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Real Neat Blog Award: video games and bendy thumbs

At the time of writing, 630 of my posts have been published here at Later Levels. I wasn’t sure where or how long the blog would go for when I started it in December 2016 so that’s kind of crazy; and I’m happy to have had the chance to discuss all sorts of gaming-related subjects.

Sometimes it’s important to take a step back to see how far you’ve come, as it’s a great way of finding out how much you’ve learned and provides motivation for the future. This is just what blogging awards do and I’m grateful to Hylian-Hobbit from Hobbits of Hyrule for nominating Later Levels for a Real Neat Blog Award last month. The seven questions he posed to his nominees reminded me of past articles I’ve written, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to revisit some of them.

What is your favourite video game franchise?

Most readers would expect me to answer this question with Monkey Island because it was The Secret of Monkey Island that got me into gaming as a kid. But there are several other games which define me and out of these, I’d probably say Fable is my favourite series. I’ve been tuning into TheAmbiGamer’s streams because Athena is playing it for the first time and I can’t wait for the release of the fourth instalment. The Longest Journey games are also high on my list, so much so that I still haven’t been able to finish Dreamfall Chapters because I don’t want the story to end.

What was the last video game to really tug at your heartstrings?

To The Moon, video game, dancing, sky, lighthouse, starsHere’s another game on the list of those which define me: To The Moon. The gameplay may be incredibly light and won’t be to everybody’s taste, but I love the touching story this title tells and the way its sequel Finding Paradise continues the emotion. The third instalment is due to be released this year and I can’t wait. I’m currently streaming sections of it for a play-along hosted by Time to Loot so there will most certainly be Twitch tears at some point; and I’m having fun answering the weekly set of questions set by Naithin, along with reading the community’s answers.

Is there a hobby you wish you could get more into?

Gamer Nouveau, cross-stitch, sewing, needleAlthough the lockdown here in the UK has been tough for many reasons, there have also been some silver-linings and I’ve enjoyed the extra time I’ve had to devote to hobbies. I’ve even picked up a few new ones which don’t involve a screen over the past couple of months. Thanks to some useful advice from Teri-Mae from Sheikah Plate, I’ve started making bread by hand every week; and the Gamer Nouveau cross-stitch I’m working on is coming along nicely. Hopefully these will be hobbies I manage to keep up once the period of isolation is over.

Would you say you are more introvert or extrovert?

I’m definitely an introvert. In fact, it’s the social aspect of blogging I find the most difficult: I’m not great when it comes to speaking in large groups, either in person or online, and social media is a minefield I frequently prefer not to navigate. I admire those bloggers who can just jump straight in and get involved without any hesitation. But it’s the perfect way to push myself outside of my comfort zone. The hobby has taught me a lot about myself and my anxieties over the years, and Later Levels is now something that reminds me it’s not healthy to always retreat into my shell.

What’s your guilty gaming pleasure?

The Typing of the Dead, Overkill, video game, boss, cow, Meat Katie, cleaver, food preparationBack in May 2017, I nominated The Typing of the Dead: Overkill as my guilty pleasure game. I love it because it’s just so damn camp. The B-movie grindhouse style and vintage soundtrack encourage players not to take it too seriously, and I can never seem to stop myself laughing at the parade of scantily-clad mutants and F-bombs. More recently, I spent far too many hours using the photograph mode in Horizon Zero Dawn rather than killing machines, and way too much time clicking on squares to create images in Coloring Pixels.

If you made your own video game, what genre would it be?

Cognition, An Erica Reed Thriller, Erica Reed, FBI, face, gunI’m sure many readers will be able to guess my answer to this question straight away: it would be a point-and-click. Take a strong female protagonist like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn, a storyline featuring time-travel or rogue artificial intelligence (AI) and a visual style similar to Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, and you’d end up with my perfect video game. In the past I’ve also considered my dream development team to make it happen, and I’m sure together we’d create a release to appeal to adventure genre fans the world over.

Do you have any surprising or useless talents?

When my stepson was a lot younger, I used to freak him out by showing him how far back I could bend the thumb on my left-hand. I found out while writing this post that it’s a trait called ‘Hitchhiker’s Thumb’. Sadly Ethan is now too old to be scared by a bendy digit; having turned thirteen recently, he’s much more concerned about important teenage things. Such as whether his friends are online at the same time as him, how long he’s got left to play a video game before bedtime and what’s for dinner.

Thank you once again to Hylian-Hobbit for the nomination and letting me reminisce for a while! I’d like to extend the Real Neat Blog Award to everyone reading this, and the one question I’m going to ask you is: which releases would you steal elements from to create your own perfect video game?

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

17 thoughts on “Real Neat Blog Award: video games and bendy thumbs Leave a comment

  1. Typing of the Dead, what a game! The writing is so funny, it is a total B-movie treat in game form.

    In terms of perfect game, I would have to pinch any form of religious/death-cult elements from the likes of Bioshock Infinite/Deadly Premonition, the audio work of Graeme Norgate (Timesplitters), and a moany, sarcastic hero along the lines of maybe Manny Calavera. No idea how this would all gel in one game to be honest haha


    • A Manny-Calavera-esque hero, you say? 🤔

      I have no idea how a game like that would work either, but it sounds as though it’s something I’d play! Just make sure to send me a review copy if you ever decide to make it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To be fair, I’m almost 28 and what’s for dinner is still one of my top concerns every day. Then I remember that I had that planned a week ago already…


  3. I had to look up what Hitchhiker’s thumb was and can say if I wasn’t expecting to see that it would probably freak me out!

    Also I know you are an introvert but when I first found your blog I thought you were so much an extrovert because you always seemed to know what to say and how to do all the social stuff and all that. It really shows that it can appear so different to outsiders but introverts are amazing.


    • When I’m with a small group or in a one-on-one discussion with people I know, I’m usually fine. But stick me in a bigger group – online, in a chat group, in person – and I’m a bit of a mess. I usually adopt the ‘it’s safer not to say anything so I don’t say anything stupid’ approach.

      I’ve grown to like being an introvert though. Being quieter means you listen more to what others are saying, so I get to find awesome friends such as yourself. 😊


  4. I had no idea it was called hitchhiker’s thumb but as soon as I read bendy something I was like ‘I can do that!’ 😀 Yup. I have hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and basically every joint in my body does that. People get much more freaked out when all your fingers bend back and I had much delight as a teenager freaking my friends out by doing it on demand. I still do, to be honest.

    I bring this up first because I really miss cross-stitching. It’s one of the many fiddly crafty things I can’t do any more because of my EDS, my hands just can’t handle it any more. I’ve been doing more baking though – as you saw on twitter – although bread is something I’ve yet to conquer.


    • I can highly recommend bread-making for relaxation! There’s something really calming about having to do so much kneading; you just kind of zone out while working the dough. Having a hobby like that has been invaluable during the lockdown, for those moments when you just want to escape everything.

      If you decide to give it a try, make sure you post photos!


      • I’m not sure that’ll work for me! I get so worked up with cooking new things, but it is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. We shall see what happens 😉


  5. 630+ posts?? Bravo!! And fraken-game prompt challenge accepted! I dunno when I’ll actually respond with a post, but I have taken a note, haha.


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