Author: ShawnS

Hell is a Battle Royale?

I’ve been down and out with diverticulitis again; resulting in several days of bedrest, difficulty sleeping, and a liquid diet. Let me tell you how fun it’s been! Shortly before this I was going down the rabbit hole of communal world building with things like the Mystery Flesh Pit National Park and The Backrooms. As I was randomly searching for something — anything — to distract me from the recovery that I could just listen to, I happened upon the realm of Narrated Creepypastas, and in particular the fantastic work of The Dark Somnium.

The first one I landed on was titled “How to survive in Hell” and like, how could I not click that?! Based on a 2017 creepypasta from user Ratrotted on r/nosleep, the story is told by someone already in Hell as a sort of guidebook to the eternity of the damned. Somehow I did fall asleep for parts of it, but not from lack of interest! Waking up several times I would rewind and catch up on the deliciously deviant explanations of the areas and entities of this particular hellscape.

I’ll leave those details to anyone interested, but the basic concept is you wake up in Hell and “live” for as long as you can defend yourself. As there is no food in Hell, other people are the only source of sustenance making everyone an inevitable target. When you die, you’re reborn again, drowning in the same birthing sac you started in, clawing your way back to “life”. Repeat ad infinitum.

Between dozing and dreaming about this existence it dawned on me that this Hell was an awful lot like a Battle Royale, or, even more so, the survival style of Rust or ARK. Obviously, this isn’t a fresh take on the story as one of the very first replies from 2017 says “this would make a stellar video game”. But after a lifetime of Luving games the story hit me in a way that probably should have all those years ago in Sunday School: Hell… would suck.

One other conceit of the story is that you’re born into Hell with the body you died in. So, like that naked man in Rust or a Lv.1 character in Fortnite, my chances of survival are forever going to be grim. Thinking about the billions of fit soldiers that have died across centuries of war and conquest, you can imagine how little chance any of us modern humans would have of surviving for long.

The narrator’s longest streak was almost one year but that’s still a year of sleepless trauma and unending atrocities to see, and enact yourself. At some point a decade of ceaseless drowning in a birthing sac might just be preferable, but eventually you’ll claw your way back out of the Battle Bus and then what?

Eeesh. I’d rather not experience that myself but it makes for a compelling story and maybe a more relatable tale of morality (and mortality) than even Dante’s 700 year old story.

It’s another thing I’ll never buy, but it sure is pretty

What poignant development in the world of gaming could motivate me to make a post on this site after three month’s absence? Obviously it’s something dumb and old. In fact, it turns out to be doubly old because this upcoming model kit of the SA-77 starfighter from the 1993 Sega CD shooter, Silpheed, is actually a renewal of an already long-forgotten 2010 line of model kits. I vaguely remember seeing it around 2010 but couldn’t find an old post where I probably would’ve said the same thing I’m about to say…

I will never buy this thing, build this thing, paint and detail this thing, or display this thing in my home. But lookit, it sure is a beaut!

On Sale in June, Big Bad Toy Store has an ETA of August 2022 at $73. I think I’ll just save all the pics I can now instead of ruining a perfectly good model kit with my half-assed abilities.

My Top Nine Photos of 2021

I haven’t posted an “of 20xx” roundup to the site since 2018, which is embarrassingly only a few posts below this one in chronological order. 2019 was a speeding bullet train of stress thanks to my last job, destined to burst into flames and derail once we hit 2020. I dove headlong into work on Delisted Games while being unemployed and looking for a new job, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say about what I played in 2020. Spoiler alert: I feel even worse about, well, everything in 2021. But I made some neat graphics for Instagram and wanted to write just a bit more about a few things from the year.


My energy for Instagram and social media in general took a nosedive in 2019.This year wasn’t any better with only around 75 posts and very few of them featuring the *pop* of years past. Still, I’m glad to see that random snapshots of food and cats didn’t outweigh the photos I actively tried to compose. Not surprisingly, the No.1 post was a series of photos (and video) of the new Super Impulse “Tiny Arcade” Dance Dance Revolution cabinet. It’s crazy that this thing exists and is actually playable. I think I also did a pretty good job with the presentation.

In another montage post from March I wanted to share the assorted frames I finally got situated on the wall in what has become my office. No more is my desk relegated to the corner of a kitchen or front room! I’ve added more stuff since this post but Socks the Cat and Bubsy are still prominently featured on my dumb wall. No.3 is the only one I feel a little bad about since it only ranked so high thanks to #WaltDisneyWorld. It’s another montage from our vacation in October featuring some of the fantastic art for sale at Disney Springs. I totally missed my chance to buy that Darkwing illustration!

The only Nintendo post to rank so high in 2021 was the amazing sticker book that came with the original WarioWare on Game Boy Advance. They’re actually used to play more minigames found throughout the instruction manual. Genius! Next up is the only Xbox pic to break the Top Nine, although I tried my best by sharing lots of photos as I resuscitated my original Xbox and got to work capturing Dinosaur Hunting and Drihoo. The most retro thing in my top nine pics was this Magnavox Odyssey 3000 console, looking as sharp as possible after a thorough cleaning and 44 years of neglect.

The power of the Gremsters is strong! One of my most recent posts immediately broke the Top Nine, and how could it not? NECA’s made tons of gorgeously detailed figures over the years but this one, featuring the “Ultimate Gamer Gremlin”, is my first and a Christmas gift from Katy. I love the Atari 2600 inspired controller and game box as well as the creative reskin of the impossible-to-license Donkey Kong Coleco mini-arcade from the 80’s. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game finally, finally, finally made its return to form after being delisted years ago. Being the purveyor of all things Delisted, I just had to own it on physical media and I went with the mid-tier Complete Edition, laying out all the goodies inside the giant Genesis-style box.

Finally, one of the most photogenic and nerdy hotspots on the planet slid in at No.9: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are simply too many details and references to spot at this place! I could (and did?) take hundreds of photos here but this last post was just a handful of my favorites.

Here’s hoping that another new year might finally reinvigorate my energy for Instagram. Right now it doesn’t feel like it’ll happen, but who knows! Follow along and give me a kick in the pants if I haven’t posted anything by February.

My Most Listened Albums of 2021

I haven’t posted an “of 20xx” roundup to the site since 2018, which is embarrassingly only a few posts below this one in chronological order. 2019 was a speeding bullet train of stress thanks to my last job, destined to burst into flames and derail once we hit 2020. I dove headlong into work on Delisted Games while being unemployed and looking for a new job, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say about what I played in 2020. Spoiler alert: I feel even worse about, well, everything in 2021. But I made some neat graphics for Instagram and wanted to write just a bit more about a few things from the year.


I take issue with my Last.fm stats as there are a lot of albums I played repeatedly throughout the year that were untrackable by the service; YouTube, Bandcamp, embedded players and the like. Alas, it does account for a majority of local music files played from both my PC and phone. It even pulls in the fantastic droidsound-e app that emulates the sound hardware of dozens of platforms and deserves a separate post of its own.

While it’s probably a little farther down the list on its own, Environmental Station Alpha represents the musical mood I’ve been in for most of the year and shares the spot with the likes of Shipwreck, Niche, Assemble With Care, and some really good vaporwave mixes from YouTube. ESA was also heavily featured in my pre-stream for that crazy springtime period where I was actually doing a lot on Twitch with Delisted Games.

Creating a new soundtrack release is definitely going to add up some repeat plays and that’s exactly what happened with Dinosaur Hunting. A new, complete 3-disc album came out of the work and it’s a collection I’m really proud of making (and hearing!), right down to the fake liner notes. Of course perennial favorites, Castlevania and Ace Combat 04, made appearances this year and each moved up a few slots. In comparison, both Earthbound and Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000 are a surprise to see as I had never heard either soundtrack before and only remember listening to them a couple of times.

One surprise that I’m happy to see is Side Pocket, a go-to album for the highly specific desire for 16-bit jazz. And rounding out the list are DJ Cutman’s Volume V, PONCHO, and Spelunky, all of which also made it into the pre-stream playlist and have those great chill vibes.

My Most Played Games of 2021

I haven’t posted an “of 20xx” roundup to the site since 2018, which is embarrassingly only a few posts below this one in chronological order. 2019 was a speeding bullet train of stress thanks to my last job, destined to burst into flames and derail once we hit 2020. I dove headlong into work on Delisted Games while being unemployed and looking for a new job, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say about what I played in 2020. Spoiler alert: I feel even worse about, well, everything in 2021. But I made some neat graphics for Instagram and wanted to write just a bit more about a few things from the year.


[HOT 2022 UPDATE: Sony finally sent out their PlayStation stats and my numbers were a little off. I updated the graphic above and some wording below but basically it just puts Rocket League in the Top 5 thanks to all the time spent playing (and idling) with my nephew]

It’s been coming on for a while now but I think it really coalesced in 2021: I am most happy playing games that simulate work and let me grind away at a personal little empire. At the top of the list is Grand Theft Auto Online which I added another 188 hours to in 2021. The Cayo Perico heist not only introduced a whole new island to the game but it also allowed me to tackle the entire thing solo. At one point I got the run, from setup to payout, down to under 3 hours. Along with most every other activity in the game, there’s still something I find satisfying about just being there… despite the overzealous griefers.

ArcheAge doesn’t have an in-game counter but by my best estimates Katy and I have already logged close to 200 hours with it in December alone. I never thought I’d go back to the game which I haven’t touched in nearly 7 years. But after the news that my dormant inventory was eligible to be transferred to a new publisher, I figured if I was ever going to check it out again, now would be the time. What I didn’t expect was becoming immediately hooked and totally overwhelmed by all the mechanics all over again. I am once again loving exploring, building, and adventuring with Katy and rediscovering favorite areas and gorgeous scenery that honestly still holds up.

What the crap!? My entire experience with Elite: Dangerous was just in 2021?? From February through April all I did was explore, mine asteroids, and try not to get trapped in outer space. All told, I probably experienced less than 0.01% of what the game has to offer after 120 hours. Things changed pretty dramatically around May, though, after we finally got a PlayStation 5. Astro’s Playroom was a dazzling diversion ahead of a ~70 hour run through Horizon: Zero Dawn. And then we discovered Tower Unite. Ho boy, that’s as close to Ready Player One’s Oasis as we’re likely to get in my lifetime. The lawless cavalcade of player-made character models is fantastic but what really hooked me was designing my own vapor cave. Beyond minigolf and go-karts, it was tailoring individual objects, colors, music, and lighting to fit my aesthetic mood. And oh what a mood it is. By far the most creative and artistic thing I made all year.

With Earth Defense Force 6 being teased again (and so, so far away from an English release), Katy and I had no choice but to go back to EDF5 for our fix. It continues to be a fantastic and hilarious experience like no other. We even picked up the spin-off Iron Rain since it was on sale but that was a much shorter and less fantastic playthrough. Getting back to the grindy, work-like gameplay, I spent not-a-little amount of time with both Snowrunner and Banished in the mornings before my actual work. Finally, with so much work going into recording, research, and modding, it’s no surprise that Dinosaur Hunting added up to a few dozen hours of in-game time in 2021.