Category Archives: Reviews

A Tree of Life (2021)

By L. Philip Balfour

This sculpture, shape like a tree, was made to celebrate a 50-year birthday, it incorporates, as the trunk, a beer bottle with the recipient’s identity on it, this was actually the invitation to the birthday party, postponed due to Covid-19, as is proper.

Using the bottle as the core, the sculpture is then fortified with several branches and 50 sub-branches or leaves, representing the fifty years of the recipient’s life, the branches and leaves are use silver and gold as primary colours, symbolizing the nobility of recipient’s life. The bottle itself is partially enveloped in silver and gold thread, symbolizing strengthening relations.

Under the branches, well hidden, are four spirals, representing the continued growth of the four children the recipient continues to be, in various degrees thanks to the modern family structures, a father figure or outright a father. One in gold, to represent the firstborn, three in silver.

The base, shaped in clay, both to act as a base for stability and to represent the roots of the tree, embedded in the front, beneath the label carrying the name, is a 1971 Hudson Bay Company commemorative coin, celebrating the 1670 establishment of said company.

To cap of the tree, there is a Red Star recovered from a 1974 Soviet commemorative medal’s bar, the remained of the medal remains hanging from the branches within, this cap represents relationships, copper is added beneath, representing the appropriate alchemical symbology.

Scattered around the branches, hangs coins, badges and medals, all from around 1971, this includes a full Danish coin set, several additional Danish low denomination coins from the period, a 5-cent US piece, a commemorative badge from the Russian Ivanovo celebrating its centenary of receiving city status (1871) and several other items, all themed from either 1971 or 50. Two Goteborg commemorative coins also hang from the branches.

The tree is specifically named as “a tree of life” and not “The Tree of Life”, this tree is specifically designed, built, shaped and assembled to the life of a single person, however, every single person could have a tree like this produced, the concept itself is not unique, the person who celebrated their birthday shaped in the contents and the symbols.

The sculpture remains in the hands of the recipient.

City Builders and you: Cities XXL

This is what at one point was the VERY first attempt to turn SimCity into an MMO, there is absolutely nothing left of any of the MMO elements in this game, there’s little left of the original concept.

However, there is a city builder left, and with this latest version, there’s a city builder that actually works, and works fairly well. It’s not Cities: Skylines, not even remotely, Skylines is an exceptional game, Cities XXL is a functional game, now at least.

Cities XL and whatever other names it may or may not have carried, where broken shitpiles full of crushed hopes and dreams.

Cities XL was SimCity 2013, before it was even annouced, and EA learned nothing from this miserable pile of failure.

There really isn’t anythint else to say, this game is pointless.

Citybuilders and you: Cities Skylines

So, do you remember SimCity 2013? Did you play it? Really, you paid EA any money? Did you enjoy it?

I see, you are not human, you are obviously a Repteliod from the Lesser Megelanic Cloud, nothing sane on this poluted planet made out of failture and sadness could EVER like SimCity 2013, it was a broken mess made out of Marketing and broken dreams. But it’s water under the bridge now, Maxis has died, SimCity 2013 died with it, and a new successsor has arrived from the shadows of Finland.

Cities Skylines by Colossal Order.

And it is good, and I mean it, really, really, really, sodding good.


It’s SimCity 2013, but it works.

It still uses those agents that SimCity was raving on about for waaaay to long, but only where it makes sense, water and eletricity? Not FUCKING agents, just the logical system of just making sure you have enough of A,B & Z. Nothing special.

Agents are the people who live and work in the city, the various service agents (Police, Fire-service, busses, trains, planes, ships, hearses and ambulances) and that’s it. And you’re little people walking around? They have a home, that’s theirs, they have a workplace, that’s also theirs and they will go to a place of amusement some random crap place.

Unlike SimCity, where the agents would go to the first avaliable house, the first avaliable workplace and not give a shit, if some uneducated yokel from the fucking sticks began working at the Nuclear Power Planet, turns out, Homer Simpson would be a disater for any Nuclear facility outside of cartoons, even in the superbly unrealistic dreamworld of video games, it’s a disaster.

Not in Cities: Skylights, it just doesn’t happen.


And to add a bit more joy, they developer have realeased an expansion, that added a bunch of cool stuff, plenty of free content patches, active dialogue with their customers and remain a happy little team.

All in all, the best City-Builder since SimCity 4. Well cone random little company.

You can, and you should, get it on Steam, with full workshop support, and 20000 random crap items for you to play with.

Train Fever, tries to be Transport Tycoon.

Train Fever is a Transport Tycoon clone, a good old fashioned economic tycoon simulator. Good, as it’s always nice to see these kind of games, they are getting fairly rare these days. Old, because the core economic game, is utterly imcomprehensible to any human form of thought.

I’m not kidding, oh on the surface, this game is fairly straightforward, buy trucks, trams, busses and (theoretically) trains, transport crap from A to B to C etc… Build roads, railroads, busstops, trainstations, bridges ad all that which is best in life.

Sounds fairly straightforward, eh? Well it isn’t, it really, really isn’t.


In Transport Tycoon, all stations have a chatchment area, in which they’ll pick up cargo and passengers, of there are any around, and if any lines are able to tranport them. If there aren’t any of those two, nothing happens.

In Train Fever, stations present an opertunity for passengers/cargo to get to their destination, and they will base their go/no go decision on travel time. How do you predict travel time? You can’t, you really can’t, not unless you’re some deranged purestrain hyper-sperging autism machine, who will joyfully calculated the time, based on virtual feedback, experimentation and the very quantum uncertaincy of the goddamn universe. Seriously, you’d have to be utterly mental to figure it out, no sane human being could ever do so.


So making money can be incredibly obtuse, for passengers, not for cargo, oh no, cargo is a piece of cake. It’ll simply take the fastest route to the nearest reciving destination, and it’ll either trickle towards the avaliable destinations (Steel Mills, Saw mills and refineries) or take your MUCH faster trucks, so that’s not really an issue. However, the generic goods that the factories vomit forth? Now that one’s nice and obtuse as hell. The maximum amount of generic goods factories can produce, and thus also the amount of unprocessed goods they’ll recieve, is determined by the amount of goods the nearby cities will recieve, meaning that the optimal solution for industrial profit, is a processing site, surrounded by three or more cities, all who’ll recieve plenty of goods, now that’ll generate a solid profit.

So, that’s Truck Fever for you, plenty of fun with trucks.

As for busses and trams? Utterly unpredicatable and not even remotely straightforward, due to the travel time issue, sometimes they’ll trickle in some form of profit, but their use is almost entirely used for feeding train stations. As it should be, very realistic.


And here we arrive, at the elephant in the room, the terror, the dread, the trains.

And they are ever so fucked, not intially of couse, in the early start of 1850, people don’t really have cars, so you’re trains? They are the only real choice, no way in hell are anyone going InterCity without your gleaming trains. And this state of joy last to somewhere around 1950, when the car arrive, as in the real world. And I guess I now know how the railroad tycoons of the era must have felt when Fords fucking Model T came along and ruined everything.

The early days are the good days, cheap trains, cheap to run, no other choice, plenty of money.

And here’s the best part, unless you somehow manage to REALLY slash the travel times, people will just take their goddamn fucking cars, like a bunch of Americans, the only remote success I had with trains, where dirt cheap railbuses, and a shitton of them, but even that, doesn’t really cut in the long run. Even tried an EXTREME long distance route straight across the map, still no success.

It becomes virtually impossible to make any money from trains, after the cars fuck everything up, cargo’s doing just fine, as they don’t spawn cars at any time, but trains? Nope, ain’t gonna happen.

Unless the devs tweak the amount of passengers, or the ticket fees or the maintainence costs of the damn trains, it’ll remain incredibly hard to actually make any money of trains after 1950, which is kinda bad, with a name like Train Fever.

Graphically, it looks okay, not terrible well optimized.

If the economy was a lot less obtuse and better balanced, this game would be recommendable, unfortunately, it isn’t recommnedable at all at present.

City builders and you: Anno 2070.

City builders and you: Anno 2070.

Ahh, the Anno XX70 series, a fine piece of german videogame engineering, made by the masters of the Settlers, Blue Byte, and published by the slightly deranged Ubisoft, a house build on the slow realization that always-on DRM probably isn’t the best idea, log on every time you want to play? Much better idea, put in a social interaction system into your own smaller version of Steam and Windows Live? Superior idea.


The basic gist of Anno 2070, and the whole series in general, is that you built a city on an island, you then supply said city with the crap its inhabitants demand. Food, entertainment, community and that kinda stuff.

In an new twist, Anno 2070 has three different kinds of citizens, the capitalist Tycoons, the hippie Ecos and the supplementary Techs.
The Tycoons, who demand stuff like spirits, casinos and hamburgers, can handle much more pollution than the other two, and have more efficient supply chains, their coal power plants produce a lot of power compared to, say, windmills.

The Ecos, who want tea, concerts and health food, can’t handle pollution at all, and have lots of cool ways to improve the environment, their windmills produces no pollution, and not a lot of power. Their entire supply infrastructure isn’t quite as efficient as the Tycoons, but do produce shiny cities.


The Tech’s, similar to the [Look up the Orientals from anno 1770], aren’t really supposed to be a standalone element, they are supplementary to either the tycoons or the ecos, providing crucial research, and an efficient offshore oil production. They demand simple algae based food, energy drinks and a lab nearby, to conduct dreadful experiments.

In the campaign, you end up playing with all three factions, starting with the Tycoons, then Ecos and finally getting the techs into the great bit blender. As you play through a fairly lackluster campaign of “AI goes rogue, save the world, pretend you are a hero”. It’s all good fun though, you even get to build warships and an small air force, and then go blow shit the hell up.

The game is wonderful fun, with plenty of contents to keep any decent fan busy for ages. 90/100, game of the age, all ages, all the time.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, in-depth Finacial Audit.

So, Diable 3‘s latest, and probably only, expansion has just been released recently. At a price of 39.99 € for the standard edition. 40 € for an expansion, expensive? Hell yes.

So, let’s split the cost into tiny bits, and laugh at the end result. For your hard-earned fourty Euros worth of game, you get the following: Adventure mode, Act 5 and the Crusader. And that’s it, nothing else, there is no extra content beyond those three elements, everything else is included in the base game.

Let’s start with the biggest sinner, the adventure mode, and just before I start my blitzkrieg attack on this useless waste of time, let’s just cover what I thought it was: Randomly made maps, where you could just murder shit, with random missions.

What it actual is: The storyline maps, with two kinds of missions: Kill guys and kill guy. Same maps, same bosses, same mobs, same everything, nothing new at all, using the same art assets and content.

Total cost: 14€ for something that took about half and hour worth of coding, what it should have cost? Nothing, this shouldn’t have cost anything, anything at all, it’s just watered down story mode crap, using the same assets and a bit of extra voice work.

It should have been included with a patch at some point, for free.


Next on the itinerary, the Crusader, an extra character is kinda nice, plenty of extra voicework, lots of crap to do, but otherwise, nothing special. I’d pay 14€ for an extra character to have fun with.


And for the final nail in the proverbial coffin, Act V. Now, this one’s a real pile of crap, it’s basically just around four to six hours of preditable content and story, and if any of you fuckers bitch about bloody spoilers? I’ll laugh from now ’till the heat death of the goddam universe.

And why? Because the story is stupid and preditable, another BIG BAD guy appears, you kill him, that’s it, that’s all there is to it, no big surprise, no big thing, just you walking through a city, then a few shitholes, then hell, then murder end-boss.

Absolutely no surprises at all, which is a welcome addition to the base game storyline, where the little innocent girl character, turns out to be the daughter of EVIL and get’s possed by Diablo, something even the meanest intelligence, could tell, around Act I, part four, the chase for the magical murder thing.

So yeah, worth 14€? Fuck no, not for that little content.

So in conclusion, Reaper of Souls does fuck all for Diablo 3, the giant patch does EVERYTHING for Diablo 3, the 40€? Is just Activision rearing it’s grotesque head again. Did I buy it? Yes, I have friends, it’s the price you pay, for friendship, which isn’t magical, just expensive.

Omerta – City of Gangsters deserves concrete shoes

Omerta – City of Gangsters deserves concrete shoes

Omerta – City of Gangsters is a turn based tactical strategy game, blended into a crime simulator, set in prohibition era Atlantic City. Or is it? It isn’t. It’s a shallow crime building simulator, where combat encounters are done via turn based tactical action, similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Or is it? It kinda isn’t. It’s actually a shallow crime building simulator, with a nor terrible impressive turn based combat encounter system bolted to it, and the similarity to XCOM is strictly theoretical.

It’s the latest game from Haemimont Games, known for their remastering of the Tropico franchise, and horribly overpriced German publisher Kalypso Media, known for their outdated habit of demanding preposterous sums for shallow games, small DLC and similar such villanous deeds. Like demanding 30€ and more for this wreck of a game. For fucks sake guys, i loved Tropico 4, stop doing this shit, Dungeons was a pile of useless waste too.


Now that I’ve mentioned Tropico 4, I can mention it some more! Wait, just kidding, you’re not getting the pleasure of me talking about a good game, I was going to mention who they’re using the same damned engine, thus cutting costs even further, hell, it even reuses several bits and pieces of Tropico’s art assets, even a couple of voice actors get paid again. Should mention that they voice actors are actually very good, and have, duty done.


Crime Simulators doesn’t pay.

Omerta – City of Gangsters is simple, and due to it’s simplicity, it’s easy as hell to play. The simulation have a theme of duality. Illegal (dirty) and legal (clean) cash, liked and feared ratings, joints and premises. The dirty cash is used for the setup of illegal activities, the clean for construction sites and little else. Liked ratings improve some activities, mostly gambling, and feared makes shit cheaper and pawn shops better. Not that you would ever build more than one speakeasy, boxing ring and similar, seeing as diminishing returns makes yet another ugly appearance here.

The gameplay is nice and simple, you rent joints and premises, and make your money using a limited range of illegal and semi-legal activities, some are logical, like speakeasies and nightclubs needing supplies of beer from breweries and liquor from disteleries, in order to rake in the dough. Other? Less so. Like the pizzaria that makes people fear you? I really don’t recall the part of the Godfather where Don Corleone spread fear through a fucking pizza hut.

Throughout most of the empire-building parts of the game, your opposition is pre-programmed and lacking, little if any AI will present you with any opposition, and the lack of any sort of logically located speed-up function can and will make the game hideous and slow.


XCOM is weeping for it’s lesser cousin, for it has lost its way.

The turn based combat, oh dear merciful Eris, daughter of Chaos, preserve us all, it’s not very good. I’ll make a presumption, and presume that you have all played the new XCOM:Enemy Unknown, which I know declare the benchmark of turn-based squad gameplay.

Omerta’s connection to the shinning beacon of XCOM, is technical at best, in XCOM, cover was basically everywhere you could see, a tree was cover, a car, a wall. In Omerta? Only where the programmers have determined it to be, can you find cover, so where it’s instinctual in XCOM, it becomes illogically flawed in Omerta.

The complete lack of any serious customization beyond slightly better guns makes the game even shallower. There’s no armour, so when the game ramps up the difficulty, oh boy, does shit ever die. It becomes a matter of luck if you can even manage to drag all your gangsters through a combat mission.


Should I play this?

No. You really shouldn’t, perhaps with an expansion pack it might become more interesting, and if Steam comes around with a giant sale, you could pick it up, if you are so desperate for a Gangster empire builder.

If you chose to ignore me, you can find it on Steam and on

However, if you want a tough-as-nails crime simulator? I suggest Gangsters: Organized Crime. With the warning, that I suck at it.

I give it 36/100.

City Builders and you: Grand Ages Rome

What I really love about this game, is that your inhabitants mill around, toga-clad patricians head to the temples, children head to school, plebs work in their insulae and slaves are being lead to their bloody brutal deaths in the Arenas. It’s delightful to watch, absolutely nothing like zooming in on your grand forum, and seeing some citizen holding a speech.

Grand Ages Rome is a classical Roman city builder. You build a Roman city, you ensure people have their needs, that temples cover the cities houses, all the good old stuff, we all know and remember, from Impression Games’ Ceasar. You build mines, quarries, logging camps and farm, producing all that the three clases of Roman society need.

Resource management is classical, pun intended, buildings costs cash and some materials. And then has an upkeed in materials, forcing you to upgrade your resource infrastructure, in order to support growth.

The three classes of Roman society are, as any educated person will know, the plebs, the equite and the patricians, in that order.

The Plebs are your lower class, they work in the basic industries and are by far, the most common of people in your fair town. Make them happy, through ensuring they have enough different food, basic entertainment and religious access, and they’ll start producing goods, out of the workshops and small business on the lowest floor of the insulae, used by the upper classes and good for export to the rest of the empire.

Equite are your middle class, their area was the army, so when happy, the produce recruits for your Legions, they also man the more advanced industries, some of the temples and most of the military infrastructure. They also improve some the areas plebs also work in.

And finally, the top of the cities social stratum, the elite, the rich, the Patricians. These guys work in the really advanced public buildings, the senates, the bigger temples. When these upper class twits are happy, they produced Authority, used for an number of special abilities, like getting an emergency batch of slaves.

The military side is straightforward, if the barbarians have two squads, show up with two better squads or obliterate them with massive army of proud Roman legionaries, or let a few auxilia deal with their barbarian brethern. Surpress their barbarian villages to gain a steady stream of resources, or burn it, crush them, to gain a one-time bonus of slaves and money. So if you don’t need the bonus, burn their houses, kill their man and enslaves everything else, including the pigs.

Slaves are technically speaking a fourth class in the game’s Roman society, they just don’t have any houses. Instead of houses, you build slave camps, that provide slaves in an area, you can then use them as a sort of, I-don’t-feel-like-building-a-settlement-over-there, instrument. They can handle basic industries, like logging and quarries.

But, you can also use them in Arenas: “THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE, SALUTE YOU!”, which they never actually said, still, a cooler use than anything else.

Now, the multiplayer is sadly utterly extinct, this isn’t a new game, so the multiplayer scene is pretty much gone. As far as I could tell, you build a city or more, and then just duke it out, sending your armies out to destroy your opponents armies, and besige them, I guess it could be really cool.

There’s a second mode, where you just have to reach some goal or milestone instead, like get a certain amount of income or something. The only activity I found was a few Italians using the lobby as a chatroom, wich just confuses the fuck outta me.

Alas, a good game, with good missions, good fun. Worth a look really.

You can get it from Steam. I give it a 88/100.

Duke Nukem Forever is bloody stupid.

The game starts up with Duke taking a piss, but not just any piss. A piss of such magnitude, of such glory, so loaded with testosterone and steroids, that’s it officially qualifies as a chemical weapon in no less than 53 of the lower states. Now Duke zips up and fires of some catchy remark.

Which i sadly didn’t listen to, wondering if the game is really taking the piss, of everything. It’s a relic, a pipe(bomb( dream, something that really should have stayed lost, or make ten years ago, where it would have been a masterpiece. Sadly, now it’s just another mediocre FPS, which is really bad, because this was once upon a time, the potential for a champion among champions, now, and yet.

Duke Nukem Forever is probably the Silliest Game of the Year, which is a bit of a problem, because I do not think, it was suppose to feel quite this silly, defenitely not a serious game, but it doesn’t take the shit quite as good as say, Serious Sam did, it just messes around with mediocre health regeneration, quicktime event and sexism. It’s just juvenile to such a staggering degree, that it just ends up being fucking stupid, you don’t laugh, you groan.

I never see the enemies like this, all I see is a garbled mess as they mindlessly charge me.

A health bar replaced by an ego bar, increased by looking in a mirror, eating doughnuts, pumping iron and behaving like a pillock. An enemy AI that’s just about the same, as the one used in Duke Nukem 3D, the decade old gaming classic, shows that Gearbox didn’t even bother trying to innovate this game at all.

An entire stage, with a miniaturized Duke, driving around in a fucking RC car, it’s just so sad, Half-Life 2 did this years ago, twice, without the retarded gimmick. It’s like playing that ancient MicroMachines racing game all over again, just worse, and less fun. Seriously, who thought this was in any way a good idea? Yes, I do indeed love sections of constantly re-spawning enemies, where all I can hope to achieve in my present state, is make them jump around on a single leg. Dodging sure is fun, fun like taking a shite in a winter forest, surrounded by rampaging LARPers.

And don’t make me start ranting about the magnificent design off the random passersby you encounter, they look like they’ve just escaped from freaking Outcast, or perhaps even, from some of the old trailers of Duke Nukem Forever. There’s just no excuse for this kinda useless work.

And these motherfucking pigs! Fuck them, hateful little shite gameplay.

And dear sweet one-eyed Wotan, god of destiny, god of death, the all knowing, the all-seeing, all hail Odin, true King of the Gods, those fucking twins are annoying, it’s like having Tony Blair licking your ears, possibly pleasant, but deeply annoying. I don’t even want to save them, when they are inevitably kidnapped, the world would be better of without them, hell, the universe would be better off without them.

And hey, remember how Alyx from Half-Life 2 looked, behaved and dressed like a sensible human being? And remember how no one really tries to do that again? Duke Nukem Forever once against proves that it is the anti-matter of all innovation, and scales the whole thing back to strippers and lesbian twin schoolgirls. Skimpy clothing, skimpy brains, skimpy motivation, boring as fuck.

Go visit and actual strip bar you useless freaks.

Gotta give the game a few points, it’s tradition, it is deeply honest, it does have a mature rating, no pandering to the politically correct crowd, or to WalMart. And it runs on my ancient PC, a pc that’s so decrepit, that it’s being held together with glue, dust and my iron will.

This picture contains nothing but filthy lies!

In the end, don’t bother, unless you have the mental youthfulness of a seven year old German boy. The game-play itself, is so utterly devoid of innovation, so generic, that the layer of ancient nostalgia, makes you feel kinda sad.

Don’t buy it, watch a Let’s Play on Youtube, see a stupid friend play it. But stay away, it’s just not good.

Not even charming.

If you are a retarded man-child, go buy it on Steam.

Rating: 43/100

Wasted House of Terror

The House of Terror, 60 Andrássy Street, Budapest, land of useless victimized nationalism: Hungary. A Giant House, framed in black steel, effective and shocking way to show a museums location.

To bad it’s a bloody mess. The museum has a vast amount of plaques with quotes, from famous Hungarians, on Hungarian! Hungarian, a language of the Ugric group, spoken only by the some 15 million Hungarians worldwide, and only comprehensible by the fellows in Finland and Estonia, and by fellows, I mean fellow incomprehensible languages. There’s virtually no translations of any of the plaques, only a few ragtag subtitles on a few running movies, and the history texts scattered around the places.

The entire house is designed as a giant symbol of the secret Hungarian government apparatus, both the fascist 1944-45 and communist governments. The problem is, that this symbolism, drowns out the facts.

Combined, all these elements ensures the museums part failure, at educating its visitors in the horrors of the dictatorial governments, that dominated Hungary from 1944 to 1989. It also fails completely, at mentioning the simple glowing fact, that Hungary wasn’t the only country this happened to, every single eastern European country, suffered from secret police and government terror.

The artistic value of the museum is well-worth mentioning, but the artistic value is ill-placed, considering this is suppose to be a museum of absolutely awful government sanctioned actions. We don’t need all the symbols, we just need the truth, dictatorial governments are bad, democracy is good. Not some pop-culture party, of annoying music, retarded symbols and pointless design.

A failure, drowned in the sea of Hungarian selfishness and vanished in symbolic obscurity.