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June 2022 Retrospective

I am going to try to keep this retrospective short and sweet because I started a new job this month and, in all honesty, I forgot to put in the usual amount of time required to write these things.

The Good

WWDC 2022

While there wasn't anything shocking announced at WWDC 2022, we got exactly what we expected in terms of incremental updates to Xcode and iOS, macOS, watchOS, etc. Personally I am most excited about the improvements made to SwiftUI and Swift Concurrency because it looks like Apple is finally tackling the complex problems. For years the joke has been that SwiftUI can only do simple CRUD apps but with new tech like custom layouts and NavigationStack, SwiftUI may finally be ready for prime time.

If you're looking for recommendations on which sessions to watch below are some of my favourites:

Ran 13 5Ks

For the first time since November 2020 I ran over 60 kilometres in a single month. I am still almost a minute off my best pace but that just means there is plenty of room for improvement. I think for July I am going to continue running 5Ks and hope that I can bump my pace a little bit. Then in August start throwing 7-10Ks in the mix and see if I don't slow down while getting back up to 100 kilometres in a single month.

The Bad

Read Termination Shock

I am 99% sure Termination Shock only exists because the pandemic trapped Neal Stephenson inside and he fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. The number of absolutely random, disjointed topics that this novel attempts to cobble together is absolutely flabbergasting. It is 720 pages but the main "story" probably barely counts for 100 of them.

The first 10% of the book is just Neal Stephenson flexing that he read the Wikipedia article about hunting feral hogs in Texas. I shit you not, if you read that article, and skip the first 10% of this book they only thing you're going to miss is that there is a character named Rufus who hunts feral hogs.

There is an entire chapter dedicated to teaching you about Bersiap, a part of the Indonesian National Revolution where Indonesian natives went around murdering Dutch people. I guess that is kinda interesting but it literally has no affect on the rest of the story.

And the smoking gun as to how I know Termination Shock only exists because Neal Stephenson read too much Wikipedia is the chapter that deals with the Maeslantkering, a massive floodgate designed to protect Rotterdam from the North Sea. A protagonist thinks to herself "or rather she was going to stand in a suitably photogenic location and do absolutely nothing while half a million lines of C++ code slammed it for her". I am a computer fucking programmer and never in my life have I thought about the number of lines code that exist to do some action, let alone what programming language it was. But because Neal Stephenson read "The software that drives it is written in C++ and consists of 200,000 lines of code for the operational system and 250,000 lines of code for the simulation systems" in that Wikipedia article about the Maeslantkering, he just had to share it with the world in this book.

All of this is my long winded way of saying that Termination Shock sucks and I cannot believe anyone has enjoyed reading it.

Tunic

I love A Link to the Past and Dark Souls. So when someone told me that Tunic is a combination of the two and free on Xbox Game Pass I figured why not give it a shot.

The first couple hours of Tunic are straight out of A Link to the Past. You're exploring an Overworld, trying to figure out how to access various areas, encountering fairly easy enemies, and then running into a boss every once in a while which usually net you some new item. Everything that I love about 2D Zelda games are in these first hours of Tunic.

Unfortunately the camera angle and control scheme that the developer chose do not work for the Dark Souls aspect of Tunic. You're never really sure if you're going to hit an enemy, if they are going to hit you, where you invincibility frames are, and strange attack animations and delays just create a unforgiving and unenjoyable experience. I actually didn't fight any of the bosses of the main dungeon until I had reached the final one because fighting them was just so irritating.

I would not recommend Tunic because I imagine that most people are going to experience the same issues that I had with the combat.

Honourable Mentions

Hitman (2016)

Technically I am playing Hitman 3 but I purchased the Hitman 1 and 2 DLCs so I can play through the entire trilogy inside the Hitman 3 engine. In June I played the first six levels which comprise the entire Hitman 2016 game.

This first Hitman game is a really mixed bag. There is a tutorial and then six unique levels spread across six locales: Paris, Sapienza, Marrakesh, Bangkok, Colorado, and Hokkaido. The tutorial did a great job introducing the mechanics and taught me how to be a proper hitman. Unfortunately, I would say that only the first and last levels (Paris and Hokkaido) were where I felt I was truly putting those hitman skills to work. There was something about the other four that felt far too constrained in what I could do and I just didn't enjoy stalking my targets. I replayed both Paris and Hokkaido immediately because I saw so many different paths I could have taken. Whereas with the other four levels I do not care about trying to do them a different way.

I have been told that Hitman 2 is a substantial improvement on the original and home to some of the best levels in the trilogy. I am looking forward to beating it in July.

For All Mankind

Last month I wrote about how I enjoyed season 1 of For All Mankind and while season 2 is not as good it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Fortuitously, we finished watching season 2 the day before season 3 was released and so far it is looking to be much of the same.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a fine beat 'em up from the people who brought you Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. If you're playing with friends you're definitely going to have fun but if you're looking for a better game might I recommend Double Dragon Neon. Personally I feel the story, combat, and graphics in Double Dragon Neon are the best of basically any beat 'em up out there.

Review June Goals

July Goals

#MonthlyRetrospective

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