Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

April 16, 2010

Torchlight wins

Filed under: Games — lexifab @ 10:22 pm

Further to my campaign of resuming blogging with greater enthusiasm, or at least something resembling regularity, I’ve been wracking my brains all day for a useful subject to blather about.

Fortunately for you, that process failed. I say fortunate, because I can’t see any good coming of a thought process that begins “What random subject do I need to blog about today”? I will mark this revelatory moment with the presumption of your gratitude.

Instead, I’m going to point at the couple of games that I’m planning to play instead of doing any writing of any kind tonight.

First of all is Torchlight, a cheap and cheerful Diablo knockoff that was on sale at Steam a few weeks ago for a paltry five bucks (which is a paltry five bucks and change in the prevailing currency climate). At that price, it’s a steal – good old fashioned dungeon bashing employing implausible weapons, armour and spells with which to summon a screenful of epilepsy-threatening visual effects. As an added bonus, your cave-exploring avatar is followed by a faithful pet who will dutifully lug your hard-won trinkets to the surface and negotiate a fair price for them with the local merchant, leaving you free to commit yourself fully to the business of bloodthirsty sparkle-mayhem.

Next up is the latest release of the completely insane Dwarf Fortress, a graphics-free fantasy city-building simulator, the complexity of whose environmental engine is dwarfed (hah!) only by the stupendously frustrating user-non-interface and the incredible richness of the narratives it is possible to glean from getting the frigging thing up and running and then watching it, well, go. (Indeed, on and on it will go, until the titular dwarf inhabitants of the titular fortress descend – as they inevitably do – into insanity and murder sprees). I want to give an example of an incident from one of the earlier games I played, involving a female guardswoman fending off a goblin invasion with a newborn infant under one arm, but while it was at time equal parts hilarious and horrifying to watch unfold, I doubt I can really recapture the context that makes it seem other than repulsive and off-putting. Instead, I will just invoke the famous tale of the doomed Fortress Boatmurdered, and leave you discern its bizarre delights for yourself. (If you do follow that link, by the way, and you can fathom what the hell they are talking about, stick with it to at least part 5 by StarkRavingMad, in which the elephants get out of hand. Alternatively you can read a quick summary).

Both of these games come with my highest recommendation (accompanied by a thick cloud of caveats). And now, to bash some orc pygmies and load up my dog with looted hauberks.


  1. Is DwarfFortress the game where you can lose your city by having it overpopulated with cats? If so my son has been playing it a lot…

    Good to have you back with us, O Lexifab! My felicitations to your septuagenarian pater! I remain unable to make any intelligent comments on Doctor Who-related matters since my rate of uptake of popular culture is dreadfully slow and I still think of Sylvester McCoy as ‘that new guy’.

    Comment by His former Clamness — April 19, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

  2. That is indeed as fair a description of Dwarf Fortress as any I’ve seen, so no doubt that’s the one. DF is a great game for someone who is time-rich and willing to learn basic engineering principles. I advise the young master to invest in a good butcher and leatherworker, which should help keep the (as I understand those in the know call them) “catsplosions” under control.

    Oddly enough, Sylvester’s era is one of the more obvious touchstones for the new season, particularly in the second episode, which features a line obviously referring back to The Happiness Patrol.

    Comment by lexifab — April 20, 2010 @ 8:57 am

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