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mmm lollies!

A Night at the Museum

On Friday night I went to my second Click + Connect event, held by Her Canberra. This time it was the Night at the Museum event held by the National Museum of Australia that was all about celebrating 50 years of Play School. The great thing about this event was that beforehand we got to mingle and meet new people around a table filled with lollies, champagne, fairy bread and party pies!

mmm lollies!
mmm lollies!

On arrival we were given glasses of champagne topped with fairy floss and completed with a straw! I’m not quite sure of the purpose of the straw but it was quite good for poking the fairy floss down into the champagne. It also a little volcano like with bubbles pouring up out of it after taking a sip.

I think I enjoyed this event better than the last one I went to as it felt a bit more casual. There was no sit down component and you weren’t stuck at the same table, you could wander around and meet everyone if you wanted. Plus there was a huge platter of fairy bread! I have to admit I had a few pieces of that. I don’t know who invented fairy bread but you can’t go past crunchy 100’s & 1000’s on some fresh buttered bread!

Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program
Champagne, extra full lolly bag and museum program

After a few glasses of champagne, some time to chat with the others and also to fill up our lolly bags we were given programs for the night and were whisked to the front of the line for entry to the museum. No queuing or tickets required! All very VIP.

Unfortunately as soon as we made it to the museum entrance everyone seemed to get separated and we didn’t enjoy the event as a group. It might have been that the 1 person who I wandered around with (I can’t even remember her name even though we had nametags on!) and I decided we needed to get on the jumping castle! It was a lot of fun but also quite tiring. My heart was racing after only 5 mins of bouncing fun!

People having fun hula hooping
People having fun hula hooping

There were little activities throughout the museum and we were free to wander around where ever we liked. I didn’t give hula hooping a go, I don’t think it would have been too successful.

Lower Landmarks - National Museum of Australia
Lower Landmarks – National Museum of Australia

It seemed like many people didn’t realise you could go further than the main hall as we basically had free rein over the other areas. It was nice to get to see the museum without having to move around other people and especially with no kids.

During one of the activities (that was held in a room that had twinkling stars on the ceiling) we met another girl, Vee, who had been separated from her friend group and asked if she wanted to walk around with us. She was really nice and I’m glad I made the offer, even if I only knew her for about 30 minutes.

The 3 of us then went and tried out kspaces which is an interactive exhibit where you become a time travelling robot that has to help in an event from the past.

They take your photo and for some reason my head/face ended up in a shark’s mouth. Maybe that is just how time travelling robots from the future are! I had a great time, even though it is targeted at kids. Part of the adventure involves a team of 4 having to control 1 mech which was difficult enough as adults, let alone as kids. Our team came 2nd (there were 3 teams of 4) and only lost by 5 points!

Quote on the wall
Quote on the wall

After kspaces my companions for the night had to leave which left me to walk around the museum solo. I didn’t actually get a chance to see the Play School exhibit (I’m not sure where it was as I did walk around quite a bit) and didn’t stay for the talks of the night as my feet really felt like they wanted to fall off.

I didn’t stay anywhere near as long as I expected to, I really wish I had another pair of shoes (and didn’t have to carry my coat around) and that the group had stayed together, at least a little, for the actual museum component of the night. It was fun though and I’m looking forward to finding out what the next Click + Connect event is.

Tropico - It's a good day to be El Presidente

Time to build an empire!

As long as I can remember I’ve been interested in world building simulation style games. The first game I remember really getting into was Sim City (which we had at school, on one computer, and everyone wanted to play so.. the cities weren’t very good when 15 primary school aged kids hovered around one computer were building them) and then more so Sim City 2000. I went back to that game a lot and lost hours of time improving and perfecting my city. I am also one of those people that kept natural disasters turned off because I couldn’t stand to have everything ruined in 30 seconds.

Although.. sometimes I would let the aliens attack and then promptly loaded my pre: alien apocalypse city.

It’s very rare that games like that are made any more, good ones that is. Games that aren’t apps on a tablet/phone and require endless in-app purchases to keep going or make the game incredibly slow and dull.

That being said, there are many good empire building games but their entire point is to build a massive military and go to war with neighbouring towns/villages until you own/rule everything. I prefer the more peaceful route or just looking after my little village or city that lives in a bubble on its own. These games pop up only once every so often and fortunately for me, the most recent one is massively popular. Hopefully that means there will be more to come!

What am I talking about? Cities: Skylines of course. It’s very Sim City-esque but with a modern feel and, if reviews are anything to go by, it’s what everyone hoped Sim City 5 would be like but wasn’t.

Given its popularity I thought I’d discuss some other world building games today that let you build up your cities without having to worry about an invading neighbour taking you out.

  1. Cities: Skylines
    Cities: Skylines - Fire. Exclamation Mark. Fire.
    Cities: Skylines – Fire. Exclamation Mark. Fire. The Police station caught on fire.. it’s right next door to the Fire station.

    When I first heard of this game I instantly looked it up and nearly bought it straight away, but I didn’t. It is $29.99 USD off Steam and I wondered if I waited it out if it would get cheaper. I don’t know why I cared, $29.99 isn’t that expensive, it was more that it made it $38 AUD and that annoyed me. So I waited…

    .. And then I gave up on waiting and bought it. It is pretty amazing. I’ve spent 11 hours on my city and haven’t really touched the surface. There is so much you can do with this game, it really is the Sim City of now. You can control so much or so little, depending on how you want to play and you can also unlock items for when things go poorly.

    I started delving into the Steam Workshop yesterday and people have made some amazing things! They’re so talented and I can’t wait to use their items in my cities! I’d really recommend giving this game a go if simulation games interest you. You’ll probably lose days playing it.

  2. Banished
    Banished - Small village in spring
    Banished – Small village in spring

    Banished sure is beautiful. Banished sure is difficult. Banished is the story of a group of villagers who were banished from their village and went in search of somewhere new to live their lives. You start with basically nothing and have to make them self sufficient and also build up the population enough so they don’t end up just dying out on you. The population issue is very difficult to handle and I lost a few villages to lack of population. It’s lovely to look at, the soundtrack is beautiful but it can be quite hard to be good at.

  3. Tropico
    Tropico - It's a good day to be El Presidente
    Tropico – It’s a good day to be El Presidente

    Tropico is amazing to look at and has a great soundtrack. I actually hunted down one of the songs because I really loved listening to it. It really improves the atmosphere of the game. With Tropico (I own Tropico 3, but they’re up to 5 now) you are the dictator (El Presidente) of a little island called Tropico and the main goal (in the campaigns) is usually just to stay alive during a certain term without being assassinated… and to skim a bit off the top of your towns profits.

    It’s a lot of fun and you can play it whatever you way you like. Be that a ‘nice’ dictator who tries to give the people what they want or you kill anyone that doesn’t agree with you. I usually go with the former but it lets you play how you want.

 

There are some older games I love in this genre that you can find on GOG and Steam. My favourites being Caesar III¬†(only $3.09 on GOG right now)¬†where you have to build up Roman villages and make them prosperous. There are usually peaceful vs warlike options at the beginning of each campaign so I usually stick to the peaceful and have a small military for when that happens but mostly it’s about building beautiful, prosperous cities for your people to live in.

There’s also Rollercoaster Tycoon, which I’m sure everyone has heard of. I really wish there was a city building game (and let me know if there is) that has the amount of detail that RCT has. The fact that you can click on people and know how much money they have and have spent, whether they’re happy or not and why and can spy on them around the theme park is kind of amazing. Plus you get to design rollercoasters! Sometimes it doesn’t go so well though, like when it crashes and they all die.. oops.

Let me know if there is anything awesome that I haven’t mentioned, I love finding new games like this.