video games

The Zachtronics Solitaire Collection Coming Sep. 6th

When Last Call BBS was on the way, Zachtronics said it was their last game in addition to a collection of solitaire games. That collection is now listed on Steam , and now we know it has new 4K graphics and one brand new tarot-themed solitaire game called Fortune’s Foundation in addition to seven other variations plucked from the rest of the Zachtronics library. I’m honestly not really interested in anything involving tarot but I’m curious how this collection will turn out, these twists on solitaire are always fun, and it could be perfect for someone who was interested in the solitaire games Zachtronics builds without also getting into the rest of the Zachtronics programming world.

The Zachtronics Solitaire Collection comes out on September 6th for Windows, macOS, and Linux, no price is listed yet.


XScreenSaver Turns 30

Jamie Zawinski noted the 30th anniversary of XScreenSaver’s version 1.0 release with the original USENET post and more bits of fun trivia although he notes that version 1.0 of XScreenSaver is missing. XScreenSaver must be one of the longest continually updated software projects out there, it has great stuff from the past like your flying toasters and almost everything else including more modern screen savers that reference things like one of our current pandemics.

The main competitor to XScreenSaver in the screen saving space was After Dark by Berkeley Systems but that was a commercial software  package for Macs and Windows computers hasn’t been updated since 1996 although you can emulate old versions and I was surprised to find out you can buy modern macOS versions of three of the After Dark screen savers. Even more surprising is that if the Wikipedia page for After Dark is to be believed, Microsoft may own the rights to After Dark after Activision is acquired.

XScreenSaver is a free download for macOS, X11-based Linux systems, iOS, and Android. XScreenSaver is unavailable for Windows.

video games

Train Sim World 3 Coming September 6 with Dynamic Weather

It’s nice when games are announced shortly before they’re released, less time to wait. In this case Dovetail Games announced Train Sim World 3 which fortunately loads trains and routes from Train Sim World 2 and is shipping on September 6th for the PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series S and X, and Windows through Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Train Sim World 3 is $50 for the “standard edition” and $60 for a deluxe edition that’s discounted to $54 until TSW3 chugs out of the station on September 6th. The Deluxe edition of TSW3 includes a few extra bits and can be played early on September 2nd. A variety of other, cheaper, bundles are supposed to be available but I’ve only seen the Deluxe and Standard editions for pre-order. Additionally, it’s typically a bad idea to pre-order games before reviews are available.

In older train sims from Dovetail Games, trains only work on the routes they were designed for. With TSW3 the developers are promising that future add-ons will let players take the trains to other routes.

As for the dynamic weather, Dovetail says that it’ll include snow, rain, storms and particular calls attention to volumetric clouds and leaves on the tracks ruining the train’s friction.

Dovetail also promises a new training center in TSW3 to educate new and returning conductors It is also the first free-roam area in a Train Sim World game that lets players do whatever they want to drive trains or explore the area and take any train on the training tracks regardless of era (steam, electric, and so on).

I love playing train sims because they can be relaxing compared to other games and trains are just fun. While I’m looking forward to TSW3 I am a little disappointed there is still no VR support planned and I’m curious how well it will work on the Steam Deck. Virtual Reality seems like the perfect thing for driving a train and being in the driver’s cabin.

If you’d like to relax while waiting for Train Sim World 3 to come out on the 6th, the developers have posted this 12 hour video of the main menu music which is very calming:

video games

Last Call BBS Finishes Early Access Program with More Puzzles

The final game from Zachtronics, Last Call BBS, has exited Steam’s Early Access program onto Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux for $20 along with Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service for Windows. DRM-free versions on Zachtronics’ and gog are promised in the next few weeks.

This is the time I’ve been waiting for to give Last Call BBS a shot and inevitably be proven incredibly stupid but I cannot describe with words how much this particular game speaks to me. I spent years as a child dialing into bulletin board systems through a copy of Procomm Plus, playing door games like Tradewars and others that were entirely incomprehensible, and I hope Last Call BBS lives up to those expectations even though Zachtronics’ Zach Barth says he’s a little too young to have experienced those first-hand.

Zachtronics says that Last Call BBS now has additional puzzles, fixes, and features, and users have been making their own BBS door games in Javascript for the BBS like this version of Tradewars.

I just got my copy of Last Call BBS’ deluxe edition “Feelies” (whatever you say, grandpa) in the mail, but unfortunately they sold out quickly again after the final few were put up for sale. However, you can still download the 3D printing files and make your own Z5 Powerlance personal computer, download the soundtrack from Bandcamp, or just get a badge for your beige box.

video games Bundles for Abortion Funds & Reproductive Rights

Since an unelected team of shitheads in the United States decided that people don’t deserve bodily autonomy, there are now two game bundles on raising money in solidarity to support various abortion funds and other facets of people’s reproductive rights.

One is the Indie Bundle for Abortion Funds, which has already raised over 225 thousand dollars towards the Collective Power Fund that is being run by the National Network for Abortion Fund. This bundle has 792 different items (video games, printable board games, and more.)

Another bundle is the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together for Reproductive Rights bundle which has raised more than 28 thousand dollars towards the National Organization for Women and the Center for Reproductive Rights. This bundle has 169 items (video games, printable board games, and more.)

Both bundles promise to send all of the money raised along to their respective charities, neither should have to exist but here we are. Each has a little more than a week left to go, but I recommend getting in on them now, before you forget.