What Are You Playing This Weekend?

AJ Lee

AJ Lee, professional wrestler

The wrestler talks Metal Gear Solid, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and being a playable character.

By Matt Kodner • October 26, 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.

AJ Lee is the self-described “Geek Goddess” of the WWE. In two years, she quickly worked her way up the Diva roster of female wrestlers, and was featured prominently in bizarre storyline involving a love quadrangle between her, two unlikely stars, and a wrestler literally from Hell. She had served as the general manager of Monday Night Raw, the WWE’s flagship show, before resigning last Monday on-air. AJ is a downloadable character in the upcoming WWE ’13, her first appearance in the series.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

AJ Lee: I’m traveling around a lot, and a lot of my time is spent with my 3DS. I have Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater on it right now, and an unopened Tales Of The Abyss that I haven’t gotten to yet.

Gameological: What’s Snake Eater like on the 3DS?

Lee: I played the original one, and this is one of my favorite games. It’s a little bit of nostalgia. It’s interesting on the 3DS. I think I like playing on the TV better, but you know, it’s something to do. I love it, and I’m really looking forward to Resident Evil 6 though. Did that just come out?

Gameological: Yeah.

Lee: Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’ll have to sit at home and play something, because that’s only one day a week. I’m looking forward to that.

Gameological: I know some wrestlers bring consoles on the road, and you all travel a lot. So you don’t bring one with?

Lee: No, if there was any room in my bag. Those power tubes take up a lot of room. [Laughs.]

Gameological: About a year ago, I saw that you dressed up as Kitana from Mortal Kombat for a Divas Battle Royal. What was the occasion for the costume?

Lee: It was Halloween, and it was a Halloween-themed Battle Royal. It was one of those things where half the people walking around were like, “What are you? I don’t get it.” Like, “How do you not know who Kitana is!” It was a little shout out to anyone that knows this world. A very small cult following of gamers, and cosplayers in general caught that and really appreciated it, but everyone else was like, “Why are you a bio-ninja?” [Laughs.]

Gameological: You’d think there might be a bigger crossover between Mortal Kombat and wrestling fans.

Lee: I know! I think the fans got it, but the people backstage were like, “What are you doing?” The fans are on top of it.

Gameological: Do you find yourself in a minority backstage, being a gamer?

Lee: With the girls, definitely. I wanted to talk about being really excited about Resident Evil coming out, and there’s no one, people in locker room going, “Uh…” and I’m like, “Let me go find Kofi [Kingston].” [Laughs.] I think there’s a bigger amount of people now. There used to be a different generation of people that were into partying or hanging out. Now we’re getting all nerdy, and there are comic books and video games. So amongst the guys I’m not a minority, but definitely amongst the girls.

Gameological: You have not been in any previous WWE games before, but you are now going to be in WWE ’13. Have you had a chance to play as yourself yet?

Lee: Yesterday we had a THQ press event [THQ is the game’s publisher—ed.], and I had no idea that they’d be able to download me, because I’m DLC [downloadable content], and so I thought I’d have to wait a couple months. But they somehow had the technology to download me to play as myself. And I lost it. I was taking pictures of the screen, and sending it to my parents. It was unreal. It says a lot, but I’ve played all the Smackdown Vs. Raws, and the games for the past 10 years, and have always created myself in the game. I was able to do this, and I was like, “I want to see myself in the ring against everybody,” and I would always make myself much cooler than I thought I would actually be. [Laughs.] I wanted to be a ninja or something. But to actually see it, and it looks exactly like me, and she has all my moves, and my outfit. It’s so bizarre, surreal, and nice. I had such a fangirl moment. It was a big thing.

Gameological: Do you think you would have had that same response 10 years ago if you saw yourself as a blocky representation on an N64 version?

Lee: Probably still, just because I thought it was the coolest thing ever. In really old school [games], you wouldn’t even put the outfit on them, it was just kind of like, legs and here’s these pair of pants that are just a giant pair of pants on someone. It was weird, and so floppy, like the hair would stick all the way up, and women would have long hair. It was so awkward, and I loved it!

Gameological: Do any of the wrestlers ever play the WWE games on the road?

Lee: I don’t know. I think Cody Rhodes and Kofi are the ones who last year played on their own at home. They love games too, and to see themselves in a game is just as cool. I think the three of us are big kids when it comes to that. I know they were familiar with it, but I don’t think anyone else really was. We did the THQ challenge last year for the last Wrestlemania. Cody was in it, and I was in it, and he had played the game before, I kind of whupped his butt. Then I won the competition. [Laughs.] But Kofi kept saying that he was really good at it, and I only won because he wasn’t there. He gave a challenge for this upcoming Wrestlemania. [Laughs.]

Gameological: So that’s going to be another segment this year?

Lee: We do it every year. We’ve been doing it for 10 years, and I was the first Diva to win it, ever. I was proud of that. I have the trophy in my office. I think Kofi’s going to try and steal it from me this year.

Gameological: Do you have any other aspirations for competitive gaming then?

Lee: That’s the thing, I’m so not competitive, and kind of a hermit crab in so many facets of life. I’ve never been into the competitive gaming, online anything. I don’t know, something about that really freaks me out. I like the tranquility of “Oh, I can suck at this game, it’s okay.” So I was really nervous doing the THQ challenge. I thought I was going to definitely lose, and so I’m nervous to do it again. I might just have to retire as champ. [Laughs.] I definitely don’t have other aspirations though. When I was really young, I tried to do a Yu-Gi-Oh! card tournament, in high school. [Laughs.]

Gameological: Are you still playing Yu-Gi-Oh!, or is that taboo now that you’re an adult?

Lee: I was just watching an episode the other day and tweeted about it. But I lost all my cards. I had a really awesome deck, and I don’t know what I did with it, but I moved a lot. There used to be a game—I can’t remember what handheld system it was on or what it was called—there was a game on some handheld system, and I played that to death. I wish I had that right now. I’d still be playing.

Gameological: Beside video games, do you find yourself playing anything on the road, like poker? A lot of bands will play stupid games to pass the time.

Lee: When we do things like tours or really long drives, there’s always someone playing some sort of card game, and I am not into it. I’ll watch, but I never get involved in that. But there’s particular games that when you’re just driving for five hours, and you’re delirious to keep yourself awake with. [Laughs.] But nothing like an actual tradition or anything. I’m not a big card game player or anything. Except for Yu-Gi-Oh! I should probably teach Kaitlyn how to duel. [Laughs.]

Gameological: Are you planning on dressing up as another video game character for this year’s Halloween?

Lee: I would love to. I think Raw is going to be the day before Halloween, so we might have something Halloween-themed on the show. We’re not sure, but I know I probably won’t be in the Battle Royal, but who knows, anything can happen. So I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to, but I’ll have something ready, just in case.

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

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1,564 Responses to “AJ Lee, professional wrestler”

  1. Cloks says:

    I got an xbox controller for my computer and it instantly made Assassin’s Creed II incredibly playable. Are there any other pc-ports or native games that only shine with a gamepad? I already know of Demons Souls and Suuuuuper Meat Boy pretty much requiring it.

    • Merve says:

      I recently bought ACII on Steam. Are the mouse-and-keyboard controls usable at all or will I actually have to invest in a controller? (Warning: I’m awful with controllers.)

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

        Can’t vouch for ACII, but AC was completely unplayable for me on PC and I have suffered through many a bad port.

      • Cloks says:

        The problem isn’t so much that the KB+M controls are terrible (and they are) but that the prompts are for keys that don’t exist on a normal keyboard, such as the blue hand-grip button and light gray lock-floating-over-head button. I would recommend printing out a card of your key mappings for quick referral or memorizing them before committing to a play-through. On the other hand, one of my friends has played more than 100 hours in the series with a KB+M without considerable difficulty. He’s a bit obsessive when it comes to games though, so I’d say the normal person might want a controller.

        • Merve says:

          Since I’m terrible with gamepads and don’t want want to bust $30 on one anyway, I think I’ll go with writing up a quick reference guide for the keyboard-to-controller mappings. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           I’ve been playing AC:Brotherhood with a KB+M for the past week or so, when it went on sale on GamersGate for 75% (I also got Revelations for the same discount there) and I haven’t found the controls painfully difficult at all, save for the first five minutes when I accidentally killed a bunch of civilians. I can’t speak to ACII, though, as I played that on my XBox. Maybe they ironed out the flaws in the later games.

      • Colliewest says:

        got a PS2 controller lying around? These little gizmos http://tinyurl.com/8cqg429 + joy2key = awesome.

    • Mookalakai says:

       Was AC with a keyboard and mouse that unbearable? I’ve played every AC game on Xbox, but I’m getting ACIII on the PC, and I’m a little worried about controls. Is the controller worth the investment, because I seem to see people complaining about PC controls a lot, but I actually do alright on most games.

      • Merve says:

        If I recall correctly, it was at first erroneously reported that the game wouldn’t have M+KB controls at all, which caused a huge outcry. The devs later clarified that they meant that the M+KB controls would be included but that playing with a gamepad XBox 360 Controller for Windows™ was highly recommended (all while smoking the expensive Cuban cigars given to them by a certain Washington software company).

        • Mookalakai says:

          I’ll stick it out with the KB+M combination, and I’ll pony up for controller if I’m still having trouble after trying it. I’ve made it this far without a controller on a PC, I can keep on chugging along

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         It was unbearable for me, because the keybindings didn’t make sense (even after I tried rearranging them) and the basic controls, like just walking around, didn’t quiiiiiiite work the way I expected them to. I couldn’t even make it past the prologue/tutorial section, but then I’m not the most patient person. I think with enough fiddling I could have worked through it, but the game seemed to demand some fluidity and that just wasn’t happening without a controller.

    • doyourealize says:

      Arkham City is nice with the gamepad. I only tried keyboard/mouse for a minute before switching, though, so I’m not sure if it’s that much better. Was for me.

      • Cloks says:

        I’ve been thinking about replaying that, but I already logged fifty hours in it with KB+M. I’ll suffer a little if it means I get to be Batman.

      • Mookalakai says:

         I think Arkham City works fine with a keyboard, other than the occasional problem of quick-selecting gadgets.

        • Merve says:

          City worked just fine with KB+M. Asylum, on the other hand, is probably best played with a gamepad. (Really brilliant idea, putting ‘Counter’ and ‘Ready gadget’ on the same mouse button, Rocksteady. I just looooove pulling out my Batarang when some dude is about to punch me in the face.)

    • A few months ago, I bought an SNES-style USB controller to play emulated games. It didn’t last long before the rubber underneath the buttons ripped. I went back to the indie game store that sold it to me, and the manufacturers had already released an updated version. The new one’s held up pretty well so far.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I’ve been toying with the idea of buying an SNES-to-USB adapter as I still have my two SNES controllers around somewhere. I don’t think i’d do that much with it though. PRETTY COOL STORY, ME.

    • Get Need For Speed: hot pursuit. It’s $5 bucks on Amazon Download until Sunday. Great with a controller.

  2. PaganPoet says:

    I’m starting Persona 2: Innocent Sin for the first time. A lot of people here know I’m a big fan of P3 and P4 (kind of lukewarm on P1), but I hear this is a good one, so feeling excited about it.

    Other than that, not much going on here. Looking forward to Okami HD coming out next week, first day download for me. Also might fire up Costume Quest just because it’s quickly becoming a Halloween tradition for me.

    • rvb1023 says:

      A fan of 3 and 4, still looking to pick up 2, despised one. Talk about a game that hasn’t aged well. I just could not get into it after starting it at least 4 times.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I hope they eventually localize the PSP remake of P2: Eternal Punishment; I’m not sure I understand yet why the game was split into two.

        Yeah, P1 was painful to play at times. Definitely an old-school grindy kind of game.

        • duwease says:

          I guess it’s just because it’s really 2 different games with tie-in storylines.  I’ve only read the plot summary for Innocent Sin, but.. holy crap.  I won’t spoil anything, but..  well, I thought Eternal Punishment had a wild storyline, but Innocent Sin *really* takes the cake.  Maybe even moreso than Digital Devil Saga 2, which ends with..


          The two main characters fusing into a transgendered superbeing and flying into the sun to destroy God (?!)

    • NarcolepticPanda says:

      Persona 3 Portable is quite…um…well…interesting so far, so keep us posted on Persona 2. I’m interested on what you think of the PSP remake, as reception was quite mixed.

      Costume Quest: $3.75 with PS+, worth it?

      • PaganPoet says:

        Costume Quest is adorable, and that’s an amazing price. Go for it.

        Also check out Double Fine’s other PSN game Stacking which is stellar if you like puzzle games and/or adorable Russian Matryoshka dolls.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Hate both things. Seriously though, I…don’t like either of those things. Thanks for the thought though!

        • PaganPoet says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Oh boy…Babushka Luydmila is not happy about your dislike of a symbol Russian culture. No pelmeni for you tonight!!

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @PaganPoet;disqus Just in case you think I hate Russians, this is why I don’t like Russian dolls. When I was younger, I wrote a story involving babushkas and stacking dolls. Basically, the evil babushka was trapping the princess sisters as stacking dolls, so each sister was consuming their sister’s soul until only the youngest remained. Being a very easily scared child, this scared the hell out of me. True story. Don’t like babushkas either.

          Also, most puzzle games frustrate me by having (1) too easy puzzles, or (2) puzzles that are only solvable by standing in the right place. I’m looking at you, Naughty Dog!

        • Merve says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus: I got bored with Costume Quest about halfway through, but I heartily recommend Stacking. The puzzles are neither too hard nor too easy, and the solutions usually aren’t dependent on standing in the exact right location.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Who to trust? WHO TO TRUST?! @PaganPoet:disqus , @Merve:disqus , whomever is right and just and true shall convince me by…I don’t know, gladiator match?

        • Merve says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus: If you’re looking for a top-down cel-shaded RPG with quick-time-event based combat, then Costume Quest is for you. If you’re looking for Merve’s favourite game of 2012 (out for consoles in 2011, out for PC in 2012), then Stacking should be your choice.

          Honestly, if you can, just play them both. Most people have a more favourable opinion of Costume Quest than I do. Both games have their charms, and you’ll probably be able to pick up both of them on the cheap. 

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @Merve2:disqus Costume Quest is cheap right now, and I think my mom might like it. Also, babushkas.

        • Girard says:

           @NarcolepticPanda:disqus : In Stacking’s favor: None of the matryoshkas are very scary, and some of them are pretty funny. Also, some of them fart flowers.

          Also, the puzzles each have multiple solutions (and you can attempt all the different solutions on the same playthrough), meaning there are multiple “right places to stand,” and if a given solution is too simple, you can try to find the other, more obscure ones. It’s pretty well-designed.

          Also, it’s FANTASTIC that you scared the crap out of yourself with a story that you wrote.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          All right, Girard, that’s pretty cool there’s multiple solutions. I might check it out at some point. Generally, I don’t get PSN games unless they’re really cheap or free with PS+ because I can get full retail games for $20, but it sounds good, so maybe.

        • I like that Girard made a point of distinguishing between “funny” and “farting flowers”

    • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

      The general consensus on P2:IS (from the various circles of the net I hail from) seems to be that it has a great story but the gameplay has just aged poorly. Still, I played through a translated ROM back in the day and thought it was definitely worth it.

      Okami is one of those games that I absolutely adore everything about. The art, the music, the gameplay, the characters, the story, the humor. I already own the PS2 and Wii versions, but the PSN version will join my collection shortly as well.

      Otherwise this weekend I’m going to spend a lot of time on Team Fortress 2’s 4th Annual Scream Fortress update because zombies and angry magicians tell me to. But I also plan to get even further into Tales of the Abyss. The Tales of series can be hard to get into because of how the games work. When I started the game, I hated pretty much every party member. The hero was a jerk, the heroine was a jerk, the side characters were jerks. But from what I’ve played of the series and what I hear, that’s sort of the point. They start out with bland, cliche-ridden plots and characters merely so they can turn all that on its head after a while and then it really gets good.

  3. Fluka says:

    How does the Gameological Society go about picking its Friday interviewees?  Because they’re always so out of left field, but invariably end up awesome!  It’s surprising that there aren’t more elements of overlap with the geek community in wrestling, given that it’s basically theater and cosplay.  But I guess, as she implies, it’s become acceptable to admit to these kind of geekish impluses nowadays.

    Finished up the Skyrim Thieves Guild quest last night, which is enough Skyrim for me for now.  It’s definitely the most interesting of the guild quests I’ve played with various characters so far (Mages sucked, Companions was okay but very short), partially because it goes for some emotional and character-based elements rather than world-saving.  Still cringed when they offered me the Guild Master job once again, though (“Can’t that really experienced dude right here take it?” “Too busy!”  “What about you??” “CONGRATULATIONS GUILD MASTER.”).  This has been my most successful run with Skyrim so far, though I still mostly view it as being a beautiful husk of a game.  Glorious atmospheric environments to wander in for hours on end…broken only by repetitively killing things and talking to hollow-eyed NPCs.  Well, that’s not entirely true – it turns out I should have been playing a rogue from the very beginning, as I still get an immense amount of pleasure from ghosting through entire dungeons, stabbing people in the back for 15x damage or just sneaking past them, possibly while cloaked.  And then hacking, er lockpicking all the doors and chests.  While wearing some sweet modded Dwemer goggles in the dark.

    So basically being lady lizard Adam Jensen.

    So since I apparently just want to be Adam Jensen again, and 90% of my posts on this website mention Adam Jensen, I’m just gonna go play the Deus Ex HR: Missing Link DLC this weekend.  Right.

    • Enkidum says:

      Since you just mentioned Adam Jensen…

      I got Deus Ex HR last Saturday for 10 bucks (buying a gift for my son’s friend, a bunch of games were 20 bucks with buy one get one for 10, my kids couldn’t find one they wanted – I TRIED, DAMMIT!). Didn’t start playing it until three nights ago, and have since sunk way too much time into it. I like a hell of a lot about it, although there’s more than a few things that bug me. Such as (1) Adam needs a Halls, stat, (2) doesn’t anyone notice the corpses that litter the streets around me, or this weird dude in a trenchcoat who keeps opening air ducts in the police station (no, don’t mind me, I’m scrubbing allergens!), (3) I’m trying to play the non-killing game, and got the tranq rifle and it sucks ass. But the graphics are lovely, and a lot of the sneaking around is awesome. Only got through the first main mission so far and am currently doing various things around Detroit. So, yeah, that’s going to be a bunch of tonight and a bunch of this weekend.

      Also got that insane Adult Swim game that was reviewed here yesterday, Super Monsters Ate My Condo or whatever. I feel like I’m tripping balls every time I play it. It’s kind of awesome.

      • Fluka says:

        Did somebody say Adam Jensen?!  (No I do not apparently have a weird crush on him, nu uh, never.)

        I too made the mistake of getting the tranquilizer rifle for my first non-lethal weapon.  I think there’s a stun gun in one of the lockers near Adam’s apartment, as well.  It’s the nonlethal weapon for any occasion!  (Also, the usual recommendation for boss fights, even for a non-lethal play through: TYPHOON.)

        Re air vents, Adam should really just swap his trenchcoat for an HVAC Repairman suit.  

        (Stupid sexy cyborg.)

        • Enkidum says:

          SPOILERY… Just finished taking out the antenna in gang territory (I assume I’m ~5% into the game or so). Now I’m just about to fight the first augmented merc, I think, but got taken out by a guard and it feels like bedtime. Sigh, responsibilities…

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @Fluka:disqus , we all know you’re hoping that one day you’ll answer your front door to find Adam Jensen standing there in a sleeveless HVAC repairman outfit. “I have come to fix ze ducting.”

        • Fluka says:

          @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus how have you been reading my diary

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Speaking of Adam Jensen!

          I love Deus Ex: HR! I’m on story mission M7, but am finishing up my third side mission, the one given to me by the hooker cop…yes, I was in Derelict Row! Don’t judge me! I’m just looking for stun darts! Great game, only things that bother me (1) cutscenes look so beautiful, it becomes a slight letdown when they end and you’re back to regular graphics, (2) the corpses, I know right? I’ve knocked out and robbed so many cops and hidden them so poorly, you’d think people would wake them up and become suspicious, but nooe, that cops just peacefully slumbering behind a dumpster a couple days later, and (3) stun gun darts are nonexistent and there’s too many situations where you have to shoot someone.

          I got the tranquilizer rifle from the gun dealer, haven’t used it on an enemy yet, it’s really that jank? I found that locker with stun darts in it, but didn’t save, and than got mauled by a cop! Can’t find it again, which is very sad. Finally, am I the only person who carries a heavily modified pistol (laser sight, pistol power upgrade, ammo upgrade) just for security, even though I’m not killing anyone? That sounds like such a NRA argument, I feel horrid saying it. But I had to use those upgrades on something, and it wouldn’t let me use them on my stun gun!

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

           Speaking of Adam Jensen!

          I finished Dishonored last week, and while I enjoyed it, it made me wonder why the dev’s didn’t follow the Deus Ex example of both J.C. Denton and Adam Jensen. I understand silent protagonists are supposed to be “immersive,” though I don’t feel that way myself. Why not give these characters some minimal dialogue and then give players choices on how to respond? It works well in DX:HR. Adam gets to  talk some basic stuff, develop a personality, but you can still shift things via conversation options and gameplay choices.

          Just standing around being all mute still feels weird, even if it is a longstanding gaming tradition.

  4. JC says:

    Going between Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland and FTL.

    As always, loving the content on here.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Now that there’s so much W.W.E. wrestling on, I’m really pleased that A.J. will (hopefully) return to wrestling appearances.  Indie wrestling may not have the premier athletes, but even the scrawniest, spot-obsessed indie wrestler doesn’t have to worry about getting trapped in bad storylines.  She’ll hopefully be brilliant again soon.

      F.T.L. you know, but Freshly Picked is an art game in disguise, along with its graphic adventure sequel Ripening.  It’s made by the studio of my favorite designer ever, Taro Kudo, and I’m amazed at what they did with the character concepts.  It’s like the style and characterization of Mario And Luigi R.P.G. with the tone and story choices of Double Fine.  I would say, “Enjoy,” but it’s not always enjoyable.  So…savor?

      • evanwaters says:

         Yeah, the actual segment where AJ was made GM was cool, but unfortunately being GM really just means you have to try and convince the audience that booking your top champs and contenders in some kind of weird tag match for the main event is a big deal and not what happens every week. She tried her best but was misused.

        Not sure how much gaming I’ll get around to, going to a party tonight and not sure about tomorrow, but I did stay up too damn late playing old Atari games. Beamrunner is my jam.

    • WL14 says:

      FTL… I want to like this game. Someone tell me (after the hype has died down) that it’s worth the measly price. I like the idea of managing a ship through combat, but the videos I’ve seen of gameplay have made it seem… well, cheap. That seems like a bad word but again, I really want to like it!

      • GhaleonQ says:

        If by “cheap,” you mean, “low-rent,” well, I think that’s more accurate than people are saying.

        If by “cheap,” you mean, “unfair gameplay,” let me assure you that it’s among the best designed games this year.  I have no idea how it got so much attention, but it’s actually deserved!

      • SisterMaryFrancis says:

        Its well designed, and probably not a game that translates well onto a video. It might not be worth 10 bucks, but there’s a lot of replayability with all the random outcomes and events you comes across and the different ways the unlockable ships play.

  5. blue vodka lemonade says:

    This weekend it’ll be Nancy Drew #27: The Deadly Device, Hotline Miami, and Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. They’re all new this week so I’m basically drowning in fun (which is fun, but also, you know, drowning).

    It’s super-crazy to me that I’ve played through 26 Nancy Drew games (27 if you count the bad hidden-object/casual side-game) and am working on number 27. I got #5 from a software order form from school in third or fourth grade, and it (along with the other entries as I got to them) was pretty much responsible for my getting into adventure games, horror games, and pretty much all games that weren’t The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon or various Barbie games.

    This one is all about Tesla, which is pretty cool. It also has you using a rapid-prototyping machine, etching circuit boards, mixing chemicals while trying not to explode anything, and generally getting all science-y up in there. I recommend it to nerds and their children everywhere.

    • Matthew McGrath says:

      Yes!  My favorite ND is Haunted Mansion; I’m a sucker for games-in-houses.

      • blue vodka lemonade says:

         My favorites are Final Scene, Message in a Haunted Mansion, and Treasure in the Royal Tower. I like the ones where you start in a single building or house and slowly find secret spaces inside it, and the ones with compelling backstories.

        And I LOVE games-in-houses, but hardly ever actually get to play them. I would rather explore one large house in detail than pretty much any giant, empty open world.

        • Matthew McGrath says:

          It all started with Maniac Mansion and The Colonel’s Bequest for me; I was comforted by the small-yet-rich worlds — too much open space and my anxiety goes through the roof.  Oh, no pun intended.  Wokka wokka.  

          I will check out Final Scene and Treasure.  Thanks!

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

      Everyone should go buy Hotline Miami right now. Fast, crazy, amazingly addictive, LSD drenched love letter to the 80s, mondo indie gaming, and pulsing, driving synths that’ll Wang your Chung permanently.

  6. Merve says:

    This weekend, I’m playing Build a Halloween Costume Out of Whatever You Have Lying Around the Apartment Because You’re Too Lazy and Cheap to Buy a Costume: 2012 Edition. The game has had yearly releases with diminishing returns. Maybe I’ll get lucky this year and someone will gift me the Styrofoam DLC.

    In whatever spare time I have, I’ll be continuing with Jade Empire, and hopefully, I’ll finally be able to finish up fleetingly-exciting-but-mainly-disappointing Beyond Good & Evil.

    BG&E is a game that I wanted to love so badly. Colourful worlds, a cartoonish art style, a sense of humour, exploration, memorable characters, varied gameplay styles…this is the kind of stuff that usually gives me a massive gaming boner. But the entire thing never comes together, and that’s not even taking into account the awful mouse-and-keyboard controls or the laughably terrible plot. BG&E never feels like it’s more than the sum of its parts. That’s not to say that it feels like a bunch of minigames strung together. The problem is that its parts, while well-made and well-connected to each other, aren’t exciting. BG&E is a competent stealth game, but it’s rarely a fun stealth game. BG&E is a competent racing game, but it’s rarely a fun racing game. BG&E is a competent RPG, but it’s rarely a fun RPG. And so on and so forth. There are flashes of excitement here and there, like when I narrowly manage to win a hovercraft race, but for the most part, BG&E is a dull, grindy experience that gets by more on the charms of its setting than the appeal of its gameplay.

    On the other hand, Jade Empire is turning out to be a blast, which I didn’t expect. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s constantly surprising me. It’s as if the designers thought, “Who cares if this is crazy? Let’s just throw it in for shits and giggles” any time an awesome idea came up. Any game where you get to travel to heaven to meet a celestial bureaucrat and a group of anthropomorphic foxes with furry, nipple-free boobs is fine by me.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Trust me, Jade Empire gets much weirder than bipedal foxes without nipples.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

       liked for the halloween game idea.  You should Zynga about that, they could probably actually make a tedious and annoying game out of that idea.

    • Captain Internet says:

      Should we have to take historical context into account when judging games? I remember BG&E as being wonderful at the time- epic, beautiful, different- but I can understand if it now seems a bit of a mess. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of ‘groundbreaking’ games that now seem pretty rubbish, or at least not as special – Fade To Black, Alone In The Dark, Syndicate…

      …and Dragon Warrior. It was never released in Europe, and I never had a NES, so until this week when I downloaded the ROM I’d not played it. I gave it a shot, and I can safely say that it’s pretty bloody tedious. Yet after watching the video this week I can see that it’s pretty important. So how should I judge it?

      Anyway, this leads neatly into the fact I’ll be playing the new XCOM this weekend and rather missing the small business management aspect that the original had. And after seeing Dragon Warrior lionised, I also plan to revisit Albion, which is genuinely one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and one that no-one I’ve ever met has played. You can get it here: http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/428/Albion.html

      James Cameron lifted the plot for Avatar from this game. I’ve no evidence of this, but it is nonetheless true.

      • Bad Horse says:

        No, you should not have to take historical context into account when judging games. Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Asteroids, Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy VI, Doom, and a whole bunch of other games are still fun regardless of nostalgia. These are the classics.

      • Sarapen says:

        Albion was awesome back in the day. I only played the demo but I liked how goddamn massive the map felt and it was an entirely original RPG setting. Still, eventually the demo ended and at the time I was just a kid so I had no money to search for the full version, plus there were lots of other games out anyway. Then I got the full game from Home of the Underdogs but lost interest due to the old school everything. It’s probably one of the reasons I can’t get into Planescape: Torment, too.

    • Girard says:

       Yeah, I played Beyond Good & Evil when it came out, based on good reviews, and found it competent but pretty mediocre in every respect. Certainly not bad, but thoroughly unremarkable. It kind of puzzled me that it developed a status as this weird, over-hyped “forgotten classic.”

      It does have one of the the best, least-pandering, least stereotypical female protagonists in a video game, which is a big mark in its favor. It’s just a shame she’s in such a generic game.

    • I’m glad to hear other people gripe on BG&E. It was one of the first games I bought where I said to myself. “I should enjoy this game, but I just can’t get into it.” Now, I don’t bother trying to push myself through games any more. There are enough enjoyable games that pull me into them.

    • djsubversive says:

       I just got Kang the Mad, Sky the Jerk, and Wild Flower last night. Heading into the Great Southern Forest. Tried Wild Flower/demon whose name I can’t remember (something-Ka), but I can fight groups of people on my own, and regenerating Chi is way more useful than regenerating health. It’s a refreshing change from having Dawn Star commentary, at least.

      Gonna get me Bun-Man and Black Whirlwind this weekend, I think.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        I know nothing about this game, so reading this post is like trying to decipher some kind of insane moon-language. I love it.

        • Merve says:

          “Moon-language,” eh? I thought a Space Pope would have a better grasp of the various galactic tongues. :P (To be fair, I don’t think “Sky the Jerk” is his real name. I usually refer to him as “Sky the Asshole.”)

          If any of @djsubversive:disqus’s rambling looked appealing to you, I recommend that you check out Jade Empire. I’ve seen it on sale on Steam for as little as $3.74, which is an insane deal for a last-gen 30+ hour RPG.

  7. rvb1023 says:

    My friend is patching his copy of Fatal Frame IV so we can understand what is going on. Can’t wait to play it since Suda helped make it.

    Other than that finishing up the Witcher so I can start the second one while occasionally playing the Playstation All-Stars beta, but that game seriously needs improved net code.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Oooooh, I love Fatal Frame. It’s too bad Nintendo owns the franchise now, I would kill for a PS3 FF game.

      • rvb1023 says:

        The worst part of Nintendo owning it is they will never localize it.  Nintendo has a bad habit of keeping the game I actually want to play from them in Japan/Europe.

    • Matthew McGrath says:

      Can I come over?  I had one of the best gaming experiences of my life with the Japanese version of Fatal Frame III last year.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       I just started the Witcher after trying and failing to get into it about a year ago. Switching between the different fighting styles is a little irritating (when they initially teach you to do this, it says to use the strong or heavy or whatever style on “heavily armored opponents,” then proceeds to send a wave of shirtless guys at you and expects you to translate “barely clothed” to “heavily armored”) but now that I’ve gotten into it a bit, it’s a fun way to click click click.

      • rvb1023 says:

        The combat is a bit simplistic overall, most of the enemies you fight get stun locked from just basic attacks, though I am playing on normal.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Do you think Playstation All-Stars is going to be any good? When I heard the pitch I was pretty skeptical, but I’m prepared to give any game in which you can play as PaRappa a chance.

      • rvb1023 says:

        It’s pretty up in the air for the time being. I’m generally a big fan of mascot brawlers but there are a few design decisions that just seem weird.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Yeah, I’ve played the beta with PS+, and I’d definitely agree with that. For example, you don’t die when you fall of the stages like in Super Smash Brothers. The fighting is pretty interesting though, kinda based on figuring out what attacks work on what characters. Trouble is, with only 20 characters, that could get old.

        • rvb1023 says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus I imagine the decision to have only supers kill was to make some kind of separation between it and Smash. The combat system does work (at least briefly) and it is certainly focused more on combos than the huge dodge fests Smash games tend to turn into (Though less so than a normal fighting game).

          I agree its biggest weakness is the smallish roster. Not so much that 20 is unreasonable for the first in the series as it lacks any sort of “must play” characters, mostly because Sony has never had any consistent franchise that’s immediately relatable to Playstation. There are definitely characters I like in it, but Raiden over Snake? Two Coles? There isn’t even an RPG rep in there anywhere.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @rvb1023:disqus I just think having to worry about keeping your character on the stage makes the match a bit more exciting. 
          My take on the roster is that actually, Sony does have franchises that make you think PlayStation. The trouble is they haven’t been around as long as Nintendo, and don’t only make first party games as iterations in a few series. I think maybe they would have been better served taking Nintendo’s approach (again); having a few characters from their most popular games. For example, instead of just having Nathan Drake, there could be Sully, Elena, maybe a couple more as well. At least to me, games like Uncharted, God of War, and Ratchet and Clank make me think PlayStation.

        • rvb1023 says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus If this game gets sequels they’ll no doubt begin adding more from more popular series. The problem really is, as you said, while I might think of Playstation from R&C, LBP, Uncharted, GoW, etc., Playstation doesn’t have any really definable faces to attach itself to. Nintendo has Mario, DK, and Link as faces everyone (Even outside of gaming) can recognize. 
          As much as I love InFamous, even your average gamer probably doesn’t know who Cole McGrath is, much less that there are two of them for some reason.

        • caspiancomic says:

           I’ve had a glance at the roster… is that the final list? Not dreadful or anything, but there are a few really bizarre omissions. I’m assuming they chose Raiden over Snake because Snake appeared in Smash Brothers already. Maybe they could have cheated and used Big Boss? Having a Big Daddy around is pretty cool, but he doesn’t exactly scream “Playstation”, not least of all because BioShock was originally an XBox exclusive. I’d have included either Wander or Ico, or both. And no friggin’ Crash Bandicoot!? That guy shoulda been a slam dunk!

          Still, I choose to believe the inclusion of Sir Daniel Fortesque is a love letter from Sony directly to me, and I happily accept it.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @caspiancomic:disqus They couldn’t use Crash Bandicoot because Activision owns his likeness and wouldn’t let them. 1, 2, 3, FUCK YOU ACTIVISION. I have no idea why they didn’t choose either Naked Snake or Solid Snake, but the fact they didn’t honestly is a large factor in my thinking I probably won’t buy the game. (SNAAAKE) Big Daddies scream “Ayn Rand” but definitely not “Playstation, that’s a terrible choice. And I’ve never played the game Fortesque is in. So, to be honest, I think the roster is rather abysmal, and again, probably won’t get it for that reason.

        • Girard says:

           It’s weird that the only ‘mascot’ type character I associate at all with the Playstation – Crash Bandicoot – isn’t on the roster. I know he stopped being a PS exclusive at some point, but a number of other characters on the roster have also shown up on multi-platform games.

          Not that I think his inclusion would make me excited about the game  – I care about Crash Bandicoot about as much as I do the characters who are on the roster, which is to say, not at all – but his absence is puzzling.

        • rvb1023 says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus As @NarcolepticPanda:disqus said, Crash is owned by Acitivision (So is Spyro, the other Playstation mascot absent from the roster, though he would be far harder to get) who would essentially charge out the ass for the rights to appear in the game.

          Most of the 3rd party decisions were done for marketing reasons: Excluding Heihachi, all the third party characters have new entries to their particular franchises coming out within the first 3 months of 2013. That’s why the Dante that’s in the game is the reboot Dante. 

          I almost feel bad for the development team, they probably wanted a lot of these characters but I imagine they were limited to what the other companies were willing to give away, like Raiden over Snake. Let’s face it, Snake makes more sense in this game than in Brawl.

          The biggest oversight for me is no Final Fantasy character. Really? Square Enix is usually all over that type of easy promotion and pandering.

  8. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I’m hoping my copy of Space Alert gets in tomorrow (friday), I have group of people ready to go, just need the game itself. I’m really looking forward to it.

    I’ll also be scrambling to get together a halloween costume. I always seem to end up scraping it together at the last minute, even though I’ll have it planned out in advance. Smleh.

    • boardgameguy says:

      space alert is to table top games what goldeneye was to the n64.  you are going to love it if you have a fun group to play it with.  like robo rally but twice the fun.

      i’m hoping to play glory to rome, castles of burgundy and mage knight this weekend.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        It’ll be my first game that i’m getting like that. I have Catan and some other stuff, but i’m really excited about Space Alert. 

        I’m looking to get Mage Knight, Battlestar Galactica, Descent 2nd edition and some other stuff soonish. I’m trying to start with games where playtimes run shorter though, hence Space Alert. I’ll probably pick up Carcassonne and Dominion before I get a heavier game I think.

        • boardgameguy says:

          i’ve had mage knight for about three weeks now and what has me excited is that it’s a great solo game too.  so if you want to play a game and no one can be found, it fits the bill perfectly.

          space alert plays so quick that you’ll immediately want to play another round.  also, enjoy the game walkthrough and rules book.  vlaada chvatil is a funny, funny man.

  9. Anyone catching to the Geoff Keighley/Lauren Wainwright controversy?

    Seriously, why is Gaming Journalism so filled with PR cocksucking?

    • Fluka says:

      *Googles.*  Well, that’s rather messed up. Though even more so than the incestuous relationship between gaming journalism and PR, the whole affair is yet another testament to the chilling effect of UK libel law. 

      • Enkidum says:

        Thanks for the link. Comments are unusually good too – I didn’t see the word “fag” once, which is impressive for a gaming site.

        • Merve says:

          Gamasutra is specifically about the business side of video games, and it forces you to sign up with your real name and the company for which you work. That gets rid of most of the trolls.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       No, but if you tweet using #slander in the next 48 hours, you’re entered to win a lifetime supply of Doritos!

    • caspiancomic says:


      Sometimes it’s soothing and encouraging to think that the guttersnipes on Xbox Live are the most juvenile facet of this medium, and represent a tiny fraction of the overall spectrum of gamers receiving a disproportionately large amount of attention. But then professional games journalists have to bark like trained seals at the whim of some PR department and you see the childishness goes all the way to the top. I suppose some immaturity is to be expected in a medium that can only be said to be, even by the most generous estimates, 30-some years old, but Jesus Almighty!

    • Girard says:

      Of note is the fact that the writer who accused Florence of libel, who cost Florence his job, and who was subsequently scrubbed from the story, does in fact receive money from Square-Enix while concurrently publishing very favorable reviews of their games, which is a tremendous conflict of interest.

      I suppose when Florence wrote “I am asking myself whether she’s in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I’m sure she isn’t, but the doubt is there,” he should have left out “I’m sure she isn’t,” as apparently that was the untrue, libelous part of the statement…

      • Merve says:

        Thank the gaming Gods for Ben Kuchera. I don’t always agree with him, but I respect him greatly.

      • Enkidum says:

        Hmmm… gone through a bunch of comments on a few sites about this, and I think the sanest interpretation is: (a) she did a stupid thing entering into that competition, (b) she should be told this, in no uncertain terms, (c) but if she should, everyone else who entered should have as well (there’s 66 of them), (d) her Square-Enix connections are some freelance work she did over a year ago, and yes she should probably declare this when reviewing their games, but…, (e) she’s being berated for having shut down comments and making her Twitter private, but she’s said, almost certainly correctly, that this is because after this broke she got a shitstorm of misogynistic assholes jumping on – we’ve all seen this happen before.

        Oh, and (f) yeah, her personal page being plastered with Tomb Raider pics is a little crazy, but again, there is a difference between being naive and being corrupt. Many people are accusing her of being the latter, and that’s way too easy to do.So… I think Florence was right to write the article, was right to name her, was wrong not to at least include a link to every other writer who did the same thing, and Eurogamer was wrong to edit the article (although you can understand why they did, given UK libel laws). It’s good that the conversation got started, at least, but the tone it’s taken got unnecessarily ugly, very quickly.

        • Girard says:

           As far as I know, she didn’t enter the competition, she just dismissed criticism of the competition. The only writer Florence called out for participating in the contest was Dave Cook, who he mainly called out for his disingenuous allegation that “It was a hashtag, not an advert.”

          Wainwright wasn’t a participant in the competition, as far as I know, and consequently isn’t a singled-out participant out of the pool of 66 or whatever. Her comments were mentioned in the article as an illustration of the laissez-faire attitude games journalists have toward this kind of collusion, and the type of healthy skepticism a reader should have toward that attitude.

          When ruminating on that skepticism, he idly hypothesized that “I am asking myself whether she’s in the pocket of the Tomb Raider PR team. I’m sure she isn’t, but the doubt is there.” But, as it turns out, his speculation hit a little close to home as Wainwright had done paid work for the makers of that game prior to giving it positive reviews in major publications.

          Conflict of interest is certainly still a cause for concern, whether it comes from naiveté or deliberate corruption – perhaps even moreso in the former case, as it’s less likely to be recognized without being called out. (Similar to the discussion in the Pandaren story the other day – racist tropes are still racist whether the person employing them simply does so out of ignorance/laziness or genuine malice. Hanlon’s razor holds, but even when evil is simply banality, it’s still evil).

          I certainly don’t fault her for shoring up digital defenses against the attacks of bro-gamers, which is sadly something any woman in the field who arouses any controversy is obliged to do. But while I obviously don’t want her subjected to the type of bullying, say, Anita Sarkesian had to deal with, that doesn’t mean I feel she has no culpability in this situation.

      • Enkidum says:

        @paraclete_pizza:disqus Agreed with your reply to me. I think my mess of points was a lot harder to understand than it should have been. No, she’s not deliberately corrupt. Yes, she is willfully naive. And yes, the fact that she is not only naive, but defending her naivete as perfectly ethical, is a HUGE problem that needs addressing. So yeah, she’s got plenty of culpability. (And I clearly misunderstood her role (or lack thereof) in the contest.)

        The only real problem I have with how this is currently going down, aside from the misogyny and general misanthropy of the gaming community, is that when one person like her gets singled out, they become the targets for everything, and it can actually obscure the similar situations that half the frigging gaming journalists are in. That’s probably inevitable, and I don’t think it’s worthwhile purging every single journalist who’s ever had a free dinner at a convention. But it’s a shame it has to happen to someone who’s probably far less guilty than many (albeit still guilty).

        John, or any other Gameological staff, I’d love to see an article on the general topic of the ethics of gaming journalism, specifically addressing cronyism and quasi-bribes. I’d probably like it more a few weeks or months from now, as I’m far less interested in the specifics of this situation than I am in the general problem. But either way, it would be cool to know the site’s take, and if you were willing I’d like to know whatever policies, formal or informal, a site like this has concerning conflicts of interest. I can’t see how one could avoid getting into grey areas, but it would be very informative to see specifics of how one tries to avoid it. Of course you may have better things to do with your time, which is also cool.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Throwing a big “second” onto everything here. I’d love to see Gameological’s take on the unusually symbiotic relationship games publishers have with their press, and the typically sycophantic attitude of games journalists.

      • Colliewest says:

        Anybody that works for The Sun gave up any pretense of journalistic integrity a long time ago.

    • stakkalee says:

      And now Lauren Wainwright and Intent Media get to learn about the Streisand Effect first-hand.  Good.

    • Ugh. That whole mess is disgusting. If you want to keep following the fall out. John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun has been updating pretty regularly on how fucked-up it is that Robert Florence essentially lost his job for calling out corruption.


      • Fluka says:

        Well, if one good thing has come out of this, it’s that I’ve discovered that John Walker has a blog!  That first article is a pretty good summation of how no one is coming out of this whole affair looking good, between the journalism folks reflexively circling their wagons, and the angry internet masses immediately falling back on shitty misogyny as their attack tactic.  Like in Leigh Alexander’s Gamasutra article above, I think this will be a year which will have prompted a lot of soul-searching in gaming culture.

    • Like all journalistic entities (and entities with journalistic pretensions), the video game media is dependant on advertising revenue. The proper way to handle this is to have a clear distinction between promotional content and editorial content (and news content, where applicable). 

      The problem isn’t just that games journalists are sucking up to PR departments in order to get exclusive articles, advance review copies, etc. The problem comes when games journalists are sucking up to the industry in order to get jobs in the industry.

  10. Effigy_Power says:

    I can’t seem to stop playing Civilization 5 with the religion addon.
    I am currently playing a massive modded Earth-map so big, I didn’t get out of my North American starting position until well into the Renaissance. Then however it took off and my Egyptian Forces have conquered all of North and South America from their humble beginnings in the Prairies of Alberta, then taken all of Africa from Persia, Germany and Russia and are now pushing into Europe, to get rid of the pesky English and the Songhai.
    The scenarios added by the DLC are also quite fun, especially the Steam Punk one with airships and massive tanks.
    Seriously, I can’t really play anything else right now. Crazy.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I’ve seen a few of your God-Queen-Of-All-Creation screencaps on Steam, and it actually made me a little nostalgic. Civ 2 was my jam back in the day, and I played a bit of 3 as well, but I haven’t really buried myself in the series for a long time now. I tried Civ 4 for a few hours, but it was way too complex for my simpleton’s brain. I was longing for a time when you could have made a beeline straight for the invention of gunpowder and then rolled through the uncivilized world shooting stupid javelin users with your musketeers. Aaah… memories…

      • Effigy_Power says:

        After playing this much, I can only recommend Civ 5 as superior to at least 3 and 4. The game is fluent, just automated enough to not be tedious and generally pretty fun.
        Now if they could use this engine and make a new version of Alpha Centauri, I’d be happy.

    • duwease says:

      Man, I need to get back into Civ V, but I’m afraid.  It is a soul-sucking monster, but then again, there’s *so many* unlocked achievements just sitting there..

      • Effigy_Power says:

         With the DLC there are well over 300 achievements. I decided very early on that I won’t hunt those.
        Because that would be nuts.
        I would argue that anyone who has 100% achievements in this game has to seriously re-evaluate their life.

  11. PugsMalone says:

    I’m surprised that this interview didn’t contain half a dozen references to social media.

  12. Citric says:

    I’m speeding through Rudra so probably just that. Finished Sion’s scenario, which was pretty good. Almost done Surlent’s scenario, and he’s impressively stupid – I think he stumbles into every trap possible, I’m not sure if it’s hilarious or deeply sad – and then I’ve got to do Riza’s, which I’m looking forward to, and the end game. I’m willing to declare it a pretty neat game. There are some odd balance issues – mostly in the enemies can range from wildly easy to rather difficult within steps – and it’s easy to get caught off guard and forget to input a spell you need before a boss, but overall I’ve been really enjoying it. Apart from Surlent’s constant stupidity.

  13. EmperorNortonI says:

    XCOM. This week was midterms, and so I’ve had lots of work to do, but most of my free time has been sucked up by XCOM. Its absolutely wonderful. I’ve given up on Iron Man, though, and my third game (following two Normal Ironman Fails) is going well. I still feel fairly virtuous, as I have only done a reload once, to avoid a full squad kill on a downed Abductor.

    Oh, and whole salmon are delicious. Eat as much as you can before they are extinct.

    • Kahoutek says:

      The original X-Com was my second favorite game of all time (just a smudge below Civilization in my book).  But damn if the new one doesn’t require Vista or Windows 7.  I’m still on XP. Saving and reformatting everything just to play a game seems like too much of an investment.

      • EmperorNortonI says:

        Yeah, as good as XCOM is, I don’t think it warrants a re-format.

        I was only a very moderate fan of the original.  It kicked my ass too hard.  Sure, XCOM was cool and all, but it was never my game.  Civ and MOO were more my style.  These days, though, I find myself rather tired of the grand strategy games.  Sure, I’ve played through Civ5 a few times, but I never really got obsessed with it – or Civ4 for that matter, which I still think is the better game.  As for space 4x, I can barely even bring myself to play them anymore – I quickly start to wonder why I’m bothering.

        But for whatever reason, XCOM has really hooked me, in a way that I haven’t been hooked for quite a while.  Even Dark Souls, much as I love it, didn’t get me like this.  Dark Souls pulled me in with its brutal challenge and fascinating gameplay, but at the same time it pushed away with its unrelenting difficulty.  I suppose if I could ONLY play XCOM on Ironman mode, it might be much the same, but since I gave up on my futile pursuit of bragging rights, I’ve been absolutely loving it.

  14. goawayinternet says:

    Well I may have beaten it, but I think I will continue to play more Hotline Miami.  I wish I could play more Dishonored but I’ve beaten it twice and I really don’t want to play the same levels again at all.  

    I think I’ll check out Of Orcs and Men as well as XCOM, finally.

  15. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    Another long week down, but less than two months left until the apocalypse!

    *holds hand up for high five but left hanging*

    Anyway, I purged my PS3 collection during the week, and weeded out all the undesirables and dissidents. Starhawk in particular got a lengthy show trial where it admitted to crimes against entertainment (We have always been at war with crap PS3 games). So they’ve all been sent off to the Ministry of Love, leaving me with only a meagre selection of old favourites to choose from this weekend. One of which is Mass Effect 2.

    The dominant self-hating part of my brain decided “yeah, let’s play ME2 on Insanity again” during the week and so I continued the adventures of the angry Infiltrator Bruce Shepard. Though I forgot that importing a levelled up character into Insanity makes it fucking hard in the early portions of the game, and have kept dying early on the Mordin recruitment mission. 

    I’ve played through ME2 5 times maybe, and only just noticed that one aspect of the post credits tutorial bit at the start is really weird. Cerberus have spent billions of credits rebuilding ol Shep and left the guy with awful facial scarring, but still someone has found the time to cut and bleach his hair, and maintain that rakish pencil thin moustache he so elegantly sports. Why? Do Cerberus have their own space hairdresser on the space station who has too much time on their hands? There are only something like 5 hairstyles in the entire galaxy. I still haven’t worked out what the hell was going on with Jack’s hair ME3 so this is more unwelcome confusion. If anything ruins the immersion in futuristic space RPGs, it’s plot holes regarding hair. And don’t get me started on that alien symbiote sitting on the head of Kelly Chambers.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       I’m still surprised that no game has ever put out a truly free-form hair customization feature.  I mean, you define 4 or 5 “pull points”, and allow the player to drag the hair to wherever they want, and that’s that.  Throw in a couple of twirly style tools, along the lines of paintbrushes in an art suite, and you’re good to go.

      Off topic, I still feel bad about that exchange we had a month or two ago.  I tried to respond with an apology at the time, but I don’t know if you ever saw it, as the reply restrictions had prevented me from hanging it on your posting.  In any case, the snark fail was entirely my fault, not yours, and I’ve felt bad ever since that I didn’t get that cleared up.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Apologising to someone on the internet? You crazy kid.

        *ruffles @EmperorNortonI:disqus ‘s hair*

        Seriously though, I don’t remember any exchange so it’s all good.

      • NarcolepticPanda says:

        I’ve always really wanted that hair customization feature. MUCH more then most normal people probably do. I play the career modes in sports games extensively, so I like to make characters that are EXACTLY what I see in my head. For example, MLB The Show has definitely the best career mode, in terms of fun, so I play it the most. When creating your character, you can make your facial structure and facial hair exactly like yourself or a character in your head. But than for actual hair on your head, they throw in a few short hair options, most of which look unnatural. I have longish, mussy hair. I want my duplicate to have longish, mussy hair. And god forbid, you’re black! You can give your guy some HORRIFIC cornrows, or a fade that looks straight out of 1994. Anyway, MLB The Show is an incredible game, and that’s actually my only career mode complaint, but it really is frustrating sometimes.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          The MLB 2K series, now thankfully defunct and hopefully picked up by someone who can do something with the license, is very similar.
          Why some games can’t get facial construction right when there are so many that do is beyond me.
          In any case, the faces and hairstyles in MLB2K12 are vastly worse than those in THE SHOW… it’s very hard to make a player that doesn’t look like the missing link.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus NBA 2k is great, but MLB 2k, HAH, terrible. I pity baseball fans without a PS3 now about the same I did when that series was still around.

        • Enkidum says:

          I have never really wanted a hair customization feature beyond one which makes hair that does not look like a wig made out of molded polysterene.

    • Raging Bear says:

      Left hanging, nothing!

      *high fives for the apocalypse*

    • Fluka says:

      I always find it upsetting that Female Shepard can have that symbiote haircut herself in ME3.  “Watch out everyone!  Shepard’s got that parasite that makes you bi-curiously sexually harass people!”  (So…like normal?)

      I need to get back to pushing my renegade Priya Shepard through ME2.  I’m resolved that this character is going to kill everyone from the ME1 and ME2 crew she possibly can by the end of the third game.  (With as little leaning on the Suicide Mission as possible – it doesn’t count if she doesn’t pull the trigger herself in cold blood!)  Except Garrus.  Because COME ON.  I was already off to a flying start a few weeks back when I managed to backstab Samara to get Morinth.  My Shepard likes the cut of her jib.  (Dominate is a power of beauty.)  Murrderrrr.

    • NarcolepticPanda says:

      You didn’t like Starhawk? I got the single player campaign with PS+, but haven’t had the chance to check it out yet. I heard it was actually good, and almost bought the online pass with some spare wallet money. Why didn’t you like it?

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Oh where to start with the abomination that is Starhawk. Well, before I even get into the gameplay, it wouldn’t be Gameological if I didn’t point out the ridiculous pro-Union subtext in the single player story. You’re a contractor brought in to defend work sites from invading enemies known as ‘scabs’. I mean come the fuck on, at least be a little bit subtle. Not that I’m anti-Union or anything (definitely not), but it’s a game that should be about running around in space shooting aliens, not about pushing a heavy handed trade union agenda.

        The single player is horrible. Horrible. The checkpoints are woeful particularly in the hawk sections where the enemies are insanely cheap. Trying to change weapons with the D-Pad is impossible, especially infuriating if you are under heavy fire and have just ran out of ammo in the gun you have equipped. The scabs with rocket launchers are like ME3 MP Geth Rocket Troopers on crack. It’s a pity because the feel of the gunplay is actually quite satisfying and the game world looks great. It should tick all the boxes. But all the other bullshit drags it down to mediocrity.

        It shouldn’t matter though, because the single player is meant to be an extended tutorial for the multiplayer. But the problem with that is, the multiplayer sucks balls. I don’t expect to pick up a new game and start dominating, but at least give me a foothold. You’re basically entering a small community filled entirely with veterans. No matter what you do there’s already a countermeasure set up that will fuck you up. I played a handful of games and hardly ever saw an enemy because I was too busy getting killed. Tried using a hawk, kept getting shot down by air defences. Tried a vehicle, again kept getting rocketed. Tried approaching on foot, sniped before I even got close. Fuck that noise. The co-operative is dead, so I was left with a multiplayer I hate and a single player that is unplayable. Trading it in was the easiest decision I ever made.

        I wasn’t going to add this bit, but fuck it, I’m on the internet and I’m anonymous. Starhawk is the only disc I’ve actually ejected from the Playstation and then hurled across the room in utter frustration like a petulant child. I’ve joked about it on here before with other games but never actually done it. Starhawk produced in me a raw and primal anger that I didn’t know I had, and I don’t ever want to feel that way again, especially when I’m playing a game for recreation. Since you’ve downloaded it, you won’t have that opportunity for catharsis because merely hitting the Delete button doesn’t have the same effect.

        But still, give it a go, you might like it. Obviously due to the hardened pros I encountered online, some people love it for some reason. But I was disappointed and frustrated. Now that I think about it, Starhawk is a good analogy for life in general: disappointing, frustrating, and ultimately ruined by other arseholes.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Well, that’s too bad. I heard minor complaints about the checkpoints, but similar minor complaints were brought up about Just Cause 2 checkpoints, which ended up being kind of a big deal. I’d assume you’re decent at Uncharted 3 multiplayer? I am not. So if you were that bad at Starhawk, I’ll probably be the same. I’ll still give it a go on my second account, so I’ll see. Apparently, online pass is $20 rather then $10, and I’m don’t think I’m confident enough to spend that much.

          I like unions, and propaganda is always entertaining, but I figured the story wouldn’t be too good. Speaking of chucking video game related materials with cathartic effects, the only time I’ve done that was when in January I full out threw my controller as hard as I could as a wall while playing Fifa 12. Don’t play Fifa anymore.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Despite the avatar, I am actually crap at Uncharted 3 multiplayer and only play it on rare occasions, mostly just to catch up with friends. Uncharted 2 MP however….man I loved that game. Then U3 came out and what a disappointment that was.
          Anyway, Starhawk is very different from Uncharted, the multiplayer even more so. Since you have it already, definitely give it a try. Just as the Sony rep said this week about that horrible horrible SingStar app that was patched into my PS3 Home screen and can’t be removed: “TRY IT YOU MIGHT LIKE IT”. Ah no, Sony, I won’t and please remove this spam pronto.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus Hey, good timing! Just played it for the last 45 minutes. Well…NO. Pretty bad.

          + Soundtrack was cool (free with PS+!)
          + Graphics were pretty good
          + Cool comic book cutscenes
          + Knifing scabs was fun
          +3 trophies for my “lets try this game and see if it’s not shit” account, created when I tried a couple games, saw they were shit, and couldn’t removed them from my trophy collection

          – Shooting
          – Flying
          – Driving
          – Walking
          – Running
          – Some redneck was voiced by Sarif from Deus Ex: HR, which was disorienting
          – Comic book cutscenes totally stolen from inFamous
          – I got bored

          Why didn’t you like Uncharted 3? I’ve played through all of them. HAH PlayStation Home, you go on that?

  16. caspiancomic says:

    Oh man, is it Friday already? Ordinarily I’d be thrilled, but this week it means Intercession is coming to an end… oh God, I haven’t even started my projects… *DESPAIR*

    Anyway, all last week and continuing through this weekend I have been/will be playing Persona 3:FES and Tokyo Jungle.

    P3F is basically extremely rad. It’s been a long time since I played a good ol’ JRPG, and it feels really nice to get back into it, even if this game plays less like a Final Fantasy and more like a dating sim crossed with a dungeon crawler. I can tell already that I’m going to be New Game Plussing the life out of this game, as even in my meagre 12 hour investment so far I’ve had to make a ton of choices, and in so doing cut myself off from lots of potentially interesting avenues of exploration. I’m only now really getting into the game’s intended rhythm, I think, of deftly managing the combat and socializing more or less equally. I just an hour or so ago performed my first Persona Fusion, so now a lot of the structure of the Social Link system is starting to reveal itself to me. All told, I’m having a lot of fun.

    Tokyo Jungle is basically exactly what I wanted it to be. It plays (and indeed, looks) like something that ought to have come out on the PS1 but got lost behind a piece of furniture or something. Every game of Survival plays more or less the same regardless of which animal you’re playing as (my last round was as a chimpanzee!), but the experience is just different enough to be noticeable between beasties. In spite of what the various reviews have almost unanimously declared, I actually prefer playing a grazer. They can double jump! They also tend to be more successful breeders, meaning if you bag a “prime” mate you can end up in control of half a dozen or more animals. A minor gripe is that there are a lot of “samey” animal choices. There are several breed of dog that play almost identically, and a lot of variations on deer/gazelle/elk/ibex etc. So far I haven’t unlocked anything truly nutty, but eventually you unlock tigers, elephants, giraffes, and indeed, dinosaurs. Fingers crossed.

    • doyourealize says:

      For a couple weeks after release, Tokyo Jungle was all I played. I got pretty far, but got frustrated at the lion storyline and haven’t played since. It was stupid fun, though, and I need to pick it up again.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Wait til you get further into P3FES, obsessing over trying to progress as many social links as possible before time runs out, obsessing over completing every one of Elizabeth’s quests, obsessing over completing your Persona compendium, etc.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Oh God I’m already obsessing so hard. Like, I should hang with Kenji, because his Magician S-Link gave me the leg up I needed to fuse this killer Jack Frost (and the Pyro Jack I’ve got my eye on is a Magician Arcana as well), but I’ve been neglecting Kendo practice and the Student Council meetings pretty hard, and the bookshop owners and the little girl at the shrine are both only S-Link level 1…

        And ARGH, Elizabeth’s requests! Before I fully understood how they worked I locked myself into a few stupid choices and let a few easy wins slip through my fingers. I did, at least, get the Toy Bow for Yukari, which means somehow she’s actually my hardest hitting party member right now.

        I’m also pretty concerned about my social parameters. It’s only the first week of June (in game I mean, I haven’t totally lost my grip on reality) but my dood is still a stupid spineless dullard. I’ve been studying pretty regularly (funnily enough, since I’ve been neglecting my real life studies to play the game until damn near sunrise every night), but I’m still only at “Average”, and my charm and courage are both in the toilet. It’s a wonder I have any Social Links at all!

        Yeah, the more I understand and survey the various interlocking mechanics of this game, the more I know I’m going to be playing this one again. What carries over for New Game Plus?

        • PaganPoet says:

          What carries over:

          1) Your main character’s level, as well as his Academics/Charm/Courage stats (no more worrying about studying or singing karaoke)
          2) Your Persona Compendium, meaning you can buy ridiculously overleveled Personas once it’s available; Tartarus will be a breeze this time around, at least until the last block or so, and the special New Game+ only part of the tower
          3) The yen and equipable items you had when you finished the last game
          4) Any special fusion items you received from completing a social link; if you’re like me, though, this won’t be enough…you’ll want to complete EVERY social link in a single playthrough, which is POSSIBLE, but very difficult without a guide

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          I KNOW! I think I’m actually in the first week of June as well! I have level 7 with Kenji and Kendo, level 3 with the MMORPG chick and the student council guy (he’s a jerk though, I don’t want to hang out with him), and level 2 with Yuko (she’s nice, wish you could hang out with her more) and the bookstore couple. I met Maiko, and I’m assuming I’d have to buy her some food to start the social link, but I don’t feel like it.

          My Academics is above average (I crammed during all my free time during midterms, unlike real life), my Charm is unpolished (work at the coffee place a lot), and my Courage is the first level.

          I haven’t done any of the Elizabeth requests yet, but I will check them out tonight probably.

          Jack Frost was my main man for a while, until I got some level 17 Chariot from a triangle fuse. How do you get the Pyro Jack?

          The main thing I’m worried about is completing Tartarus. It’s 250 floors, right? I’m again in the first week of June, and I think I’m only up to floor 30. I only just figured out how to use Tactics in the battles, so that’s a big help, but they’re still a struggle. I’m such a slacker, I’ll never meet my world saving responsibilities.

          A really silly thing that happened to me: I named my character my real name “Jack” and now everyone calls me “Jack-san” which sounds like “Jackson” and people always think my full name is “Jackson” and call me that, even though it isn’t, it’s just “Jack”! At least they don’t all call me “Jake”…

        • caspiancomic says:

           Oh man, I’m glad my stats carry over, I’ve been driving my little dood into the ground trying to get my charm stat up. How many French arthouse double features do I have to watch before I graduate from “plain”!? I also look forward to the fact that one New Game Plus in the future my dood is going to roll onto campus and be Captain Sex on day one.

        • caspiancomic says:

           @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Dood! We are like in sync on this P3 thing! I don’t know who this MMO girl is (??) but I have been hanging out with Yuko plenty (up to level 4, I think?) and she totally wants to do kissing stuff with me.

          I don’t know how you’ve gotten your stats to budge at all, nevermind rocket to above average. I spend most of my free time working on social links rather than working at a coffee shop (also: you can do that?), so I’ve got a few respectable S-Links at the expense of being a dumb boring twerp.

          I have access to Pyro Jack through a Triangle Fusion of… I believe Apsaras, Alp, and… somebody… else. Pixie, maybe? I’m pretty tempted to fire him up, because I accidentally locked myself into the “Perform a Jack Brothers” request, but I don’t want to fuse away Apsaras, because his Combine Skill with Orpheus is the tits.

          Also, you’re up to floor 30!? Man, I hit my ceiling at around 23/24.

          Have you met Death yet? I was creeping around Thebel trying to collect some loot for Elizabeth when he rolled up. Mitsuru warned me to run away, but I was like, “Nah, I got this.” I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you haven’t met him yet, but I assure you, I pointedly hadn’t “got that.”

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @caspiancomic:disqus :  I met the MMORPG girl by talking to Junpei one evening. He asked if I played video games, and I was like “meta!” and said yes, and he asked if I wanted some game and I said yes, so he gave it to me. Whenever you play you boost your social link with…Maya I think the girl’s (or at least her character’s) name is? It kinda stinks though, because Maya uses annoying internet speak, and you can only play on Sundays, and it takes all day. I only did it with the hope of being able to play the actual MMO.
          Kissing stuff?! I’ve awkwardly flirted with her a bit, and she’s given me patronizing looks. I’m at level 2 already though. DOES THAT MEAN I’M IN THE FRIEND ZONE? How do you hang out with her, I never see her in my classroom.

          You can work at the coffee shop in the non-strip mall, it’s next to the club. However, you can only work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Working there pretty useful, you get money and boosts to Charm and Courage. For boosting Academics, like I said I really crammed during midterms, and I study about every other Sunday, as well as scattered evenings.

          I’m not sure if I’m exactly at floor 30, maybe 28? I kinda got lucky at 25 and got up a couple and found a save point.Oh yeah, I totally met death. Mitsura was all like “look out” and I was all like “OHHH shit”, and started shooting at Death with my fingers. Proving Death is a man, he did the same. So I pretend killed him with a pretend grenade and ran away. Just kidding, I ran away immediately.

        • PaganPoet says:

          In general, this is how a school day should look for you during the main part of the game

          1) Morning/Afternoon: School…fall asleep in class if your character is tired or sick
          2) After School: Hang out with a SCHOOLMATE after school…you’ll have plenty of time for non-school social links during the weekends/vacation times
          3) Evening: Go to Tartarus OR do something at the mall (Working at the coffee shop raises charm, karaoke raises courage, and the arcade games raise various other things)
          4) Late Night: If you didn’t go to Tartarus, study UNLESS you are tired or sick

        • caspiancomic says:

           @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Ahhh, okay, that MMO thing rings a bell. Junpei hooked me up with the game, but I never played it. I didn’t know I was missing out on a Social Link! Arrgh! I have to meet everybody!

          I think I managed to sidle up next to Yuko because I joined the Kendo club. She’s the team manager, so in addition to befriending Kazushi, I befriended Yuko. Attending practice (every weekday except Wednesday) will increase your S-Link with Kazushi, but to work it with Yuko you’ve got to meet her after class. Once you’ve established the link, you’ll find her chilling in the hallway outside class after school. I think you can only hang with her if there’s no practice, though.

          Also, boosting charm, courage, and money simultaneously sounds like exactly what I need. My charm and courage are still rock-bottom, and I can barely afford to keep my team in shoe leather. I’ve got my main dood (named for myself, natch) and Yukari dressed in some kind of specialized duds I found lying around (traditional Japanese stuff for me, freaky-deak stupid looking bikini armour for her), but everyone else is just wearing a bunch of garbage. 10 000 yen for a piece of armour that’ll give me a +2 boost to endurance!? Get bent, officer!

        • caspiancomic says:

           @PaganPoet:disqus Yeah, my little digital life has looked approximately like that so far, except that I always stay awake in class, since I’m hellbent on raising my stats. (already that stupid gourmet has turned me down for not being charming enough. I’ll show him!) The biggest thing I seem to be doing wrong by your estimate is that in the evenings, if I don’t go to Tartarus, I’ve been retiring early. It’s been keeping my dood in pretty good nick, but I see now that I’m missing a lot of opportunities to increase my stats by working/playing/living out dreams of J-Pop superstardom. I’ll start hitting the mall in the evenings if there’s nothing else to do. That is, once we’ve gotten to the bottom of this ghost story… and of course, the full moon approaches…

          MAN it feels good to talk JRPGs again.

          >PaganPoet gave you some advice on playing the game.

          >Your relationship is stronger now!


          >A mysterious voice rings in your head!

        • PaganPoet says:

          According to the quiz I took on facebook, I’m of the Emperor Arcana. Max out your social link, and you’ll be able to fuse Odin!

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @caspiancomic:disqus I’m in the Kendo club too, although you probably meet Yuko and Kazushi no matter what club you join. Ahhh, she’s out in the hallway. All right, thanks. I’ve hung out with her a few times, but only when she’s asked.

          Yeah, the coffee shop is great. When I first went there, it asked if I wanted to work part time, and I assumed it meant every day. But I tried it anyway later and it doesn’t.

          Hey, I have that weird bikini armor for Yukari too! I don’t really have anything special except for a bulletproof vest for the main character. I’ve found some weapons and shoes a bit better then the starting ones, but that’s it. I actually found this AWESOME sword one time, but then I died. I really need some good loot!

          @PaganPoet:disqus That’s pretty much what I do. It took me a while to figure out my character was sleepwalking and that’s why I had the option to nap, but now that I know, I do that or go to bed early whenever my status says to. How do you study during late night? Whenever I go back to the dorm after the mall, I fall asleep immediately.

        • PaganPoet says:

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus  You’re playing P3 Portable, right? It might be different in that version…In P3 FES, whenever you return to your room at night, it asks if you want to go to bed early or to study.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus Yeah, P3P for me. Don’t get that option.

          @caspiancomic:disqus I see you didn’t get my Spaced reference…I feel sad.

        • caspiancomic says:

           @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Don’t worry man, I got ya.

    • Citric says:

      I prefer the grazers too, so long as you pay attention to the map of where the food is it’s often easy to find it, plus apples make it easy to rank up.

      On the other hand, I had a predator when there was a chicken party, and my god that chicken party became a chicken massacre.

    • Enkidum says:

      Did you finish Half-Life II? Guess you must have by now.

      • caspiancomic says:

         I did! And WHAT a finale! I already geeked out to Eff a little bit about the super Gravity Gun thing. I’m going to pick up Episodes I and II eventually, but for now my heart belongs to suicidal supernaturally powered teenagers and the wildlife of urban Japan.

        • Enkidum says:

          Yeah, the super-powered Gravity Gun is a thing of beauty. It makes almost the entire last act incredibly easy by comparison to what came before, but it’s so pleasing to be able to just suddenly cut loose and wreck shit, after so long worrying about every bullet and what’s around every corner.

  17. EmperorNortonI says:

    I’d never heard of AJ Lee before, but I may be in love.  Sure, she could kick my ass, but I put all my character points into “read fast” and “remember everything” and “improvisational speaking” and “read tarot cards” and I’m not intimidated by a pure combat build.

    Ah, the impossibility.

    • Girard says:

      If this were the AVClub, you would be contractually obligated to work the interviewee’s mention of “Snake Eater” and “power tubes” into your comment, to salacious, “hilarious” effect.

      Congratulations on not doing that!

    • GhaleonQ says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trent_Barreta I think that you/3 of your friends who could best keep a terrible, terrible secret could take him out, but she also dated Jay Lethal, and, sorry, no one here is better than Jay Lethal.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GcfLyzHp5I  NOT RIC FLAIR, NOT ANYBODY. I’ve had fever dreams like this after too much No Mercy and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns.

      But, yeah, she’s kind, humble, and funny in person, so you could PRETEND that it’s special attention.  (On a side note, it’s odd to me that a bunch of the old NXT people like her, Katilyn, Johnny Curtis, and Derrick Bateman are actually, legitimately funny, considering McMahon’s sense of humor was…is……….something else.)

  18. doyourealize says:

    I’ll be in Portsmouth, NH this weekend for a little birthday weekend with the wife. Before that, though, I’ll try to get in as much FFXIII-2 as I can. I’m pleasantly surprised with this game. The battle system is still intact, albeit with a few tweaks, which was my favorite aspect of the first game. And the open world is a nice addition as well. Cutscenes are very eyeroll-worthy, “paradox” being this game’s “fertile grounds”. I have no idea what’s going on and assume if I tried to piece things together it would fall apart on pretty any level a story can fall apart on. Still, though, great game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Portsmouth!  When I lived in Maine, my father and I made frequent trips to the Newington/Fox Farm Mall area to shop sales tax free.  My great aunt lives in the old town area, about a mile from that gorgeous flower garden by the water.

      • doyourealize says:

        Unfortunately didn’t get a chance to stop by and say hi to Auntie Boreanaz. We did go to an excellent little wine bar/restaurant with a kind of sampler menu that got me addicted to butternut squash, chocolate, and marshmallow soup. I also got ridiculously drunk to an extent no 33-year old should allow himself to do and spent the next day in the 2-1/2 hour car ride home wondering if I was going to lose the contents of my stomach…I didn’t.

    • rvb1023 says:

      You can view XIII-2 as an improvement in all areas except characters and story, which is saying a lot because story and characters were the weakest part of XIII (And I like most of the characters from that game).

      • doyourealize says:

        There’s few enough characters that I enjoy them enough, at least when they’re not delivering long-winded exposition on what exactly is going on and how everything they do affects both future and past somehow. It’s like they want you so bad to get it. My award for worst character in video games makes his return, though, although Hope kind of redeems himself, if only by being mostly a mouthpiece for ideas rather than a fleshed-out character with feelings (yes, this is an improvement).

        • rvb1023 says:

          Hope expositing is definitely better than Hope attempting to be a character. All I remember from XIII about him is other characters used him for development, I don’t think he had a genuine reason to be there.

  19. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    Well, I got the Dark Souls DLC this week, and just defeated Artorias last night. I also bought the Devil May Cry HD Collection off of Gamefly for $10.

    However, Hurricane Sandy appears to be looping around and hitting the area by Monday, so I may be evacuating at some point. Especially since I could throw a stone and hit the Lafayette River from my balcony.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Let’s hope the Lafayette River won’t throw a stone (and/or itself) into your balcony this weekend. Good luck.

  20. stakkalee says:

    I have a rare 2-weeks-in-a-row opportunity to play the neverending LAN game of Civ4/Fall from Heaven.  Last week my buddy playing the paladins and me with my archmages finally got down to it.  He has superior numbers by a factor of at least 6-to-1 but even so I managed to destroy his main stack before it got anywhere close to any of my cities.  Who knew fireballs were so powerful?  points thumbs at self This guy.  I knew it wouldn’t be any kind of contest.  I built up a secondary stack of water-walking mages and attacked him along an unprotected coast while his attention was elsewhere.  There hasn’t been an exchange of territory yet, but first turn tomorrow I know I’ll be taking one of his cities, and from there I’ll just gate in a defensive force.  Fuck yeah!

    I’ll also spend some time with Arkham City.  On the Iceberg Lounge combat challenge DLC I’m consistently getting 100+ combos, so now I’m going to try to break 200.

    And I’m still playing through the SSI gold-box AD&D games – I’ve finished Curse of the Azure Bonds and I’ve moved on to Secret of the Silver Blades.  Yay mouse support!  I love these games – it’s like I’m playing a real campaign, aided by the computer.  Whenever plot or exposition comes up in the game I’ll get something like “You find a Banite cleric on his last breath.  You record his words as journal entry 57.” and then I need to go track down journal entry 57.  Fortunately this being the Internet there are multiple scanned copies of the journal so no problem there, but the whole thing being external to the computer game itself is entertaining.

    • Gangrene77 says:

      Love me some old school SSI RPG’s.  I think the only one I truly beat was Pool of Radiance.  I was never able to get more than 3 or 4 of my Azure bonds removed.  Made it pretty far into the Silver Blades, but got stuck somewhere.  It may be time to break out the code wheel and journals again soon. 

      If you like those games try to track down the SSI Buck Rodgers series.  Same gameplay sci fi setting.  They were a hoot.

      • stakkalee says:

        Thanks for the recommendation, they’ve just been downloaded.  There’s also apparently a Spelljammers game using the same engine, so I grabbed that, too.

        Shit, with these games and @Captain_Internet:disqus ‘s recommendation of Albion which I’ve also downloaded I should be set for PC games for a good long while!

  21. Girard says:

    I recently beat Muramasa with the female protagonist, and may give it a shot with the male protagonist. It’s quite pretty, though the game play is awfully shallow and repetitive. Even the prettiness is rather shallow – I often have the feeling that I’m running around through a Thomas Kinkaide catalogue or someone’s DeviantArt account. I kind of wish there were more studios doing the “painterly” Vanillaware thing, because while it’s great that Vanillaware are trying something like this with 2-D games, they’re the only ones doing it, and their anime + digital paint style feels kind of generic and doesn’t really do much for me. I guess I’m saying I want a Neo Rauch “painterly” video game.

    Also, in hotpants news, I recently got some “invisibility dye” in the Last Story that makes all of my characters’ tops disappear. This has opened up new and more ludicrous sartorial options, and has spurred me to continue further with that crummy game.

    Or maybe I’ll come to my senses and play something on Steam that doesn’t elicit quite so much complaining and whining from me, you know, something I might actually enjoy.


    • Swadian Knight says:

      The invisibility dye thing eventually extends to lower body clothing, which means you can have everyone in your party run around wearing nothing but their underwear and huge metal pauldrons if you want to. Sadly, that’s pretty much the best thing about the second half of the game.

      • NarcolepticPanda says:

        *purchases Nintendo Wii and copy of The Last Story*

      • Girard says:

         I got it. Unfortunately, you can’t color the folks’ skivvies, which leaves everyone in grey underoos looking like inmates in the world’s sexiest prison. Back to day-glo hotpants and unisex Daisy-Dukes+chaps combos across the board! At least ONE aspect of this game will be unquestionably fabulous, even if the rest is kind of crap.

  22. Cornell_University says:

    PRETTY GIRL LIKES GAMESSSSS /explodes /gets walk on role in Revenge of the Nerds XII

    It’s been some lean weeks for your friendly neighborhood higher learning facility, I haven’t had much time to read this wonderful site or play much of anything.  I’ve tried to find some time for Baldur’s Gate here and there, I’m finally starting to level enough that I’m not constantly getting killed in battle, though I’m considering replacing my one mage character with another fighter, as he’s still only got 8 goddamn hit points and I’m tired of paying to resurrect him.  I also have a terrible inability to remember where quest related NPCs are, so most of my quests have been going unfinished thus far.

    My girlfriend and I agreed to buy ourselves a Wii for our anniversary (I was unsuccessful in talking her into a PS3.  To quote the lovely lady: “I just want to play Mario Party”), which was last week, but I figured we would hold out until the Wii U drops, assuming the Wii will have a price reduction. Is this a sound strategy?  Will production on it be stopped, actually increasing the market price?  Will it remain static?  Am I totally overthinking it?  And as a bonus question, what games should I buy or put on my Amazon wish list?  I know the Mario Galaxy games are supposed to be tits, and I will get Skyward Sword regardless of the mixed things I’ve heard (I already have Twilight Princess for Gamecube.  Yes, I’m that asshole), but beyond that I know fuck all about good titles.  I just know I’ll be sulking because I was foiled in my plan to be able to play Skyrim.

    • Girard says:

      The Galaxy games are pretty fucking amazing.

       -Metroid Prime 3 is quite good (I say this as someone who can’t stand FPSes: I’ve played through a thoroughly enjoyed the Prime games). The Prime collection is awesome, but out of print and crazily overpriced.

      -Wario Ware Smooth Moves is an awesome and hilarious party game – more fun than Mario Party, I’d wager.

      -Super Paper Mario is a little rough, but has some neat pre-Fez 2D/3D rotation stuff going on.

      -Kirby’s Epic Yarn is very easy, but adorable, and might be a fun co-op game with your spouse if they’re more accustomed to Mario Party than to traditional platform challenge. Return to Dreamland is a bit more rote, but is a similarly solid, simple Kirby game that is fun to play with someone less experienced.

      -Little King’s Story is an extremely charming Pikmin-esque game with a great sense of humor, if a little rough around the edges. It sort of self-satirizes the inherent manifest destiny of video games and especially strategy games by having your cute little despot savagely conquer the entire world and “rescue” princess after princess.

      -Smash Bros. might be another good party game, as might the Wii Sports/Play/Resort discs.

    • doyourealize says:

      Looking for games for the both of you or just you? If just you, I enjoyed the No More Heroes series. A little tedious at times, but mostly a lot of fun and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Although purists will say it’s too easy, I absolutely loved Monster Hunter Tri, but you’ll need a keyboard to enjoy the online MP (which I’m not sure how populated it is anymore). Finally, Resident Evil 4 is a must if you haven’t played it yet.

      For both of you, the Just Dance series is actually a lot of fun, and I hear good things about The New Super Mario Bros.

      • Bad Horse says:

        New SMB Wii is flawed in ways other Marios aren’t. First of all, it’s extremely slow. Visually, it’s just more polished versions of the Marios you’ve been playing forever, without any of the adventurousness of the Galaxy series, or, hell, any of the older 2D Marios, no two of which were alike.

        I never did have too much fun with it as a single player. It is, however, lots of fun in multiplayer, so long as you are a patient, forgiving soul who can cope with dying repeatedly due to your partners’ coin-grubbing enemy-bashing disregard for their surroundings.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Rhythm Heaven Fever is way awesome. Also, check out both of the wii Kirby games (Epic Yarn and Return to Dreamland). They’ve got some nice multiplayer. Donkey Kong Country Returns is nice. Also, consider modding the wii and throwing a bunch of emulators on there. it’s super easy and it ensured that my wii got a lot more playtime.

    • doyourealize says:

      So that happens in Baldur’s Gate where you don’t instantly die whenever a rat comes at you? I haven’t got to this point, yet, but I really want to like the game. It seems more frustrating than anything else at this point.

  23. Is this the first Friday interviewee who could be called an actual gamer? It seems like everyone else you ask just responds with a bunch of random casual games. Which is fine, but it’s nice to see the site’s actual target demographic being represented. Especially by AJ, who is just crazy awesome (both literally and figuratively).

    Anyway, I’m furiously working through Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward with every opportunity that presents itself. I blazed through 999 in the space of a long weekend last year, but this one has a crazy amount of endings — and non-endings — to work through. Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles comes out on Sunday, so I want to clear up as much time as I can to plow through that.

    • Girard says:

       I think the phrase “actual gamer” has vanishingly little currency around these parts. And rightly so, in my opinion.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I agree.  I welcome everyone to the form as a hobby, but, like any form, it’s those who view it as a passion that most interest me.  That’s not to say collecting Final Fantasy figurines is the bright line for what constitutes a “gamer.”

      (That said, I COULD point out that Japanese-style graphic adventure games and puzzle games are 2 of the 3 most popular genres for mothers-in-Gamestops, by my anecdotal experience. They certainly don’t think of them as hardcore.  In any case, I’m still thrilled that Chunsoft, of all companies, has found a place in the American heartland.)

  24. Chum Joely says:

    I’ll finish The Unfinished Swan tonight (thus yielding just a regular swan, I guess), and then I’m debating about downloading Dishonored from PlayStation Network via “Day One Digital” or whatever it’s called.  I am not much of a “first-person anything” player, but the degree of freedom in the gameplay, plus other stuff that I’ve read about in the reviews like the specific powers that you can unlock, sound pretty interesting.

    Anyone else played through enough of Dishonored to have a strong opinion about it?  Also, is “Day One Digital” a good idea? I’m a little hesitant to have a pure digital copy of a game that costs $60… in part because I don’t think I’ll be able to return it for store credit even if I hate it, but also just something about not having a permanent, un-wipe-outable physical copy…

    • NarcolepticPanda says:

      I’m also apprehensive about buying digital. For me, it’s really all about not knowing if I’ll like it. Having digital actually seems safer to me, as it’s right there that you got it in your account, backwards compatibility (vita/psp, possibly ps4/ps3), and you don’t have to worry about losing or breaking it. But also, digital games are much more expensive then what they cost at on disc, which is very silly, and probably why people don’t buy more digital.

      As for Dishonored, haven’t played it, but seen gameplay videos and HOLY SHIT, I almost threw up. With the jumping around with Blink and whatnot, it’s really disorienting in first person, and I don’t normally have trouble with that.

    • Girard says:

      I treat digital like a rental, and consequently only buy digital if it’s priced as such. If I’m not actually going to own my game or have the ability to play it indefinitely without DRM restrictions, I’m not going to pay full price for it. Exceptions to this are GoG games, which have no DRM, (which tend to be old and cheap anyway) and some Telltale games, where the full-price, day-one purchase typically includes a physical copy mailed to you down the line.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Thanks to you both. The problems with digital AND the motion-sickness thing are definitely both relevant concerns for me.

      My work has a service where we can borrow videogames for free for two weeks (you know, to research the competition, ha), so as soon as somebody gives back one of the 3 available copies of Dishonored and I’m quick enough to reserve it before it’s grabbed again, I guess I’ll try it out that way.

  25. Bad Horse says:

    I folded on Metroid after getting sick of the punitive deaths, so this weekend I’ll be playing Super Metroid for probably the 30th time, but it is the first time since 1997, and I’ve never gotten to 100%. Should be interesting.

  26. duwease says:

    Let’s see.. finishing up the last few achievements on Jet Set Radio, trying to survive the pollution epidemic years of Tokyo Jungle, and occassionally playing a random-deck tournament for the Duels of the Planeswalkers expansion release.  Nothing new, although the 999 sequel *really* makes me want to buy a Vita now..

  27. soce says:

    I’ll be playing tons of Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward this weekend and for a while. I absolutely loved 999, and I’m thrilled to see this game has even better reviews. There’s so much to accomplish here!

  28. Carving Pumpkins and Mass Effect 3 (and maybe Vice City on PC).

    I finally got a gaming pc, but my internet has been finicky so far and Team Fortress 2 has been too laggy to play. I did get Vice City for 2.50 and have been playing that though. It has aged suprisingly well.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Vice City held up surprisingly well for me. Unfortunately, I’m having issues getting my Steam version of it to run anymore. it just doesn’t start. It’s like it’s not even trying. Boo-urns.

  29. Dunwatt says:

    Wow.  An interview with a woman and the comments aren’t overflowing with “jokey” misogyny and discussions of her looks?

    Well done once again, Gameologinistas.

    • That’s my favorite part of Gameological. The comments are just classier than your average gaming blog (as is the writing though we disagree on many reviews). 

      Even great sites like Penny-Arcade Report or the new Polygon have pretty dismal comments. 

    • Girard says:

       I sort of mentioned this above, but Gameological might be the only gaming site where a female interviewee can feel comfortable discussing a game called “Snake Eater.”

  30. Matt Gerardi says:

    I’ll add to the Hotline Miami chorus. I’m thoroughly addicted. I might also sneak some more XCOM in, but I’ve reached my first mission with Ethereals and I’m terrified. 

    • Serious Question: How do you guys bold titles? It is the **asterisk** trick like on Reddit or some other wizardry?

      • doyourealize says:

        Instead of trying to figure out some weird way of writing this without it bolding nothing, check this out. It’s an explanation of any html tags you can use in posts.

  31. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    Still playing Guild Wars 2 here, amusing myself with the Halloween content now.  I do believe I’m feeling the first signs of boredom, which means I may move on to a new game in a week or two.

    What I would really love is another first-person sandbox game like Minecraft, where I can build my own structures, but with slightly more complexity to it.  Does this exist yet?

  32. Quantrepreneur says:

    Ugh. 3 more Binding of Isaac/Wrath of the Lamb achievements to go: Dark Boy, Mama’s Boy, and Platinum God (which is a gimme for doing everything). I frigging love this game, but it has consumed more of my free time than practically any game that came before it, and hopefully more than and game since.

    • doyourealize says:

      Holy shit. I’d ask how long this took, but looking at that number might have profound negative effects on you.

      • Quantrepreneur says:

        By leaving the game window open overnight any number of times, often while mid-run, I’ve effectively hidden the true figure from myself. The number of hours Steam lists would be soul-crushing if accurate, but I’m almost certain it’s off by as much as a factor of 10.

        Even still, the number is not small. Most of it has been done while watching (or, more accurately, listening to) television in the background. I’d say it’s probably around 100, given or take 20. Not exactly encouraging, but given that the majority of it was done while “multi-tasking,” I’m not about to throw myself off a bridge or anything. I think this also marks the first time I’ve ever gone for 100% in any game that required even half this level of investment.

  33. Ryan Smith says:

    As a game reviewer, I have no idea how to post about what I’ll be playing this weekend without it accidentally sounding like a humblebrag. So, I’ll lie and say Harry Potter for Kinect.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Nice.  Yeah, this week AT WORK, I am watching through all of the cutscenes for the new [Major Franchise] game to check whether the audio matches the written script, so that we can make any necessary tweaks before the localized languages go into recording sessions.  I’m also playing the builds when I have time, but it’s not really my favorite kind of game so it’s sort of boring.

      It’s amazing how uninteresting the “sausage-making” aspect of the videogame industry really is. But all my friends and family think that my job is the coolest EVER, and that I am therefore cool as a result, which is sort of fun.  Because I’m actually not at all cool.

      • Ryan Smith says:

        Haha, I hear you Chum. I once worked as a game tester at Activision and the reality was way different than people’s expectations. Can’t believe Sony has a reality show where the prize is a testing job.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Uh?!!  It’s not like that kind of job is super-hard to get in the first place! I don’t mean to say that it’s as unskilled as a McDonald’s fry cook, but it’s not exactly a dream job that you can only aspire to by winning a contest…

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          I watched the first season The Tester when I got my PSP at 11…and enjoyed it and thought the grand prize was amazing. The first season winner actually got fired by Sony. 

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Well, now you’ve got to tell us.

      • Ryan Smith says:

        Okay fine. Halo 4, the new 3DS Paper Mario, and the Killzone collection for PS3. And how can I forget my personal favorite: Zumba Core Workout for Kinect.

    • Merve says:

      Did you get saddled with the new Medal of Honor game?

      • Ryan Smith says:

        Oh yeah, that too. I was hoping to embrace military realism and shoot my copy out of a tank.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          Serious question: I write for a newspaper. Small newspaper, but we’ve won rewards for our category. I write reviews, and usually do music and movie reviews because it’s easy to listen to an album or write a review. How would I go about getting games to review? I’d love to just do music and game reviews and saddle someone else with movie reviews? Should I just write to the major publishers with my byline or what?

          Not serious question: Is Medal of Honor so realistic playing it gives you PTSD?

  34. djsubversive says:

    -My birthday’s on Sunday, and I’d like to have a test of my newest non-ACE-ified ArmA 2 mission by then. I convinced one of my buddies to pick up Combined Ops because I need more testers so I’ll probably run him through the SixUpdater Basics and make sure he’s got the same mods we’re using (the grass-cutting and glare-reduction are both great and should just be options).

    -Hobbes and I have gotten back into Payday (again), and merve finally took the plunge and got it during the free weekend last weekend. I also picked up the Wolf Pack DLC, so I’ve got a whole new ladder of Technician upgrades to unlock (sentry gun here I come, but I’m also the guy with the ‘biggest’ medic bag, so I usually stick with that).

    Do you have Payday? Come play Payday with me and Hobbes! As awesome as two-manning Slaughterhouse on Hard and getting out with all the gold was, the bots aren’t nearly as useful as real people, nor as much fun to have in the group. Plus, bots don’t get bags or crew bonuses or fun guns like the Brenner or Reinbeck.

    -I’ve also been playing Fallout: New Vegas again, this time as a sweet-talkin’ explosives expert with Benny’s Suit, Daniel’s Hat (from Honest Hearts, because it’s a pretty nice hat), and Thump-Thump the grenade launcher. The two most fabulous Followers of the Apocalypse in the Mojave: me and Arcade Gannon (who looks dashing in J.G.’s Armor, also from the Honest Hearts collection). Oh, and ED-E because ED-E is awesome.

    The MF Hyperbreeder Alpha recharger pistol from Gun Runners Arsenal is AMAZING. That’s been my backup gun for most of the game, ever since I bought it (and stole That Gun) from the guy in Novac. Also fun: the Mad Bomber perk, that unlocks stuff like MF Cluster Grenades (made from overabundant microfusion cells!) and Fat Mines (made from mini-nukes).

    -More Jade Empire. merve’s playing through it, and I kept telling him to just keep at it when he seemed unimpressed with the early game, so I felt like playing it again, and I keep getting reminders of how great it is, even before I’m anywhere near the Imperial City. Bun-man and Black Whirlwind should get a spinoff or something. Black Whirlwind and Henpecked Hou Go To Phoenix Gate. They’re on the run from Bun-man’s wife, because not even Black Whirlwind can stand up to her (merve: if you haven’t met Black Whirlwind yet, sorry. :D).

    • NarcolepticPanda says:

      You guys are doing Payday on Steam right? I can get it for free with PS+, if I can play with y’all on Steam, I will. Caveat: I probably have less FPS skill then the bots.

      • djsubversive says:

        Yes, we’re on Steam. I don’t know if Payday (or really anything) has cross-system online play, but if it’s possible, that would be pretty neat. Regarding your caveat: doesn’t matter. Bots can’t have fun.

        • NarcolepticPanda says:

          All right, well y’all should add me to the Gameological Steam group. Name as same as here. I asked because Valve did that with Portal 2 and some shooter that I thought might be Payday. Research shows that’s Counterstrike GO though. I could pick it up anyway though, depending on price. I have no real life friends who game, so playing with other people might be fun.

    • Merve says:

      I met Black Whirlwind earlier this week. He’s great, but he’s not as awesome as Henpecked Hou. That guy teaches you how to fight using the power of wine!

      I stand by my original assessment that Jade Empire is too slow to get started and has too steep a learning curve, but once the main quest opens up to more of a hub-and-spoke setup and you’ve got several fighting styles under your belt, the game really starts to shine.

      That could actually be a great inventory topic: Games that start off dull but then become great later. Jade Empire and Spec Ops: The Line certainly fit the bill. (Of course, with the latter, starting off dull and generic is kind of the point.)

      • djsubversive says:

        So, you’d say it picks up right around the time you get to Tien’s Landing? Funny, that’s when Minister Sheng shows up… Are you suggesting there’s some correlation between the two? (because I totally am; Minister Sheng is awesome)

        I hope you picked up Storm Dragon before you left Tien’s Landing. (I think you can just go back though). It’s a support style that shocks people over time rather than just slowing them down like Heavenly Wave.

        Still haven’t played Spec Ops, but it sounds very much like something I’d enjoy.

        • Merve says:

          Yeah, I’d say Jade Empire picks up slightly before then, when you find the flyer and then crash-land it. But I agree that Minister Sheng is awesome.

          I haven’t yet left Tien’s Landing – I’m still working my way through the Cannibals – but I think I did pick up Storm Dragon. That’s the style that turns you into a weird fiery horse-dragon thingy, right?

      • djsubversive says:

        @Merve2:disqus no, the one that turns you into a horse demon is Horse Demon Form. Spear-Catches-Leaf, Lord Yun’s guy that was with Black Whirlwind, sells some stuff. Talk to him before you head back to town.

        and I’ve caught up with you again! I just dealt with the Mother last night, and now I’m about to leave Tien’s Landing (not for good though, since I’m not Open Palm enough to learn from Mistress Vo, so I’ll have to come back after I’ve been a hero some more).

  35. Thomas Crane says:

    Don’t tell her that Resident Evil 6 is a critical flop. 

  36. Matt Kodner says:

    I’ll be continuing to putz my way through Sleeping Dogs. I’m really enjoying the missions, but I love cruising through the streets on that little Vespa that sits right outside your apartment at very moderate speeds. 

    And as long as I’m on my incredibly small WWE soapbox, will anyone else be watching the Hell In A Cell PPV this Sunday??

  37. IMO mobile (3DS, PSVita, Android, Iphone) gaming is good when you’re in a bus or taking a dump, but playing on this tiny screen all time? No thanks, tv gaming is way to go when you want to play comfortable.