What’s new and why aren’t you writing a lot?

So there has been some silence and here is why: I hurt my knee again. After a great dinner with friends I fell off my bike, not even fast or with style or so that one could laugh about it, just ran into an oddly parked shared bike (in the bicycle lane) and fell over. My knee twisted and it hurt. Fuelled by adrenaline I biked home and woke up to a left leg that couldn’t bare weight without massive pain.

About ten to twelve days I was ordered to rest and did just that and my leg lost muscle and tomorrow I will have an MRI. Now one would think this would give me ample time to blog, but it doesn’t. There is too much time at hand and a walk (better: hobble) to the bathroom is chore. I definitely write better and more while being busy. I won”t disappoint and this will be a big one.

So the next day my Shanghainese friend and his girlfriend as well as my girlfriend drove me to a hospital, a close one. Now the thing is working at a great start up I do have a great health insurance, in fact a better one than me working for a health insurance broker. As the Germans say: ‘Der Schuster hat die schlechtesten Schuhe’ which translates literally to ‘The cobbler has the worst shoes.’ or figuratively to ‘The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.’ Let me tell you that going to a truly Chinese hospital is a potentially traumatising experience and this is not over exaggerating. I got out the car unable to walk, way too far from the entrance and my friend’s girlfriend supported me so I can jump on one leg, but I was quickly exhausted and had to use the left leg a bit so that trip took forever and was painful. All while doctors, nurses, other patients, people and cars passed me by. No wheelchairs (that you would pay a deposit for) available nor crutches. While my girlfriend registered me, I stood in the hallway unable to sit in 40 degrees heat and in pain. I hobbled to a ladder that I sat on then noticed that it slowly slides away to the back. A security person notices me and tells me to get up, then noticing my state gets a woman to get her bags off a chair so I can sit. The rest of the visit was similar to this. No one seems to give a rat’s ass and you feel alone and vulnerable among hundreds if not thousands of people. Nothing happens without money up front, but on the bright side it is cheap if you don’t mind other patients looking over your shoulder at all times and trying to skip the line and see what is up with the foreigner and maybe chime in. Enough of that, it was horrendous and I got strict house arrest with an emphasise on rest.

And rest I did. There was not much more to do other than playing video games and watching Shark Tank. God! Shark Tank is brilliant, it’s probably my favourite reality show at this point (after ‘Penn & Teller: Bullshit!‘ which unfortunately is not that contemporary anymore). I binged 3 seasons – it’s educational and apart from the music and rare crying not ramped up to stupidity and maximum tension like so many other American reality shows. My favourite shark is Robert and Kevin is just a loveable monster with a clear head and the truth on his tongue (but he oversteps and is insulting at times). I learned a lot and it is inspiring! Give that show a shot.

My colleagues and friends visited me for a great round of Killer Instinct and support and my German friend brought me his crutches that he has in a makeshift holding apparatus which makes me look like a Witcher for handicapped people. It’s cool. So other than that and two brilliant Game of Thrones episodes with the last one ‘The Spoils of War‘ being possible the best and most action heavy episode in the show I had goosebumps and I am excited to see how everything will pan out. Slowly Dani grows on me (I still think she got lucky way too much and has the plot armour and perk of having the best advisors. But no spoilers or a deeper review from me here.

Let’s catch up on the Ohrwurms and start with last weeks, being thankful for having friends come over and offering help, this gigantic cover song just makes me happy and hopefully I can jump around to that again soon:

We Came As Romans – Glad You Came

Those guys hail from Michigan in the US and are the embodiment of positive and well made ‘haps’ metal core. They put a smile on my face and give a a positive and energetic outlook. Check out Hope, the insane bridge to the first refrain in A War Inside or the other brilliant cover the did of I Knew You Were Trouble just reek of the positive vibe those guys give off. It’s a blast!

On to the one for this week and dang, that is a heavy one. It might be one of the most brutal bands and songs I have posted, but the most interesting thing they do is the inclusion of really strange vocals half was through the song, normally singing parts lift a song up or contrast stark to the rest of the song, but here these odd ‘melodic’ parts just give you an  unsettling feeling and add to the atmosphere. It’s brilliant in the artistry!

Cattle Decapitation – Manufactured Extinct

This extreme metal formation comes from San Diego and while other bands evolve into a more generic direction or include clean singing parts, they come up with a style I have never heard before and include this flawlessly into their sound. Here is a video about the vocals on this album – fascinating and funny stuff.

In terms of movies I gave Wonder Woman another try and wow, is it a strong movie. Possibly the most heroic hero shots I have seen in superhero movies so far. It grows on me massively.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword was such a fun fantasy movie with great montages (half the movie is a montage) with great music, a pity this movie bombed and will probably never see a sequel. I blame Beckham! A Guy Ritchie movie through and through.

Now on to the games that I have enjoyed over this time bound to my four walls. I burned through roughly a quarter of my game catalogue.

Let’s start with the games I finished. Ori And The Blind Forest was possibly the best jump and run I have played so far and it’s emotional and made me cry. Perfectly balanced and direct gameplay and graphics and a superb soundtrack. It’s worth nothing that Ori looks like our cat. Unravel was similar but is not as good but rivals Ori in the graphics and music department and it made me just as emotional – it’s always an achievement when games do that. Halo 5: Guardians was a short and completely forgettable experience with no emotions whatsoever but it is pretty to look at. The story is generic and even if they got Luke Cage and Cayde-6 a.k.a. Castle a.k.a. creepy older dude with Haley from Modern Family (also: from Firefly fame but I never watched that) they can’t even make this better. On the plus side the multiplayer of Halo 5 is fun. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a long and nostalgia filled update of the original and I had a good time finishing that game but having played the first level Deus Ex: Mankind Divided I can already say it is improving on the game in any way. Life Is Strange was such a reply emotional and interesting experience. Heavy themes that come together in an interesting way and deliver a choice  based experience similar to the Telltale games. I cried and it was more touching than modern TV dramas, because I was making the choices.

To the games I have not finished yet: 

Destiny! This probably never ends but man, is that game a romp and fun with friends. I play with a good friend and 2 random young dudes from Japan. It’s fun and super polished. Graphics are on par with Halo 5 and I love the looting in the game but despise the loading times and wish the raids where easier or an easy system (and not going to a website and signing up somewhere etc.) to pair up with other players. Just heard about Warframe that I will download and seems to be Anthem and Destiny in the mix and it’s for free. Anyway here is the ultimate review of Destiny that should get you to jump on the wagon. Destiny 1 will have to wait until some DLCs are out and the game is getting a discount as this turned out awesomely for me.

Shadow Warrior 2 meanwhile improves on almost everything compared to the first one of the reboot. Looting weapons is always fun and the silly humour is cracking me up. Movement in the game is spectacular too. Which other game has a double jump and then a button to fall faster and do a superhero landing or a ninja roll? Unfortunately for the great co-op and multiplayer my Xbox playing friends don’t share my taste for humour and this game with me.

Wolfenstein: Old Blood is fantastic dual wielding story driven Nazi killing fun with sneak parts. Half way through now.

Red Dead Redemption really gets going after a couple of hours and I am impressed with the graphics that the 360 got out of this game. Better than any GTA I have played so far. I hated GTA 4 and haven’t played 5, so that might be good. There is a reason RDR is hyped and still talked about today. I think I am 70% through the main and also have the zombie DLC to look forward to.

Metro 2033 is a blast and very close to the book I read 10 years back or so. I enjoy this game on the highest difficulty and it’s still fair and super immersive without a HUD and a great balance and engaging world and story. I think I am 70% through.

Bastion is a good fun game with the best and unique narrator that makes this more action adventure less RPG like Diablo game mixed with 16bit experience a lot of casual fun.

Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor is basically Batman meets Assasins Creed in Middle Earth and a complete different experience with an exciting and fascinating Nemesis system. It’s super interesting, fast, challenging and the best part is the power struggles and levelling up of the bad guys that kill you or you hinder in their rise of power. I wasn’t prepared to play a game as good as this.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a reboot of a C64 classic I remember fondly. Made out to be the c64 Mario clone it was fun back then and this reboot adds a great twist switching between the sisters which changes the graphics and the music and some of the mechanics. Casual fun for in between games.

Doom! This game is basically a badass simulator with the fastest 3D shooter gameplay and a style that doesn’t let you hide but instead to run headfirst into action and brutalise enemies in close combat to regain health. Smart and fits my play style. Here is a fantastic video on the game and what it does best. What is also worth mentioning is the superb metal soundtrack that fits the game perfectly.

Killer Instinct meanwhile is my fighting game of choice until Mortal Kombat XL and Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 drop in price. So much fun with friends, super fast and an interesting Shadow Lords campaign. The soundtrack is also worth mentioning as it comes from the same creative heads that get you pumped in the new Doom.

Dying Light is still great but I have not played it much recently. Diablo 3 is still being played with my girlfriend and insane fun, same with Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel.Titanfall 2 is the best online multiplayer game I own for a couple of quick matches. I still have both DLCs of The Witcher 3 to look forward to and Dragon Age: Inquisition, Sleeping Dogs, Darksiders 2 and Metro: Last Light.

Gaming is great fun but I can’t wait to move again!