Tag Archives: Survival

Bastioneer

I’ve had a few of the more well-known survival games in my backlog for a while now. No Man’s Sky has had my eye since it was first released, well before it was patched into a reportedly vastly improved experience, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Subnautica, and can’t wait to dig into that one, but it was Astroneer I decided to go with this time. Between the three, Astroneer looked like a much more casual experience, and I didn’t want to dedicate myself to some massive galaxy spanning adventure or spending several tense hours cowering from giant alien shark-beasts in some underwater cave. Not yet, at least.

Caverns of fun!
“Caverns of fun!”

As luck would have it, it turns out that Astroneer actually scratches an itch that I don’t believe either of those games would have. That would be the same very basic mining and caving gameplay loop that Minecraft’s survival mode employs. While plenty of other games have implemented much deeper and/or more interesting survival modes since Minecraft first blew up, that particular aspect of it has always been left by the wayside. Whenever I’ve gone back to Minecraft, that always seems to be the most compelling component for me. Playing cooperatively with my girlfriend, she’d often be the one crafting and building, while I’d spend almost all of my time digging out elaborate mines and exploring the game’s massive, randomly generated cave systems when I’d encounter them. When it comes to those aspects, Astroneer absolutely delivers.

The basic premise of the game is that you’re some sort of an astronaut dropped onto a planet and, well, it’s not readily apparent what the fictional reason for your mission actually is, something vaguely related to gathering research, I guess? From a gameplay perspective you’re immediately thrown into a classic loop of gathering material to build upgrades, to gather better materials, to build better upgrades, and so on that just about every survival game incorporates to some degree. The difference is that Astroneer focuses entirely on that loop – there’s no additional survival elements related to eating food or water, staying warm, etc. nor are there enemies or many other direct threats to your character. Your only survival concerns are oxygen and the occasional dangerous variety of plantlife, which are usually easy to avoid once you’re aware of them.

I spent countless hours trekking around the surface too.
“I spent countless hours trekking around the surface too.”

So, that pretty much leaves you with mining, exploring and scavenging, and upgrading your base and equipment. Eventually this has you even leaving your starting planet to head to another one of the other 6 planets and moons in the solar system for a change of scenery and access to some new resources to mine or otherwise gather. It’s a relatively simple and fairly open-ended game, with little in the way over any sort of overarching goals that you don’t set yourself, which, when combined with the game’s beautifully clean, stylized visuals and excellent, minimalist soundtrack, make for an extremely relaxing experience, whether played alone or cooperatively. I spent way too many nights unaware of how much time had been flying by while I was deep into a grinding session.

Sure, there can be some stress, like when you accidentally fall into a cavern, breaking your connection to your oxygen tether network, or end up getting lost for hours while exploring (damn you, shitty beacon system!) but overall Astroneer really nails owning this particular corner of the survival genre like nothing else I’ve played. I do have some other complaints, like the lack of split screen coop on the console version, and some fairly serious performance issues that seem to relate to the number of objects in the world (and likely those two things are directly related) but nothing close to a deal breaker.

...and when you get bored of that stuff, you can GTFO!
“…and when you get bored of that stuff, you can GTFO!”

That said, I’ve had my fill for now. While I wouldn’t say I “completed” the game, I accomplished enough to feel like I had more or less mastered most of the systems before it all started feeling too repetitive. I got most of my tech to tier 2 (of 3) and beyond, visited every planet, unlocked some cores, and just basically got a healthy taste of almost everything on offer. The biggest compliment I can give the game is that I absolutely think I’ll be back to Astroneer instead of Minecraft the next time I’m feeling a strange, primal urge to go delving into deep in pursuit of rare materials.

For a bit of a palate cleanser, I followed that up with a quick dip into Supergiant’s now something of a classic action RPG, Bastion.

In a stroke of innovation, NPCs with quests have exclamation marks over their heads!
“In a stroke of innovation, NPCs with quests have exclamation marks over their heads!”

Bastion was one of the darlings of the wave of new, sexy indie games hitting Xbox Live Arcade back in the Xbox 360’s heyday, and it seemed like everyone was playing it for a time, the ever-present and extremely divisive narrator being a hot topic on every podcast I listened to. Having always enjoyed narration and frankly surprised it hasn’t been done in more modern games (cue flashbacks to Dungeons and Dragons Online) I was quite looking forward to it myself. A huge Diablo fan, I was far more skeptical about playing a colorful, consolefied take on the ARPG genre, which was honestly probably the main reason I hadn’t got around to playing it until now.

Immediately upon jumping in you’re treated to the game’s sublime visuals. A painted, colorful floating world filled with squat, cartoony characters that evoke isometric Japanese tactical RPGs from the 90s more than Diablo and its ilk is assembled around as you walk through it to cool effect. Then the narrator comes in and… well, that wasn’t what I was expecting at all! Instead of a narrator chiming in here and there, and feeling fairly removed from the game world like an overwatching dungeon master or the hilarious narrator from a Sierra adventure game, the narrator in Bastion is actually another character in the world with his own personality, and he really is ever-present, chiming in about every other little thing your character does. It’s not that it wasn’t cool, it just wasn’t what I had in my head for all these years.

Even Bastion's junk yards are beautiful.
“Even Bastion’s junk yards are beautiful.”

Then I got into the action and, eh… it was fine. Nothing too particular to complain about, but something about it just didn’t click with me. I knew it was a short game, so I figured I’d keep playing it and at worst, have to write a fairly negative review. Then, maybe my third session in with the game, out of nowhere I found myself having a ton of fun. I think a big part of my enjoyment came from the extremely smooth pacing. Having such bite-sized levels was genius, making it feel effortless to dive in and out, which ends up being vitally important as you start unlocking new weapons, weapon upgrades, spirits, and secret skills to play with.

I’m the type of person who typically settles on one good loadout in a game like this and won’t deviate from it all too often outside of a cursory test of any new items and abilities I pick up, but Bastion absolutely nails its upgrade and loadout systems. Soon I found myself experimenting wildly to find the best ways to best each of the weapon challenge areas and the “Who Knows Where” wave attack arenas. I was actually having some of the most fun I’d had with a game like this in recent memory.

When in doubt, use a shotgun.
“When in doubt, use a shotgun.”

Once I was hooked on the combat and the progression, the intrigue of the story, the aforementioned beautiful art style, the amazing soundtrack, and really, just an overall highly tuned experience from front to back, brought me the rest of the way to the end of the game. I ended up enjoying it so much that I went from barely interested to now committed to trying some of Supergiant’s other games, like their 2014 follow-up, Transistor. Hell, I even briefly considered giving the new game+ a go, something I almost never do. In the end I settled on being happy with as close to 100 percenting the game as you can get in a single playthrough, and calling it a day. Still, that was a pleasant surprise!

Screenshots are from the PC versions of these games, stolen from random users on the Steam Community pages for these games.

Buried in Sand, Hand in Hand

Another long overdue update!

Having burnt myself out on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and still yearning for a relatively tactical FPS on PC that I might be able to recruit some of my friends into playing, I had caught wind of Insurgency: Sandstorm. I played the original version of Insurgency a fair bit when it was still a Source mod and really enjoyed the combination of tactical squad combat and its brutally (if not totally unrealistic) pin-point accurate ballistics model. Insurgency turned into a standalone retail product at some point but I never got around to trying that version, though it was fairly well received. Insurgency: Sandstorm is its long awaited sequel. Watching a trailer and some preview coverage on YouTube it really looked like it was shaping up to be something amazing; the type of shooter that the grognards who still cherish a return to the days of the original Ghost Recon might go all in on, and as such it’s been on my watch list for quite a while now.

Sloppily bounding towards our objective.
“Sloppily bounding towards our objective.”

This, unfortunately, might be one of those cases of something looking notably better when viewed from afar. Entering its final early access beta, I eagerly bought Sandstorm and jumped in to play some bot matches and was immediately shocked by how janky it’s previously slick looking gameplay actually felt and, if I’m totally honest, how ugly it looked in action (mostly the character models and animations) relative to the beautiful preview footage I had seen. After playing a few matches I started to enjoy the weighty feeling movement and the deadliness of the combat, being quite a departure from any of the other FPSes I’d been playing recently and something I’d dearly missed since the good old days of America’s Army 3. Still, knowing that there was no damn way I could successfully convince any of my friends that this didn’t, in fact, totally suck, I ended up quickly uninstalling the game and considering pursuing a refund.

This was just before launch, back in December, so to give it a fairer shake (to ease my regret for not getting that refund if nothing else) I’ll probably check it out in the future after its had a little bit longer to mature. In fact, installing it to grab a few screenshots has already left me with a better impression than I had last time around, and viewing update notes leaves me believing that it’s still being improved and supported quite well. For now though, the game mostly serves to remind me that I’m still quite capable for falling victim to my own hype. I should really know better by now.

Sandstorm's damage model is quite brutal - a single direct hit pretty much takes care of things.
“Sandstorm’s damage model is quite brutal – a single direct hit pretty much takes care of things.”

Speaking of which, at around the same time I was randomly drawn to Conan Exiles. I honestly can’t tell you what it was that suddenly caused my interest to perk up, but I’ve always been a fan of Conan and I really liked the art style and overall conceit of the game. Seeing no real interest in playing this sort of game from any of my online crew, I generated a single player world and hopped in solo. For several intense days, including a couple of days during which I was stuck at home miserably sick, I was completely enthralled (*rim shot!*) but once I got the basic gameplay loop worked out, with a small but stable base of operations, and had seen a little bit of the world and what the game generally had to offer, I’d pretty much had my fill of what was increasingly becoming overly repetitive.

Despite abandoning the game pretty quickly, I actually really liked what I played. The graphics and overall design of the world were awesome, and the construction and tech trees were really cool. I admit, the world felt a little lonely when playing solo, but that’s on me more than the developers since it’s clearly designed to be played online. Honestly, I can easily imagine this being a game I’d have totally fallen in love with if I had played it online with a group of friends on an active, highly competitive server, not unlike the experiences I’d described in the past about my brief but memorable time with Rust (though with perhaps even more nudity!) Really, in so many ways, Conan Exiles is basically just a version of Rust with more polish and a setting that caters to my personal tastes a bit more, which is much more of a compliment than it probably sounds like it is.

Religion and slaves, check. Game over?
“Religion and slaves, check. Game over?”

Likely, I’ll install Conan Exiles again at some point, though probably with some mods installed to make the grind of playing solo a little more tolerable, and if any of my friends ever show any interest in playing I’d jump at the opportunity to hop back in and reinstall it in a heartbeat.

Shifting over to console, I’d been tempted to look at Xbox Game Pass since I first heard about it. The original allure was unlimited access to all of Microsoft’s first party Xbox One titles, which is fairly compelling in and of itself, but they’ve continued to add more and more great content to the subscription. Of course, they cycle it in AND back out from time to time, and they don’t really announce how often things get removed, so it’s a little hard to judge exactly what else you’re getting access to at any point in the future. Even still, as long as there’s at least a couple of games you intend on playing in the future, it feels like a no-brainer. I finally signed up and jumped into my first game not too long after, though I’m still working on that one so I’ll wait to talk more about it in my next one of these updates.

There are plenty of first party games I’m excited to play though: I want to get caught up on the Gears of War games, having enjoyed the first couple. I need to play Halo 5 finally, and also at least the first Halo Wars. State of Decay 2 is still looming large in my backlog too, and I’m sure there are many more. Being more than a little bit of a “patient gamer” I do find it disappointing to see some of the 3rd party games that originally convinced me to subscribe to Game Pass already leaving before I’d had a chance to play them, but I guess that’s just a part of the package.

Insert corporate tagline here!
“Insert corporate tagline here!”

Oh, and shortly after signing up Microsoft announced Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which is more or less just a combination of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. Even more of a no-brainer! Plus they’ve cleverly tried to tempt us to switch our accounts over by combining remaining Xbox Gold and Xbox Game Pass time for Ultimate credit. This lead to a lot of people scheming to buy up as much Xbox Gold and Xbox Game Pass time as they could before switching over to take full advantage of the generous conversion policy. A huge win for Microsoft, as they’re surely looking to lock more people into their ecosystem in advance of the release of the next Xbox console (currently dubbed Project Scarlett) in 2020.

Traversing the ruins of our childhoods...
“Traversing the ruins of our childhoods…”

One game I did complete thanks to Game Pass is The Gardens Between. I hadn’t heard of this little indie gem at all until it appeared on The Computer Game Show podcast, where it unexpectedly ended up stealing their 2018 game of the year spot. I was already intrigued by the discussion and the fact that it was supposedly a relatively quick play, but then to find out I already had it on Game Pass? Sold!

The game’s first impression, with its vibrant, whimsical, and slightly cartoony art style, is definitely very positive, but indie games with brilliant graphics are (awesomely) becoming less and less of a standout quality these days. More unique, The Gardens Between’s gameplay is something else entirely. First, despite how it might appear from screenshots and videos, this game is a puzzle game first and foremost. Your two characters automatically traverse a series of small, surrealistic stages somewhat akin to an “auto-runner”. They’ll run into obstacles of various types while trying to reach the end of the stage and your role is to try to figure out how to get them around those obstacles – to solve the puzzle, in other words.

Trickier than it looks, I promise!
“Trickier than it looks, I promise!”

You don’t control your characters’ movements directly, rather your control comes from forwarding and rewinding time. I once heard someone describe this as being something like Braid minus the platforming which feels pretty apt. Even though your characters will follow the same path forward as long as possible, the obstacles in the world survive your time related antics which allows you to manipulate the environment around them. For example, one of your characters runs into a raised drawbridge where they get stuck but your other character ends up near a lever that lowers the bridge a little later. You then rewind time so that the first character can then cross the now lowered bridge. As you might imagine, these scenarios can get much, much more complicated, with you needing to carefully line up objects and movements typically quite a few times per stage, often taking some real lateral thinking. It can be a bit trial and error oriented too but given the ability to rewind time those “errors” are never really all that punitive.

There is also a narrative here. Involving childhood friendship, it clearly attempts to play on some fairly universal emotions. From some reviews and impressions I’ve heard from other people the game is plenty capable of really affecting you though beyond being overall fairly charming it didn’t quite pull my heartstrings in any major way. It did leave me wondering where it was going the entire time though which was interesting in a different way though. Still, all said and done, it was a great little game that I’d recommend if you need a palate cleanser between longer games or if you just love these sorts of odd puzzle games.

More soon!

The Gardens Between shots were stolen from Google Images.

Not So Isolated

When Alien: Isolation came out I was happy to see that Creative Assembly’s promises of delivering a game that recreated the look of the first Alien movie were actually kept. Still, I’ve never been a huge survival horror fan, and once reviews started coming in, talking about its long length and pacing issues, my interest waned. As time went on, however, it seemed like there were a lot of pockets of love and support for the game out there. People on podcasts I listened to and in articles I’d read talked about it being their game of the year, sometimes even on their short lists of favorite games ever. Eventually I couldn’t ignore the hype and vowed to play the game after all. Mentioning this to my partner, she soon began a campaign of peer pressuring me to play it so that she could watch and bask in my misery. Honestly, I was far more intimidated by its length than the scares, but eventually it felt like the time was right to commit to the 20+ hours, and dove in.

Welcome to Sevastopol...
“Welcome to Sevastopol…”

First in foremost, as touted, the game is absolutely beautiful. The style and feel of the original 1979 Alien movie were lovingly recreated and, without direct side by side comparisons, seems quite faithful. I especially love the bizarrely retro-future feel of the computers, with their monochrome displays and multitude of lights, knobs, and bizarre noises. Sevastopol station, where you’ll be spending the majority of the game, reminds me a weird combination of the UAC facilities of Doom 3 and BioShock’s Rapture. Maybe that says more about the Aliens franchise’s influence on those games than anything, but I’d call that high praise regardless. The design is meticulously detailed, oh so eerie, and at times oddly claustrophobic. Helping with this immensely, the environmental lighting is great, with enough darkness to produce an intimidating mood without completely impeding the player’s ability to navigate. It all really works.

Alien: Isolation also nails it in the sound department. The sound effects are good all around, but the ambient noise is freakily eerie with the occasional suspicious noise thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Of course, if an enemy (particularly the alien itself) is stalking you, noise plays a big part in trying to track its location and activity. Hearing the alien clunking around as it moves through the vents above you never gets any less terrifying. The soundtrack is similarly well executed, incorporating some of the original movie soundtrack with more modern, electronic elements. It’s perfectly atmospheric, while at times dynamically shifting into a faster pace, crescendoing when the action peaks. Whether purposely or accidentally, sometimes these music changes seemed to be misleading which had me turning the tides on my girlfriend – on several occasions I looked over at her to see her nervously shielding her face in anticipation simply because the music had picked up which she thought meant I was about to be attacked. Hilarious!

Scary. Change my mind!
“Scary. Change my mind!”

The game starts out quite slowly, and the pacing just feels off to me for the first few hours. It takes quite a while before the alien even shows up, in fact. This actually lead to a little bit of unexpected tension, as I was constantly waiting for it to make its first appearance and needlessly psyching myself out. The game even seems to have a little fun with this at the player’s expense in places. That’s not to say there aren’t enemies, though. While the station is largely deserted, you’ll run into the occasional band of unfriendly humans and, much more infamously, androids. I heard a lot of people talk about the “Working Joe” androids, shrugging them off as boring and definitely not at all scary. Well, they’re wrong! Sure, the androids are MUCH more predictable than the more complicated AI tied to the alien, but with their glowing eyes, movements shifting from slow and freakily deliberate to fast and deadly, and their creepy speech, I thought they were plenty menacing.

Anyway, I digress. Let me backup and (vaguely) talk about the story. Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, the main protagonist of the original movies, learns that the flight recorder of the ship her mother was on in Alien, the Nostromo, has been recovered. She’s invited to travel to a distant mining station where it’s being held to learn more about her mother’s disappearance. When she gets there, well, let’s just say things aren’t going so great there. Shit gets crazy and Amanda learns more about what’s going on aboard Sevastopol station as well as more about the fate of the Nostromo along the way. The nice thing about the story is that it wedges itself between well known plot points in the first two movies without doing too much retconning, keeping it inoffensive to most franchise purists. The biggest complaints I can muster about it is that it feels a little extraneous and, perhaps, because of the length of the game, some of the plot twists and turns feel a little tedious.

Hack the planet! Hack the planet!
“Hack the planet! Hack the planet!”

The length and the pacing are (again) common complaints. I actually didn’t find the pacing to be nearly as bad as people made it out to be, after that initial slog I mentioned at least. It may just be that how intensely, nerve-wrackingly stressful the gameplay is to a lot of us also makes it feel a lot worse than it actually is, especially given the save system. Saving is done by static, manually activated save points scattered throughout the environment. For the most part they’re spaced just about perfectly to break the game down into relatively small, digestible sections. That said, given that you spend large portions of the game being actively hunted, and being caught usually results in death, the save system feels incredibly unforgiving and, at times, fucking infuriating. I’m 100% sure they went with this style of save system to up the tension, and it is slightly more flexible than hard checkpoints, I admit, but it definitely feels a bit of a dated design. Regardless of the pacing, I definitely agree with the common criticism that the game feels a lot longer than it should. There’s a fair degree of backtracking too. I get the impression that they were going for a sort of “metrovania” approach to gating content and it largely works, though that style of level design pairs badly with a game that already feels a little too long.

Beyond gating related items (the Maintenance Jack, the Plasma Torch, etc.) there are also a number of weapons and other items, most of which can be crafted from certain components found in the station. I personally found very few of these items useful enough to keep using. The Medkit, of course, ended up being pretty essential, particular in certain areas, and the Stun Baton is a godsend against rampaging androids, but otherwise? Eh. I know this is going to vary greatly by person, but this honestly didn’t feel like a playstyle thing – those items just didn’t feel all that useful to me, period. Normally when I play a game with a lot of options and I don’t use them all, I can at least see the potential in them. The whole thing is just… odd.

It’s especially odd in the case of weapons. It takes you awhile to find one, and when you finally pick up your first revolver it feels damn empowering. Then you go to use it the first time and discover that it’s probably a good thing you’ve had up until then to get used to playing without them. The shotgun is a lot better, but by the time you get it you’ll probably find yourself reluctant to use your trigger finger for a host of other reasons.

The Torrens and Sevastopol Station.
“The Torrens and Sevastopol Station.”

The biggest exception to this is the aforementioned creepy androids which, when they turn on you, take quite a beating until you nail them with a Stun Baton or catch them with an EMP blast. Of course, right around the time I felt like I mastered facing off with them you’re introduced to the Hazardous Environment Joes which are pretty much invulnerable to all of that stuff. I found myself in at least a couple of situations where I was stuck with a room full of these bastards and no great way to defeat them. This lead to some very creative (and very tense) trial and error situations that I somehow eventually myself through. It’s worth noting that you will eventually get the Bolt Gun which takes down either sort of android with a single clean headshot, though landing that shot under the kind of intense situations you’ll most want to use it in isn’t always easy, and the gun comes with a punishing reload time.

Dealing with the Working Joes is a walk in the park compared to dealing with our titular alien friend, however. Nothing is all that effective against the alien save for the flamethrower which you get in the last half of the game. It’s often mentioned that the flamethrower makes the game instantly easy, though I didn’t find that to be the case at all. Fuel (ammo) for the flamethrower is limited enough that you’ll want to use it sparingly, and you’ll run into the alien enough, even when playing extremely cautiously, that you’ll burn through it quite quickly if you start to rely on it. That, and it usually only scares the alien off for a short amount of time. While it does undeniably change the game a bit, it still remains tense, and if you do run out of fuel you’ll be faced with a whole new feeling of helplessness.

The motion scanner is extremely useful at times. This isn't one of them.
“The motion scanner is extremely useful at times. This isn’t one of them.”

The topic of the alien itself really deserves a lot of attention. As mentioned, it takes awhile for it to become a factor, but when it does… oof! The game uses some interesting AI scripting for the alien that makes it behave in some pretty unique ways. It’s utterly ridiculous – mostly ridiculously cool, but sometimes ridiculously cheap and unforgiving. I quickly learned a few tricks to allow me to adapt to being stalked by it, or really, just existing in a world where it also happens to be, which is scary enough, but it never really failed to feel like an existential threat, keeping me on the edge of my seat. I did get a little desensitized by the end of the game, but that had a lot less to do with the game’s tricks wearing thin on me, and more to do with having to constantly force myself to resist my cautious nature and adopt a “let’s do it!” attitude to accomplishing my goals that Leeroy Jenkins would be proud of. It’s far too tempting to sit around waiting until you feel safe, but those moments rarely come, and even when they do they’re usually a bit of an illusion. In short, waiting around is rarely beneficial to you – you just need to keeping pushing ahead onto the next area, that next objective, and the next story beat.

Like I said, as amazingly cool as the alien’s behavior could be at times, it could also really suck. There were plenty of quirks in its scripting resulting in kills that felt amazingly cheap and unfair and some generally annoying patterns of behavior, such as the realization that you’re on this massive space station but no matter where you are, the alien always seems to be coming after you and you alone. It doesn’t matter where you are, where you’ve gone, or what else is around, it’s like its tethered to you, which definitely ruined a lot of the immersion for me. As such, I also wish there were more moments of the alien interacting with other humans and, despite some plot points against it, the androids. There are some other minor issues with the game too, like how the auto-map largely feels like it was an afterthought and how some other elements of the UI don’t feel like they spent enough time in the hands of the UX team.

The majority of xenomorph encounters go more like this...
“The majority of xenomorph encounters go more like this…”

Despite all of this, there’s no doubt in my mind that Creative Assembly managed to make a compellingly terrifying experience. Before playing Alien: Isolation, I think the scariest game I ever played was Doom 3. That game was all about tension though – never knowing when the next monster would pop out of a deviously placed “monster closet” to achieve a cheap jump scare. This game, on the other hand, had all of that and more – an incredible atmosphere and an almost palpable feeling of dread at times – I mean, it had me literally yelling out loud multiple times throughout my playthrough. Sure, some of this was me just getting into the spirit of it, which was even funner with my girlfriend just as freaked out by watching me play as I was playing, but this was genuinely a first for me.

There’s probably a lot more I could say, but in the spirit of avoiding too many spoilers and encouraging people to try it themselves, I’ll just wrap up by saying that Alien: Isolation is a great game that more people should play. Should you play it? It’s hard for me to recommend this kind of game in any sort of universal way, given how subjective the enjoyment of these types of games can be. For me, it’s a bit of a love and hate situation, with love undeniably winning out at the end of the day. It’s certainly my new favorite survival horror game, but with the length and odd annoyances added to how nerve wracking the whole thing was for me, I have no plans to check out the DLC any time soon and I highly doubt I’ll ever play through the main campaign again despite how much I ultimately enjoyed the experience.

In the future I will be shoved out of an airlock for my stealing the above screenshots from random sites around the web. Please, just make it quick.