What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Kit Harington

Kit Harington, actor

The star of Game Of Thrones and Silent Hill: Revelation wants to play himself in a video game someday.

By Ryan Smith • October 19, 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.

Kit Harington plays Vincent Carter in the upcoming Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, a film adaptation of the game Silent Hill 3. (The Carter character is based on doomsday-cult priest Vincent Smith from the game.) The jovial Brit is also known for portraying the fluffy-haired Jon Snow in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. During a short break from filming season three of the fantasy TV series, Harington spoke to The Gameological Society about his favorite games and what it’s like being America’s most beloved bastard child.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Kit Harington: It’ll probably be pool. I’m pretty good at that. Or maybe table tennis, something like that. Video games—it’d probably be FIFA. Football games, that’s what I like. I’d like to think I’m good, but I’m probably not, my friends beat me more than I beat them unfortunately.

Gameological: Do you have a favorite team in FIFA?

Harington: I play as Barcelona. I’m terrible with Manchester United, I just can’t play with them, I don’t know.

Gameological: You broke your ankle fairly recently. Did you have a lot of downtime from that to play games?

Harington: Yes. Honestly don’t do anything like that to yourself, it’s not worth it. It was three months on my ass watching copious amounts of sports, which was good. I had three months of the Euro football competition, Wimbledon, and then the Olympics, so I had things to keep me busy, but it was a huge pain in the ass.

Gameological: Did this injury happen while you were out defending The Wall?

Harington: No, nothing quite as heroic as that. Just being a drunken idiot. I was climbing through my bedroom window to rescue my keys—not sober—and I didn’t quite make it. That’s the long and short of it.

Gameological: You’re one of the stars of the new Silent Hill movie. What’s been your experience with Silent Hill? Have you played any of the games?

Harington: I did when I was younger, but not too much. It was more my brother’s thing. I was genuinely kind of scared of it, to be honest. I get freaked out playing those games. I don’t mind horror films, I like those, but I can’t play horror games. I didn’t play them recently because they wouldn’t have helped me with this character I don’t think. If there was anything I needed to know about the game, I’d ask the director.

Gameological: Is there something about the interactivity of horror games that add an extra layer of fear for you?

Harington: Yes, exactly. Even through you know it’s just a little fictitious guy on the screen, you obviously don’t want him to die. The idea of things creeping up on you scares the crap out of me. I can’t deal with being in control of this guy who is you.

Gameological: Most movies based on video games aren’t highly regarded. Do you feel like this one could be different?

Harington: I think people who are going to like this film will like this film. I’d agree with you that video game adaptations aren’t always a success—although I always enjoyed the Mortal Kombat films even though they were kind of cheesy—but I think this one should be. It’ll be entertaining, I hope. I think the first one in this series was pretty good.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow

Gameological: Did you get to play the Game Of Thrones video game?

Harington: I heard stories, but I haven’t played it. I’ve always wanted to play as myself in a video game, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get to. I think they made fictitious characters in the game and not ones from the actual series. That’s too bad because I really want to play as myself.

Gameological: You want to run around and slay White Walkers in a game?

Harington: Exactly, yeah.

Gameological: If you could star in a video game, what would it be like?

Harington: I don’t know. I used to love playing GoldenEye, especially with Sean Bean’s character [007’s nemesis, 006]. So to be in a Bond type of video game, that’s what I would do. For me when I gamed growing up, I’d stick to one game. Like Mortal Kombat for awhile or Mario Kart and then Goldeneye and FIFA more recently. I never was a big gamer, but I got into the ones I’ve gotten into, you know?

Gameological: Are you starting to get more recognized and stopped in public more because of the popularity of Game Of Thrones?

Harington: Yes, I think I am. I didn’t notice it much at first, but it starts to creep up on you and you realize it. The other day I went out to a bar and it suddenly became slightly invasive. But I don’t mind it in general. People are always very lovely and enthusiastic about the show.

Gameological: I was a little scared for you because as many times as you get called a bastard on the show I wondered if people would start calling you that in real life.

Harington: Yeah, that was a weird one when I first heard that. Someone’s going “Bastard!” and you go “Well, why is he doing that? I’ve done nothing to harm him…Oh wait, I get it, that’s it.”

Gameological: What is it about this show that inspires such hardcore fans?

Harington: It’s escapism, really. People love fantasy and seeing a world different from their own yet similar. It’s very character rich, there are so many different characters in this that you can latch on to and have an allegiance to. People come up to me and say, “Oh you’re my favorite character,” or “I love so-and-so” or Jamie Lannister, and they’re rooting for them. So when one dies, it’s all the more heartbreaking. It’s also unique, I can’t think of another show like it.

Gameological: How do you feel about Jon Snow as a character?

Harington: I love him. I love the little man. I mean, I kind of have to because I live with him in my head for so much of the year. He gets a hard time, really, but he battles through. I like his persistence and he’s one of the only good people in this horrible crazy world that we set it in.

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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  • Effigy_Power

    We had the first bit of Jon-less Snow here, so I’ll be playing “Pack up the garden stuff, turn off the hose outside, rake the last leafs…”
    It’s the part Sims never prepared me for, home-ownership-wise.

    PS: Did you know you have to pay for heat? Outrageous.

    PPS: Beards are awesome. So many men can turn from looking like they are 15 to looking like they are 15 with a beard. :P Go Night’s Watch!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Beards are awesome.  If you’re someone who’s also me, they’re good for maintaining a sharp jaw line when nature erodes your original through age and second helpings.
         And also, it never grows tiresome to be able to stroke it, sage-like, appearing for all the world like a wizard contemplating the fiery birth of the universe when you’re really just thinking about Crispin Glover playing the Joker.
         And you have snow already?  Isn’t that illegal? 

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        What should be illegal is 90-plus-degree temperatures until mid-October, and no rain yet.

        • The_Forgotten_Quill

          That sounds like a usual year in Texas, but this one is eerily different. We’ve had some really nice fall weather and some “wish-it-could-be-like-this-all-year” weeks instead of all the heat and humidity that usually lingers well into November.

          That being said, we could definitely use some full-time weather police here on the Gulf Coast.

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

        Approximately once a year, I grow a big huge dirty beard for about a month and a half. Then I shave it off. I have no idea why I do this.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Catharsis.

    • Fluka

      Snow…heating…cleaning up dead gardens…
      *ACTIVATE SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER MODE*

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Just increase the speed of your Leonard Cohen records to 78 rpm for an easy pick-me-up!

        • ricin_beans

          On the other hand, try playing the 45 of “How Soon is Now” on 33.  It sounds like Barry White fronting The Cure.  Simply amazing.  YMMV depending on how high you are.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

        I don’t know whether to “like” this comment or “sob in anguished recognition” it.

        • Fluka

          I’m just happy I finally got out of the goddamned UK, where I used to live.  Hellhole (sorry UK people!) got dark at 3 pm in December.  I had to buy a lamp.

        • Fluka
        • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

          Ah, would that I had had a Molly-equivalent during some of the years it was at its worst.  As crushing as seasonal affective is/was for me, it was, as Roast Beef would put it, hell of depressing to go through on my own. 

          I do hope there’s a co-Fluka to help with this time of year for you.

        • Electric Dragon

          Apology accepted, @Fluka:disqus .

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

          @Fluka:disqus : I think I have inverse seasonal-affective disorder. I AM SO PUMPED THAT IT IS FALL, AND SO EXCITED THAT I GET TO WEAR FLANNEL JIM-JAMS AND SNUGGLE UNDER WARM SHEETS AT NIGHT, WOO-HOO!

          And geography-wise, I am lamenting the hot, sticky VA latitude and pining for Moscow where they days get short and dark fast, the snow blankets everything, and the sidewalks are encased in three inches of ice. I mean, last year, I didn’t even have to wear my long-johns once! Not even once! That doesn’t count as a winter.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus  – Same here!  IT’S FINALLY THE TIME OF YEAR WHERE I CAN GO OUTSIDE AND BE COMFORTABLY COOL, AND NOT GET AN INSTANT HEAT HEADACHE!

          All through high school, I wore shorts in the winter here, even when it got down to 40 degrees.

        • Fluka

          Darn all you happy cold weather people!  I *want* to love this season so much, but suddenly it’s dark at 5 pm and I’m sighing oh so very heavily.

          @google-6108c5611fbc5b86af5df565c4b4b048:disqus Nah, your country is still pretty cool, what with its healthcare and delicious cheap chocolate.  Just…dark.

          @MattmanBegins:disqus Thankfully, I have the cats (the real Fluka and her brother).  And Mr. Fluka returns soon.  Until then, I will take comfort in the sharp, steely embrace of Adam Jensen.

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

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus: I’m not fond of the dreary, cloudy fall days, but winter’s my jam. All the snowfalls and snowballs and snowshoeing and snow forts and snow angels and snowmen and snow sculptures and sledding and skating and tubing and…*sigh* I wish I still lived in Canada.

          @Fluka:disqus: I recently realized that the guy who voiced Adam Jensen, Elias Toufexis, plays a pyromaniacal villain on Alphas. It’s fun imagining Jensen as a sadistic pyro. Is there a flamethrower in Human Revolution, like in the original Deus Ex? I’ve got an urge to make that a reality…

        • djsubversive

           @Merve2:disqus wait, hold the phone… Adam Jensen is voiced by Firebug Scipio? That’s awesome. I love me some Scipio.

        • blue vodka lemonade

           @paraclete_pizza:disqus  Virginia is far too humid for anything resembling “comfort” in this season. I want my autumn to be cold and dry, dammit, not clammy and gross!

      • The_Forgotten_Quill

        The problem with the weather is that it just can’t make everyone happy. One person’s “perfect picnic” weekend is another’s “wish it would rain so I won’t have to water my lawn” weekend.

        Personally, I love all things dark, rainy and mostly overcast…maybe I should move to the UK. :) 

        • http://the-mogul-returns.blogspot.com/ Das Mogul

          Move to Scotland.  It’s dark, rainy and overcast all year round!

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

       JEALOUUUUUUS. I’m still not used to living this far south and I have a very real fear that I might not see snow until I go home for Christmas. The “plus” side, though, is that I get to “enjoy” 100-degree butt-sweat weather all summer long!

      • George_Liquor

        Thanks to climate change, I’m enjoying balmy summertime weather far past what should be reasonably expected at my latitude and altitude. So what if wildfire season no longer ends around here? That just means I can enjoy the friendly aroma of campfires wherever I go. 

        • DjangoZ

          I do go outside occasionally and release a can of hair spray into the atmosphere. I know I’m going to hell for this, but in the meantime it’s keeping the fall nice and toasty here.

      • Captain Internet

        Pfft. You think you’ve got snow problems? I’m being sent to Mauritius for three months, they don’t get snow there at all.

      • The_Forgotten_Quill

        As a native Texan, I have one question…what is this “snow” you speak of?

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

           You know how, once every ten or so years, a mysterious, faint white dusting will come down from the sky in January, and you immediately close all the schools and call the national guard? That’s just snow.

        • The_Forgotten_Quill

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Ah, that. We refer to it as fallout. 

      • TaumpyTearrs

        I’ve always described Virginia’s summer to outsiders as like living in a bum’s sweaty asshole for 3 months.

        Definitely glad its over, although since I am staying with my mom my fiance and I have to go outside to smoke, so that’s gonna suck. Maybe it will encourage us to smoke less (nah, it will just increase the number of coughs and colds we get).

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

      At least it’s not oil heat, I hope.  No amount of Billy Gibbons beard growth will conceal the holes that’ll put in your pocketbook.

    • Bad Horse

      So what you’re saying is…winter is coming?

      • Effigy_Power

        I have to give you that one, @Bad_Horse:disqus.

  • HobbesMkii

    Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome! I’ve healed the Great Schism and now I’m on the way to reuniting the Roman Empire itself! All of Europe will be mine, bwahahahaha!

    In all seriousness, this $6 DLC is pretty spectacular and makes the game a fair amount more interesting. Plus, they also released a DLC that adds black people into the game! And they’re definitely the best looking portraits in the game to date! Now I can play as a literally black Prince of England. It’s going to be great!

    I might also try and finish one of the games I’ve stalled in the middle of playing: Halo: Reach, Batman: Arkham City, Just Cause 2, etc. etc.

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

      I can attest that both Halo:Reach and Just Cause 2 are worth it, though for completely different reasons.

      Reach has the closest thing to an emotionally draining ending you can get in a game about Aliens with laser swords and the badasses who fight them.

      Just Cause 2, has homing rocket wielding ninjas, submarines hidden in mountains and nukes everywhere. Plus BBQ. That story is ridiculous.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Arkham City has Batman. You get to be Batman. For the whole story, you are the Batman. Batman Batman Batman.

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

       Are you liking the new DLC HobbesMkii? I haven’t picked it up yet. Would you say it’s better or worse than “Sword of Islam?”

      • HobbesMkii

         It certainly makes the Byzantines fascinating. I’m a little torn on the faction system–it leads to more powerful but less frequent rebellions, but you also seem to be able to head them off indirectly better. A ruler with high diplomacy basically never gets a revolt against him–my Byzantine Emperors have all been grey eminences, and consequently I haven’t seen a revolt in over 100 years (although, there was a hairy bit when I died leaving my four year old son on the throne. He got past it though and went on to mend the Great Schism).

        I’m willing to put a fair amount of trust in Paradox, so I think this is probably their best addition to the game yet, if purely for the level of thought that went into it. It gels with SoI fairly well, too. Plus I know they’ll have to hotfix it and improve, being Paradox.

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

     I received The Last Story as a birthday gift on Wednesday, and may make time to play a bit of it this weekend. Though from what I’ve played so far of it, I’m kind of beginning to suspect I hate everything about it*, which is a shame.

    There’s some weird, deeply-worn habit-groove in my brain, that gets activated every birthday or Christmas, where “new console game gift” automatically equals “play nothing but that console game,” even if I have other, non-gift, games on other platforms (like an ever-growing Steam backlog) that I’d actually enjoy more. My brain’s like “No, you can’t invest your vanishingly brief leisure moments playing Dear Esther! You bought that yourself. Obviously you need to be playing the thing you got for your birthday, because you got it for your birthday.”

    Obviously this is a really serious problem, and I have a really difficult life.

    (*Not quite true. Once I discovered the option to change your armor color and remove extraneous bits of it, I decked out all my characters in brightly-colored hot pants. That was kind of fun.)

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      So primary-hued spandex is the sole bright spot for you in a hundred hour game?  That’s a damn shame is what that is.

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

        One of the things that I noticed first that bothered me was how bland and kind of ugly the characters were – basically, slightly melted wax figures of generic Final Fantasy supporting characters wearing assorted greys and beiges. At least the day-glo hot pants give the proceedings a little zing!

    • Fluka

      A belated happy birthday!  Enjoy adorning your characters with birthday hot pants!

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

         Thank you! I am adorning you all with birthday hotpants in the birthday party in my mind.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Oh yes, Happy Birthday as well!  And given the substantial power of your cranium, I fully expect to be clad in neon by the time I wake up in the morning.

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

          Does your brain have a human resources department, because I feel VERY uncomfortable right now.  I don’t like the look of @caspiancomic:disqus .

      • stakkalee

        Seconded!  Happy birthday @paraclete_pizza:disqus !

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      Happy birthday!

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

      Haaappy birrrthday…mister pwesident…

      I’ll get down off the table now.  You can dismiss security, it’s fine.  I’ll let myself out.

      In all sincerity, happy birthday.

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

         You…you dropped this.

        ::Hands @MattmanBegins:disqus brassiere::

    • Lord Autumn-Bottom

      I think that makes sense.  You wanna play at least a significant portion of the game so that you’re able to demonstrate to the person who gave it to you that you actually played it… and of course pretend that you liked it, haha.  But then, I’ve got a least a couple books that friends have given me for xmas/bday that I haven’t read, so meh.  I like to think that they haven’t read the books either, so I don’t feel as much pressure to talk about them.  I’m a great friend.

    • doyourealize

      The Last Story is one of those games I think I’m waiting to cost a little less before I pick it up. Along with Catherine and Lollipop Chainsaw. This “birthday gift guilt” is the only reason I played Modern Warfare, although I admit it was kind of enjoyable.

      Oh, and happy birthday!

    • Effigy_Power

      I had something funny, but all I can think of now is Birthday Hotpants. Happy Hotpants.

    • DiscardedPostit

      BELATED BIRFDAY!!!  Enjoy!

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Happy birthday!

      Also, I do that “play that game, someobody gave it to you” thing as well, which is doubled by the fact that (1) when I get a gamet, it’s from my parents, (2) I live with my parents, and (3) our television is in the “family room” so they ALWAYS know what I’m playing. It’s terrible, becauze I get this massive guilt trip if I don’t play their gift, because I’m worried they’ll feel bad. I really hope they never do something as ill-advised as getting me a COD game for Christmas, because wacky parents do wacky stuff like that.

      I would like lilac hot pants please.

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

         Lilac, with a sleeping panda on the butt.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          Thank you. I will bedazzle them and wear them backwards.

    • ChumJoely

      Well, what did you think of “Dear Esther”?  I am trying to get more into indie games and that one seems to come up in a lot of discussions.

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

         I haven’t played it yet, though I desperately want to. I have it on Steam.

        I’m in school and don’t have much free time. I’m ‘treating’ myself to a little more game time because of birthday stuff, but because of the above-mentioned bizarre psychological tic, I’ve only been using it to play this silly JRPG I got.

      • doyourealize

        Don’t put too much weight on this because I seem to be in the minority opinion, but I finished Dear Esther with a kind of, “that’s it?” feeling. Don’t get me wrong…it’s beautiful and there are touching moments and all that, but the writing just came off as a bit schlock-y to me.

        • ChumJoely

          No worries, I’ve seen that opinion of the writing as well. I’ve also seen people saying that it’s just not interactive enough to work as a video game. That could be the deal-killer for me.
          @paraclete_pizza:disqus, how much did it cost on Steam?

      • blue vodka lemonade

         I rather like it, at least. It’s very pretty, and there are a couple moments that I thought were emotionally just spectacular. It’s only about 90 minutes long, give or take, and there’s essentially no interaction other than move forward/don’t move. It’s not a “game” by any means.

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

      Have yourself a very merry belated birthday.

  • caspiancomic

    All right Disqus is being a complete pile of garbage right now, I don’t really know what’s going on here.

  • Fluka

    Re horror games, I can’t do them, but I particularly can’t do them if it’s first-person.  I find being in first-person perspective *in general* in a game to be unsettling.  Partially due to the extra-constrained vision, partially due to my lack of ingrained FPS movement skill if something bad *does* sneak up behind me.  Or in front of me.  I’ll end up accidentally caught in a corner or wiggling my mouse frantically around.  And then dead.  Being in that view hits all of my “PANIC NOW” buttons.  And this is why I will never play Amnesia ever.

    I find myself once again at an away-from home science meeting, so nothing whatsoever.  Unless hand-scanning reconstructed particle interaction event displays counts as a game (it does not).  If things get truly dire, I have lots of FTL to play again.

    When I return, I will be alone with the cats for two weeks, so I will be catching up on a very long backlog.  Gotta plan carefully!  Current roster: 1) Finish Skyrim Thieves Guild Quest. 2) Play Deus Ex: HR Missing Link DLC.  3) Portal 2.  4) Dishonored eeee.  I’ll be lucky it I get through #2, but I can dream, yes?  I will also be scratching my cats’ chins and bellies thoroughly.  That is a good game.

    • Swadian Knight

      The first-person perspective has a really impressive effect on immersion for me; playing third-person horror games, I might feel somewhat unsettled, but there’s a degree of abstraction to it all that kind of prevents the game from truly scaring me.

      I think that’s why the best horror game I’ve ever played is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadow of Chernobyl, even though it’s considered to be an FPS: the Lab levels completely eroded the barrier between me and the character I was playing, and the supernatural dangers I came to face suddenly seemed all the more real.

      • djsubversive

        Somebody mentioned S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and thus I have been summoned.

        Shadow of Chernobyl is such a great game. The gunplay is tight, the AI isn’t completely brain-dead (except zombies, and in their case, it’s more brain-scorched), the atmosphere is absolutely amazing, and the game does a great job of putting you in the Marked One’s boots.

        The first time you get sent underground (Agroprom) is one of the best scare-moments of the game – when people say they didn’t get into it, I always ask if they played until Agroprom Underground. It’s really a great level – turns up the atmosphere, teases a bit more of the story, gives you a sweet weapon that will last you a while (Strelok’s AK), and introduces some new enemies. When I got a later mission to go back there, I put it off as long as I could because I didn’t want to go back down there.

        Call of Pripyat is a much more polished affair, and one of my most-played games, but a few places don’t have as much impact if you haven’t played SoC – Jupiter Plant and the Lab in Pripyat in particular (although the Lab does have a couple good jump-scare moments).

        In any S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, though, your worst enemies are packs of wild dogs. You hear the barking, and then there’s half a dozen sets of claws and fangs bearing down on you from all directions. Even rocking an exo-suit and a high-end shotgun, I hate the run from Garbage to Rostok (SoC) because of the dogs that roam free just before you get to the checkpoint.

        The Zone: Beautiful and wants you dead so bad.

        • Swadian Knight

          Shadow of Chernobyl is one of the best games I’ve ever played, period, and it truly has something for everyone – not just intense action and horror, but also a well-crafted atmosphere, great music and near-infinite replay value.

          While other ‘levels’ like The Brain Scorcher and Lab X-18, I think it’s fair to say that Agroprom Underground is the one that really stands out in that game (it’s definitely the one that was on my mind when I wrote the comment above). It delivers a neat little horror experience in such a methodical, measured way that it’s hard to see it coming; it slowly unfolds, subverting your expectations and revealing new layers in a game that’s easy to dismiss up until that point. I look forward to the day it’s featured on The Gameological Society’s On The Level. 

        • djsubversive

          @SwadianKnight:disqus As great as Agroprom Underground is, the first actual Lab you visit (X-18, I think) is just as harrowing – it’s the first time the game throws snorks and poltergeists at you (fuck both of those things, and putting them together in the same Lab is just cruel, but I expect nothing less from the Zone). When the barrels and crates that are scattered around start floating and then hurl themselves at you? Freaky shit. And the hallway that starts on fire right before you hear the snorks moving around (they’re still new at this point, so the noises they make haven’t really been heard yet).

          Agroprom is great as the first sign that things in the Zone are more fucked-up than they first appeared (the controller that comes out of nowhere…), but Lab X-18 really drives that point home, especially after the “find the Lab” part of the quest that just involves fighting a bunch of bandits.

          I still agree that Agroprom is a stand-out level in an impressively atmospheric game, but I think a lot of it is because it’s the first underground bit, so it’s the first big memory in that game for a lot of people – I’m sure “I was fighting the military and some bandits, and now I’m underground and holy shit what the fuck was that?” is pretty similar to what a lot of people said when they first went through Agroprom.

        • Swadian Knight

          @djsubversive:disqus Oh, most definitely – SoC is absolutely full of brilliant levels, and it’d be difficult for me to say which one is really the best. Agroprom was clearly designed to take advantage of being the player’s first exposure to the Zone’s scarier side, and it works beautifully.

          I think both Agroprom and X-18 build their horror around the same basic structure: they capitalize on our fear of the unknown by using player immersion. Both levels suddenly put you face-to-face with enemies that don’t fit what you’ve been led to expect so far, and leave you scrambling to find where they fit in the gameplay. 

          Poltergeists, Bloodsuckers and Controllers aren’t just scary because of their immediate threat; they’re scary because they’re new, and they challenge the way you thought the game was played. I think it’s no coincidence that the three scariest creatures in the game are the ones that can avoid or hamper the gunplay that is so central to the gameplay.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill

      After years of being a Nintendo-only girl, I bought an Xbox because of Bioshock…and I don’t play horror games let alone FPSs.

      I dislike them for all of the reasons you mentioned, and that “PANIC NOW” reflex is depressingly familiar, but the depth and richness of the storyline overrode all the internal voices that constantly whispered, “What am I doing? Why am I playing this? Check that dead body. Oooo…a shotgun. Wait, why are the lights out–OH MY GODS THERE’S SOMETHING COMING TO EAT MY FACE!”

      No, I don’t like horror games…but I loved Bioshock.

    • His_Space_Holiness

      The first-person perspective had a profound impact on my experience of playing Amnesia, in that it caused me to quit after about fifteen minutes to avoid puking all over the keyboard. I didn’t get to see a single monster.

      • blue vodka lemonade

         Was it a motion-sickness thing, beyond the game itself? I know some people adjust the FOV in first-person games so they don’t get nauseous just from playing.

        • His_Space_Holiness

          Yeah, it was just motion sickness. Normally it isn’t a big problem for me in first-person games, but something about the camera movement in Amnesia just did me in.

  • Enkidum

    I’m probably finally going to finish GTA IV – in fact I might just do it when I finish writing this comment. Probably a bunch of Infectionator on the iPad – it’s just the same as the online Infectionator II, which is free. Really fun little game, I’m currently trying to destroy the world in Hard Mode.

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

      I don’t finish GTA games; GTA games finish me.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Errol Flynn suffered… like, gangrene, syphilis and demon possession and thanks to the social contract with the media press, everyone assumed he was a chaste, virile he-man who could bench press a church pew with his penis, but never would because that’s blasphemous.
       And now, Jon “You know nothing Jon” Snow himself, Defender of the Wall, bearer of Longclaw and lovable bastard himself just up and admits he broke his ankle scooting through a window?  That’s pooped-up.
       As for myself, I’m playing Fable 3.  I believe I’ve expounded before on my abiding fondness for the series, despite it’s many substantial and legitimate faults, but I’m getting a bit chafed with 3.
       It’s mostly because I’ve found out about the big reveal, that
    *Perfunctory Spoilers*
        After you topple your brother, the second half of the game becomes what is meant to be a hard-eyed evaluation of priority and sacrifice as you try to raise enough money to save your kingdom against an approaching evil.
       But while the moral system is, I assume supposed to stress the price of power and the necessary compromises that must be made in order to preserve your kingdom, it just kind of stresses me out.
       Because the only way to implement your promises and save the kingdom is through money.  So you either enforce draconian child labor practices in your factories to churn out cash, or you allow settlements and towns to remain impoverished or die off.
       But you can ostensibly raise enough cash through real estate to offset all that and get the best ending with no negatives, but it’s an astronomical amount.
       So instead of wandering around this beautifully designed game, taking in all the local flavor and enjoying romping adventure, I’m anxious about accumulating sufficient capital to be prepared for the second half of the game.  Buying and maintaining houses, businesses and wrapping a rubber band around my controller like a chump-ass kid just to let my character stroll in an idiots circle around the town to gain interest on his properties while I sit downstairs and watch 30 Rock.
       And being the limp-wristed liberal that I am, of course I find the idea of all morality expressed through available capital a bit obnoxious.  As well as the idea that becoming a complete monopolist Plutocrat who buys his way into office to save the kingdom.
       Oh well.  Playing pat-a-cake with folks is still cute.

    • HobbesMkii

      If you collect enough silver keys, you can open enough of the chests with cash in them to launch your real estate empire early on in the game, so that by the time you get around to being the king, you’ve got enough money. It’s actually a wildly broken money system, I think.

    • Captain Internet

      I ended up doing exactly the same thing. Making the player really work for the best outcome is probably a nice idea on paper- you can’t just say you want to be a nice person, you have to back it up with action. But after four or so hours making pies, the work is based on becoming a hugely evil landlord. You have to buy everything, and you have to put the rent at maximum. 

      And there’s a housing crisis in the UK. Not enough houses were built during the last two decades, and the idea of buying extra properties to rent out became hugely popular before the 2008 crash. Moreover, in the years since the crash banks are less willing to give out mortgages- in many cases, in order to get the best rate, you need to put down a deposit of 20%. Property prices in the UK are now well beyond the reach of many people, and the average age of a new house buyer in the UK is now 35. And landlords are charging more and more for smaller and smaller spaces- try reading this harrowing article for details.

      Landlordism is a major problem, and Fable III, released in 2010 by an English software house, celebrates it.

      Incidentally, here’s a screenshot of the pay-off.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Jeezus.  Really?  That’s sad trombone noise if anything ever was.

    • Effigy_Power

      As much as I love Fable 3 and as much as I love having my cake and eating it too, the game makes it far too easy. They try to offset the ease with which landlording fills your coffers to astronomic levels, but 5 minutes of repairing homes (seriously, what do these people do in their houses?) is all it takes every now and then.
      The villas of Bower Lake alone are enough to fulfill every messianic and weapony wish your King or Queen of Albion could ever have.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

    A man after my own heart when it comes to playing survival horror titles.  Oftentimes, with Silent Hill et al, I’d just freeze in place and only get moving when I asked myself, “now, would you do this in real life?  You’d be dead a million times over by now.  Get going.”  How I ever made it through something like “Apprehension” in the original Half Life is baffling to me.

    My new wife obtained her brother’s old GameCube as a sort-of wedding present, and we spent a couple days after the wedding scouring stores across New England for the higher-quality used titles (including her beloved Kirby Air Ride).  Due to cheap sales, we managed quite a library in just two days.  How am I doing so far?

    Super Smash Bros. Melee
    Metroid Prime 1 & 2
    X Men Legends 1 & 2
    Animal Crossing
    (the Best Treasure competition inspired me to find that dagnabbed Coelacanth)
    Hunter: The Reckoning
    Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
    Lego Star Wars II
    Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones
    Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly
    an all-Japanese version of Star Fox Adventures, for some reason
    Def Jam Vendetta AND Fight For NY
    various cheaper titles which we won’t go into here

    Anything Zelda or Metal Gear-related are high on my list of wants, but are also the most impossible to find.  Paper Mario or Mario Kart Double Dash?  Forget about it, nobody’s selling it.  My roommate in ’03 owned a GameCube, so I’m a little more up on some of the better titles, but I haven’t personally owned a console since–seriously–the Sega Genesis, when it was brand new.  It’s been PC all the way since then for me; any PS or Xbox love has been vicariously through friends.

    So, I ask this great font of knowledge that is the Gameological Society:  are there any lesser-known but truly outstanding GameCube titles that I should be on the lookout for?

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      GC titles: Eternal Darkness:Sanity’s Requiem. That one, for the top five slots. Its got survival horror elements, but visually feels separate somehow from spooky jaunts through creepy haunts. Obligatory homage to Lovecraftian Old Ones, and one of the few games featuring a sanity meter, with which trippiness is distilled to you through your proxy – spontaneous decapitation, Kojima-esque console reboot fake outs, and other associated bits of detritus from Crazytown.

      I’d also suggest the GameCube exclusive Resident Evil reboot, but might be too AwesomeSauce (pronounced “Scaewwy”) for you.

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

      That is a pretty great haul.

      You acknowledge it, but I feel I need to reiterate that you NEED TO PLAY ZELDA WINDWAKER. Get it online if you have to. It’s the best game the Gamecube has going for it, and it’s freaking beautiful and adorable and funny and fun.

      Also, Double-Dash is in some circles (including my circles) the best Mario Kart game. You an you wife can have endless hours of co-op or competitive fun.

      Speaking of co-op, Crystal Chronicles is fun, but to get the most out of it (i.e. to play multiplayer) you’ll need game boy advances and link cables to use as controllers. If you wind up investing in that infrastructure, I’d recommend picking up Zelda Four Swords Adventures which is a pretty amazing asymmetrical multi-player experience.

      The Pikmin games are really fun. Sort of an RTS, rebuilt from the ground-up for a console, and it works super well.

      If you want something experimental (but perhaps so experimental as to be unplayable), pick up Suda51′s Killer 7.

      While it’s a bit over-praised, Beyond Good & Evil is a solid game, and the GC version is the best console version.

      • doyourealize

        Wow, I’ve been praising Double Dash  as the best Mario Kart for so long, as well as Four Swords and Crystal Chronicles as two games I’ve had the most fun with playing multiplayer, both with GBAs attached. Never knew anyone to agree with me, though.

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

          I was really hoping that the Wii U meant that those kinds of experiences would become more commonplace, since it was so hard for folks to get together the necessary hardware in the past. Then it turned out to just be a room-sized Nintendo DS with support for only one (maybe two) personal screens.

          • doyourealize

            Yeah, when I saw the controllers, I thought Nintendo was trying to expand on the too little used GBA controller feature on the GameCube. I loved the idea, but that wasn’t the case.

        • El Zilcho

          Mario Kart Double Dash is by far the best of the Mario Karts. We still play it once in a while, even though now that we are adults we don’t get together and videogame much anymore.

          • doyourealize

            I was kind of disappointed at how dumbed down Mario Kart Wii after the surprising depth of Double Dash. I have admittedly little experience with the Wii version, but I was almost instantly bored with it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000590707081 Chris Ingersoll

       In addition to the other excellent suggestions (seriously: ETERNAL DARKNESS), if you’re a fan of RPGs there are some interesting options available:

      *Skies of Arcadia Legends is a traditional JRPG, ported over from the Dreamcast with some adjustments (like a lower encounter rate) that make it the better version
      *Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean plus its prequel Baten Kaitos Origins are both excellent, and really should be experienced together although Origins is the stronger of the two overall. If you pick up EWatLO, however, avoid spoilers at all costs.
      *I’m still in the process of completing Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door myself, but it is rock-solid.
      *Lost Kingdoms 2 is a bizarre hybrid of action-RPG and card game. The first title is OK, but the sequel fixed a lot of nagging issues.

      Outside of RPGs, you might want to see if you can find F-Zero GX and have it kick your ass for a while. That game is hard, but awesome.

      Like Beyond Good and Evil, many believe that the best version of Soul Calibur 2 is the GCN version. I personally pretend that the series actually ended with it (mostly because I don’t own the consoles on which it has continued).

      • James Greenan

         F-Zero GX definitely!

  • jessec829

    I’m going to finally finish SMT: Nocturne (this is my third restart, but I’ve never actually finished the game, I think because I don’t want it to be over). Then I think I may lay off video games for awhile and read some books. I know, crazy. 

    PS — Hoorah for Kit Harington copping to a drunken tumble. 

    • rvb1023

      And then I was reminded that I’m halfway through that game. Stupid Pale Rider keeps getting in my way.

      • jessec829

        Oh yeah, the riders are a bitch. I’m trying to decide if I even want to go further in the kalpas this time around (I’ve opened the third one but not gone through it yet; if memory serves, it’s a giant pain in the ass). But I want to collect all the magatama, and something tells me there’s at least one down there. Sigh. Life is hard.

        • rvb1023

          I can’t remember if I am on the second or third, but I do remember a room that constantly hurt you as you were walking around and the monsters in the area were tougher than those in the surrounding areas. 

          Mostly I just want to be for the True Demon Ending and the unique demons you can buy.

      • jessec829

        Yeah, that’s the 2nd kalpa (with the killing room). It’s a right pain. The 3rd kalpa has a really annoying chase scene with Dante that I just never want to do again. 

  • Kododon

    For me it’s going to be as much CS:GO as I can get in (on PC). It’s still amazing to me that more than a decade on I still can’t seem to get this AK-47 wielding monkey off my back.

    And maybe the indie game ‘Capsized’ for a breather. Heard it’s supposed to be one of the best platformers to have come out in a long time.

  • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

    During the not so brief time I’ve spent playing FIFA 11, I’m amazed at how EA monetized the “Pokeymans” acquisition addiction of Collectible Card Games and how they applied it to their FIFA Ultimate Team game modes. I’ve heard rumors of footie fanatics blowing thousands in big cash money wads sopping up every last bit of kit from virtual card packs. 

    Not caring much for Football, to me it seems like there’s not much difference between teams and players except how it looks cool when you choose the teams with the craziest stripey jerseys. Ultimate Team clears this up a bit, though.

  • Electric Dragon

    Since my playthrough last week of PC Repair ended in failure, I am playing Wait For Courier today, followed by Rebuild PC and Install Windows.

    • Effigy_Power

      I hear the DRM for that game is a pain in the ass.
      And the patches… oh the patches.

      • Electric Dragon

        I’ve already found that New Motherboard is incompatible with IDE DVD Drive but the  SATA-IDE Adapter DLC is no cheaper than the New DVD Drive patch.

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

      If you wait a week you can play “Install Windows but now with colorful tiles!”

    • Electric Dragon

      Achievement Unlocked: Theseus’ PC Rebuild PC with new motherboard
      Achievement Unlocked: Glazier Install Windows
      New Mission: Reinstall Games and Stuff.

  • EmperorNortonI

    XCOM.  I don’t figure there will be much else.

    I played the original, back in the day.  I was the first in my social circle to get it, and that was much by accident.  I had a pirated UK version, titled UFO, and played the unpatched original release.  It was rather broken in numerous points, but the most amusing was represented by my friend’s heroic character, “Mr. Time Units,” so named because the random character generator and stat leveler just happened to give him an utterly insane number of time units that just kept increasing.  In fact, at one point, it actually reversed, and he was reduced to 0 time units.  I was crap at the game, and never got all that far, but I got to watch my friend beat it, so that was okay.  On arrival at Cydonia, he had a soldier fire one of those flying bomb thingees to knock out some alien defenders, but it hit a corner of the drop ship and blew up inside, killing all but two guys.  So, he had them simply fly past all the aliens on the surface, and then methodically kill everyone in the base with a combination of Psi powers and explosives.  It was rather silly, and I was never inclined to play it again.

    Many, many years later, I got a bargain copy of XCOM 2.  That game was goddamn fucking hard.  Now, the original XCOM was a challenge in and of itself, but for the quicke sequel, I think they decided to throw on a few extra bits to make it more or less impossible.  Your starting weapons sucked on accuracy, and the alien rifle didn’t have auto-fire.  The bloody lobstermen were unkillable by anything other than the Thermal Lance  The cruise ship terror missions had three levels, and I don’t think I ever beat one.  And to get major advances, you had to capture captains or commanders of just the right breed.  I gave up.

    I got the new one on a whim, but have found it thoroughly addicting.  I’m still as crap as I always was.  I don’t think I can play it as gamey as I need to.  But I’ve nonetheless been sucked in.  Dark Souls?  It can wait.  FTL?  Eh, I beat it twice. Torchlight 2?  No.  King Arthur 2?  I let you sit on the shelf for 6 months, I can let you sit there for another six months with no problem.  I just had my whole squad wiped out trying to attack the alien base, and have to rebuild from scratch before India abandons the XCOM project. 

    • Lord Autumn-Bottom

      Ha, I’ve heard of that bug with the time units and stuff rolling back around to zero; I don’t think I ever got there.  I did use an editor to get my guys high values of time units but I guess they must not have been high enough for me to have much of a chance of reaching… I guess 256=0?  And of course it corrupted my save after a while. When I replayed it recently I was kind of disappointed to learn that TUs (and most other stats, I think) actually max-out at 80.

      And the second one was indeed very hard.  We rented it from our local comic book store about 20 times until my dad finally just bought it from them, haha (not easy to get your hands on a game like that before the internet, I guess).  But lobstermen and bio-drones and xarquids and those goddamn tentaculats… pure evil.  I beat both games, but I don’t think I was ever any good at either one.  I only beat them because I was total “save scum,” as they say, saving at the start of every turn and aborting and reloading if even one of my guys got killed.  At least, that’s how I did it when I replayed it more recently… I might have actually played fair when I was little, but I don’t remember.

      Anyway, I haven’t been nearly as bad about the saving, this time around.  Really makes me wanna go back and see if I can do anything in those earlier games.  But not just yet.  I hope there’s a TFTD DLC/expansion at some point.

      • EmperorNortonI

        I’m playing Ironman.  I always feel the need to make things harder for myself, especially if it also lets me bask in a spurious sense of moral superiority.  I’m only playing on Normal at the moment – I’ll try again on Classic when I’m ready.

        As for DLC . . . I’m really not sure what I’d like.  The whole Terror From the Deep thing needs to be re-thought.  I like the idea of an evil threat from Atlantis, but having it work in more or less exactly the same way as the UFO threat in XCOM makes no sense at all.

        One thing that would be interesting would be police, militia, national guard, and regular army troops.  You know they’re on scene, evacuating civilians and stuff, and I can understand that they’d leave the tough things to XCOM, but having them around as support and whatnot would only make sense.  Then again, having artillery and air-strikes on call would change the game incomprehensibly.

        • Lord Autumn-Bottom

          Haha, that superiority is a nice feeling when you can get it.  I tend to have a hard time, and I’m generally not good enough at RTS/tactical games to get it there.  But I’m working my way up to it.

          I like your ideas.  I’ve thought about the army/police thing myself.  Would definitely be neat if they showed up in terror missions.  The airstrikes idea is pretty cool, but I think that might be best as one of those special “council” mission types.  Something like extraction+bomb disposal, except you have no way of disarming the airstrike, so you have a stiff 10- or 15-turn window to extract the target or whatever.

          Not sure I agree about TFTD not making sense, though.  I’m sure they would want to put a new twist on it if they did wind up doing a new TFTD, but I thought the original made sense enough.

  • Lord Autumn-Bottom

    For once, I get to respond to this question with a game that isn’t more than a year old!  I’ll be playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, hopefully finishing up my first classic play-through (second clear overall), and starting another game on classic in ironman mode.

    I tried classic ironman a couple times right after I beat normal, and it went so badly that I got really upset and depressed.  That used to happen to me a lot when I was younger and playing games that were too hard for me — I always remember going for the platinum medals in Blast Corps and just brimming with hatred for whoever set the times/scores necessary to get those medals, and also breaking my third-party memory card (which was totally the card’s fault, for being longer than the slot that held it).  Point being that I thought I had gotten past that point of getting upset when a game gave me a hard time, but apparently not.  In fact it gave me a knot in my stomach when I would think about how to do better than I’d done; so impossible it felt.

    Anyway, I played regular classic instead, which allowed me to reload my way out of two disasters, and things have gone a lot better.  I’m hoping that my skills have improved enough while playing this time that I’ll be able to do better when I try ironman again.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      I’m in the same boat, for once I am playing a new game and it is also X-Com! I’m on my first play-through on Normal, and I don’t think I will try to Ironman at any point because it just seems frustrating. I try to avoid constantly reloading, but have a few times already just because I want to make it as far as possible on my first playtrhough and I know losing like five of my high ranking officers in one mission spells doom.

      I also named my first few soldiers after my friends and fiance. The first soldier to die (outside of the tutorial) was the one I named after myself, and the soldier named after my fiance went into panic mode afterwards, which was funny.

      Soon after everyone else named after friends died, and the only one left is my fiance. I reload any time she dies, because I am attached to her character and she is also my only Support soldier who has the 3 Medkit skill, so she is integral to my team. I just equipped her with the only piece of Titan armor I could make though, so now she has like 16 hit points and should be pretty hard to take down. She and the Sniper I named after Saito from Ghost in the Shell save my ass every mission.

      • Lord Autumn-Bottom

        And that’s the exact reason I’ve never named any of my characters after people I know, haha.  I get pretty attached to my soldiers regardless, but if I started naming them after people I knew, I don’t think there’s any way I would ever not reload my way out of their deaths.  I’ve only changed a few names and nicknames — one guy was named after this really douchey republican I hate, so I changed his name to Paul Blart; named another person after a retired football player, and another after a very minor TV personality, and maybe a couple others in my first play-through that I can’t remember.

        I’m sure I’ll reach a point after a few more ironman attempts where I just say fuck it, but I do want to try it… if for no other reason than that there’s an achievement for it, hehe.  And of course UFO Defense was one of the major games for me in my youth, so I feel like I should try to gain as much mastery of this one as I can.  But I don’t doubt that I’ll fail.

        I like the idea of naming someone after a Ghost in the Shell character.  Although I don’t know any of their first names aside from Motoko.  Hmm.  I even had a female Japanese assault soldier… just put her in some Ghost armor and it’d be perfect.  Although I couldn’t keep her at Major forever.  And I’d make Batou a heavy.  If I knew his first name.

  • JokersNuts

    The Game of Thrones video game was sooo bad. Such a disappointment that this hardcore fan of the books couldn’t even make it through the third stage or so. I still wait for a great Thrones game, maybe in the style of Skyrim? That would be so cool.

    • doyourealize

      I know when you say “games”, you mean “video games”, but the board game can be good, nerdy fun if you have a few hours to spare. I’ve played twice, once had a good time, once couldn’t wait for it to be over. I’ve also heard good things about the card game – not Genesis, but the actual card game.

    • Lord Autumn-Bottom

      Supposedly the Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings II is pretty good, or at least better than either of the actual GoT games released thus far.  So I’ve heard, anyway.

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

         I’ve sunk many an hour into the Crusader Kings II: A Song of Ice and Fire mod. It’s very impressive getting the map and events to function as well as they do. They’ve added a lot to it recently as well, including Beyond-the-wall, which has an interesting dynamic trying to unify the Wildlings under your rule. They also recently added R’hllor, and it can be fun to focus on spreading the Lord of Light across Westeros.

  • doyourealize

    Not too spoilery, I don’t think (I guess that may or may not be a spoiler warning), but Jon Snow becomes easily one of my least favorite characters in the books. Just a bunch of moping and sending people we don’t get to read about out on exciting quests. Although I guess he was never really my favorite to begin with. Nothing against the “drunk [and] not sober” Harington, just Jon Snow.

    I’ve been kind of slacking in the game department lately (if “slacking” is the right word), but I’m hoping to get into Baldur’s Gate, which is really annoying so far in that I’m dying pretty often and haven’t even gained a level yet. Other than that, maybe some Torchlight 2. I need to look through my backlog and see what’s there.

    • DjangoZ

      Am I the only person who read the books and then started watching the TV show and had to turn it off after 3 episodes?

      It was HORRIBLE! Like day-time soap opera blocking, dramatic turns, cheesy horrible! And what they did with the Dothraki and everything…just a big ugh.

      Yes, Peter Dinklage is excellent and there are a few other bright spots, but the quality of the show was so far below what I’m comfortable watching.

      • doyourealize

        I won’t say you’re the only person to feel this way, but I read the books long before the show aired, and I love it, especially the second season. I think cheesiness just comes with the territory in fantasy flicks. LotR, with an enormous budget compared to GoT, has absolutely godawful fight scenes – I get embarrassed when I watch Meri and Pippin chuck rocks at Uruk Hai in the first movie and they fall to the ground, apparently dead. I still like those movies, though admittedly less and less every time I see them.

        I also don’t know what you mean about “what they did with the Dothraki”. I either forgot the show, forgot the book, or enjoyed the show because I always thought the Dothraki were way over the top in the books. (Minor spoiler territory here, but it’s weird for me because I always thought Martin was setting up Jon and Daenerys to be the “heroes”, but they were always my least favorite characters. I like Dany a lot more in the show, though. Jon’s still a wuss. But I may have been wrong about the whole “hero” thing anyway, considering what happens at the end of DwD.)

        Anyway, all that to say I like the show. It’s not consistent with the books, but taken on it’s own terms, I think they really do an excellent job. And the changes they make in the second season especially work really well.

        • DjangoZ

          I’m glad to hear that the second season gets better. I really wanted to like the show.

          However, I do not accept that fantasy movies or TV shows need to be cheesy. There is way too much fantastic visual storytelling going on in TV nowadays. I just think the right showrunner hasn’t come along yet to make a really high quality fantasy or sci-fi show. Firefly being the exception.

          In a year when I’ve watched The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Firefly, I just couldn’t stomach the first three episodes of Game of Thrones.

  • Swadian Knight

    I’ve been really busy for the past week and a half, and I intend to make up for my deficient play time this weekend by starting a few new games and playing one I’d already started.

    I’ll keep playing Alice: Madness Returns, which I am enjoying a lot more than I though I would. It’s a pretty simple third-person platformer at heart, but there’s an impressive and consistent aesthetic sense to it that makes the game a joy to play – everything fits together quite nicely.

    I also look forward to plugging a few holes in my curriculum by finally getting started on Bioshock and Mass Effect, which I’ve been consistently told are quite good.

    All that aside, I do plan on coming back to Deus Ex: Human Revolution and conquering that Pacifist achievement, if only because I’ve already gotten most of the other ones.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill

      I had a similar reaction to Alice: MR…enjoyed it way more than I expected and while I wouldn’t play it again, it was a really enjoyable game.

      After years and years of being dedicated to one console (more out of ignorance than my own choosing), Bioshock and Mass Effect are the reason I bought an Xbox and I could not be happier. They’re excellent, excellent games that could not be further from opposites and I loved them both. A good story will suck me into any game and both of those are exceptional.

      Also, that Pacifist achievement took me a couple playthroughs and a good dose of frustration. Just try not to:
       - Tranquilize guys in the face
       - Hide bodies in air vents (I think those count as kills)
       - EMP robots with humans in the way

      Save early and save often!

      • Swadian Knight

        I keep coming back to areas where I made sure everyone was just unconscious only to find that they somehow died on their own. Honestly, I think I’m not even gonna knock anyone out on my next attempt, just to be safe.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          I think you might be able to play the ENTIRE game crawling through air ducts.

          Hello, I’m Adam Jensen. I’m a robot dude. If I wanted, I could turn myself into a machine for killing evil. I don’t do that though. My hobbies include air ducts, creepily reading people’s email, and talking to myself.

  • stakkalee

    I have a few gaming plans this weekend.  First, Saturday will be spent with that LAN game of Civ4/Fall from Heaven that my buddy and I have been playing for months now.  We thought last time we were going to get into the big war between my archmages and his paladins, but then as we were wiping out one of the last civilizations, the horse-lords I think, the bastards decide to open the Mercurian Gate and start the heavenly apocalypse, so my friend and I needed to team up and defeat the Right Hand of God.  Everything went well, however, and now tomorrow is the start of the big war.

    I’m also playing through the original Strategic Simulations AD&D games, the classic gold box games.  I finished Pool of Radiance and imported my characters into Curse of the Azure Bonds and I’m now halfway through that.  I’m loving this 20-years-later playthrough of the game – there’s only one difficulty level, so I’ve had to fight certain battles 5 or 6 times because someone gets an unlucky roll and ends up poisoned and dead; there’s really no leeway – some battles are just brutal.

    And for some reason I have a hankering to drop $5 on Hearthfire for Skyrim and go build and decorate a house.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

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

      What are the benefits of Fall from Heaven over vanilla Civ? The only mod I ever tried was Rhys of Civilization and it snoozed me to death.

      Fall looks like a total overhaul, to a sort of Might & Magic hybrid. How does it affect gameplay for someone who prefers to start wars early on then peace it out after he’s big and mighty?

      • stakkalee

        If you’re a Civilization fan, and a fantasy fan, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s still a “Civilization” game in that your primary purpose is building and managing cities along with gaining and defending territory, but there’s so much more variety in the different civilizations you can play as.  In vanilla Civ each civilization maybe has one unique military unit and one unique building, but in FfH there’s much more customization, which also leads to a wider variety of play styles.  For instance, the Calabim, the vampire civ, lends itself to a slash-and-burn style of warfare, ravaging the countryside as you pass through, whereas the Bannor, the paladins, work better when you maintain the lands you’re conquering.  Also, the addition of magic to the game gives even more options.  If you’re a warlord-style player, you probably want to invest in a Body mana node, which will give you access to the Haste spell, increasing your movement points, and the Regeneration spell, which heals you faster in the field, or possibly a Shadow mana node, which gives you the Blur and Shadowwalk spells, which allow your units to ignore first-strike bonuses and city defense bonuses, respectively.  There are some great religions you can use, many of them giving you access to specialized civic options, and each civ has its own “world spell” which can only be cast once and sometimes has a huge effect on the game – I’m talking things like the Lanun (pirate civ) spell “Raging Seas,” which will kill any non-Lanun unit that’s adjacent to a sea square and cause massive damage in coastal cities, or the “For the Horde” spell which belongs to the Clan of Embers civ (the orcs), which causes 50% of the world’s barbarian units to join your forces.  Fall from Heaven adds a lot of variety to Civilization; the only other thing I can say is it’s best to have the Beyond the Sword expansion pack because later versions of FfH really took advantage of things like the Random Events feature.

  • AHyperkineticLagomorph

    This weekend I hope to actually finish the game I’ve been replaying, Disgaea 4 including a metric-hella-ton of DLC. Well, actually, already beat it, but there’s like 3x as much content AFTER you get to the end.

    Speaking of Nippon Ichi Software games, I’ve had pre-ordered Mugen Souls since August and now Amazon is telling me they can’t find it. Which I’m told means they took more pre-orders than they had copies. Maybe JRPGs sell better in the West than I was lead to believe?

    I’ve also been eyeing a copy of Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Edition because I’m crap at RTS games, but just building an army of prism tanks/mammoth tanks and plowing through an AI base is never dull. I’m unsure, however, partially because EA’s business practices rather disgust me and because I already own The First Decade collection. Too bad it’s basically not compatible with Windows 7.

    • DiscardedPostit

      There is nothing more satisfying than a good drawn out game of C & C against many brutal AI enemies ending with you going straight up American military on them and bombarding them with either brute tank force or my personal favorite endless aircraft carriers.  I also suck eggs at C&C (and all RTS games) but god is it satisfying on a rainy day.

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

      The store page says that the games in the C & C collection have been updated for compatibility with Vista and 7, so the only thing standing in your way should be the fact that EA is a bunch of poopyheads.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph

         Actually, I was referring to The First Decade, which is not entirely Windows 7 compatible. It just kind of irritates me that I bought these games when they came out. Then I later bought a collection of them. Now I need to buy them a THIRD time.

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

          With a bit of finagling, you can get most old non-DOS games to run on Windows 7. It’s usually just a simple switch to running the executable in compatibility mode for an old version of the OS. That won’t work for all games, but it’s worth a shot if you haven’t tried it yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000590707081 Chris Ingersoll

    This weekend I will be playing a ton of boardgames. Like… 24 hours’ straight worth, as part of the Extra-Life Charity Marathon. Assuming I’m awake at all on Sunday following that, I’ll probably be exploring the postgame in Pokémon Black 2 for a bit while I wait for Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward to come in on Tuesday-ish.

  • El Zilcho

    Probably Borderlands 2, unless I decide to grab X-COM for my X-BOX (I just worry about the console controls for it, but I know that my computer would not be able to hack it). I’m also expecting Pandemic to arrive from Amazon today, any maybe I’ll start playing that. My girlfriend and I needed a cooperative board game, because competition was not working out well for us.

    • El Zilcho

      Oh and apparently my roommate invited people over for a Magic: The Gathering booster draft. So I guess I’ll be roped into that, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15929841 Ryan Smith

      I love Borderlands 2, but all of the extra downloading is obnoxious.I went to my brother’s last night to play at it literally took an hour and a half to download the “Compatibility Pack” to be able to go online on his slow connection. By the time it was ready, I had already went to bed.

  • rvb1023

    Finally going to give DayZ a try on top of wrapping up Dishonored. Then I want to start the Witcher 2 but October tells me to play my friend’s copy of Haunting Ground instead.

    • blue vodka lemonade

       You’ll have to tell me how Haunting Ground goes. I’ve been meaning to find that (and Rule of Rose) used for the last… five years, give or take.

      • rvb1023

        I really want to hunt down my own copy of both games, but at used prices they cost more than new games today. If only I had money…

  • dmikester

    I’ve been taking a break from console games after finishing GTA 4 100% and beating Just Cause 2 on the hardest difficulty level (tried going for 75-100% but it got so tedious so fast).  Once Assassin’s Creed III gets here, though, totally different story.

    For now, I’m playing through mostly mindless iPad/iPhone games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Happy Street, but there’s one iPad game I discovered recently that has blown me away.  It’s called Polara, and it’s a  side-scrolling platform game where the main scheme is that your character has a suit that can shift colors, and different obstacles in her path that she can only get past if she’s a specific color when she gets to them.  There are 50 levels and not only does every level introduce some kind of new twist on this concept, but you can replay each level for new objectives after beating them the first time.  It’s also got killer music, a silly story with great artwork, and it’s somewhat cheap at three bucks (when I bought it, it was a buck, but such is the nature of the App Store).  Highly recommended.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Damn, you finished JC2 on hard?! I can’t even finish the fourth or fifth story mission on normal. I think I probably need to upgrade my weapons or something, but I’ve sort of let that game go because getting the non-story related trophies was boring.

      • dmikester

        I have to admit, there were times where I almost quit. A couple of missions I had to try dozens of times, especially some of the later faction missions, and there were more than a couple of times where I beat a mission by sheer luck.  Weirdly, hardcore isn’t that much more tough than normal; after I beat the game, I went back to try the first two missions on normal and didn’t notice a substantial difference.  Damage seems to be about the same, but there are just way more enemies on hardcore.  And yes, upgrading weapons, especially the SMG, was essential.  I also have all of the DLC thanks to a great sale on the PS Store (the whole game with all of the DLC was something like fifteen bucks), so weapons like Rico’s Gun made things a little more doable.

        I did it on Hardcore so that, sometime in the far future, I could maybe get a platinum trophy.  I tried going through the game after beating the main story in Hardcore, and after getting slaughtered in random little villages by angry soldiers, I gave up and realized I needed to start on Easy for all the non-story trophies, but I won’t be doing that for a long time, maybe ever.  Life’s too short (says the person obsessively playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out).

  • Bad Horse

    Y’all convinced me last week to take another run at Metroid, and I’m doing so. I’d forgotten just how stark it is, how dissonant and discomfiting the sound design is, and what it’s like to try and get through a Metroidvania game with no map. For my money, there’s a certain creepiness to the original that Super Metroid never quite achieves, despite otherwise being the superior game.

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

      Super Metroid is so well-designed that it makes you feel a bit safer, I think.

      Metroid is abstract and alien and weird enough that you’re less sure what’s coming up next, less sure that it won’t be unfairly overpowered and instantly kill you, and less sure that you won’t just glitch through a wall and end up in some netherworld.

      • Bad Horse

        Totally true. Metroid has so many fewer ways to gate you with insurmountable obstacles (only 4 by my count, versus at least a dozen for Super), so it opts to kill you again and again. And it punishes you for dying too, reducing your health to one- or two-hit levels, so you’re in mortal danger until you can refill. After I got the hang of the controls in Super, I didn’t ever die. That is not the case in the original. 

  • duwease

    Mainly trying to finish unlocking all the achievements in the re-release of Jet Set Radio.  I *lo-o-o-ved* the game 10 years ago, but when I started playing it again, I realized how many little details of 3D game design didn’t exist in that era, and it was frustrating to play.  But still, I can’t stop.. gotta unlock Pots the Dog..

    Also maybe taking a swing at finally getting Platinum for Binding of Isaac.  Dark Boy is mocking me :(

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

    I might get some Spelunky in this weekend for funsies, but really I’m just excited for my new gaming laptop to arrive on Monday. I’ve been a mac user since 2007 and have missed out on countless exclusives.

    So what’s the first game I raring to boot up?  Mutha’ funkin’ Blueberry Garden! I’ve wanted to play that game forever! Also, the entirety of GOG’s beautiful vintage library awaits, and Sleeping Dogs is on sale for $25 bucks and we’re just a month or two from the winter sale and… oh my.

  • DiscardedPostit

    Sadly this weekend will be devoid of video games as I am going camping where there is not even a hint of internet.  However when I return Sunday and scrape the 2 days of filth off me in the shower then I will probably relax with some Borderlands.

    Next week I have to get the Doom BFG edition because they finally let you use the flashlight AND a gun together so I might be able to finish it this time.  Also going to pick up Forza Horizons even though I was less than impressed with the demo on XBL.  It felt way to much like a need for speed game with the whole “your at a huge bamboozle like festival of cars and WUB-dubstep and you need to make all these connections by racing here and there…”.  I cannot say no to a Forza though so I will own it and who knows it could be worth it.

    Going back to Doom for a second the reason I could not finish it the first time it came out was in part because I played it correctly (all the lights off 5.1 surround and at night) and it scared the shit out of me and Mr. Harington and I have the same connection with the character we are playing on the screen.  I get way to connected and that ends up making a scary experience even more disturbing.  That being said I love the entire Doom franchise and I need to get this one under my belt.

    Good Gaming to All!

  • ChumJoely

    I think it’s an indie-game weekend for me.  I played through 80% of Limbo yesterday (for the first time!) and I just love the dark, paranoid atmosphere (plus the puzzles are pretty good).  So I’ll finish that quick– no spoilers, please, if that’s an issue with Limbo– and then I’ll get on to The Unfinished Swan, which PlayStation Plus has allowed me to download ahead of the full public release.

    I like Limbo so much better than Journey. What does it say about me that I relate more to the world where a helpless child is dropped into a dark, cruel, unforgiving world where only your intellect can save you against the various monsters and machines that are trying to murder you for unknown reasons, than to the world of Journey where silent strangers guide you helpfully onward to ever greater heights of beauty and majesty?(Actually, I think it just says that the gameplay is more interesting in Limbo.  When I first got to one of the sections where the glowing worm lands on your head and takes over half of the controls, attempting to kill you by making you walk into a lake or off a cliff… wow. That’s a brilliant source of puzzle gameplay, besides being incredibly creepy and oppressive in keeping with the rest of the tone of the game.)

    • ChumJoely

      And by the way, if someone can tell me how to edit my profile, check for notifications (people replying to my messages, etc.), I’d greatly appreciate it.  Maybe I’m just dumb, but I don’t see how to do it.

      • stakkalee

        Right up above the main comment box is a set of 3 buttons.  The left-most button should show your notifications, and the right-most button, labeled “Disqus”, should let you edit your profile.  The middle one, of 2 faces in profile, will let you see various site stats like who has the most comments, the most recent commenters, and so forth.

        • ChumJoely

          Swell, thanks, I was looking in the topmost bar like at AV Club.  Now I remember the issue with my profile, which is that the firewall at my work won’t let me save changes from my work PC.  I’ll do it at home, then.

  • ChumJoely

    Following up on an earlier edition of “What Are You Playing”: I was chatting on here 2 weeks ago (?) with @WorldCivilizations, @duwease and @PaganPoet about Rayman Origins.  I finally did finish Land of the Livid Dead, and you were all right– it was thrilling to get that done.

    I was stuck for the longest time on the first part of the “fire” section, where you have to fly down through all the streaming lava etc.  I came extremely close to giving up and throwing the disc in the garbage when I realized that you not only had to get down through those tiny lanes between the flames, but you had to do it FAST– or else those damned thorny vines would get you.  There’s such a thing as “too hard”, and for a minute there (or rather, 2 hours or so of continuous failure), I thought those French mofo’s at Ubisoft Montpellier had crossed the line.

  • Moonside_Malcontent

    The voice of my inner 12-year old self was too strong to resist, so I picked up Worms: Revolution on Steam and so far it’s pretty okay.  I’ll probably try to finish the campaign mode this weekend.  The psychotic, Attenborough-esque  wildlife documentary narrator is a plus.  Apart from that I’m sure I’ll continue to shackle myself to Victoria 2 like the pre-pubescent coal miners my economy drains dry like a vast, capitalist vampire.

    “Capitalist vampire” might be redundant, though, come to think.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      I was a wall street zombie for Halloween last year. It was very popular in my liberal Minneapolis neighborhood.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I live in a liberal Minneapolis neighborhood, but it must be a different one than yours, as I saw no Wall Street zombies last year.
           Then again, it’s not as if there’s a dearth of liberal Minneapolis neighborhoods.
           Sometimes I like to pretend that my little bubble universe, populated as it is with a flood of Vote No signs is actually indicative of the country as a whole and doesn’t just stop dead the second you hit Bloomington.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          There is a massive number of Vote No signs in my neighborhood as well. And lesbians. We’re over near Lake and the highway but go trick-or-treating Southwest from there because any other direction would Uptown, Downtown, or Notsafeatnighttown.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus   Holy hell, we might be in the same neighborhood, after all.  I’m four blocks east of the Target on Lake St., one block off of Lake.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          I’m closer to the highway then that. Closest landmark according to Google Maps is…Chicago Lake Liqour. Well, okay than. One block off Lake? 31st? *extends tentatively for high five*

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          *reaches out to accept high-five, get arm severed by light rail*

        • NarcolepticPanda

          Well, I’m not that close to Chicago Lake Liqour, few blocks closer to Nicollet, but 31st street, MAKE SOME NOISE.

          *cough, smattering of applause*

  • NarcolepticPanda

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution/Uncharted 3 Co-Op Arena

    And I might venture out of my comfortable urban filth to my friends house deep in suburbia and play BioShock 2, which I know I will hate because Ayn Rand, and he insists I will like because Ron Paul (even though I don’t like Ron Paul, only he likes Ron Paul).

    • The_Forgotten_Quill

      We are One in all and all in One. There are no men but only the great WE, One, indivisible forever.
      WE like Ron Paul because Ayn Rand.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Well, we’d just do BioShock 2 because it has multiplayer. The whole series doesn’t appeal to me though, for the reason I mentioned above. Also, it’s a FPS.

      • Lord Autumn-Bottom

        BioShock 2 was one of the few cases where my opinion of a game (a pair of games, really) was very different from apparently the vast majority of gamers.  I really loved BioShock 2, even though I didn’t much care for the first game.  I can’t imagine what people see in the original that they don’t see in the sequel.  I thought it had a more interesting back-story, more substantial characters, better controls (not having to switch between plasmids and weapons was a big plus for me), better weapons, more memorable locations, and a much stronger finish (the last chapter or two were really epic).  I guess maybe Ryan made for a more compelling villain than Sofia Lamb, but I found her pretty nifty too.  And there’s plenty of Ryan in BS2 as well.

        • The_Forgotten_Quill

          I understand your reasoning, and I should have expounded a bit more. The root of my dislike for the game stemmed from the fact that BioShock felt “complete” to me.

          I’m a writer and a lover of stories and I just didn’t feel the need for a sequel. The story was essentially over and 2 just felt…strange.

          Actually, the more I think about it, the more I do need to replay it from the beginning. Reading your post makes me think I might not have given it the fair turn it deserved, considering I went into it with perhaps the wrong attitude (and admittedly never finished it). It’s kind of wrong to pass judgement on something I didn’t fully experience to its end. Thanks @dertwerst:disqus ; I will give it another try.

        • Lord Autumn-Bottom

          @The_Forgotten_Quill:disqus I can certainly respect that point of view.  But then, most games that go on to spawn franchises are fairly self-contained, so I’m not sure it makes sense to single out BioShock 2, unless you’re just uniformly anti-sequel.  And I think there was enough room left in Rapture to tell another story, if for no other reason than that Jack killed the two head honchos of the place, and power vacuums can bring about some fun times.

      • Electric Dragon

         I am he as you are he as we are all together.

    • Bad Horse

      A Randroid might have no beef with Bioshock 2, where the main villain is a collectivist, and a total Cousin Oliver who was apparently critically important to the life of Rapture but was never, ever mentioned in the original.

      Design-wise it makes some good refinements, mostly dual-wielding, but in every other way it is inferior to the original.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        Heh.  Cousin Oliver.  That’s about right.

  • The_Forgotten_Quill

    Sixteen hours in and I am officially loving Final Fantasy XIII-2.

    This weekend will be devoted to paradox fixing, anomaly resolving, fragment finding, time shifting and…dare I say it…some kind of Pokemon game? I’ve never played Pokemon, but the way you “tame” monsters and use them in battle…….

    I’m kind of playing Pokemon, aren’t I?

    Anyway, I thought I loved the first one, and I did, but for as much as I enjoyed Lightning and friends the first time around, I am finding myself myself twice as excited to spend time with the sequel.

    I will still defend FFXIII to my dying breath, but I have to admit that XIII-2 is a superior game in many ways. Also, I just read they’re planning a third (so the first trilogy in FF history?) and I’m excited it’s with this particular story.

    Maybe it’s because I’m not encumbered by my nostalgia goggles, but I’m curious as to why some FF fans dismiss any game that “is not VII.” I love Sephiroth and Cloud as much as the next girl, but let’s move on people. 

    • doyourealize

      Oh, you reminded me that I have FFXIII-2. Maybe I’ll start that up this weekend. I was also a big fan of the XIII, even if it’s far from my favorite FF (still better than X).

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      My First Final Fantasy was… well, the first one, so I tend to overlook how VII was a lot of people’s introduction to the franchise, and remains the gold standard against which all others are judged.  And are therefore probably young enough still that tastes are perceived as an objective thing, not a mutable compilation of experiences and preference.
         In XIII, I made it right up to the boss fight that’s supposed to end the ‘tutorial’ section and give you more latitude with how you adventure.  I think many were turned off by the paradigm system, which I understand.  But while I find the system okay, if not perhaps a little unsatisfying, it’s of all things the weapon upgrade system that turns me off the most.
         It takes a ridiculous amount of resources and the incremental growth lacks dramatic verve.
         But it is gorgeous, and I appreciate the unconventional monster designs even if they’re not my particular taste. 

      • The_Forgotten_Quill

        I also found the upgrade system more than a little impossible to understand without a guide, and the fact that farming gil for said components was also an next-to-impossible task. I’m not saying there weren’t flaws that made me question what the developers were thinking…

        But what really got me was that the majority of people (in my experience) were complaining about the story and it’s linear nature more than anything. There were a number of things that needed improving with XIII, which they have done in XIII-2, but to rail on the story of all things was a poor target for their vitriol in my opinion.

        Also, I happen to like the paradigm system. I admit, I was a little overwhelmed at first, but once I found a rhythm, I was good to go.

        I know some FF games aren’t for everyone, and that’s fine, but it always seemed like XIII got hated on just a little harder than the others, and I always seemed like the solo supporter. I was never trying to say it was “better” than VII, just different and different isn’t a bad thing.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          I agree the linearity complaint is somewhat nonsense.  While I enjoy the illusion of openness a world map provides between goal points, I also enjoy a tight narrative in an rpg.
             And while one of my least favorite internet rhetorical devices is to say, “Oh, I guess it’s cool now to pick on x, y or z”, the release of XIII did coincide with a pretty vocal backlash against Jrpg’s while also deviating enough from formula that it upset some of the die-hards.  Kinda’ a no-win situation, in that regard.

        • Bad Horse

          I don’t think it was the linearity of the plot so much as the ridiculous, overbearing, smothering degree of handholding. You spend the first 2 hours running down the same long hallway with nothing to do but press X and watch cutscenes. The combat system doesn’t open up for like 10 hours – most games would already be over by the time you can even use the full combat system, and it’s not even a hard system to understand. Certainly it is miles simpler than the combat in FFXII, which gave very little tutorial to speak of, but was super engaging, challenging, and generally the best JRPG combat system ever.

        • rvb1023

          I look at XII and XIII as polar opposites of each other and both I felt are games that failed to live up to their expectations.

          XIII’s biggest problem it is one of the worst written games in the series. And this is coming from someone who actually likes most of the characters (Hope sucks and Vanille is on the fence, but everyone else I eventually grew to love). The combat system, despite a few flaws that XIII-2 began to fix, is actually pretty good when they get creative with it some of the boss battles are actually really fun.

          But as @Bad_Horse:disqus said, the pacing is terrible, the world is underdeveloped while simultaneously needlessly complex, and the leveling system is derptastic. The hunts in the endgame give the game a well-needed adrenaline shot but the base game is far too easy (XIII-2 was even easier). I wanted to like XIII. I like Lightning, I like Sazh, I even grew to like Snow, but the game itself was not that good.

          XII should have been the best game in the series  but I felt that it too had bad pacing issues and that combat system put me to sleep. Which is unfortunate because it is easily the best written game in the series and ignoring Vaan and Penelo has the overall most likable cast.

        • doyourealize

          So now that I’ve spent a huge amount of my Saturday on FFXII-2, I’d like to put in that I really love it. The cutscenes definitely get a little Final Fantasy-y, and the storyline is unintelligible, but the battle system is just as deep as XIII, if not deeper, and the “non-linearity” is actually kind of nice, and I was not one to complain about FFXIII‘s linearity. Wasn’t really a fan of the story, but I loved the first game just the same, especially after you beat it. The quest structure and general open-ness of FFXIII-2 is a really welcome change (you can save anywhere, and can travel to any previously visited time whenever you want).

          Like @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus , I’ve been a Final Fantasy since the first game (which I never actually played, but watched a friend play the whole thing), and have really enjoyed it through all its non-online iterations, X excepted.

    • Citric

      I love FFXIII-2 right up to the final boss, which is one of those classic JRPG way too long, way too many forms setups that I just can’t abide as a grownup. Not to spoil that for you, but I had to whine.

      It’s otherwise great though, I agree. FFXIII, as much as I liked elements of it, seemed to be the product of a very frustrated and disenchanted development team – which is reflected in the story, about people assigned to do a job with a vague goal and no real reward – while the sequel is much more fun.

      I miss when JRPGs were a big thing. Yeah, the market has moved on to other things, but I always loved them and still do. Hell, I’m playing an older JRPG right now. 

  • stryker1121

    I wonder if the ‘bastard’ comments are more annoying than the ‘You know nothing, Jon Snow” comments. You guys should have asked him that.

    Anyway, still bulling through my first playthrough of Borderlands 2. Lvl. 25 Siren up in here. Enjoying it mostly although I’m over-leveled for most missions and the carrot-stick of the loot chase is wearing a bit thin. Also just got back into playing some Morrowind (PC)- just started Bloodmoon expansion. Never played it before and have heard great things, and I utterly adore Morrowind, so more’s the better. 

  • ShrikeTheAvatar

    Still more Guild Wars 2 for me.  I recently switched one of my crafting disciplines to Cooking, and it’s kind of ridiculous how much fun it is.  

    I even forget sometimes that the salsa or the cinnamon roll I just made actually have effects in game because it’s so much fun just gathering the ingredients and combining them…

  • The_Forgotten_Quill

    A great “Oops” goes here.

  • goawayinternet

    I’ve gotta murder all the guards in Dishonored this weekend. ALMOST THERE!

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

    I’m playing the always exciting Are You Done With That Public Finance Paper? Yes? Here, Have Seven More! this weekend. If I manage to get through that, then I’ll throw in a little Jade Empire and one of Far Cry, BioShock, or Beyond Good & Evil.

    Those last three games are all widely-praised titles that have fallen flat for me. They’re not terrible – okay, Far Cry is pretty awful – they just fail to engage me. That being said, I feel some sort of weird sense of duty to complete them. They’re gaps in my gaming history that need to be filled, so I’m hacking away at them, bit by bit. (Holy mixed metaphors, Batman!)

    • djsubversive

      hey, I was busy arma-editing yesterday. To answer your question: YES YOU SHOULD GET PAYDAY. At the very least, it will stop my “Merve, you should get Payday” comments. There’s a free weekend going on to celebrate their one-year anniversary, and I’m more than willing to run some heists with Gameological folks, if you want to try it before you buy it.

      This goes for non-merve people too, obviously – hop in the gameological steam chat and bug me to rob a bank or whatever if I’m there.

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

    I just came across the Nuzlocke Challenge so I’ve dusted off my old copy of Emerald, and I’m currently working my way through with a crappy, crappy team…

  • djsubversive

    It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I’ve been recently re-invigorated for some reason, so: mod update! (warning: long wall o’ text that probably doesn’t interest you)

    I’ve decided to ditch ACE completely for now. It added in a lot of awesome features, but I’m not familiar enough with basic ArmA 2/Op Arrowhead to really appreciate what it did. Or something like that. Plus side: no 10-minute comas and bunches of one-shot medical items. Downside: no back-blast from rockets or sweet sunglasses. It might be reintegrated later on, but for now I’m sticking with the basics (still pretty complicated).

    Since it’s mainly just me at the moment, things have become somewhat more simple. It’s no longer “co-op S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with Terminators on a custom Irish island” – mainly because there’s no Terminators and making Islands is a pain in the ass. I’m using Chernarus for now and I have a small (6-member) playable squad, some zones that randomly spawn enemies, a couple of small camps/spawn points set up, and a few basic starting goals (reunite with the squad, find friendly locals). I grabbed Lingor Island, which is a South/Central American-like jungle island, with a few factions and civilians (and snakes and alligators!), but haven’t done much exploring of it so far.

    I can customize loadouts for the DAC units (DAC, if you remember or care, is the awesome mod that lets me spawn random units with random waypoints in a set area), but it’s a pain in the ass, so for now I’m not worrying about it. Ditto with customizing all the loadouts for the NPC units I’ve set up (mainly to interact with – the “addAction” command is getting a lot of use). I’ve started re-doing the contents for weapon/ammo crates, and have the few in the “starting area” done. Again, more time-consuming than anything else, and it’s time spent staring at a notepad++ window rather than an editor screen, so it’s boring, too (I did find an ARMA-2-language extension for notepad++, which makes it slightly easier to tell if I’ve screwed up a script somewhere, so that’s a plus, I guess).

    On the to-do list: more placed vehicles, more random caches scattered around, more camps/stuff at existing camps, placement of Sat-phones (I’m using sat-phones as a way of getting some new missions – I’ve only got one placed so far, but if I can figure out how to sync them up, I’d like to have multiples so you can use whatever phone you want). Also: set up “what caused the helo crash?” task that starts with the crashed helo and ends… somewhere else, with something or somebody – right now, it’s just “Search helicopter for clues” and a short message saying that there aren’t really any, but I want to expand that so it actually goes somewhere.

    Oh, yeah, one more thing: I’ll be posting a new mod-list on the steam group, probably tonight, and if anyone’s interested in helping me test things out (I could use help testing things out), I suggest getting SixUpdater because it makes managing mods a LOT easier (and most of them can be grabbed directly from 6U) http://www.six-updater.net/p/download.html – there’s a small link under the “PlayWithSix” download button that says if you really want the old SixUpdater, you can get it. You can use the old mod-list (from August or something), but don’t worry about ACE, the ACE-dependent stuff, or Namalsk. Do worry about Lingor – it took a while for me to download (from 6U, which automatically grabs all the required Lingor addons like vegetation and buldings, and the non-required ones like Units, Civilians, and Crocodiles).

    whew. If you got this far, thanks for reading all of that. :) (and hopefully this doesn’t break the length-limit and disappear. all that typing would be for nothing!)

  • Citric

    What I’m probably a-playin’:

    Rudra – Still. I’m near the end of Sion’s part of the story, so that’s going well.

    Need For Speed: High Pursuit – I usually play it during the week more. It’s a great way to blow off steam, whether you’re driving into douchebags in Porsches or are the douchebag in the Porsche. 

    inFamous – Kinda neat, though it makes me wonder if the ubiquity of the sandbox is really a good idea. Ah well, this game’s still fun.

  • blue vodka lemonade

    1. Minecraft, which I just got back into thanks to multiplayer. So far I only build useless things, like treehouse aquariums populated by herds of cats.
    2. Portal 2, probably a little bit. I like to go in, play a room or two, and leave.
    3. I’m looking for a really great single-player, story-driven game to play. I’ve run out of BioWare games to chew on for the time being, I’ve (mostly) made it through the Half-Lifes and BioShocks and etc. and I really want something to dissolve into. Spookiness a plus.

    • djsubversive

      re: 3: are RPGs okay? Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magic Obscura is a great single-player story-driven game, but it does suffer from a near-fatal case of “PC-Game” – it almost requires the unofficial patch in order to play nice on modern systems (800×600 max resolution? How did we ever deal with that?).

      Also, Alpha Protocol. That’s a good one. And it does the best job of any game in recent memory of actually reacting to your choices. The action parts are less-than-stellar, so go Pistols/Stealth and breeze through them to get to the sweet sweet conversations.

      Huh. damn. Somehow I totally missed the “spookiness a plus” – neither of those games are all that spooky, but they are good games.

      • blue vodka lemonade

         I’ve always been tempted by Arcanum on GOG–it’s kind of Fallout-like, yeah? I tend to be pretty bad at not-dumbed-down RPGs, though I always like trying them.

        Alpha Protocol looks interesting but ho boy I suck at stealth. I’ve been stuck in the first “real” mission in Deus Ex: HR for something like three months now, just dying over and over and over as I move too quickly, panic, run around, and get shot to death. I am a fan of those sweet sweet dialogue trees, though. After finishing DAII I immediately started two new characters to play as different personalities/levels of insanity, just because I like party banter.

  • wuhushi

     http://xvr.in/qyb

  • coramo92

    I’ve been playing Halo: Reach a couple times a week since its release and I still sometimes manage to a play a little Halo 3 as well.  Mirror’s Edge was my main focus over the summer.  Currently, I am slowly and meticulously exploring the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I will leave no box unturned, no locker unopened, and no ebook unread!  Lastly, I am super pumped for Halo 4.  I will be filling out an absentee ballot on November 6.