the Andrew Bailey

Go big and go home!

Screenshot of Half-Life 2, showing clones three headcrab zombies wandering into a trap.

Half-Life 2

I wasn't a properly initiated hard-core gamer back when Half-Life 2 came out. My only connection to the series was "oh, that one weird box on the store shelf." After going to that one college, I realized that I needed a radical change in how I evaluated choices. I couldn't be a dumb kid that coasted through life on whatever life gave me. I started by disregarding my friend's advice that Half-Life 2 was a bad game, or at least so much that I avoided it, so I bought it and started playing.

Screenshot of Max Payne 2, showing Max shooting mobsters

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

In the hallmark of a decent sequel, Max Payne 2 continues the story of a betrayed police detective. Max seems to have gotten over his wife and daughter, and is going after the mobs that are making his life a living hell. Like the first game, the game takes place in New York City, but does not take place in a blizzard. Instead, it's raining the entire time, in true film-noir style.

Screenshot of Halo 2, showing a fight

Halo 2

Halo 2's single player campaign is criticized for being short, and ending on a cliffhanger. I agree, because I was able to finish it in 3 days. Compare it to the original Portal: it says what it needs to (and more if you're observant), and doesn't overstay its welcome. Before I shot a gun, I practically had an encyclopedic knowledge about the Covenant compared to the first game.

Screenshot of Halo: Combat Evolved showing unevolved combat

Halo: Combat Evolved

Two days after dissecting Borderlands 3, the time had come. In all my life, I had played a grand total of about 5 minutes of the entire Halo series (in Halo 3, probably). After making a threat to buy it over 5 years ago, Halo: The Master Chief Collection has come to Steam, which I bought in the last sale. Selecting it in Steam, I hesitated clicking the play button as I contemplated the gravity of the situation. Although Halo was on PC shortly from the start, the series became something different in my eyes, as it became an Xbox icon. As a member of the PC Master Race, I see Master Chief as a horseman of the PC gaming apocalypse. Even after a generation, the Halo scar is still tender. But Halo isn't what it used to be, and from all accounts, is coming back to PC. All of it. Still, it felt like I was about to betray my values and violate something deeply sacred. I gulped and clicked.


Toilet Blog Engine, Version 8

Since I've been stuck at home for a few months, I've been updating this blog. There's been some major improvements, because the whole stack has been upgraded: the OS (Xubuntu 16.04 to Xubuntu 20.04), Postgres (9.5 to 12), JVM (8 to 11), and web server (Payara 5.191 to 5.2020.3). (There was one Payara version that enabled TLS 1.3, but it's bugged. Maybe I'll try next time!) With PostgreSQL 12, I finally have access to the websearch_to_tsquery function for searching. You can use quotes to force include something, and hyphens to exclude something. However, naively connecting trigrams to it like how I did destroys the cool functionality, so I dropped it. I've built a search suggestion feature to cover for it; try it out.

Screenshot of Borderlands 3, showing blowing up a car

Borderlands 3

I've been a fan of Borderlands since about when the first game launched. Despite this being out for about a year, I've only recently bought it in the last Steam sale about 3 weeks ago, and almost keeled over at the 100 GB install size. (I guess I haven't been keeping up with current generation games.) Although I've heard the drama around this game, I will not be reviewing that. I also heard that it was not as good as Borderlands 2. I agree, so as the foremost Borderlands expert writing for this blog, let me lovingly pick it apart.

Screenshot of Carmen Sandiego, in Mexico

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

You know you've watched too much LGR when you pirate that version of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" that you played in the late 90s. You even download a classic MacOS emulator, because the Mac version had better color depth than Windows. (This game also requires Quicktime, bleh.)