Autodidact: self-taught


Postmortem by Desura

by V. L. Craven


Thanks to the generosity of Paddy K , I had the opportunity to play Postmortem: Extended Scythe Cut , where you play an Agent of Death in and must reap one person attending a ritzy party in 1897 in a city torn by political strife. Your choice will impact various aspects of life in Galacia, so choose wisely. Explore your surroundings to learn about the various factions and engage in conversation to find out each character’s personal philosophy.

Or don’t. You’re Death, what do you care?

Postmortem Game Promo – Desura

One of my favourite parts is the post-reap conversation with the character you kill. The character asks why you chose them and other questions about the afterlife and, as Death, you choose how you’d like to answer. After reaping one particularly loathsome character I went with telling them they were going to hell, which was very satisfying.

Overall, the game was rather short, but it has replayability and with a choose-your-own-adventure feel to it it’s very much a game for readers.. The conversations can be quite involved and you can choose to agree or disagree or be indifferent to each character’s role in the goings-on of the city.

Currently only available for Windows, Postmortem is $9.99 USD on Desura or various prices on their website .


Theatre of the Absurd

by V. L. Craven

Theatre of the Absurd

Recently my back decided it had had enough of me being up and about and productive and it felt I should lie down with my Kindle for a good long time. Luckily, I had Big Fish Games’ Theatre of the Absurd (Collector’s Edition)  to keep me company.

You play as Scarlett Frost, a specialist in the dark arts. You’re called, by a Dr Corvis, to a castle in the Alps to authenticate an object that could possibly be the Hapsburg Cube. An ancient demon is supposed to live within the cube and, when it breaks, the demon rushes out and possesses the child of Dr Corvis.

Theatre of the Absurd 02

This is *not* what she looks like when you first arrive.

You’re tasked with solving a variety of puzzles (including a couple of types I hadn’t seen before) around the grounds in order to save the girl.

I’ve played quite a few hidden object games before, but this is the first I’ve tried on my Kindle Fire. And it was excellent. The graphics were highly-detailed, the story-telling was better than most, and there were several hours of game play. And it had something I hadn’t seen before–as you progress through the game you unlock certain magic powers that allow you to do things in the game like read hieroglyphics or clear demonic mist. The Egyptian and Gothic elements were big pluses, as well.

It was definitely worth the price, which was $3 USD on the Kindle.



Brief Lives: Webcomics About Geeks

by V. L. Craven

Whilst I have yet to work out what career I would find most fulfilling, there are certain career-paths I find somewhat interesting. Talking to people in those professions would involve, you know, talking to people, and, therefore is out of the question. Luckily, there are webcomics about geeks that illustrate the ins and outs of those professions so I can get an idea of what it’d be like to work in those fields without having to spend years working my way into the career only to discover I hated it.

Join me in a tour of the lives of:

Web designers: .net  by Brad Colbow, Ah, the life of a web designer. You just want to be simultaneously geeky and creative and the people who will give you money to do those things are entirely lacking geekiness or creativity.

The Oatmeal has a hilarious example of this, as well.

Software developers: Not Invented Here  by Bill Barnes and Paul Southworth. Sort of like Dilbert but more tech and less misogyny. And there’s a Goth character.

Internet service providers: User Friendly [this is currently on hiatus, but if you start at the beginning there are daily strips from 1997 to 2009. Hopefully, Illiad will eventually return to us with regularly scheduled strips.]

  Geek Gifts


Video game developers: The Trenches  by Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins, Scott Kurtz. The comic itself is enlightening, but the blog posts beneath each comic are written by people in the video game industry and those are…eye-opening.

Librarians: Unshelved  by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum. Books! Books everywhere! And the general public! The general public everywhere!

Grad students: PHD  by Jorge Cham. Sometimes I think that if I excelled at structured learning, I’d enjoy a life in academia. Then I realise I’d have to get through grad school…

fucknogradschool is a Tumblr account (page? blog?) rather than a comic, but it gives an excellent idea of what post-grads feel/think/experience.

On the other hand…

Bonus Content!

In a similar vein, Penny Arcade is about gamers and gaming, written by gamers. I have never played a first person shooter or MMORPG or…most other types of very popular games, but I enjoy learning about them and hearing people’s reactions to them. Their blog is also amusing and informative and helps me keep up with what my gamer friends are on about.

Also, PA is where I learned about 3-D printing, thanks to these strips:

Here is a video of 3-D printing:

Super Extra Bonus Content!

Shapeways is a site with lots of nifty products created by the general public…who happen to know how to design in three dimensions. You can also create your own designs and they’ll print them for you.

Thank you for joining me in this tour of careers-I-find-interesting-but-not-interesting-enough-to-pursue.

And if you know of any web comics about writers or bookshop employees, please leave a comment.


Last Minute Gifts for Techy People

by V. L. Craven

Before you go mad buying electronic gift cards for the people you either missed out or simply have no clue what to get (or as a little extra something for the geek in your life) check out these apps and services.

Apps for Windows

Apps for Mac

Premium Web Services

Mobile Apps

iOS Apps

Android Apps

Also, see my posts on cloud storage space and mobile productivity apps .

If you’re looking for games for your gothy/geeky friends, you may try:

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part one)

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part two)

And here’s one I haven’t yet tried, but looks right up my street.

Little Inferno for the Wii or PC

It’s dark. It’s twisted. It’s by three indy game developers who don’t even have an office.

And it’s $15 (DRM-free) for Windows versions. You can also sign up to beta test the Mac or Linux versions.



Apps for the Darkly Inclined (Part 2)

by V. L. Craven

More games for long lost Addams relatives:

Dark Meadow: The Pact
This is my first horror-action game.I’m not a huge fan of killing monsters–it’s repetitive and boring–but the graphics and atmosphere make up for that so it’s enjoyable thus far. We’ll see how it goes.


Dead Runner
You’re running through foggy woods from something scary by tilting your device. There are three modes–distance, points and chase, where you can also control your speed. It’s great for when you have a few free minutes. The atmosphere is top-notch, with trees, bushes, gravestones and other things I have yet to get to because I’m not great at the game yet.


This is a side-scrolling platform jobbie of which Edward Gorey would be. You’re guiding a Victorian pram across the rooftops of London, trying to avoid nefarious types. If you hit something, the baby comes flying out. It’s brilliant.


Run lil dude!

Nosferatu: Run from the Sun
Another 2-D side-scroller. This time you’re a little nosferatu trying to get home before sunrise. It’s ridiculously difficult to get enough coins to buy power-ups,but it’s a fun little game nonetheless.


Van Pershing Gothic
You’re Van Helsing (wait… I mean, Pershing) and you’re just trying to get through a cemetery without being done in by skeletons, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster. You know, the usual of a Saturday night. Luckily, you have an arsenal of weapons that would make John McClane weep. The ‘Gothic’ version of the game is heavier on the black, red and white, whereas the non-Gothic version is in colour, though the gameplay is the same.


200 Weird Death
What it says. A small collection of odd deaths throughout history. Many I’d heard of, but a few recent ones that I’d missed somehow. It’s free and provides perhaps an hour’s worth of macabre entertainment.


Spooky spooky spooky

I’ve only recently downloaded this one, but I’m thuper looking forward to it. I shall report back. It’s billed as being an interactive way of reading some of Poe’s work. I can only hope they wind up adding all of my favourite stories.


And a Bonus! For the Steampunk people!

Jump o’Clock

You’re a little robot, trying to make your way up the inside of a clockwork thing. The graphics are fun and the little sparks you make when sliding down the wall are cute.



by V. L. Craven

The guys at Penny Arcade have captured my attempts at QWOP.

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