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Why even study for OSCP if I can play Hacknet?!

2017-04-19 16:21:00

Way back in the nineties, my brother played Uplink pretty extensively. It was a great game for the time :) Now there's a new, indie hacking game called Hacknet! Seems like a worthy successor!

Ahh yes, running "Scan", "Porthack" and "SSHCrack 22" should suffice in any pen-testing situation! :)


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Games I love(d): Stardew Valley

2016-05-01 09:22:00

A screenshot from The Mirror

While I might play games often, I don't play a multitude of games. I like sinking quite some time into games that are really good, instead of jumping to and fro. I often get suggestions for good games from the likes of Penny Arcade or other gaming blogs/comics. Case in point: I found out about 2015's indy hit Stardew Valley

I've never played Harvest Moon games, despite knowing they're pretty darn good. I've been wanting to get into it, but never did. Imagine my joy when I learned about Stardew Valley, the bastard lovechild of Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and modern-day indy game and modding mentality. I'll let some reviews do the explaining: Ars Technica and PC Gamer.

Why do I love it so much? Mostly because:

It's hard to believe that all of it was made by a single person! Sure it took him four years, but still!


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Games I love(d): League of Legends

2016-03-20 16:41:00

The four LOL ribbons

The past two years I haven't been keeping this diary, so I've played a lot of games that I really enjoyed which I haven't written about. This's the first update in a series about games that I absolutely love (or loved) and which played an important role in my life. First up: League of Legends

LoL is the prime example of something I've often been "accused" of: "Thomas, you just can't do anything without taking it seriously!

Let's back it up a little bit... I'd heard of MOBA games before 2014: I knew of the Warcraft 3 spinoff DotA and I'd heard about LoL from my colleague Wim. They sounded like fun games, but as is often the case I never had time to give'm a try. In the summer of 2014 I started watching the LoL championships online. Season 3 was very exciting and I loved the "Road to Worlds" documentary. 

During our holiday in Austria I picked up another MOBA, on the iPad: Fates Forever. It was a very fun game and easy to pick up for newbies like myself. I got into the community and even designed a sweater for myself, with my favorite character Renwil. FF went offline in the fall of 2015, so I can't play the game anymore.

Despite watching LoL championships and playing FF I still kept away from actually playing LoL. As my mom once told me: “Whenever we’d take you somewhere new, I’d see you hanging around the sidelines, watching very intently. You were always trying to mentally grasp what was going on and how things worked. And you almost never dared to actually participate until you’d figured it out." And that's true, I was intimidated by LoL and didn't want to fsck up right from the start. 

By the end of December 2014 I had finished a long and hard certification process (RHCE) and I told myself: "This is it! I'm gonna take three months and do nothing except gaming!". That's when I dove in! And that's where the aforementioned accusation comes in ^_^

I didn't dick around with LoL! I decided that I was going to study hard to play a limited pool of characters that each fit two roles, so I could be of good use to any team I'd join for a game. Volibear was my very first character and I shelled out the money to buy him out-right. What's there not to love! A huge, friggin' polar bear with armor! I learned to play him in both toplane and the jungle. But my true love would become the support role, which is a role that suits my real life: I love being the one who supports his team, so they can win the day. Soraka is my all-time favorite character (my "main") and later on I also learned to play Janna, Annie, Lux and Morgana.

To be honest, I feel that I got pretty good. I found a few friends with whom I could play great games and I often got recognized as a valuable contributor. Over the three to four months which I played the game, I worked myself up to level 30 (to most people the "real" start of the game) and I was awared all four "honor ribbons" (shown top-left). I'd pore over patch notes and study pro games as well as replays of my own team's games. It was a lot of hard work, but I had an absolute blast! 

By April of 2015 the time came for me to return to studying. I started my Oracle studies by then and I also got some extra work. I said my farewells to my friends, most importantly Hedin (who played as Limerick / Dovetail) from the Farroe Islands. He was an absolute joy to play with! I never did start Ranked play, so I don't know how good I could've gotten. I'm sure that I was only on the very first step of properly learning League of Legends.


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My first online gaming experience: Darkscapes MUD

2016-01-06 06:04:00

Fifteen years ago I graduated college at Hogeschool Utrecht. Before I got that far, I spent four years studying electronics, programming, telecommunications and more. I also had a lot of fun with my classmates! At the time I was already familiar with role playing as well as trading card games (D&D, Magic, etc), but my classmate Erik introduced me to the joys of Warhammer 40k and World of Darkness games. 

My biggest time waster in first and second year was something entirely different though: it was my introduction to online gaming, as well my first MMORPG! A few students at HvU ran a MUD (multi-user dungeon) on a school server and I spent hours questing and talking to other players. It was a grand experience, especially since the text-based interface was light enough to even work on a very slow Internet connection. Through the game I went on to meet Maya Deva, a woman who was absolutely dedicated to her D&D games and who went on to work for TSR a little while. 

Over the years I've fondly remembered that MUD, whose name escaped me. I'd always wondered whether it was still running on some hidden-away server somewhere.

Turns out that it has! Much to my surprise, my ITGilde colleague Mark was one of the admins of that MUD, which was called DarkScapes. It's not the same instance I used to play in (my account "Beowulf" was gone), but it's a rebuild based off old backups. Still, it was great to find this relic of my past and to walk that world around again!


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