Category Archives: Beardstrokes

A well groomed musing

All the Cheekiness, All the Gems

In an amazing show of organisation, the laserbeards have now erected an ever growing video playlist of all the cheeky gems mentioned in the podcast.

It’s the Laserbeards cheeky gems playlist… glimpse into the periphery of gaming goodness, with the laserlight of the ‘beards illuminating the shiniest gems in the mines of gaming obscurity!


The Brut@l Laserbeards Challenge!!

Nearing the release of the action “roguelite” Brut@l from Stormcloud Games, we have issued the Laserbeards Challenge!

When creating a new game of Brut@l, just enter the dungeon seed “LASERBEARDS” and then fight, jump and die and let us know how you got on.

Let us know on Twitter @laserbeards

Post up your death screenshot.

Or even capture your death throes in a video and let us know the link.

Here is our very own Christi, “the Brave Bearded One”, do a Let’s Play and primes you with lots of useful information on how to play the game, and some tactical tips on how to keep on dungeoneering Brut@l style.


Here’s my attempt, Ian the spelkybeard, at playing an Amazon warrior ( in my mind, Wonder Woman). She made it to Level 9 and got down to Dungeon Depth 10, before succumbing to lack of health, food and luck in the poisonous mushroom swamps of Hell.


Keep your torch aflame, your nerve sturdy and your jumping light and bouncy.

Pay your respects to the ASCII. Homage to the Roguelike.

Drink in the unidentified potion!

Enchant your bonker!

Everyone enjoys an Enchanted Pee!

See you in Brut@l!

Tower Defense Fetish – Part 3


This is the last in the series of video vomits about Tower Defense games.. designed to provoke an inquisitive response.

P.S. Tumblr ran out of groovey GIFS for the words “Tower” and “Defense”, so I opted for “Kingdom” and “Rush”. A well known, highly polished, if all too traditional, tower defense game. So we got a Black Dragon, woohoo!

Back to the list…

Iron Grip Warlord (Steampunk First Person Shooter with tower/traps and base defense!)…w_igwarlord_com

Freaking Meatbags (tower defense, population genetic hybridisation and robots)


Alien Robot Monsters (traditional tower defense with puzzley overtones. Lots of pew-pew-pew and boom-boom-zip).

I hope these gems give you a glimpse at the often esoteric edge of TD

Many of them are worthwhile pursuits in their own right,
and for me really take the genre past the likes of “Kingdom Rush” and “Defense
Grid” style stalwarts.

What I’d like to see, is a TD game where your turrets/emplacements
are move-able, to react to the creeping hordes – so you can pause, plan
and then run simultaneously, checking your timed movement plans.

might end up a complicated game, of patterned movements, but I imagine
it to happen as a large scale military battle would where advancing the
right kit to the right place and right time is crucial, and pulling them
back to rest and recuperate with reinforcements. I imagine this to play out like a complex
“dance“ of offense and defense and perhaps even involving some supply mechanic of sorts. Maybe a little too
complex an idea for TD, but its a dream of mine. Battle of Waterloo TD, FTW!

I think TD gets a bad rep amongst strategy titles,
probably because of the mobile explosion and the throwaway/monetisation
of the genre. Designers cutting their teeth on a TD game, because its
limited in scope.

With this selective showcase, I wanted to show that the TD mechanic is being
pushed in different ways much more in the Indie game sector than anywhere
else, and although the majority of content is usually poorly designed, cookie cutter, mobile tat – there are some titles that are worth exploring.

TD is basically a Real Time Strategy “Turtler’s” wet dream. And long shall the genre remain!


Tower Defense Fetish – Part 2


Spira Defense/Void Defense [Android] – (abstract pure numbers & mechanics orbitting spiral shootdown on mobile devices)….spiradefencepro…..voiddefencepro

Infested Planet (Space Marine Squad based Tower Offense)


Atom Zombie Smasher (Zombie “Quell and Evac” game)


Gratuitous Tank Battles (Tanks and Trenches in the traditional Tower Defense sense!)

Creeper World III (land grabbing, base building tower stemming the flow of the creep)


There’s still more where these came from, so expect a final TD Fetish post to finish it all off.

Hunker down.

Leech the money off the creeps.

Power up your slow/freeze turret and interlock your heavy hitters for a perfect killzone.

I’m sure Defense is spelt with a C.


Tower Defense Fetish – Part 1


I have a thing for Tower Defence games. It’s the turtle in me. Chameleon in a half-shell!

I want to show “the world” the current crop of games I think are the best examples of unique Tower Defense games that are worth a try.

Immortal Defense

– ( A surreal story based vector participatory plan and shoot-a-thon )

Defenders Quest – (An RPG where your “towers” are a developing team of fantasy adventurers! – complete with story and attitude!)

Rymdkapsel – (An abstract tetris in isometric space build and defend with timed peril!)

Iron Brigade – (Third person steampunk Mech shoot and stomp-a-thon!)

Anomaly series (Tower Offense – reverse TD, top down mech based escort and kill!)


Since there seems to be a limit on the number of linked videos, I’ll continue this Tower Defense game vidsplash in another post…

Keep your towers upgraded and placed in smart choke points!


Fallout 4 – A View From A Seasoned Survivor


I went back to Fallout 3 the other day. Just briefly. I got it as a pre-order reward for Fallout 4. Fallout 3 was up there as an all time classic ( it was even the much maligned but unsurprisingly still fine PS3 version ) in my eyes. Trouble is, I went back after tens of hours in Fallout 4. It was a bit of a low resolution shock. If nothing else it showed just how much of an improvement Fallout 4 is. The animation was awful; the colour palette so, so bland; and everything felt so very clunky.

I think I lasted 10 minutes before firing up Fallout 4 and vowing never to go retro again. It just destroys those memories. Strangely akin to meeting your heroes.

It threw the achievements of Fallout 4 into sharp relief. It is, at times, starkly beautiful. Where Fallout 3 seemed to take its visual cues from the brutal war photography of the second world war, Fallout 4 goes for a beautiful destruction. This is aftermath, after all. A story of faltering recovery. Echoing the horrifying, transfixing, twisted beauty of the Gulf War photography. A type of photography that we now no longer see, governments having finally – sadly – realised that images are powerful, and concluding they need to be controlled. It’s a beauty that holds your attention long enough for you to notice the terrible details. That, IMO, is the genius of Fallout 4.


Here was a world I could live in, where even the radiation storms oozed atmosphere ( sorry ). It was still fraught with danger, a world where the mosquitoes are a true nightmare, but it was filled with character. And filled with characters too. Filled with stories everywhere. Any curious venture into new territory, any discovery of a new building could easily lead you on a big adventure. A discovered note, a password or log entry found on a computer could send you to the other side of the map or down into previously unsuspected bowels of the building.

It happened to me numerous times and gave a perspective on the fearmongering / concern trolling pre launch about the time it took to cross the map. Never mind how meaningless that is anyway, the sheer density of adventuring available to the sole survivor is enough to shine a light on that particular nugget of nonsense. This is Boston, apocalypse style. It’s an open world that took me (according to my save file ) 7 days and 2 hours to finally satiate me. That’s an achievement in itself. I generally tire of openworlders much much earlier. This is a hand-crafted world designed to reward every single explorative whim you can have while playing.

The environmental story telling is fantastic too. The poses of long dead skeletons often raising questions. Was there a struggle here? Did that family end it all together? Is that skeleton by the war memorial the remains of a distraught war veteran? What the hell was that guy doing fishing in a toilet bowl?? 


Everywhere you look a new question is asked or an old question resolved. I took to taking screenshots of the most interesting ones. It brought out the latent war photographer in me.


Combat is a joy, complemented by a deep and highly flexible perk system. One that even by level 60, I hadn’t come close to fully exploring. VATS ( the time slowing, turn based system Fallout is famous for ) was never less than spectacular. Watching myself – perfectly framed – lock and load a Fatman, then set a nuke on its way to a deathclaw, assaultron or a supermutant never, ever, got old.

The animation, while not exactly at the level of Mirror’s Edge or Ori, is so much more fluid and realised than Bethesda has achieved before. Especially with the ever lovable, ever loving Dogmeat who just exudes character and demanded my attention so much that I would talk to the flippin’ thing on occasion.

And then there’s the settlement building. I never got deep into the electronic engineering, logic side of it, although the potential there is huge, but I had an enormous amount of fun creating ludicrous shack architecture, and providing for my settlers. I’m hoping Bethesda build on that because it’s one of the major reasons I would come back into this world now that I’ve finished everything I want to finish.


In the end, when I finally felt I’d seen enough and could finish my quest for Shaun, I was satisfied to be done. The quest lines were all well written and the main quest was fine, although I felt it ignored some obvious issues. I’m hoping it deals with those issues in the DLC. The real story though, is written in an astonishingly well crafted and dense world.

It’s in the environment, and the relationships you build with companions, and and a world so dense with opportunity, so packed with potential, that no one is going to have the same story to tell after.

Fallout 4 is a fantastic successor to Fallout 3. It should be a new measuring stick for other developers to hold close. I can’t wait for an excuse to return to the beautiful destruction of Boston once more.