What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Thorin Klowsowski

Thorin Klosowski, writer

The Lifehacker staffer talks about the importance of game music and his plan to become the king of Fallout: New Vegas.

By Cory Casciato • September 7, 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.

Thorin Klosowski is a Denver-based staff writer for Lifehacker, where he writes about creative ways to improve life. Prior to joining the site, he wrote about music and culture for Village Voice Media. He’s also an experimental musician whose work includes a number of unreleased soundtracks for what he calls “quirky, surrealist, Dada-ist games” that you can find at his personal site, The Republic Of Thoronia.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Thorin Klosowski: I’m bouncing between three things. Sleeping Dogs, Sound Shapes, and this weird iOS game called Escape. [Sleeping Dogs] is a GTA-style game set in Hong Kong that’s basically the same Rockstar formula of underground story, but with a Hong Kong cinema action flair. I’m a total sucker for open-world games, and I will play every single one of them no matter how good or bad they are. So that’s the first one.

Second one is Sound Shapes, which is a PS3 game that is kind of like a musical platformer. It’s got a phenomenal soundtrack with I Am Robot And Proud, Jim Guthrie, and Beck. You play through these musical compositions, and those are platforming levels. It’s a beautiful-looking game, fantastic little thing. I love rhythm games as much as I love open-world games.

The third one was Escape, which is this weird little iOS game that’s essentially Endless Runner meets—kind of just Endless Runner, but in space. It has reverse controls where you touch the screen to stop it from moving.

Gameological: Do you have a favorite open-world game? One that you would consider the pinnacle of the genre?

Klosowski: It depends on which direction I would go with it. If I was going to pick one favorite, leaving it wide open, I would definitely say Fallout: New Vegas. If I was going to go with an action style, probably Assassin’s Creed II or Deadly Premonition.

I thought New Vegas was the only game I’ve ever played in my entire life where I hatched this ridiculously ludicrous plan of how I was going to beat this game, and it actually worked out for me in the end. There are 10 endings that are possible or whatever, but I feel like I came up with the idea on my own. It made me feel like it was my story more than theirs.

Gameological: What was your plan?

Klosowski: There are three different factions you can go with. There’s a slave-trading group, a California Republic, and you can kind of branch out on your own, or you can go with this killer robot guy. I pitted everybody against each other, and walked away on my own being the king of New Vegas. It played out right at the end of the game, like “Congrats! You own Vegas.” Wow, it was pretty ridiculous.

Gameological: It was deep enough that you were able to believe in the illusion of freedom.

Klosowski: If I’m totally honest with myself, I play games mostly for escapism, and being able to get into a world and feel like you’re a part of it, meshing with it entirely is a really powerful feeling.

Gameological: You called Sound Shapes a music platformer. What is that?

Klosowski: You know those amazing moments in Mario where it feels like Nintendo actually nails it properly, and you’re jumping in rhythm with the way the music’s playing out? Sound Shapes is built on that idea entirely. You build the song by collecting little glowing things, and the song makes them take shape. The platforms are disappearing and reappearing in beat with the song. It’s really well done.

Gameological: How important is music to gaming experiences?

Klosowski: I would almost say it’s 50/50. It has to be completely non-existent, and fine and never draw attention to itself, or it has to be really fucking good and nail the tone properly. One of my least-favorite soundtracks of all time is the Mass Effect 2 soundtrack, because it mashes this techno-y, ’70s-era electronica with these big orchestral movements. It sounds jarring to hear the two mashed up together. In that case it was just like, choose one or the other, and go with the tone, which they ended up doing in the third one. It’s kind of like a movie—if it draws your attention to it, it’s almost worse because it’s taking you out of the moment it’s trying to put you in.

Gameological: With regard to your day job, there’s been a lot written about games as lifehacking tools. Is that something you have any experience in?

Klosowski: We’ve written a little bit about gamifying exercise with Run Zombies Run. I think three or four of us on staff are huge gaming dorks, but it comes down to figuring out the work-life balance of like, “Okay, I’m a 30-year-old adult, how can I fit time in to play games? How can I do it where I don’t feel guilty and awful wasting an entire afternoon as an adult, playing a game?” And then managing that in a way that you can still enjoy what you’re doing.

One thing that I do—it’s weird, but I’ll say it—if I’m sitting there on a Sunday afternoon, and I don’t want to do anything, I’ll force myself every hour and go do some little micro-chore. Take out the trash, or do the dishes, and get off my ass after one hour. Back into the world briefly, and back into my somewhat lazy ways of playing games all afternoon.

Gameological: You’re charging yourself a chore for the privilege of playing games.

Klosowski: Yeah, like when you’re a little kid. And I don’t know, but maybe you have to treat yourself like a little kid sometimes to actually get shit done. You have to reward yourself in these micro-ways.

Gameological: Were you part of the Nintendo generation? Was that your first system?

Klosowski: Technically, it was Atari. My first gaming memory is when my dad brought home the Atari 2600, plugging it in, and him and I played Asteroids for hours and hours and hours. That ended up leading on to 12 years or whatever after that of playing games with my dad. Which was great.

Gameological: You still play video games with your dad, years later?

Klosowski: Yeah, I did all the way. We liked football, he could always wrap his head around football. Starting with Tecmo Bowl, and then on to Joe Montana’s SportsTalk Football, and then up through the Maddens all the way to ’98 or ’99.

Gameological: Are you an NFL fan yourself?

Klosowski: I’m not an angry football hater or anything, but I’m not a football fan. Oddly, I will play fantasy football once in a while. [Laughs.]

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.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

  • Cloks

    Xenoblade. I got it last weekend, and I’ve been holding off on having some marathon playing sessions during the actual week because of education-related activities, but I’m going to open the floodgates after I get out of class.

    • dreadguacamole

        Oh, man, Xenoblade. I still need to set up my Wii emulator, and then I’ll be all over it again. Better graphics and a proper controller are worth losing what progress I had made…

      • Cheese

        Ooh, I should see if I still have mine. I set it up for Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn a long time ago, but I have been meaning to play Xenoblade and Last Story.

    • rvb1023

      Xenoblade is absolutely breathtaking and that first time you enter a wide open field your mind may be blown.

      Just be forewarned, just like every game with “Xeno” as a prefix the story is not good, though this one is considerably less bad than Xenosaga.

      • Cloks

        Yeah, I was floored when I got to the Guar Plains. I’ve been playing it with my roommate watching and he encourages me to make stupid choices; it’s really quite amazing the amount of “freedom” that you have in the world, whether it be attacking level 85 monsters at lvl 20 or jumping off of cliffs.

        • rvb1023

           Guar Plains is some of the best world music I’ve heard in a game in a long time, this game had a fantastic soundtrack as well.

    • http://twitter.com/TheDeadTexan Andy Lopez

      Xenoblade was fucking incredible. I put 100+ hours into that behemoth of a game. 

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    That last part is really cool.  I’m glad he was fortunate enough to play games with his dad…the way he talked about him in past tense sounded like he’s passed away.  If that’s true, I’m very sorry to hear it.

    My father rarely played games with me, but he has always fully supported my love of video games.  He bought me an Atari 400 in kindergarten, a Commodore 64 around fourth grade, and various IBMs between 1989 and 1999.  I had an XT, 286, 486, Pentium and maybe a Pentium II before I moved out on my own.  Oh, and an NES and Sega Genesis at different times as well.  It was really cool when the last couple of times he’s needed to upgrade his PC, my wife and I bought HIM the parts!

    Also, I’m totally with Thorin on the love of open world games.  Even when overall they’re kind of dull, I still enjoy exploring every last corner.

    • George_Liquor

      My stoic midwesterner dad scorned video games in public, but I busted him at least once playing River Raid on my Atari 2600. I think he was just as bummed as I was when that Atari finally bit the dust.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I loved River Raid!  My dad tried to play Wizard of Wor with me a couple of times, but I think the combination of the difficulty and 5-year-old me throwing fits when I lost turned him off from it.

    • Enkidum

      My dad never got as seriously into video gaming as me, but in some sense he’s been a gamer since before they existed. In high school he was a high-level chess player, he taught me to play Go, many card and board games, and way back in the day I used to visit him at work and play endless hours of Empire and Dungeon (basically, the ASCII precursors to Starcraft and Zork), which he had no problem with (I guess it allowed him to do some work). He’s finished a few recent-ish puzzle games – World of Goo, Angry Birds, and so forth, which I haven’t even finished.

      Still, when he comes to visit and sees my shelf of Xbox and PS3 games, he looks at it kind of disapprovingly. To be fair, though, he’s aware that… eh… I’m not always someone who games in the most productive manner.

    • Nudeviking

      My Dad was a big game guy.  We had an Atari because of him and later on when I got an NES he ended up playing it a ton. For my 12th birthday I asked for Final Fantasy I (which was the game that summer).  Mom and Dad came through, but I was surprised to see that the box had been opened.

      My Dad, had played through the game in the weeks leading up to my birthday and as he left for work said, “Whelp, I’m off to work, don’t save over my save file…I’m going to beat the game tonight.”  Damn Final Fantasy’s single save slot…that was the longest random August weekday ever.

      In the 90s my brother and I got my dad into Everquest, so these days he still does the online game thing which is nice since I live outside the US, my brother lives out west, and my Dad’s in NY, so while we can’t really toss around a lacrosse ball in the backyard, we still can get together and kill orcs or run some dungeons or something.

      As for the what are you playing part: I’ll probably play some Guild Wars 2 with the old man, my brother, and whatever other high school friends/college roommates of my brother’s and mine happen to be online.

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

        Did your Dad call you “Whelp” as a child? That’s kind of awesome.

        • George_Liquor

           Clean your room, Whelp, or it’s back to the orphanarium with you!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Final Fantasy did so much for an 8-bit game, but the limitations are still astonishing.
           An RPG with one save file is a playground with one swing.

        • Nudeviking

          Now understanding just how much data was in that game the single save file makes sense, but as a youth.

          “Dragon Warrior and Zelda both have three save files…what’s Final Fantasy’s problem?!”

    • Captain Internet

      I used to play a lot of board games with my Dad, though we did play a pirated French version of Bubble Bobble together on our IBM-PC Compatible 286. He’d run out of lives around level 46 and I’d have to go on alone…

      Of course, he’s 61 now and perfectly fine, but if I was 17 again that would be really deep.

    • dreadguacamole

        My dad liked games well enough, but he would mostly play them to be with me and my sister. He mostly played Atari arcade games, and once I got older (and games got more complicated) he was more bemused than amused by them.
       Well, except for Panzer General 2. He loved that game; played it over and over again, until he had memorized every campaign backwards, and kept playing even after that.
       I tried getting him into other games of the General series, but he either thought they were too simple or too hard to control (he never managed to get to grips with 3d controls, even on strategy games). He wouldn’t play them without reading the manual, and because he didn’t speak english, that was a pretty big hurdle – the only one I translated for him was PG2.
       I kind of wish now I’d made a bigger effort to help him get into other strategy games. As it was, he played Panzer General 2 for years and years.

       My mother, on the other hand, got a huge addiction to tetris. She played it until she realized she was seeing blocks fall between characters when she was watching TV, at which point she swore off video games forever.

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

       My dad has never been into video games – though my very first game memory is playing Frogger on a computer at his office when I was about 3.

      He was HUGE into tabletop strategy games, though. I have all of these toddler-era memories of him playing these enormous dining-room-table spanning hex map games covered in little squares of cardboard. I remember later asking my mom why I never remembered him playing against anybody, and she told me it was because he would play both sides of the game and try to outwit himself.

      She also told me that when they first moved in together, he had hidden all of his strategy games. One day she was rearranging the closets or something, and found this huge cache of weird, complex games that she had no idea where they came from, and was totally baffled – maybe they were left by the last tenant or something? So she asked my dad about it when he got home from classes and he was thoroughly embarrassed. Apparently he wasn’t ashamed that they were dorky, or anything, but that since he and my mom were radical pacifist hippies at the time he felt it was somehow shameful or morally/conceptually inconsistent for him to be playing these war simulations. And she was just like, who the fuck cares, play your board games and CHILL OUT dude. You are a ridiculous man.

      Epilogue: My dad has since grown up to be an arch political conservative who works for a giant, evil petroleum company. Obviously there is a direct causal relationship between this outcome and his “Starship Troopers” and “Axis & Allies” board games mouldering in a box in my mom’s garage.

      • Cornell_University

        My parents didn’t want me to have a Nintendo for the same vague hippie reasons (my grandmother bought me one just to spite them).  They also were adamant that I not be allowed to watch GIJoe, as they were convinced it was pure propaganda and that I would turn into a frothing Reaganaut and skip elementary school to gun down Sandinistas or something.  Funnily enough, they relented and let me watch it when they found out that I liked Cobra better than the GIJoes themselves.  Liberals: hating America JUST LIKE ALWAYS.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Cobra has great universal health care and profit sharing.

        • Cornell_University

          if memory serves, the Marvel comic book wrote Cobra Commander’s original motivation as a dissatisfied used car salesman who was fed up with government interfering with his business, and he started Cobra as some sort of a pyramid scheme to subvert that.  based on that, one can argue that Cobra’s philosophy is downright objectivist.  which would put a lot of arch conservatives in opposition to GIJoe and their pork barrel big government freedom suppression.  GIJoe:  wrong for Springfield, wrong for America.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Did your dad really transition from youthful stinky hippie to an encrusted reactionary?  How’d that happen?  And your mom as well?

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

          What am I playing this weekend? Why, Egregious Oversharing II: No Boundaries!

          My dad was like this ultra-anarchist super hippie dude. When my mom met him, he was bumming around Denver without even a high school diploma because after he participated in a major protest on the military base where his dad was a decorated general, he was either kicked out or ran away from home and made his living by his (pretty prodigious) wits, working odd jobs, wagering on and beating his peers in chess games, etc. When he met my mom – who was also hippie, but also a good Catholic girl and more of a bleeding heart than a radical – she got him to clean up his act, and he went to school and became an engineer, and his first job out of school was in the oil industry.

          My parents have both become more conservative, in their own ways, and for different reasons. My dad became more of the affluent, dorky, godless libertarian type of capitalist opportunist, which is probably the mindset you have to adopt if you’re going to work for Haliburton for 4 decades and not kill yourself. (And of course he lives in the UK and enjoys all the benefits of socialized medicine while voting down similar programs in the US on principle, blerg!) My mom became more of the working-class, religiously motivated conservative (that “good Catholic girl” part of her), though her bleeding-heart tendencies, and the fact that our church was pretty liberal, mean she’s more open to social support programs and is pro feminist/LGBT stuff. I think she mostly just votes conservative because of abortion, which in her mind kind of trumps everything else, due to her metaphysical worldview.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus   My father was born slightly left-of-center, art-inclined and ambivalent about his catholic faith and has remained thus for the entirety of his sixty-eight years.

        • George_Liquor

           That seems to happen a lot with old hippies. They get a career, a house and some money in the bank, and suddenly they have an opinion on the capital gains tax.

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

          @George_Liquor:disqus : The Century of Self is an amazing documentary that puts forth a pretty convincing argument for how the same generation that comprised the radical 60s went on to vote for Reagan twice in the 80s.

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

      When my brother and I first got into gaming, my Dad would play with us, and kick our asses. He was the one who discovered the first warp zone in Super Mario Bros. We were all kind of blown away.

      He lost interest once we moved on to more complex games, but he came back around with Wii Sports

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

      The funny thing is my dad really isn’t into gaming. But he did introduce me to Commander Keen and Prince of Persia. (I still remember my 5-year-old self referring to enemies in the latter as “killies.”) If it weren’t for that, I doubt I’d be into video games today.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

      So not a Dad, per se, as she was my Mom, but we used to play the old original SNES Mario Kart together and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. For my tenth birthday I was taken to an arcade and told I could pick any one game and we’d beat it, no matter how many quarters it took. I picked the Simpsons arcade game and by the time we reached the final level (must’ve been $40 worth of quarters in) I realized that everyone else at the arcade had gathered around to watch as no one had gotten that far in the game yet, and they wanted to see what the final boss was. After we’d won, I was surprised to see that her high score was higher than mine.

      Much to my delight her love of video games continued even after I’d left for college as she purchased a Wii all on her own to play Animal Crossing: City Folk and Harvest Moon.

      And don’t get me started on my Everquest playing Grandmother…

      • George_Liquor

         I would like to start you on about your Everquest-playing grandmother, please.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      My father is, if  possible, even less competitive than me.  He  never played video games, nor sports, nor tabletop, card or board games.  He lives in some pastel-colored aether free of the compulsion to tangle in such a terrestrial, animal way.
         Though once in a valiant effort to understand my hobby, he played a round of Kung Fu.
         I think it was just as strange and disconcerting for me to see my father wield a NES controller as it was for him to attempt that seemingly arbitrary strobe of aggressive bleeps and blorps.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      Dad thread!

      Mine’s mostly coming from a pinball and Yahtzee background. When we, the kids, had our own TV and C64 in our room, he used to come home from work and barge right in and play Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh. He was better than either of us, so it was exciting to see the later levels he’d sometimes reach and cheer for him. Pretty good at Bomberman, too. There was also that weird Christmas where just he hijacked my Playstation to play Bust a Move with my mother. I don’t know why that was happening, but I thought it was cool.

    • http://twitter.com/roundthewheel RTW

      My dad was not a gamer at all whatsoever, with one notable exception: Lemmings. I spent a long time trying to figure out why, of all games, it was that one that roped him in and kept him up until all hours of the night (he once bragged that he’d stayed up til 2:00am solving a level, which in that time was an inconceivable hour to me, as my bedtime was 9:00). Eventually I realized that it was the machine-like nature of the game he was attracted to, and the feeling of satisfaction it gave him to find the solution to a problem, put it together, and watch the well-oiled machine play out in the way it was intended. He is generally more of a concrete thinker than an abstract one, and most of the goals in video games aren’t something he can process and accept as worthy of his time, but clearly Lemmings fed the part of him that desires to see things in motion, working and ticking and firing on cylinders. I eventually finished the whole game (plus Oh No! More Lemmings, which is an even more demanding and grueling game), but he stopped just short of the Taxing levels. To this day I consider it the best video game of all time. (I once thought The Incredible Machine would be similarly up his alley, but sadly to no avail.)

    • Cornell_University

      outwardly, my pops has always claimed he was incapable of playing video games.  he will to this day tell everyone about the one time he tried to play our NES “I died on the first mushroom!”* though when I got a gameboy for christmas he bogarted the living shit out of it for Tetris purposes.  a couple years ago my brother and I bought him and my mom a Wii and a bunch of casual, beginner friendly stuff like Jeopardy, Wii Sports Resort and Mario Tennis.  they really liked the bowling portion of Wii Sports when we all played multiplayer, but I don’t think they ever really play anything else.  last time I visited, he was addicted to those Agatha Christie “find the clue in a messy room” games.  what a long strange trip it’s been.

      *I’ve never been quite sure if he means the first goomba, or if he somehow managed to kill himself while getting the super mushroom power up.  if anyone is capable of that, he is.

    • Effigy_Power

      My dad is also of the “enabler” type, never really getting into the spirit of things himself, but making sure that we had all the hobbyist resources we needed.
      He is too much of a TV-nut himself (and the only person who I know owns Family Matters on DVD in its entirety… plus he looks like a white version of Reginald VelJohnson) and in his function as a law-man never really thawed to all the violence and cop-killing in most of the games we played… Not a GTA fan, I can assure you.
      Still, we always support his hobby ideas and he did the same with ours, which has thus far resulted in a fairly relaxed family atmosphere. Good goin’, dad.

      • Cornell_University
        • Effigy_Power

          Not unrelevant for sure.
          Nonrelevant?
          Disrelevant.
          Antirelevant…

          Doesn’t matter.

      • Effigy_Power

         I just realized that I made the terrible mistake of tagging “the wrong black guy”.
        My father in fact doesn’t look like a white Reginald VelJohnson but a white James Avery (uncle Phil from Prince of Bel Air)…
        I understand that pointing out the wrong black guy is something negatively connected to Irish cop-families and I apologize.

    • doyourealize

      My father was never much of a gamer, but oddly enough I’m pretty sure some of my controller-throwing rage comes from playing some shitty football game with him on my Apple computer…or maybe it was a Genesis. He wanted to play actual football with strategy and stuff, and I would just Hail Mary him to death, which enraged him to no end. Something about how in a real game Hail Mary’s don’t work that way. I thought it was funny at the time, but then he stopped playing with me.

  • caspiancomic

    Aurgha, classes have started up again, so between doing homework assignments (???!?!??!?) and writing the third entry in my Void series, I’ll probably just have enough time to play a bit more Half-Life 2 and Tomba! My plan was to put Tomba! away over a couple of days, but now that I’ve got to juggle my leisure hours with actual work and responsibility it’s going to take me ages to get anything unproductive done. Still, it isn’t all bad: I get a four day weekend every week!

    • Enkidum

      Where you up to in HL2 now? Following other people’s progress is fun.

      • caspiancomic

        I’ll give you a hint, see if you can guess:

        *ahem*

        “AAGRHAGRHT FUCKING ANTLIONS I BARELY EVEN TOUCHED THAT SAND OH JESUS CHRIST SAVE ME.”

        Actually, when I left off I had just gotten the pheropod things, so now the antlions are mine to command, which I’m really looking forward to. Yet to be determined: if the antlions will still attack me if I’m in the wrong neighbourhood, or if we’re all chummy now.

        • Enkidum

          As I recall using the antlions as a weapon is fun as hell, but I felt like they could have done more with it. Still, after spending so much time running its fun to bring the fight back to those assholes.

        • Effigy_Power

          Yeah, it’s a definite tipping point in the story, the attack on that Omega place… this is pretty much where all the fleeing that started minutes into the game is turned into a forward assault.
          Personally I can’t decide which I prefer, but you are in for some kickass action.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    I’ve soured to Terraria in record time, which, being a game that consists of an astonishing amount of breaking up infinite dirt clods, still took quite a few hours.
       So now I’m really digging into Bastion.  It’s a lovely with satisfying game play for the scope.
       But mostly, I have the same issue with Bastion as I did with Muramasa Blade and Odin Sphere, in that it pains me to see beautiful hand-drawn assets that are on screen for all of thirty seconds that are still better than anything I’ve done with permanent intent.
       Oh well. something to strive toward, I guess.

    • caspiancomic

       I actually bought Odin Sphere when it first came out, and couldn’t really get into it. I found the mechanics and the navigation really confusing and off-putting. Which is pretty tragic, because the game was a treat to look at, and I really wanted to like it. I keep having to stop myself from buying it through PSN knowing full well I’ll probably have the same reaction.

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

        Grim Grimoire was also very pretty, and fun for a while, but it got tedious very quickly.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Yeah, the whole of the interface for Odin Sphere is a little too self-satisfied in it’s esoteric strangeness.  Almost as though the game needs to find ways to distract from the fact it’s really just a straight-forward brawler at heart.
           But I still want to support VanillaWare, because almost no other company is doing what they do, and I think what they do is admirable.

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        I think Odin Sphere could’ve used two things: a) Being able to equip more than one item at a time, so you can play around and find effects that complement each other well, and b) cancels.

        Can’t be mad at a game where efficient leveling involves going to a magical rabbit people’s kingdom to dine, though. Plus it got the balance between epic and character-based so astonishingly right.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      That happened to me with Terraria too.  Once they released the update with all of the new furniture and statues, I realized I still had pretty much created everything I wanted to, and quit.

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

      Bastion is just wonderful. It has two of my favourite moments in any game – one being the reason it holds the Miko Award for Best Use of an Original Song In a Game, and the other being one of the two choices you can make at the end. Mmm. I might have to replay it.

  • Enkidum

    I tried to post this last week but it got eaten when Disqus decided I was in moderation, However the same situation basically holds.

    I got a new iPad a couple of weeks back, never had any intention of getting one but it was given to me at work. It’s a pleasure to read stuff on, and Comixology alone has the potential to be a serious drain on my income – plus for actual “useful” stuff, it’s awesome for reading and annotating scientific papers. 

    But it’s also really cool for board games. I’ve beaten the campaign mode on Blokus, and am working my way through Settlers of Catan, as well as trying to play a dozen or two life or death Go problems every day, in the hopes that that’ll actually improve my game a little. If anyone has an iPad or iPhone and any of the above games, hit me up on Game Center (same name as here). I’ve also got Reiner Knizia’s Samurai and Money, Neuroshima Hex, Caracassone, and Hive, if you’re into the new crop of board games. 

    Other than that I seem to be taking a break from video gaming for a while, which is probably a very good thing for the eventual completion of my thesis.

    • Nudeviking

      Comixology is awesome and but you are right, it can be a huge drain if you’re not careful.  At first I was just downloading the free comics that would come up ever week.  Then it was the .99 cent sale stuff.  Then it was, “Well, I’m caught up on these random back issues…guess I should see what these guys are up to now.”

      Fast forward to my wife opening a credit card statement, “What did you buy on itunes for $30?”

      “Oh…DC had a sale on all the Crisis comics…so I picked some that I didn’t have in trade paperback up.”

      “Aren’t they like $0.99?”

      “Yeah.”

      “So you bought 30 of them?”

      “There were a lot of crises…”

      • Enkidum

        Yeah, Marvel had a bunch of new Avengers stuff on sale for 99 cents, and I realized after buying the first 10 that I didn’t even like them that much. 

        I love the WOOOSHing sound that my money makes as I make repeated microtransactions.

        • Nudeviking

          I’m worried about my commute home today.  Comixology just emailed me that they have X-Men comics on sale today…

          That’s a potentially dangerous situation for me.

      • The_Misanthrope

         If the Kindle Fire Comixology variant were a little less shitty, I might just ditch my entire pull at the local comics shop.  Physical media is such a pain in the ass, especially around moving time.

        • Nudeviking

          Yeah, the Kindle one isn’t as good.  The wife has a Kindle Fire I played around with before I ended up with a work related ipad.  The apple version of that app is a ton better.

        • Enkidum

          Seriously, I never expected to enjoy reading on this thing so much. It’s especially awesome for papers, which I have to read hundreds of, but be
          generally once or twice at most, and occasionally refer back to. I just threw out a couple of hundred.

    • Bad Horse

      I play Ascension like a mofo on iDevices. pamackie on Game Center. I have no friends.

  • Juan_Carlo

    I’m playing Gothic 2, which is awesome.  I’d played and liked both “Risen” and “Gothic,” but “Gothic 2″ is way better than both and one of the best ARPGs I’ve ever played.

    I also just got the Game of Thrones RPG which I’m hoping isn’t as bad as the reviews claim.  I am a pretty big GOT fanboy, though, so I’m willing to put up with a fair amount of shitty gameplay if it means spending time in the GOT universe.

    • dreadguacamole

        Gothic 2 is wonderful. I think I prefer the first game to it, but only because it absolutely blew my mind when it came out. 2 is objectively better.
       I did like Risen 1, and to a lesser extent, 2, but I really hope Piranha Bytes decide going mainstream wasn’t such a great idea and go back to making their more, um, idiosyncratic games.

       I didn’t find the GoT game to be that bad, but then again, I went in with incredibly low expectations. It’s a better imitation of Game of Thrones than Dragon Age’s Human Noble origin, at least.

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

    I actually have the exact opposite opinion of the ME soundtracks. ME1 was too old-school sci-fi, and ME3 was too sweeping and orchestral (not that either of them is a bad soundtrack, mind you). ME2 switched between techno-ish and orchestral as the mood dictated; it was the least jarring of the three.

    I won’t have much time for gaming this weekend, but if I manage to sneak in a couple of hours, I’ll play one of Costume Quest, BioShock, Beyond Good & Evil, or Far Cry. I suspended my playthroughs of all three a few months ago because I grew bored of them, and newer, more fun games had come along. (Or, in the case of Far Cry, the game is terrible in almost every way that a game can be terrible, and the only reason I want to finish it is that I have a stubborn completionist streak that forces me to see every game I play to its conclusion.) Maybe a few months off will have re-energized my desire to play these games. Let’s call it an experiment.

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      Agreed, the ME2 soundtrack is definitely the best out of the three games. In ME3 the piece of music that is played over the Normandy leaving Earth bit and the original ending sequence is beautifully bittersweet when matched with the imagery, definitely the highpoint of the series.

    • Bad Horse

      I found the ME2 soundtrack less jarring but also way less inspired, especially when compared to 3, which has some of the best music of the generation. 

      However, if/when I ever make the pulpy sci-fi video game I’ve got kicking around in my head, all music will be electronic. ZARDOZ HAS SPOKEN

    • Fluka

      I just remember starting ME2 for the first time on my computer, and shivers going down my spine as I heard the Suicide Mission music playing over the title screen.  The music played a major part in setting the mood of the game.  I guess that could mean it was “intrusive,” but for me it just amplified the stuff already happening on screen.

      What’s funny is that the game philosophies themselves really match the score.  In ME1 both the game and the music are trying to be one specific thing: more traditional RPG with an inventory and such, and a 70s sci fi electronic soundtrack.  I personally find both aspects very dry, but that’s just personal preference.  ME2 suddenly starts trying out lots of other different elements (more streamlined FPS elements, more orchestral elements, mixed with your RPG and your techno), that some love and others find “jarring” or less interesting.  ME3 seems like it has the best balance both in terms of musical styles (to me it seems like most of the orchestral pieces have large synthesizer parts too) and in terms of mixing action and RPG.  

      As an argument for being “nonintrusive,” ME1 is the best soundtrack for listening to while I’m doing programming work.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

  • blue vodka lemonade

     I’m right at the end of my first full week back at school, so finally this weekend I’ll be able to get some games in for the first time in a couple weeks. I’m tempted to try and finally finish Dragon Age: Origins, and finally get into Deus Ex: HR, and finally finally continue Portal 2 which I so cruelly abandoned after one marathon session burnt me out on the game for nearly a month.

    • blue vodka lemonade

       And I almost forgot! I will once again have to tell my Secret World cabal that I did not quit the game, no, I just have classes and commitments unlike all the unemployed software programmers who populate the group.

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

       You’re going back to school for teaching, right?
      Appropos pf this site, you might enjoy this talk by Katie Salen, founder of the Quest 2 Learn game-based school in NY.

      • blue vodka lemonade

        Aw, you remembered!

        That’s a great talk, thanks! I read a little about Quest 2 Learn in
        “Reality is Broken,” but hadn’t sought out more about it yet.

        I have a terrifying number of field-study hours this semester, working with kids anywhere from toddlers to fifth-graders. For one class I’ll be helping out more-or-less as a teacher’s aide at the prek-first grade level, and for my other teaching class I’ll be a Big Sister to a student at a different school in 1st-5th grade. We get our Big Sister assignments (I’m at an all-female college) this coming week, which is exciting.

        My Early Childhood teacher is older, but very, very enthusiastic about the use of play in the classroom. For both classes I will at some point be designing and teaching a short lesson plan, and I hope to be able to incorporate some kind of game.

        The big concept of my school’s teacher ed program is differentiation, which is gaining ground overall but can be implemented pretty badly. Basically it comes down to allowing students of different levels and types of intelligence to work together and learn from one another, from those with special needs or learning disabilities to the very gifted. I think that play can be a great way to achieve that.

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

        I think it stuck in my mind because it’s weirdly close to my own grad-school narrative (studied in a non-teaching field, decided to go back to school to teach, somehow wound up in Virginia as a result).

        This semester I’m doing my secondary school field study, and I’m working as an adjunct professor for a first-year undergrad art ed class. It’s a little daunting, as I’m not really super comfortable teaching tweens/teens (I’m coming off three years of preschool, and before that worked in ESL, mostly with adults and elementary/Pre-K kids). It’s good to be out of my comfort zone, though. And hopefully my good habits of play-focused teaching from the little guys will translate into something engaging with the bigger guys.

        I was the TA for our new special ed class last year, and got to help structure it a bit, and differentiation was one of the aspects we had in mind. I’m in an art ed program, but our program is kind of more rigorous than the gen ed program at the university, and students weren’t really enjoying taking the gen ed special ed class for their credit, as it was less relevant to their field, and didn’t have very much in the way of fieldwork. In setting up the fieldwork opportunities for this new class, I was able to get the students time in integrated special-ed-gen-ed preschool classes, and in a specialized school for students with autism, and it was really interesting to examine the way the different philosophies were manifested.

  • Bob McLennan

    I spent the last month being introduced to Mass Effect 2 and 3 (yeah, I know, welcome to an eternity ago in internet time), I decided that I’d give the first game a shot, so that was my plan for the weekend. Then I installed it this evening, got about twenty minutes in, and gave up. I know it’s an older game, so I don’t hold the technical limitations against it, but the control/handling and options are so clumsy, it was borderline unplayable. How can a game be simultaneously overcomplicated and too limiting? Mass Effect manages to do just that. I think I’ll just watch my roommate play ME2 instead.

    Since I just finished ME3 last week, I’d like to jump into the hot gaming topic of six months ago and assure everyone who complained about the ending(s) that – while BioWare shoulders some blame for raising expectations to unreachable levels – anyone who expected a game that never really let you make major plot-based decisions to suddenly decide how the whole thing was going to end was fooling themselves.

    • Enkidum

      I’ve found that if you play all Bioware games as essentially turn-based, you can win just about any fight. Cheap, but I never claimed to be expensive.

    • Captain Internet

      anyone who expected a game that never really let you make major plot-based decisions to suddenly decide how the whole thing was going to end was fooling themselves.

      I think the consensus is that most people would have been fine with a single ending, provided that it didn’t involve little Johnny Godtits wiping out all your achievements with his magical and very literal Plot Devices for completely bullshit reasons.

      Also, I predict this will be the part of the comments section that gets the most attention today.

      • HobbesMkii

        No. I refuse to allow this argument to continue, since we’ve had it here far too often already. It’s over, folks. It’s over. Let it die.

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

          But if we stop arguing, then the BioDrones win, and EA – THE WORST FUCKING COMPANY IN AMERICA – will swallow up gaming whole and force us to use Origin, leading to the collapse of the industry and leaving behind only a bunch of Kickstarted 2D retro platformers made by weird guys with beards and hipster glasses.

          Bottom line: if we don’t rage about Mass Effect, then the hipsters will take over the world. Do you really want that on your conscience, @HobbesMkii:disqus? Do you?

        • Fluka

          Thank you.  My heart cannot take this anymore.

          ETA: On the plus side, the arguments have all been very civil here!

        • Effigy_Power

           That’s because you’re Hitler.

      • Bob McLennan

         OK,  instead of talking about the ending, I’d like to simply list a few things I really liked about ME2&3 from a noob perspective:

        -from
        a technical standpoint, the graphics in both games are superb, to the
        point where the transitions between gameplay and cutscenes were nearly
        seamless. Even the 2 1/2-year-old ME2 looks great, and on my outdated
        system no less.

        -In both real life and my fantasy worlds, I’m the
        kind of guy who goes after tough-as-nails, ass-kicking women who know
        what they want and take charge a.s.a.p. in order to get it. As such,
        characters like Miranda, Aria, and Samara are right up my alley. Yet of
        all the relationship options I chose through multiple playthroughs of
        each game, no other character (romantic or not) affected me as much as
        Liara T’Soni. The scene where she presents Shepard with her homemade
        time capsule is peripheral to the story and entirely character driven
        (and without a hint of plot development) yet it’s one of the best in the
        entire series. For Liara, it’s at once empowering and heartbreaking.
        Great writing, great animation/direction, great voice acting.

        - Mass Effect series, you had me at “Space Hamster.” “Emergency induction port” was just icing on the cake.

        -
        It’s a testament to the strength of the writing that, before I’d even
        recruited Legion in my first playthrough of ME2, I’d spent a solid hour
        or so compiling a playlist for my GirlShep and her crew.  Some of it was
        a little on-the-nose (Garrus got The Stooges’ “Your Pretty Face Is
        Going To Hell”), but everyone I talked to agreed that The Novas’ “The
        Crusher” was retroactively written with Grunt in mind:
        http://youtu.be/YvBN3C2wepY

        - God I love Grunt. He’s like if R Lee Eremy made passionate love to an ankylosaur.

        -
        As cool as the omni-blade is, there’s really nothing that compares to
        being a Widow-wielding Infiltrator with Liara on your squad. Two stasis
        attacks while one-shotting anything that can still move? It’s the
        closest thing to god mode without actually cheating.

        - Who came first: Mordin Solus of “Community’s” Abed?

      • Fixda Fernback

        Never played any of the ME’s (I always meant to, now it seems like… eh, why?), so I don’t give much of a shit one way or another in the whole argument, but, liked simply for “little Johnny Godtits”. I may steal that, no promises to the contrary.

  • Damn_Skippy

    I just got a new tv that happens to do 3d, so gaming wise I’ll be attempting to get some pc games working in 3d this weekend. I’m assuming it might be more trouble than it’s worth, but new shiny-pretty must be toyed with.

    I played wipeout hd on the ps3 already, but I’ll probably try that out in 3d too, as I think it’s the only game I have that does it. So probably no real playing this weekend, just tinkering.

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    I clearly forgot how awesome Shadows of the Damned was until I played through it again last weekend, and was so psyched after beating it I want straight back in on Legion Hunter and beat it again in a couple of days. The secret to Legion Hunter is light shots, brutal kills and of course exploding multiple Hot Boner loads and yes I just wrote that.

    So finishing that has left me in a bind. What next? Decided it would be having another playthrough of Bioshock 2, but after I got to Ryan Amusements early on I decided I just couldn’t be arsed slogging through it again and that was that. Instead I figured another playthrough of Max Payne 3 would be good, but lost motivation after the first level. Played through the Panama level once more just for the most awesome gameplay soundtrack ever made, and ejected the disc. Gathered all these games up, and went and traded them in.

    Which brings us back to the dark triumvirate of unfinished games which I dismissed just last week on this very site. Dark Souls? No, I’m just not ready for that sort of commitment. Half Life 2? Patience, my friend. In time, it will seek *me* out. Oh no, if not those two, surely not Deus Ex: Neo Neo!? I sit there on the couch and the DE:HR box just sits there, leering at me, mocking. It has again now come own to a game of wills between me and an inanimate object. Coincidentally, scholars have recently re-examined some of Nietzsche’s most famous works, and correctly translated that famous quote as:

    When you stare into the Deus Ex box art, the Deus Ex box art stares back at you.

    Apparently Nietzsche was more of a My Little Pony DS fan.

    It all may be moot, I may not even have TV access this weekend, which would mean it’s computer time, and continuing with that Tropico 4 game I started a while back. My main goal for this game is to piss off the Americans while hoping that they don’t try and assassinate me with a Ricin cigar.

    • The_Misanthrope

       Yeah, unless I’m farming for rare materials, I will not play Dark Souls unless I am 100% there.  Once I start to tire or grow frustrated with lack of progress, I just stop playing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Johnson/501651 Kevin Johnson

      I’m playing though Max Payne 3 right now, and I’ll probably finish it this weekend. My first impression was, “Man, Max Payne 3 is the game that Uncharted 3 should have been, which is not a compliment for either game.”

      But as I push through it, I’ve been liking it more and more. The plot is kinda ridiculous, even by Payne standards, but the voice work and dialogue is really good, probably the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. They even do long pauses and stutters in the dialogue, which tickled my fancy. I dig the added cover mechanic too, and melee attacking is just BADASS.

      Some of the gun battles completely vary in difficulty (fight easy thugs one level, then ULTRA ARMORED COPS the next), but it does come together smoother than expected.

    • Fluka

      Re Deus Ex: The Abyss and starting it again:
      Would THIS change your mind?
      (God I can’t stop watching that.  Dance, Jensen, dance!)

      • Effigy_Power

        I just watched the whole thing.
        Why, Fluka, why?

        PS: The dance while the guy in the hazmat suit is begging for help is pretty good.

        • Fluka

          For me, that’s when it went from “Something stupid I found on the internet” to “I must share this with the world.”

        • Fixda Fernback

          It sort of eases my mind to know that I am not the only one to make Jensen dance… a lot. I’m easily entertained, what can I say?

          Also, yes, that video was entrancingly awesome.

      • Staggering Stew Bum

        I’ve already realised why I wasn’t enjoying DEHR: I was dumb enough to attempt to play through on Hardest difficulty using stealth and non-violence in order to get the Platinum trophy in one playthrough (Trophies/Achievements are simultaneously the best and worst thing ever). But it turns out that I hate stealth, not shooting dudes, and things that are difficult! So when I give it another go will probably bump the difficulty back down to Easy and go in all guns blazing. Well, all tazers blazing because I don’t have a gun yet.

        • Fluka

          I recommend getting the Typhoon Awesome System.

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

          Good plan. DX:HR can be pretty tough, even on its easiest difficulty setting.

        • Fixda Fernback

          Holy shit man, you can be stealthy and shoot tons of fools. I have a silenced pistol with the laser sight and armor piercing. It’s really almost game-breaking, you can just ruin people with that thing. I usually carry a SMG and a taser but very rarely use them. Silent takedowns for anything else. Also, I think the medium is a pretty well-balanced difficulty, but I like that Deus Ex has rebranded easy as “Tell me a story”. Because not everyone wants a frustrating challenge, haha.

  • lokanoth

    I found New Vegas so buggy and straight up ugly I just sided with Mr. House and sold that piece of garbage.

  • Captain Internet

    I’ll be playing Dark Souls : Prepare to Die edition. What a wonderful game- it’s thrilling, it’s compelling, and it’s rather hard work, sort of like licking a 9-volt battery. 

    It’s not that hard. Well, it is that hard. But what it mostly does is punish complacency. If something looks like it’s going to hit you with a giant hammer, then you have to get out of the way, because despite what God of War and Darksiders seem to think, most people cannot survive being hit with a giant hammer. If there’s a huge crowd of Rodents of Unusual Size, don’t walk into the middle of it and expect to live, because unlike Assassin’s Creed enemies don’t wait their turn when attacking.

    Of course, you also get enemies that just murder you as soon as they see you, and that’s also part of the fun. Best moment so far has to be taking down a Black Phantom- some dickhead, a real, human player, who had invaded my game in order to kill me and take my monies. This had happened before, and I’d always lost, and it was horrible. All these people have horrible hacker names too, like XxXXAzorzusXXxX, which just compounds the terror- some uneducated prick has come to mug you, and they’re probably going to get away with it too. 

    But not this time- I got the upper hand by hurling my massive stock of firebombs at him and then getting in a lucky parry. And I beat him, and the feeling was incredible- absurd as it sounds, I felt righteous, and I felt mighty, and it was a genuine moment of glory.

    And then later I was killed by a Basilisk. 

    So yes, you should all play Dark Souls.

    • The_Misanthrope

       I kind of wish I’d gotten into the PvP aspect before my current level (60+) because at this point, most PvP is about waiting for the other player to make a mistake, ganking your opponent mid-melee with someone else (computer or player-controlled), or maxing your build/gear for PvP.

      Important Dark Souls milestone:  I sighted the super-ultra-rare Vagrant (http://darksouls.wikidot.com/vagrant) down in the Depths.  Unfortunately, I was invading as a Blue Phantom, so I couldn’t interact with it. 

      • Captain Internet

        I’m not nearly that far- I’ve just cleared The Depths, and I’m amazed to say I only died once, to that Basilisk I mentioned. Is that boss supposed to be super-easy? I had help from an NPC summon, but after he died it just kept doing the same thing- it reared up and looked scary, then fell on it’s “face”, and then walked into a wall. I just kept stabbing it in the arse until it died.

        • doyourealize

          Most of the bosses are actually tough at first until you figure it out, and they’re not too hard after that. Not all of them, though, and every once in a while, you’ll get surprised. The most difficult parts of the game aren’t even boss fights.

          And bravo on only one death up to this point. I spent quite a bit of time dying on the early path where firebombs are being hurled at you, then again at the Armored Tusk in the Undead Parish. And I’m surprised you made it through the Depths without getting cursed.

          Have fun in Blighttown.

        • The_Misanthrope

           The Gaping Dragon?  He wasn’t the hardest boss, but he was competent when he fought me.  It’s possible he glitched out, though.  I know there is one glitch where the summons can get “stuck” behind the fog gate, yet they will still draw the boss’ attention, meaning it would leave itself totally exposed to your ass-stabs.

          I am not quite the savant at this game you clearly are, though, so who knows?  I had died a myriad, pointless deaths by this point.  The Capra Demon was a particular sticking point, with his in-your-face sudden approach right after the fog gate and the tight, cramped room in which you fight him.

          I would love to get your take on Blighttown, though.

        • Captain Internet

          @doyourealize:disqus and @The_Misanthrope:disqus - I died plenty before then, just only once in The Depths! Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Pretty much everything had killed me right up until that point, and if there are any more Black Knights I’ll start dying again plenty.

          Having said that the metal boar thing wasn’t a problem- I got up top, killed the zombies, and then just shot it with about fifty wooden arrows.

          I think I got a bit lucky when it came to the massive rat- I’d dropped down the hole the butchers were using for- presumably- rubbish, and was able just to murder it from above without reprisal. I was also lucky to find the summoner before the boss- after reading about it today it turns out I just did the thing in the right order.

      • doyourealize

        I ran into one near the end of the Catacombs, right after the Prowling Demon. At that point, though, I had no idea what it was. And I think somewhere else, too. I don’t remember much about the encounters. If I knew what it was, I would have paid more attention.

    • Effigy_Power

      I have it, but neither have I yet received my USB-360 controller wireless dongle, I also am not sure yet I am ready to play this… all evidence seems to imply that once you start, you best not stop for a while or at least don’t take long breaks.

    • EmperorNortonI

       Dark Souls is utterly awesome, but I agree with the poster who mentioned that one must be 100% into the game.  If you’re not with it, you just start dying pointlessly, and everything becomes a miserable slog.

      You’ve got to feel CHALLENGED by deaths, not demoralized.  Otherwise the game is just soul-killing.

      I’m letting it sit for a bit.  My wizard dude just got to the Capra Demon, and I got killed in 5 seconds without being able to move.  I don’t feel like trying again for a while.

      • Captain Internet

        He did that to me too. I didn’t exactly ‘beat’ him I don’t think- I tried running up the stairs behind him and standing on the ledge, and his pathfinding went all glitchy- I was able to just hurl firebombs until he died. 

        I’ve done that quite a lot, actually. I’ve also done a lot of running away from big things to find the point where they stop following me, and then attacking them from there. I’m clearly a massive coward and a noob, but I’m a living coward.

        • Effigy_Power

          Isn’t that what the game is supposed to teach tho? That blocking a half-ton warhammer with a shield is ridiculous and that in order to survive you have to take every advantage you can possibly get?
          I’ve never understood the outrage at camping or kiting or any of those so called “noob-tactics”. It’s just playing with your brain on. Let the awesome folk run headlong into the fire and die in a blaze of glory. I am hiding in this bush, firing the occasional shot and surviving.
          The ultimate test for this? Play ArmA… if a popular shooter tactic doesn’t work in ArmA, it probably doesn’t work in real life.

        • Captain Internet

          @Effigy_Power:disqus I mostly agree with you, it just feels a little cheap when I’m exploiting a glitch rather than genuinely outwitting something. It’s the difference between Doctor Who defeating the Daleks by walking upstairs and Doctor Who defeating the Daleks by getting the director to call a fifteen minute break and then setting fire to the costumes when everyone is outside smoking. 
          But I’m totally with you on the times when it’s just plain cheap, but within the rules of the world. If something is stronger than you, and you need to compete with it, do not take up it’s offer of an arm wrestling competition. There’s a wonderful article over at the New Yorker on this topic: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

          Still, Dark Souls does force you to get better at the combat, as there are times when you have to do it properly, and winning that way feels good too. It’s similar to the XBox Ninja Gaiden and God Hand in that respect, and I have much love for both of those games.

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

      Later on you can join a faction that’ll let you – no, require you to – invade the games of serial player-invaders in turn and punish them by fucking their shit up.

      (Or you can smash your way in and kill their god to turn his soul into a unique weapon, but if you do that I think you’re permanently marked for death by them, cue blue phantoms up your ass for the rest of the game)

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    So yes, you should all play Dark Souls.

    And if possible play it on a console rather than PC, because thurling a controller against the wall in frustration would probably be far more satisfying than throwing a keyboard and a mouse.

    • Captain Internet

      Ah, but wired XBox 360 controllers can just be plugged in to PCs. So play it on the PC and you get the best of both worlds.

    • doyourealize

      And from what I’ve heard, keyboard and mouse controls are kind of suck. If that’s what you’re planning, I’d go get yourself a wired Xbox 360 controller.

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

      Also because the keyboard and mouse controls in it are for shit. The mouse has the opposite of mouse acceleration.. mouse deceleration, I guess? The faster you move the mouse, the less the cursor/pov moves.

      On the other hand, you should totally play the PC version with a controller over the console version. Additional content, and with the DSFix mod it’s way prettier. Mmm, 1080p with proper anti-aliasing, texture filtering, and improved depth of field.

  • dreadguacamole

     I’ll be away on holidays this weekend, so no Guild Wars 2 for me.
     By the way, sorry, gameological guild! I’ve tried to stand down from my guild and represent so I can chat with you fine folks (all three of you!), but there’s a bug with it at the moment, apparently…

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      There’s a Gameological guild?  Crap, did I miss or forget that?  Tell me the name(s) and server please, and if I can I’ll gladly switch over.  (I have a level 40 thief and a few sub-level-5 chars)

      • Effigy_Power

         I am pretty sure you don’t have to switch servers, as the guilds are independent of that… I think so anyways.
        Mooy and I play on Fergusson’s Crossing, so feel free to pop in there. I am playing a lvl 25 Elementalist and Mooy’s rogue is probably in the upper 30′s by now, but he’s also leveling a Mesmer.
        The guild is fairly obviously called Gameological Society.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Oh, really?  Assuming you guys ever participate in WvW, I thought you had to be on the same server to fight on the same team?  (I have only tried out structured PvP so far, but excited to give WvW a shot too.)

        • The Guilty Party

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus Pretty sure the WvW does require being on the same server, yeah.

          Also WvW is fairly entertaining, in my opinion, but I Like Things so I’m not the best guide. If you can find at least a small crew of people who won’t run around like headless chickens, it works even better.

        • The Guilty Party

          Also do you need an invite for guilds? I want in on this. I have a guild I set up personally to eventually earn some extra guild bank goodness, but in theory you can switch on the fly.

        • Effigy_Power

          Post your character names and I’ll convey this to Mooy, who is guild chef.

        • The Guilty Party

          Sweet. I have a 40-something engineer, Chisa Arai. And a high teens mesmer that I am having a hell of a time learning to be effective with, Suvari.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          My thief is named Strismus, and I have an engineer named Gearwizzle Kaboom. Yes, I know. =P

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    New Vegas is a solid game.  Let me start by saying that so people don’t think I’m entirely trashing it.  For some reason, it doesn’t feel nearly as “open” to me as Fallout 3.  Sure, there are lots of things to do and you can pick one of 4 or 5 endings, but I feel like beyond deciding which quest to do the quests themselves are very “go here, do this” with no variance in how to accomplish certain things.  I find that every time I go beyond what the programmer intended, I very quickly either get “quest failed” or the quest just breaks and I can’t finish it.  Klosowki seems to have independently thought of a plan that matches what the game makes wanted everyone to do (play the factions against each other then pick one — sounds like he sided with Yes Man).  I guess maybe that means the game makers were on to something, if most people walk away feeling in control.  But even though I like the game, I feel like I’m fighting the limitations of the game the entire time in a way I never felt in Oblivion, Skyrim, of Fallout 3. 

    • The_Tender_Vigilante

      I really enjoyed NV, but its one of those games where I stopped playing after getting hung up in a spot and now can’t recall what exactly my character was up to when I quit, thus I’m a little intimidated about jumping back in. Perhaps someone can help me out. From what I recall, I went into a hotel in New Vegas and before I was permitted to go upstairs and meet with the honcho I was trying to find, I had to surrender my inventory to the guy at the hotel desk. I then recall going upstairs, killing a bunch of dudes and then interacting with some sort of computer that filled in a bunch of the game’s backstory. When I went to leave the hotel, I couldn’t find a way to retrieve my hard earned inventory so I put the game down in frustration. I’d like to jump back into it, but does anyone recall this scenario from the game and have any idea on how I can get my stuff back? Its been a loooong time since playing, but I know I dont have the time to start a new file and i dont think I’m willing to try continuing unless I can get my gear back.

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

        It sounds like you might have run into a bug, because the game is supposed to give you your inventory back any time you leave a New Vegas casino. Do you have a save from before you left the casino/hotel?

        • The_Tender_Vigilante

          Ah, well that would make some sense.  Back tracking saved files sounds like a good re-entry strategy for getting back into the game.  After exhausting all efforts to recover my inventory I believe I reached the conclusion that that particular portion of the main quest line required a forfeit of inventory to continue on.  It completely derailed my desire to continue on. 

      • djsubversive

        That sounds like The Tops and Benny (ring-a-ding-ding), and like Merve said, that shouldn’t have happened with your gear. It’s unfortunate that they don’t just stick all your gear in a safe somewhere (I think it’s supposed to, but The Tops might be the only one that actually has the safe).

        On the plus side, if you have a save from right before going in, it should work properly. Or, if you talk to Swank (the guy behind the front desk) and convince him that Benny’s a fink before you actually go deal with Benny, he gives you back your stuff.

        I had that happen once, so I started sticking everything but my holdhout weapons in ED-E and telling it to wait outside the casino.

  • stakkalee

    This weekend is Baltimore Comic-Con so I probably won’t have any time for gaming.  If I do, I’m going to play Red Dead: Redemption since I finally finished New Vegas last weekend, although I’ve been jonesing for a hit of Assassin’s Creed II for some reason.  Maybe I’ll throw that in instead…

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      How’s the scene at Baltimore Comic-Con?  I’ve never heard much from it.

      • stakkalee

        It’s resisted the Hollywoodification that has plagued other conventions, or at least it hasn’t been colonized to the same degree (knock on wood – I didn’t go last year.)  Baltimore is a funny old town (the city nickname is “Charm City”, which is true, for certain values of “charm”) and the crowd is a healthy mix of locals with plenty of mid-Atlantic out-of-towners.  The Convention Center has been rebuilt in the past decade or two, and there’s been a push to revitalize the downtown, so its a bit “touristy,” but if you get off the beaten path there’s plenty of quality restaurants.  The CC crowds are always enthusiastic, but that’s nothing unusual.  Plenty of cosplayers, plenty of longboxes filled with back issues.  All in all, I highly recommend it, if you’re the kind of person who goes to comic cons.

  • JohnnyLongtorso

    I got Sniper Elite V2 from Gamefly, so I’m hoping I can tear myself away from the Souls games long enough to play it — I’ve beaten Dark Souls once, I’m most of the way through a second playthrough and have a third character that I’ve been messing around with; I’ve also beaten Demon’s Souls twice since I started playing it a month ago. I have never been as obsessed with a game as much as I have with these games.

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

    I’m tempted to return to New Vegas or Mass Effect 2 this weekend. Or possibly even Skyrim. I’ve beaten the first two several times, but I’ve never played more than a few hours of Skyrim. It feels like I’m not playing the game right, or the enemies’ levels aren’t scaling properly, which is a feeling I never had with NV or ME2.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       skyrim enemies can get pretty tough if you tend to level up primarily through non-combat methods.  Since your specific levels are linked to how much you “practice” a specific skill, you can be level 20, face level 20 enemies, but still have the combat/armor skills of a level 5.  I don’t mind that because I like range attacks and feeling real danger if monsters get too close. You can always just adjust the difficulty too until you find a spot that is challenging but not too frustrating.

    • Fluka

      I got burned out on Skyrim when I started the game as a mage, because the spells all felt very under-balanced and I was getting killed by wolves every 20 min or so.  Even after my husband modded it to be more “fair,” I would still hit points (I think it’s every 10 levels) where all the enemies would suddenly scale up and I’d suddenly be running around and getting eaten alive by spiders again (ohgodspiders).  I’m tempted to go back, having seen all the mods that Mr Fluka has added – he’ll be playing this game for the next two years – but I get the same feeling of just not doing it right.

      • The Guilty Party

        Magic users in the default Skyrim kinda sucked, yeah. The damage they can do didn’t scale well vs the enemies and vs what a melee or bow using character could do. There are a variety of mods to make it scale better and add cooler things to do besides ‘shoot fire and hope it dies first’.

        Personally, I still never got into magic-ness because it pulled me out of the action too much to keep swapping spells and setting up shields and then ranged and then close range and summoning and bleah. I felt combat just flowed so much better when I rolled with an axe/shield and a bow. A less ridiculously limited hotkey system may have helped with that.

      • ricin_beans

        The thing about playing a mage, at least at the higher difficulties, is that you need to use all of the magic schools to survive.  Summon a daedra, throw up your magic shield, use illusion to send a couple of enemies running, and then start throwing fireballs.  

        • Fluka

          I had the world’s most cowardly and successful strategy in Oblivion, actually.  Through sheer persistence, I became Archmage, and got myself access to pretty much all of the Illusion and Conjuration spells and a ton of magicka.  I would enter a room, summon a Spider Daedra or a Xivilai…and then activate Invisibility and run away or just stand there and wait for the fight to be over.  Worked every time.  Hey, an academic administrator has to know how to delegate, am I right?

  • TreeRol

    Our regular Friday game night is going all-Dominion this week, so we can explore the new expansion.

    And on Sunday, our new Magic group meets for the first time. This week will be anything goes – just bring a deck and start smashing – but I’m hoping to give us some structure in the future (if only so I can have an excuse to start acquiring cards to play Standard, since I haven’t played regularly in many years).

    So there’s some uncertainty this weekend. Should be exciting.

    • Link The Ecologist

      I am also joining a new magic group this weekend, and I have not played in eight years, so I think that will be exciting as I have to read every card that anyone plays against me to see how it works. Also I have no idea how the formats work or if we are even using a format, but hopefully my cards/decks won’t be ruled illegal

      • TreeRol

        You’re not in the seacoast region of NH, are you?

        I’ve actually kept up with the scene – I find it interesting as a game and as a sport, so I’ve been reading about it throughout my time away. If you’re familiar with the game you should be able to pick things up pretty quickly. As for the formats, you’ll definitely have to learn those as your group evolves into them. That’s actually why we’re starting with an “anything goes” day, so we can just bring cards we like playing and then discuss what’s happening going forward. I’d suggest the same for you.

        (And also, play draft or sealed! Great way to become acquainted with new cards.)

        • Link The Ecologist

          Thanks for the advice! doing a search informs me that there is a gaming shop in a local mall so maybe I’ll stop by to check out a draft. Even in my heyday I only did that once, but I think it would be more my speed now. 

          (also, no not NH but Upstate NY.)

  • Cheese

    I too am playing Sleeping Dogs. I’m pretty close to the end, I think, and frankly getting a little bored, so I may buckle down and finish up the story missions. I’m thinking about getting Guild Wars 2 as well, but I’d rather hold off. We’ll see if I get bored before Borderlands 2 comes out.

  • HobbesMkii

    Probably more PAYDAY:The Heist. There’s less than a dozen heists, which is a shame, because there’s something absolutely thrilling about completing a series of objectives and then escaping with your ill-gotten (and often blood-soaked) loot. Still, at least it comes with something like 4 different difficulties and “normal” is still a “fail 50% of the time” difficulty.

    This would have been a weekend for TERA, which I picked up for $10 in a GameStop Digital Download sale (I have it from back when it used to be Impulse. Don’t judge me), but I uninstalled it after three days when it started to gross me out.

    • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

      There’s THAT MANY heists?  We keep playing the same four. :P

      Are you focusing on completing stuff on Hard now?

      • HobbesMkii

        Yeah. Ideally I’d like to get into the Overkill difficulty, but only the Bank seems feasible at the moment for achieving that. 

        There are actually 9, including the 2 in the DLC. There are about 3 that can be way too hard (Undercover, Heat Street, and No Mercy) that we kinda steer clear of unless we’re feeling up for a challenge. So that limits us down to 6 that we do with any degree of regularity.

      • djsubversive

        No Mercy’s a fun one if you can pull off the hostage section and get to the ICU in “stealth mode.” Otherwise it’s a long smoke-filled shoot-out. Counterfeit and Undercover are the DLC heists (which Hobbes can host and I can play w/o the DLC, good job on that one Overkill). Two of the remaining six are Heat Street and Greeen Bridge, so four sounds about right. :)

        Fuck Heat Street.

        Yeah, we’ve mostly moved up to Hard. It’s not that much harder (when you have a few upgrades under your belt), but gives about twice the payout. We still haven’t successfully stealthed Diamond Heist, though.

  • duwease

    I am in the middle of a philosophical crisis with The Witcher 2.  Traditionally I have been a “do everything, check every corner, talk to every NPC until they repeat themselves” sort of obsessive-compulsive gamer.  But I’m starting to find that the same activity I enjoyed in, say, Baldur’s Gate 2, I’m finding loathsome now.  I don’t want to talk to every character.. point out who has something important to say!  I don’t want to enter every house and pick up every little piece of garbage.. highlight what’s important!

    I’m wondering if it’s a function of less time available for gaming.. do I expect more out of that limited time?  I certainly am more acutely aware of having wasted time if I only have an hour to myself and I spend that entire hour searching every virtual bookshelf in virtual town and having nothing to show for it but a handful of coins and some pieces of cloth.

    It’s gotten bad enough where I’m at the point where I spend more time thinking about this than actually focusing on what I’m doing in the game (still early in Chapter 1).  Is this a turning point in my gaming life?

    • The Guilty Party

      I think it’s an age thing mixed with ‘what you find enjoyable’. I remember as a kid being much more into ‘plumb the depths of everything like some ocd kleptomaniac’. I enjoyed it, not just because I felt I had a lot of time to kill, it just tickled something in my brain. At this point however, I am much more into ‘show me the key people to talk to, don’t make me run up to every person to find out if they’re interesting’.

      I actually really like how Bioware handled this sort of thing in the latter years: key people to talk to are marked, but atmosphere-type conversations just happen in the environment as you walk around, you don’t have to trigger them and sift them out from the plot-advancing info.

    • Fixda Fernback

      I will say, normally, I’m with you on the “don’t make me go through EVERYTHING” feeling, but for some reason The Witcher II didn’t bother me as much. Use the amulet, a LOT. When you activate it, it highlights stuff in the area that’s lootable, or important, or useable. And, it really allows you to be a badass if you loot a lot of stuff, including the plants… you can make potions that help you out quite a bit in different situations, and the stuff you loot helps you make badass weapons/armor later in Chapter I and on. 

      I think it’s the incorporation into the other parts of the game (i.e. potions, weapons) that make it feel like less of a toil in that game. That ended up being a contender for favorite game of the year (I’m a console gamer, so it was new to me this year), and also, they actually do highlight WHO you need to talk to as well, if you track the proper quest. I say stick with that game, I think what you’re experiencing is more of a cynicism with the artificial padding of games through “looting” BS, i.e., bad design. The Witcher II is anything but.

    • Pablo Ibbieta

      For what it is worth, I have hated Witcher 2 to the point of looking up reviewers who gave it high marks so that I will NEVER take their recommendation on anything. I’m going to finish this game because I bought the damn thing but I hate it so very much. To drink a potion you have to be away from combat, in a separate menu, and it takes about eight seconds of animation of the dude sitting there. Every single time. As a bonus, there is rarely any good way to tell when combat is coming up.

      Special bonus, combat gets easier as it goes along so learning about potions was ultimately useless. I sometimes drink potions just to count the seconds of animation and sing my “I’m bored, so very, very bored” song. Usually when walking down the same pathway on yet another “quest”.

      Quicktime events? Stupid game has them.
      Cut-scenes before boss fights? Yep.
      Poorly chosen auto-save points? Of course. (Quick-save always, at least that mostly works right.)
      Long, pointless conversations? You got it!
      Fed-Ex quests with long walks and nothing to do along the way? You betcha!
      Glitchy, fickle pathways and environment interactions? Like they were coded by distracted children.
      Quests and conversations decided without enough information? Hey, this is hard-core, dude. Informed decisions are for good games.
       
      The two sword thing? W-T-F! It doesn’t make the game harder or more interesting. It is just there, like a lump. When in combat, I see I’m not doing any damage so I switch weapons. Whee!

      My working theory for this games high rating … 1) it has nudity and 2) console gamers prefer watching games rather than playing them.

      So, no, I don’t think this is a turning point in your life. This game just sucks. It looks like it should be good, it sometimes plays like it should be good, other people have said it is good. But it actually sucks. I’m on the last chapter and I wish I had a physical copy of the game so I could snap the disk after I finished with the game. I’ll just have to cackle with glee as I delete my save files after uninstalling it.

  • Fluka

    Probably on a break this weekend, to do some work and some reading and possibly some apple-picking (awwww yiissss).  But considering playing some little things, like finally getting around to FFVI.  Or maybe finally going back to Skyrim (but I think that every weekend).

    But a question, for future playing.  Is it worth trying to play the original Deus Ex?  Are the graphics and general 2000-ishness that jarring for someone who never played it back in the day?  I’d probably download a high-def texture patch, but there’s only so much that can do.  Or do the much-vaunted emergent gameplay, plot, etc. make up for that enough for it to still be enjoyable?

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

      Yes, it’s worth trying to play the original Deus Ex. If you like DX:HR at all, chances are you’ll like the original even more. But avoid Deus Ex: Invisible War like Lindsay Lohan avoids sobriety; that game is the pits.

      The graphics and 2000-ishness might be jarring at first. The game wasn’t even good-looking by the standards of its day. But it’s not as if the graphics are so bad that you can’t tell what’s going on. The game doesn’t place you in a great-looking world, but there’s a lot of detail – steam coming up through sewer grates, rats scurrying around trash bags, blinking lights on computer panels – that make the world feel alive. Sound design helps here too, with an array of whizzes, clicks, and beeps, although technical limitations of the time meant that noises don’t really fade in or fade out as you approach or walk away.

      I’ll say this about Deus Ex’s plot: whereas it’s convoluted to the point of being nonsensical, it’s never boring. While there’s lots of opportunity for emergent gameplay, the plot is linear – even more linear than HR’s, contrary to what die-hard fans of the original might tell you. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The fun in Deus Ex comes not from having a large number of ethical decisions to make, but from finding ways to complete your objectives. Any given task has anywhere from two to a dozen ways to be completed (usually somewhere in the middle of those two numbers). If you want to cloak and sneak past guards, you can do that. If you want to hack bots and turn them on their masters, you can do that. If you want to go in guns blazing and shoot the crap out of everybody, you can do that. If you want to crawl through a vent and circumvent the guards, you can do that. If you want to bribe an engineer to open up an alternate route, you can do that. If you want to hack your way through with a nano-sword (my weapon of choice), you can do that.

      So yeah, you should go play Deus Ex right away. There’s a reason that many consider it one of the finest games ever made. It’s a timeless classic, as far as I’m concerned.

      • Fluka

        Okay, that sounds pretty awesome.  I am sold.  Thanks a bunch for the in-depth assessment!

    • stakkalee

      Liked for “aww yisss”; I assume you’re referencing this?  (fifth one down.)  I had that line stuck in my head for a whole weekend once.  I’d randomly say it to my wife, who thought I’d gone mad.

      • Fluka

        You betcha!  I don’t know why it’s so catchy, but apparently we’re not the only ones since Ms. Beaton sells it in shirt form.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

    I’m going to be giving Skyrim another chance I think. After having 5 characters get deleted or saved over (twice by fiance, thrice by buggy saves) I gave up and haven’t returned to it since. 

    That, and a new D&D campaign I just started with some friends.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Which edition D&D?  And what’s the campaign world, story, etc.?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

        We’re currently running 4th edition, I know it has it’s issues but I’ve found it’s the easiest to introduce people to the concept of pen & paper. Since half our group is having their first rpg experience with this I wanted it to go as smooth as possible, and thought it’d be a good one to use. 

        As far as world, it’s a homebrew setting I’ve been using for about three years now. Rakshasa nobility control most of society. Hero’s can be plucky rebels or collaborators or what have you. Plus it’s always a nice reveal when the character that you thought was helping you shapeshifts into their true backwards hand having, furry form. Makes the players nice and leery about trusting outsiders.

    • Effigy_Power

      Ech, I envy you, I haven’t played a decent pen&paper campaign in years… Not even sure why I still buy all the damn books.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Because the compulsive collector’s instinct.  And the drawings.

    • ricin_beans

      I just finished Dawnguard the other day as a Nord Vampire Hunter specializing in two handed swords and archery.   Probably going to restart it as an Altmer necromancer turned vampire lord.

  • Priest Kristoph

    X3: Albion Prelude.  I’ve got a M6 corvette class for a wingman, a nice little Prototype Nova heavy fighter for my main ship, 2 M5s running around scouting for me, 2 Mercury trading ships making me money, and eyes on 6 systems via my advanced satellites.

    I’m loving the hell out of this game; it finally pulled me away from Mount & Blade!  Maybe because I finally got it to work! : )

  • Cornell_University

    Finished FF1 Dawn of Souls earlier this week, with a paltry 94% completion percentage, but I had leveled everybody to infinity, had nothing left to buy, and was restless.  I will probably replay at some point attempting 100%, maybe with some stupid handicap like a 4 White Mage party or something.

    Now furiously toiling away at FF2.  Just killed the fake princess and sadly reacquired fuckin’ Gordon to the party.  I really love the lack of specific levels for characters, as I can dither around building characters stats endlessly, which is primarily the intent of old school grindfest RPGs right?  The story also seems darker than I remember.  A much higher bodycount already than most of it’s generation of peers.

    I will also be dusting off NFL2K for my trusty Dreamcast and forcing my girlfriend to play 2 player while blasting Ten Yard Fight and chugging cheap beer in my homemade Yo Soy Fiesta tshirt.  FOOTBALL’S BACK SUCKERS!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I’m reluctant to try FF2 because of the wonky-ass leveling system, which seems to be a natal precursor to my other least favorite FF leveling system, VIII.
         But you’re liking it so far?  Do you have much control over how your characters develop?

      • Cornell_University

        I played it once before in it’s FF Origins incarnation, which was full of glitches that let you basically cheat your characters stats up much faster.

        So far I like that said glitch has been removed from this version (because yes, I abused the shit out of it), so I actually have to fight for my stats.  It reminds me oddly enough of the old Quest for Glory games, as you don’t have a level to speak of, but your stats build as you use them (fire magic gains power the more you cast it, your HP increases the more damage you take, your Sword skill improves the longer it’s equipped, etc).  It’s undoubtedly a much more time consuming process, but I like the customization it affords, and you don’t get stuck leveling repeatedly to get nothing but 3 additional HP and no stat increases, which seemed to happen all the time in my FF1 playthrough.  I dig that there’s much less of a ‘ceiling’ for my characters, if that makes sense, and I will definitely be playing it longer as a result.

      • PaganPoet

        As far as the old pre-VII FFs go, I’ll admit it’s probably on the lower end of the scale…maybe only slightly above the original. And you’re right, if you play a non-glitched version (as I did with the PSP remake), the leveling system is pretty stupid.

        Still, I think it’s worth a go, especially if you appreciate a relatively challenging (but not frustratingly so) game. It was FF’s first attempt at a character and story-driven RPG and arguably set the stage for series favorites IV and VI.

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

      The best thing about Finest Fantasy is that it utilizes the temporary characters in the endgame.  I won’t reveal plot stuff if you’re a stickler about it, but I am the sort of person who was really thrilled to play as someone closely related to fricking Gordon.  And you will be, too!  II’s highly underrated, especially in this “fixed” form, so you’ll probably enjoy the whole game.  Just watch for those underleveled people.

  • http://twitter.com/roundthewheel RTW

    There’s almost a 100% chance I buy something off of GOG this weekend. Despite having mostly newer games, there’s an impressive swath of my PC-gaming childhood in there. Of the things I’ve put on my wishlist, I’m most interested in revisiting the Battle Chess pack, Heroes of Might & Magic II, and Creatures (here subtitled The Albian Years, I suppose to more clearly indicate that it’s the first game, which was the only one in the series I played). I might also pick up Resonance, since I’ve heard good things about that and it’s only $5. If I get enough money from making beef jerky for people, I might also pick up ClaDun X2 off Steam; I watched the trailer and an hour of footage on YouTube and got sucked in big-time.

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

      X2: buy it.  Watching isn’t a tenth as rewarding as playing it.  And customizing it.  And humming its music.

  • rvb1023

    Now that I am once again in a crowded apartment, I am having trouble finding the right mood to play Echo Night: Beyond.  SO I play SMT: Nocturne when I am not doing that, though my local fighting game club may be starting up again, so I might get to play some Marvel for the first time in months.

  • evanwaters

    I’m going to see if I can finally make KOTOR work on my MacBook. There was some weird business with the conversion that made it buggy on Intel Macs, and after a few patches which never really fixed things Aspyr basically threw up their hands because, eh, it’s an old game. But apparently the PC version runs well in emulation.
     
    Thinking I’ll dip back into Minecraft too.
     
    I’ve been playing through various Doom levels- official and fan-made- on Ultra-Violence (the highest non-bullshit difficulty) but I think that may be a bit too high for me- it makes ammo scarce and thus the game is more survival/resource management than just blowing away everything. The latter is more my speed.

  • djsubversive

    I tried out Old Republic, now that it’s “free-to-play,” sort of. You can play to level 15, and I hit 10 right around the end of my prelude. They’re apparently expanding that to the full 50 levels in November, but that’s November. 

    Instead, I reinstalled Knights of the Old Republic 2 since the TSLRCM just recently hit 1.8.1.

    • Effigy_Power

      6-letter abbreviations shouldn’t be called abbreviations.
      It does however seem like a pretty extensive bug-fix, which is once again funny since I had no issues with the game, at least none that I actively perceived as bugs.

      • djsubversive

        It’s not supposed to be a bug-fix. It’s a Restored Content Modification. Yes, they did fix some bugs, but the goal of the mod is to restore the content cut before release, that was still in the game (HK Droid Factory).

        Unfortunately, it restores stuff that was probably cut for a good reason, like the seemingly endless groups of 3 enemies that you fight during the second half of Nar Shaddaa. Maybe I don’t WANT to have a fight every 10 steps and just want to get back to my damn ship, since I’ve already done what I was there to do.

        Still, I’m going to play it and enjoy it, because as fun as the Imperial Agent is in TOR, it’s still Bioware, and that means that none of what I’m doing will really matter at the end of the game.

  • Fluka

    (Disqus, aa why do you spite me)

  • Effigy_Power

    More Guild Wars 2, I assume.
    After really, really enjoying my foxy human engineer, I am not enjoying my plantperson elementalist even more. Zapping chain lightning at folks, conjuring firestorms and droppin’ meteors like it’s hot (which it is) is really fun, despite the unbearable squishiness and low hp. The game gives you plenty of ways to mitigate being chewed up in melee via tactics, you just can’t do the MMO thing and stand around like a pillock, waiting for the numbers to tick down.

    Dodging, pushing enemies away, incapacitating them… all this has a lot more merit in GW2 than I’ve ever seen it in any other MMO.
    I never enjoyed playing spell-casters, I’ve thus far always been very focused on armor and big-ass weapons, but zapping monsters is just too much fun. Especially since ArenaNet has put the effort in to include different death animations for each monster depending on what you kill them with.
    Monsters killed by earth-spells are knocked to the ground and just exhale, basically being crushed.
    Monsters killed by water (which is more ice in this game) spells slip or flash freeze and just fall over.
    Monsters killed by fire-spells scream and writhe in agony, which is a bit jarring.
    And monsters killed by my favorite element air, being lightning in this case, are zapped and convulse around for a second before tipping over.

    With this much effort in animation and just generally things you only notice since nobody else in MMO memory ever bothered to include them, I can only warmly recommend this game. It’s too much damn fun.

    Mooy and I helped put down a very nasty boss yesterday, with a boss-fight in 3 stages… the fact that these things happen in the open world is super-fun.

    • http://twitter.com/kingthor Thorin Klosowski

      I am indeed named after the character in the Hobbit :)

      • Effigy_Power

        That is insanely badass and I congratulate you to your very funky parents.
        Tell me that “Klosowski” translates to “Shield of Oak” and my day is complete.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

             Having a polish last name in my non-anthropomorphic-duck represented life, I’m sorry to inform you that it simply means “From Klosow”.
             But I’m happy to tell you that Klosow is a Polish town renowned for it’s great numbers of throne-seeking Dwarven Kings. 

        • Effigy_Power

          That indeed makes me happy, @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus, Son of Earthgrub Carta.

  • doyourealize

    Back to school, so I unfortunately don’t have as much time to play as I had during the wonderful summer, but I still find time to play Dark Souls PC. Got through the DLC area, and only have the Bed of Chaos left before I go fight Gwyn.

    Anyone spent any time in the arena? Every time I’ve gone, I end up standing on the trapdoor for a few minutes and giving up. Anyone had any luck?

    I’ll also be celebrating the life of my aunt, who died died last week at 50 from a too long battle with breast cancer. She wouldn’t have wanted any kind of wimpy funeral service. So in leiu of that, we’re all going to the beach, and there’s gonna be a raw bar as well as an alcohol bar, lots of family and plenty fun-having. Something my auntie would have loved to be a part of.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      My condolences.  I hope you and your family have fun celebrating her life in style this weekend.
         I say get a little boozy and sun-drunk, then go home and slay a Minor Taurus Demon in her honor.

  • Citric

    I just finished Bastion but I haven’t got to the starting something new stage yet. I’ve been considering Odin Sphere, but if anyone has a better suggestion toss it out there..

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I’m in the middle of Bastion, myself.  Have you done the new game+ yet?  I don’t know anything about it, but @caspiancomic:disqus swears by it.
         Otherwise, I say go for Odin Sphere.  If nothing else, it’s nice to go from one hand-painted game to another.

      • Citric

        I haven’t done the new game+, but I’m one of those weird people who has a great deal of difficulty continuing with a game once he’s seen the end credits. I’m not sure why that is, but now I’ve seen the credits and want to do something else until I revisit Bastion at some point in the future.

    • ricin_beans

      Odin Sphere is great.  I would play that and leave new game+ on Bastion for a few months from now.  

  • The_Misanthrope

    In theory, the gamifying of stuff I don’t want to do should be up my alley, but it never seems to work out for me.  I’m just a little too aware of the structure of these things to totally lose myself in them; I realize I’m just trying to fool myself, so I just become disenchanted and give up (or continue playing and cheat).  Then again, most gamifying exercises are kinda lazy and obvious.  Zombies Run!, the game I believe you are referring to in the article, does at least seem to put a lot more effort and production into it.  Too bad I don’t have one of those i-prefix/Android devices to play it on.

    • http://twitter.com/kingthor Thorin Klosowski

      Yeah (whoops, always call it Run Zombies Run for some reason–is that what the Kickstarter name was or something? Or did I make that up), the gamifying stuff seems to work REALLY well for a lot of people, but I haven’t had much luck. Probably because none of my friends use them, more than poor implementation (some of them are really well thought out)

  • boardgameguy

    my one hope is to play galaxy trucker this weekend.  it hasn’t hit the table in ages.  will likely use the “rough road ahead” expansion as well to up the difficulty.  also, hope to get my hands on a copy of a nice 2p abstract game called ponte del diavolo and see if the wife likes it

  • PaganPoet

    I of course shall continue wasting my life with Persona 4 Arena. I’m not sure if it’s just because the preteens haven’t discovered the game yet, but it’s just about the only current-gen fighter where I can actually hold my own in an online match. Not to mention, I feel special that I can actually play decently as Shadow Labrys and Kanji when I encounter a non-stop slew of Yosukes, Chies, and Elizabeths.

  • KidvanDanzig

    Played through both Sleeping Dogs and the current Walking Dead episodes. The former was decent, the latter might be the best thing I’ve played this year. Really effective stuff, especially that third episode, oof.

  • wang5645