What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Bill Amend

Bill Amend, cartoonist

The creator of FoxTrot has played a ton of World Of Warcraft and has the comic strips to prove it.

By Matt Kodner • November 2, 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.

Bill Amend is the cartoonist behind the comic strip FoxTrot, and has been at it for almost 25 years. FoxTrot has been running in national syndication since its debut in 1988. (It went Sundays-only in 2007.) Amend has a knack for sending up the geeky end of pop culture through mega-nerd Jason Fox, the youngest son in a family of five. He recenly released AAAA!, a collection of past strips targeted at kids.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Bill Amend: After a six-month hiatus, I’m plunging back into the World Of Warcraft, so to speak. The Mists Of Pandaria expansion, as you probably have heard, came out a week ago. That was enough to rekindle my interest at least to give it a look.

Gameological: How long have you been playing World Of Warcraft?

Amend: Since about a month into the game.

Gameological: Have you been using the same character this entire time?

Amend: I started out with an Alliance druid and played him for about six months. I switched to the Horde, and now I play an orc enhancement shaman. I’ve been playing him primarily since the beginning. I’ve got alternate characters that I goof around with, but generally I play my shaman.

Gameological: Did you play any of the earlier Warcraft games?

Amend: I started with Warcraft II way back when my wife bought it for me as a Valentine’s gift, or something. She had no idea of what a Pandora’s box she was opening. It was the beginning of the end.

Gameological: You’ve been putting video games into FoxTrot for a long time, so do you think Warcraft was the big turning point for a lifestyle change?

Amend: I’ve always played games. For years I had heard of Everquest, and this genre of MMOs and they were all for Windows PCs, and I was on Macs. I had heard about how horribly addictive they were, and so when World Of Warcraft came out, I wanted to give it a try, just to see what all the talk was about. Plus, I liked the lore of the Warcraft stories. It sucked me in quickly, but it worked out well because it was good fodder for the strip.

Gameological: I’m almost surprised—or maybe I’m missing a strip or two—but did Jason’s mom Andy ever get addicted to it? Because earlier, there was a story with her addicted to Doomathon II.

Amend: Yeah, I had her go crazy with Doomathon. It’s fun to play the characters off of what you would expect them to be doing, to go counter to perception. I had Paige I think briefly start playing World Of Warcraft, but by and large it’s always been Jason that’s the one geeking out about it. I’ve let his character mirror my own, so he plays an orc who’s an enhancement shaman, sort of the same way I do.

Foxtrot

Gameological: Speaking of Paige, I was looking around your website, and I saw that beyond the strip, you made a Slugman video game that was Slugman versus a horde of Paige-o-trons. Why did your dip your toes into making video games?

Amend: Well, my background, I was a physics major in college, and I was really into programming computers back then. This was in the early ’80s, and I programmed in Pascal, which is a language no one uses anymore. I was trying to teach myself C, and some point along the line I bought a book about how to program games for the Mac, in C. It had all kinds of example codes, and one of the games that came with it was a freeware game called Glypha III. It was a clone of Joust, the old arcade game where you fly your little ostrich on top of other guys. It was freeware, and I had the code, and the book encouraged you to go in and tweak stuff. I realized I could change all the sounds and graphics, and turn it into a game presumably programmed by Jason. So I made a Slugman game, and it was freeware, so I distributed on the website. Unfortunately, it only worked on Macs, and then when I did this back in the late ’90s, so when OS X came out, we had to tweak some stuff to make it compatible, and it worked all the way until OS X Lion, which killed it.

Gameological: Are you playing anything on your Mac right now? I know that can pretty limiting.

Amend: I hate to sound like an advertisement for Blizzard, but StarCraft II is the other game I go on. I put it on hold right now while I’m trying to level up my character in Warcraft. I play Protoss and I like the game, but I think I like watching professional StarCraft even more, which is sort of weird. I’ve replaced watching football on weekends with watching these StarCraft tournaments that you can stream. It’s really cool, and they have decent prize money.

Gameological: Is that online? There’s not a TV station for that, is there?

Amend: Not yet. In Korea, I think it’s on a couple TV channels, so that may a glimpse into our future. It’s online. As long as my internet’s working okay, it’s not an issue. There’s some weekend where all of a sudden my internet bugs out, and you have to watch it at one frame a second.

Gameological: Is that something you can watch with other people, like you would with a football game?

Amend: I have not been to one, but they’ve started having something called BarCrafts. They’ll set them up either through Reddit or various StarCraft forums. You go to a bar, and in the same way a sports bar might have football on all the screens, they’ll have the StarCraft tournaments, and you can watch them with 30 other people, which is pretty cool.

Gameological: Are there any in your area?

Amend: I’ve seen information leading me to believe that there is occasionally one in my area. I have not yet had the courage to put on a StarCraft t-shirt and show up, because I’d be the oldest guy there by far. [Laughs.] “Who brought grampa in?” I’d have to bring my 16-year-old son and pretend that I’m there to chaperone him.

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.

(Bill Amend photo courtesy of Genevieve719.)

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  • NarcolepticPanda

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    Persona 3 Portable.

    Both are so great!

    • Enkidum

      Just got off the funicular in the Montreal level of DE HR. Was red-eyed at like 3 a.m. last night because of it. I’m trying to get the Pacifist, Ghost and Smooth Operator achievements on Give Me Deus Ex difficulty for my first playthrough, which is the first time I’ve ever tried anything like that in a game, especially in a shooter, but it’s a lot of fun. (Actually, I’d think the harder difficulty level is much less of a problem when you’re playing a sneaky bastard like I am, because I never get shot, otherwise I have to revert to a previous stage anyways.)

      It was a huge relief when I realized that using robots and turrets against guards didn’t count against the pacifist achievement. Meant I smoked those fuckers when I was waiting for the funicular – set up a couple of concussion grenades, hid behind a box and just watched my hacked turret take out all these frozen guys who were supposed to provide a huge challenge. Mwahahahahaha.

      • Fluka

        I love how many ways there are to take care of the Funicular Summoning mission.  I hid in a vent.  The silliest/best way is to stack vending machines in front of the doors and just chill.  (This actually works.)

        • Enkidum

          I was actually just looking at one of the wiki sites and it suggested the vending machine tactic, but I was far happier to leave my foes as bloodstains for a change.

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

          I made it through that section by using some combination of vent-hiding, turret-hacking, and good ol’ cover-based shooting. I wasn’t at all trying to be a pacifist. In my playthrough, Jensen was a nasty, civilian-killing asshole.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        I’m on the first boss, which I tried about ten times last weekend, weekends being the only time I can play. Any tips? Fluka told me to get Typhoon, that’s in the Augmentations right? I’m doing the same, going for Pacifist and Foxiest of the Hounds. Currently worried because (1) I put a small barrel on one of those two DEB guys you take out in the Tindall mission, and if I take the barrel off, he dies, and (2) I’m never sure if making security cameras suspicious or enemies alarmed will mess with my achievement. Stuff I’ve read says it only counts if cameras are hostile or alarms are actually set off, but still nervous.

        • Fluka

          *Spoilers for anyone who wants to figure out how to kill Deus Ex bosses on their own…but why would you do that?*

          Typhoon it is!  When it’s fully upgraded, it kills bosses in like one or two shots.  For Barrett, you can also stun gun  / EMP him and throw a few of the red explosive barrels when he’s locked up.  Or, you can hide, whimpering, while he walks around, throwing frag grenades and walking directly into them.  He pretty much kills himself eventually.  I did the third tactic, because my Jensen was a sensitive, easily bruised soul.  But eventually even I got bored and just threw a barrel at him.

        • Enkidum

          Heh – I just read another site which said that using turrets against foes does count against the Pacifist achievement, so who knows? 

          I didn’t have the Typhoon for the first boss. What I ended up doing was: concussion grenade, then run halfway down the side of the room immediately to my right where there’s a barrel, chuck it at him and run all the way to the end of the room where there’s another barrel, chuck it at him, then hide in the storage room at that end (you can do all this without him seeing you if you time it right). Then you wait for him to come into view and chuck a couple of frag grenades at him.

          Of course it probably took me about 40 tries before I succeeded, but it was almost disappointingly easy when it worked. 

          Apparently if you stay hidden long enough he eventually blows himself up – he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          Yeah, the same thing I read said hacking turrets to make them hostile counts, but I didn’t want to burst your bubble t

        • fieldafar

          Throwing grenades and gas barrels did the job.
          All I did was hide behind a pole, throw a gas grenade, then two frag grenades  then top it off with some gas barrels that are nearby. 

          Then you are out, if you have any Praxis points, get the Typhoon. 

  • Cloks

    More Assassin’s Creed II – although I enjoy making my own games within that game more than the actual missions.

    Shenanigans: http://steamcommunity.com/id/cloks/

    Also, holy crap, Bill Amend.

    • HobbesMkii

       Bill Amend! (Actually, I haven’t read a FoxTrot since he ended up just doing Sunday strips, but still)

      • rjonathon

        i haven’t kept up on it since i was a kid, but occasionally my mom clips the sunday strip to show me. but holy shit…i didnt realize how nerdy Amend really was! new hero

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    Awesome!  Great interview subject, glad you could talk to him!  I’ve always loved that the nerdy stuff in FoxTrot is accurate, not just “making fun of the nerds”.  I guess if Amend plays games, that makes perfect sense.

    This weekend will be busy with our baby shower, but we will probably make time to see Wreck-It Ralph.  Looks great, and has been getting great reviews.

    As for games, I’m pretty much losing interest in Guild Wars 2 now, so have to find a new game to occupy me.  Might try out the X-Com remake…would still really love to find a Minecraft clone with more building depth, but most of those are still in development.

    One of these days I’ll play my Xbox again and get around to all of the games I’ve bought for it and not played in ten months.

    • AHyperkineticLagomorph

      Foxtrot has been one of the very few newspaper strips that I actually look forward to reading (as opposed to the ones that are marginally more interesting than staring at the table) along with Pearls Before Swine and maybe Get Fuzzy. Though I laugh at it, I’m usually left with a feeling of “There’s no way the average reader gets that reference.”

      This weekend, I will be playing the exciting game of trying to get college applications in on time, including all the crap I forgot to send, and hoping that doesn’t doom my career, filling me with a greater sense of dread than usual. But when I take a break from that I will be playing Okami HD. I had seriously forgotten how amazing this game looks. And plays. It’s one of those rare games that I pretty much love every single part of.

      Other than that, I will trying to finish Tales of the Abyss. I love the Tales Of series, but I’m starting to remember that the best way to play is with a huge online guide handy at all times, because there are about a thousand side-quests, 90% of which are unmarked and require an insane amount of random exploring to actually even realize they exist.

      And on Nov. 6 I will be getting Harvest Moon: A New Beginning because it is supposedly the best new Harvest Moon in ages and I am a sucker for relationship values and cuteness.

      • PaganPoet

        I also have been playing Okami HD. I hope this version of it sells well so maybe Capcom will consider another sequel.

      • blue vodka lemonade

         And that sense of dread never goes away! I got to the point where it was either finalize my major or drop out and become a Perkins waitress, and it was way more difficult than it should have been to pick that first option.

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

           You didn’t go for Perkins waitress?!?! You’ve locked yourself out of a buttery (oh, so buttery) future!

        • blue vodka lemonade

           @paraclete_pizza:disqus My fallback plan if my useless degree turns out to be useless is to open the world’s first combination Waffle House/Brothel, so there’s always hope for a buttery future.

        • aklab

          … is it bad that I kind of want to go to a Waffle House/Brothel?  

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

          “Braffle House.”

          A friend of mine worked in Perkins as a cook for a while after getting the same useless BFA as me. He gained so much weight, and accrued so much butter in his system. Grosseroo! As Punky Brewster would say.

          I can’t eat eggs or dairy, and don’t solicit prostitutes, but I think I’d try my damnedest to patronize a place called “Braffle House” as much as I could. You should offer some sort of smoothie with a rude banana-themed name.

        • aklab

          I also don’t solicit prostitutes and should probably rein in my consumption of scattered, smothered, chunked and diced double hashbrowns.  
          But the novelty of the Braffle House would be too much to pass up.  

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

          IHOP – International House of…Well, you can fill in the blank.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Just make sure to hang a placard that reads:

          “Brothel -Then Waffle”

             Otherwise the patrons will be too logey and sophonsified to partake of the more carnal pleasures.

        • blue vodka lemonade

           I think @paraclete_pizza:disqus and I might literally be the same person, possibly due to some time-shenanigans, or a wizard. I just decided to go for the useless BFA over the useful elementary education BA + MA program at my school, figuring I’ll have a slightly better idea of life goals, etc when I graduate in 2015 than I do now.

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus is onto the Braffle House’s secret: we’re going to feed patrons Ambien-laced waffled so they’re too tired to ask much of the girls. As a bonus, the sleepwalking/sleepingeating side-effects will make them order even more waffles.

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

         As I don’t own a PS3, I’m considering picking up a cheap PS2 copy (unless they’re marked up or something), and using an emulator to create my own bargain-basement “Okami HD” experience!

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

       Foxtrot was my jam when I was a kid. It started in our papers when I was in 6th grade, and at that point I was pretty much “brunette Jason fox,” so I totally identified with the character and loved the comic (Jason was such an uncanny mirror image of myself, that I was floored to discover that he drew a “Slug-Man” comic, something I had been doing myself since 2nd grade!).

      As a result, Foxtrot turned me on to a lot of great parts of 90s nerd culture I wasn’t yet acquainted with, like the X-Files. Also, the I think the “flounder-face” drawing style, which initially bothered me as a kid, broadened my aesthetic flexibility and paved the way for my appreciating more modern, less representation forms of cartooning and art in general.

      I remember in 7th grade I wrote Amend a fan letter explaining in detail
      the many correspondences between my life and Jason Fox’s – and he was
      kind enough not to issue a restraining order but to mail me back a
      signed print of a Sunday strip. So, yeah, warm fuzzies abounded while I was reading this interview.

      I don’t get a newspaper, and I typically don’t read comic strips much anymore, so I’ve fallen way behind on Foxtrot. Which is a shame, as its one of the few newspaper strips that is still fantastic.

      • HobbesMkii

        He can do straight on, as well, although it’s hard to tell which character is which.

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

       Oh! And congratulations on the upcoming baby Boreanaz!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Congratulations on fulfilling your primary biological imperative!
         We just took our three-year old out for her first trick-or-treat adventure and it almost single-handedly made the general lack of financial and social freedom worthwhile.
         When’s the lil’ pixel due?

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

         What was baby Mafia costumed as?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          My friend, you asked for it.
             Hard to tell from the picture, but she’s a mermaid.  I just like this one because it reminds me of the iconic image from American Beauty as seen through the eyes of an executive for Hershey’s.

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

           @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus That picture is so awesome! It totally captures that post-Trick-or-Treat come-down. I feel queasy just looking at it.
          Also, your kid is adorable.

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

          @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus: Did she hop around as a mermaid would, as if her legs were stuck together? Because that would be awesome.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Aw, chee.  Thanks @paraclete_pizza:disqus.  I know showing pictures of one’s offspring on the internet is a faux pas second only to typing everything in all caps, but though I do try to be sparing, sometimes you just gotta.
             And, @Merve2:disqus , it has some give, but it’s still tight enough and she’s still adorably uncoordinated enough that we were carrying her up and down stairs.  Much to her indignation, as she’s a very independent kid.
             I don’t know where she got that.  I wish someone would carry me up and down the stairs.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Early January is the due date, though we would love if she showed up in late December, because tax break!

  • dmikester

    I’ll hopefully be playing Assassin’s Creed III, which I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.  The reason I say hopefully is that I’ve been displaced from my apartment in lower Manhattan thanks to Sandy, and I’m staying with a family member who doesn’t have a videogame console.  Once power comes back to lower Manhattan though, it is on (well, it’s on during the hours I’m not volunteering my time for relief efforts).

    Strangely, I’m looking even more forward to ACIII after John’s scathing review; I really want to see how much I agree with him and how much I won’t.  I know I’m going to enjoy it because of how invested I am in the Assassin’s Creed universe (I’m one of those obsessive players who has gotten every single collectible in every AC game, including the first one when it didn’t even matter in any way), but I’m curious about a lot of the points that John brought up.  The fact that they brought back crafting, for example, irks me already.  I’ll post my thoughts about the game sometime in the future, maybe in next week’s What Are You Playing. 

    • Fluka

      I hope the power comes back and you get to go home soon! 

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       I’ll be looking for your thoughts since I’m still on the fence about whether to wait until it drops to $40 or $20.

    • Ack_Ack

      I’ll play some Assassin’s Creed 3 for you tonight, in your honour.  I’ll even light a little votive candle and say a prayer beforehand.  Very tasteful. 

      John’s review of AC3 was definitely at the lower end of the scale – most of the reviews that I watched beforehand were positive, and so far, I’m enjoying it.  My only complaint is that I’m supposed to be playing as a badass Native American, but 4 hours in, I’m still some stilted British dude.  I just want to go hunting, but so far, I’m stuck in Boston assembling a posse, with no Native Americans in sight.  Production values are great, and the gameplay is very smooth (although a little hand-holdy right now).

      I’ve also got to play some Dishonored, since that’s not even close to finished.  And I haven’t finished the Borderlands expansion yet – I’ve got to tackle that at some point.  I’m starting to think that I won’t be able to get all of this taken care of before Halo 4 comes out on Tuesday. 

      It’s a good thing that I don’t have much of a life, or I’d never get any of these done. 

      • Andrew_Ryans_Caddy

        Without spoilers, I can reassure you that the British guy part for very good reason. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Good luck on getting back into your life again.
         It sure seems that, in the time not devoted to volunteering and getting your own life back together, an intensely detailed, all-encompassing game might be just the thing for some stress relief.

    • dmikester

       Thanks for the well wishes everyone!  It’s actually looking like I’ll be displaced for longer than expected.  My apartment building got hit pretty badly, so I’m not sure about being able to play the game until likely the end of next week.  I’m going to brave my apartment tomorrow to get clean clothes and I might grab my PS3 if it’s feasible to carry it down many flights of stairs in the dark.  The biggest issue with playing the game is going to be actually getting the game; I ordered it from Amazon, and it’s in delivery limbo because of the hurricane.  I’m trying to get it rerouted, but FedEx is just being a nightmare to deal with. 

      I might try to begin the horrifying task of getting all of the trophies in MGS4 if I can somehow get my PS3 out of my apartment, and @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus you’re absolutely right, videogames would help take my mind off of a lot of the stress right now, though getting the Big Boss and/or the Chicken emblem in MGS4 might not be the most stress-relieving thing of all time

  • Fluka

    Bill Amend!  When I was 10, I thought I was the only person who read FoxTrot.  I never knew it was such a shared nerd experience!  Or that Mr. Amend was quite so geeky himself…  Nice interview!

    Spent the first part of the week playing and finishing Deus Ex: The Missing Link, which was a satisfying few hours!  In this installment of Deus Ex, Adam wakes up to find himself half naked and strapped to a chair, while getting slapped and yelled at by a lady!  He escapes and then must run around trying to find his clothes and enough candy to make it through the day!  (Who says that Assassin’s Creed has a monopoly on weird plot descriptions?)

    Playing under Factory Zero conditions (achievement with no weapons, no praxis upgrades) makes the whole think a little more interesting than just another Deus Ex mission.  Jesus Christ, life is *hard* when you can’t cloak, hack, high jump, or pick up heavy objects.  And apparently Adam Jensen is really really shit at stacking and carrying things without dropping them (stupid stacking cardboard boxes to save scientists).  And going to the store to buy supplies isn’t nearly as fun, though you can still purchase large quantities of Military-Grade Cyborg Nourishment.  Otherwise, good characters, nice wrap up of lore, a fun experience was had.

    On the decidedly non-stealth non-pacifist end of the spectrum I will probably spend the weekend finishing my long term renegade playthough of Mass Effect 2.  Most recently, my coldhearted asshole Shepard somehow managed to slip loose from her ship to engage in her most favorite activity, namely, murderin’.  

    *ME3 spoilers* Don’t worry!  She’ll be taking over control of the Reaper fleet a few months from now, guys!* *end spoilers*

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

      Your screenshots fill me with glee. Yahg-punching FTW!

      • Fluka

        Heeh, glad you liked them!  I was thinking that Lair of the Shadow Broker would have lost some of its gleefulness the second time I played through it.  NOPE.  Grinning the entire time.  Best Mass Effect mission ever?  Yes.

    • fieldafar

      The Missing Link was fantastic. Such a shame that’s the only story-expanding DLC we got for DX:HR

      • Fluka

        It just makes me sad that I’m now out of Deus Ex HR!  I should have saved it!  I need to go back and play the original, I guess.  Or just get Mr. Fluka to play HR.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    It’s What are you playing this weekend? 1993 edition!

       I was listening to the radio while cleaning the kitchen tonight and they closed out the hour with Devo’s Corporate Anthem off of Duty Now For The Future.
       I listened to that album with such obsessive regularity while playing Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark Savant in High School that the two have etched a shared synapse into my brain.  To hear any track off that album immediately unfurls a mental image of walking identical grids of forest or dungeon, then being attacked by… like, what… 90 bugs?
       The game ran pretty smooth on my 486 Vesa with Super VGA graphics card.  I had to invest separately in a Sound Blaster sound card, but it was worth it to unlock the full compliment of in-game music and sound effects, each sounding almost exactly like one of those toy cans you tip over for a mooing noise.
       I got to play a cat person Samurai and the game taught me what a mitre is, so I still have nothing but good things to say about it. 

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I remember buying a Sound Blaster card for Sierra’s Robin Hood game, under the mistaken idea that there would be voice acting with it.  There wasn’t, but there was pretty cool music (for the time).  The game itself was pretty silly.

    • The Guilty Party

      I loved Dark Savant. Hell, I still play it. It gets a little tedious at the end when you have to beat down megabot after megabot (what was it with 80s-90s rpgs and robots in your fantasy world?) but overall one of my favorites.

      My personal pavlovian association is with this weird-ass orange flavored green tea and FF8. I bought a box of it thinking it would be good, and it wasn’t. But I didn’t want to waste money so I forced myself to drink it all, generally while playing FF8. Now I can’t replay it without wanting that tea.

  • rvb1023

    Picked up Pathologic from an Indie Bundle not to long ago and will attempting to play through it, no matter how poorly translated and dense everything seems to be.  I will be engrossed, dammit.

    • caspiancomic

       Any mention of Bastion, Sega, or Ice-Pick Lodge summons me like Bloody Mary. I envy that you can play Pathologic. Apparently they’re considering a remake? Or at least a re-release, possibly through Steam.

      • rvb1023

        I would definitely be behind a new release, though I imagine some of the charm would be lost if too much were “cleaned up”.

        • blue vodka lemonade

          If you play through as the Devotress, the poor quality of in-game text really, really screws you over about halfway through the game. It becomes impossible to figure out what’s going on without getting outside help, because what the game tells you you should be doing is nearly the opposite of what you actually need to do.

          At one point there was a fan translation in-progress, but I think it stalled out nearly a year ago. I’d love to see an official re-release, or at least an English patch.

    • blue vodka lemonade

       PATHOLOGIC TIPS:

      Try to play each day in one sitting. It helps with the atmosphere, sure, but it also makes remembering what you’re supposed to be doing much, much easier.

      Save every time you accomplish something, no matter how small or stupid. Walked across town? Picked up some old needles? SAVE SAVE SAVE

      Headphones are good.

      If you suddenly find yourself being yelled at in Russian by some weird masked dudes in an empty theater, you just died. The game will not tell you this. Or maybe it does tell you, but in Russian.

      When the game tells you a thing is near another thing, sometimes that means that they’re literally in the same building. Sometimes it means they are vaguely on the same block.

      Don’t combine Pathologic and Robitussin.

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

         How long does a day generally take, in hours? I’m wondering if Pathologic is something I should save for winter break, when I can make a nice 5-hour block for a single play session, or if it’s only like a 1-or-2-hour time commitment per session, I can maybe sneak it in while school’s still going on.

        • blue vodka lemonade

          Depending on whether you rest in-game, a day will take probably 2-3 hours assuming you don’t need to reload much. I think it’s 5 real-world-minutes to 1 game-hour, but that might not be quite right.

          I found myself playing about one day each day, if that makes sense. Some of the later, more difficult in-game days took longer, since there are more opportunities to fail/die or realize you made a mistake early on in the day and need to revert to an old save.

      • rvb1023

        You might just save my life in this game. I figured out pretty quick this is one of those games I’m going to have a lot of saves.

        I played for about an hour last night and got to a burned down house with stairs that couldn’t possibly exist when I bothered to check if this game has fall damage. It does, apparently.

        • blue vodka lemonade

           I don’t think there are too many things in the game which can’t kill you. Maybe trees, and most clouds.

      • Alkaron

        I second all of this advice, especially the bit about playing through an entire game-day per sitting. The harder days generally took me about 3-4 hours, with Day 10 eating about 5 and a half hours. It’s a game best experienced by setting aside a good chunk of playing time whenever you sit down with it.

        I would also recommend not playing Pathologic right before bed, if at all possible. By Day 8 I had started having weird, frightening stress dreams most nights.

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

       I recently picked it up on the Indie Royale bundle, too! I’ve got it up and running, but need to wait until I have the time and intestinal fortitude to give it a go.

    • doyourealize

      I got the bundle, too, and Pathologic is what I’m looking forward to most. I’ll be using @green_gin_rickey:disqus ’s tips when I finally get around to playing it, which may be a while.

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

      I also am sitting on a copy of this but I think I’ll finish the light-hearted Sam and Max games first.  Pathologic sounds like it’s the Brothers Karamazov of video games. Dense, rewarding and did-we-say-dense-yet?

      • blue vodka lemonade

        Find a copy of The Brothers Karamazov in Russian. Purchase a mail-order bride from your favorite former Soviet country. When she arrives, give her the book and ask her to read aloud to you what it says, in English, and not to correct herself if she realizes she’s messed something up.

        Incredibly difficult to parse at times, pretty dense, and rewarding for the right audience. It’s definitely not light-hearted and it’s not what well-adjusted people would call “fun,” but it does such interesting things with familiar game mechanics (and a couple unfamiliar ones) and is such a singular, insane achievement that it’s totally worthwhile.

  • KidvanDanzig

    XCOM. Col. George “Cherry Tree” Washington is poppin’ heads w/ a plasma sniper rifle and fucking up aliens’ minds with his mind. Game owns

    • Fluka

      Washington, Washington.  Six foot twenty, fucking killing for fun.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      I was so sad when my sniper I named after Saito from Ghost in the Shell died this week. He had made it through 40+ missions and had 98 kills. I’ll miss that lethal motherfucker.

      I just made it to the part where you unlock Psi-powers, so I think I’m close to the end. I’ve been playing on Normal, and after a rocky couple hours learning the game mechanics, I’ve been breezing through the game. I’m looking forward to my next playthrough on Classic, which I’m sure will kick my ass.

      I didn’t notice your soldiers laugh after a successful psi-attack until after my girl exploded a Thin Man’s head and laughed at it. Amazing.

    • TheVisibleMan

      I’m also rocking a presidential XCOM squad. My two baddest asses are heavy weapons expert Lt. Theodore ‘Big Stick’ Roosevelt and crackshot sniper Lt. Martin ‘Camper’ Van Buren.

      • http://twitter.com/RyanSmithWriter Ryan Smith

        Similarly, Joe “Bitchin” Biden and Michelle “Yo Mama” Obama have survived 30 missions for my XCom squad. 

  • cokebabies

    I really miss Foxtrot being daily.

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

    This weekend, I’ll be playing Mock Referee Report. I’m currently at the quest that involves deciphering a paper that includes a variable used in a key proof but not defined or used elsewhere in the paper. Luckily, I get to do this one with a co-op partner, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

    As for games of the video variety, I’ll be playing some combination of Jade Empire, Assassin’s Creed, BioShock, and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Though I can get really into a single game sometimes, usually I have multiple games on the go. It’s perfectly normal for me to spend my free time on a typical weekend playing an hour each of four or five games.

    In Jade Empire, I just completed the qualifying rounds at the arena. At this point, I think I’ve accumulated more fighting styles than I have hotkeys, so I may try switching up my styles for some variety. Before taking on the next level of fights, I might take some time to do a few other sidequests. I’m eager to explore the Imperial City. It seems to be an interesting, bustling place with many colourful characters. Earlier, I ran into Lustful Lao and was disappointed when I couldn’t punch him in his lecherous face.

    I’m starting to understand the complaints about Assassin’s Creed’s keyboard-and-mouse controls. The free-running and platforming work just fine. However, pickpocketing is an exercise in frustration. “Oh, you want to pickpocket this guy?” asks the game. “Well then, how about you shove him aside and blow your cover instead?” At this point, I yell some choice Hindi curse words about Altaïr’s mother. The game just scoffs at me and forces me to restart the mission. I’ve also run into some funny glitches in the game. In one cutscene, Head Assassin Guy – the fact that I can’t remember his name should give you an indication of how engaged I am with the story – walks right through a fluttering pennant before releasing a pigeon to fly right through a closed window. Assassin’s Creed: the game with magical pigeons, folks.

    I’ve been chipping away at BioShock for months. Every few weeks, I play for a couple of hours before reaching another accursed fetch quest, at which point I yell some choice Hindi curse words about Andrew Ryan’s mother before quitting. I swear this game is twice as long as it needs to be. Retracing one’s steps five times does not a good game make.

    Playing Warrior Within just drains me. I can’t play it for more than half an hour at a time. It’s not a bad game, by any means. The tone and aesthetic just seem ridiculous to me. The soundtrack is all chugging, palm-muted guitar riffs, the environments are drab and gloomy, and the Prince has been turned into what is best described as a “nü-metal asshole.” *sigh* Why couldn’t they stick with the vibe of “Sands of Time?” Good news, though: the combat is much improved over the previous entry in the series! No more getting hacked to bits while I try to suck up a demon into my sword before he or she comes back to life. (Man, that mechanic was annoying.)

    I’ve got a mega-huge backlog going. And I just bought Worms 2 for $3 in GOG’s Halloween sale this morning, which will only make matters worse. But as eager as I am to go on a nostalgia trip, I think I’ll save it, as well as Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 2, for my laptop so that I have something to play while I travel.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      I do a similar thing as in playing multiple video games at once. For me, I often jump around between games, setting them down, playing something else, and picking them back up later. I did that a great amount this summer, when the combination of a first REAL JOB and Playstation Plus netted me a whole bunch of games at once. Uncharted 3! Infamous 2! Just Cause 2! Uncharted 3! Infamous 2! Portal 2! Infamous 2! Just Cause 2! Uncharted 3! Portal 2! Finally got out of that cycle midway through September after finally finishing Uncharted 3, but then I got Arkham City and Human Revolution in October! Luckily, been able to focus on Human Revolution so far. (I got Arkham City in case I wasn’t allowed to keep Human Revolution. Silly me, being all not at least 17!)

    • Effigy_Power

      Al Mualim doesn’t make much of an impression in the game, which is especially interesting since he is based on an incredibly mysterious and, for today’s followers of Nizari Ismailism, quite holy man.
      AC plays fast and loose with a lot of historical facts, but the first game has a real knack for not really setting a good scene for some very interesting people. By the time AC2 comes around, they have learned and people like Lorenzo di Medici and Catarina Sforza are given a bit more due (even if it’s all still pretty fictional).

      • HobbesMkii

        They should’ve marketed the game with a big label that said, “You will punch the Pope and sleep with Catarina Sforza!” and then on the box for Brotherhood, the label could say, “Yeah, it happens again!”

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

        Also an instantly recognizable voice actor:

        http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0719115/

        • Effigy_Power

          Who I will always think of as Duncan of Dragon Age fame rather than Al Mualim.
          Plus I never watched Toitles.

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

          I was gonna say that cranky doctor in New Vegas, but Duncan, way better call.

  • caspiancomic

    As last week, and the week before, backwards into time immemorial (two weeks ago) I’ll be playing Tokyo Jungle and Persona 3:FES.

    There isn’t much to say about Tokyo Jungle I didn’t say last week, but I’m still enjoying myself even through the repetition. I’ve unlocked I think the last of the truly samey grazers (I’m up to four types of deer that are only barely discernible from one another), and once I’ve unlocked a couple more breeds of dog that’ll be the last of the filler predators as well. Another few days’ work and I’ll be unlocking the truly stupidly cool animals like ostriches, giraffes, tigers, and, God willing, dinosaurs. I actually almost unlocked the tuxedo today while playing as a pig- I had survived for 60 years and 11 generations, and only had to mark 4 more territories to have completed every challenge in the game. But let me tell you: one pig is no match for four velociraptors. (Okay, so they’re technically deinonychuses, but come on, they’re clearly included in the game to capitalize on Jurassic Park nostalgia. They’re raptors, damnation!)

    Progress in P3:F on the other hand has been pretty dramatic. I’m up to the last week of July (summer break wooo!), and I’m in the mid 70s in Tartarus. I also finally met the girl from the opening FMV after spending two weeks wondering how this character who hasn’t shown her face could possibly be so important to the plot of the game as to basically star in the game’s intro. I also maxed out my first S-Link! With Kazushi, so now I can fuse Thor someday. I’ve got Ares in the pipe now, he’s pretty much my go to dood for shit-ruining right now. I’ve apparently got six more of those uber Shadows to defeat. It’s weird: I figure I’m about half way through the game, maybe less, but I’m already really looking forward to New Game Plus.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Personaaa 3! September 3rd, floor 89, 18 hours 9 minutes played. Maxed out Kenji and Kazushi, need to hunker down and focus on Student Council or Music Club. Game ends at the end of March, after beginning in the beginning of April (at least that’s what the calendar says), so you and I got plenty of time. I’m psyched for New Game+ too! I haven’t seen PaganPoet around all week, but I need someone to explain how exactly the Persona compendium works. Right now I’m rolling with level 22 Pyro Jack, level 21 Ghoul, level 28 Lamia, and a bit of the classic level 14 Jack Frost. I’ve got a level 19 Ares and have found him pretty much useless, as well as a couple more Personas in the level 26 to level 29 range that I neglect. I have Akihiko and Mitsuru as consistent squad members, but am still trying to find a good #4. How’s your game going? I gotta let you catch up! Mannn, this is the first time I’ve EVER had conversations with someone playing the same game at the same time as me, let alone a game like Persona 3.

      • PaganPoet

        I’ve been here, just haven’t had much to say about the topics this week.

        The compendium is, like, your “Personadex” so to speak (Gotta catch ‘em all!)…it allows you to buy any previously owned Personas. The Personas will default to their lowest-level, no-skills inherited form unless you register a better version of it. For example, somehow you’ve got a level 99 Orpheus with awesome skills like Niflheim and Megidoalon and Marakarn, but you never registered it in the compendium, and you accidentally dismiss it…the Orpheus in the compendium will be the default level 2 Orpheus. The lesson? If you level up a Persona tons…OR if it inherits a really awesome skill, REGISTER IT.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          And then your Personadex…carries over to New Game+? Can you use them right away, and do their levels carry over?

        • PaganPoet

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus You can use them as soon as the Personadex is available, which is right after the Train full moon event, I think. Their levels and skills carry over as long as they were registered.

        • caspiancomic

           Wooo! This reply is really for @NarcolepticPanda:disqus, but if I replied to him directly we’d have multiple weird little subthreads instead of one nicely stacked thread, so here goes!

          Floor 89!? Crikey! I’ve had to scale back my playing since classes have started again, but you’re off like a shot! I’ve kept my Pyro Jack around as well, although my beloved Jack Frost was one of the ingredients in my newly beloved Ares, if memory serves. How can you not like Ares!? I got him through a pretty bold fusion, and he received a lot of EXP from my S-Links, so that may be why my dood is so gnarly. He’s got attacks that get bonuses on the New and Full moons, so he’s handy to have around on the missions. Although he does focus mainly on physical attacks, which I don’t like as much as magic ones (I don’t like casting from HP). My other A-Listers are Pyro Jack and Fortuna, I’ve got a few B-Listers in Omoikane and Narcissus, and a few stragglers that I keep meaning to either fuse or staple to a weapon.

          Also, for party members? Aigis is pretty much my new bestie. (She’s still in P3Portable, right?) Her Persona is pretty physical, so she drains her own HP pretty quickly, but her attacks are absurdly strong.

          Next up for me I think is maxing out my S-Links with Kenji and Yuko. I’ve also spent a lot of time with the drunken monk whose name I’ve forgotten, and Keisuke, the Art Club leader. Are all 22 Major Arcana really represented in this game? There must be S-Links waiting to happen all over the place whom I’ve never even seen before…

        • PaganPoet

          @caspiancomic:disqus  All 22 are there! (Except “The World” has been replaced by another Arcana “Aeon”).

          3 of them will max out automatically as the story progresses: The Fool, Death, and Judgement; The rest are all people you have to seek out! The hardest ones to max out (at least on your first playthrough) are The High Priestess, The Empress, and The Lovers since you have to have max Courage, Academics, and Charm respectively to even begin those Social Links. The Devil and The Tower are both night-time social links that won’t interfere with the rest of them. Which ones have you established? Which are you missing?

        • caspiancomic

           @PaganPoet:disqus I’ve established a pretty vanishingly small number of S-Links, frankly. Fewer than 10, I think? Fool, Death, Magician, Chariot, Strength, Tower, Justice, Hierophant, Hanged Man, Emperor, and Fortune… so 11 total. Actually, halfway there isn’t bad, especially if my estimation that I’m halfway through the game is accurate. There are a few people I’ve met but been unable to form an S-Link with (Stripey shirt man wants his pen back, the gourmet thought I was too gauche, Aigis isn’t humany enough yet, etc), and a few people I’ve heard tips about but haven’t met yet (MMO girl, I assume every club has its own S-Links and I’ve only joined two).

          You said last week that you can max out all your S-Links in one playthrough, right? Because I’ve nearly maxed my S-Link with Yuko, and I got a message warning me that if I get too close to other women, she might get jealous (women, amirite!!?!!??). I certainly hope it’s possible to max out an S-Link with a woman without the relationship turning romantic and spoiling any of your other S-Links. (Although this being a Japanese game and all, I kind of assume that every female character wants to bone the hero, so presumably with a high enough S-Link any female relationship can turn romantic.)

        • NarcolepticPanda

          @PaganPoet:disqus Okay, thank you. Just wasn’t sure if there was something I was missing in terms of the compendium, and didn’t want to ruin my New Game+. How many times have you played through? Did you ever max out all links?

          @caspiancomic:disqus In defense of my binging, don’t have any classes on Friday, and there’s no way I’m gonna start my homework that early! I’ve spent probably two thirds of those 18 hours on the last two Fridays and a couple late night runs.

          Oh man, you traded Jack Frost for Ares? I’ve still got him, even though he’s 8 levels below my next lowest leveled Persona. I’m biased though, what with him sharing my namesake. I don’t know why I don’t dig Ares, I thought he’d be cool what with the God of War stuff and all. Maybe it’s because I got it as a card, didn’t get any social link bonuses? I also do definitely prefer magic attacks over physical attacks, mainly because I got some SICK weapons, that essentially replicate physical attacks without taking away health. Omokaine as a B-lister? D(ude/ood)! I got him as a fusion with the maxed out Chariot social link level 35! Mostly physical attacks though. I really like the lineup I’ve got right now, only need a good wind/hama 5th Persona in my rotation.

          Yeah, Aegis is in P3P. Don’t like her much, again because of my aversion to health attacks. And she’s a creepy robot. Right now I’m flip flopping between Yukari and someone I’m not sure if you’ve met yet as my third partner. Pyro Jack, Akihiko’s lightning Persona, and Mitsuru’s ice Persona makes for some unhappy enemies! Also, Pro Tip: Try to get Ghoul, chillin’ with him makes the dungeons fun, and he totally doesn’t look like a burnt corpse. (He looks like a burnt corpse, still damn useful though.)

          Nope, I don’t think every club has its own Social link, because you can’t join more than one, and Keisuke is the leader of Music Club. I’ve got even less social links than you: Fool, Magician, Emperor, Hierophant, Chariot, Hermit, Fortune, Strength, Death, Devil, and Moon. Magician and Chariot maxed out, Strength at level 8, and everything else ranging from level 4 to level 6. On the other hand, I’m Smart/Smooth/Tough! *gloats at video game time management skills while neglecting real life work*

        • caspiancomic

          @NarcolepticPanda:disqus Is the party member you’re not sure if I’ve met yet a DOG BECAUSE I AM NOW FRIENDS WITH A DOG. COULD THIS BE THE BEST GAME EVER? THE DOG WEARS LITTLE CLOTHES.

          Just binged pretty hard, and I’m now just after summer school and the Summer Festival (went with Yuko. #smooth). I also made a new social link! The Sun, although the dood is a bit of a downer. I was also told I could chill with a Kendo rival from another school, but I kind of forgot when and where to meet him, so who knows if that will pan out.

          So you’ve got Omoikane as an A-Lister, eh? I think forming Personas (Personae?) through fusion is the primary method of getting top tier doods. It explains why I’ve got Omoikane warming the bench and Ares constantly at the ready, while you’re the other way around. I try to keep my lineup pretty well curated, so I do a lot of fusing, but I also want to try to level up the doods I get out of cards to make sure they have enough skill to teach their “offspring.” Right now my Pyro Jack, Valkyrie, and Ares have all pretty much served their purpose, and they aren’t going to learn any more attacks. I’m a little upset about having to fuse them, I’ve gotten kind of attached. But who knows what kind of crazed monstrosity I can get from them… maybe a Triangle Fusion… yeah…

        • NarcolepticPanda

          @caspiancomic:disqus IT IS THE DOG. I’M TOTALLY BEST FRIENDS WITH THE DOG TOO. Yeah, Koro-something is way cooler than that android. HE HAS A SHIV. And when you defeat the last enemy with him, he sits down and scratches himself! 
          Fusion is probably how you get the top notch Personas. (Personae? I don’t know? @PaganPoet:disqus definitely knows.) Because with the social links, you get so much bonus XP. Which means I really need to start being more versatile with my lineup, instead of the four I’m currently using almost exclusively. Besides those four (Pyro Jack, Ghoul, Lamia, and Jack Frost), Omokaine, and Ares…I’ve got a level 26 Strength that’s pretty much useless because he has like two skill attacks that are like light strike attack (from HP) and light slash attack (from HP). I think that’s because, although I acquired him from a fusion, the Personas (Personae?) I used weren’t very used before I fused them. Also, some level 28 Magician (with fire attacks worse than Pyro Jack), and a level 27 Priestess I’m waiting to use in a good fusion.

          I spoke with the Kendo rival as well, but blanked on when/where.

    • Effigy_Power

      I may have missed it, but did you ever sum up your HL2 experiences?

      • caspiancomic

         I sort of tried to a few weeks ago, but Disqus at my comment three times in a row, so I sort of threw my toys out of the crib. It may be just as well, since my thoughts on the matter hadn’t really properly coalesced at that point. I’d be happy to post something more substantial once I’ve worked it all out in my head.

        (Short version: Holy shit!)

    • duwease

      I finally got my Tuxedo this week with a Wolf.. it’s just too hard with grazers, since you can really get screwed having to eat specific plants.  Went ahead and got 100+ years too, mostly by hanging around the sewers to keep toxicity low and occassionally popping out to eat and mate.

      But then after year 105 or so… well.. things get real.

      • caspiancomic

         Aw man, things got super real after 60 years! How much realer are things gonna get!?

        There were dinosaurs.

  • EmperorNortonI

    I think I am close to finishing XCom. Once I got the full set of laser weapons, the game on normal got a LOT easier, and even the introduction of the various elites hasnt mattered all that much. Just out of curiosity, has anyone got two psychics at the same time?

    I still think its odd that there is no research project based off the alien surgery, and that you never seem to rescue anyone from those downed abductors or the base. And why didn’t I get, like, 50 plasma rifles from the supply ship? What sort of supplies was it really holding? Unanswered questions aplenty.

    Once complete, I think I will finally be ready to give Borderlands 2 a try.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      I have two pyschics right now. Only one of my characters ranked above Squaddie turned out to be psychic, so I bought like 20 new recruits and started sifting through them to find another pyschic. I got my second one the other day, and I still have more new recruits to test.

      I must have taken longer than you to attack the Alien base, because I already had all plasma weapons and heavy armor before I tried. The game has definitely been breezing through after the first couple hours, so I’m looking forward to starting my Classic playthrough soon and getting my ass beat. 

      I could send my psychic into the machine now, but since the game said I pretty much can’t progress after I do, I am waiting til I can find enough pyschics to build a whole squad, then I’ll have to level them up since they will all be new recruits.

  • feisto

    If anyone has an hour to kill, you have to play Frog Fractions:

    http://twinbeardstudios.com/frog-fractions

    Even if it doesn’t look like your kind of thing, just stay with it until the end. It’s just completely absurd and wonderful in the unexpected twists it takes.

    • WL14

      WHAT DID YOU JUST DO WITH 2 HOURS OF MY LIFE YOU WIZARD

      • WL14

        I DONT LIKE USING ABBREVIATIONS BUT WTF IS GOING ON IN THIS GAME I CANT STOP AND I DONT UNDERSTAND AND IM PRETTY SURE I HAVE TO WORK TOMORROW

        • Chum Joely

          Hey, that exact thing is happening to me right now (in fact the whole past week) with “Super Monsters Ate My Condo”.  And it’s Gameological’s fault!

          http://gameological.com/2012/10/sawbuck-gamer-super-monsters-ate-my-condo/

          My wife thinks it’s hilarious that on the very day I got my first smartphone, I became completely addicted to a mobile game and I’m playing 2 hours a day.  Seriously, I have to stop.  Right after this next game.

    • Chum Joely

      What the hell is it and why didn’t this come into my life sooner.

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

      dafuq did i just play? That was one huge WTF-bomb.

      I don’t think it’s actually possible make the bug porn turn a profit. :(

      Great Easter egg: If you type “fuck me” in the text adventure section, you get 3/2 points. If you type “fuck me” again, you get a message that says “Refactory period; jeez!”

  • WL14

    All this talk of WoW makes me wonder: how many people (like me) have never played it? Or any MMO while we’re at it? I’m much more comfortable playing Skyrim, where I can abandon it for months on end with no consequences and it’ll be exactly as I left it. I put in an embarrassing amount of time into FFX, of which I am embarrassed, but as soon as they put an MMO into Final Fantasy I’m out like trout. Or another expression that makes more sense. I guess my thesis here is that hell is other people, and I don’t like going to hell – can I hear an amen?

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       Because I consider myself not just a fan of video games, but a fan of video game culture, I’ve enjoyed following the development of MMOs, particularly WOW.  But its not a genre I particularly enjoy playing.  I’ve neem tempted by LOTR online, DC comics online, and Star Trek online since those are universes I already love, but every time I get around to taking a closer look at them I say “eh, maybe after the next update.”   I also really hate the idea of an obsession that relies on a server.  One I get into something, I *never* entirely get over it, so I really hate the idea that I could put years and years into a character and then come back one day to find the service has been shut off.  I know that is a long time coming for something like WOW, but it recently happened to “Star Wars Galaxies” and I know how frustrating that was to a lot of people.  Meanwhile, single player games can last indefinitely (like that guy who has been running the same game of Civilization for the past decade or so) and can be put down and picked up at intervals of years without the game world having moved on.  So that’s a long-form document certificate version of “Amen!”

    • HobbesMkii

      My only forays into the MMORPG world has been Runescape when I was much younger and a couple of months ago when I tried TERA, which was…for lack of a better word to describe it…gross.

    • blue vodka lemonade

      I’d played a few terrible free-to-play Korean MMOs about being a magic elf god fairy dwarf or something, plus Kingdom of Loathing and a little Runescape in middle school.

      I actually just cancelled my The Secret World subscription. After playing it for hours on end nearly every day during late summer and early fall, I haven’t played in two months and can’t justify the cost of subscribing. I like the game a lot, and since it’s my first “real” MMO, and I’ve invested time in my character and gotten to know my guildmates over voicechat, I feel kinda bad about dropping out at this point.

      It seems like people who are really into MMOs mostly play MMOs, moving from one to the next. The cost/value ratio just doesn’t do it for me in a subscription game, which I guess is why TSW has been such a financial letdown for Funcom.

  • blue vodka lemonade

    I picked up Fallout: New Vegas in the Steam-o-ween sale, so probably tonight I’ll be spending too much time in character creation so I can be the Prettiest Princess in the Waste.

    With grace, luck, etc. I’ll also be finishing up the last bits of Hotline Miami and make some progress in Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, and if those endeavors fail I’ll be curled up in the fetal position in bed questioning my mad skillz. 

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

      Tell us about Hotline Miami!  I see my Steam friends playing it, but the screenshots look terrible.  It looks like The Club, in 8-bit top-down format.

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

        Pardon, that was vitriolic.  I just hated The Club, after getting kind of excited about it.  Somehow the Genki mini-game that makes up like 3% of Saints Row 3 does it better/funner/smoother.

      • blue vodka lemonade

        It’s fun! I’m not big on “difficult” games, but since any given death loses you at most a minute or two of progress it very quickly becomes trivial to restart a level. Tapping “r” to reload ends up being just another gameplay element, and there’s no fail-state. Doing badly in one level can’t hurt your chances in the next, and so long as you at least attempt/look at a given chapter, you’re allowed to skip it and continue on (albeit without whatever that level’s reward was.)

        The soundtrack isn’t anything I’d listen to otherwise, but fits so well with the game that I pretty much love it in context. It’s all driving beats and slinky synths and contributes greatly to the fast pace of the game.

        Graphics: ugly! But also functional, deliberate, and atmosphere-appropriate.

        Plot: it has one! Sort of! It didn’t really need to have one but it does, and while there’s certainly a lot of room for interpretation there’s enough present to get a decent sense of what’s going on. A lot is done with very little, in terms of using a pretty small amount of text and incident to communicate more complicated ideas.

        Playing makes me feel like a badass psychopath, so there’s that.

    • djsubversive

      No matter how much time you spend in the creator, your character will look worse in the actual game. This is not a Gamebryo rule, it’s a Bethesda rule. My advice: find a sweet hat, post-haste.

      Have fun exploring the Mojave!

      • stakkalee

        New Vegas really does have some fine haberdashery options.  No stetson hats, though, so I had to rock the desperado cowboy hat.

        • djsubversive

           Heh. That Desperado Hat is so much better than all the other cowboy hat options. First of all, none of them look nearly as awesome. Second, it gives you 1 DT, which isn’t a lot, but it’s more than any of the other hats.

          I think I found the best outfit, though (at least with the Signature Armor mod that makes it worth actually using). Benny’s Suit and Daniel’s Hat from Honest Hearts. Also, for screenshot purposes, A Light Shining In Darkness (my ‘main’ weapon is Thump-Thump, the grenade launcher you get at Nellis).
          http://cloud-2.steampowered.com/ugc/921244654478353458/2502F1A1AFBE59B7C7F80E87D8441111F95AF61C/

        • http://twitter.com/MasterPrudent Glen H

          It’s all about the 1st Recon Beret. Looks jaunty, improves critical hit chance. What more could you want?

      • blue vodka lemonade

         I managed to make my Oblivion lady be pretty in a very Nordic, sturdy-farm-girl kinda way. It did make me feel superior to all the melty-candle-people NPCs, but also made it really jarring whenever one of the melty-candle-people was referred to as “the most beautiful woman in Whateverville, or whatever.” In Fallout 3 I settled for “looks mostly humanoid.”

        • djsubversive

           Really, “mostly humanoid” is about the best you can ask for with Bethesda. It’s decidedly NOT Gamebryo, since I’ve seen other games that use that engine and the characters look nowhere near as hideous. It’s got to be their FaceGen or whatever it’s called. Horrible horrible thing, with sliders that don’t slide properly and “what you look like in the creator window will have only the vaguest resemblance to your in-game appearance.”

        • Necrogem

           It’s always funny to me when I hear people talk about how shitty people looked in Oblivion because somehow my dark elf dude turned out to be the game version of my dream guy (minus ass/crotch though :[ ).  Literally whenever I died and the camera went third person I said “Who’s that sexy beast? Oh, it’s me!”  And he actually looked better in-game than he did in the creator!  Maybe I got the only good copy or something…

  • Electric Dragon

    I’ll be finishing Half-Life 2 again (probably tonight) – I intended only to play it for a bit as a palate cleanser as New Vegas:Old World Blues has been kicking my ass very badly, but City 17 sucked me back in and now I have to complete it. I may just ditch OWB for now and go back to a previous NV main quest save just so I can finish the damn game. I don’t like having more than one or two games in progress at one time, but the drawback is that games tend to queue up.

    • HobbesMkii

      You can always do what I do and just abandon games midway through. Still haven’t completed the main quests of Skyrim, New Vegas, both Witcher games, etc. etc.

      • Electric Dragon

        There is something in me that is very resistant to the idea of abandoning things midway through. I very rarely abandon a game after that much progress: either I know the game is not for me and quit after an hour or two (X3, Oblivion) or I will soldier on until the end, even if it takes several months (The Witcher, Deus Ex:HR).

        • HobbesMkii

          Deus Ex: HR is another one I never finished.

    • aklab

      Hey, I’ll also be finishing Half-Life 2 again tonight!  I’ve played it on Xbox at each difficulty level and now I’m playing on PC at hard difficulty.  Would’ve finished last night but I couldn’t take down the Striders while intoxicated. :P

    • djsubversive

       Do not let the Scientastical Splendor of BIG MOUNTAIN dissuade you! There are technologies to rediscover, weapons to shoot and swing, and robots to reduce to scrap!

      If you do revert to an older save, you’ll know to bring plenty of ammo with you to OWB. Bullets are a problem in BIG MOUNTAIN, unless they’re .357 or .44, but Energy ammo is pretty much everywhere and can be converted to other energy ammo. Melee and Unarmed get some pretty neat weapons, too, so you may want to pump a few points in one of those (both are sort of redundant).

      Load up on ammo, Doctor’s Bags, and Weapon Repair Kits (or just have Jury Rigging, which doesn’t take up weight), dump the excess in the Sink when you arrive, and begin your scavenging of BIG MOUNTAIN… for SCIENCE! (well, and all the loot that’s just laying around waiting for you to take)

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

    Hotline Miami glitched and dumped all of my progress, including all of my masks, including the first, default mask, making the game unplayable. I had assumed that I would be catching it up this weekend, but my enthusiasm for the game is so intense that I reinstalled it and 100%ed it a vengeance before the week was over. Soooo goooood.

    Which means this weekend will likely be spent playing “catch up on the schoolwork I pushed aside to kill Russian mobsters in horribly violent ways.” I may also put a little more time into Last Story (aka “Rainbow Hotpants Adventure! Go!”), which my obsessive completist side won’t let me put down, even though I really kind of don’t like the game.

    • blue vodka lemonade

       There’s actually a pretty easy way to edit the save.dat file and give yourself masks/secrets/weapons, though I guess that knowledge is not so useful to you now. There are some lines of ones and zeroes, and replacing zeroes with ones gives you the corresponding gear. Other people are probably better at explaining this than I am.

      The bugs are pretty irritating, though since most of them go away when the levels reload I haven’t been too angry at the game yet. Hopefully post-patch it will all be smoothed out.

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

        I cracked open the dat files in text edit, since I figured they would be pretty simple – like the way the soundtrack files are just oggs in the directory.

        Initially, I just wiped the files, which reset the settings and made the game playable again.

        My Google-fu didn’t turn up any info on manipulating the files, though in retrospect when I saw those simple lines of 1s and 0s I should have assumed they were just boolean indicators of what had been accomplished. I was a little worried of further borking the game by fiddling with the files without an explcit guide on how to do so, though.

  • Effigy_Power

    I am kinda gamed out this weekend, probably won’t be playing much except a few rounds of Civ5 and maybe some ArmA2 with the usual bunch.
    I’ve heard a lot of things about AC3 from internet outlets and friends that sort of disappointed and I must admit that the idea of playing this without the renaissance setting and good old Ezio, the skirt-hunting superdude, is making me a bit wistful. Plus I find the Revolutionary War setting kind of bland. To me AC was always a game of fleeting across the roofs of ancient metropoli and now they want me to pretend to find 18th century New York or Boston as striking as Crusade Jerusalem or Renaissance Florence? Quite a drop in quality if you ask me.
    I just don’t think it’s a good move and when a game I expected for like forever turns out to be bunk, I always get a bit grumpy with gaming in general, but it’ll pass.

    In the meantime Mooy and I are hard at work drawing unconnected and random parts of our little growing fantasy setting “Owl and Lilly”, about two ne’er-do-wells pulling booty in a world of imperial intrigue and civil war.
    I try to post sketches and examples on my tumblr, but I forget all the time. Here’s some tastes:

    Protagonist Lilly partying with Orcs: http://imgbox.com/acdGz6Hb
    Aeromancer: http://imgbox.com/abyWCXcX
    Pyromancer: http://imgbox.com/acbIGYLw
    Necromancer: http://imgbox.com/abjlZYcm

    I am hoping we can get enough together for me to compile it into a little book, which is pretty easy with today’s Print-on-demand services and especially the one I’ve been using for years for my other comics. Could be fun, and don’t worry, if it comes together, you’ll hear about it. Heck, you won’t be able to shut me up about it.
    So yeah, I’ll be drawin’… I’ve been letting that slide a lot lately and it’s good to get back in the game. Plus it’s more fun to do it with someone, now that Mooy is also drawing like a maniac.

    PS: Mooy, link some of your stuff too.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Nice stuff.  You’re really putting in the effort to refine your style.
         How is it that you’re able to get Photoshop to come up on the Steam activity pop-up?

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

        Under the “Games” menu in Steam, select “Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library…” and then select the *.exe file for whatever application you wish.

      • Effigy_Power

         What Merve said, but for Photoshop you might have to point the program to the .exe file manually, which you do in the same menu.
        It’s very similar to Windows’ “Open with…” menu in that you can add programs not shown on the list or which don’t run properly.

  • PPPfive

    I just started Mass Effect last weekend so I’ll be playing a bit of that I would imagine…right now I can’t stop playing Hotline Miami, I’m on my fourth run through

  • The_Misanthrope

    I haven’t been playing much lately; I’m just too busy right now up to the holidays.  However, I have been watching Arin Hansen (aka “Egoraptor”) and Jon Jafari (aka “Jontron”) excellent Game Grumps series for a vicarious gaming kick.  They really are simpatico when it comes to games and game design, plus they are pretty funny; It really has the feel of a couple of good friends playing a game together,  with all the joys and frustrations that come with that experience

  • doyourealize

    I remember enjoying Foxtrot, but beyond that I don’t remember why really. However, that little included strip made me giggle, so I might seek out some more.

    I’ll be continuing FFXIII-2 which is keeping me occupied and I assume will be even more enjoyable when I “beat” the game and can do all the extras. Not only is this the most enjoyable part of the game, but that means I won’t have to sit through long cutscenes of babbling about paradoxes and changing the future and moogles. (God, Mog is annoying. Ending everything with “kupo” is kind of cute when you’re reading it, but when you hear it out loud, it actually makes me angry).

    Also, I’ll be playing the American version of Settlers of Catan with my brother. Haven’t played that version yet, but I love the original game.

    • rvb1023

      Good to know, kupo. I will now explain to you the intricacies of paradoxes, time travel, and stupid demigods, kupo.

      A few more interesting things do open up after beating the game, but the difficulty fails to ramp up in any meaningful way.

      • doyourealize

        What do you mean about the difficulty? I don’t need it to be too difficult as long as I know I’m overpowered. If even weaker characters can beat the toughest enemies, though, that might be a turn-off.

        • rvb1023

          I meant the game is never hard save for one or two fights. It does kind of kill a bit of the end game when you curb stomp everything you go up against.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill

      I’m about 70+ hours in and still have not finished the main storyline. (Just finished Chapter 5)

      I know, I know…but I get easily distracted by side quests and was absolutely determined to do all the Brain Blast quizzes without the help of a guide. I also went on a hunt for some chocobo battle partners and it only took me 18 battles to capture the White one! For joy…

      (My crystarium is maxed out BTW…that is how seriously I’ve been distracted.)

      Currently, I am running around the Bresha Ruins trying to kill a Tonberry. Last time, I almost had him and he fled. I hate Tonberrys.

      Anyway, I’ll get to the end eventually, maybe this weekend…if I don’t get distracted by shining bouncing cubes of treasure…

      Kupo.

      • doyourealize

        I’m 30 hours in, and feel like I’m close to the end, but I guess I could be wrong. I figured I was powerful enough to move into the endgame, where I could level up quicker so I could take on the more serious challenges.

        Oh yeah, and fuck solving all those brain quizzes without a guide. Maybe if the pace wasn’t so slow, but considering how long it takes to wait between new questions, getting the 10th question wrong might be borderline suicidal…kupo (remember, it’s cute in writing).

        • The_Forgotten_Quill

          You know my favorite Brain Blast quiz questions?

          Evens or Odds…
          Red or Black…Left or Right…

          I mean, what are you even supposed to DO with that? At least most of the others can be solved by some kind of critical thinking. Believe me, it was a battle, but I felt all the better for having mastered it.
          Anyway, I’m feeling like I’m close to end game, as well, and I know most of the side quests were meant for postgame, but I was enjoying myself.

          Also, in regards to the comment on difficulty, I’ve been playing on normal, but other than the Tonberry haven’t run into any problems.

          I think some players just look for a “next-to-impossible” difficultly level. Personally, I’d rather be overleveled and just enjoy myself. I will admit that boss battles (and battles as a whole) feel so easier than the first game.

          So far, I haven’t run into anything like Barthandandelus from XIII…or EVERY boss battle from XIII.
          Kupo.

    • JohnnyLongtorso

      I played FFXIII-2 for about five hours and quit playing because I didn’t really feel like playing it for another fifty. Which is a shame because I really liked the game mechanics and the art and all the ancillary stuff, I just don’t want to devote that much time to a game not named Dark Souls. If it had been a lean, 15-20 hour adventure, I would have loved it.

  • duwease

    I’m playing The Fool And His Money, because THE FOOL AND HIS MONEY FINALLY CAME OUT!!!!!#$#%

    Gameological staff, if you’re paying attention, this game could merit quite a story.  The original Fool’s Errand came out about 25 years ago as the work of a hobbyist, and had a very popular following.  Then, maybe.. 8 years ago(?), in the era before Kickstarter, the creator turned up asking for “True Believers” to pre-order the sequel that he would be working on, that would be out in a year.

    Well, let’s just say I bought in, and 8 years later, I was pretty sure it was just a clever scam, where the creator could just sit back with free money, secure in the knowledge that really, he warned everyone, it was right there in the title of the game.. a fool and his money being parted.
    Imagine my surprise when I got an email late last week with a download link!!

    …in case you can’t tell, I’m excited.

    • PPPfive

       I’m interested! Googling

    • Enkidum

      Holy shit it came out??? Oh no…. there goes my life.

      I would say that The Fool’s Errand is one of the few perfect games I’ve ever played. I’ve replayed most of it two or three times – so well designed, with the limitations of the hardware and graphics being basically features of the game.

      • duwease

        If you like it, he had a similar game called “3 in Three” as well that he re-released on his website awhile back for free.. you may have to have run a Mac emulator if I remember correctly, but I managed to run it so it can’t be that hard :)

        • Enkidum

          Yeah, I played that when it first came out as well. The puzzles were of similar quality, but I thought the story was too cute and not as mythic as FE. Still a great game, though.

    • PPPfive

       The webiste has that authentic ’8 years ago’ look

  • signsofrain

    This weekend I’ll be playing Pier Solar on the Sega Genesis, I’ll probably get in my usual 3-4 hours of Left 4 Dead 2 (1100 hours and countin’ baby! I am still not bored of this game) Also I’ve got to sit back down with Bastion, I kind of abandoned it. OH, and I just started Heavy Rain but then accidentally shot that crazy religious guy in the head so I’ll revert to a previous save and play through having fun in the park with Shaun again. This time I’ll pay attention to what he was wearing. 

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Oh lord how have you played that much Left 4 Dead? Do you have a group of people you play with? I am only able to maybe play a campaign or vs campaign at a time and only if I have three friends to play with. Each time I jump in a random game I am immediately kicked. Or I am mocked relentlessly and then kicked.

  • Chum Joely

    I might dip into Fallout 3, which I’ve never played or seen before.  But a friend of mine became a gamer through his addiction to this game, and the article that someone linked to from here a few weeks back, about a playthrough where the author killed literally every single person he met, made me very intrigued about the whole choice/RPG aspect, as well as the writing which sounds pretty great.

    I gather that this is a game that takes 100 hours to play through, and since I apparently play twice as slowly as the “standard gamer” that these time estimates are based on, I will probably never ever finish it…

    • djsubversive

      Are you sure you’re not thinking of New Vegas? Fallout 3′s writing was… less than great. And there are a LOT of unkillable characters (not even counting the children, and there are quite a few in the capitol wasteland).

      New Vegas, on the other hand, has much better writing (not unusual, since that’s sort of Obsidian’s strong suit), and there are only 2 unkillable characters (again, not counting children, but there are a lot less of them in NV), and both of them are robots who exist as “failsafes” to allow you to finish the game if you murder everything you see (well, one is Vendortron, who is there to buy and sell you guns and ammunition, and the other is a quest-giver).

      I mean, don’t get me wrong. Fallout 3 is a fun sandbox with guns, but the world lacks… world-building, I guess. Cohesion, maybe? It’s a bunch of neat locations on a map, where the Mojave Wasteland actually feels more like a connected place. I’ve got more on this, but I’m running late. I might come back to it later and expand, but I might also forget. :)

      Not trying to dissuade you from playing Fallout 3, though – both are fun, I just like NV a little (a lot) better.

      • Chum Joely

        I actually thought they were the same thing, whoops. Shows what I know.

      • HobbesMkii

        This is completely tangential, and not in response to a position I perceive you of having, but I feel like the “boo, no child murdering” argument has mixed merit. 

        On the one hand, I don’t feel like “I should be able to kill children because children are killable IRL” is a reasonable approach to gaming and perhaps borderline psychopathic. 

        On the other hand, I also don’t feel that Bethesda’s choice to make the children in Fallout 3 among the most annoying children in video game history is a reasonable approach to game design and perhaps borderline psychopathic.

        • djsubversive

          See, my issue with unkillable kids isn’t “wah, I can’t kill kids.” It’s “Bethesda decided to make an unskippable underground city full of the little fuckers and WHY CAN’T I MURDER YOU IN THE FACE YOU ANNOYING LITTLE ASSHOLES.”

          Fuck Little Lamplight and everyone who had a hand in designing or implementing it. The rest of the kids in F3, I got no real problems with. They’re annoying, sure, but they have parents (possibly dead parents, but at least they’re discussed) and reasons for existing. Okay, maybe not that dude who runs up to you at the supermarket and whines about the giant fire-breathing ants. He should’ve been ant-food.

          I’m glad Obsidian decided to go with “let’s not have a lot of kids in a war-torn frontier, because that makes sense. And the kids that are around aren’t involved in the plot, or even side-quests, in any meaningful way, shape, or form.”

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Oh lord, this is exactly how I feel about the two games. I’m always pretty annoyed when I hear people say that FO3 was better than FO:NV. New Vegas was the only game where I was actually pleased/impressed by the writing. It is so far above FO3 in my mind, it’s ridiculous.

        • djsubversive

          The Forecaster at the 188, Ranger Hanlon, Fantastic, No-Bark Noonan, even Caesar and Lanius all have some excellent dialogue. Beyond that, though, it’s things like the Sharecropper farm, the various water pumps and pipes, Boulder being repopulated after you clear the Deathclaws from the Quarry (they can move stone from the Quarry to Boulder again)… stuff that makes the world seem more like an actual world rather than just a bunch of setpiece locations (which Fallout 3 was full of). 

          No-Bark is hands-down the best, though. 

          “Work of the chupacabra, the livestock vampire, says No-bark, but they don’t pay no mind. Too many holes, they say, and there’s bullets in them. Well, says No-bark, then we got a chupacabra with an automatic weapon. And that’s when they get real quiet, ’cause now see the predicament we’re in.”

  • Chum Joely

    Also, can anyone tell me what’s good to check out on PlayStation Plus? I just subscribed in order to get The Unfinished Swan a little early (weird reason, I suppose), but on the assumption that I would get my real money’s worth later on. But I haven’t checked it out yet.

    What should I get first?  I especially like arcade/platformer stuff, but other genres can be good too (nothing too violent, unless the game is truly unique and interesting, not just another shooter).

    • Chum Joely

      Oh cool, I just looked at their site and I see that I can get Infamous 2 for free, after just paying $30 for the Infamous Collection on disc last month.  Sigh…

  • ToddG

    Assassin’s Creed III for me, both SP and MP.  You know, they keep adding modes and “enhancements” to the multiplayer, but IMO it still has never been better than the simple Wanted mode from Brotherhood.

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

    Mass Effect 3 for the millionth weekend in a row, though the game left me DEVASTATED last night.

    MASS EFFECT SPOILERS INCOMING: NOT ENDGAME but after Quarian Mission so don’t spoil anything for me either.

    Oh my god! the Quarian mission!  Legion was the only person who died on my suicide mission in ME2 so I had mixed emotions when I met him again in ME3, with the hole in his chest and everything. I felt as though I let him down, and owed it to make it up to him after siding with Tali in their arguments. I’ve always had a soft-spot for Tali, and in my opinion, she is one of the most fleshed-out characters in the game’s universe, but after learning about what they did with the geth, I decided I’d be sympathetic to the Geth’s plea for freedom.  But i was unable to keep the Quarian admirals from firing on the newly sentient Geth, and when the Geth fired back and starting slaughtering them, I felt guilty because, I knew one of my best friends from the trilogy would feel betrayed but I had to do what I felt was right. If the Quarians couldn’t let this war go, then they had dug their own grave.  I just had no idea that… Tali would kill herself… When the prompt comes up to dive after her, my heart lept into my throat, thinking I could save her. And then I didn’t. She died. And Legion was gone. I was left with nothing but a heartless Geth Prime to tell me, coldly, that they would help. It didn’t matter. I lost one of my best friends.  I was devastated.

    I feel so desolate, that I just want to power through and end this war as soon as possible, war assets and galactic readiness be damned. I’m ready for it all to be over. F’in ME3 man.

    • stakkalee

      Stories like this really remind me why I love video games; you experienced a deeply personal, emotional moment from a piece of art, and it’s probably going to stay with you for the rest of your life.

    • fieldafar

      The Tuchanka mission was what got me, not only when the krogan reclaimed their homeworld but also when

      ****WOAH ME3 SPOILER AHEAD****

      Mordin sacrificed himself to deliver the antidote

      ****END OF ME3 SPOILER YEAH****

      Ending to ME3 notwithstanding (not spoiling anything), the Mass Effect series was full of fantastic storytelling.

      • Fluka

        Spoilers, clearly.

        I am on a mission to stab as many friends in the back as I possibly can in my second, super-renegade ME3 playthrough.  But I just can’t do it in that scene.  I am purposely getting Mordin killed in the suicide mission in ME2 just so that I don’t have to shoot him and watch him slowly crawl towards that elevator.
        Most evil renegade moment of the entire series.

        • Effigy_Power

          It makes selling out the sullen Ithorians on Telos in KotoR 2 almost feel cheery, doesn’t it?

        • Moonside_Malcontent

          I absolutely loved the Mass Effect series, probably in my top 3 of all time, but I haven’t really gone back and played through it again much.  I think the reason is that there aren’t any choices I really wish I had “done differently”, at least not any really critical ones.  I felt just broadly satisfied with the narrative I’d built for myself and my Shepard (a Paragon with a Renegade streak for mercs and genocidists).  The urge to go back and play through differently just to “see what happens” just isn’t there for me, I dunno.

        • djsubversive

           @Effigy_Power:disqus those Ithorians had it coming. Really, guys? “Let the planet heal itself”? That sort of hippie bullshit will never fly. Besides, they were naive to think that a planet-wide Restoration Project wouldn’t attract the less-savory elements of the Republic. Selling out to Czerka is the logical solution.

          (okay, not really. Czerka and the Exchange can go to some sort of hell and burn there.)

        • http://twitter.com/MasterPrudent Glen H

           ***Spoilers*** As I discovered in my renegade play-through if you destroy the genophage research in ME2 than Eve dies in ME3 which leaves Wrex’s brother as the unchallenged leader of the Krogans. The result is that Mordin can be convinced that destroying the cure is actually the best decision and no one gets shot.

          (Weirdly enough the one renegade option that I’d planned but couldn’t bring myself to actually do was killing the Rachni queen. Shooting Wrex? No problem. Killing a giant ugly-ass bug? COuldn’t do it.)

    • duwease

      This exact thing really made me consider whether I *really* want real choices with emotional weight in games.  I’ve always paid it good lip service, and I tried really hard to stick with it, but….  after I experienced exactly what you described, I totally gave in, looked up a FAQ, and replayed about 4 hours of ME3 to get the “perfect” end to that Quarian scenario :(

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

        I played through the game not even knowing that Tali could commit suicide. Afterward, when I heard other people talking about it, I looked it up and thought, ‘Wait…I actually did this one right for a change?’

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

        I felt that temptation as well, especially way back when Wrex dies in ME1, but I feel like this is my shepherd and this is her story.

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

          There are only two times I reloaded from a previous save when I played through the trilogy:

          1) In ME2, Thane’s loyalty mission glitched on me and played a cutscene it wasn’t supposed to play, leading to failure.

          2) In ME3, I screwed up the quick-time event to punch Khalisah Al-Jilani. No way I was letting that slanderous scumbag get away without a fist to the face.

    • Fluka

      I’ve told this story more than once here before, but I’ll do it again anyway…

      Mr. Fluka likes RPGs, but doesn’t tend to get emotionally attached to them and gently mocks me for doing so.  He accidentally got Tali exiled in ME2, and didn’t get the reputation check prompt to order a ceasefire between the two camps when he got to Rannoch in ME3.  Believing that the Quarians had been total idiots and that the Geth were the wronged party, he let Legion upload the code…  And then saw Tali tumbling off that cliff.

      He furrowed this brow.  Claimed that “he didn’t care, but this was bullshit!”  And then he went straight to the internet and downloaded a save editor.

      He totally cared.

      • Effigy_Power

        As much as I loved Tali in ME1 and ME2, somehow she didn’t feel right in ME3, mostly because she was barely in the game.
        I liked Legion a lot and I’ve always had a soft spot for letting synthetic life have the same chances as organic life, so I simply had to go for the Geth.
        Apart from all that, I found the Geth-storyline pretty much the most interesting part of ME and generally dig the design.

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

          I really understood her feelings of not being able to live up to the position of Admiral. She was already feeling like she wasn’t up to snuff for the position and that she only got because they were in crisis and because of her father’s legacy. Then to see the entire Heavy Fleet go down under her Admiralty (on their almost-reclaimed home planet none-the-less)!

          I imagine the sense of failure was too much for her…

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I believe Mr. Fluka is simply putting up a facade… because he cares too much.

    • JohnnyLongtorso

      I liked ME3, but I thought it would have been much better had the big choices been like this, without the “Character X is alive, so you can make both sides happy” option. I loved this part of the game because Tali died in my ME2 save, so I had to choose between the Geth and the Quarians. (I chose the Geth because the Quarians are dicks.) It would have made the whole “the fate of the galaxy is in the balance” plot much more poignant than just going through the galaxy and collecting assets.

      • TaumpyTearrs

        Yeah, the second the Quarians fire at the ship you are on while you are trying to save them, I was like “Fuck these assholes.”

  • http://twitter.com/tomjonjon Tom (Crass Version)

    I’ve been playing a ton of Doom II on XBLA, and I just heard of the Brutal Doom mod so I may fire up windows and give that a go.

    Otherwise finishing Dishonored, maybe doing the last missions in Ass Creed II and I picked up Bulletstorm for $10.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      I got Bulletstorm for $12 a couple weeks ago. Quite fun. I was suprised at the effort that went into the plot and how the actual gameplay is explained by the plot instead of just existing beside it. It even made me laugh out loud a couple times, and surprised me a few times. Also, in a game full of macho-posturing and cheering ultra-violence, the female character was surprisingly well done. I felt like she wasn’t noticeably sexualized  in appearance or in the story/dialogue, and she’s probably the least offensive female NPC in action game in a long time.

      The Quad-Barrelled shotgun was the shit. I never got tired of just tearing people in half with that gun.

  • stakkalee

    I dropped $5 on Hearthfire for Skyrim because I needed a reason to get back into that game.  I built a house, kitted it out, and this weekend I’m going to move all my crap from Whiterun to my new home near Morthal.  It sounds boring as hell, but I know I’m going to love it and have a great time doing it.  A lot of Skyrim feels so antiseptic, but there’s one thing about all the Elder Scrolls games, they’re an excellent hoarding simulator.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      If you need any help moving, you can hit my character up.  He was planning on hunting Draughr this weekend, but that fell apart due to some flaky companions.  So he can come by and help in return for some horker stew and a sixer.

      • stakkalee

        OK, but I’ve got a ton of books I need to bring to my new library – I’ll get around to reading them some day (just like in real life!)

        Also, that barrel under the stairs with the funky smell?  That’s where I’ve been dumping all the “food” I come across in my travels – rotten cabbage, moldy apples, and all kinds of different meat, all rancid.  We’re just going to nonchalantly roll that down the hill to the stream and let Nature take its course, ie. “Massive Fish-Kill Near Whiterun Mistifies Local Authorities.”

        And no six-packs, but you’ve GOT to try the Black-Briar mead laced with skooma.  That’ll put hair on your chest, plus several other places.

        • Effigy_Power

          My Nord girl would help, but… erm… she has to wash her hair… and her brother stopped by unannounced, typical… heh… plus the horse is acting up again… and all that…
          She’ll catch you next time.

        • Fluka

          My Argonian lady thief can totally stop by to help!  

          Note that she will only accept payment in the form of sweet sweet human flesh.  *Fiddles with Ring of Namira.*

          Also, she’ll later ask you to help her move too.

        • Moonside_Malcontent

          I mean, my Bosmer archer will help, happily.  Hey bro, I totally need a ride to Riften next month though, c’mon.  I totally helped you move Wuuthrad and that fucker was heavy, you owe me, bro.

  • fieldafar

    I’m playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which I really like, despite never having enough funding to build stuff (and as a result I already lost 3 countries).

  • Marozeph

    I got Bioshock 2 and Costume Quest from the Steam Halloween sale and will probably check them out over the weekend (I originally wanted to get Bioshock 1 too, but it’s only availiable censored and without the original dub here in Germany – quite infuriating). Apart from that, i got a cheap copy of Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure, so my 3DS might get some work again. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I’m aware that Australia has pretty strict content censoring, but I haven’t heard much about Germany’s.  How restrictive is it?

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Pretty damn restrictive, according to my German cousin a couple years older than me. Many M rated games are censored, and often inconsistently. For example, blood not okay, decapitations fine. But that’s just what he said in a rant to me, can’t back it up with a Wikipedia link. (heh)

      • Marozeph

        I’m not entirely sure about the rules in Australia, but as far as i know, it’s a bit less restrictive here – unlike Australia, Germany has (the equivalent of) an R-Rating, so many games (like recently Dishonored and Hitman Absolution) can get an uncut release.

        It does happen, however, that the rating board refuses an R-Rating, and while unrated games aren’t illegal, they can’t be advertised or sold openly in stores (or on Steam). Such games usually get cut – the German version of Left 4 Dead 2 f.e. is cut the same way as the Australian one – or don’t get released at all (Dead Island and the newest Mortal Kombat never made it here).

        And as NarcolepticPanda points out, it is pretty damn inconsistent. To name one example: Gears of War 1&2 didn’t get a rating, but Gears of War 3 got rated R. Why? Don’t ask me.

  • Quantrepreneur

    I have a creeping suspicion that “Punch Quest” on iOS is about to take over the place Jetpack Joyride occupied for such an interminably long period. It got so bad that they would release updates and I would have enough stored cash to buy all of the new items before I’d even gone on a new run.

  • Drew Toal

    Sandy spared my electricity and Internet, somehow. Halo 4, Halo: Reach. XCOM. Friendly casualties are running pretty high.

    • HobbesMkii

      What are your thoughts on Reach, Mr. Toal? Obviously, the gameplay is pretty identical to the rest of the series, but I’m curious if you’re playing the single-player campaign and what your reaction to it is.

      • Drew Toal

        Yeah, I’ve only dabbled in the original trilogy, mainly because the gameplay didn’t really appeal to me. I kind of backed into Reach a couple of months ago after I saw some of the cutscenes on the Internet. It’s kind of great? Like you say, the gameplay is the same, but I’m a sucker for a small, highly-trained group against impossible odds. So, yes, two thumbs up for Reach campaign.

        • HobbesMkii

          My only experience with the main trilogy was getting crushed in 1 & 2′s multiplayer at friends houses, and then playing most of 3′s co-op campaign the night/day it came out with a friend who had preordered it. 

          I picked up Reach used a few months ago, and I’ve dropped in and out of playing it. On the one hand, I appreciate that the game doesn’t make you the lynchpin soldier in the war, but on the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ancillary to a video game’s plot before. I’ll give it another go this weekend and see if I’m not overlooking something.

        • Drew Toal

          Yeah, you know, I’m going through it pretty slowly myself. I kind of love just being a cog, kind of on the outskirts of these momentous events. It’s a strange feeling, though, to be sure. 

  • Fluka

    Oo!  One of the Rock Paper Shotgun guys just started a Kickstarter to finish a game, Sir, You Are Being Hunted.  Procedurally generated stealth/action survival game set in a dark, wet-looking English countryside with tweed-wearing robot gentlemen!  I’m…not sure I can resist that.

  • Moonside_Malcontent

    I reinstalled Age of Empires III the other day and am looking forward to a nice, relaxing Saturday of crushing rivals under the mercantile might of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie and its army of mercenaries.  Apart from that it’ll be another few days of NaNoWriMo madness and not thinking about my grad school applications.

  • SeraO

    I recently got Ragnarok Odyssey. It’s my first time digging into this genre of game, so I’m trying to get myself to a point where I won’t embarrass myself in online co-op, in between survival runs in Tokyo Jungle.

    In the spirit of Halloween I tried Corpse Party out, but it’s just way too scary for me to handle.

  • Citric

    Because for some reason at the $15 mark everything becomes a good idea, I now own AssCreed II and Vanquish. But I’m actually going to be playing inFamous and finishing off Rudra.

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    I’ll be playing Space Alert, which I have actually figured out how to play but am still terrible at. I’m also playing Grammar Bandits, where you end as many sentences as you can in prepositions. Wait.. dammit.

    • djsubversive

       ”Bork! You represent the United States Government! Never end a sentence with a preposition!”

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        My Space Alert crew managed to survive the last two tutorial missions! Next time we meet up we’ll be able to play the game proper, and I expect that we’ll fail a lot more. Woohoo!

  • djsubversive

     ”Bork! You represent the United States Government! Never end a sentence with a preposition!”

  • DjangoZ

    Nice interview. I was pleasantly surprised.

  • coramo92

    Halo Campaign Marathon.

  • Andrew_Ryans_Caddy

    So very much Assassin’s Creed 3. It’s one of those things that I know I’m a fan of to an unreasonable degree, so I passed over the review because, well, opinions will always differ, and if you don’t like things about arguing with George Washington while trying to find artifacts from ancient aliens from both the past and the future, we’re just plain not going to get along. 

  • jiejknjn