What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani, stand-up comedian

The Franklin & Bash star tells us about his weekend gaming plans. Share yours in the comments.

By Steve Heisler • April 6, 2012

In What Are You Playing This Weekend?, we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.

Kumail Nanjiani is a stand-up comic and writer, appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman, TNT’s Franklin & Bash, and formerly Michael & Michael Have Issues. He also cohosts a video game podcast on the Nerdist network, The Indoor Kids, with writer/producer/wife Emily Gordon.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Kumail Nanjiani: Mass Effect 3, which I really, really love. I’m also playing NBA 2K12. That’s a game I play all year until the next one comes out, since 2K came out on the Dreamcast. Then I have a Playstation Vita, and on that I’ve been playing the Uncharted game.

Gameological: How do you find time to do that much gaming when you’re constantly working?

Nanjiani: I only game from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. I’ll write during the day, and then I’ll do a short night most nights. I used to stay out at the bar ’til super late, and now more often than not, I will come home early and play video games. I have a very strict schedule. I can play one game of basketball during the day, which is like a half-hour, but I can’t play anymore while the sun is out.

Gameological: How did you figure out that schedule?

Nanjiani: When I first moved to New York, I didn’t have a job, and I would just play Halo all day to the point where I would start hearing different languages, because it was time for someone who contributed to society in China to be awake. I would hear British accents. I would hear French. I would hear Chinese. I was in a bad place. The gaming I did was so intense that I couldn’t think of anything else. It’s like playing basketball; I know it so well that it feels almost like meditation.

Gameological: Have you read any of the controversy surrounding the end of Mass Effect 3, how people are disappointed with it?

Nanjiani: I have! It’s amazing to me that three days after this game came out, all of these people are complaining. How much video games are you playing, you know? I don’t think there’s another art form where people would ask for—like, if a movie came out and the ending sucks, nobody has ever been like, “Rerelease it with a different ending.” In a book, people are not like, “Rewrite these last two chapters and send it back.” In video games people do that, and you can look at it two ways. You can look at it as video game players not seeing it as a completely valid art form. They would deny it, but the way they try and control the author’s vision would lead me to believe that maybe they’re not seeing it as a valid art form. Or you can look at it as because they have such a stake in the story and feel like they have agency over the game, they feel like they can also have agency over the author of the game. The one thing that would really piss people off would be if the ending was the same no matter what path you took.

Gameological: What do you do when you’re on the road? Do you just not game at all?

Nanjiani: I bring my Xbox with me.

Gameological: Do you have to take it out of your carry-on like it’s a computer and, like, scan it separately?

Nanjiani: [Laughs.] Yeah. You do! And I have a Gears Of War Xbox, so it’s all red and has fake blood on it and stuff. It looks like something from the ’90s. I feel so fucking lame. Nobody’s impressed by it, ever. Actually, I have a Super Nintendo, and for a while I was traveling with that. Every single time I took it out, the security people would get super excited. “I haven’t seen one of those in years!” I got into so many conversations when I pulled out the Super Nintendo, but with the 360, not as much. Everyone else has their laptops and I have my fucking Xbox 360.


And now, we put the question to you. What a twist, right? Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.

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149 Responses to “Kumail Nanjiani, stand-up comedian”

  1. HobbesMkii says:

    I like that clip. It’s weird how videogames dealing with current events cause some stir, but make a movie, tv show, book, etc. about the same subjects and no one bats an eyelid.

    I’ve heard the “changing Mass Effect 3‘s ending is rejecting the author’s vision” argument before and I think that’s a pretty solid argument. On the other hand, I think the nature of the medium counters this a little bit. The authors of games will go and change bits and pieces (albeit never anything as drastic as redoing the ending) during the lifetime of the game with updates. Mostly, they’re just fixing bugs, but sometimes they’re altering game mechanics. Could you imagine if writers had been able to go, “Oh, hey, I noticed a typo on the third line of paragraph six of page two hundred, so I’ve decided to fix that. And I don’t like the way this one character delivers their lines on page one hundred forty, so I’ve altered the language slightly?” It’d be a lot harder to claim the work possessed artistic integrity if it kept changing.

    • Binsbein says:

      There’s a big to-do about Mass Effect 3’s ending but the thing that’s never talked about is how the game really isn’t that good to begin with. All the action is just serviceable, and it’s mostly going down a corridor full of cover-object garbage ala Gears of War. (The other games distract you from this by having a better story)

      It’s also kind of embarrassing to see a game that had some elements of a solid Diet Star Trek universe slide into a Star Trek: Nemesis tone complete with boring monster battle after boring monster battle. I was honestly surprised they left the radial dialogue system at all considering the kind of Go America/Earth thing that they took on in this third installment.

      • Pillpopper says:

        Right… Embarrassing. 

      • whataworkout says:

         My impression of the game engine from playing the demos was that it wasn’t all that fun.  I get that the appeal of the game is in crafting your own character and getting into the story (assuming it appeals to you).  I tend to drop an RPG if the fundamental battle mechanics don’t appeal to me.  I am in the minority in the U.S., but I don’t think I am missing out on much. 

    • Michael Cacciatore says:

      But they do! New editions of any books will have plenty of revisions in them, and directors cuts of movies (even tv shows!) are pretty much the norm. Not exactly the same as the Mass Effect 3 situation, true, but I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as everyone thinks. Hell, “The Hobbit” had some fairly significant edits to make room for the LotR trilogy.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Right, but you’ll never see those changes if you bought the first edition of a book (at least, not unless you’re a very serious collector). It’s only available to new costumers. Director’s cuts are additional material, sure, but again, it doesn’t update in real-time. It’s an alternative you can buy to the theatrical cut. By this point in film, every director has to have their own cut released (even if its worse) just so the movie can pick up another bundle of DVD sales.

        But a game update nets the developer and publisher no new costumers in and of itself (it may indirectly influence people to try out a game they heard was riddled with errors but is now a lot cleaner–Fallout: New Vegas leaps to mind). It’s merely further development of the existing already sold product. And for some games (and content delivery systems–Steam, XBox Live, etc), the ability to reject a patch is practically nonexistent, the game will update itself if you have an open internet connection, so that even if you were attached to the developer’s original vision (albeit, the buggy and unbalanced one), you can’t stick with it.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Fixing typos and correcting bugs is one thing, but isn’t changing line readings to suit the director’s latest fancy the same basic practice that got George Lucas so universally reviled among George Lucas fans?

      Although I guess in their own way, Bioware are doing a Reverse Lucas Maneuver by making changes to their IP to placate, rather than pointlessly irritate, their fans.

      (Disclaimer: I consider myself George Lucas Neutral and don’t even like Space Wars or whatever, I only refer to the man to make a point)

      • SisterMaryFrancis says:

        Bioware has said so far that they won’t be adding new dialog to the ending or alter the endings completely. Instead they will be adding or lengthening cutscenes to better explain their ending.

        So it should be more like Michael Cacciatore’s argument about book editions than like Lucas going back and dramatically altering key storypoints

    • wafflesnsegways says:

      That actually happens. For example, Mary Shelley went into Frankenstein and made major revisions, years after it was first released. These included major character changes, so that Victor’s wife isn’t his cousin, which she was in the earlier editions.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I made some comments about why I feel this is different above in reply to @google-1a7823742c7dc85d14c27b2953a0f536:disqus. I’ve actually never read the revised Frankenstein, just the 1818 edition, so I have no basis to compare these things. But I do think that this and the example of The Hobbit Michael gave are more exceptions than rules. Even just simple line edits (not typo corrections, which happen all the time) between editions are pretty rare. Which is funny, because I’ve never met a writer who hasn’t felt like a draft couldn’t use another going over and tightening of the language.

        • TheAngryInternet says:

          it’s “exceptional” in that few of the bajillions of works published through history ever get revised editions (most don’t even get a second edition), but it’s not rare among classic literature — Milton revised Paradise Lost just before his death, there are three versions of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Dickens revised a number of his works (including the ending of Great Expectations), Henry James revised almost everything he ever wrote for the collected editions, Louisa May Alcott revised her first novel two decades after the fact, Twain made some substantial alterations for the British edition of The Innocents Abroad, Nabokov did two English versions of Despair (not just alternate translations, since he changed things from the original German text), I could go on

          (and if you count playwrights then we can throw in the folio and quarto versions of Shakespeare, the revisions Brecht made throughout his life, Goethe’s Faust, etc.)

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @TheAngryInternet:disqus Well…fuck. Guess I’m dead wrong then. It still actually kind of supports my original point, which is that it doesn’t violate artistic integrity one bit to alter the end of ME3, but this reasoning is just coming at it from the opposite angle.

          Although I do want to take issue with one thing: the changes between the different printings of folios and quarto of Shakespeare don’t necessarily indicate that the Bard himself ever revised his plays. They all date after Shakespeare’s death, and because of the competitive nature of Elizabethan theatre troupes, it’s possible that some of them were created by rival companies who sent people to Shakespeare’s performances and scribbled down the lines as the plays were being performed. So, the differences may be less revisions and more corruptions of the source.

    • The “author” of video games is the player, not the designer. A great game designer allows players to make interesting choices that have consequences, which taken together build a story or at least a sense of a fictional world.

      The whole Mass Effect 3 situation reminds me of Hollywood writers who headed north in the 90s to to make CD-ROM interactive movie-games and didn’t understand the video games medium or where it’s power comes from. The product ended up being just as bad as the inverse: trying to make interactive movies on a big screen with the audience pushing buttons on their armrests.

      Interactivity with the player as author over here.

      Non-interactive reading, watching, listening to an artist who is the author over here.

      They don’t mix. They are antithetical to each other.

      Now put players through a 3 part series which was deeply loved and one they had invested over a hundred hours in and flip the switch at the last possible moment. Presto! Internet shit-storm!

    • the problem isnt the that the ending is bad— though it is— the problem is that the entire mass effect series was sold (and acclaimed) on the basis that you were creating your own story.  Basically, Mass Effect was the best game ever at fooling you into thinking your decisions mattered.

      It often got away with having B- gameplay because, when it came to making you feel like the major agent in a fluid space opera, it was in a league of its own.
      In the end, that was mostly an illusion— even binary events like squadmate deaths just have a stand-in character step into their shoes with little change.  Still, the sameness of subsequent playthroughs could be overlooked if your actions added up to wildly divergent endings.

      And *that’s* where the anger is.  ME3 leaves gamers feeling like theyve been lied to.

      From early on, bioware has trumpeted ME as a game where the player could make his own fate.  The type of malleable storyline ME (successfully)presented itself as is probably impossible with current technology, but there’s no reason the ending couldnt show the repercussions of your actions.  

      Ever play fallout 2?  Everything you did gets tallied up and determines loads of post-game epilogue text.  Mass Effect 3 has 3x the amount of seemingly important decisions, 120+ hours of gameplay, and you get 15 seconds of some jackass talking about “the shepard,” with no idea what happened to *anyone.* 

      The uproar with ME3 is mostly because the ending is at a complete disconnect with the themes and really, promise, of the game. The fact the ending you get railroaded into also is flat-out horrible, lazy writing?  After 120 hours of gameplay— through all of which players were both implicitly and explicitly told their actions mattered— Bioware basically lifts the veil in the last 15 minutes, and then proceeds to kinda just shit all over itself.

  2. George Smith says:

    This man — and those in his camp — are woefully misinformed. Mass Effect 3 isn’t a case of a poor response to auteurism. It’s a case of the director(s) of the piece being locked out of the room by a megalomaniac middle manager.

    By now, a disgruntled Bioware writer who posted on Penny Arcade* has made it known that company policy dictated that each writer would turn in drafts of their material for revision, input, and review. Shock and awe, this generally made things better.

    Except for the final sequence in ME3, when (project lead) Casey and (head writer) Mac went into a room and shut everyone else out. No input, no brainstorm, nothing.

    What strikes me about this is that Mac, despite being the “head” writer, is still just a scribe. It is entirely unlikely that he could singlehandedly shut out the entire writing staff at -the- most important moment of one of the most important game series of this generation.

    That points all the smart bets at Casey Hudson. Evidence suggests Mass Effect 3 has an awful, lackluster ending because Casey Hudson, a guy who was hired largely to keep the trains running on time and on budget, decided that he was a fucking savant on par with David Chase returning to write and direct the last episode of The Sopranos all by himself.

    This sort of garbage happens more than we’d like to think, and I’m actually kind of glad this is happening on a game where The Story Is The Thing. People are taking notice, and if this is what it takes to stop letting the code monkeys write the script, I’m thrilled. 

    If this controversy brings about a change in the industry where producers of AAA titles start to take $100-250k of their $50 million dollar budget to retain an Honest To God Good Writer Who Respects The Medium, then I will consider the case of Mass Effect 3 a necessary evil to bring about a greater good.* Yes, Penny Arcade pulled the posts at Bioware/the poster’s request and has done their part to encourage the idea that the whole thing was a hoax… by a longstanding commentator, who is confirmed to be employed as a writer by Bioware. (His handle was Takyris, and he glassed all of his posts after the shitstorm started, probably because, you know, mortgage/kids to feed/etc.) 

    They have done this because Penny Arcade long ago stopped being some kind of standard bearer for game culture, right around the time they realized they could make a small country’s GDP by using their 9 panels a week as an ad for convention tickets.

    • JokersNuts says:

      one of the most important game series of this generation…  that is debatable, but ok.  what’s “this generation” the last 3 years? 

      • Channel_8_News says:

        I read “this generation” to mean “the current console cycle,” meaning approximately the last six years.

        • DwigtKSchrute says:

          It’s basically a mini-Reapers cycle. Build a franchise over the course of a few years, then, to make way for a new generation still in development, write a crappy ending to conclude your trilogy, causing players to throw their consoles out of the window, so they can buy the next generation next year.

    • Not much to add but well said. As for respecting writers I rewatch Barton Fink any time that thought creeps into my brain.

    • jsnyder_85 says:

      Just because you believe some sort of conspiracy theory about Penny Arcade doesn’t make you automatically right, and everybody else ‘woefully misinformed’.

    • Luc Tremblay says:

      I really didn’t know that, but that makes a lot of sense. People bitched about the ending of DA2, as well, but nowhere even close to this extent, and I think that’s likely as least partly because the writers for DA2 seem to adhere to a much more efficient writing process.

      • Unlike the first Dragon Age, which had one central story, Dragon Age 2 was more of a collection of vignettes and short stories. The ending of the game was really just an ending to the last act. 

  3. Raging Bear says:

    I should get two more rental games this weekend; Skyward Sword, and Alice: Madness Returns (I never played the first, but always vaguely wanted to).

    Most recently I played Silent Hill: Downpour. I whined at length about the combat elsewhere, and have the urge to whine further, but I’ll stifle. Otherwise, I finally started playing Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery in earnest because of getting an iPad.

    • ElDan_says_Fuck_Disqus says:

      I really want to play Alice: Madness Returns. I wish I could find it at a Redbox or something. Every rental place in my town is closed now, and I don’t really want to buy it.

      Same situation for Catherine.

      • ANNZac says:

        Gamefly’s been putting it in their bargain bin routinely for the last couple months at around $14 or so. It’s worth it – it’s a really underrated game, with solid, varied combat. It’s surprisingly long and with a metric ton of really unique and interesting art assets. I was shocked at the sheer amount of art there is in that game. It’s no masterpiece, but for simply being a really stylish, fun 3rd person actioner, it’s a steal at $14.

      • Catherine looks really intriguing, but I don’t think I could slog through all that puzzle-platforming. 

    • Superdeformed says:

       I just got Skyward Sword yesterday. Going to play that this weekend as a reward after I finish my first writing assignment (unpaid) on the Homicide: Life on the Street pilot. I also might play through Journey again, but online this time.

      I have never known the love of a woman.

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      I played the first one up until some level involving timed jumps while a giant shook the level or something, and stopped.

    • whataworkout says:

       The flying around in Skyward Sword is the worst part of it.  The controls are unwieldy and it is mostly boring.  On the plus side, the dungeons are still fantastic.  As overworld design goes, it is worse than Wind Waker but the same sort of genius design for dungeons that the series has always had. 

      • I found the Wii controls extremely frustrating. The enemies require such precise strikes to defeat. Halfway through the first “real” dungeon, I put the game on the bottom of my “to play” pile. I’ll get to it eventually. 

    • ShitMcFWillNotAssimilate says:

      I personally thought Skyward Sword was fucking awesome.

    • Raging Bear says:

      Noted, all.

  4. SteveHeisler says:

    I’ll be playing Fallout 3, a game I put off starting for far too long. I started last night, and I’m already plagued with what I like to call Oblivion Choice Paralysis. Cuz, like, what if those extra three points in Science I didn’t give myself at the very beginning of the game somehow come back to haunt me 55 hours into the game?!? I’LL NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF!

    Oh, and some Kingdom Rush, too.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Just get Educated and Comprehension as early as you can and you should have more than enough skill points.

      • Channel_8_News says:

        If you plan on min-maxing, don’t forget to pick up the Intelligence Bobblehead ASAP. (unless you started with Intelligence already at 10, in which case, shame on you!)

    • Channel_8_News says:

      I always get really jealous when I hear someone is playing Fallout 3/New Vegas for the first time. I absolutely adore those games, and I’d love to start fresh with those games. Unfortunately, the game maps and quests are burned into my memory for good, so that sense of exploration and discovery is forever lost.

      Until Fallout 4, anyway…

      • Swadian Knight says:

        I know that feeling – I’ve played FNV way more than it was meant to be played. Luckily, there are mods that can moderately extend the game’s novelty.

        You mention FO3 and FNV, but have you played the first one? It’s free right now on GOG.com, and while it’s very different from the new ones, it’s still pretty good.

        • Channel_8_News says:

          Nope, never played it, always wanted to. I saw that it was free on GOG, but I subscribe to Gamefly, and Fallout is part of their library of PC games you can play for free. 

          I installed it the other day, but wasn’t able to fix the color and display issues that come from running an old game in Vista. I read a couple of workarounds, couldn’t get any to work for me, then got frustrated and haven’t messed with it since.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          @Channel_8_News:disqus  – Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe GOG.com puts work into getting the old games to run in recent OSes for you, so that might work better than Gamefly.

        • Channel_8_News says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus Well I’ll definitely be checking out that version, then. Thanks for the tip.

          • Swadian Knight says:

            Not to mention that the GOG version comes with a bunch of extras – manual, wallpapers, the soundtrack, artwork and avatars, and the Fallout Bible. I bought it a while ago and I totally recommend it.

        • Ville Häkkinen says:

          Did you guys kickstarter-preorder Wasteland 2 yet? 

          (For those not in the know, Fallout 1 was supposed to be Wasteland 2 but they were denied the rights to the name, so they came up with “Fallout” instead..)

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          @google-474ab6c6f0bbff3d7d35b6e6712f3019:disqus  – Hell yes.  Wasteland was the first “adult” PC game I ever had.  Played the Fallout series because of it, and can’t wait to get a real sequel!

        • Channel_8_News says:

          @SwadianKnight:disqus @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus I followed your advice and got the GOG version. My display problems were fixed, plus I got all that sweet bonus stuff! Now I know what I’ll be playing this weekend! 

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      I was going to mention Fallout 3 in regard to the changed ending controversy, but if you haven’t played it yet, I’ll avoid spoilers.  As vaguely as I can put it, a decision you make at the end of the game is later handwaved away by some of the DLC addons.  (And IMHO, the original ending made no sense anyway, so good.)

  5. Binsbein says:

    Xenoblade rules everything around me.

    • Swadian Knight says:

      Does it get better after the first couple of hours? Maybe it’s because of how jaded I’ve become with JRPGs but the first hours of Xenoblade were incredibly grating to me.

      • Binsbein says:

        The beginning stuff in Colony 9 is probably the slog-heavy part of that game (like most RPGs honestly) but once you get access to the overworld it really starts to open up. The sense of vertical scale the game gives you on the Bionis’ Leg is breathtaking.

        I think it comes down to whether or not you can abide some JRPG tropes, which Xenoblade addresses in a better way than most games of its kind but does not apologize for their existence.

        • Swadian Knight says:

          Ah. I guess I’ll give it another try, then. I did like the environments in the game quite a lot, but the JRPG tropes seemed to be quite heavy on the narrative – although I wonder if this isn’t also how japanese gamers feel about WRPGs.

          Thank you for your answer.

        • caspiancomic says:

           I’ve been thinking about picking Xenoblade up, but I’m worried that all the JRPG cornerstones that I adored as a kid/early teen will seems grating and tedious now that I’m older/voice acting exists. JRPGs are probably my favourite genre, up there with platformers, so maybe I’ll take the plunge. I think I have a relatively high tolerance for the standard JRPG craziness that drives other people to fits of violence.

          (Also I’m totally, without qualifiers of any kind, crazy excited for Ni No Kuni, which is going to be like chugging 2 litres of JRPG original flavour, so maybe my concerns about the genre aging badly under my feet are unfounded)

      • doyourealize says:

        For me, Xenoblade Chronicles is the logical extension of JRPGs from FFXII.  For whatever reason, fan outcry was so loud against that game they went an entirely different route for XIII.  I liked XIII, but XII was such an evolution for JRPGs that I’m glad XC got around to finally expanding on it…5 years later.

        In both games, cut scenes can get a little long and the “tutorial” could be a slog, but XC really opens up to a beautiful world.  I’d give it a little time.

  6. Chip_Dipson says:

    Little Big Planet. I was late to that party, but what a party! I’ve also been playing Uncharted; Golden Abyss, and while it’s nowhere near as good as the others, it’s still a lot of fun. I’ll probably also end up playing a level or two of Enslaved, a game I felt was very underrated (although it may have something to do with my love of beating the tar out of robuts.)

    • Channel_8_News says:

      I was on the verge of finally getting a PS3 right before that big security breach they had. I guess it’s a good thing, because the only games I am really interested in for it are Little Big Planets 1 and 2.

  7. Channel_8_News says:

    I recently discovered Jetpack Joyride, so even though it’s already destroyed my productivity at work I’ll probably continue to play it through the weekend. I would like to finish up the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim (and consequently finish all the achievements), and I’ll probably pop on to WoW for a bit.

  8. Swadian Knight says:

    Hey look at that, Kumail Nanjiani! I’ve listened to his podcast on occasion, it’s a pretty enjoyable show with some great guests. 

    I really have no opinion about the whole Mass Effect debacle, since I’m one of those rare people who haven’t played the first and second games.Anyway, my weekend games are Costume Quest (which I’ll finally start!) and Metro 2033, which I’m about halfway through, and I’m comfortable in saying that it’s pretty damn good.

  9. AuroraBoreanaz says:

    I’ll be playing Mass Effect 3 some more, still loving it.  I understand the complaint that it’s more linear than the first two, but IMHO that makes sense considering where the story has gone up to this point.  Even though I still do all the side missions I can find, in the back of my mind I think it’s silly to waste time on them when I want to head back to rescue Earth.

    I’ll also play The Old Republic a bit, only because my Sith Warrior is level 47 now and I’m trying to hit 50 before my subscription runs out.  I loved my first character playthrough, a light-side bounty hunter…but since all but the character story missions are 100% the same through all levels except the first 10, it’s SO. FUCKING. BORING. to level another character.  Patch 1.2’s Legacy system is going to do nothing for me, and the crafting upgrades are too late as well.

  10. ElDan_says_Fuck_Disqus says:

    Right now, I’m going through Silent Hill HD (specifically SH2 right now). I’ve discussed it at length on the AV Club, long story short they were very smart in that they didn’t change anything other than the graphics and the voice acting.

    Call of Duty used to be my go-to timekiller game, but I’m severely burned out on that. I tried going back to Halo: Reach, but every time I try to play it, it just reminds me how much that game can piss me off. Any match I play, there’s always one person who’s waaaaay better than anybody else in the match.

    The other night I actually fired up Rock Band 3 for the first time in a long time. I liked the keyboard peripheral, but right after it came out, I loaned it to a friend and didn’t get it back for over a year, so I never had a chance to get really into it. It’s okay, too many of the songs don’t have very interesting keyboard arrangements.

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      I haven’t played it in ages either.  It’s still one of my goals to master Expert mode of Billy Joel’s My Life.

    • Raging Bear says:

       I’m still surprised they changed the SH voices. The voices never struck me as (particularly) bad, although I guess everything from before pretty recently could benefit from that treatment.

      How’s Heather in 3, though? That was almost the first time I took notice of a voice actor in a game being really, really good at it (I think the actual first time was Primal, whose two main characters were really well-voiced, but they were veteran TV character actors, so it was less of a surprise).

      • ElDan_says_Fuck_Disqus says:

        The voices for 2 are a little better, though weirdly it was never the actual delivery in 2 that bugged me, it was the odd long pauses between lines that I didn’t like. The new-ish voices still have that.

        I can’t really tell whether 3 is better or worse. For some reason, with 2 you can choose to use the old voices or the new ones, but with 3, the new ones are all you’ve got, so it’s hard to compare. I did just hook up my PS2 again for the first time in a while, so maybe I’ll do an old school comparison.

  11. urthstripe says:

    I’ll be returning to Mass Effect 3 after an extended break to finally beat Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

    Speaking of AC:B, you know, I enjoy the games, but the sheer lack of any resolution of any plot points whatsoever is kind of frustrating. I guess ACIII is just going to be nothing but wrapping up every thread.

    • alguien_comenta says:

      I haven’t been able to finish AC:B and I already have Revelations. I just can’t make myself finish it
      Will probably play ME3 multiplayer and maybe start Catherine

    • Kyle Pinion says:

      I’ve never played Assassin’s Creed, is it worth it? I like Arkham City, I hear they’re similar…

      • DwigtKSchrute says:

        They’re not really similar.
        I’d say that you can rush your way through the original AC. It’s a game that feels unfinished and which has some frankly boring parts, but it’s important to know some details to establish the story.ACII and AC:B take the basic concept of AC and deliver the execution the first game awfully missed. Even the ACII DLC (which is actually parts that had to be cut because of delays) is fun. AC:B, which could have been a cash-in, actually enhanced the experience and brought a lot of new possibilities in gameplay.

        AC:R is unfortunately a collection of fragmented missions, without any real focus that would unify them. I think that Ubi wanted an AC-related release for 2011 and made another team work on a rushed episode, just to lengthen it by using mini games or ideas implemented by other studios.

  12. whataworkout says:

    A friend of mine swapped his 360 for my Wii so he could play through Skyward Sword.  I don’t think I would buy a 360, but I have been impressed with how many great ports are on XBL.  Having games like Guardian Heroes and Radiant Silvergun available for ten bucks is an amazing deal when you consider the money involved in hunting down a working copy of the system and a copy of each game. 

  13. Drew Toal says:

    I’ll be busy terrorizing the Caribbean in Sid Meier’s Pirates!. In my younger days, I would play as the swashbuckler. Now that I’m older, wiser and more injury prone, I prefer to be the gunner and sink every Spanish ship afloat. Take no prisoners.

  14. After a week of playing a ton of games on my 1985 launch NES–which you now have to shove a pen into to get it to work properly–I am finally going to sink some time into Yakuza: Dead Souls. Been putting it off really. I like my Yakuza weird but with a hint of plausibility, you know? Plus, too many zombies out there these days. Must it always be zombies?

    Everyone playing Xenoblade is making me jealous. I am far from my Wii.

    Probably should have reconsidered that last sentence.

    • root1ltc says:

      Sounds like you’ll need to get a new 78 Pin connector in that system soon.

      Or just play ROMs. I chose the latter, personally.

  15. caspiancomic says:

    Would I lose my gamer-snob cred if I admitted I’d be playing A Link To The Past… for the first time? I grew up in a Sega/Sony household, but since I’ve been thinking more seriously about game design as a career, I’ve decided to fill the gaps in my Nintendo history. I most recently put away Mega Man X, and after I’m done with Zelda, I think I’ll move on to Super Castlevania IV.

    • whataworkout says:

      Lose cred or not, see what you have been missing out on? 

    • Drew Toal says:

      That sounds like a good weekend.

    • That sounds like the best weekend. If you get the chance, play some Actraiser. 

      Man, Link to the Past for the first time. My jealousy is boundless. It’s such an amazing game though. I play it about every three years and I still find things that I’ve never seen before.

    • Drew Toal says:

      This is actually inspiring me to go home and steal my parents’ Wii this weekend. Next weekend will be earmarked for A Link To The Past.

    • doyourealize says:

      I’ve been going the old school Zelda route, too.  Been trying to beat the last guy in fucking Adventures for quite a few weekends now.

      • AuroraBoreanaz says:

        In seventh grade, my step-brothers had Zelda on Nintendo.  We took turns playing it, and I happened to get to the end while they were out playing somewhere.  Right as I struck the final blow on Ganon, I paused the game, ran outside, and ran about four blocks to find them and get them to come back and watch the end with me.

        Good times.

    • Emperor_Jim says:

      A Link To The Past is awesome. You’ll love it. And you’ll only lose cred (and possibly your life) if you don’t.

  16. BuntlineSpecial says:

    Spider Man: Web of Shadows.  Seriously considering another Red Dead Redemption play through.

    • Shawne Malik says:

      I finished RDR recently then went on a FPS binge consisting of Killzone 2, COD4 and Modern Warfare 2. I then returned to Undead Nightmare, which reminded me of how great RDR really is. Up next on my playlist is Vanquish, Deus Ex Human Revolution and a demo for the new SSX. I’ve contemplated picking up Oblivion, Skyrim and/or Fallout New Vegas but the thought of dedicating that much time is daunting. Fallout 3 was great but it’s too long for my taste.

  17. OhHaiMark says:

    I’m playing Resonance of Fate this weekend.  I just started it.  It’s well-made and the battle system is pretty unique, but hollllyyy crap does this game get hard fast.

    • alguien_comenta says:

      I kept at it for a while, but didn’t finish it. Even when you get better guns you still can die anytime, sounds awful but it’s great to have that sense of challenge

    • root (1ltc) says:

      RoF is actually really good. It’s the best RPG I’ve played in years, not that I play them much at all anymore.

      The most difficult part of the game is the early stages when Hero Actions are sparse.

      There’s an item selling trick to exploit in the midpoint where you’ll be able to generate money to buy everything you want.

  18. doyourealize says:

    Hopefully get in some Mass Effect 3, and I just bought Final Fantasy XIII-2.  Also just downloaded SpaceChem on Steam for $2.49, so gonna see what that’s all about.  Heard good things.

  19. Gus Mastrapa says:

    I picked up a Kinect last week for the Dossier on Tim Schafer. And while I generally hate the imprecision of motion controls I kind of dig the new Suda 51 game Diabolical Pitch. I really like that guy’s brand of weird.

  20. ShitMcFWillNotAssimilate says:

    I’ve been playing Saints Row the Third. It’s my first experience with the franchise and I have to say it is ridiculously stupid but still a lot of fun.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I got the second one from Steam. I rather enjoyed it for a week, then it consumed itself in such a shitsplosion of glitchiness that I haven’t even considered reinstalling it.

  21. BeavisPhilbin says:

    I just bought a dreamcast and handful of games. So far I’ve been playing Sonic Adventure and Elemental Gimmick Gear. I have Shenmue and Seaman set aside, and burned a copy of Jet Grind Radio but haven’t played much of that yet either. I’m waiting till I have a good chunk of time to invest in shenmue so I’ll probably get into that this weekend. Seaman i’ve kind of been avoiding. I really want to get my hands on a copy of Rez too.

    • caspiancomic says:

       YEEEEEES. Oh man, Dreamcast was the bomb. Still so many good memories of Sonic Adventure and Jet Grind/Set Radio. Also, the Dreamcast was famously easy to pirate games for, and now that it’s no longer in production you can bootleg as many games as you like guilt-free. Power Stone, Crazy Taxi, The House of the Dead, Skies of Arcadia, Chu Chu Rocket… you’re in for a good time brother.

      • ShitMcFWillNotAssimilate says:

        Skies of Arcadia was the last JRPG that I really enjoyed.

      • BeavisPhilbin says:

        Yeah, a lot pretty cool looking and well-regarded games. I’m still figuring out the whole iso burning thing though. lots of trial and error. I’ve only got one game to work so far. It seems there are some pretty decent games for cheap on ebay and amazon and other places online too, so thats cool. But for some games, the piracy route still seems worth the hassle. like I’d rather not pay $50+ for a used copy of rez — more than double i paid for the dreamcast itself… haven’t gotten that iso to work yet though. 

        • ShitMcFWillNotAssimilate says:

          With all the downloadable games available on Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii it’s frustrating that are still so many good older games that are unavailable.

        • BeavisPhilbin says:

          Haha yeah I’m cheap so I’m about a decade behind… I don’t actually own any of those consoles. Just realized there’s an xbox download version of Rez. 

    • Start playing Seaman immediately. The way it’s designed, you can only do so much in a real life day (unless you change the Dreamcast’s internal clock).

  22. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I’ll most likely be playing some Dota 2 and catching up on my backlog. I’m trying to play through some DS games that I missed, but i always just end up playing Link’s Awakening some more. But yeah, Dota 2 is what I’m all about.

  23. Luc Tremblay says:

    “The one thing that would really piss people off would be if the ending was the same no matter what path you took.”So, pretty much what happened, then.

  24. NephewOfAnarchy says:

    Call of Juarez : The Cartel! Though this was a critically (and probably commercially) dissed title, I’m enjoying the vibe of the dirty cops vs drug lords story. I can recognize that this is not exactly one of the great shooters of our time, and the gameplay mechanics are somewhat clunky, but looking at it as a videogame equivalent of a Grindhouse type flick, it does the job for me. But obviously my tastes are off the map because I tried Rage, and got bored really quickly.

    • Mookalakai says:

       Wow that is the exact same sequence of games I’m playing. I finished Rage, really enjoyed it but it was much too short. I doubt I’ll like Call of Juarez as much, but I really just want to shoot more people so I’m sure it will be passable.

      • NephewOfAnarchy says:

         Ha ha yeah Rage sure did look pretty and everything, but I was looking for some ownage so I wasn’t really in the mood for driving place to place and collecting engine parts and all that. Guess I should have done my research on that one. Might come back to it later. Anyway just finished Juarez and…yep if you want to shoot people, it’ll work for you. Picked it up on the cheap so no complaints there.

  25. Honestly if we’re going to take the tack that video games are an art form (we’ll just assume they are to avoid cumbersome, useless bickering) there’s really no getting around the notion that, a few abstractionist examples aside, narrative games are pulp art first and foremost, both in their traditional setting trappings (war narrative, sci fi, fantasy, horror, alternate history, etc) and in their semi-pornographic (in the academic sense) nature. The best games (Bioshock, Vampire: Bloodlines, Red Dead Redemption) are still pulpy.

    Reason that’s relevant is that there’s never been a particularly strong through-line of pretension regarding narratives as sacred authorial text in pulp fiction, at least not until Vonnegut and the like turned it into an ostensibly high-brow thing that ought to be taken seriously and defended as fine art would. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes just to retcon him back to life sans explanation. The concept of plot permanence in popular comics is deservedly regarded as a joke. Spock was searched for, etc. Like most nerd fetishes pulp is largely defined and guided by its consumers. That’s just descriptive fact.

    There’s no real scandal with the row over ME3’s ending. Mac Walters did a marvelously shitty job wrapping up the story and Bioware is covering its ass now, without changing the real content of the ending, which is their right. But they were never compromised in any real sense, certainly not artistically.

    • BeavisPhilbin says:

      So I guess George Lucas would be some kind of horrible inversion of that principle? 

      You make a good point. But isn’t the fact that those examples were all played out over the course of serials have some bearing on the analogy? It’s one thing to change things inter-episodically, but with video games’ ability to go back and make endless tweaks and changes on a single installment, it seems a bit different. Beyond the comercially/nerd-driven aspect, I guess it’s also a matter of the whole form/function relationship being a prominent concern with games that makes them difficult to put into an artistic context.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       There’s a good parallel to Sherlock Holmes here. Sir Arthur killed him off because he’d grown tired of writing the character, only to have to resurrect him because of popular demand.

      Art does often conform to popular demands made on it. The movie Cradle Will Rock isn’t particularly good, but there’s a line that Berthold Brecht says that occurs to me here: “Artists are the worst whores of all.”

    • That’s a great way of stating it: narrative video games are mostly pulp art. 

  26. Keith says:

    I’m close to finishing two extremely different games: Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Sly 2: Band of Thieves. I’m also waiting for my copy of Xenoblade Chronicles to be delivered, but that probably won’t happen until at least Monday.

  27. I’ve started playing Mass Effect 2, and I’m really enjoying it. I hated the combat when I played the demo, but I enjoy it now that I’ve gotten the hang of it. But who cares? I’ve settled on a hardcore renegade Shep for my first playthrough, and I’ll try paragon next time. 

  28. Andy Tuttle says:

    I just got the SNK Arcade Collection for Wii in the mail yesterday so I think I’ll be shooting some bastards in Metal Slug and kicking ass in Fatal Fury.

  29. Zane Crosby says:

    Kumail is awesome!!! Love The Indoor Kids!

  30. root (1ltc) says:

    Currently playing:

    Lunar Beat. Newly developed Beatmania IIDX sim that works great on HD rigs.

    Muchi Muchi Pork, in about 15 minutes. I managed to clear out Pink Sweets Arrange a few weeks ago, so I want to get a 1CC of MMP in some fashion before moving on to another disc.