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.
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.