What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Gameological Interns Landon Gray Mitchell, Matt Gerardi, and Matt Kodner

The Gameological Summer Interns

Because there were no alternatives.

By John Teti • June 22, 2012

Hello, friends. Normally in this space, you would read an interview with a cultural figure of some note. And we had such an interview ready to publish until late Thursday, when we had to pull it because of a snafu on the interview subject’s end. It was nothing scandalous, but it did happen too late to find a replacement. These things happen. I took a deep breath and rounded up the interns. To whom else would I turn in a time of crisis? Putting aside my belief that interns should be neither seen nor heard, I said, “You bastards are going to be the What Are You Playing This Weekend? people for tomorrow, so think of something to play, and then I will interview you, and then maybe this godforsaken week can be over.” Or words to that effect. If I’m being completely forthright, there was probably more profanity in the original.

They rose to the challenge, as they always do, kidding aside. They’re a good bunch. Here’s what they had to say.

The Gameological Society: Landon Gray Mitchell, what are you playing this weekend?

Landon Gray Mitchell: I am playing Pandemic, the board game. I got it for my birthday, which is happening in a week, from my parents. I first heard of the board game on Gameological from some commenter. I’m not sure who it was.

Gameological: Look at that. It’s the circle of life. How did your parents know to get this for you?

Mitchell: Because my mom texted me, and I texted her back, “Pandemic. The board game. It’s on my Amazon Wishlist.” And she went and did that.

Gameological: That’s not a very good story.

Mitchell: It’s not.

Gameological: I was thinking your parents were pretty savvy.

Mitchell: No, not savvy at all. I don’t think I’ve ever asked for a board game. So now I’m reliving the childhood that I never had, apparently. If only my parents were savvy when I was a young kid.

Gameological: Okay, now it’s a sad story. What interests you about the game?

Mitchell: It’s cooperative. It’s entirely cooperative. I’m not pitted against my friends.

Gameological: That’s right. Because you were the one who told me that when you play games with your family, you don’t care who wins.

Mitchell: Yeah. I don’t care who wins.

Gameological: Which I think is stupid.

Mitchell: [Laughs.]

Gameological: Because you’re family, you just enjoy your together time.

Mitchell: Yeah, yeah. Anytime I play board games with my family, we just sit around the table and laugh and eat things, and if we don’t even finish the game, it’s not a big deal. But with Pandemic, when I’ve been playing it, now we all talk to each other and cooperate and try to win TOGETHER.

Gameological: [Sighs.] Well, I do like Pandemic, but I still think you had a bad upbringing. Kids need more competition. Hateful competition. Matt Kodner, what are you playing this weekend?

Matt Kodner: I’ve been stuck playing the same game, Jetpack Joyride, for a while. It’s an iOS game. I looked at the log time and I’m at about 9 hours. I don’t understand how I’ve held my phone for that long. And I’ve just been playing it nonstop on the subways for, like, 2 weeks.

Gameological: So you just got turned on to it.

Kodner: Yeah, I had Fruit Ninja, which I didn’t pay for, and some ad—I guess it’s the same company, Halfbrick—said, “Hey, check out this new game! It’s free for the holiday sale!” I’m like, “It’s not a holiday, but I’ll take it.” It’s fun because they switch up the way that achievements work. There are different ways of playing when you’re going for different achievements. So sometimes you have to, like, dodge the laser or fly without getting coins, but you don’t see progress unless you’re going after that specific thing. So it’s enough to keep you in this infinite loop where you keep on earning points for no reason.

Gameological: Yeah, because you just collect all those badges and then start over again.

Kodner: I’m on level—somewhere in the 50s. It just gives you a little token that says, “Hey, you made it this far. You’re this big of a nerd.” I have no life.

Gameological: They keep adding stuff. Didn’t they just add costumes or something? What did they just add to it?

Kodner: I don’t know. It does have costumes now. I got the Super Saiyan stuff. But I didn’t know they just added that.

Gameological: The Super what?

Kodner: Super Saiyan stuff, like you have Goku hair. Big blonde tufts and an orange suit.

Gameological: What is Super Sane? I’ve never heard that before.

Kodner: Dragon Ball Z.

Gameological: Oh. See, I don’t know what the kids are into these days.

Kodner: Oh, my God. Yeah, different generation.

Gameological: Is it spelled Super Sane? Like S-A-N-E?

All Three Interns, In Unison, As If They Had Rehearsed This Moment To Make Me Look Like A Complete Goddamn Moron: S-A-I-Y-A-N.

Gameological: You all know?!

All Three Interns: Yes.

Gameological: Wow. Okay, Jesus. Let’s move on. Matt Gerardi, your turn. What are you playing this weekend?

Matt Gerardi: I bought a bunch of older PS2 games. Rockstar’s adaptation of The Warriors, also Bully, and I’m trying to play through Silent Hill 2 for the first time.

Gameological: Bully I remember very fondly. Have you played any of that yet?

Gerardi: I played, actually a few hours. I’m probably almost done with it. I really like it. It captures a great spirit of youth. The soundtrack’s really awesome. I mean—there are little things about it that are bothering me that I think they could have fixed.

Gameological: Oh, you’re such a nitpicker. So now we have to talk about this. What bugs you about it?

Gerardi: The same stuff that always bothered me about the older Grand Theft Auto [games]. Checkpointing is really annoying.

Gameological: Because there’s so little of it?

Gerardi: Yeah, dying and then—or getting knocked out, because you don’t die—getting knocked out and then having to restart the entire mission. And then running back to the random geek that gave you the mission in the first place. But it’s an interesting take on that open-world concept. I also really want to pick up Quantum Conundrum on PC.

Gameological: Are you a big Portal fan?

Gerardi: I am. I am. I’m really looking forward to what Kim Swift pulled off at her new studio. Although [the studio’s] last game, I think they made Dark Void. Do you remember Dark Void?

Gameological: I try not to.

Gerardi: I think they made that. But yeah, I mean, Quantum Conundrum looks to have a lot of the same spirit of Portal. Of course, it’s missing the [Portal] writers, which was the biggest thing. We’ll see how it pans out. But I really like first-person games that are about more than just shooting. It looks interesting.

Gameological: None of you guys are playing together. Why don’t you get in the Gameological Steam group and play together?

Gerardi: I’m in the Gameological Steam group.

Gameological: Okay, a gold star for you. Now let’s eat ice cream.

And we did. Except Matt G., because he’s lactose intolerant, which I forgot. Oops. Anyway, what’s on your playlist this weekend? Share it in the comments.

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422 Responses to “The Gameological Summer Interns”

  1. HobbesMkii says:

    I don’t know that I’ll be doing a whole lot of “playing” this weekend. I finally got my stuff together and am helping out the team behind the A Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. I self-assigned myself to write history files, which are basically what governs who controls a CK2 territory from year to year. It’s pretty simple data entry, but with the plus side that I get to wholesale invent ancestors for the characters in the Game of Thrones world (minus those that are already part of the established canon).

    When I need a break from that (It’s taken me all week but I’m almost done with the North, so that’s 1 of 7 kingdoms down), I’ll be playing Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.

    Also, John, I think it’s cruel you tried to feet a lactose intolerant intern ice cream.

    • John Teti says:

      I know you’re kidding, but I actually felt pretty bad about it! Because it was homemade ice cream that my wife made up special for them. Next time: sorbet.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Man, that is a bummer. When I was in college, my boss used to send me home with BBQ he’d cooked. Technically, the BBQ was for every student who worked in the office, but I went to (and worked at) a kind of hippie college in the south, so someone was always vegan or vegetarian and had to make do with the potato salad or whatever. I felt bad, but not real bad, because I mean, hey, free homecooked BBQ.

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        Hey, when are you guys looking for interns again? I’ve only briefly written about games but it seems like Gameological would be a great place to work.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          At this point, it’s certainly sounds like you critique videogames with Teti while his wife pumps you full of homemade ice cream and sorbet, like some sort of frozen desserts Hansel-and-Gretel witch. Obviously, the interns featured here will have to say if this isn’t the case.

        • Cheese says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus They can’t! Their mouths are full of ice cream!

        • Matt Gerardi says:

          @HobbesMkii:disqus That pretty much sums it up. Except for me. Because I’m the lactose intolerant one. 

        • MattKodner says:

          yeah no hobz that’s about it. Plus cats. Lots of cats. 

        • Girard says:

          Just look for a wanted ad that reads:
          “I will pack your sweet pink mouth with so much iced cream, you’ll be the envy of every Jerry and Jane on the block!”

    • Morgan Filbert says:

       Nice, I’ve been playing the current release of the mod and I’m glad to see they’re going to be doing more work with it. My favorite one by far.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Yeah, I’m writing the history files to go back to Aegon’s Landing, so hopefully other people will write scenarios for the 300 years preceding the events of the books. Aegon’s Landing, for instance, has been talked about, but I’d also like to see the Blackfyre Rebellions and the Dance of the Dragons.

        • Morgan Filbert says:

          The Blackfyre Rebellions definitely tops my list. Best of luck and keep up the great work!

      • HobbesMkii says:

         I think it’s coming out next Tuesday. I’m positively giddy with excitement.

      • Morgan Filbert says:

         Besides the Islamic Nations becoming playable, I’m very curious about the new Empires they’re putting into the game.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          I think the only thing that really does is nerf the difficulty of possessing multiple Kingdoms (if you award kingdoms to your vassals). I’m not complaining, mind–I’ve been using the Titular Empire (and Kingdoms) mods since they first came out.

    • morley says:

      I can’t wait to play DotP13, but unfortunately Diablo 3 is taking up all of my waking non-work attention.

  2. Morning_Wodehouse says:

    You know one thing I really liked about Bully that I wish other sandbox games would do? Eventually they forced you to go to bed. If you stayed up too late you would start swaying on your feet and eventually pass out.

    One thing that always breaks my immersion in sandbox games is completing a mission, then running back to the mission giver and they act like they haven’t seen you for days – even though you talked to them about five minutes ago.

    In Bully you had to eventually rest so the space between the missions feel more realistic. Such a little thing – but it upped my enjoyment a whole bunch.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       The Bethesda Fallout games have a setting that makes you do this, don’t they? Or just New Vegas, maybe.

      The one thing about realism that observes basic functions, like sleep and eating/drinking, is that they never include that most basic human function: waste expulsion. Like in 24. I always find it disconcerting that Jack Bauer never has to go to the bathroom. I imagine if they had called the show 25, that last hour would consist entirely of Jack sitting on the can, reading a newspaper.

      • Electric Dragon says:

        I always handwave that by saying Bauer does those things during the advert breaks or when the show is on another plot thread.

      • stakkalee says:

        New Vegas has Hardcore Mode which give you 3 new sliders to worry about – Water, Food, and Sleep; also, stimpaks don’t heal you all at once and only doctor’s bags can heal a crippled limb.

        Baldur’s Gate II (I think) had big plot points that required you to sleep, but I can’t remember if they forced you to sleep of if they just waited for you to do it on your own.

      • jessec829 says:

        You’ll be delighted to know that in Persona 3, you not only have to sleep, but you can also use the bathroom (you don’t have to, but you can). The Persona games are great because they don’t let you do 18 million more things in an day than a real person could. If you want to touch base with your friend to raise your status, go for it — but there goes your whole afternoon. Spend the evening fighting monsters? Sure — but now it’s the next day, and by the way you’re really tired. I love it!

        (You probably already know all this. I got to the Persona games much later than everyone else.) 

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

           Persona 4 keeps up that tradition of “you can only do so much in one day.” Combine that with a frantic schedule (ESPECIALLY if you’re following a guide and want to do everything and befriend everyone in a single playthrough) and it really feels like you’re trying to make the most of your time. You tell yourself “If I don’t finish this dungeon in one day, then I’ll have to miss a chance to level up a Social Link, and that will throw everything off…”

      • HobbesMkii says:

         In The Witcher you have to sleep (or “meditate,” which you can only do by a fire, so…) alchemy. You don’t have to do it for long, but it’s there. It’s also one of the ways by which you heal.

      • MattKodner says:

        there’s that great sound effect when Link gets up off the haunted toilet in Skyward Sword. Good enough for this one!

      • BarbleBapkins says:

        In The Ship you have to take care of all kinds of bodily functions while you are hunting/being hunted by people.  Its mainly to keep people from camping the same areas (although it sometimes doesn’t work) but it also makes you vulnerable while you are asleep or on the toilet for example.

        Wait too long and you can die from lack of poopin’ which has to be one of the less common videogame deaths.

    • vinnybushes says:

      Necessary sleep is a great pacing device in most games. I have very strong memories of going to the inn in ff6 and hoping I’d get more of shadow’s back story. It’s such a small thing but it can add so much to a story.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        And therein lies the reason why so many people missed out on Shadow’s story — assuming they were patient enough to wait for him in the first place. I don’t think I *ever* sleep in inns — it always seems so inefficient.

        I do recall one recent RPG, though — and I’m sure Ghaleon can tell me which one — in which you HAD to sleep in inns to restore your maximum HP, or something like that.

        • vinnybushes says:

           I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of dragon’s dogma. The hp mechanic is pretty interesting if only because you have to plan out your returns to town in advance. I don’t know if I fully like the concept but it is pretty interesting.

        • EmperorNortonI says:

           I remember the original Wizardry on the PC had an elaborate “sleep at the inn for X days at Y level of comfort to regain Z hp/day” mechanic.  This was mainly useful at higher levels, where you were worried about preserving spell slots for deeper in the dungeon.

          In Ultima V, VI, VII, and VIII everyone went to bed every night.  That was awesome.  Also, in Ultima V at least, you could only level up when you camped for the night.  I don’t recall if there even were Inns that you could stay at, though.

          In Fallout III, you got a bonus if you went to bed, but no penalty for never sleeping.

          Yeah, that’s as much as I remember of sleeping in games.

        • Yeah, FFVI had so many ways to regain HP/MP that Inns were pretty redundant. 

      •  Better than Oblivions “sleep to level up”, which wasn’t that much of a bind. Then you got unaviodably bit by a vampire and had to do an overlong series of dull fetch quests to cure yourself. Except me who figured this was balls and gave up.

      • Asinus says:

        It’s weird… I don’t remember if I had to do this in Skyrim or not, but in the previous ES games, you had to sleep to gain a level. Also, depending on what you did (cast spells, melee combat, etc) would determine which of your stats could go up. I miss that system.

  3. Aaron Riccio says:

    I’ve played through the first third of Quantum Conundrum, and I can say that it’s enjoyable, despite some slapstick-y writing that hews a little too closely to the Glados model, what with the uncle constantly berating his ten-year-old son, and all the game over screens iterating the countless things you’ll never have a chance to do. If there’s a serious complaint with QC, it’s that it requires quite a bit more dexterity (jumping from object to object, switching dimensions quickly while also hurling objects) and those controls don’t feel as fluid as I’d like them to. But no real complaints: it’s a blast.

    I’ve also been playing Magic 2013, which is a fine introduction to the new core set, and somewhat of a steal for $9.99, even if it’s designed to get additional micro-transactions from those who don’t have the patience to play enough levels to unlock every card in every deck. Plus, I really enjoy the logic-based challenges, which teach you how to truly exploit and maximize card combinations: I’d play a game with nothing more than those, even though there’s obviously limited replay there. 

    Meanwhile, I just got done with Little & Big, which was a beautiful and short little game with some irritating control issues, and I’m still jumping back into Splice every other day, just to see if my mind has processed the solutions to any more of the exceedingly tricky Epilogue puzzles. Oh, and then there’s Children of Eden, which I’ve got out on from Gamefly, and Max Payne 3, which I still haven’t beaten, and Mass Effect 3, which I keep delaying, though by now I’ve come to accept that I’m not going to be able to import my character, and I’m not going to be able to start a new game while checking off the things that I *did* complete in ME1 and ME2. Alas.

    I guess if I feel like really doing nothing else this weekend, I’ll also play a little QUBE and work through more of Superbrothers.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       The one thing that disappoints me about 2013 is that it doesn’t have that many decks, and the defaults don’t seem wildly divergent from the 2012 decks. I kind of think of this as a Madden pattern, where year to year changes aren’t really that noticeable.

      • X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

         Really? I felt the decks were fairly different then in 2012. The only deck I can think of that really seems similar to the 2012 version is the green beast deck, sure, it does share a few of the same cards but mixes it up quite a bit with what big heavy hitters it has.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          Yeah, @HobbesMkii:disqus , I’ve only really unlocked the first few, but the blue Drake deck feels fairly unique; perhaps it’s just that Red (burn and boost) and Green (rush and explode) so often feel similar to previous incarnations. Still, the usefulness of artifacts is nifty, and I hadn’t seen things like Hexproof, Exalted, Chroma, and Undying before, so I’m really enjoying myself. (I’m most impressed by how far Black has come; Bloodthirst is bananas.)

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @google-19efbd0104cbaffa5782aef5b7104019:disqus and X, did you guys buy any of the DLC decks for 2012? I got them on sale, and they’re basically the decks that are in 2013.

        • X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus I did and uh… after just checking them to see if your claim was true I have to say that’s some crazy talk there. I’ll give you the white weenie one but everything else is pretty different from what I’ve seen in 2013.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Well, I know better than to swim against the current. Regardless, it’s well worth every one of the ten bucks I spent on it. I wonder why it wasn’t a Sawbuck Gamer pick.

      • Link The Ecologist says:

        I played magic up until the Onslaught expansion and have been looking for a way to get back in, but it is hard to find a play group as I move around often for work. I have never even heard of this digital version. What do you get for the ten bucks. Can you build decks and other cards cost extra? Or do you have to use the provided decks? Do you play against other people? this seems cool but most of the fun for me with magic was building decks based on some off-the-wall premise, and this doesn’t look like it is built for that.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Yeah, there’s not really any deck building. You get preset decks of 60 cards, and you can unlock another 30 cards for each deck (which can either be all added in, or substituted for existing cards) by winning matches. The game will automatically balance your mana when you’re managing your decks. You can also unlock more decks as you play further into the campaign (although there’s only like six or seven in the base game).

          It’s billed as sort of an introduction for Magic, because it’s got a lower complexity and a lower price-point to entry. You can play multiplayer with other people.

          There’s a MTG Online game that serves as a digital version (where you actually have to purchase cards for your decks) of the actual game. Its UI is a bit less advanced, though.

        • EmperorNortonI says:

           In addition to the proper and official and expensive Magic Online, there’s also Apprentice.  Or at least, there used to be.

          Apprentice was a digital tabletop and deck building app.  It had no rules execution, and no card art.  The players did everything manually, via mouse clicks.  On the plus side, you got access to every card every published, and several basic tools to sort them by set, color, cost, etc.  So you could enjoy the game for free.  You linked up with opponents over IRC chat, and exchanged IP addresses to play.  Primitive, but fun.

          I got into that for about a year in 2001, but was frustrated at how I was still crappy at the game, and quit.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       As an old Magic hand from the 90’s, I was a bit put off by the fact that, at least in the first Duels of the Planeswalkers, you couldn’t subtract cards from you deck – just add them.  While I would have liked to use some of the more powerful cards, it just felt seriously, painfully wrong to be expanding my deck beyond the legal minimum.

      As stated downthread, though, the one-off challenges were a lot of fun.

      • ToddG says:

        Yeah, they added the much-needed ability to remove “base” cards in 2012, and it persists in 2013.  You still can’t mess with your land balance, but it was still a big improvement.

  4. Mike Mariano says:

    Teti, your interns are so poor they can’t afford Fruit Ninja!  Pay them more!

    Interns, rise up and demand a greater share of the vast wealth Gameological takes in based on your labor!  You have nothing to lose but your chains!

    Thanks to last week’s advice I beat Oblivion; thank you all!  I guess I have to wait for Quantum Conundrum to show up on Xbox Live Arcade before I can make that my next game, though.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

       I just recently started Oblivion, which I picked up in a Steam sale aaaages ago so that is probably what I will be playing this weekend (assuming I can find the time, summer classes are a double edged sword). I am enjoying it much more than I expected, although I can already tell that the auto levelling might get a tad old.

      • Merve says:

        I also picked it up in a Steam sale a while back, and I ran into so many broken quests and other bugs that I eventually gave up on the game. But I’ve got a new PC now, so I might give it another whirl.

  5. vinnybushes says:

    This weekend I’ll probably be polishing off Resonance. So far I like it pretty well, and as a major plus it has one of the better hacking puzzles I’ve seen in a video game (this matters to me more than you might think). I also download arcanum from gog.com but I’ve balked at playing it a because I have to read through a 180 page pdf of the manual to get up to speed on it, but I do love me some troika. Also, I picked up Aliens Infestation which is sufficiently intense for an aliens tie in. Basically I’m looking for another game to really sink its hooks into me, and I have far, far too many candidates on my pile of shame.

    Also: I might finally get around to playing through God of War 2, and I’m exploring the library of sega master system games because, I’m woefully undereducated on them (I’ve heard good things about the wonder boy series)

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Resonance — is that the adventure game from the people who did Gemini Rue and the Blackwell games? I’ve heard almost nothing about it, but if you’re seriously recommending it, I’ll have to add it to my list. 

      • vinnybushes says:

        I’m only a little way into resonance but it is pretty cool. there are neat touches that involve recalling long or short term memories and using them in dialogue to solve puzzles. The puzzles themselves are all well designed and fairly intuitive. So far I only have two problems with the game:
        1. They use mostly the same voice actors as Gemini Rue which is distracting but not a deal breaker
        2. A character you run into early on is a nebbishy old janitor named Saul (of course…) who is just an enormous one dimensional jewish stereotype. He’s whiny and he never shuts up about Barbara Streisand. He’s really, really, out of place.

        other than that though, no complaints.

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          I thought the same thing about the janitor. And he had just survived an explosion! I get that they’re trying to keep things from getting grim all the time (sort of like the old SCUMM games in that regard, Fate of Atlantis etc) but yeah, one note.

          There are lighter touches of humor though – when you first play as the reporter you can hack into the receptionist’s computer, read the draft email that excoriates the dopey doctor / her internet soul-mate, and send it to him. I’m wondering if that has an effect on anything later on. Liking the game overall.

        • Mythagoras says:

          Fair enough that it’s stereotypical, but it’s worth pointing out (’cause I’ve seen someone elsewhere call it antisemitic) that both the voice actor (Abe Goldfarb) and the director/producer (Dave Gilbert) are themselves Jewish. They probably just thought it was a fun take on a bit character.

          I played an early beta without the voices, and I don’t think the Barbara Streisand lines were in there, so they might very well have been ad libs.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         Are the Blackwell games… good? I’d heard about them a few years ago, and then they recently turned up on GOG, but they look so clumsy and amateurish that I never went for it to buy the pack.

        • dreadguacamole says:

            I like the Blackwell games quite a bit – they’re very well written and desingned, and have only gotten better with time.

           I’ll be picking Resonance up soon-ish – too many other games to play at the moment.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        No, Wadjet Eye is a publisher that basically aggregates independent developers.  http://xiigames.com is this Vince Twelve man’s company.  http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/18138  He did 2 okay art games before spending 5 years on this.

      • Mythagoras says:

        You’re certainly thinking of the right game.

        While @GhaleonQ:disqus is right that it’s a third-party title published by Wadjet Eye, they were also involved in the development (taking over most of the coding towards the end of the process), and the guy who did the character graphics and animations, Shane Stevens, also worked on one of the Blackwell games. In the credits you’ll even find Joshua Nuernberger (the one-man team behind Gemini Rue) for “additional graphics” or something like that.

        You know best whether you’re interested in a retro-looking indie adventure game. (Since you know Gemini Rue and Blackwell, I’m guessing the answer is yes.) In that case, I don’t think you’ll find a better one than this. So yes, absolutely recommended.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      You mention it below, but I just want to point out that the interface ought to be the new standard if developers don’t want classic Sierra VGA-style.  It’s so efficient for play and for puzzling out problems.  Between that and Deponia, it’s a fantastic month for the Anglosphere and graphic adventures.

  6. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I’m probably going to finish up Professor Layton and the Curious Village this weekend. Maybe. I feel like I should be almost done with it, but who knows how long it is. I also recently started playing TF2 again and am having a lot of fun. I like to play it after Dota 2 sessions because the community is so much nicer in TF2.

    Also, it’s on OSX and it’s FREE, which makes it a prime candidate for a Gameological game night or some sort of event. I want to get some more use out of that Steam Group.

    • Merve says:

      Man, I should probably learn to play TF2. I’ve played through one of the tutorials and that’s it. But if you guys organize a Gameological TF2 night, I’ll get up to speed.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        It’s pretty easy to get into, all things considered, though I’ve gotten used to games with fucking ridiculous learning curves. I’d be up to explain things to people, definitely. I have a few hundred hours logged on TF2 over the years (I really wish steam didn’t keep track of that, I would die if I knew how many hours I spent playing my precious SNES games.) so I have a pretty good understanding of the game and classes and all that. I’m not so sure about all the new weapons though. 

        I’ll make a post on the Steam Group sometime later so we can coordinate schedules if enough people are interested. I’ll donate some of my in game items for a little prize pool maybe even. Or probably just give them away, I have a sizable amount of dupes.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           Just a quick plug for anyone who’s reading this and the interview and going “Gameological has a Steam Group?”


          We’re at 72 people, but I feel like we’ve been a little muted. More people would definitely help.

          OT: (sorta) You and I still need to give Dungeon Defenders a go, Fyodor.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          I’ll reinstall Dungeon Defenders tonight. I guess message me on steam sometime?

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        The nice thing about TF2 is that you only really need to learn how to play ONE type of character, and to then rely upon your team to handle the others. For instance, I can’t handle the Pyro, Spy, or Mechanic, but I’m a nasty Medic, Soldier, and Sniper.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I’m in; it’s superfragicexplodocious.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve been playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village! I just got a 3DS for my birthday on the 7th, and that was the first game I bought for it. Well, I bought a $3 downloadable SMB, but it was the first game cartridge I went to a store and bought. It’s great fun so far.

      What I just started playing that’s not so fun is Mass Effect 2. I bought 1 and 2 when they went on sale for $5 each on Gamefly a couple weeks ago. I played the first one for about 20-25 hours in a week or so, and while the first twenty minutes involved a bit of a learning curve (namely, me “learning” how to turn the difficulty down to Casual,) it was fun pretty much the whole way through.

      I still had some sidequests to do but decided I didn’t care, and wanted to finish the game. I loved the whole endgame, gave myself a day to rest and process in the real world, and then imported my character into 2.

      I couldn’t even make it through a full hour, I hate the controls so much. Maybe they’re better in a console version, but on PC, for me, it’s unplayable. The second one has universally better reviews than the first, and so far I’m just pissed at the controls and already sick of Yvonne Strahowski and her annoying, annoying voice.

      • I seem to recall that most PC gamers were upset with the controls of Mass Effect 2 when it first came out. It was almost certainly designed with consoles in mind. 

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           It’s weird to me that they didn’t just use the same control scheme as the original, which controlled the way most native PC games do. It didn’t seem like the mechanics in 2 were any different, so why they used such a weird key mapping (and made the camera non-controllable during combat) just eludes me.

          The most obvious, though not the most annoying, weirdness is that “sprint” and “use” are both mapped to the space bar. I moved them to E, the normal place to put “use,” but keep reaching for the Shift key to sprint and end up telling my squadmates to do random crap.

      • Merve says:

        I also played through the series on PC. It took me a couple of hours to get used to the controls in ME2, but after that, it was a blast.

    • Ah, Professor Layton. I don’t remember the first game being all that long, depending on how much time you spend backtracking for hidden puzzles. 

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         I’m about 7.5 hours in, and feel like I’m probably 3/4 done, at least in terms of how many “mysteries” I’ve discovered, and how many of those mysteries I’ve already figured out on my own. The plot (if it is what I think it is, and I do think that it is) is actually much more interesting than what I thought the game would have. I’d kind of assumed that it would just be an incomprehensible mess of conspiracies that ultimately meant nothing, but so far it’s a pretty nicely put-together mystery where the clues actually lead to the answers.

    • ShrikeTheAvatar says:



      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        My most recent jerk encounter was after someone on my team DC’d and a guy on the other team was like “if you disconnect I’m reporting you. I’m tired of leavers.” It was already a stomp and it was 4v5. It wasn’t going to be a close, challenging game. I was so confused. THERE WAS ALREADY A LEAVER BEFORE HE SAID THAT. What even.

        • ShrikeTheAvatar says:

          I’d take that over being told that I should get cancer and die.  

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Well, yeah. I haven’t had very many encounters with totally nutso people yet. I consider myself very lucky.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      I would be interested in a Gameological TF2 night as well.  It is a great game to have for an event since it is free and pretty easy to get the basics.

      @Merve2:disqus, as others have said it is pretty easy to get into.  Some classes like the Spy take a bit of extra time to get (I absolutely cannot play that class well), but the rest is pretty basic FPS stuff.

  7. X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

    This weekend I can say for sure that my games will include Magic 2013, Marvel Pinball and Rocksmith.

    Although I think I should slip in a little Sly 2 because I keep forgetting to play more of that. Maybe if I’m really lucky I can get back into playing Xenoblade again after being unable to use my Wii for a while (due to a lovely flood in my basement.)

  8. Merve says:

    I’m about halfway through Quantum Conundrum and I plan to finish it this weekend. It’s a lot more like the original Portal than the sequel (which was to be expected, since Kim Swift didn’t work on the sequel); there’s quite a bit of platforming and environmental manipulation where timing is of the essence. (At one point, I actually had to practice a move about a half-dozen times before I became confident enough to execute it without dying.) At times, it almost feels as if it would play better from a third-person perspective. On the whole, it’s probably slightly more difficult than the Portal games. I highly recommend it (but I reserve the right to change my mind if I get to the end and find out that I have just 3 choices that differ only in the dimension in which they take place).

    As for what else I might be playing this weekend, if and when I finish Quantum Conundrum, I might try to make some more progress in BioShock or Beyond Good & Evil. Heck, I might even try my hand at Far Cry. Whatever, I’ll be gaming behind the times, like a boss.

  9. Andrew_Ryans_Caddy says:

    I picked up Nier a while ago. I’m really enjoying it, especially because it’s so odd. It’s like nobody told the people who made it that games like this aren’t made anymore. It’s more like an action RPG you’d find on the PS1, except prettier. Save points, text boxes, healing with herbs. So much nostalgia. I’ve decided that the true quest is to find Kaine some pants. 

     I’ve also been replaying Assassin’s Creed 2, because I love any game where you can press O to hug Leonardo da Vinci. 

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Ah, Nier. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but it does have one of the more satisfying/annoying “true” endings out there, the sort that makes you go: “Did I really just play the game THAT many times for THAT?”

      • Andrew_Ryans_Caddy says:

        Is that one of those things where you have to get like 100% of everything to unlock it? I always just YouTube those. Ain’t got that kind of dedication. 

        • rvb1023 says:

          While this is acceptable, you do miss out on the impact of the ending a little.  Though if you don’t enjoy grinding out those weapons then it’s not worth it.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       It’s a weird, lovely little oddity. The first time the game broke out a bullet hell section I had to pause it, I was laughing so hard.
       I really need to get back to it; Not this weekend, though.

  10. Last night, I started replaying Buffy The Vampire Slayer(for the original XBOX), so I’ll probably be playing through that this weekend.

    The design team behind it, The Collective, did a stellar job on the combat system for the game. They used the same system for Indian Jones And The Emperor’s Tomb, which I’d easily call the best Indiana Jones game.

    Anyways, the combat system is one of the best and really makes you feel like you’re controlling the Slayer(and, in the other game, Indy). It came out way back in 2002, but it had the best fighting system for a licensed game until Batman: Arkham Asylum, IMO. Also, the writing and voice acting is perfect. It really feels like a lost season of the show.

    Anyways, it’s a game I love and, quite honestly, was one of the main reasons I bought an XBOX back in the day. It was worth it.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I’d call Emperor’s Tomb maybe the best of the live-action Tomb-Raider-like Indy games, but Fate of Atlantis will forever remain my favorite Indiana Jones game. 

  11. ImANarc says:

    I’m going to try and finish Fable II this weekend.  I bought it months ago and got about a third of the way through it as an evil/pure character but got bored with it.  This run-through I was going as a good/corrupt guy, but I didn’t like the flies so I became pure.  I’ve made my character a warrior who is as fat as he is gay and, let me tell you, is he ever gay/fat.  I’ve even decided to go full-on bear and get all the hair and girth that I could possibly get.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      From what I’ve heard about Saint’s Row 3, the character that you’re trying to create would be hysterical there.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Albion’s gay menace is a little more literal than our hypothetical real-world counterpart.

    • ImANarc says:

      Barnum, noooo!  Now I wish I never finished this game!

  12. Aaron Riccio says:

    I’m surprised that the interns stumped their boss with a DBZ reference. I could understand being confused by time-traveling Trunks and the GT series, but to have avoided Saiyans entirely? I’ll just chalk that up as further proof of your video-game devotion. 

    For me, however, video games and anime will always remain intertwined; up until now, the only mail-in contest I’d ever won was for Gamer’s Republic magazine (which I believe eventually dissolved into Game Informer), which asked readers to list their top five anime. Back then, the answer was simple: Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Escaflowne, Kenshin, and DBZ was pretty much the only stuff I could reliably find cheap VHS fan-subs of in Chinatown. 

  13. We’ll see. I might try to get back into Skyrim, or I may just play Portal again. 

  14. Lego Batman 2 this weekend. Looking everywhere for gold and red bricks.

    • Raging Bear says:

      Me too, although I personally consider the collectibles incidental to the higher goal of mindlessly smashing the hell out of everything in sight.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         I played my first Lego game, Pirates of the Carribean, with my older sister at her apartment a few weeks back. I didn’t really understand the game so I just hit things with my sword and ran in circles, jumping constantly.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Luckily, this is probably the one series where that’s a completely valid strategy.

  15. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    I don’t know if The Warriors would still hold up these days, but I played the shit out of that when it came out, loved it. Didn’t even mind the should be tedious steal-the-car-radio mini game. Favourite bit was going toe to toe with the Baseball Furies.

    Then went and found a copy of the movie and it’s pretty terrible. Still, who could not dig this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-OYKd8SVrI

  16. KidvanDanzig says:

    I’m playing the excellent Streets of Rage superhack SORR v5, which I was lucky enough to discover right as the final version was released and before Sega shut the whole thing down. It was really a shame, the game is fantastic. It’d be a gauranteed money-maker if they would just put it on XBLA or something, but nope, IP violation = gone forever.

  17. bunnyvision says:

    If I get a moment, I’m probably going to play more of Deadly Rooms of Death online – 
    http://caravelgames.com/Articles/Games_2/FlashDROD/KDDL.html. It’s ridiculously entertaining and frustrating in the way a good puzzle game should be.

  18. Enkidum says:

    Matlab. I’m swearing at matlab. Right now. That’s about it for the next while, really, as I’m gonna be attempting to communicate with my Chinese inlaws and working when I’m not hanging out with them.

    I spent all day (and most of the day yesterday, and the day before) swearing at Illustrator and Matlab, and I think the flight is going to be more of the same. Programming sucks and science is dumb!

    Oh, and just so I’m not only bitching inanely, I just started the Strong Bad series of games, we got through about half an hour. It’s been a loooong time since I’ve played an adventure game – getting on for two decades, I think. I haven’t gotten any better at them, but it’s fun controlling SB.

    • Merve says:

      Welcome to my life, man. But at least I get to spread the hate. Octave, Excel, and Stata are all deserving of my rage!

    • alguien_comenta says:

      If you’re tired of Matlab you can always get distracted by one of its Easter Eggs:

      I spent a lot of time during my Master’s asking Matlab ‘why’ =p

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I remember being frustrated at the first Strong Bad game, of which I only ever played the demo. Something about the interface made it hard for me to play, though I don’t really remember what. It did kind of make me irrationally avoid anything Telltale-related since then, though.

  19. dreadguacamole says:

     I’ve given up on completing FFXIII-2; There are a couple of fragments that depend on winning a large amount of Casino Chips… and, no. Just no.

     I’ll be playing Quantum Conundrum and Lego Batman 2, I think; I’ve also got The Darkness 2 as a rental, and it’s a lot better than I expected it to be.

    • The 100% ending in FFXIII-2 would probably just make you mad. As for the Casino fragments, the slot machine one is just stupid. It could take you an hour; it could take you ten hours. It’s awful. As for the other casino fragments, they seem designed to force you to buy the Sazh DLC. You can easily rack up 50,000 tokens in an hour at the card tables. 

      • dreadguacamole says:

         I think I could get past the buyable fragments by just spending money instead of chips, but still, it’s just that retrograde grinding mentality that drives me up the wall.
         Just me being stupid, really; I have no idea why I’d thought it’d be different with this game.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Yeah, I was surprised at how enjoyable (and smooth!) The Darkness 2 was. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I haven’t played XIII-2.  Is the Casino chip principle similar to being unable to get Wakka’s final weapon in X if you don’t win the Blitzball championship?  Because I’d rather eat my own face, or the face of a loved one than play anymore of blitzball than was strictly necessary in that game.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Kind of, I think (I couldn’t play FFX, most characters in that game drove me genocidal)
         Basically, you need to win 7777 coins off a slot machine. Each attempt is a boring, manual process (I’ve since learnt you can do it automatically, but it worsens your odds). Looking online, most people got it by putting a rubber band in their controller and leaving it overnight…
         What is the point of that sort of design? The only possible justification is that the developers are having some sort of sick joke at the expense of completists.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       Would you say Darkness 2 is better than the first, at least in terms of “amount of entertaining bits?” I bought the first cheap and started in on it, but the shooting parts felt like work to me.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         I’d say it’s quite a bit better, gameplay-wise (though it does have unskippable, game-freezing execution animations). I wouldn’t really recommend it outside of a sale or a rental, though.

         The unusual thing about it is that it’s a typical juvenile gorefest, but it chooses to focus on the love story. And it executes it… I can’t say well, but it doesn’t embarrass itself too badly, and it’s rather sweet in an angsty/comic book kind of way.

  20. Hey, the Wii Virtual Console released another legitimately classic game this week: Double Dragon II: The Revenge for NES. This thing might not be dead yet!

    • Cornell_University says:

      I still have a working cart of that!  holy hell is that game a pain in the ass.

  21. EmperorNortonI says:

     I’ve been getting into Unity of Command this week.  I bought it a while ago, right after it was released, but just wasn’t in the mood for a real wargame.  Then I finally got around to installing it, and I’ve been hooked.  Quite light, by hex-based wargame standards, but thus playable.  Also, it handles position and movement better than any other I’ve played – quick thrusts to cut off supply lines and rapid encirclements are the bread and butter of the game, not just a rare and occasional thing.

    I believe I’ll have to give up on Dark Souls until the PC version comes out in a few months.  I’d been playing it at a friend’s house, but now he’s moving in with his new wife, and I don’t have an XBox at home.

    My League of Legends habit seems to have properly died.  I’m a bit sad about it, but as always, reluctant to jump back into something that had been obsessive.

    And, as always, Memoir 44 every morning before work with my carpool rider.  We’ve been playing through a bunch of jdrommel’s Desert War scenarios, and they’ve been a ton of fun.

  22. Cheese says:

    I picked up a Playstation Vita on a whim a week ago, so I’ll be playing gravity rush or one of the many PSP JRPGs I missed that’s available on PSN. Maybe some Diablo III if my friends are on, but I’m mostly over that game for a while.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I might push to finish Gravity Rush this weekend, although I enjoy taking my time with it. It really is freakishly good. Quite a surprising variety to the mission, as well, which is always a concern with open worldy games.

  23. ToddG says:

    Magic 2013 and Uncharted 3 for me this weekend.

  24. I’m going to be dividing my time between Pokémon Conquest and FFIV: The After Years; Lego Batman 2 has been purchased but probably won’t be opened until next weekend. Of course, that’s in between catching both Brave and Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this weekend. And recording a podcast… and maybe getting talked into Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 for review purposes. Also: two (paper) Magic tournaments.

    It’s going to be a busy geek weekend, is what I’m saying.

  25. Jason Sigler says:

    I finally popped in my GameFly game, Driver: San Francisco, and am having a blast with it. Popping around the city, jumping from driver to driver, it’s a great mechanic that keeps the action fresh and frantic.

    I’d also like to get in some more Diablo III, but I’m worried the XP bug might have affected me. Online-only games are the worst.

  26. Zack Handlen says:

    I’ve got three games running right now–The Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, and Far Cry 2. Kingdom is a lot of fun, reminds me of Skyrim but with shallower world-building and far stronger combat; my roommate’s obsessed with it, mostly because he really loves building his own armor (he spent most of his first Skyrim play-through getting to the point where he could make shit out of dragon scales) and, again, the combat is a blast, kind of goofy and arcade-like and weirdly soothing. (Mostly because it’s very familiar.) At this point, I’m pushing through Mass Effect 3 because I want to see the ending for myself. I loved ME2, and for a while I was really invested in ME3, but the game’s endless gloominess started to wear thin after a while. I get it, war is hell, everyone dies, etc, just not sure I want to spend forty or fifty hours getting this message rammed home. Still, there’s a lot to love about the game (FemShep 4 life), and I’m curious how much the conclusion is going to piss me off. With Far Cry 2, a friend keeps telling me it’s brilliant, and the used copy was 20 bucks, so I figured, what the hell. I’m not really big on “realistic” FPS games, but, again, I’m curious. 

    • ToddG says:

      Personally, I found the ending quite affecting and well done, and I don’t really get the big controversy.  I just can’t understand anyone having big expectations for wildly divergent endings; the strings on the “your choices matter” gimmick were pretty visible throughout all three games.  Anyway, I’m curious to see what you think of it.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

       I really liked Far Cry 2, but was sadly unable to finish it due to a bug.

      It really is a love it or hate it type of game.  The biggest complaint you will hear about it is that the guard posts throughout the game instantly respawn after you get so far away.  It can be a chore to either drive around or mop them up every time you drive down the road but I didn’t mind it.

      I think the actual runny gunny parts of it are some of the best out there, and you really do have pretty different options to approach each encounter (Wanna be stealthy? pick each person off with a dart gun! Ain’t got time for that? Set the whole damn thing on fire!)

    • Fluka says:

      Looks like you had good timing, Zack!  Apparently the ME3 Extended Cut DLC is coming out NEXT TUESDAY.
      Even as someone who thought the ending was perfectly fine…I am more than slightly excited. 

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I just saw an ad for Far Cry 2, and the environments look gorgeous. Are they as nice in-game? I’m a fan of anything with prettily-rendered water, more or less. I’m also unduly impressed by pretty skies, even when they’re just a flat image.

      • Zack Handlen says:

        I’ve only played about half an hour, but they look nice so far.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        The environments in Far Cry2 are gorgeous (at least on a PC), though they often seem to be a bit too cluttered, as if it was a theme park ride.

         If you like skyboxes, you really need to play the modded STALKER games. I’ve just restarted Call of Pripyat with the STALKER complete mod, and it’s stunning.
         Here’s what it looks like, this is right from the beginning of the game:
         You’ll need a fairly hefty PC to run it at those settings, though.

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           What I’m always afraid of is that the pretty pictures in the previews won’t look half as pretty on my laptop, which has a nice-but-not-great Radeon HD 6630M. It’s also taken to randomly slowing down to a standstill during games, even when there’s plenty of available memory.

          I might just be cursed, though. Never discount that possibility.

  27. Guybrush Threepwood says:

    I’m going to really crackdown on Bastion, which I got in the Humble Bundle.  I’ve pretty much given up on ever completing Super Meat Boy.

  28. Cornell_University says:

    further down the Dreamcast K-hole.  

    Sega Rally 2 is addicting despite the “how the living fuck am I supposed to get to that checkpoint on time?” factor that reminds me that yeah it’s an arcade game.

    Just unlocked Seung Mina in Soul Calibur.  not looking forward to trying to beat arcade with her (or any of the characters I haven’t used yet, really).  are there really no weapon upgrades in this one?  i keep thinking if I just progress a little further….

    Haven’t played Blue Stinger for a solid 2 weeks, which I’d like to amend if possible.

    Was looking forward to washing the taste of Miami Heat out of my mouth with some NBA2K but the disc is FUBAR.  that’s what I get for buying ebay lots.  I might try burning a cd-r of it, or maybe I’ll just play Double Dribble instead.

  29. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    I found a deal for a brand-new Vita for $200 on Craigslist, so despite my misgivings, I broke down and bought it.  It really is a gorgeous system.  I loved the DS,  and the iPad has a gorgeous display, but the high-fidelity, game specific design of the Vita manages to impress me.  It is beautiful, despite the kinda silly “pog interface”.
       The only problem is having to buy a memory card and then games.  All of which is to say, I’ll be playing Skyrim this weekend.

  30. MSUSteve says:

    I’m planning to play some more Lego Batman 2.  I’ve put in a couple of hours, but have yet to play as Superman.  I might also get back to Diablo III.

  31. Autoinducer says:

    I, too, bought Pandemic a month or so ago after hearing about it through a Gameological commenter.  My wife and I have kids and our friends don’t, so instead of going out and doing fun stuff like childless people do, they graciously used to come over to our place after the kids went to bed and we’d eat dinner and talk about poetry.  Now they come over and we play Pandemic.  Much better.  Thanks Gameological commenters and Thanks Pandemic!

  32. Nos1589 says:

    Two main games I’ll be playing are:

    Day-Z mod for Arma II
    CS:GO beta

  33. Ryan Cerbus says:

    Ugh. Pandemic. I hate that game so much. It’s an interesting study of group dynamics, but that’s about it. The outcome of the game is completely dependent on the order of the cards; you can lose no matter how well you work together as a group.

  34. sirslud says:

    I shall be playing Shootmania. This game is going to give FPS eSports a weird boner.

  35. Brainstrain91 says:

    The far-left intern is nice looking and I would like to meet him.

    Regarding Quantum Cunundrum – RPS’ review of it was more or less what I was afraid of. Like Portal, but the writing gets on your nerves, and it’s more about twitch-reflexes than thinking.

  36. Shiny_McShine says:

    I played Mass Effect 2 when it was first ported for the PS3 but I didn’t really get invested in it. The game doesn’t exactly hold your hand in terms of educating the player on what you need to accomplish. Or at least it requires more attention, which I learned on this, my second go-round. I’ve been applying a more thoughtful approach to establishing my character and her relationships with specific team members and, lo and behold, the game is really opening up. 

    I wanted to give the game another spin before I take on part 3 (which I’ve postponed playing until the hysteria over its ending died down a bit). That said, I’ll be struggling to find enough free time this weekend to keep my momentum going.

  37. Fluka says:

    Reteaching myself the subtleties of how to play Civ IV so I can play a LAN game with my husband, who started playing again recently too.  Cooperative instead of competitive, with him taking military and me taking culture and such, with lots of trading and defensive pacts and such.  A competitive game would result in me being killed in about 100 turns, as he has put in a *lot* more sleepless nights than I have back in the day.  Speaking of which, how the hell did it get to be 3 am last night?

    Is Civ V really worth checking out at all in the distant future?  I’ve heard…mixed things about it.

  38. SonicAlligator says:

    Just more Skyrim. Always with teh Skeyerimz! No buy seriously this is a problem, 50 hours of playtime and I haven’t finished a single quest line because new shiny shit pops up and I go after it.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      My favorite experience in Skyrim to date was a self-set quest of obtaining a full set of Orc armor, which meant I needed access to the mines in the Orc camps. Which meant I had to go do a quest for the Orcs. When I finally got back, a dragon spawned and killed the Orc Chief, who had given me the quest, before I could finish it. I had to load it over and over until I managed to kill the dragon before he got the Chief (and this was fairly early in the game, so dealing with dragons was not my forte).

  39. Channel 8 News says:

    I’ll be playing Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 and Pocket Planes! My airline stretches from Sydney to Barcelona.

  40. Brian Stewart says:

    I’m married with child so I’ve been stealing time in half hour increments to play through Lollipop Chainsaw (or Lolli Pop Chain Saw for TCSM purists.) I started out playing on hard, as my culture dictates, but it was stoopid. The zombies were abuse sponges and I was way too weak. On normal there’s very little challenge but at least I get a fast and furious injection of the game’s style and humor. It’s basically No More Heroes but stripped of the open world or 8 bit retro bits. I feel like it needs an old school arcade stick for optimal enjoyment. This is basically my mini-vacation from Dragon’s Dogma which just keeps getting better after a horrible start. I’ll probably get back to that once I’ve laid the zombies to rest.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve Googled and Googled and am stumped. What’s TCSM stand for?

      • Brian Stewart says:

        The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The actual title of the film, as registered with the patent office, has the word Chain Saw split into two words despite promotional materials that have it written as “Chainsaw.”

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           I’ll file that away for the next time I need to anger some children on a horror forum.

  41. Chris Holly says:

     I’ll be working through Lego Batman 2 for awhile, and probably mixing in a replay of Pandora Directive thanks to the Kickstarter-fueled nostalgia trip I’ve been on. There’s also a good chance I’ll be picking up Resonance this weekend.

  42. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution, because it’s dirt cheap on Steam. I imagine the soundtrack’s full of analog synths and of course there’s the Scandinavian architecture. Anything I need to know? I normally go for stealth. Is that viable and fun?

    Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, because it’s dirt cheap on PSN. Playing as Shun Di, but that’s obvious. I remember pretty much nothing from VF4 in terms of combos and stances, but I think I’m doing okay so far.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Deus Ex is one of the few games I’ve played to completion in the last few years.  It’s gorgeous, video game smart (not to condescend to games, but… y’know) and fun.
         The game strongly suggests stealth.  You can run and gun, but my understanding is that rarely yields the best results.  Each scenario has multiple approaches and it never gets old sneaking up on someone and knocking ’em unconscious.

      Is fun.

      • Merve says:

        I’ll say this for the game: it’s smart, but it’s not very subtle. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing; subtlety is overrated, IMO.) The game wears its themes on its sleeve, which often works to its advantage. The various NPCs will frequently talk about the ethics of transhumanism, which is reflected in the ethics of engaging with the game’s mechanics: Is it right for me to use my augmentations? Are certain augmentations ethical and other unethical? What if I use my augmentations to help the downtrodden? It’s notable that the Missing Link DLC includes an achievement for not using any augmentations whatsoever; it’s not just a mechanical challenge for players, but one that gets them thinking about how different life would be for Adam Jensen if he were just like everybody else.

        Or, y’know, maybe I’m reading waaaaay too much into the game.

    • Fluka says:

      Whoa, that is dirt cheap!  Thanks for the heads-up!  *Buys finally*

      • GhaleonQ says:

        Have you played before?  Favorite character?

        • Fluka says:

          Nope – been eyeing it for a while, but been waiting for a Steam sale so I could buy it at something like $20.  And now it is $7.  Probably won’t get to it for a while, what with playing Civ with my husband now and Mass Effect 3 again in a week (AAAH EXTENDED CUT NEXT TUESDAY), and apparently having a job.  But I’m very much looking forward to giving it a try, given all the awesome things I’ve heard…

    • Merve says:

      DX:HR is fantastic. The art direction is superb, it raises a lot of interesting issues, the gameplay is fun, and you can easily sink a good 25 hours into it.

      Stealth is probably the best approach, but if you ever want to run and gun, you can (at the cost of forgoing some XP gains).

    • Chris Holly says:

      Three things:

      1) Stay away from the hacking upgrades other than the ones that increase your hack level and the ability to control turrets and robots and the ones that reduce your chance of detection – the rest of them are worthless.

      2) The game encourages stealth, in fact a stealth run will typically garner you far more XP than the run and gun method.

      3) Don’t bother with the Missing Link DLC unless it’s on sale as well – it fills in a time gap in the main plot, but it’s not integrated into the main game and not necessary to enjoy the story.

      Have a blast – DX:HR is wonderfully deep and gorgeous to boot!

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         I’m kinda distracted by the weird faces everyone has. They remind me of nothing so much as Syberia, which, while a very pretty game, is not really a graphical benchmark by any means.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      There have been enough new fighting titles this generation that getting back into it was rough, too.  I can’t tell if it’s because of the changes or the wait, but my play has definitely changed.  I love it.  I usually stick in a style for 2-d ones, but a break from 3-d ones gets rid of some of my bad habits, my reliance on certain things, and my canned reactions to certain moves.  Again, I love Virtua Fighter because it feels like I’m constantly learning.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I just started Deus Ex: HR and was taken aback by how nearly-identical the opening sequence is to the opening sequence of Mass Effect 2, which I just started a couple days ago.


      • Merve says:

        The cool thing about the DX:HR opening is that it was actually filmed as a live-action sequence and was then edited heavily and overlaid with CGI. It’s one of the most awesome game openings I’ve ever seen. (ME2’s is up there as well.)

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           That’s kinda rad. It really did look great, though it’s a cliche I’m a bit sick of at this point. Multiple  needles entering skin at once, shitty-looking heart fluffing up and turning red, cells reintegrating, etc. all give me bad PTSD flashbacks to whichever Resident Evil movie did the same thing.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I forget if I’ve mentioned this before, but I went all-stealth all the way through DX:HR, and it was wonderful. I started a second play through trying out the combat, and got soundly slaughtered every single fucking time I engaged anyone even in the first area. Clearly, a lot if this is down to me sucking, but it may still suggest that stealth is broadly the way to go.

      • Merve says:

        The key to combat in DX:HR is to use as little ammo as possible and get in a couple of well-timed headshots, ducking for cover whenever possible. Always go for accuracy over bullet-spamming. Then again, I played through the game on easy mode (because I’m a wuss), so I don’t know if that same strategy will carry you through the game on higher difficulty levels.

  43. Boonehams says:

    I’m going to be playing Batman: Arkham City – Game of the Year Edition this weekend.  (I knew it was coming, so I stayed away from playing Arkham City until the GOTY Edition came out.)  All I really have left to do in the game is the Riddler’s side quest.  I almost have enough trophies to be able to punch The Riddler in his smug, self-righteous face, and I want to do that SO BAD.

  44. Steve Heisler says:

    DRAGON’S DOGMA! I’ve been gone for a week, so I’m excited to jump back in. Literally, as I just got the double jump. If anyone wants to use my badass warrior pawn Wedge, feel free to hit up dblohsteev on the PlayStation network. I want those sweet, sweet Rift Crystals.

    • Brian Stewart says:

      I love that game so much. I play as a strider and the bow mechanics hit that sweet spot between realism and arcade fun. Nothing like popping a cyclops in the eye from a distant ledge. I love LOVE L O V E the power shot. Actually I lied, I just switched to a mage archer which isn’t as much fun even with homing arrows.

  45. urthstripe says:

    More Diablo 3. Hopefully finally beating Dead Space 2. I’m back in the Ishimura and it’s scawwwyy.

  46. Superdeformed says:

    Batman: Arkham City (Game of the Year); maybe some Red Dead Redemption and/or Battlefield 3 multiplayer now that I have a 50″ HDTV. My PSN tag is Power_Lloyd if you care to add me.

  47. Effigy_Power says:

    I’ve been playing Saints Row 3 sporadically throughout the week, which is surprisingly fun and (on easy, mind you) surprisingly (pleasantly) easy.
    I was going to have a stab at MLB2K12 this weekend, especially the MyPlayer mode, but already ran into several bugs, one of which makes succession in the Minor Leagues impossible. On the PC I’d get a savegame or crack… on 360 I am sort of screwed.
    Ah well, maybe Soul Calibur 5 will be fun. The story already very expectantly promises not to be.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I’ve been playing SR3 in short bursts every few days, and I always end up aimless and bored. I feel like I’m doing something terribly wrong.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Well, I can see where you are coming from. After a while you become so overpowered with laser-guided missiles and VTOL jets, it’s a bit hard to find a challenge… The zombie incursion of Avarice Island helped a bit, but that was kinda short-lived too. I can see how the game loses appeal really quickly, after all, Steelport isn’t quite as much fun to just cruise around in as Liberty City is…
        Mind you, Liberty City with Steelport’s action…
        Well, I guess that would be San Andreas.

        • blue vodka lemonade says:

           I haven’t dealt with any zombies yet, and I’m not that far into the game that I can tell. It just seems like there’s nothing to do between missions, just run around punching people in the face.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           That pretty much remains the premise… with increasing incredulity, but in broad terms… yeah.

  48. alguien_comenta says:

    I’ll probably try to get the good ending on Lollipop Chainsaw (apparently the only thing you need to do is rescue every student and I’m only missing one) and try out more levels on Very Hard (Not much problem with the zombies, even with the new types that pop out on this mode, but the boss fights have been giving me some problems on this difficulty setting)
    Maybe some Resonance of Fate and probably some Child of Eden, I’ve got it from blockbuster for a while now, maybe it would’ve been cheaper to just buy it =p

  49. Link The Ecologist says:

    I just finished Xenoblade Chronicles after putting about 90 hours into it. I’m not sure how I feel about the story, but I found the colony building and affinity stuff pretty enjoyable. 
    Just picked up Rayman origins and that game is fantastic. It is a real gem after the pooper that New Mario Bros. Wii was.
    Also thinking of starting Beyond Good and Evil, as I’ve had it for years but never got more than an hour into it.
    I should stop reading these comments as it makes my Wii feel inadequate.

    • ImANarc says:

      I need to finish Xenoblade Chronicles one of these days.  I mean, I enjoyed the combat and that stuff but everything else kind of left me cold.  Although, every now and then, I get the urge to shout “THE MONADO!” in my terrible British accent.

      • Asinus says:

         I turned on Japanese dialog. I also need to finish it. The first 20 hours or so flew by, but the marsh really started to drag, but it looks like things are picking up again. I cannot stand games that have repetitive combat chatter that I can understand. I did the same thing with Valkyria Chronicles because it’s so damn distracting like an annoying child.

  50. I’m thinking a little SimCity 2000. Might try to see if I can finish Limbo as well. And I have one final dungeon left to go in Oracle of Ages.

  51. The_Misanthrope says:

    The 6-yr-old girl in our house has gotten obsessed with the 360 version of Minecraft and will not stop bothering me to spend every waking minute (and several sleeping minutes as well) playing it co-op with her.  I will say I like all the potential inherent in it, but I am really getting annoyed with the endless excavations (in a game called “Minecraft”, go figure, huh?) required to get the higher-order minerals (iron, charcoal, gold, etc.).  Also, the days are much too short, but that’s a complaint in real life as well.

    The other game I can’t seem to get enough of is The Binding of Isaac.  I have no idea why I can’t get enough of that game, but I just keep coming back to it.

    The “Never Enough Time” list of games I need to start playing/get back to:  Dark Souls (those damn Crow Demons!), all those games I got in Humble Bundle V, Skyrim, Arkham City Deluxe, all those promising Sawbuck Games from this month, Shadow of the Colossus (PS1), half the games released last year.

    I suppose it seems a little petty to complain about having such a wealth of great games out there, but here we are.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       Well, I loathe to use the term “White people problems”, but there it is… Mind you, I don’t know if you’re white.

      Or people. You could be a very tech-savvy badger after all.

      • Merve says:

        There’s always “first-world problems” if you don’t want to bring race into the equation. Then again, if @The_Misanthrope:disqus is indeed a badger, I’m not sure how he’d rank socieconomically.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Well, badgers are known to be the middle aged white males of the animal kingdom, so you’d be safe either way.

        • Raging Bear says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus You say that, but you should have seen the fuss when I enacted a middle aged white male cull in my county.

        • Merve says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqus: And here I was, thinking that bears and badgers got along. Childhood cartoons have lied to me.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I’m not a fan of either term, but “Caucasian, Cisgendered, Heterosexual, Low-SES Male Unburdened By Children, Spouse, Or Pets But Is Finishing The Remainder Of His Degree Out-Of-Pocket Problems” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

  52. OhLaika says:

    I’m playing either Skyward Sword or Enslaved: Odyssey To The West this weekend. Or maybe Pokemon Black…or maybe more Psychonauts. I dunno.

  53. I finally have a weekend off so I’m really going to tear into the Max Payne 3 multiplayer!  Also I might play through Lollipop Chainsaw again to get some of the things I missed.

  54. Agate_avc says:

    Off topic, but do you pay your interns?  I’m on a little crusade against unpaid internships.  While they give great work experience, they’re only an option for young people wealthy enough to work without pay for a few months.  You don’t have to pay ’em much, but ice cream and a pat on the head ain’t enough.

    • John Teti says:

      The internships are unpaid, but they’re not full-time gigs, far from it. I’ll respect the privacy of these guys and won’t disclose whatever other working situations they might have, but suffice it to say that the internships don’t get in the way of their holding down paid work elsewhere. Rather, the internship hours work around their schedules.

      Interns are also given the opportunity to contribute writing to the site, and anything that’s published is paid at our standard freelance rates.

      You may think all of that is fair or not, and of course you’re entitled to your opinion either way. All I can say is that I respect and appreciate the contributions of the people I work with, and I intend the internships to be a valuable, low-hassle experience, not an intrusive free-labor arrangement.

      • Agate_avc says:

        If it’s not a full-time gig, I’m on board.  The point is to make sure that folks aren’t locked out of this opportunity because of their socioeconomic status.

  55. Daryl Doyle says:

    PSPlus has provided me with a whole bunch of free games this week so I’ll be playing Renegade Ops, Warhammer Spacemarine 40000 and Virtua Fighter 5. Then depending on how quickly they download I’ll also be playing LBP2, Infamous 2, Outland, Motor Storm Apocolypse, Oddworld Strangers Wrath HD and Darksiders.

  56. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I swear I’m going to get to Lollipop Chainsaw and/or Max Payne 3. Eventually.

    But I’m too busy having fun in Forza Motorsport 4. The free 2013 Viper add on just came out.

  57. Citric says:

    I’m playing FFXIII-2, which is everything good about FFXIII’s gameplay with none of the crap, though the story is complete nonsense so far. Still really early on in it. I also tried to start Dark Law, which is a fairly obscure SNES RPG that got a fan translation, but I don’t know how to actually play it.

  58. Merve says:

    I think this is the first Gameological comments thread to get a “Load More Comments” button. Awesome!

    *pops open a bottle of champagne*

  59. Aaron Riccio says:

    Well damn. I was all set to just play the games I listed in another post, but then I finally got my invite to play Dota 2 and, well, there went fifteen hours of my life. Now I just need some fellow Gameological people to clan up with, and I’ll be a happy gamer.

  60. The Sputnik Sweethearts says:

    I just beat Skyward Sword and I now plan to start Bastion, if I can get my Buffalo SNES USB controller to work for it… I’m no good at WASD! I’m not a  PC gamer!

  61. Asinus says:

    Picked up a used copy of Red Steel 2 yesterday (along with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz or whatever) for about 10 bucks. I haven’t played around with it much because I was pretty zonked by the time I got home. Anyway, love the controls– really smooth, the combat, so far, leaves a little bit to be desired (why do console game-designers HATE button re-mapping so much? I want to use Z to parry and I don’t know why, I just do. It’s a weird reflex and I can’t hit A to do it). It seems like it must use a combination of the Motion Plus and the sensor bar (as opposed to Skyward Sword which doesn’t need the sensor bar at all), which makes the tracking a little faster (so far, it’s seemed that just using the motion plus makes the tracking a little sluggish or at least requires more exaggerated movements to get from one side of the screen to the other). Skyward Sword also has to (or does, whether it has to or not) recenter automatically when you select your B item. So let’s say you select the boomerang while your arm is off to the right, that becomes the new center. Sure, it’s easy to recenter, but it’s also a little annoying.

    Red Steel 2 also lets you set swing sensitivity… I set it to “athletic” to see what that did, but it still seems over-sensitive. For these sword games, someone needs to release a 3rd party controller that has less sensitive accelerometers that can tell the difference between a quick hand movement (say, to draw a sword back) and a swing. It’s kind of annoying to have to intentionally slow down your backswing so that the speed isn’t maxed out– it would be nice for golf games, too.

    THe only thing I hate so far is the “You’re an Idiot” training sessions that have some half-assed video that pops up. Seriously, it looks like they banged out these videos in 5 minutes by asking an intern to put down her filing and stand in front of the camera. She’s unenthusiastic, swinging from the elbow, and acts like she’s never played a game before. I don’t know what i’d rather have (I hate time-wasting training shit in general if I didn’t ask for it and making it required to move forward sucks), but maybe someone who looked like she was having fun while really playing the game. But, honestly, I get “Swing horizontally” without having to see a video.

    Another bummer is that the A button is used for just about everything. There are other buttons, multiple which seem to bring up the menu, and no jump button unless it’s a scripted action, then you press A. C brings up some kind of mission log, which could have been put somewhere else because it’s too easy to hit on accident, and Z is for targeting (which makes sense). D pad is used to select which of your guns you’d like to use, B fires the gun, and A does everything else when you’re prompted.

    So far, though, shooting is more fun than sword fighting, because it can tell where you’re pointing the cursor and when you hit B, but it isn’t always quite as sure if you’re swinging, where your arm is positioned, especially after attempting to do 2 quick swings. So let’s say you do a quick down and then up slash, but it things your arm is still down, you try to swing down again, and it doesn’t do anything because it doesn’t understand what’s going on. Still, though, it’s pretty fun when it works. Definitely worth the few bucks it will cost you used or even new (I think it’s 17 on amazon and 20 if you get it with the motion plus doodad).

  62. HobbesMkii says:

    Oh….man! There’s a little bar down there to load more comments! A Load More Comments bar, everyone! Gameological is blowing up!

    • HobbesMkii says:

       Ironically, no one will ever read this comment, because it is below the Load More Comments bar.