What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe, NFL punter

The most famous punter talks Guild Wars 2, gay players in the NFL, and gaming’s greatest treasure.

By Drew Toal • September 14, 2012

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

Chris Kluwe is a punter for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Off the field, he made a name for himself for his colorful commentary concerning the most recent NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, and is also a well-known champion of MMOs (his Twitter handle is @chriswarcraft). More recently, Kluwe is known for his spate with Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. See, Burns wrote to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, requesting he clamp down on Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo’s public defense of same-sex marriage. Kluwe took exception publicly, and in the process introduced the phrase “lustful cockmonster” into popular consciousness. The Gameological Society emailed with Kluwe (football season is upon us, after all, so finding time for a phone call is tough) about his games and newfound fame.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Chris Kluwe: Playing Guild Wars 2. I’m currently a level 51 charr warrior. I run around and hit things with a giant sword and it makes me tingly in the happyparts.

Gameological: Level 51 charr warrior, eh? Really letting the humans have it?

Kluwe: Nom-nomming on delicious spectral Ascalonians is part of every charr’s daily diet.

Gameological: Aren’t Ascalonians fattening?

Kluwe: Not if you lightly sauté them in a poached basilisk egg sauce.

Gameological: What level is [running back] Adrian Peterson?

Kluwe: Infinity.

Gameological: Are the days of subscription based MMOs behind us? What do you see, in terms of the future of games like Guild Wars 2 and World Of Warcraft?

Kluwe: It really depends on what you’re offering for the subscription. I can see a subscription based game with lots of real-time player/GM interaction being popular, as well as free to play with microtransactions like Guild Wars 2. Mainly it’s about what kind of long term draw you can provide.

Gameological: What do you think is the most important factor in keeping those games fresh and accessible?

Kluwe: Constantly evolving content that hides the grind in a satisfactory way. Also, engaging social dynamics that encourage player interaction; people will log in to talk to their friends and just wander around for an hour if they like the game and community.

Gameological: Generally speaking, what’s your primary weapon of choice? I’m partial to warhammers.

Kluwe: I like daggers. Versatile, quick, sneaky, and you can use them to gut a chicken in a pinch. Try doing that with a warhammer.

Gameological: Are you kidding me? Warhammering chickens make instant chicken patties.

Kluwe: Also makes them crunchy. Just like McNuggets, I guess.

Gameological: Is there a lot of gaming in the NFL? If so, what kind? I assume most of you guys get enough football and stay away from Madden?

Kluwe: There’s a lot more than there used to be; as more and more guys come through that have grown up with video games you see a lot more gamers. Quite a few guys actually play Madden, lots also play Call Of Duty and Battlefield.

Gameological: Does game playing ever interfere with your job?

Kluwe: Nope. Otherwise I wouldn’t have a job.

Gameological: What has been the most surprising thing about the huge response to your recent Deadspin piece?

Kluwe: Just the sheer overwhelming positivity to it. Five or 10 years ago, there would have been a lot more hateful responses on Twitter, now there’s barely any. I think people are starting to realize that civil rights are worth standing for; that it’s not a bad thing to let others live their life free of oppression.

Gameological: Do you ever have self-reflective moments where you think there might be more to life than kicking bombs and pinning opponents on their own four-yard line? Maybe a political career?

Kluwe: I would like everyone to just treat others the way they want to be treated. That’s all.

Gameological: How far away are we from openly gay professional football players?

Kluwe: Hopefully not far at all. I know personally I would have their back, and I’m sure there’s tons of guys in the NFL that would be fine with it too. All that matters is if you can help the team win on Sunday.

Gameological: Is a person named Mr. Burns evil by default?

Kluwe: I can only imagine so at this point. Guilt by Simpsons association.

Gameological: We’re running a tournament on the site right now: Greatest Video Game Treasure.” It’s pretty subjective, taking into account scarcity, power, humor and other intangibles. What treasure would you vote for inclusion, and why?

Kluwe: The hidden whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3 in the movie The Wizard. That thing made a knight dude start sprinting across the screen, and as far as I know, is the only time that ever happened in Super Mario 3. Legendary.

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

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  • Cloks

    More Xenoblade! Go me!

  • caspiancomic

    Now that classes have started up my gaming has slowed to a crawl! As such, I’m still plugging away at Half-Life 2 and Tomba!, with Persona 3: FES in the pipe. Also in the near future: The Stanley Parable. Heard a lot about it, found out it’s available for Mac. It says you need Half-Life 2 though. That isn’t the problem, of course, I have HL2. I was just wondering if anyone knows if installing something like this somehow “overrides” the original game? I probably sound like a tech-deaf troglodyte, but I don’t want to lose my HL2 progress.

    Also, new Game Theory article later today. May be a bit later in the day, I still have to finish up some illustrations. Check back with Soupy this evening maybe.

    • PaganPoet

      Speaking of Persona 3: FES, I recently just finished “The Journey” (AKA the main story) and started “The Answer” (AKA the epilogue added for the FES expansion)…wow, it’s tough! I can tell it’s going to be quite a grindfest, I can tell!

      Glad I have Persona 4 Arena to break up the JRPGness every once and a while, but still stay in the mythos. I’m trying to learn how to use Aigis effectively, but she’s difficult because she has limited ammo, plus she can switch between Normal and Orgia Modes.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       On PC at least, it doesn’t touch the original game. As a HL2 mod, I assume it just uses assets from the original game that you wouldn’t have on your computer if you didn’t have the game.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    Whatever your stance on gay marriage, I think we can all agree that “lustful cockmonster” is one of the greatest English phrases ever invented. Thanks for that one, Mr. Kluwe!

    Looks like another weekend of minimal gaming for me. I’ve been working my through Sleeping Dogs very slowly. I probably could have barrelled through the story and beaten it a couple of weeks ago, but I spend the majority of my time with the game exploring or screwing around. And I still haven’t played much Mahjongg or bet on many cockfights. Damn you, exceedingly well-made open world!

    I tried to get back into BioShock last weekend, and for a while, it was going fine. I made it through 45 minutes of suitably creepy gameplay, with minimal combat and lots of exploration. While I wasn’t loving the game, my disdain for it was evaporating. Then, I hit a roadblock: a machine that needed to be built. To progress any further, I had to collect the parts to build it – about 15 items. HOLY FUCK ANOTHER FUCKING FETCH QUEST WHAT IT THIS BALLS ASS SHIT COCK. I might give it a go this weekend now that my rage has cooled off.

    I may also cock my portal gun and fire up some community-made Portal 2 co-op levels with some college buddies. I’ve only tried single-player community levels so far. Any recommendations for co-op ones?

    Wow, I used the word “cock” a lot in this comment. Maybe I’m turning into a lustful cockmonster! Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually. After all, I live in a cocking world full of cocks that cock in the cock cock cock. Cock.

  • Vervack

    Well, I’ve managed to screw up my monitor somehow in the past three hours, so I have no idea if I’m going to be playing anything this weekend. It still works fine, thankfully, it’s just that everything’s bluer and dimmer than before, and I have no idea how to get it back to the way it was. (A lesson, perhaps, that I should never restore things to factory defaults if I can help it.)

    Assuming I finally figure out what’s going on, my intention is to revisit the original Half-Life series. It’s my way of marking a special occasion: a few hours after this is posted, Black Mesa: Source, a remake mod of the original Half-Life done in the Source engine, will be available free for download to the general public. Given how much I’ve played the original game over the years, and considering the team has taken a cue from Valve’s strain of perfectionism and has been working on it for years (seriously, this isn’t even the final release; the press releases have said it remakes the first game up to the end of the Black Mesa levels, and that the final Xen levels are still being worked on and will appear in a future update), its release is a bit of a big deal. To that end, to get myself in the mood and to avoid the release day hump, I’m going to spend the next few days working through the original game and its spin-off expansions Opposing Force (Adrian Shephard is the best Shephard ever, and let no one tell you otherwise) and Blue Shift, which is the short little adventure of Barney Calhoun. Depending on my mood, I may also play my two favorite single-player mods as well: Azure Sheep, which is basically Blue Shift expanded into a full-length game, and Point of View, which is a campaign centered around the adventures of a Vortigaunt, and it is as enjoyable as it sounds.

    • George_Liquor

       Is everything tinted “blue-ish” or actually very blue? If it’s just tinted, look through the monitor’s setup menu for something called Color Temperature or Color Tone. If it’s set to ‘cool’, try ‘normal’ or ‘warm’

      If it’s really blue, and you’ve already reset your monitor to factory defaults, try reseating the video cable at both ends.

  • HobbesMkii

    FTL. And maybe Deus Ex: Human Revolution? It’s on sale on Steam for $7.50, which seems like a steal, given everything I’ve heard about the game.

    I also need to dedicate six hours and just grind out the last of the Iron Isles’ history and I believe we’ll be able to start taking the A Game of Thrones Crusader Kings 2 mod into the way-back machine.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      DX:HR was the best game of 2011, IMO. At $7.50, it’s a steal.

      • Captain Internet

        I’d agree with that. 

        My one complaint is that non-lethal tactics reward you with more points than lethal ones, which put my desire to improvise at odds with my desire for bigger numbers. Hard to say if that’s my problem on the game’s problem.

        It’s still amazing.

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          I was thinking today that someone should make a Commando mod for Deus Ex HR where you get more XP for standing in the middle of the room and murdering the same 5 stuntmen over and over again. But then I realised that it would be just like every FPS on the market. Still, I would get a kick out of seeing Jensen feeding a baby deer and then have a knife fight with a fat guy wearing a knitted chainmail vest.

        • Fluka

          Well, the way I view it, you get the higher points because it’s usually harder to plan out and execute a mission completely non-lethally, mostly because you have to worry about hiding all the bodies and either using two slow-reloading weapons (stun gun and tranq) or energy-consuming takedowns.  The same goes doubly so for stealth: I spent so many goddamn times reloading in that game after getting spotted, but the massive Ghost bonus when you’re totally undetected more than makes up for it.  The way I figure it, those strategies rely more heavily on augs, so it’s only fair you get Praxis points a lot faster.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Erudite, athletic and knowledgable. I honestly think the term renaissance man applies.
    As for me, I’ll be perched atop the Grainbelt sign looking over the Hennepin bridge. Held aloft by a magical pilsner made of the North Wind and the tears of a scrub punk who fell off his double tall bike.
    I hope to see in the reflection of the river whatever vision could draw foolish man after wise to this still heart of winter.
    And probably some more Bastion.

    • The_Misanthrope

       Yeah, it really makes me glad to see him in the news.  After all the notoriety Michelle Bachmann has brought to my home state, it’s nice to have someone sane representing us.  It’s almost enough to make me want to watch football.  OK, not really. I know, I know, it’s quite the cliche:  a gamer-nerd that doesn’t enjoy sports.  Well, that’s not entirely true, either.  I do enjoy…ahem…croquet.

      Not much time for games these days, but when I procrastinating important academic work that will finish up my long-gestating degree, I’ve been playing Super House of the Dead Ninjas (as seen on this site!), which is just the perfect blend of twitchy violence and propulsive gameplay.

      • caspiancomic

         I actually got a lot of mileage out of Super House of Dead Ninjas, even going so far as to play it again in the days following its feature on the site, which is pretty much the highest compliment you can pay to a Sawbuck game. I’ve unlocked most of the weapons and many of the upgrades, but I still haven’t actually beaten the last boss.

        • The_Misanthrope

          Yeah, neither have I, even though I know how to do it now, mostly because I never have liked boss fights that make me stand around dodging projectiles or blows while I wait for the it to do the one thing that leaves it open to attack. I should always have an way to hit the boss, even if it is not always wise or easy.

          I do like the little funny “screw you” moment when that final fight starts: the boss’ life gauge fills up, stops for a second to let you consider your fate, then adds even more bars to the boss’ life.

    • boardgameguy

      i usually do the same, but from beneath the stone arch bridge.    that may include playing BASTION this weekend as well.

      as for table top games, i hope to get in a round of a simple fishing-themed game called MARE BALTICUM or do some archaeology-related gaming with THEBES.

  • Citric

    Looks like:

    Odin Sphere! It’s purdy. I’m not sure if I’m the biggest fan of it, since the entire thing seems to be entirely about juggling items, but I’m beginning to warm to it.

    Radia Senki! It’s a fairly obscure NES RPG that is sort of like a really, really primitive Star Ocean. I’m quite impressed by what they pulled off – it looks great, coherent story, battle system that’s about five years ahead of its time – but it can be super tedious, mostly because nobody moves very quickly, partly because the NES couldn’t quite pull off the AI it sort of needs, but it’s neat. Hooray for fan translation!

    Treasure of the Rudras! Square SNES RPG, I just started it. It’s pretty good, and most importantly you can cast “Bumsex” or “Farts” or any other words you can think of on your opponent as a spell. I think it might have been kept in Japan because of that, partially because the spell system would have been a bitch to translate (though the fans actually pulled it off), partially because parents would have objected when little Timmy was casting “vagina” on their opponent (it does void damage, tee hee hee). I admit to regressing into a 12 year old and I’m not ashamed of that. Hooray for fan translation x2!

    Grand Theft Auto 4! Not sure I like this one yet, seems to have had more effort put into the parts where you’re not playing than the ones where you are. 

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

      I’ll have to give Rudras a try. How’s the game itself? Is it a really grindy JRPG with obscure mechanics, or is it more player-friendly?

      • Citric

        I’m not too far in, just started it, but it doesn’t seem too grindy so far. You do need to find yourself some stat-adjusting spells in order to do well, and given the crazy spell system it’s not always obvious what to type in to get that.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      Oh, nice.  The gameplay on Radia War Chronicle gets so good, especically near the end.  When your characters have more powers, the space between actions gets shorter.  The music’s pretty fantastic, too.  Combine that with the graphics, and you wonder how so much can happen at once on a “primitive” system.

      How did you find out about it?  Me?  Fan translation website?  Hardcore Gaming 101?

      • Citric

        Fan translation way back in the day, back when Whirlpool was still around I think. I never actually started playing it until recently for some reason, but I’ve been intending on giving it a solid run for a long time.

  • PaganPoet

    Kluwe’s pro-gay marriage letter was incredibly funny, witty, apt, and sweet all at once. I just want to put it out there as a gay man, I’m glad there are straight allies out there like him.

    • Enkidum

      That letter was one of the best things I have ever read. Lustful cockmonster indeed.

    • Effigy_Power

      Signed. As a lesbian I don’t have to deal much with the football crowd per se, which I imagine is fairly macho, so it can’t be easy for gay men to break in there without any problems. As such it’s extra nice to see someone taking a stance and calling people on their bullshit.

      Now if someone did this for Women’s Golf… -sniffle- Only 80% of all female golfers are lesbian and it tears me up inside. -cries-

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       He’s one of the good jocks.

    • George_Liquor

      I find it utterly incomprehensible that here, in The Future, gay marriage is actually a contested issue. The US has a nuclear-powered robot with a rock-blasting laser driving around the surface of Mars right now. How can so many people in this country have such a medieval view on civil rights?

      • Effigy_Power

        I am sure it takes some effort. At least I tell myself that whenever I get into my car, because that much stupidity allowed to drive would make my daily commute unbearable.

  • jessec829

    After waiting two weeks for a copy of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II to arrive (I don’t know why I suddenly have a burning desire to play that game), it did — but it’s broken. I have a few other games lying around that I’ve not played yet — namely Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Klonoa 2, Dark Cloud I and II for PS2 and Sorcery, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Eternal Sonata for PS3 — but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to play so I read Breed by Chase Novak instead. It was pretty good. I know, fascinating stuff.

    The real point of this post is to ask: Of the games listed above, which should I play first?

    • PaganPoet

      Of those you listed, I would personally go for Disgaea…Just because I’m fond of the humor, and I always love a tactical RPG.

      • http://undomielregina.dreamwidth.org/ undomielregina

         Agreed. Disgaea is awesome and hilarious, and the whole series is funny and has great characters. IMO, 4 is even the best one since Hour of Darkness, which is a nice change from series that peak early and leave you with diminishing returns. And they’re fairly long games so a good ratio of entertainment to dollar spent.

        The big question is: Japanese or English audio? They’re both really great. I tend to favor Japanese because I was in the ’90′s sub vs dub wars, but they have some of the best dubs around so it’s really a matter of personal preference. (2 has both Hikaru Midorikawa and Takehito Koyasu in it, though, and so must always be played in Japanese /fangirl)

        • PaganPoet

          Now that English voice acting has reached a level in many games where it’s not only tolerable, but actually good, I usually leave it on English. Mainly because I prefer the different dialects and accents.

          For example, Disgaea 3…the Vato Bros! Their English voice actor is ~hilarious~ and, while I’m sure they have some kind of quirk in the Japanese language too, it’s not something I would understand. I also love that the script-writers don’t know how to spell “guero,” “orale” or “Chuy,” so it appears in-game as “weddo,” “odelay” and “Chewie” respectively.

      • WorldCivilizations

        Disgaea is, in my opinion, a genuine classic. Very funny, and I really thought it had heart – some of the scenes were fairly moving (maybe that was just me). Plus I went and played FF Tactics after I beat it, craving more tactical RPG, and I thought it sucked pretty hard compared to Disgaea’s gameplay. Anyway, I am glad to hear @openid-140910:disqus that 4 is good – probably the next game I will buy.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      Ugh, Eternal Sonata, the only game where you can develop an ulcer, a cavity, and diabetes in one playthough…I’d go AssCreed:Rev. The assassin’s recruitment side-missions are much more fleshed out, similar to Outer Ops in Metal Gear: Peace Walker, and combat in general is less “button mashy easy” as Ass:Bro. I’d take or leave the Desmond flashback missions, as it seems too much like Ubi tried to replicate Portal’s puzzle rooms. Dark Cloud I and II were cool back in the day. Maybe those?

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

      I’ve only played Disgaea, and the two Dark Clouds. Of those, my favourite was probably Dark Cloud 2. There’s tons to do besides the dungeon-crawling.

    • jessec829

      Thanks for the recommendations, All! I think I’ll go with Disgaea. I’ve always heard good things but never got around to playing it, and hearing that 4 is good makes me want to play Hour of Darkness and then pick up 4 for the PS3. 

      For future reference, those who’ve played both Dark Cloud I and II, is there value to playing I, or should I just skip it and play II? 

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

        Dark Cloud II is such a huge improvement over I, and there’s little or no plot connection between them. I say skip it.

        The original Dark Cloud is “worth playing”, but there’s so many better games out there.

      • http://twitter.com/MikoSquiz Miko the Squiz

        Warning: It’s entirely possible to invest 500+ hours in Disgaea. You can spend days fighting through endless levels of Item World just to get the best sword/spear/shoes.

        It will also seem grossly unfair in places, unless you spoiler yourself up with all the weird and wonderful ways to abuse its various systems. It’s the only game I know of where the designers have found holes in their mechanics and instead of excising them built around them instead, with the expectation that the players can and will take every last inch of advantage they can get.

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

          Sadly, the level-9999 monster capture trick was removed from remakes of Disgaea 2. 

      • http://undomielregina.dreamwidth.org/ undomielregina

        What @twitter-16826090:disqus  says is true, and I highly recommend consulting guides because this is the kind of game that doesn’t really believe in explaining itself beyond the very most basic elements.

        While I really do think 4 was the best since 1, the main story modes in 2 and 3 are also pretty great and they both have memorable characters and stories that make them worth playing once (if you’re the sort of gamer who cares about those things, in any case, which I know not everyone is). Their main flaw is in being shorter and somewhat easier than the first game — although both main storylines are still probably 40-60 hours of gameplay. Unless you’re a very serious tactical RPG enthusiast, I’m not sure it’s worth getting deeply involved in the much grindier post-game play until you’re caught up to 4, though.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/apropostrophe,94164/ apropostrophe

    Chris Kluwe has put me in the terribly awkward position of cheering for a Minnesota Viking.

    Sean Avery did the same thing a few years ago.  I was really glad when he spoke out for gay marriage but on the inside I was going “Of all the NHL players, it had to be Sean Avery?”

    Oh well.  Either way, good for you guys.

  • Enkidum

    Still grinding my way through Catan on the iPad, and will likely restrict myself to that and a couple of other board games – gotta do too much work this weekend. And watching the kids finish episode two of the Strong Bad adventure game, probably.

    • KidvanDanzig

      I had bad luck with that, though it might have been the iPhone port – it ate my battery life like candy, it was actually amazing. Like 1% every 30 seconds. Videos were less rigorous

  • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

    I picked up Blackwater: The Game in the used bin at GS for 15 bucks, and I really gotta nail these time trial levels. My best time in Nisour Square is 2’05″, and that’s without the White Phosphor grenade pickups. If I get the Gold Medal of Honor I get Infinite Ammo!

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      I wish that Blackwater were a PC game so that I could mod it and turn it into a game about unicorns who shoot happiness rainbows at ponies.

  • KidvanDanzig

    Obsidian’s got a new game they’re revealing tomorrow (better not be a countdown to a countdown…) Something called “ETERNITY”. Looks like it’s either their Wheel of Time game (which was announced several years ago but has produced deafening silence since) or some new IP / Kickstarter thing. We’re hoping it might be the “post-apocalyptic high fantasy” setting that Feargus talked up a year or two ago. Josh Sawyer (late of heading Fallout:NV) is their commanding officer for this one.

    Beyond that, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is looking fucking incredible so I decided to start a new game of the original. Nothing like sending out your rookies to draw the snipers out and then dropping grenades on ‘em.

    • dreadguacamole

        I wish they would try to resurrect Torn – I was gutted when that was cancelled.

       And a resounding YES to the new XCOM; barring them somehow screwing that or Dishonored up, they’re very likely to be tied for my favorite (single-player) games of this year. October can’t come soon enough…

    • The_Misanthrope

       Or sending out some psychologically-weak guy into action right away with a pistol and a couple of primed proximity grenades.  They panic, drop all their stuff, and then BOOM!, no fuss, no muss.

  • Nudeviking

    I am apparently slacking or pro-football player is a less time demanding career than I assumed it was.  My charr warrior’s only 37…

    • zebbart

      He’s a kicker remember.

      • Cornell_University

        PUNTER.  Even less rigorous position.  Or it would be, if he wasn’t on the Vikings.

        • GaryX

          CANNOT LIKE ENOUGH

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      My charr warrior is only about level 8, but my human thief should hit 60 when I finish exploring the Sylvari home city tonight.

  • TomElman

    I just finished red alert 3 yesterday, after 4 years, just so i wouldn’t feel guilty about uninstalling it from my system. now i’m kinda at a loss, i’m really tempted to reinstall defense grid and force my wife to play it with me. otherwise, maybe i’ll finally unwrap metroid: the other m and give it a whirl. Anyone here put in any time with that game? I heard it was an interesting, if not completely successful experiment in shifting game play perspectives.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       It’s a deeply flawed game from both a gameplay and writing perspective – certainly not as solid as the Prime games – but there are certainly worse games out there you could be playing (though probably none with “Metroid” in the title).

      The fps-like mechanics are a little unreliable, and sometimes arbitrarily employed (why can I shoot my gun just fine in 3rd person, but need to switch to FPS to shoot a missle?), and the weird shoehorned-in hand-to-hand combat options are awkward and probably won’t actually see any use. And I’m sure you’re familiar with the common complaints about the abysmal, kind of hackneyed/sexist writing, Samus only activating her power-ups when the man in charge says it’s okay, etc.

    • GaryX

      As @paraclete_pizza:disqus says, the writing is pretty fucking terrible. You’ll enjoy the game based off a parabolic distance with the Prime series (or really any other Metroid game). If you’ve played one too recently, Other M will seem pretty shitty. If you haven’t played one in ages to the point of looking back on it extremely fondly, Other M will seem pretty shitty. Gotta hit that sweet spot to realize it’s only kinda shitty.

  • TomElman

    I’m with you man, that xcom looks amazing. i never played any of the originals though, do they have the same mix of turn-based action and real time global threat assessment and political maneuvering?

    Whoops, this was supposed to be a reply to monsieur Danzig’s post below.

    • Captain Internet

      There’s not much political manoeuvring. If you don’t stop the aliens from abducting everyone in China, then China will stop funding you and side with the Aliens instead- just like in real life!

      The original is on Steam for very little money as X-COM: UFO Defence, and on GOG for slightly more if you want to try it out, though it’s a bit brittle on a modern PC. I’m aware that when I picked it up recently and played it for old-times’ sake I was using my Nostalgia Goggles, but it’s a classic for all the right reasons.

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    Last night I finished Deus Ex: They Actually Prefer To Be Called Pocket Personal Assistants. I managed to get the Pacifist achievement but didn’t get Foxiest of the Hounds even though I’m sure I didn’t set off any alarms (I reloaded an old save every time I even suspected I had been spotted).
    A few observations (may be SPOILERS):
    - I had no idea what was going on with that last boss fight.- What was the point of having Jensen’s rocket crash in the ocean on arrival at Panchaea?- Pritchard is an arrogant ponytail-wearing dick. So nice to know that IT guys haven’t changed in 2027.- This game would be impossible in many sections without the Cloak augmentation.- From what I understand, this story takes place over a couple of days. During this time Jensen is very physically active, does a lot of travelling and is consuming only energy bars and the odd beer found lying around. He never gets around to having that shower. So what good is Cloak in those areas where you have to sneak past very close to guards, when they’d be able to smell Jensen’s wafting BO a mile away? Did Sarif give him the Anti-perspirant augmentation when I wasn’t paying attention? Also note that evil conspirators in the future should look in to infra-red security camera technology.- The game encourages stealth then throws you in to boss fights where the only option seems to be open combat, this was very jarring (and annoying).- Did Jensen get the Typhoon system chunky shoulder pads augmentation or is that just Pure Jensen?- I just had to do that dance in front of the hazmat suit guy. Thanks @Fluka:disqus !- Mostly good voice acting, though Jensen’s bat-growl grated after a while. I knew the Sarif voice actor from somewhere, and I’m sure that first boss was Fry’s father in Futurama.- I liked that this game is very non-linear, but trade off of this was that I often found navigating very difficult and tedious. Would often wander around guard-infested locations having no idea where I was supposed to be going.- There appears to be no children or fat people in the future. Also, now that I think about it, I went to the seedy underbelly of a Chinese city twice and didn’t see any vermin scuttling away, even in the sewers. I call shenanigans. MGS4 had realistic guinea pigs, so the technology exists, Square Enix.- I was playing on PS3, so Cloak and the Typhoon are mapped next to each other on the D-Pad. I lost count of the number of times I had to quit and reload a recent save after navigating silently through a room full of hostiles, going to turn off Cloak and instead standing up and blasting my immediate surroundings with ball bearings.- I chose the ‘evil’ ending, where I sent my whiny ex-colleague to get a job with Sarif Industries recruitment with my endorsement, and then destroyed the Panchaea facility so they’d never be able to verify my reference. Mwahahahaha!- Probably about 5-10 hours too long. In the end I pushed on because I just wanted it to be over.

    Overall a good game and I’m glad I played it and I am equally glad that I never have to play it again.

    • Captain Internet

      No-one ever washes in The Lord of the Rings either. Just imagine how that smells.

      • Effigy_Power

        They’ll just chew some bullshit plant called Thlathlethlas and rub it on the especially vinegary parts. That’ll do.

        • Enkidum

          Ewwww…

    • Swadian Knight

      By coincidence, I’m also playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution this weekend, and some of those achievements really are bullshit to get.

      I’m trying a pacifist, Give-Me-Deus-Ex ghost run, and I’ve had to reload about fifteen times by now because Jensen’s less than lethal arsenal will just kill some random guards every once in a while. I don’t know if this is meant to be a more realistic depiction of non-lethal weaponry, since I imagine a lot could go wrong when you put a lot of electricity or a heavy dose of sedatives through someone’s body, or if Belltower and the gangs of Detroit and Hengsha have a hemophiliac hiring quota.

      • Staggering Stew Bum

        I read that the tranquiliser gun is glitched, so when you use it you’ve got to check the knocked out target has the little ZZZ icon. I primarily relied on non-lethal takedowns and the stun gun. The non-lethal takedowns looked very lethal to me, but maybe in 2027 medical science has progressed to the point where cracked skulls, internal hemorrhaging and broken limbs are like treating a small scratch.

        I piled four unconscious guards inside a vent and came back several hours later to find they were now dead, but still got the Pacifist achievement. No idea what cost me Foxiest though.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           ”At one point I piled four unconscious guards inside a vent and came back
          several hours later to find they had died, but still got the Pacifist achievement.”

          I’m sure Gandhi and MLK did that kind of stuff all the time!

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus – Oh I’d totally play Deus Ex HR again if you could play as Gandhi in tag team co op with Martin Luther King:

          MLK knocks guard out cold and quips “Now you’re having a dream, bitch!” Gandhi looks over, smirks, and says “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you kick their motherfuckin ass.”

        • Effigy_Power

          With Samuel L. Jackson and Kal Penn.
          Actually at this point you might even get Kingsley.

        • Swadian Knight

          Yeah, the tranq gun kills often if you hit people in the head, which I guess makes sense. It’s just kind of a pain to use it for body shots since it takes a lot longer for the sedative to kick in. And even that’s not totally safe! I’ve had some enemies die just from hitting objects in the scenery when they fall after you knock them out.

          Another heads-up for those attempting a pacifist run is to watch out for the guard standing outside in the mission where you have to knock out a gang leader for O’Malley – he’s bugged and dies often even if you just zap or punch him.

    • blue vodka lemonade

       I’m stuck about an hour into DX, and am already mesmerized by those black brocade shoulder pads. The future is fashion.

      Also, I am really, really, really quite bad at stealth games. I don’t know what it is about me that makes them so much harder than they should be, but I’m pretty sure that what I’m stuck on is essentially the tutorial level for stealth. This is not a good sign.

      • Fluka
        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          I love how many gifs, YouTube vids, and memes this game has spawned.

        • Fluka

          @Merve2:disqus I figure it’s because the game is both ridiculously awesome and awesomely ridiculous.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I would just like to point out the ridiculous fatal flaw of cybernetic implants that require candy bars to recharge batteries.  Hello?  Has anyone in the future heard of electricity?  Or has it all been replaced with simple carbohydrates?

      *peers inside future nuclear cooling tower, sees it filled halfway with Froot Loops*

    • Fluka

      Wait, another chance to fangirl out over Deus Ex HR?  Don’t miiiind if I do!

      - I agree on that final boss battle.  I ended up having to google the general objective, just because I had no frikking clue what I was supposed to be doing, besides being shot at by turrets and listening to Zhao go crazy.  Even after I found out that I was supposed to punch Hugh’s code into the computer (or alternately, kill the pod ladies), I was still basically thinking “okay…now what…”  Of course, it turns out that you can finish that final fight very. very. quickly.  The laser rifle can go straight through the glass and fry Zhao alive right then and there.  It’s almost as anticlimactic a battle as this resolution to the Namir fight.

      - No shower, but at least Adam got to use the bathroom a couple of times.  *Activates toilet flush and giggles; is five years old.  Makes sure he washes his hands afterwards.*  In theory you could roleplay a germaphobe Jensen who compulsively finds a bathroom and washes his hands after doing any takedown.

      - The true awesome test…you got Pacifist, but did you save Malik?!

      - That ending.  You evil, evil bastard.

      - Pritchard is a dick, but I love the little rapport that grows between him and Adam by the end of the game.  And I love the emails you can find on his computer.  Poor, long-suffering nerd.  *Quickly pushes aside gigantic pile of DE:HR slash-fiction*  I have no other comment on Adam and Pritchard.

      • Staggering Stew Bum

        Malik is alive and well, though it took a lot of cloak and point blank tranquiliser dart shots to make it happen. And had to reload the save a bunch of times.

        I didn’t hack Pritchard’s computer because I didn’t have my hack to that level until near the end. What were the emails?

        • Fluka

          Nice job – I gave up on that after a while and just started killing guys (I’d already forfeited Pacifist in the tutorial section).

          Besides everyone’s password, Pritchard’s inbox has an email from the Picus TV network, rejecting his (fifth) screenplay about the ”nightly coding exploits” of “Nucl3arsnake: Hacker extraordinaire.”  Instead, they recommend, why not try writing about an ex cop?  Yeeeah…

    • Captain Internet

      One thing that broke immersion for me in Deus Ex: lots of brands, but none of them recognisable. Where was Coke? Where was Nike? And Orange, and Vodaphone, and Apple, and so on.

      I imagine it’d be a legal nightmare to get them all on board, but it would have felt a lot more real.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        It didn’t bother me, because I saw DX:HR as an alternate-history-in-the-future game, but I can see why it might be jarring for others.

  • Captain Internet

    Black Mesa Source is out in just a few hours, so I’ll be playing that. I remember picking up the original in a going-out-of-business sale alongside Starship: Titanic. I wish I’d been sensible enough at the time to really parse what a going-out-of-business sale really meant.

    Also, time allowing, more Dark Souls. It’s definitely getting easier, apart from the parts where it’s getting much harder.

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      Ah yes, Dark Souls. You know how people kid themselves into believing the hype that whenever you die in this game it is your fault blah blah blah. Well it’s crap. I’ve spent the last hour and a half trying to beat the Capra demon. I stand my ground, I die. I try to go left, I die. I try to go right, the camera is obscured by tree foliage and I die. I try to use the estus flask, I die. I try to make a run for for the stairs, I die. Respawn, go all the way back there, die. Die die die. The game even tells me usefully that I died because of course I hadn’t realised. Those fucking zombie dogs man. Cheap cheap cheap. I consult an online strategy guide, pretty much describes what I’ve been trying to do. But yet, I die and I die and then I turn it off and do something else and consider trading in the damn thing so I don’t have to think about it anymore. Video games are fun!

      • Captain Internet

        Here’s what I did. First, I got a load of firebombs from the Undead Merchant. Then I fought my way back to where the demon was. 

        After the grey mist, I ran slightly to the right, then left and up the stairs. The dogs came up after me, but the demon didn’t, so dispatched them there. After that, sticking to the ledge, I just threw firebombs. If it came up the stairs, I dropped down, then waited for it to drop down, then went back up the stairs.

        So that’s my cheap method. Being cheap has actually got me further into the game than I could have hoped

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          Makes sense that cheap tactics work against a game that uses cheap tactics against the player. Nope, i pretty much decided after my rant that I am getting rid of this game, because I really haven’t enjoyed any of it. Even if I beat the Uber Frank Capra guy I think it’s Blighttown next, which is all swampy? I hated the Leechmonger swamp levels in Demons Souls, so no real desire to go through a similar experience again. And eventually creatures which curse you and take half your health? No thanks! I knew about these things but still bought the game so it’s my fault. 

          Frustration, anger, helplessness, punishment and feeling like I’m getting nowhere - I get enough of that at work.

        • Captain Internet

          Oh, Blighttown isn’t that bad. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s mostly just lizards.

      • WorldCivilizations

        Coming from someone who has played Dark Souls an unhealthy amount.. sorry, but it is your fault. First of all, you should be starting from Firelink, since it’s a shorter run with few enemies. Make sure your encumbrance is below 25%, wait for Capra to do his jumping attack. Roll diagonally towards him/to his side, run up the stairs, where the dogs will follow you and you can kill them, then you’re home free. Executing that roll is pretty much the whole thing – if you roll too early, his attack will track you and you’ll get hit. It’s a very frustrating fight at first, but I encourage you to get past it. There’s also summoning – if you summon 2 phantoms, you should have an easy time with the fight.

        • The_Misanthrope

           I dunno, the shittiest thing about that Capra Demon fight was the extraordinarily small arena in which it takes place.  You have almost no time to consider exactly how fucked you are before you get flattened or bitten to death.  I suppose one could legitimately beat him the first time, but it takes luck and cat-like reflexes, neither of which I have.

          I can’t really fault @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus for his dislike of the game.  It does seem cheap at times and you really do have to understand the ins and outs of the gameplay–including your own cheap countertactics–to survive.  I never had too many issues with the camera myself, but it may be a difference in platforms (360 version for me) or the tolerance I built up for unforgiving camera controls in the early days of 3D gaming. 

          It does seem to be a game that sharply divides those who try it into love-it or hate-it camps; Few people are indifferent to it.  I will say that I was probably in the hate-it camp for the first few hours before I had gotten the hang of not being savaged by roving gangs of undead, but at some point, it just won me over anyway.  To those in the hate-it camp, it probably seems like I’ve joined the cult and drank the Kool-Aid; I can hardly fault them for that perception.

  • dreadguacamole

     As others have stated, Black Mesa is out this weekend, so I’m going to give that a go.
     But who the hell am I kidding? I’ll probably spend most of my gaming time this weekend in Guild Wars 2. What a great game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      High five!  I’m seriously loving GW2 still.  Realized yesterday that, if my wife ever has time to play games again (stupid grad school), I can play alongside her new level 5 character with my level 80 thanks to the downward-scaling.

      That was a BIG issue for us with previous MMOs…I would play more, get ahead of her in levels and we couldn’t play together.  So we would create separate solo and group play characters…but then one or both of us would get bored with the group one.  Now it doesn’t matter if one of us is ahead, as we can always go to earlier level zones and still have fun.

      • dreadguacamole

        That’s very true – and some of the loot is even appropriate to your actual level, not the lowered one!
         Still tempted to roll a new character to play with her, though – even if the personal stories are hackneyed and laughably written, they sometimes take you to new locations and have some nifty bit of lore.

         How many of the secret jumping puzzles have you found? I’m at 61% world map completion, and I’ve only got four so far. One of my favorite aspects in a game that’s full of awesome touches.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          I didn’t even realize that the jumping puzzles had achievements attached until two days ago, so haven’t done any of them yet.  I did one without an achievement in Sparkfly Fen last night.

          I’m at about 28-30% world map completion.  I’ve been working on getting my Thief to 80 not because I want “endgame” content, but so I can make some money to support my alts as they level as well.

          I’ll eventually complete the exploration bonus…I love doing that, and GW2 is more fun that WoW’s Explorer achievement since you still have to DO things other than run through all the areas on a flying mount.

        • The_Horse_Chestnut

          I got 100% world map completion a few days ago (yeah, I know), and in that time I only managed to find about 5 jumping puzzles total, including the couple that are also vistas. So yes, they are pretty well hidden.
          But I gave in and looked up where they all are, and in the last few days I’ve done most of them. I try to do them without outside help (other than to find the startpoint), but I think I’ve also given up on that count for about half of them.

          Anyway, so far my favourite one is the Entre of Adjournment in Malchor’s Leap. Straightforward, no annoying mobs to kill, no wind to knock you off. Just a large cave that you have to try and jump to the top of.

        • dreadguacamole

          @The_Horse_Chestnut:disqus They’re proper hard to find – The few I got that weren’t hinted at by a vista I found by chance. I have no idea how long I last before I give in and look them up online.

           I also found an awesome underground ruin somewhere in Kessex Hills that doesn’t seem to be one of the puzzles (no achievement that I noticed) but still has a pretty involved approach and unique scenery. It really, really rewards exploration.

    • Captain Internet

      How are you finding BMS? 

      I don’t like it. They’ve taken a lot of liberties, and as a result they’ve completely upset the rhythm of the game. I know it’s a free mod, so complaining about it is silly, but it’s just wrong. 

      For example: the crowbar isn’t where the crowbar should be. You have to get a security guard to kill your first headcrab zombies, and for some reason you’re told to throw flares at them. Which isn’t much fun. Then there’s the ‘jokey’ dialogue, which hasn’t been written with conviction or acted with conviction.

      All these things stacked up, and after a couple of hours it felt like I was playing a generic shooter. I’m sure I’m sounding like a massive bastard for saying this, but it made me appreciate what Valve had done even more.

      • dreadguacamole

         I wish I could disagree, because it’s evident there’s been a buttload of evident effort and love (a buttload of love? eww!) poured on it, but I really really can’t. It’s a reimagining done by people who don’t have the resources or the talent that Valve had even back then (this is no slam on the Black Mesa team). It does often look very good, though.

         I have no idea what the early buzz is on it, but I really feel bad for the guys if this comes to be the general consensus.

        • Captain Internet

          Maybe it’s because I’ve played the original to death. I don’t know. They’ve have clearly done a wonderful job, but it’s not for me.

  • Swadian Knight

    The University I go to is facing a teacher’s strike right now, so the idea of ‘weekend’ has just sort of lost meaning to me. Add to that a sudden bout of cold weather after an infernally brazilian week and how hung over I am right now, and it seems only natural that my plans for the next couple of days involve just curling up in front of a screen and playing videogames until I pass out. 

    I got Deus Ex: Human Revolution because the Augmented Edition was pretty cheap and I loved this game when I had the opportunity to play through it previously. Best part of the deal, though, was getting the art book and soundtrack, because every single aspect of this game is so expertly designed.

    I also think I’m about to reach the end of The Last Story, and I like the gameplay enough to consider doing a NewGame+ run after I’m done, which scares me; since this game seems to have put me in a charitable mood with regards to JRPGs, I’m also considering giving Xenoblade Chronicles another try.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      How do you like the graphics for The Last Story?  In an art direction, world and character design sort of way, not an obnoxious “Wii is last-gen babies toy” kind of way.

      • Swadian Knight

        Well, I’ve been trying to post a reply to this ever since I got the notification, but disqus seems resigned to not allow it to go through. Since I don’t like to leave questions unanswered, I’m giving this one last try in hopes that you’ll still read it.

        The Last Story looks like a a fairly generic JRPG, although most environments have a blandness and verisimilitude that feels like it came straight out of a western game – only a select few areas stand out enough to be remembered.

        It does stand stand out, design-wise, because it allows you to customize your characters’ appearance to unprecedented levels. The game features several different armor sets that can be upgraded a number of times, with each upgrade changing the way it looks and making them more ornate and protective. But that’s not all: you can select which individual pieces of each armor set will be displayed, removing the ones you don’t care for and mixing up different armor sets to your heart’s content. You can even change the color of pretty much every detail on these armors, using a variety of dyes acquired throughout the game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Ouch!  Good luck on the strike thing…hopefully if it does happen it gets resolved quickly.

      The design in DE:HR is amazingly…er, designed.  Crap…I should just go back to saying “awesome” for everything.

      The design in DE:HR is awesome!

  • blue vodka lemonade

     I think I said this last weekend, and possibly the weekend before that, but I really want to get back into The Secret World. Which reminds me, I should write the guys in the cabal of which I am a member…

    Dear Lone Gunmen:

    If you are reading this, know that I am not dead, nor have I unsubscribed, nor have I forgotten you weird dudes. It’s just that I’m ass-deep in obligations because it’s the beginning of a new school year, and not all of TLG are unemployed software programmers with 12-14 hours free time daily. I hope you have not kicked me out of the group, because I totally donated five bucks so y’all could keep the Vent server for another month.

    Love,
    Ritte.

    Also, Super Hexagon. Also: Dragon Age.

    I’m in the bad habit of just very slowly chipping away at a pile of games. I haven’t finished a long-form game since I played through all of Mass Effect in one insane long weekend over the summer, and I am itching for some Plot Happenings which tend not to get doled out too often when you’re “in the middle” of 10 different games and play each one for ten minutes a week.

  • duwease

    I’m playing Gateways, the new one released from the guy who did Adventures of Shuggy, one of the most criminally underplayed indie games this year.  Haven’t gotten far, but it definitely seems to continue the dev’s trend of jam-packing tons of game mechanics in, so you’re never tired of one before you pinball straight to the next.

  • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

    Well, I haven’t given up on Skyrim yet. Reading about that polymorph rod in the treasure poll has convinced me that there are depths of awesomeness to be found. 

    But if I should rage-quit, then SNES emulation will be my back-up plan. Seiken Densetsu 3 never stops being fun, and I’m kind of eager to take another run through Earthbound.

    On a less game-relevant note, there is now a dedicated (and free) YouTube app for the PS3. It makes a HUGE difference compared to watching YouTube through the PS3 browser. Perfect for kicking back and watching “Let’s Plays” or speed-runs, (or MST3K). 

    • http://twitter.com/roundthewheel RTW

      I’m taking a friend through SD3 right now; he had never played it and was skeptical when I said it was superior to Secret of Mana. His mind has been blown by all of the God-Beast fights, and today when he comes over we’re probably going to reach Zable-Fahr, so that one’s going to be pretty sweet too. Sad that it’s going to be over soon, but we’ve started an alternating queue where the next game we play is one he loves that I’ve never played (in this case, Tales of Symphonia), and then the game after that is one I love that he’s never played (SUPER MARIO RPG CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?!?), and so on and so forth. It’s going to be awesome.

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

        I love those God-Beasts. They gave me so much trouble on my first play-through, but then I realized that I should save the 4 elemental ones for last, and decimate them with sabers.

  • Effigy_Power

    Probably more Guild Wars 2. Now that I did all 5 starting areas on my Plant Elementalist (which brought me up to lvl 29, gave me enough mats to advance two crafts to 100 almost and 4 gold and change), I should waddle around in the higher areas and chain-lightning some tougher monsters. Those centaurs sort of have it coming.
    Haven’t played any ArmA in a bit, admittedly our mod is slugging a little due to ArmA being a little hostile to modding and Sub really being the only one with any visible achievements in the field. The texture maps for the game are every 1998 and terrible to alter, as something horizontal on the actual game (such as the side of a tank for example) isn’t necessarily horizontal on the texture file, so it all looks skewed and angled. Sucky.

    @Mooy:disqus and I are working on a combined picture that seems to be coming along and will soon be gracing all your lazy desktops (we’re drawing it in 1080p), so that’ll get some attention over the weekend.

    Apart from that my car needs to be washed by hand after hitting a few dirt roads in the rain on our way to a golf course last week, my living room is kind of a mess and I have to clean my aquarium, which is always a treat.

    • caspiancomic

       An @Effigy_Power:disqus X @Mooy:disqus limited edition desktop collaboration!? I’m buying two: one to use, and one to keep deadstock.

      • Effigy_Power

        You can be assured that yours won’t be dipped in cyanide for bumping me to third place. You can be assured.

  • Raging Bear

    I just got a rental copy of Kingdoms of Amalur, which seems more or less fine. That, and I should probably at least crack some of the cheapies I’ve compulsively bought on Steam lately (this Gateways business looked fairly intriguing).

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I was thinking of getting Amular since it came up cheap on a Gamefly sale.  The demo was zippy, even if the art direction went a little too rococo for my tastes.  But I figure I should probably at least get a set of Ebony armor in Skyrim before digging into another open-world fantasy slaughter simulation.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        The only reason I’m drawn to Amalur is because of its art style. It actually has…colour! *gasp* Yellows and reds and greens and blues and pinks and oranges and every other colour of the rainbow. If it’s ever on sale for really cheap, I’ll pick it up.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

             I really like the color palette.  It is very inviting and a welcome change from most games this generation.  It’s mostly the character models and pedantic stuff like that I get caught up on, being the opinionated tool that I am.
             Have you seen the almost cel-shaded style used in their cancelled MMO promotional videos?  It was very cool and I’d have liked that to be the style used for Amular itself.   

          • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

            Yeah, Project Copernicus looked gorgeous. It’s a shame it got cancelled. I know it would have been just another fantasy MMO, but at least its art style would have helped set it apart from the crowd.

        • Effigy_Power

          I actually thought it was overly colorful. I get it, I myself am bored to death by the beigeness of gaming in the last few years, but spooging primary colors over the screen in an orgy of tackiness doesn’t really do it for me either.

  • stakkalee

    I finished New Vegas last weekend and got about 2 hours in to Red Dead: Redemption so I’ll be continuing that when I can.  I’m enjoying it, but so far there seems to be a LOT of livestock-themed quests.  If I’m not herding cattle I’m breaking horses or lassoing rustlers.  Oh, and i’m following a dog around quite a bit, which is just strange.

    • ShrikeTheAvatar

      That game was so beautiful that I didn’t mind all the “follow the NPC” quests.  The one that sticks out in my mind is the one where you have to help that one lady corral all the cattle during the rainstorm.  

      • stakkalee

        Oh, those damn cattle.  I remember that one – the rain, the darkness, and then one cow heads in a completely different direction and as I ride off to go get it Bonnie McFarlane keeps saying “Where are you going?  I need your help herding the cattle!”  And I’m like “I’m getting your damn cattle!  That one over there ran off and you won’t let me continue until I go get it!”

        I agree it’s a beautiful game.  I stopped and stared out over the prairie into the sunset while heading between Amarillo and the ranch – absolutely gorgeous.

    • djsubversive

      yay New Vegas. That game is so good.

      Also, I’ve meant to say this for a while – every time I see you post, there’s a little part of me that wants to make a Billy Lyons gimmick account and follow you around yelling about how you killed me dead. :)

      • stakkalee

        So you’re the one that stole my brand new Stetson hat!  That’ll teach you to gamble late!

        • djsubversive

          Is that a .45 in your pants or are you just angry about your hat?

          Okay, on further research, it could be either a .44 or a .45, depending on who’s telling the tale. (by “research” I mean “searching google for “‘stagger lee lyrics’”).

  • TreeRol

    Our Friday Game Night crew is splitting up this week, allowing for some more serious gaming than the usual party-type games.

    I’ll be on the table with Agricola. We have one woman who almost always wins, but last time I played (a month or so ago) I schooled everyone to the degree that everyone knew I was kicking ass about halfway through the game. And if you’ve ever played Agricola, you’ll know how rare it is for anyone to ever think they’re doing well. I hope I can keep up the momentum. More likely, Andrea will destroy me as usual.

    The other table will have Ticket to Ride, which is a pretty popular game the appeal of which escapes me. I can’t really describe what about it I don’t like – I guess I find it kind of grindy with not a lot of play variety or strategy.

    We’re going to have another Magic night this Sunday. Last week we did a bunch of 1-on-1 games, a 7-player attack left game (which was boring as hell; don’t try this at home), followed by a 2-headed giant sealed game (which was awesome). This week will probably just be 1-on-1s, which is fine by me.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      There are a lot of board games that are fun once or twice, then I have little or no desire to play again because they have little to no variation in gameplay.  (Ticket to Ride is one of those.)

      • TreeRol

        Thank you for summing it up in a way I couldn’t. You’re exactly right. What’s interesting is that Ticket to Ride hasn’t even made it into my “Games that seem like a good idea until I actually play them again” list (which includes Munchkin and Shadows Over Camelot – both games I dust off every few months, and then quickly regret that decision). It’s just not something I want to play at all.

  • Cornell_University

    First you interviewed a Grantland contributor, now an actual professional football player and Deadspin contributor.  YOU’RE GOING JOCK, GAMEOLOGICAL.  I personally love it.

    It’s my GF’s birthday this weekend, so we’re going out to Dave & Busters tonight with a bunch of her friends. Does D&B have pinball?  Because I have been jonesing for pinball lately.  I found a website that lists all locations in Indianapolis with pinball machines, but it’s horribly out of date.  Appearantly the bar down the street from my house used to have Elvira pinball.  Now?  Fuckin’ Golden Tee.  Ugh.

    I’ll be working in some NFL2K and FF2 DoS in there as well.  FF2 is more than half done, I’ve just been busy with other stuff this week.  What ports are there of FF3?  Any?  Good?  Bad?  I think I accidentally started playing the entire series in order.

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

      The only official English version of FF3 is the DS remake. I’m not sure whether you’re better off with a fan translation of the Famicom version or not. Who’s in the know?

      • ToddG

        Aren’t there IOS/Android versions?

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      Because work has been so overwhelming, I’ve substituted substantive NeoGAF, The A.V. Club, and The Gameological Society posts for “Complain About Final Fantasy Ports When Cornell_University Brings Them Up Weekly.”

      Square-Enix HAD to blow it with Finest Fantasy by refusing to make a 2-d Game Boy Advance one.  Instead, Matrix Software did their mediocre thing on it (although the new ground they broke is going to pay off with the phenomenal-looking and -playing Bravely Default: Flying Fairy).  The DS version does a lot of great things and fleshes out what existed in the NES/Famicom version, but why 3-d?

      Anyway, it’s still the 4th best game in the series with the 3rd best music.  The mobile versions are worse than the DS’.  There’s a PSP version that will end up being the best-in-class port that is coming out in Japan next week.  I’d expect it to show up in English.  If not, the Final Fantasy Anniversary project that’s coming out includes the PSP version in the boxset.  That will definitely come out here, but probably not in time for you to go in chronological order with them.

      I continue to be amazed by Golden Tee’s overwhelming popularity.  Few things are, um, bigger than Elvira, but I guess that’s 1.  Very few Dave And Busters are good, so I think you’re screwed.  Enjoy ski-ball!

      • Cornell_University

        May your cactuar never slow, my friend.

      • dreadguacamole

        Bravely Default: Flying Fairy is possibly the most japanese-sounding title I’ve heard in a very long time. The only way it could be improved is by adding a Go! at the end.

        • Effigy_Power

          Bravely Default: Flying Fairy Super Force Team Go America Panzer Platoon Weltschmerz Super Arcade Fighter 5

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Let’s be honest: Go! at the beginning.  Ganbare! Bravely Default Japortmanteau 4: Ni Hiki No Flying Fairies Monogatari: Revengeance DX

  • Destroy Him My Robots

    Caved in and got a used 3DS LL. So it’s gonna be the latest Taiko Drum Master and some Beyond the Labyrinth for me. Lots of demos too, probably. I hope I can finish SaGa 2 despite all those shinier things.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

      *bows*  You will adore – ADORE – playing those.  Definitely post your thoughts on Beyond The Labyrinth; you’ll be surprised by it, but I don’t know that you’ll end up finding it an amazing game.  The latest Taiko Master is a top 10 music game for me, and its goofy sense of humor is much needed now that Inis is doing Bayonetta lite with Demon’s Score.  http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/me27u9/demon-s-score-opening-and-tutorial-trailer (I'll admit its gameplay, naturally, looks stellar.)

  • http://gameological.com/author/mattkodner/ Matt Kodner

    I just picked up the 2011 Marvel vs Capcom. It incredulously claims to be the third in the series, but as my roommate pointed out, they’ve got to be on at least number twelve by this point. 

    Dante is unstoppable, and this game is su-wheet!

    • GaryX

      Any sort of numbering convention in video games is a nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions these days. 

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

        Remember when the Planet of the Apes series was the watershed for convolutedly-named sequels? How I miss those simple times.

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp David Dalrymple

      There was a dark decade that was devoid of Marvel vs. Capcom, sadly.

  • Drew Toal

    I’ve already given myself a thumb blister playing the latest Mortal Kombat til 4am last night. That and the new NHL, I think, are what’s on the menu.

    • Effigy_Power

      Can we expect full beardage during your virtual playoff season?

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    No one else is gonna play Mark of the Ninja?  That demo made me swoon with its sneaky ways and I really want to support the devs. I’m worried this will end up like Spelunky. An amazing XBLA game that doesn’t get much exposure on the dashboard, and doesn’t sell well, but is secretly a gem of a game with super replay value.

    • Drew Toal

      Yeah it’s really good. I may finish that one up, too. I feel compulsive need to unlock all of the ninja outfits.

  • Heffenfeffer

    Sonic Generations will get some play as it’s something that I never expected – a good post-Sega-console Sonic game. Go fig. Other than that, I think I’ll kill time with Dust and Spelunky, as per usual.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      Do you know if Sonic Generations works well with mouse-and-keyboard controls on PC? I’ve been meaning to give it a whirl.

    • evanwaters

       Sonic Colors is also pretty neat, though it’s Wii-only.

  • GaryX

    I’ll be busy watching The Master and doing things in the city this weekend, but if I have some time, I’ll probably continue through Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I really need to get a new television, though, so I can play my PS3 again.

  • rvb1023

    Having just beat Killer 7 (Fantastic, by the way) I am mentally preparing myself for the awesomeness of Jet Set Radio HD next week while playing Echo Night Beyond and struggling my way through SMT: Nocturne, in which I am pretty sure I messed up my character beyond saving.

  • WorldCivilizations

    Discovered macintoshgarden.org recently, so I’ve been playing some oldies – Heroes of Might and Magic II and III, in particular. It’s an underrated series in my opinion.

  • Fluka

    I’m finally back into Skyrim, playing a sneaky bastard Argonian lady with an awesome pair of horns (which still somehow fit under a hat okay).  Going through the Thieves Guild quest, which is fun, as it lets me pretend I am still playing a slightly clumsier version of Deus Ex.  I made the mistake of starting my last evening midway through the first mission when I was A) sleepy and B) hadn’t played for several days and had forgotten the mission parameters, though, so I accidentally burned the wrong number of beehives and got chewed out.  I consoled myself by going to a tavern and knocking all the carefully placed food off every table.  The owners didn’t seem to mind.

    The biggest changes since the last time I played are the mods installed by my husband, however.  Good lord, some of them are awesome.  Besides the sudden proliferation of lots of different creatures in the forest, things actually get *dark* at nighttime, so I have to carry a torch, cast a spell, or stick to lighted paths.  Or use the mod which lets me make camp for the night at any wilderness location.  So I can take a rest with my band of *three or four* companions.  Or I can take a scenic carriage ride between two cities instead (and watch as the carriage fails to take a sharp turn around a lamppost and then proceeds to squash a hargraven with a nice “crunch” sound).  Also, he added an entirely new section of the game, to travel to the Khajit province.  Maybe all this will make me play for more than a week this time.

    On alternate nights, I’m finishing the evening by finally playing through Braid.  Which is…very nice indeed.  Seriously.  It reminds me of Portal in that the mechanics are incredibly simple but compelling, the mood and design are excellent, and I’m surprised to find that it’s actually meeting or surpassing the hype.

    • Effigy_Power

      Those are some good mods right there, the darkness of Dungeons after the mod is almost “Amnesia” grade.
      I also recommend the “Sounds of…” mods, which add ambient sounds that are much better, like a draft by doors or more bird screeching and, my favorite, you can hear the rumble of thunder inside dungeons.

      • Fluka

        Aaah, that sounds awesome.  Asked Mr. Fluka, though, and being forever up to date on his mods, he says that it is unfortunately incompatible with the currently installed “weather mod” (which adds thunderstorms and such to Skyrim).  Too bad – thanks for the heads-up anyway!  *Would like more screechy birds in her Skyrim.*

  • djsubversive

    Well, it looks like the mod is… taking a nap. Yeah, that’s it. Just sleeping in the den. It’s unfortunate that doing custom textures, maps, and units is so user-unfriendly. We could go for a post-nuke co-op survival thing, I guess, or maybe wait until ArmA 3 which may be easier to work with (plus, weapon mods that DON’T require a completely different model and classname, huzzah!)

    Also, Obsidian’s making a new game! It looks like it’s gonna be named Eternity, if this bit of “code” on their site (http://www.obsidianent.com/) is any indication: 


    (the periods and Xs in the first one have been replaced by the other letters throughout the week)

    The teaser texts have made it sound sort of fantasy-ish, with Celtic/Nordic influences (maybe?), and the Ouroboros looks like it’s going to be their “logo” for it. There’s more speculation at their forum, which consists mainly of “Wheel of Time,” “spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment,” and “The Black Hound,” (which was going to be Baldur’s Gate 3 back during the Black Isle days). Me? I’m hoping for Arcanum 2 (or a “spiritual successor” to Arcanum because it’s awesome and Obsidian deserves to have another game without a number tacked onto the end). 

    I think the funniest thing I saw was a comment from somebody about “maybe they’re doing an expansion like FNV was for Fallout 3,” immediately answered by like 3 people saying “New Vegas was not an expansion. It was a full game, and a better one than F3.”

    As far as PLAYING games this weekend, rather than speculating about them or trying to mod them? Probably Arcanum or Mask of the Betrayer, since I’ve caught the Obsidian Flu again (also known as the Troika Cold or Black Isle Disease).

    SimCity 4 has been a fun little waste of time lately, and it lets me listen to my backlog of podcasts (I probably haven’t gotten any new ones in about 2 weeks, and I’ve still got a lot to listen to before I’m “caught up”).

    Also, it’s been a couple weeks since the last Payday: The Heist binge. Maybe we can get some heisting done this weekend, Hobbes? Other Payday-ers?

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       ah, Simcity 4.  Hard to believe that come January, that game will be 10 years old.  The new one has good early buzz, but I am skeptical.  EA’s heart just doesn’t seem to lie in that direction anymore. 

      • djsubversive

        Yeah, I’m sort of skeptical about the new one, too. At least with the Network Addon Mod (curved roads! roundabouts! actual use of mass transit!), SC4 has got some life left in it. Fun times, except when my stupid rich sims don’t want to move to the part of the city I specifically designed for them, on the other side of the river, away from the poors and the factories. Instead, they just stay the hell away from the city, so I’m stuck at just under 6k people. At least I have a decent budget – making about 1000-1500 a month through taxes and mass transit.

    • djsubversive

      Note from this morning: Mask of the Betrayer is pretty great as a spellcaster with Diplomacy as a class skill (fuck yeah, Obsidian conversations!). Druids don’t get much for gear in the beginning bit, but access to high-level spells and being able to wild-shape makes up for it. Well, ONE 9th-level spell for now, even w/ 22 Wisdom (24 due to the Spellcasting Prodigy feat), 2 8th level, and 4 or more of everything else. Plus, the first companion is a Red Wizard of Thay who ISN’T an asshole, and she has 9th-level spells, too. Lots of exploding elementals.

      • dreadguacamole

        Nice. Mask of the Betrayer is one of my favorite new-ish RPGs, despite the NWN2 engine’s genearl clunkiness. Awesome game.
         Are you playing it for the first time or are you gunning for a different ending?

        • djsubversive

          Sort of the first time. I played the first chapter or so (after you get the bear-spirit thing or the souls-a-plenty thing) before I reformatted my computer a few years ago. I don’t remember much besides the Wall of the Faithless being a thing and wishing I had made a more diplomatic/talky character (I think I had a 2-weapon ranger).

          And I’m very much NOT a fan of NWN2′s engine compared to the first one. It’s so… well, clunky, as you said. It seems like a step backwards when you can’t attack anyone who’s not considered an “enemy,” ruining my favorite strategy from the first game – turn in a quest, then kill the questgiver to make sure they weren’t holding out on you. And somehow, I’m stuck with “driver” mode or whatever the fuck they call it, where the camera stays at my character’s back, and swings around annoyingly every time I turn. I’ve switched between the modes, but the other two don’t move the camera at all, even with the mouse at the edge of the screen. Annoying bullshit.

          I’m pretty sure that’s where my frustration with this game comes from – it’s got some good stuff buried in it, but I have to fight the engine/interface to get to them, and a lot of times I just decide not to bother and move on to another game.

          Also, does the base campaign just keep throwing cliche after fantasy cliche at me? Elven druid who likes animals, dwarven fighter who likes to drink, tiefling rogue who likes money… yawn. Give me a tee-totaller dwarf or a barbarian berserker elf. Or a dinosaur-riding halfling.

          Oh, I’m thinking of Eberron. :)

        • dreadguacamole

          @djsubversive:disqus: Clunky was a bit of an understatment; The NWN2 engine is terrible. I still like it more than the first one, with its braindead party AI, but it’s really bad. That exploration mode bug you’ve got sounds super annoying.
           And the base NWN2 campaign is only worth playing to get all the background for MotB. It’s… I guess it’s the closest Obsidian got to Bioware Blandness ™, but without Bioware’s penchant for throwing in a truly cool character every now and then or crafting crowd-pleasing moments.

           Two things:
           - I’d love to see a game that captures Eberron’s essence. The two that have been put out so far (DDO and Dragonshard) made it seem like standard D&D with warforged as player characters.
          - If you can sttll stomach the NWN2 engine, Storm of Zehir is worth checking out (if you haven’t already). It’s a throwback to old-school RPGs, with a completely customizable party and a wisp of a plot that leaves room for exploration and making your own way through the game.

  • ItsTheShadsy

    This is the Jock-Nerd Convergence that John Hodgman warned us about!

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

     This is quite honestly the first interview with an NFL player that I have actually enjoyed having the opportunity to read.  Ever.

  • HilariousNPC

    Wow. Now he’s not only awesome for his defense of free speech, and letting people do whatever the fuck they want in their own damn houses, but he also has similar design ideas for MMOs.

    Keep punting that pigskin.  Or maybe convince the coach to let you fake a punt and run one in, Chris.

  • HilariousNPC

    Also, I couldn’t let this stand without comment:

    “Gameological: Is there a lot of gaming in the NFL? If so, what kind? I assume most of you guys get enough football and stay away from Madden?”

    You really didn’t do any research on this did you? Pretty much every player that touches the ball or makes an impact on defense is a known Madden player.

    Chad Johnson (formerly Chad Ochocinco) got cut to start the year on domestic dispute charges, and tweeted about the weird feeling you get when you realize you’re not on a roster in Madden. Ray Lewis is playing Madden with Paul Rudd in EA’s more prominently featured commercials for the game, and EA runs an event every Super Bowl pitting players from each team in a Madden version of the Super Bowl as a predictor for the game on Sunday.

  • EmperorNortonI

    Super late post, these seem to be hitting during my Friday evening internet dead-time, when I’m wandering around drunk instead of using the PC.  Sadly, as I have to wake up at 5 on Saturday to go to work, this is wandering around drunk at 6:30 PM by myself, but still.

    FTL just came out, and I got it.  No comment yet, too soon.  I’ve also been getting back into League of Legends, but slowly, slowly.  Looking forward to Borderlands 2 coming out next week, my regular game partner and I already have pre-orders waiting on Steam.  I’m still on the Dark Souls hiatus, just before the Capra Demon.  Still not looking forward to fighting him as a Sorcerer.

  • yibanqu

     http://lnk.co/I2VI9