What Are You Playing This Weekend?

The Game Of The Goose

Presidents And Patriots

How would these icons of American history have come down from their Independence Day high?

By Steve Heisler and John Teti • July 6, 2012

In tribute to this week’s Independence Day festivities, we researched (read: hastily Googled) the gaming pastimes of various presidents and patriots. If weekends had existed in America’s olden days, what might these great figures from our nation’s history have played on those weekends?

George Washington

When he wasn’t busy chopping down cherry trees or posing for currency, George Washington played copious amounts of a trick-taking card game called whist, which is sort of like a slow, less aggressive version of euchre. The game involves four players. It uses all 52 cards—every last one of them! And the trump suit, the one that beats all others, is determined randomly. Each person takes turns laying down cards, and everyone has to follow suit if they can; if not, they can throw trump and win the trick. Points are determined for every trick you get above six, and you play partnered up with the person sitting across from you. Which, in Washington’s case, was AMERICA.

Abraham Lincoln

In his boyhood, Abraham Lincoln liked to play a game called corner ball. Now, that right there should show you what primitive times these were in American society. Just look at the name of that game: “corner ball.” What the hell kind of a title is that? There’s not a single colon or subtitle to be found. As everyone knows, this is how you name a game: Call Of Duty 4®: Modern Warfare 2™: Black Ops II: The Warkilling: Episode 1. It’s like Lincoln’s people didn’t even understand the concept of branding. Anyway, this is how you play corner ball:

A Springfield doctor recalled that Abraham Lincoln enjoyed the game of Corner Ball. An indoor version can be played by six or eight players with a small foam ball.
1. Divide into two teams of three or four players each. One team is called the Outs, and the other is called the Ins.
2. The Ins stand at the corners of an imaginary triangle or square, and the Outs stand inside the triangle or square.
3. The Ins pass the ball from player to player, occasionally throwing it inside in hopes of hitting an Out and forcing him or her out of the game. If the throw misses, the thrower is out of the game.
4. Play continues until everyone on one team is out.

Of course, they did not have foam balls back then, so the game would have been played with a skull instead.

Thomas Jefferson

Apparently, Jefferson spent a great deal of time gaming with his whole family (though not his secret slave family—too soon?) during his tenure. There were games like chess and The Game Of The Goose (which as far as we can tell is a very simple board game where you roll dice, move in a spiral, and use geese as shortcuts), but Jefferson had a penchant for inventive word games. He played one with his grandkids called, “I Love My Love,” where he’d start with the letter A and name as many words as he could in a sentence that began with the letter A; the next player would get B, and so on. Be on the lookout for the Wii version next year, in which Super Mario characters, plus characters from a game you’ve never heard of, play the game in customizable outfits you purchase with Wii bucks.

Barack Obama

Is singing Al Green a sport? Not yet? Well, put that on your second-term “to do” list, President Obama. In the meantime, the coolest prez this side of the millennium is an avid golfer, who hits the links whenever his schedule and the weather allow it. According to NPR, his typical rule is that people are not allowed to talk politics on the course, but last year he played with John Boehner, so that probably changed. Plus Boehner singlehandedly refilled the course’s water hazards with his patriotic tears.

Abigail Adams

The National First Ladies’ Library says that this patriot and first lady, famous for her political passion and intelligence, “did not play cards, sing, or dance.” Yeesh. Okay, let’s just say that she liked to play cup-and-ball. That way we can post this old Simpsons clip.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin’s favorite game was probably Paris Grabass (Prendre La Fuite Avec Derriere) but when he wasn’t philandering about with America’s foreign allies, Franklin was known to invent a game or two. Just ask the physicists at the American Physical Society, for some reason:

Franklin also devised a game called “treason,” which involved an electrified portrait of the king, with a removable gilt crown. The picture was rigged so that anyone who tried to remove the crown while holding the gilt edge of the picture would be shocked.

Jeez, they had a pretty lame concept of fun back then, didn’t they? Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to go tap on things in Tiny Tower.

And now, we turn the question to you. Assuming you’re not recovering from a terrible fireworks accident, what are you playing this weekend?

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

1,811 Responses to “Presidents And Patriots”

  1. HobbesMkii says:

    I know Whist from the Horatio Hornblower series. I’ve always understood it as the thing Bridge grew out of (not that I understand either of them). My father and I had a passing interest in learning it due to our love of the Hornblower series, but getting two other people to learn to play an obscure trick-taking card game from the 18th century proved impossible.

    Anyhow, I’m dividing my time between Batman: Arkham City, which I treated myself to for my birthday and Blacklight: Retribution, which is a kind of futuristic freemium FPS that Steam has been promoting the hell out of. And of course, my old stand-by: modding the history files for the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2.

    If anyone would like to attempt a multiplayer CK2 game with me, sometime, that’d be awesome. I’ve never done it before, so we ought to all be in relatively the same boat.

    • Enkidum says:

      Whist is basically streamlined bridge – I don’t know the history of which came first or what have you, but they’re very similar games. Bridge has the bidding round before actual play begins, which is obscenely complex.

      Whist isn’t really that obscure, I would say – my family used to play it a fair bit and I’m sure there’s a decent online tutor somewhere. It’s also fairly easy to understand the basics after a few hands. (We played a slightly different version than the one described in the article – every game is exactly 6 hands, and trumps go in a strict order (diamonds, clubs, hearts, spades, no trumps, misère [no trumps where you try to lose every trick]);

      Thanks again for your CK II awesomeness. I haven’t had the chance to play much yet, but I’ll be up for multiplayer in a week or so, probably.

      • doyourealize says:

        Any idea what it’s relationship is with Pinochle? That’s something my family still plays quite often and the description (tricks, trump, teams) sounds very similar.

        • Enkidum says:

          No, never played Pinochle. I’m sure if I wasn’t so damn google-lazy I could find it out fairly quickly, but beer calls.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           Oh, Pinochle. I love that game because of the confusion it causes for stores. Once I stood in line while a man complained about how the deck of cards he had purchased was full of face cards. The cashier had to call in the assistant manager, who had to call in the manager. I looked at the decks and saw they were clearly marked as Pinochle decks, but none of these guys had heard of it, so there was no way for them to know.

          • doyourealize says:

            So this guy is finding them accidentally? We’ve had a lot of trouble finding Pinochle decks at times, and have been forced to build or own.

            Also, it seems like you just stood aside and let this happen. I approve.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @doyourealize:disqus Apparently the CVS up my street stocks Pinochle deck. Or they did six years ago. I mean, it’s funny that the manager didn’t know what it was, considering he’d have to order the inventory, wouldn’t he?

          I mean, part of me wanted to dazzle these guys with my advanced knowledge of card games, but the bigger part of me just wanted to have fun watching them scratch their heads. The best part was when they read “Pinochle” out loud off the box and then dismissed it as being unrelated to the problem.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        I only know it from Sherlock Holmes and Around The World In 80 Days, so it’s “the card game for people smarter than I am.”  Much like Crusader Kings II (although I’m getting better at it)!

    • JudgeReinhold says:

      I can’t imagine how a multiplayer CK2 would work. Would everyone have to be online at the same time to play it? Because the game takes hours upon hours. 

      • HobbesMkii says:

         You all agree on the same rules and you all have to play at the same time. But, other than that, I’ve read it’s fairly flexible. If anyone has a copy of the MP savegame, they’re able to join up later on.

    • Chico_McDirk says:

      I think anyone who’s read a 19th-century novel has come across characters playing whist. It was like the pastime of the western world.

  2. NFET says:

    Kid Icarus Uprising. It’s very damn addictive, especially since it all but forces you to redo levels to get better weapons.

  3. KidvanDanzig says:

    Mass Effect 3’s ending is still terrible, in case you were wondering. It’s not as bewildering as it once was, but it’s still a lame deus ex machina.

    The new fourth ending is a beautiful new chapter in Bioware’s passive-aggressive marriage to its fans, though. I’d give them credit had they telegraphed it at all / allowed you to save and / or skip through the endless slow walking / dialogue in the last hour of the game. It’s a dick move.

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:


      The Extended Cut took away my favourite ending which was me shooting at the kid with the infinite ammo gun on the way to picking the Destroy choice. It seems if you shoot the kid in the EC he cracks the shits and figures you reject his choices. So I had to replay that slow walking and non-skippable dialogue ending again to get my Destroy ending which is still, let’s say, problematic. Worst bit? Shepard calls in the Normandy on the run to the beam to airlift out a wounded EDI, which is just ridiculous. Meanwhile Harbinger is watching all this happening and for some reason doesn’t even bother firing its death ray at the Normandy. Humanity pretty much deserved to be wiped out at this point. 

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Yeah, that on-your-last-legs stagger to the Crucible is just one of the reasons I haven’t quite gotten around to replaying the ending.

    • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

       Well, it’s good to know I don’t really have a reason to replay that long game just to see a padded ending. I truly enjoyed it up until that point, however, so I suppose I’ll see it someday.

      This weekend I expect to search for the next game in my backlog, possibly Shadows of the Damned. But until I work up the motivation to try something new I’ll probably waste too much time on Team Fortress 2.

      • Ragnarick says:

        I actually just completed Shadows of the Damned.  It was fucking awesome.  Highly recommended.

  4. caspiancomic says:

    Alright, round up time:

    LIMBO: Finished!
    Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP: Finished!
    Amnesia: The Dark Descent: I am coming to terms with the fact that I may never beat this game. I am far, far too chickenshit.
    Bastion: I’ve gotten all four variations on the ending (really there are only three, but I’ve made every combination of decisions leading up to the end), and recently started my fifth playthrough. This game is sitting pretty comfortably in my top five favourite games of all time.
    Psychonauts: I’m still waiting on the Steam patch that will allow me to play this game as intended. It’s running late, but I’m a pretty patient dood.
    Super Meat Boy: I’m at 98% in the forest, 74ish% in the hospital, and piss all% in the factory and hell. As usual I am playing this game in tiny five minute increments. I am going to be playing this game forever.
    Braid: Finished! This game was tough as hell, but I’m glad I saw it through. The final stage was all-time-great levels of video game storytelling.
    Lone Survivor: I finally started this one, and I’m having a pretty good time. It’s really unforgiving, but I like that about it. I’ve been coddled by the newer Silent Hills and Resident Evils, and it’s nice to play a game that has no interest in holding my hand.

    While I’m at it, I also basically dropped out of Memrise. It was pretty interesting while it lasted, but it seemed like it was best used to bolster a more traditional language education, rather than standing alone as an educating tool. Plus, I went away for ten days and when I came back, all my shit was dead, and I just didn’t care about it enough to get everything moving again. Still, if I was enrolled in a proper Introductory French course and wanted a leg up, I would probably go back to it.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      So, Memrise isn’t the solution to all our language learning problems, huh?

      • CleaverG says:

        Ah, Braid. I can’t complete World 6 puzzle for the life of me  and have no idea how to (if indeed it is possible) complete the game/story otherwise. Any hints?

        • BarbleBapkins says:

           I am not 100% positive, but I think you do need to complete all of the puzzles to unlock the last level, unfortunately. Which levels are you missing the pieces for?

    • Enkidum says:

      I just started playing Braid again – got it about a year or so ago, solved about half the puzzles and was just completely stuck, but I’m not willing to look for hints for this game, and just stopped playing it. Then a couple of days ago I had a long train ride and fired it up, and some of the puzzles that I had bashed my head against for hours just fell into place for me. The [SPOILERS?] one where you have to move the puzzle picture around to extend one of the platforms just blew my mind. It’s such a subversion of my expectations for something like that.

    • sirslud says:

      You can’t be too chickenshit if you started Amnesia. I’m too chickenshit to even try.

    • doyourealize says:

      Don’t feel too bad about Amnesia, I get nervous just looking at it in my Steam library. Someday, I’ve gotta go back, though.

      And speaking of Amnesia, even though I know you don’t like free DL games, one was just released called Slender (based on the Slenderman myth/meme), in which you walk around, very slowly, looking for 8 notes scattered through the forest. It’s rough, but the sound and atmosphere are really well done. At first, the speed was kind of annoying, but when you move from open space to more corridor-like areas, it makes a lot of sense. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m pretty sure I jumped and squealed at one point.

      Unfortunately, the main site and Reddit site that were hosting it are both down (Mac might work), so I’ll post the Eurogamer link where I read about it if you’re interested, and hopefully it goes back up.


  5. Sandwichands says:

    Being in Australia we dont celebrate our as yet to occur independence from England.

    If I get the time I will be playing Day Z. L.A. Noire is on hold until the crack cocaine that is Day Z is flushed from my system.

  6. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I recently started up the second Professor Layton game and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. I always loved the advance wars series, and I actually like the setting of this one, surprisingly.

    Also will be playing Dota 2 and TF2 and maybe some sort of roguelike. I also reinstalled Dungeon Defenders so that I might play with @HobbesMkii:disqus and whoever else would like to join us. 

    I’m gonna see about getting another Game night going. I meant to do it this week, but I got caught up in festivities n shit. I think a regular schedule would help to draw in a crowd. TFTuesdays, perhaps?

    • HobbesMkii says:

       Myself, @BarpleBapkins:disqus, X the Anonymous, and illogicaljoker (I don’t know everyone’s disqus versus steam name), managed to get one going tonight. We did payload again. I’m not sure it was illogicaljoker’s cup of tea.

      • caspiancomic says:

         I have officially joined the Steam group! This is, in all likelihood, going to be the sum total of my contributions to this organization.

      • doyourealize says:

        Not sure of the others, but illogicaljoker is Aaron Riccio…and now you know.

        Oh, and as of now, 99 members. One more til we can officially call it worthy of world domination.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Woo! I’m really glad you all played a game despite my not posting anything about it all week. I’d also like to publicly thank @HobbesMkii:disqus for helping moderate the Steam group as of the other day. Expect better organizing from here on out. <3

    • caspiancomic says:

       I envy that you are only just starting the second game. The Layton games take forever and a day to localize, so we’ve only got four of the six over here, and the fifth is still a long time coming. It’s probably the game I’m going to buy a 3DS for.

  7. CleaverG says:

    I’ll most likely be playing Dota 2 (where the updates just keep coming), where i know few with an invite so add me (“mal-loup” on steam) if you are looking to play. I’m also hoping to track down some of the indie games uncovered in an exhibition we have running here in Australia – which was excellent. 

  8. Limeade Youth says:

    Last spring, we picked up a cup and ball for one of our kids in a tchotchke shop. Surprisingly, my wife revealed her considerable skills for cup’n’ball that she told me she had evidently picked up while staying with Mexican cousins as a kid. So, when it comes to ball cuppin’, my wife’s skills far exceed mine, which tees me off to no end.

    I’m not sure what I’m doing this weekend, although I’m pretty sure it will in someway involve playing with yarn dolls with my daughters and reading by candle light. Maybe Civ 3 if I can fix my other laptop.

  9. TelephoneToughGuy says:

    I was considering using some of my time off work this weekend to go back through the first two episodes of the Walking Dead game which, by the way, is kind of fantastic.  I’m not a fan of the source material, could never really get into it, but I heard good things about the game and the presentation and point and click adventure…ishness about it won me over pretty quickly.  I played the demo of the first ep. then ended up getting the season pass which, at $20 is a solid purchase since they’re $5 a piece and there are 5 planned.  It’s going to be a long wait for the release of the next one.

    –But yeah, Walking Dead, great game any thoughts on the second episode?  Ended up playing it in one sitting around 2 am after work the other night and it was an almost embarrassingly intense and enthralling experience.

  10. Telltale’s Walking Dead Ep 1 & 2! excited. can’t wait!

    • zerocrates says:

      I bought the season pass for this on PSN mostly off the strength of positive reviews at The Verge, even though I’m not a fan of the show at all, and haven’t read the comics.

      I blew through Ep. 1, and I’m actually a little surprised at how good it was. I’m now dreading my stupid big mouth catching up to me in Ep. 2.

  11. HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

    So, Lincoln invented Mexican Standoff Dodgeball? What I won’t be playing this weekend: FarCry 2 on the hardest dificulty while listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor’s F#A#Infinity and watching El Topo on repeat on my other monitor.

  12. vinnybushes says:

    Ummm… I was going to post earlier but I was too busy playing Endless Space. 4x strategy games suck me in like nothing else, and Endless space is a very, very good 4x game. They basically took Master of Orion 2, added Civilization’s resources mechanic, streamlined combat (and not in a bad way) and added a Heroes of Might and Magic style level up system for your commanders. To put it simply, I had a lot of stuff to do this weekend and NONE of it is going to get done.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I thought it looked a little low rent.  That still doesn’t sound like a combination I’d like, but I’m glad to hear we have ANOTHER strong space strategy game.

      • The Guilty Party says:

        It has a minimalist UI. Which is not actually low-rent. It’s stunning easy and natural and convenient to get an overview of your current state, and also to dig into why a solar system isn’t making money, etc, etc.

        It’s really amazingly well-done. ‘ease of use’ tends to be the first sacrifice in these types of games.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          Don’t I know it.  People underrate the Homeworld games after 1, but I think the user interface grew much better as they went along.

  13. dreadguacamole says:

     That’s interesting – I played a lot of that “goose game” when I was a kid. It’s pretty popular for small kids in Argentina.

     I’ll be playing a buttload of The Secret World; I’m seriously loving the game.
     I also may play a little Binary Domain, which I got yesterday as a rental. The game’s just ok, but it’s got some choice unintentional hilarity: “These children… they have forgotten how to smile!”

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I really want to hear your The Secret World update Monday.  It’s even made battles that are essentially puzzles (my least favorite role-playing game trope, possibly) fun!

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Huh. I noticed some of that last night with a couple of the bosses in the fairground, but thought it just part of that area’s design. Interestingly enough, I died more times in those two hours than in the previous dozen or so hours I’ve put into the game; I may have ventured onto it a bit earlier than intended.
         I think I’m getting the hang of the game’s combat – and appreciating it better now. it’s deceptively simple, with lots of interlocking skills and systems. It opens up a lot once you amass enough ability points.

         However, trash mobs will always be trash mobs, and I doubt they’ll ever be more than nuisances in the same way frequent random encounters are.
         Few RPGs feel quite as – not adventurous, I want to say adventure-y, if that makes sense – as The Secret World does, but having to deal with all those easy-to-kill monsters in between the interesting parts feels a bit off to me.
         I guess I mean quality is not that much of a concern, then, but quantity is.

        • The Guilty Party says:

          The Secret World has some really good story/mystery hooks to it. It makes you want to play to figure out what’s going on. Which can sometimes make the combat and the general mass slaughter of demonic giant moths to be a bit tedious, because really what you want is to find out what happened in the mine but it’s going to take a long time to slice your way there.

          The combat is fun, it’s just … when you want to turn to the next page of the book, sometimes it’s frustrating. And it gets hard fast: the blue mountain area kicked my ass repeatedly when I entered. (Oddly, the area after that is a bit easier)

  14. Persona 4 continues to grip me. The story has done an excellent job of subverting expectations, and what they really nail is the way that the group of friends likes to tease each other. The dungeon crawling has gotten much easier now, too.

    Portal 2 is a possibility. It’s a definite “comfort food” game for me now. It’s destined to be a game like Super Mario World or Final Fantasy V that I return to every year. 

    And if the weather cooperates, soccer. 

    • jessec829 says:

      I recently finished Persona 4 and loved it to the point that when I finished it unexpectedly, I was genuinely sad. Then I jumped into Persona 3, which I don’t like as much as 4, but which is still addictive as all hell. Next up is Digital Devil Saga 2. All of this was kicked off by Nocturne, which I just adore. SMT might just be my favorite gamemakers.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

        If I may ask, did you happen to get the “True Ending” to Persona 4? I love the game, and the way it offers endings fits with the theme of the game, but it took me a while to realize the ending I got wasn’t actually the whole story. I’m always interested in hearing what other people do at the end, especially those who haven’t had the ending spoiled.

        I don’t want to post any details for those who aren’t finished yet. But I should add the remake due out in the fall contains another ending as well.

  15. doyourealize says:

    I’m big time back into Dark Souls. Right now, just hanging out by the Iron Golem boss and helping others with him while stacking up on Humanity, but I’ll head over to Anor Londo soon enough. As always, hit me up if you want to play (PSN:doyourealize).

    That, and I’m slowly working my way through Final Fantasy III on my Android’s emulator. Need to go get Gogo, Umaro, and Mog, then onto the Magic Tower (forget the name), and then kill the dragons. I seriously am loving every minute of it.

    • Mooy says:

      I envy you about the FFIII – I was up to the very end of the game when I tried to transfer a picture from my computer to my iPhone. Naturally, this process deleted all of my apps and save progress, so I think that’s a game I’m never finishing.

      • doyourealize says:

        I don’t have an iPhone. Is this one of the features?

        • Mooy says:

          I’m never been apt with apple products, but it seems like the go-to response for anything in the iPhone’s book is to reset to factory specs, no matter how minor. (I wouldn’t recommend running out and buying one.)

    • caspiancomic says:

       I like the old school touch of referring to it as FFIII. This is a game I’ve been meaning to replay myself, although I’ve only ever played the Advance version so I’m sure a lot of purists would laugh me out of the room. Really, really great though, and probably the best final boss gauntlet in Final Fantasy history.

      • doyourealize says:

        Wasn’t making a statement with the number. It’s just when I downloaded the ROM, since it’s a SNES file, it was called FF3. I did play the original when it was released, though, as well the PS “Anthology” version. No “purist” laughing from me, just happy that more and more people get to keep playing that game.

  16. JudgeReinhold says:

    Ben Franklin secretly enjoyed playing Liberty or Death as the British. 

    And just like the last several weekends, I will probably be playing no games whatsoever. My Kingdom of Ireland in Crusader Kings II has gone untended for weeks at this point. 

  17. ToddG says:

    Gonna try to make some progress toward the Shadow of the Colossus platinum this weekend.

  18. Raging Bear says:

    I just got back some games I loaned away quite some time ago, so I’m rediscovering the brilliance of Red Dead Redemption by restarting Undead Nightmare, and I might see if anyone’s made LittleBigPlanet 2 levels worth playing in the last year.

    • Wade says:

      I’ve been pining for Red Dead lately, but I’m so off kilter by having played Battlefield so much the past few months, my controller instincts are all fucked up. It would be short work getting them back on track, but then it would fuck up my BF instincts, and I’m not done with that one yet.

      • Raging Bear says:

        RDR is also the first thing I’ve played after Lego Batman 2, which had no option to reverse the Y axis, which I always do, so that threw me off badly for a while.

  19. Cloks says:

    Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. It’s a pretty decent platformer that would have been a cult hit except for one square, yellow thing.

  20. Cornell_University says:

    last weekend before my girlfriend leaves for VA for a week.  so probably not much.  however for the week she’s away I will be begrudgingly continuing FF8 (after like 2 months of freedom.  me: “I wish I could quit you!” FF8: *silently pouts for 2 minutes then does something really stupid*)  hopefully I won’t STILL be on disc one at week’s end.

    also a long overdue replay of Super Mario World (semi-related: has anybody played Super Mario Bros X?  such a weird game)  and maybe Battletoads Double Dragon.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I rank VIII squarely in the middle of the series, but, to me, it provides a much more compelling direction for the series’ future than the VII->X->XIII path it followed.  I always thought of each entry as such: 1st on the console: pandering and simple, 2nd: weird and innovative, 3rd: historically minded that put all of the pieces together in the best way.  Since the middle entries became the (very wonderful) online entries, there’s a huge divide between the games.  I would rather play Square’s equivalent to Nier than ride motorcycle gods.

      Thing that more companies than Nintendo need to do: soundtracks where the music is mostly iterations on the same theme.  I played it when I was 5, and it took me 3 castles to figure out that Athletic/Above Ground/Underground and Koopa Junior (the castle theme) were the same song.

      • Cornell_University says:

        “I would rather play Square’s equivalent to Nier than ride motorcycle gods.”

        dude, have you even SEEN my hair?

      • Cornell_University says:

        did you prefer 8 to 7?  I have heard people say that before and it always astounds me.  I’m not saying that 7 was a perfect game by any means, and it’s level of deification at this point is kinda weird, but can you honestly tell me 8 was better?  I’ve said on here before how I really try to like 8 on its own terms, and a lot of the mechanics that other people hated at the time (amazon never takes down your reviews people, no matter how old they are!) I find fun.  it’s just the characters and the storyline are so goddamn REPELLANT.  why would I ever want to spend more time with these people than I absolutely have to?  and isn’t that the most damning thing to a genre that’s supposed to be all about the characters?

        loved 9 by the way.  being honor bound to finish 8 before I replay it is why I started again.  no, I don’t understand why I made up rules about this shit either.

        • caspiancomic says:

          Between a friend of mine and I, we’ve played just about every Final Fantasy game you care to name, but VIII is one of the main series games I never even touched. Would you recommend a total outsider giving it a spin, if only to fill out my personal catalogue? If it helps guide your opinion, I really enjoy VII although agree it’s over exalted by starry-eyed fans, and my favourite game in the main series by a country mile is IX. Also if it helps you decide: left to my own devices I would probably never get around to it, but I’m open to the idea I’m missing out on something worth experiencing. With enough of a push I’d probably get it off PSN. You have the power to part me with fifteen of my dollars!

        • Cornell_University says:

          I honestly remembered liking it more before I started replaying it.  I originally bought it on PS1 after it got the greatest hits tag and dropped to like $18 or whatever and well after the initial backlash had run its course (ditto this creepy guy I worked with at the movie theater – like there’s any other kind – braying incessantly about how it was the greatest triumph of roleplaying of all time) and didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.  If you go back and read reviews from when it was released on Amazon like I did you’ll laugh at the amount of hyperbole and impotent rage.  It’s not 7, but that isn’t what we really want anyway right?  Endlessly rehashing the same game over and over?  So I thought it succeeded in being it’s own game, and I stand by that.

          But what a fucker.  The complaint that the stats are infinitely customizable and therefore no character is strong/weak in any specific scenario is kinda bogus, I love the customization that allows me to completely ignore playing as the shitty characters.  And there’s the problem.  They’re ALL shitty characters.  At no point in the storyline do I ever say to myself “good idea, clearly the right course of action”.  And yeah, they’re teenagers so they’re supposed to be bratty and moody and hotheaded.  But teenagers are assholes!  Why are you making me hang around all these assholes???

          In summation, do you ever watch a slasher movie with the really annoying caricatures and instead of waiting to see them get gratuitously murdered you want to control them in a game that requires that they stay alive forever?  Then Final Fantasy 8 is the game for you!

        • GhaleonQ says:

          I think the question is, “Are they horrid in an interesting way?”  I think they back the themes of adolescence, education, and family.  I think their gloomy steampunk (a Japanese version rather than a U.K. one) aesthetic was a welcome echo of VI’s coolness (and that’s supported by the music and sound).  Its attempts to break from fantasy storytelling and world-building are endearing to me, if not wholly successful.  As you mention, the gameplay is equally ambitious.  It may not work smoothly, but all aspects followed a purposeful direction to a logical end.

          That said, it will be my least favorite of the 2nd entries after XIV gets fixed.  II’s the REAL one I overrate.  (I get your compulsion, too.  I stopped playing VI 1 hour in to start from the series’ beginning.  100-percent completion or bust!)

      • doyourealize says:

        Are you including X-2 in that hierarchy? I still think FFXII is maybe the best in the series, so that would fit your console chronology.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      I played the first couple of levels of Super Mario Bros. X a long time ago, but never really got too far because I just cannot play most platformers without a gamepad and I didn’t have one at the time. Now that I have one I should give it another shot, it seemed pretty interesting.

      • Cornell_University says:

        I have a dualshock knockoff usb controller that is my go-to.  even with that some of the levels are BONKERS.  though it’s not on par with SMB3 or SMW, the level design, while clever, always feels sorta inauthentic (oh and you can play as Link, so…).  still, I’ll give it an A for effort.

    • Girard says:

       Semi-semi-related: Super Mario Bros. X is pretty weird and awesome, but possibly the best fan-made Mario game is “Mario Adventure,” an extremely thorough and inventive ROM hack of SMB3 that turns it into an entirely new game with some new power ups and mechanics, and really imaginative levels.

      The same ROM hacker was working on an even more ambitious project, but unfortunately abandoned it, releasing it in an unfinished form that shows just how wild it was going to be.

  21. JosephLillo says:

    Sister-in-law and niece(-in-law?) are here on a visit, so my twiddling about on random Guitar Hero songs has diminished to nil, but there are at least two apps I’ll be playing (read: obsessing over):

    Kingdom Rush: it’s finally on iPhone! Oh my damn, yes.

    Pocket Planes: damn you, Nimblebit! *shakes single fist, makes New York-to-Seattle flight with other hand*

  22. Wade says:

    Arkham City, dude.

    Punctuated by a few rounds of Battlefield 3 and maybe a few hours of Sims 3.

  23. JokersNuts says:

    I’m still playing the Amazing Spider-Man video game. 

  24. Matt Gerardi says:

    I’ll be polishing off Spec Ops: The Line (picked up a PC download for $25 on Amazon: http://goo.gl/tSMH5). 

    I’ve actually been really impressed with it. If you can put aside all the Heart Of Darkness and “horror of war” stuff I found it to be an interesting exploration of military shooters. The game is basically, “what would happen if we took all the crazy, merciless murderers from military shooters and trapped them in a beautiful city destroyed by nature.” 
    Plus, despite all the negatives thrown at the games shooting, I’ve found that the firefights are incredibly intense. The sound design is great and your enemies, being folks who very well could have been heroes in a different game, are constantly shouting about flanking you and taking cover. It adds to this tension and sensory overload of battle. 

    So that and Spelunky. God, how I love Spelunky.

    • Merve says:

      I also picked up Spec Ops in that sale, but I’ve only gotten half an hour in. (Tales of Monkey Island keeps distracting me.) It hasn’t gotten “good” yet – I still have no idea what the story is about – but I trust that it’ll get more interesting with a little more playtime.

      The shooting, as far as I can tell, is solid, but I can’t be certain. For most of my playtime, I foolishly had v-sync on, which is a bad idea when you have a 60 Hz monitor and your graphics card puts out around 70 fps for the quiet portions of the game and 45-55 fps for the firefights. I’ll take minimal tearing over huge jumps between 60 Hz and 30 Hz display any day.

      • Matt Gerardi says:

        I have to say, not knowing what the story was about was really what kept me going. It peeked my curiosity early enough and hooked me. It does start to get better, but some of the “horror of war” set-pieces are done very poorly. 

        As for the shooting, solid is a good way to describe it. Nothing special, but completely inoffensive. I like the cover system too. Zipping around from cover to cover is nice. I’m using a controller by the way. Just felt right. 

  25. Electric Dragon says:

    Currently in the middle of Alpha Protocol. Picked it up for £2 in a sale last year but only just got round to playing it. Quite enjoying it, with my rather no-holds barred approach of shooting everyone I can from long range with the assault rifle then machine gunning anyone who gets close. The hacking minigames are getting a bit old though. On the bright side, I have, according to the stats, so far created 739 orphans. I think I may be a sociopath.

    • Merve says:

      I’ve been meaning to try Alpha Protocol, but I’ve been waiting for the price to drop to between $5 and $10. I’ve heard good and bad things about it. Is the game actually playable, or is it at Bethesda levels of bugginess?

      • Electric Dragon says:

        Not experienced any game breaking bugs. Occasional shoddy AI, such as when I shot a guy in the face but his buddy just round the corner apparently didn’t even notice anything was amiss.

      • Sarapen says:

        I just finished it earlier this year and didn’t run into any bugs. Oh wait, there’s one where reloading manually makes enemies disappear or something, though auto-save points are frequent so it wasn’t a big thing for me.

        There’s also one boss who’s unironically into the 80’s and he’s kind of tricky to kill so you’ll end up listening to Turn Up the Radio more times than you thought humanly possible.

        Anyway, it’s definitely worth the $12 I paid for it. The dilemmas it presents you are actual dilemmas and not BS “massacre an orphanage/donate your kidneys to a dying man” choices like you get in too many RPGs. It’s basically the Bourne Identity as a video game.

        • djsubversive says:

           regarding the 80’s boss: If you meet a certain somebody in another hub, you can short-circuit a lot of pain in that fight.

        • Sarapen says:

          @djsubversive:disqus Yeah, I found out you could spike his cocaine when I looked through the game wiki after beating it. Definitely wish I’d known that before.
          Regarding choices, what about the one in the museum in Rome? Yes, it’s a dilemma you’ll find in a lot of action movies, but here there’s no narrative hoodoo to help you do both things at once.

          It’s really too bad the game didn’t do too well, more RPGs could stand to learn from its example. However, since its innovations are in writing instead of something technical like graphics then it’s been safely forgotten.

          And what the hell, there’s an Empire Strikes Back run? Maybe I’ll try to do it when I start up my New Game+ save.

        • djsubversive says:

          Sarapen – re: Rome: there actually IS a way to do both. “Veteran” (unlocked by playing through as “Recruit” when you choose your background at the beginning) gives you a couple dialogue options in the Greybox, and a couple of gameplay situations where Mike can be a badass veteran. The only one I can remember is Rome, where you can save Madison AND disable the bombs. I think the explanation is basically “because I’m that goddamn good.”
          Recruit starts you out with no bonus AP, but Veteran gives you a bunch (40, maybe 50?) so you can be a badass right when you wake up. I disabled the bomb my first (Recruit) run, because it saved more lives and also gave me another chance to meet with and therefore piss off Marburg. I never wanted to one-up a video-game character as much as I did with him (well, him and Leland, but in Leland’s case, it’s almost definitely because of that horrid yellow shirt). My most recent run actually gave me a new bit of conversation with him (not that I’m surprised). After the al-Jibril (?) mission in Rome (the “sniping” mission where you ID targets, and either shoot or don’t shoot the main one; this time I spared him), I got an email from Jibril saying basically “next time you decide to sneak around a man’s house with a high-powered rifle, you should maybe shoot somebody with it. let’s meet and talk this over.” I went to the meet, and lo and behold, Marburg showed up. Turned out he made Jibril disappear and used his email to lure me out – I had been basically ghosting all the Rome missions and had left no witnesses, so Marburg never even knew I had shown up in the city until we met for lunch. I proceeded to rub it in his face, he got offended, I told him to fuck off (because how can you not? It’s right there! “Fuck off.”), we both walked away, and Mina started to fret, like she does.Sorry. This game has a tendency to get me going. It’s just so… reactive. Stuff you say in the VERY FIRST CONVERSATIONS come back hours later, in a meaningful way. Hell, because of how I approached Moscow, Grigori went in a completely different direction compared to the first time I met him (and I didn’t break a bottle over his head EITHER time!), and so did SIE, so I got new conversations and emails from both of them.It is a shame about the failure of AP, since it means we’ll never see a sequel (G22 4 life), but it also means that it’ll be cheap and relatively easy to acquire so that people who are willing to overlook the issues (technical and otherwise, like the game in general being designed for controller input and not KBAM) can find a fun game that requires at LEAST 2 playthroughs to fully appreciate. I’m finding new things on my 3rd (re-installed and had to start a new Recruit run, so I’m going for sort of a rookie Archer), and I’m sure will find even more on my fourth (when I get around to it).

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Glad to see so much love for Alpha Protocol! It’s a great game, despite also being kind of a shitty game.

  26. UnassumingLocalGuy says:

    I’m knee deep into some sweet, sweet Dragon Age: Origins action. I had some difficulty getting into it (hence the many years of actually getting around to playing it), but I just rerolled a mage. Now things die. I have installed Dragon Age 2, though I am anticipating a huge change of pace. I’m actually pretty intrigued by the premise of it, just not sure of the execution.

    After falling in love with Persona 4 when it came out, I finally bought Persona 3 Portable on my Vita. I’ve played for about an hour or so. It hasn’t really gripped me like Persona 4, but I’m patient. I’ll see where it goes. 

  27. jessec829 says:

    Persona 3 took longer to grab me than Persona 4, but it’s hooks are well in now (though I still like 4 better overall). I’m terribly jealous that you’re playing on the Vita, as I’m told you can choose to play a female protagonist.

  28. Colonel Mustard says:

    I downloaded Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 based solely on Gameological’s article about it, and am really enjoying it so far.  This is my first experience with Magic: The Gathering, and the game is being very kind to my noobishness.

    • doyourealize says:

      If you haven’t yet, join the Steam Gameological group. I know they’re planning a DotP game night. I won’t be a part of it, but it’s pretty popular right now.

  29. Shiny_McShine says:

    I finally finished my second go-round with Mass Effect 2. This time I really connected with it. But ultimately, it was all just to set the stage for Mass Effect 3, which I began right after.

    I picked up ME3 the week it was released, but I decided to postpone playing it until the furor over its ending died down a bit. Re-playing ME2 was a good idea, too, since I was careful to create a character I would want to port into the next chapter of the game.

    But I’m not really enjoying it so far. Aside from some unnecessary modifications in weaponry (the shotgun is practically unmanageagble), I’m constantly confused about where I’m being encouraged to go. I find myself repeatedly referencing the journal only to find a) a somewhat hysterical accummulation of side missions (I’ve only visited the Citadel and opened up about 8 or more things to accomplish) and b) updates that tell me nothing.

    Part of my problem may be how dense the narrative has become. Or it may simply be the tendency a number of AAA franchises display in which changes that are implemented to make a sequel more of a challenge are instead fussy and off-putting. As a result, I find myself running from place to place, thinking I’m advancing the narrative only to find…rooms full of NPCs who offer nothing.

    • doyourealize says:

      You get the side quests in the Citadel almost accidentally. Luckily, most of them can be completed the same way. Otherwise, the main quests are usually labeled on the galaxy map.

      I’m surprised you’re not into it yet. I started to play before I could carry my character over from ME2, but only got a couple hours in, unhappy with the new character (even though she was close). When I started again with the right character, I was captured by the opening sequence on Earth. Powerful stuff, says me.

  30. rvb1023 says:

    In October of Persona 4 hoping I haven’t fallen too far behind on my Max Social Link run.

  31. urthstripe says:

    I started Deus Ex: Human Revolution, thanks to you fine people. Halfway through the first misison. I decided to just go in the front door and use guns because I heard that is what the bosses make you do anyway to beat them. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of first person stealth.

    We should start a support group for my fellow Amnesia players that can’t finish/play more than 30 seconds at a time of that game. TOGETHER, WE CAN ACCOMPLISH SO MUCH MORE. Or shit our pants as one.

    • doyourealize says:

      I may be the sole DE:HR dissenter in the group, although I haven’t admitted it yet. I really liked it for a while,and played for around 25 hours, but just kind of got bored. Felt too repetitive for me. Maybe I was just around the corner from some game-changing revelation or something. I’ll pick it up again, I’m sure.

  32. Merve says:

    Speaking of presidents and gaming, Barack Obama is the first US president to have a video game advisor.

    This weekend, I plan to finish up Tales of Monkey Island. (I just started chapter 5.) I might also get in some Spec Ops: The Line and Beyond Good & Evil.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      That is phenomenal.  I’m in a big player at education reform, and I try to push (good) projects whenever I can.  It’s awesome to see that it has enough weight to earn an official policy position.

      • Merve says:

        That’s great to hear. As much as I advocate for certain old-fashioned methods of education – students need to learn their times tables, damn it! – it can’t hurt to try to improve our education system in any way we can.

        Speaking of video games and education, you’ve probably heard about Valve’s Steam for Schools initiative, but they’ve actually started a lesson plan repository called Teach With Portals. It contains mainly physics and math lessons for now, but there are also a couple about narrative and characters that are appropriate for middle school English classes.

  33. BarbleBapkins says:

    Probably more Oblivion for me, which is much more fun than I expected it to be.

    Also, maybe some more Blacklight: Retribution which is a newish Free-to-Play game on Steam. I really want to like it, its got a pretty nice style and tons of customization options which I’m a big ol’ sucker for, but the actual shooting is pretty similar to the Call of Duty style which I am not that big a fan of. Maybe it’ll grow on me, though.

  34. Jeff Bandy says:

    Nobody else is devoting a lost weekend to Spelunky? I intend to stagger Spelunky binges with some Witcher 2, which I bought to stress test my new PC. Between The Witness, Antichamber, Dishonored, and Company of Heroes 2, I really had no choice.

  35. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I’m planning on going through my Steam backlog now that I have a computer that can play some games.

    Some indie titles first, then the Sega Genesis Classics comps, then Tribes Ascend. Modern Warfare 3 can wait a bit.

  36. ShoeLaser says:

    Dominion- just got the Cornucopia expansion. Probably Race for the Galaxy, too, because I think I’m still feeling my way through that game.

  37. LackeyOfLove says:

    I’m playing Eve Online: A Terrible Game.

    Goonfleet best fleet, etc.

  38. I’ve been playing a nasty little iPhone game called Plague Inc. that lets me name a fictional contagion (Fonzitis). (One of the symptoms of Fonzitis: you have this uncontrollable urge to having meetings in men’s rooms.) The object of the game: to evolve Fonzitis until it has murdered EVERYONE ON THE PLANET.

    And I tried to go back to Max Payne 3. What a depressing slab of horse shit that game is. It’s even more depressing than Plague Inc., which is really saying something.

    Also: I’ll probably read. The one terrific side-effect of a game drought, like the one we’re currently experiencing, is that it gives me a chance to discover other forgotten pleasures, like reading and listening to comedy albums.

  39. Effigy_Power says:

    @HobbesMkii:disqus got me hooked on CK2 and now that I managed to hold back both Harold of Norway and William the Conqueror to keep England Saxon, I finally managed to amalgamate the whole shebang into the Empire of Britannia, at about 1185. It was hard going for a while, especially having to build up cash in order to afford some mercenaries to invade Ireland (The Munster-dynasty especially fights back hard)…
    Of course that’s all going to crap now that my last emperor lived to the age of 75 (infirm and not at all happy) and all his legitimate sons died in battle or on the tournament stretch, so my heir is a slow, syphilitic coward conceived by a courtier…
    Woe to the sceptered Isle, but I foresee a lot of revolution. That’s what my weekend is going to be… trying to keep the King of Scotland from taking over the whole thing, even if he is of my dynasty.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      I enjoy hearing that you all are enjoying it, especially given its pedigree as being one of Paradox’s “grand strategy games,” which have a pretty serious niche market, due to their steep learning curve. I feel like CK2 is one of those games that manages to both encourage you to stick with it and rewards you for doing so.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         Well, I must admit I also have a sick sort of fascination with seeing it all crash and burn. Most games have a game-over screen… CK2 has a decade of game-over action… you know you’re screwed royally (wakka wakka) but you can’t bring yourself to quit.
        I am at exactly that point right now, with the Alamid Sultanate having taken over France and the Holy Roman Empire just waiting for my to make a false move. The fact that the Pope excommunicated me 2 turns before I saved last night is only going to make things worse.

        BTW: This is my third dynasty and every time the Muslims overrun Europe in record-speed. The Crusades move from Jerusalem to Northern Italy and Anatolia and they just keep coming? Is that normal, considering history proved it otherwise? I can’t seem to stop them and the silly pope calls to arms only when it’s too late.
        (Petitioning a crusade from the pope would be a great feature, btw)…

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Paradox has worked hard to balance Iberia (the 1.06b patch, for instance, has been reported to help keep France from overrunning the Muslims there after they take out the Jimena kings, which was a problem prior to that) and I think it shows in that it doesn’t show up well.

          I’ll put it like this: if you flipped a coin three times, and it came up heads each time, you wouldn’t worry about the coin being unbalanced. That’s just the nature of probability. Iberia, Southern Italy, the Byzantines, and the dissolution (or not dissolution) of the Holy Roman Empire are all like that coin. You may play ten games where the same thing happens each time. But it wasn’t guaranteed to happen that way. You just got “lucky.”

  40. mformby says:

    Still playing World of Tanks and still having fun with it.  I’ve been suckered into paying about 12 dollars so far but totally worth it.

    Also I’ve been messing with Legend of Grimrock…it’s a old school style dungeon crawler.  I don’t know how big the dungeon is but I’m on about level 7 and I’m starting to see the horrible flaws in my party design right about now…it might be too late to turn back.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      There is definite fun to be had with WoT, though as with most competitive MMOs, I prefer the low tier content. Tuckering around in the Tier 1 tanks is pretty fun.
      I hope World of Warplanes turns out to be fun.

      PS: Also fun. And fun. [goes and buys thesaurus]

      • HobbesMkii says:

         I like the higher tiers better, if only for the fact once you hit tier 8, you’re not in danger of being in a match where you can’t penetrate anyone else’s armor.

        I’ve definitely spent more money that I meant to on that game, but I wouldn’t say I consider it an ill purpose. I have regretted joining clans there, though. Waaaay too many chuckle-heads.

  41. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    I was playing Final Fantasy XIII-2, but I had to give up on it after about 5 hours. I liked it, but the idea of having to play for probably another 50 to 60 hours to finish it was just too much for me. I wish I could find a good RPG that doesn’t require you to devote several days of your life to completing it.

  42. Pgoodso says:

    …to take flight with ass?

  43. EmperorNortonI says:

    I’ve just been trying out Team Fortress 2, largely thanks to discussion on this site and the prospect of Steam group games.  I played the original a bit, back when it was a HL1 mod, but wasn’t a huge fan – Day of Defeat 3.0, and then Red Orchestra sucked me in and never let go.  But Day of Defeat died long ago, and Red Orchestra is only a faint shadow of what it used to be 4 or 5 years ago – don’t even mention Red Orchestra 2.  That said, TF2 seems to be scratching my PC shooter itch quite nicely, thought perhaps that’s because I’m still to chicken to play against people.  Much as I love the shooters, I just never got used to playing them with those god-awful console controllers, with their molasses-slow turning and inaccurate aiming.

    While my students have been working away studying for tests next week, I managed to beat The Wasted Land, a Call-of-Cthulhu inspired tactical RPG.  Man, I miss tactical RPG’s.  Action points, skills that really mattered to the battle, keeping points in reserve for when the enemy moved into range . . . ah those were the days.  Why oh why did Fallout have to go all FPS on me?  It’s just not the same . . .

    I’ve also been trying out Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.  As an old Magic hand who’s been out of the game forever, I can’t help but writhe in agony at the painful, painful slowness of the starter decks.  I can’t really tell if that’s just the game these days, or if it’s the newbie-friendly decks they’ve constructed, but it really hurts being smacked around by weenie-white Odric because I can’t get anything on the field before the fourth or fifth turn.  I mean, that late into the game should really have cleared out your opening hand and be going for the kill . . .

    I played a print-and-play card game called Pantheon today with my high school history students.  You each try and build temples and flocks of worshippers to attract gods from various different Pantheons, including Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Indian, and Chinese.  Each of the gods have different powers.  It’s rather cut-throat, but fortunately my students got into the spirit of the game, and weren’t all nice to each other.

    And Memoir 44, as usual.  This week luck has been back and forth, brutally.  Yesterday I got swept from the field in a single turn, two enemy tanks destroying four of mine, leaving his other units with nothing to shoot at and giving me a 6/0 loss.  Today I used two single-figure tanks to destroy 6 full-strength enemy units.  Not really the best games, but the tank-heavy desert maps tend to do come down more to luck than anything else.

    I’ve been thinking of checking out the new expansion for Civ V.  Well, it’s really a matter of when, not if, but I’ve still not made the plunge.  I also have King Arthur 2 sitting on my drive, waiting.  I got it before launch, but the opening day publicity sounded bad enough that I decided to wait for it to get patched up a bit.

  44. Professor_Cuntburglar says:

    I just started the first Infamous for the first time. Holy crap, is it fun to just climb around the city and surf on power lines.

    I’m playing through it 100% Evil right now, because I’m hoping that at some point that means I can kill my annoying Elvis-impersonator sidekick.

  45. djsubversive says:

    I always go back to Fallout New Vegas, so I’m sure I’ll be playing that. I’ve also picked Alpha Protocol and Arcanum back up recently, along with Saints Row 2 (3 was good, but a little disappointing compared to the relative freedom of 2).

    As far as multiplayer games, Payday: the Heist is a great overlooked little co-op game that nobody I know plays (except for the few people I bought it for during the last Steam sale). It’s like Left 4 Dead, but instead of “zombie apocalypse,” think “heist film.” Rather than zombie hordes and getting from safehouse to safehouse, you’re fighting off waves of cops (and other guys with guns) and stealing loot. The game has a bunch of little shout-outs to the movie “Heat”: in the bank robbery mission, if you have an AI teammate, they’ll hop onto one of the tables in the lobby and recite the “We’re after the bank’s money, not your money.” speech; the second mission is named “Heat Street” and it’s basically a running firefight through the streets of a city after a job goes bad; and smaller things like naming the Heat-inspired lighting theme “Deniro.”

    I’ve also been playing APB: Reloaded, which is a free-2-play Saints-Row-ish PVP game. Super-customizable third-person open-city cops-n-robbers. It can get frustrating (“pay-to-win” weapons, broken matchmaking, high-level players deciding to get their kicks by rolling through low-level districts) but when it clicks, it’s such a great experience. A lot of the pain can be mitigated by grouping with other people, so you have somebody to laugh with (or at least talk to). If you play/want to play, bug me on steam (same username but check the gameological group because i can never remember if there’s a period or not) – I’ve got an Enforcer on the Joker (USEast) server and an Enforcer on Patriot (one of the EU servers; I only play there because I know a couple people who do, but the latency is annoying at best, unplayable at worst).