What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Emily Gordon

Emily Gordon, writer

The Nerdist mainstay will forever search piles of poop for the perfect gun.

By Steve Heisler • November 9, 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.

Emily Gordon is a prolific writer and producer. She cohosts The Indoor Kids, a video game-themed podcast with her husband, comedian Kumail Nanjiani. She also works for Nerdist Industries, helping to run the company’s live shows in the back of LA’s Meltdown Comics, and has been published on Vulture and xojane.com. She’s currently writing sketches for Disney and playing plenty of Where’s My Water? on her iPhone.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Emily Gordon: I’m playing Borderlands 2 a lot. That’s the primary game. Kumail and I are playing that together. Have you played Borderlands 2? I’m a Gunzerker, and Kumail is an Assassin, which he regrets every day. He is not fond of the Assassin. He feels like the special power he does with the decoy is pointless. My special power is to wield [two] weapons, and you scream the whole time, for a brief period. I love it. I like playing anything that’s the opposite of me. I like playing this huge, brutish, heavy, slow-moving—he can’t fully run. The thing that makes me laugh harder than anything is when I’ll be running from somewhere, and I’ll be like, [grunts].

Gameological: Those characters couldn’t be more different. Your guy has this primal grunt, and the Assassin constantly tells everyone how awesome he is.

Gordon: He thinks he’s really really smart, but he’s like a douchebag intellectual. Like, really, are we speaking in haiku? Is this what’s really happening? It irritates the shit out of me. The game itself is so clever, and it’s got so many references. I’ve have never cared about guns in games. I’m not even a shooter. I’ll play shooters, but they’re not my favorite. And I am so obsessed with the guns in this game.

Gameological: What is it about Borderlands that makes it okay, versus Call Of Duty or something, where the violence has these creepy military overtones?

Gordon: I’ve thought about this a bit, and I feel like there’s a couple things going on. One is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. I really hate the Call Of Duty games. They’re trying so hard to take themselves so seriously, and be like, “Oh, look at war, and the importance of war.” Those stupid quotes that come up. I feel like it’s not the route to go. This game is absolutely aware that it is a video game, and it’s winking at you the whole time.

In other games, [the missions] would be like, “I have to defend my honor!” and this one is like, “No, you have to go find the inspiration for Scooter to write a poem to the woman he’s in love with.” It’s the right amount of tongue-in-cheek mixed with really good mechanics and story. Number two is the unlimited random gun thing. All I ever do is think, “Oh, I can have the best gun in the planet. It’s just in that pile of poop,” and that moment where you see the gun on the ground, you’re like, “This is it! This is the one!” And then it’s not the one. But it doesn’t matter because you’re going to keep looking. It’s a perfect carrot dangling in front of you situation.

Gameological: When I spoke to Martin Starr, he said that even though games hold out these carrots, he ultimately doesn’t take pleasure in accomplishing things in the game world, because it’s not “real.” What is your feeling about that?

Gordon: I read a really great book called Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal, which is all about how we need to use video game mechanics in our day-to-day lives. You don’t see a lot of direct results of your actions. It’s not like when people used to be builders or cobblers, and be like, “Oh, I built a shoe,” and they’re like, “Oh, there’s the shoe I built.” My life isn’t like that. There’s very little that I can do where I see the direct result. But video games give me goals that are obtainable or difficult. And then they fucking reward me with Badass Tokens when I do them. There’s nothing more satisfying than a goal that you see, and then you meet it, and then you get a reward for it. We don’t really have that in our jobs anymore. We’re all smaller parts to a larger machine. Video games do that for me. I’m not so above. I know it’s pointless, but everything’s pointless when you start looking at anything too hard. It’s really a slippery slope.

Gameological: You mentioned enjoying playing as the Gunzerker, who is very different from you. So are you a game escapist? Do you always play as someone totally ridiculous?

Gordon: It depends on the game, but for most games, I’m looking for the experience of being an entirely different person. Part of it is part of me growing up female—as I still am. I never could put myself in a video game character’s shoes, because there weren’t many female characters. Whereas Kumail was always like, “I am that guy, whoever I’m playing.”

Gameological: What is your impression of the way women are portrayed in modern gaming?

Gordon: This is going to be an ongoing problem for God knows how long. We’re still having trouble putting female characters in TV shows and movies that aren’t completely one-dimensional. So this is not what I’m looking to video games for. That being said, of course it does bother me that this is how a lot of young men and women are experiencing the world now, through video games. They’re learning these lessons that are hard to unlearn. It is getting a little bit better. Of course, there’s a lot more strides to be made, but it’s tough. It’s hard to have a real answer, because if I’m completely honest, and I really wanted to be a soldier, then maybe I wouldn’t play some of the games I play. I also like to play games even if the female character is completely underdressed for what she’s doing, and is acting like an idiot in the game. I still want to play the game. I’m not quite to the point where I’m ready to boycott games that don’t represent women appropriately, but I’m fine. I’ll talk about it forever, for sure.

Gameological: It just feels like there’s a disconnect between who the audience for these games actually is, and who the perceived audience is.

Gordon: Oh yeah. And that’s true for anything that’s pitched to nerds. These days, people still think nerds are like, “Wuahh, I’ve never seen a lady before!”

I feel like also, if it stopped happening, it would be such a weird thing, because it’s such a known quantity at this point. Our friend Guy [Branum], who does our podcast fairly often, says it’s a bunch of men in their fifties telling men in their twenties how men in their twenties want things to be. It’s always older dudes like, “No no, this is what men like. This is how guys like it.”

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

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

  • EmperorNortonI

    Election news and difficulty at work has kept me away from gaming recently.  Last Sunday I sat down to play the end of XCOM, but got killed off in the last room due to a single stupid mistake.  That mission had taken me an hour and a half, and I’m not at all looking forward to the slog of doing it again.  I don’t seem to have the same completist instincts that a lot of people do, and I’d moved as quickly as I could to the last mission.  I still don’t have heavy plasmas, haven’t killed enough Etherians to build the Mental Shield, and I’ve only got 1 psychic. 

    I’ve started to hear the call of Dark Souls again, though.  And I had an odd dream last night comparing DOTA2 (which I have never played) to League of Legends, which has me thinking of playing League again. 

    Or, perhaps our schedules will return to alignment and I can start making progress on Borderlands 2 with my regular gaming buddy.

    I really want to get the Spartacus boardgame.  That sounds absolutely insane, and I’d love to have my World History students play it – we’re studying Rome at the moment.

    • Drew Toal

      Man I only have one psychic too. It’s bumming me out.

      • TaumpyTearrs

        Just keep buying new recruits and testing them. I would have 5 now but one of them died. It seems like 1/20 are psychics, or somewhere in that range.

        Since I’m playing on Normal things have been easier, once I got past the mission where you get access to the psi-lab and I built it I’ve had nothing to do with my money, so I have like 3000 bucks so I just bought like 50 new recruits and started sifting through them.

        I also just got the Like a Scalpel trophy, which I thought would be super hard. You have to get all Excellents on a Terror mission. Up to this last one I usually only saved 10-12 out of 18 civilians, but unexpectedly last night I got 16/18 and got the excellent rating I needed. The main enemy was the big robot, which helped because I just focused on killing all the smaller enemies since the Sectopod seems to be the only enemy that will shoot at your team instead of killing civilians every turn.

    • Aaron Riccio

      Norton, please play DOTA2. We/I need more people from here actively working to play that because the community of random strangers is just too . . . damn . . . frustrating.

      • Lusby

        Dota 2 is a game I like to watch but haven’t really taken the time to learn yet. It’s intriguing yet forbidding.

        It’s my impression as well that the Dota 2 community would greatly benefit from having as many mature gameological players as possible, because it attracts a high number of emotionally stunted young men whose constant, habitual acting out affects everyone. When being a bizarre asshole becomes normal, even the nice guys are mildly dickish. The assholes rage and the rest suffer in silence.

        So if anyone in the Gameological Society Steam group wants a beta invitation, I would consider it my duty to share the extra ones I have. Judging by how often Valve/Steam sends me those additional invitations, they’re not exactly rare commodities at this point, but it will save you the trouble of applying/paying for it.

        I’m convinced that it’s a great game and at some point I’ll have to give it a proper shot. I’ve only tried it against bots so far.

      • EmperorNortonI

         Installing it as I type.  Anyone who wants to send me a Beta Key, feel free.  On steam I’m Zwackus, I’m in the Gameological Group (which has been quiet of late, it seems, not that my schedule allowed me to participate much), and I’m happy to add fellow Gameological types as friends.

        • Lusby

          Can’t find you in the group, but if you go to the group discussions, you’ll find a couple of users with extra invites.

      • EmperorNortonI

         On that point, though, have you ever played League of Legends?  I have, quite a bit, and I wonder how people would describe the community difference.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          The LoL community is exactly as bad as Dota’s. Dota 2 has been a bit better due to the closed beta thing, but once it opens up I’m sure it will get worse. I’ve already oticed people being assholes more and more.

          I’ve played both of them pretty extensively, playing LoL for a little over a year before switching to Dota 2. 

          DOTA IS SO MUCH FUN YOU SHOULD TRY IT.

      • http://twitter.com/PappyAlabaster Pappy Alabaster

        I play DotA 2 pretty regularly if you care to group with a random GS stranger.  I am on the GS steam group under some variation of the name Pappy usually.

        I Also have a bunch of invites if anyone wants to try this game out.  If there is enough interest, we could setup an in house game and show some new player the ropes without fear being lambasted by the typical DotA community.

        • Aaron Riccio

          I’m 100% for this — I’ve already showed a few GS members the basic ropes (I’d call myself a fairly intermediate player), and I’m always happy to do so again, especially since a house game will allow me to train as a character I suck as. (Mooooorphling.)

          I’m on DotA2 as [GLOG]IllogicalJoker (see what I did there with the “clan” name); feel free to look me up/friend me, whatever.

        • Lusby

          Looks like we have ourselves a Morphling picker.

          Listen to Pyrion Flax:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uiz_gXG8RCM

          “What does he morph into? More of a cunt.”

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Pyrion Flax is like the only “Dota 2 Personality” that I like. Purge is ok, and I guess Cyborgmatt isn’t really bad, but I still wish they’d tone down on the language and stuff. Don’t even get me started on SingSing. Why anyone would want to watch a player who is a total unfunny asshole is beyond me. There are people like that in almost every game, we don’t need more people like that. Ugh. 

        • Lusby

          I actually watched Pyrion Flax play with SingSing (and Purge and others). Sing didn’t seem to get Pyrion. Sing is like a 15-year-old riding a neverending hormone high and he never shuts up, but I think some people just see that as his quirky style of humor. Others might see it differently.

          I like Purge. He tries to be educational so he points out mistakes, but he’s basically a mature, normal guy with a nice voice. Blitz is a player who often streams who also seems okay. The players they play with aren’t necessarily always as nice though.

          Last year I started watching gaming videos to help me fall asleep (Dark Souls playthroughs can be great for this by the way), and for some reason I ended up also watching Dota. Never really considered the possibility that I’d actually play it until this fall.

        • Lusby

          I mean, all in all it’s just a very juvenile culture and nobody escapes its influence, so even the nicer guys can seem like dicks at times. And a high level of bizarre elitism. It’s anonymous teenage boys who define the culture.

    • Raging Bear

      My PS3 died a couple of weeks ago (don’t be too sad – it was a launch model, and had a good innings), and in the process of frantically salvaging my saved games in its fitful “turn on-crash in 2-5 minutes” death throes, I apparently deleted my Borderlands 2 character file instead of copying it. 

      I have stubbornly started over with the same class on the replacement PS3.

    • WorldCivilizations

      I, too, have once again heeded the call of Dark Souls. I’m close to finishing a playthrough with a character built around the Greatsword of Artorias, which has been pretty tough because I have no points to spare for endurance or vitality. 

      I didn’t know about DOTA 2 – I should probably stay away because I was frickin’ obsessed with DotA back in the day. 

      Anyway, this weekend I will be playing Exam Grader 2: Why God Why.

      • http://gameological.com/author/jasonreich/ Jason Reich

        Dark Souls for me too. Heisler has been been offering me encouragement and moral support as I play because I generally do not have the patience for this sort of thing. But I admit, the small victories are rewarding. I was totally stuck until yesterday when I realized I could buy a key from a merchant back near the first bonfire that opened up Lower Undead Burg. I think I actually heard an angels’ choir.

        • Fixda Fernback

          As more encouragement, I have a buddy that bought that game based on my recommendation. He texted me saying he was having lots of trouble, I gave him some general tips and told him he might try looking more up online if he can’t get it. I guess it was getting so frustrating he almost took it back to trade it in. But then, it finally clicked for him, and now it’s one of his favorite games. It seems like it’s one of those experiences that until it hooks you, you don’t understand the hype… then once it does, it’s much too late to escape.

    • Andrew Parkkila

      I just started Dark Souls again.  I can only take a little at a time because it’s so abusive…

  • Drew Toal

    Going to Baltimore, but going to sneak in a few hours of XCOM first. I regret to inform this article’s author, Steve Heisler, that he died in my game after taking a plasma rifle round to the face. He had a lot of moxie, and was a damn fine heavy weapons expert. But dead nonetheless.

    Casualties are high. I’m running out of friends.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Create me! I’m small, but drug me heavily and I’m great under pressure! Also, I have asthma. *gives away cover thanks to wheezing, shot to death*

    • stakkalee

      Alright, Charm City!  If you’re looking for any food or booze recommendations let me know.  B-more’s a great town!

      • Drew Toal

        Is Cal Ripken the mayor yet?

        • stakkalee

          Unfortunately his grueling schedule of shooting vitamin commercials doesn’t leave him any time.

    • Effigy_Power

      Post some screenshots on Steam, brah. I’d love to see the heroic demise of your squad of unmilitaristic mercs.

      • Drew Toal

        Maybe when I’m done I’ll post the casualty list.

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

      If I die you’re fired

      • Drew Toal

        Oh, you’re rear echelon all the way.

      • Fixda Fernback

        @andrewtoal:disqus Please please PLEASE tell me the Teti-analogue in your game is called either “Pete Strackmeier” or “JOYstick MASTerrrrr”

  • NarcolepticPanda

    Huh, short interview, but I thought the bit about her playing a character completely different from herself was interesting. In games where there’s any sort of customization options, I like to make the character as similar to how I’d imagine I’d be in a similar situation as possible.

    This weekend, I am continuing Persona 3 Portable, which I purchased for $20 three weeks ago, and is now, along with all the other games in the Persona series, is half off. Wah! On the bright side, I’ll pick up Persona 3: FES for a fiver, just for the fancy cutscenes and free roaming. Also thought about getting Persona 2 on PSP for $15, but checked out gameplay videos and it looks pretty drab, and the battles are repetetive. I wonder if discounting PSP games is going to become a trend, the Persona games, Corpse Party, in the last couple weeks, because that would be great!

    Also playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. (Spoilers for pretty much the whole paragraph.) Enemies just broke in after I talked to Eliza and it was a good stopping point. There was this really fun part after I got kicked out of Zhao’s room at the end of Tai Yong Medical where enemies were looking for me, and there was no way I was gonna try to get out with cover, so I reloaded 20 times figuring out exactly how to take out all the enemies as they went in. Finally put the gas mine in JUST the right place and POOF took down all but one! Jensen had the cool under pressure to pull out his tranquilizer rifle, make a perfect shot to the chest, and the guy collapses just as he bend down to wake up one of his allies! Totally worth spending an hour and a half trying to make it happen, especially with the pictures i got of eight heavily armored men snuggling with each other, and a bunch of credits.

    Finally, I’ll be troubleshooting my VORP calculator on C++, and hopefully adding park factor support. If anyone’s interested in sabermetrics, hi! I am too!

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

      I know it’s weird, but I’m the total opposite; I don’t enjoy roleplaying. I’m quite like Ms. Gordon in that I like playing characters who are nothing like me. In fact, I tend to pick female characters whenever I have the choice simply because I don’t want to see myself in the protagonist. I can’t imagine myself as the hero of a video game; in those kinds of dangerous situations, I’d probably be cowering in the corner, or more likely, saying “fuck this shit” while munching on a tuna melt.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Well, I’m playing as an Adam Jensen, who sits in a vent downing wine and munching protein bars, saying “fuck this shit” and then crab walks around, tases some fools, drags said fools bodies so they’re huggjng each other, opens all the doors, shoplofts stuff, and goes to an elevator still mumbling nihilistic platitudes.

        • Fluka

          I’d like to say that Adam Jensen is completely different from me, but eating candy, drinking wine, reading tons of pointless email messages, avoiding other people, and mumbling nihilistic platitudes sounds like my usual Saturday night. 

      • aklab

        Same here.  I love RPGs but play a character as different from myself as possible, especially in games with some sort of moral choice element.  

      • Fluka

        I like to do a combination of each.  Some of my favorite characters that I’ve played in games have been like her Gunzerker.  For instance, in Skyrim, I had fun playing as a Nord lady with a large hammer for a while, running in and smashing everything before it had a chance to object.  In real life I am an unathletic past-faced shut-in with a fear of confrontation, so there’s a degree of escapism and freshness in playing someone who can do things I don’t do (e.g., smash).  

        Of course, as a former grad student, I’ve also chosen to become a scholarly mage at Mage Academy on numerous occasions, so that doesn’t always hold water.  (I will never escape grad school.)

        With respect to the whole lady question, I also always chose a female character if I have the chance, but for different reasons.  I’m fine playing dudes that aren’t like me, but I know that this might be my only chance to play as a female character for a while.  I take the chance when I can get it!

    • rvb1023

      Was Corpse Party discounted? If so I’m upset I missed it.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Still $10 until next Tuesday.

        • rvb1023

          Awesome, may actually pick that up, thanks.

        • NarcolepticPanda

          @rvb1023:disqus No problem, have fun.

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

          @rvb1023:disqus http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=44142143 , too.

    • Bad Horse

      Whenever I’m playing an RPG, or something that allows me to do so, I always gravitate toward a sort of Captain Picard character – generally peaceful, a diplomat, but ready to throw down at a moment’s notice. I think part of the reason I got so deep into Fallout 3, and less so into Skyrim, is because Fallout seemed to let you resolve so many more problems with the Speech skill. I have never played another game that lets you talk your way out of the final boss.

      • dreadguacamole

          You should really play Planescape: Torment if you like that sort of thing!

         (Sorry, I’m contractually obligated to mention it every few weeks)

        • djsubversive

          Or the first Fallout game, which also lets you speechify your way past the final boss (as long as you find the proper evidence to back up your argument).

      • Chum Joely

        Yeah, like I said above, I am just starting on New Vegas now, and even on the first mission, I really loved how my choice to emphasize Speech, as well as some  Intelligence-based skills, immediately had a big and obvious impact on the course of the game (including the skill points etc. that you get when you level up).  

        As soon as I absolutely have to use a gun to get through some segment, though, I have a problem (killed repeatedly and too easily on the road from Goodsprings to Primm).  We’ll see how these two aspects balance out in my overall like for the game.

      • Fixda Fernback

        “I have never played another game that lets you talk your way out of the final boss.”

        The Witcher II.

    • PaganPoet

      Yeah, Persona 1 and 2 are pretty different from Persona 3 and 4 since there is no social sim element in those first two. Persona 1 was kind of a chore to get through, not gonna lie, but I’m actually enjoying P2: Innocent Sin so far.

      Do you have a Vita, Panda? If so, put Persona 4: Golden on your radar, out sometime this month. P4 is arguably the best game in the series, and Golden will be an enhanced port thereof, so be on the lookout!

      • NarcolepticPanda

        No Vita, Poet. We had a discussion about that a month or so ago, in which I basically said “wah! I don’t have a Vita!” and then you listed a bunch of really good reasons to want a Vita. MEANIE :)

        I do really want one, and Persona 4 Golden is one of the reasons why (again thanks to you, when I was like “persona?” and you were like “persona!” and now I’m like “persona!!!”), and it’s beginning to feeel a lot like Christmas. However, it costs so much that I’d have to chip in most of the price, and then ask my mama for extra money for a big memory card (like when I saved $300 for a PS3 over two years, and got $50 for Christmas for a bigger hard drive), and I sorta have the cash from my summer job…but what if the price drops? What if it flops? What if ends up a paperweight, tops? And I still have a few JRPG’s to get for my PSP. (Speaking of which, did you play the Dissidia series, and if so, would you recommend it? You’re my JRPG guru man!) So…I’m not sure.

        • PaganPoet

          If you’re a big FF fan, definitely get Dissidia Duodecim, as the whole thing is basically a loveletter to the fans. Don’t even bother with the first one, because…Dissidia Duodecim includes the first game as well!

          The gameplay is not typical FF, though. It’s more like a one-on-one Kingdom Hearts battle. It’s pretty addictive, though, and you could easily sink a hundred hours or more into it.

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

    I’ll be finishing off Assassin’s Creed this weekend. Al Mualim just told Altaïr that he has 2 assassinations left, but I’m sure there’s a Big Shocking Twist™ coming, which will probably mean lots more killing. Is it weird that I find whatever is going on at Abstergo far more compelling that whatever is happening during the Crusades? I’m way more interested in what Lucy and Desmond are up to than whatever shenanigans Altaïr (a.k.a. the Cole Phelps of the Near East) is involved in.

    If I have time, I’ll also continue with Jade Empire. I have no idea how far I am from the end, but Silk Fox just joined my posse, which balances out Zu’s and Sky’s constant douchebaggery, so that’s a plus. I haven’t picked the game up for a week. That’s not for lack of interest; I’ve just reached a point where I have too many side quests and the main quest has forked off into two branches. There’s so much choice that I have no idea what I should tackle next. Should I join up with the Inquisitors or the Executioners? Should I tackle the bronze level matches in the arena? Should I explore the Scholars’ Garden? Should I investigate the arson? Help me decide, fellow Gameological-ers! The fate of Radiant Jen Zhi (and the possibility of her bedding Silk Fox) rest in your hands.

    • HobbesMkii

      This may be the first time I’ve heard someone express appreciation for the Abstergo/Animus lab sections in an Assassin’s Creed game.

      • dreadguacamole

          They’re not that bad in the first game – they started grating on me by the middle of the second game, but that goes for the whole metaplot of the series, to be honest.

         Is the new protagonist as bland as everyone says? because Ezio’s charisma was carrying the series for me, story-wise. His curtain call at the end of revelations is a highlight of the series, and a bright spot on a pretty drab game.

        • Effigy_Power

          I don’t know if he’s bland, but nobody will be able to replace Ezio ever.
          The genius was that we knew Ezio since birth, like the literal event of birth. I feel that I watched Ezio grow up and that every aspect of his life was something I experienced. He was never grim, never unnecessarily dark or broody and always heroic up the wazoo.
          I miss Ezio already.

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

        I think there are two reasons I feel this way. For one, while the historical context of the Crusades is potentially fascinating, the way the setting is depicted in the game feels, for lack of a better word, “video-game-y.” There are convenient bales of hay placed under every lookout post and hiding spots scattered across roofs. Everyone repeats the same ambient dialogue over and over again. The cities look like masses of barely distinguishable buildings, and they themselves are barely distinguishable from each other. One time, I accidentally went to Acre instead of Jerusalem and didn’t realize my mistake for half an hour when I finally climbed up to a lookout and saw the Sea. (To be fair, the accents in the ambient dialogue probably should have tipped me off.) On the other hand, Abstergo feels like it could be a real place. For example, Desmond’s bathroom isn’t required for the game to work, but it’s there anyway, because it wouldn’t make sense to force Desmond to live in a place without a bathroom. I feel far more “immersed” walking around the office than in fake Damascus.

        The other – and probably more important – reason Abstergo interests me more than the Animus is that, to be frank, all the characters in the Animus simulation suck. They’re all either one-dimensional villains (Altaïr’s targets), irritating mentor figures (Al Mualim), or gigantic jerkwads (Altaïr). Now, I don’t mind playing a character who is a jerkwad. For instance, I was fine playing as Cole Phelps in L.A. Noire because while he was a jerkwad, he was an interesting jerkwad with a meaty backstory. Altaïr, on the other hand, displays only the most generic kind of jerkwaddery. Meanwhile – and maybe this is because of the voice acting – Desmond, Lucy, and Vidic all feel like real people that I want to get to know better.

        • ToddG

          I don’t get why everyone complains about the convenience of the hay bales, when the alternative is to make the player climb all the way back down from the viewpoints.  Seems like good, if non-immersive, game design to me.

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

            You’re right, ToddG – I’m misidentifying the source of the immersion-breaking. It’s not so much that there are bales of hay under the lookouts. It’s that there’s a repetitive process of climbing up to the lookout, synchronizing, and then taking a leap of faith into a bale of hay.

            The repetition is the problem. I don’t really mind that AC is totally unrealistic. In fact, I’m an advocate of the idea of mechanics as metaphor; I rarely think that “ludonarrative dissonance” is a problem. The problem is that repeating the same mechanics in the same order to accomplish the same goal over and over again reminds me of the repetitive grind of an arcade game. And that’s why AC feels like “narrative + challenge” and more like a “video game.”

    • djsubversive

      Scholar’s Garden! Scholar’s Garden!

      Sir Roderick and Mirabelle await!

  • rvb1023

    Anyone else get into the Hawken beta?  That’s probably what I’ll be doing in between wetting my feet in Tatsunoko VS Capcom, the Witcher 2, and Pathologic, though I did get a huge itch to dick around in Just Cause 2 for a little bit.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      My alpha key rolls into the beta, but I think I am forced to use a new one anyways. I’ll probably be too busy playing Halo 4, which I’m allowed to play as a fan since Marathon on the Mac. I might play a little to see major feature changes, tho. Have a stompy grindy weekend!

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

      There’s an internal debate going on inside me between which mech shooter deserves my hard drive space: Mechwarrior or Hawken.

      I’m leaning towards Hawken based on aesthetics and indie-ethos so let me know if it’s any good.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Electoral politics have been, for no surprising reason, heavy on my mind this week.  In the first wave of inevitable and hyper-extended post analysis that we will endure until Menard’s Christmas commercials wipe all evidence of an election from our minds, David Brooks had an interesting analysis.
       Brooks, when left to his own column, is a reductive child-like columnist of primary colors and basic shapes, but is incredibly astute when speaking or writing against another pundit.
       In his Times column with Gail Collins, he points out that a certain party is still behaving twenty years behind the rest of the company.  Companies, families and American life in general have assimilated much greater diversity much more flawlessly than would be believed listening to the apocalyptic mini-strokes espoused by certain politicians.  They are uttering a dialect increasingly inexact and clumsy sounding to our current way of speaking.
       And all that obnoxious build-up just to say that it seems so many game companies are in the same position.  Of being beholden to a certain musty perception, either due to perceived market necessity or, as Gordon rightly points out, a fossilized world view.
       I like smart games and I like dumb games.  But I don’t like stupid games.

       Which is to say, I’m still at Fable 3, which tries very hard at the former category, but is very much in the latter.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I wrote this post after finishing a very generous pour of Knob Creek. 
         I apologize for the rambling-Grandpa quality.

    • Fluka

      David Brooks done disrespected Nate Silver.  Therefore, he is dead to me.

      (Okay, for that and many other reasons.)

  • Nudeviking

    All-Star Baseball 2002 (Gamecube version).  Best $0.99 I’ve spent in a long while.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       My favorite baseball game was Ken Griffey’99.  You could send your pitchers out there forever and when they got tired, all their pitches would slow down and just start wobbling around in mid-flight.  Which meant that any exhausted pitcher suddenly became an unhittable knuckleballer.  Not exactly a realistic simulator, but it was a fun trick to play on friends.

  • Marozeph

    I had a pretty shitty week (thanks to a lousy job getting even lousier than usual), so i’m probably going to play something bright and colorful with good vibrations. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Rhythm Thief should fit nicely.

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

    No more elections means that I am no longer an indentured servant!  I’ll have to rely on trusty Comment Cat to catch up on everyone’s posts.

    Basically, I have a matter of days to finish Bravely Default: Flying Fairy before Paper Mario: Super Seal/Sticker Star comes out.  Intelligent Systems may be my favorite active developer, so I am salivating.  In 1 year, they put out a classic Fire Emblem, a new classic property in the…-mo(?) series (Crashmo/Pull-Crash), and a really unique take on Mario role-playing games.

    Plus, my brother’s back from intensive engineering training for the 2nd of 2 vacation weeks AND will probably announce that he’s getting married.  What I’m saying is: celebratory family Mario Kart Gamecube session, LAN-style.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Bravely Default- Please to expound at great length.

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

        Okay, I want to sell you on the game without revealing much,
        so I’ll give you an equation.

        The 4 Heroes Of Light (character, item, and enemy art,
        shared…stuff)

        Final Fantasy IX (environmental art)

        Final Fantasy III (job system, its uses)

        Steins;Gate (writing, story, descriptions; it is WAY more
        mature [in the real sense of the word] than you’d expect if you didn’t know the
        writer)

        Star Ocean (music; my biggest disappointment after the
        teaser tracks; it’s still quite good)

        Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels Of The Starry Sky (trading)

        Lost Odyssey (maybe what you’re thinking of)

        the Chrono series (definitely not what you’re thinking of)

        Chrono Cross, specifically (battle system http://www.siliconera.com/2012/06/27/bravely-defaults-battle-system-is-like-classic-final-fantasy-but-faster
        )

         

        I can go into more detail, but I’ll leave that post for
        people who don’t want to risk revealing stuff if it gets released here.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Thanks, that’s a fantastic rundown.
             Should Bravely Default rightly be localized for the west, it’s the game that could single-handed compel a 3DS purchase.
             I don’t fancy myself a graphics zealot, but I’m happy to see a game made on a system with sufficient horsepower to really convey Yoshida’s phenomenal character design.
             This game looks gorgeous and above all fun.  Perhaps a little less deliberately obtuse than Four Heroes.

        • dreadguacamole

           Wow, that sounds incredible. Hope it gets localized. I’m with @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus – might get me to buy a 3ds

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      Aw, shoot. I was kinda hoping you’d come visit me over the weekend: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5mh1dfqypz53umg/MehOaLWNIo

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

        1. You HAVE to get the full Puyo Puyo 20th Anniversary/Birthday.  You have the compulsive modes AND the
        substantive stuff that makes it 1 of my 10 favorite puzzle games.

         

        2. *laughs*  I can
        empathize.  I bought Lunar Legend for the
        Game Boy Advance knowing that it will have exactly what the other games had,
        but less!

         

         3. Seriously, don’t
        remind me.  The English title definitely
        tops the original this time, as Nintendo actually put effort into a once-great
        series!  I know I just wrote that I’m
        sick of politics, but I am so ready to stomp around as mayor-king of Klabograd.
         I would play this were it not for the
        Mario role-playing game.  I promise you
        this: I will make you 1 HECK of an umbrella. 
        Now, do you want a ferocious tribal mask design on it to ward off rough
        weather, a classic video game sprite, or a big Q in byzantine royal purple and sea
        green?

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          I don’t know, go nuts! I made a hat that looks like the Gameological button. 

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

      Search Google for: Bravely Defalut.  Images… Oh my…

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

        I am actively, 100-percent against the old phenomenon of “DS 3-d” as done by Matrix Software, so Akihiko Yoshida’s art should remind me more of getting Final Fantasy III DS instead of G.B.A. rather than of Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions.

        But, yep, it’s Final Fantasy XII character art on Final Fantasy IX environment art.  It is…something.

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

          The characters are adorable little chibis and the backgrounds look to be hand-drawn and painted rather than rendered, which seem to set it apart from its FFIX and XII antecedents.

          That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle was just getting the vapors from that ubiquitous promotional image Google turns up that looks like Princess Garnet isn’t wearing enough skirt.

  • Enkidum

    Well, I’m not going to be finishing Deus Ex. You wanna know why? Of course you do. I’ve been playing through as a stealthy fucker on Give Me Deus Ex mode for the past two weeks, and working like crazy to take out almost all the guards even when I don’t need to – I don’t know why, it’s just something I have to do. They just look so cute when they’re “asleep”.

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS I spent like 30 retries making sure I could rescue Malik, and I was dumb enough to get the upgraded chip the second time I was in Hengsha, even as I was doing it I knew what would happen, but dammit I had like 15000 credits and I wanted those two Praxis kits! Anyways, after another 30 retries I managed to survive that boss fight where your chip gets turned off, but only after looking online and finding out that you can carry the turret from outside in, and just avoid angry guy as the turret shreds him.

    “So Enkidum,” you’re saying right now (I can hear you through your computer!) “That all sounds pretty fucking hardcore and not at all like a reason to stop playing. So why would you stop?”

    Well, you’re right, actually, it is pretty fucking hardcore. But… I find out what a naive twit my girlfriend is, I get to Antarctica, do some scooting around, get inside the complex, climb up a ladder to the ground floor, take the stairs up to the next floor, and the disc freezes. Reboot my system like 8 times, take the disc out and polish it like a motherfucker, there’s not a scratch on the thing, put it back in… nothing. Every time I get to exactly that spot – boom, it freezes.

    WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME???

    There’s no way I can get a refund – don’t have a receipt any longer, and I only paid 10 bucks for it anyways (weird sale at Toys R Us). ARGH ARGH ARGH ARGH!

    So yeah, I won’t be playing Deus Ex.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Oh…now I’m sad…damn my ability to emphasize, damn it! Are you gonna buy the game again? Come on, Adam Jensen needs someone to control him, or else he’ll just fall asleep in an air vent and suffocate. Though I’m sure Jensen looks adorable “sleeping”…I bet he has a little robot bear…

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

      That’s the saddest story I’ve ever read. :( What system are you playing on? If you’re on Xbox, try uploading the game to your hard drive and playing it from there.  I’m just throwing darts at the wall but you should give it a shot.

      • Enkidum

        Hmmm…  it is on an Xbox, might try that, good point! Couldn’t hurt, at any rate.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Ouch!  Hey, sometimes it’s a good idea to try emailing the game company directly.  Tell them your story (including how much you’ve loved the game up to this point) and ask if there’s a way to get a replacement disc.

      • Enkidum

        Another good point, will do that if putting the disc on the hd doesn’t work. Thanks for the sympathy & suggestions, folks!

    • Fluka

      Oh no!  That is the worst! :(

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    Need For Speed Most Wanted. Even though this game is inferior in every possible way to its predecessor Hot Pursuit, it still reaches heights of awesomeness because the cars are so much fun to drive. The soundtrack is totally abysmal of course, but I quickly turned on the option to shuffle songs stored on my PS3 and never looked back. Hooning down the highway at 300kmph in a Bugatti Veyron with Spanish Flea blaring from the speakers is one of life’s little pleasures.

    The city environment is bland, but hey Criterion was clearly predicting Mitt’s America, where the roads are impeccable, the police are relentless and vicious, everyone drives brand new petrol guzzling übermobiles, and if there are poor people they are either well hidden or busy working for the 1% (though my guess is that they have been systematically rounded up and eradicated). A few people wandering around for me to run over in my midlife-crisis red Porsche would have been nice for me to work through my post-working day issues, but we can’t have everything.

    Another minor quibble. I like trophies/achievements, because they help take my mind off the fact that in real life I’ve pretty much achieved jack shit. NFS Most Wanted decides to have a bunch of online trophies that are like ‘get 5 NFS friends’, ‘beat a friends time’, ‘take down a friend’. You know what, Criterion, I play games because I don’t have any real friends, and having to proposition strangers on the other side of the world in order to gain intangible ‘achievements’ horribly brings the pointlessness of my life into sharp focus. This is not what I play games for. Games are about escapism. I don’t play Mass Effect and just have my Shepard sitting up in his cabin not wanting to go out into the Normandy and mix with co-workers because they all talk about their children. No, I get out and about in the world, shoot bad guys and try to bang the blue alien chick. Escapism. There is no ‘Contemplate the Meaningless of Your Existence” trophy, no it’s “kill 50 motherfuckers with incinerate”. Not difficult.

    • EmperorNortonI

       Any game with a “Contemplate the Meaningless of Your Existence” trophy that was meaningfully tied into gameplay and story mechanics would, all by itself, be proof that video gaming has well and truly risen to the highest pinnacles of artistic accomplishment.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      Just HOW inferior is it? I’m a huge Criterion fan, so I was thinking Christmas present from the moment it was announced, but reception has definitely been mixed. I’ve heard (from Operation Sports, bar none best site for covering sports and racing video games, community member feeling obliged to give it a shout out) the single player is mediocre but the multiplayer is great. That’s ominous, considering my lack of friends who play racing games, or friends who play video games, or friends in general. But as for the actual gameplay, you know, how the cars feel, what do you think of it? More Burnout Paradise i.e. races are the means to impressive crashes, or more Hot Pursuit i.e. floaty on wide turns, but ultimately satisfying? Hey, if you’re overbearingly positive enough, I might ask for the game, and you can get those trophies!

  • Alkaron

    My old college buddy is coming into town for a visit, so that means lots of gaming this weekend. He’s bringing his 360 (the newest system I personally own is a Gamecube) along with Resident Evil 6. I fully expect to dislike it as much as I disliked RE5, but at this point it’s more about the experience of playing co-op with a guy I hardly ever see anymore than about whether the game itself is any good.

    We’re also going to a Magic: the Gathering tournament on Saturday. So yeah, we’re gigantic nerds.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      That is awesome. Catching up with people over games is just about the greatest.

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    Valve keeps sending me Dota 2 invites. I have four right now if anyone wants any. 

    I’ll try to play some more Space Alert this weekend, but doubt i’ll be successful. Still hopeful!

    • EmperorNortonI

       I’ll take one.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Shit yeah! Add me on Steam when you get the chance, I’ll save one for ya. Username is the same as this one and I’m in the Gameological group.

    • Alkaron

      SPACE ALERT!

      *crew members run everywhere waving their arms over their heads in panic, forgetting to move that damn mouse*

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        My crew has mouse patrol DOWN. We are super bad about keeping energy in the ship though. And killing threats. And not dying horribly.

    • Enkidum

      Hell, I’m down with an invite. Same steam name as my username.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Sent you a friend request on Steam. <3

        Feel free to ask me if you need help getting into it. It can be tough, to say the least..

  • Swadian Knight

    Well, this week marks the start of a new age for my gaming habits, as Steam now accepts my country’s currency! 

    No more will I have to fear getting screwed by absurd conversion rates! No more will I be subject to the ridiculous service fees that come with using an international credit card! No more will I be forced into the absolutely astounding situation of finding Origin more convenient to use than Steam, if only because of their foothold in my country!

    I can now finally join you all in THE FUTURE, and buy every game that I – hold on a sec.

    *checks bank account balance*

    Nevermind.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    I’ll be playing Bethesda wrpgs.  I know, I know, really original of me.

  • dreadguacamole

    Waking Mars finally came out on the PC yesterday (on the latest Humble bundle). Put it on last night to see what it was about, and ended up going late to bed; excellent, exploration-based game.
     I’ve got the hankering to play the new Halo split-screen co-op with a friend, but it’s a bit expensive at the moment; we’ll see.
     Rune Factory: Oceans – I keep bouncing off the series; I never care for the characters or the world, but on the other hand there are so many systems to learn, so many things to learn and so many stats to raise… I’ll probably play that for a while and return it when I get thoroughly bored; but that won’t happen until it stops throwing new things at me.

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

      Is Waking Mars worth it, because other than that and splice, I own everything in the latest bundle.

      • dreadguacamole

          I’m enjoying it a huge amount, though I wouldn’t be sure whether to recommend it or not.
         I’m a complete sucker for exploration games, and here you don’t just explore a pretty huge cave system – the game itself is about playing around with the environment and the ecosystem around you to discover what you need to do to achieve your goals.
         I’m a bit concerned that once I figure out what makes all the weird plant/animal hybrids tick it will bog down to a more pedestrian puzzle game with repetitive, discrete tasks to perform as steps, but I’m an hour or two in and the game’s still very good at introducing new elements and relationships between them to find out.

  • EmperorNortonI

    I want to point out a KickStarter that may well have a fair bit of appeal here on Gameological.

    How many of you here remember the Quest for Glory games?  Well, the key designers of that series are trying to put together a new, and rather more sophisticated, approach to the RPG/Adventure hybrid they pioneered at Sierra all those years ago.

    Hero U – From Rogue to Redemption is its name.  I jumped on the bandwagon the moment I heard of it, as the Quest for Glory games were the only Sierra adventure games from back in the day that I was actually good at.  I still remember slogging through volume 2, in the desert, and loving every minute of it.  However, I’ve been following their updates and designer notes, and the project seems really solid and innovative.  They’re about halfway to the goal at the moment, and I really hope they exceed it by quite a bit.

    • dreadguacamole

       It really does look lovely, doesn’t it?
       One thing that should be mentioned is that it seems to be skewing a lot more towards RPG than the old QfG games did – lots of dungeon exploring in between the adventure shenanigans.

       Fine by me!

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

      Very nice.  I love the mythos, and I’m so glad that they completed the cycle in a way that Space Quest, Police Quest, and (arguably) King’s Quest didn’t.

      What’s unique about this, exactly?

      • EmperorNortonI

         They’re focusing much more clearly on the RPG elements, and look to be putting the writing effort into the game necessary to really flesh out multiple alternate paths.

        The last update described one really interesting idea they have, of putting character creation into the game through personal development.  Your character starts the same, but through choices you develop skills and stats, and thus can put together rather substantially different skill sets.

        So much less adventure than the old games, but in a very interesting way, and in a way that few if any games are doing at the moment.

  • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

    I’mma gonna play Alice: Madness Returns finally

    I just got through replaying the first Alice for the time in half a decade, it’s pretty dated, but still pretty cool, I’m really hoping the sequel is good 

  • duwease

    Finished Tokyo Jungle, so moving on to Okami HD (yessssssssssssssssss).  Also unlocking the latest deck pack for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.  Oh, and working on those devious puzzles in A Fool And His Money.. how could I forget that?

    • Enkidum

      My father played some of the demo of A Fool And His Money, and said it feels like it hasn’t changed at all since the original. Sound about right?

      • duwease

        Yes, in a good way :)  A lot of the same puzzle types return, with some new ones sprinkled in.  But I’ve beat the original at least 3 times in the last 25 years, so it’s good news to me!

  • stakkalee

    Another weekend of the neverending Civ4/Fall From Heaven game with my buddy.  When we left off, we’d just started total war, and my friend was quickly coming to the realization that he won’t be able to beat me.  Flat out, there’s no way.  He still has numerical superiority, but that means jack-shit when you can’t see your enemy, who can fireball you to death from 4 squares away.  He DID manage to complete the “Blood of the Phoenix” ritual, which gives all of his units the Immortal promotion, which means when I kill them they just respawn in his capitol, but that just means I’ll need to fireball them to death twice.  My cadre of water-walking mages hit his unprotected western flank, and has taken 3 of his cities so far.  Meanwhile, on the main front, several of his cities are changing hands every turn, but each turn he loses dozens of units while I lose 2-3.  And, because my industrial base is humming along nicely, I’m turning out more and more mages each turn, and I’m now planning on opening another front with water-walkers so I can start harassing his industrial base.  It will be a glorious slaughter.  Always bet on Magic over Might kids.  Always.

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

    There are 2 new bundles staring me in the face when I haven’t even processed a single game from the last one, but my play time will be split between Mass Effect 3 (hopefully I’ll finally finish it) and my old flame Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. Saw it on gog.com while buying Alpha Centauri and couldn’t resist.

    Too bad I can’t build an exciting roller coaster to save my life. What do people want!?!? I’m giving them twists and turns and drops! C’mon!

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

      The trick with designing a coaster is to watch your G’s. Wherever possible, use the largest curves you can, and try not to put too many sharp dips and peaks. A good way to boost excitement is to put in inversions, but make sure the trains go through them at relatively low speed; it helps to place them at higher altitudes.

      Another good way to boost excitement is to put scenery all around your track. That can buy you another .50 in excitement. Place trees and other scenery items next to curves, and build pedestrian bridges over the low parts of your track.

  • dmikester

    Still displaced from my apartment, and FedEx has so utterly screwed up delivering Assassin’s Creed III to my temporary address that I don’t even know where to begin.  Needless to say, thanks to you guys praising it so much, I picked up Deus Ex: HR and LOVE it.  Exactly what I needed to take my mind off of things.  

  • aklab

    I will be playing Ys: The Oath in Felghana for about half an hour at a time, rage-quitting, playing Binding of Isaac for a few minutes, starting Ys again, rage-quitting, having a drink, giving Ys one last try and beating whatever boss caused me to rage-quit in an impossibly easy fluke.  At least if the last few days are any indication.  

  • Effigy_Power

    More Photoshop.
    I know, it’s not really a game even if I start it over Steam, but I am on a roll and I can’t stop now.
    Plus, why the setting and characters in Red Dead Redemption seem really need, I am having some major issues with the controls simply not fusing in my brain. Especially the riding seems strange to control beyond what it should be.

    • Enkidum

      I found it took quite a while for the controls to make sense to me in RDR. And I’ve gone back to it a couple of times (and played through the first bits of the Zombie version) and had trouble re-adjusting.

      Why don’t games let you customize controls any more? Shouldn’t that be a default?

      • Effigy_Power

        The problem I have is with the seamless speeds of the horse. AC had 4 speeds of horse controlled with very few buttons and it worked just fine. RDR’s horse controls are odd and having to keep one of the face buttons pressed at all time is just not really comfortable. Everything else is fine, as it’s basically just GTA4′s scheme, but since 80% of the game is done from horseback, it’s really putting a dampener on my fun.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      I’ve always felt if anyone deserved their own battle robot it was you.
         Used purely for altruistic purposes, of course.

      • Effigy_Power

        Is blowing up buildings altruistic? Because I don’t receive anything in return and the ammo comes out of my pocket.

    • Fluka

      *Clicks link.*

      …omg…

      • Effigy_Power

        Right? Mind you, I hope it uses an electric motor, because if this thing tuckers away like a small car it would seriously kill my buzz.
        Also: Yay for corduroy seats.

    • NarcolepticPanda

      RE: RDR controls. There were two games I heard about that made me want a PS3: Red Dead Redemption and NBA 2k11. (PS3 over 360 because of The Show.) But I’m not allowed to play M games unless I plead and beg and grovel and spam my parent’s email with those horrible parenting appropriateness reviews and gameplay footage. That’s only worked with Human Revolution, and I would obviously fail if I did the same with RDR. So anyway, my only friend who plays video games, his parents are okay with him playing M games. He gets RDR…and returns it within a day because of the controls. COOL STORY me, but I was envious.

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

      I love how it says “Buy Dream Now” in huge letters.

      …and now my imagination has gone on overdrive and I’m thinking up a dystopian future where dreams are bought and sold on the open market and implanted into one’s brain at night.

  • Ack_Ack

    I’m in trouble right now.  I just got Halo 4, and I’m really enjoying the multiplayer – I’m sort of addicted to that right now.  However, I’ve also got Assassin’s Creed III and Dishonoured, both of which I’ve started, the DLC for Borderlands 2 and the new Hitman game coming out in a little over a week.  Also, Far Cry 3.  And I still haven’t played NHL 13, which I got for my birthday.  Too many games, and not enough time.  It’ll probably be a fairly Halo intensive weekend for me.  If anyone else has Halo 4, and wants to play with someone fairly shitty who doesn’t communicate, hit up Bender R Bender on Xbox Live.

    • Effigy_Power

      It’s not a meme I enjoy, but it has to be said:

      #firstworldproblems

      ^_^

    • The Guilty Party

      I’m in Vegas this weekend so no Halo 4, but I will be picking it up next week as a sort of reminiscence of the days of playing Halo 2 with my friends online. I’m interested to see how it’s changed; I haven’t played in years and years. My tag is Moon Monster if you want grampa running behind you and mistakenly swording you in the back.

      • Ack_Ack

        They’ve made the multiplayer a little meatier, which is good – there’s more to chase after and unlock.  It’s cribbed a bit from the Modern Warfare series, but for me, the gameplay in Halo is a lot more fun, so this, to me, is the best multiplayer game out there right now.  See you online!

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    EVE Online:

    War has been declared on my alliance, so I will be attempting to participate in fleet PvP for the first time.  I’m hoping that the experience will get me more interested in the game and not sour me to it to the point of quitting again.  I have a notoriously bad temper in PvP in other MMOs, and in EVE if your ship gets blown up, you lose everything on it.  I’ve been reading others’ blogs and trying to get my mindset adjusted out of carebear territory, and admit to myself how cool it is that there ARE such high stakes for everything in EVE.  We’ll see how successful I am at that when the shit actually hits the fan.

    • The Guilty Party

      Fly cheap shit and have a few pre-fitted ships sitting around in stations. It sucks to have your ship blown up, but it sucks more to make it to the nearby station, dock and then spend the next 5 minutes trying to build a ship to get back out there and help.

      Failing to do that is why I once took on a pair of carriers in a Rupture with some autocannons with no ammo, tech 1 light missile launchers, a MWD, and nothing else.

      Also, people who have been doing pvp for years still get the shakes. Don’t worry when it happens.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Thanks.  Thinking I might jump down to a frigate first unless my alliance has a major fleet going on that I can blend into.  Losing a Rupture and fittings worth 30-40mil might be a bit much for my first battle.

        • The Guilty Party

          40m rupture! Yow. Have prices inflated, or are you putting tech 2 everything on it?

          Make sure your overview is set up reasonably, and in general fit for long range. It’s a lot easier to be useful if you can reach out and touch everyone without having to mwd around frantically.

          Otherwise Rifters are nice ships, or a Gallente drone frigate of some sort. Drones are nice because even if you’re spazzing out, as long as you launch them they’ll get out there and do some damage.

        • The Guilty Party

          Now I want to play again. It’s been a while… so who are you fighting anyway?

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Hmm, mostly tech 1 still…maybe that’s high.  I spent 10mil on equipment last night, thought the ship itself was 20, but might be wrong.

          I joined a casual mining corp last weekend, and apparently we’re part of an alliance (The Butterfly Effect) that had a wardec put on us by The Devil’s Tattoo alliance.  The consensus is that they thought they were attacking a mining-only corp, but we have several PvP corps on our side as well.

          I would probably pick a different ship if it weren’t for the short preparation time.  (Learned about it last night, had two hours to get ready before bed and work today, by the time I get home war will have started so I’ll either be stuck in station for a week or risk joining the fight.  I’d rather risk it than be bored for 7 days.)

  • Chum Joely

    Re: women in games, I just have to give a shout-out to Jill Murray, who is a fine scriptwriter (she did Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the PS Vita) and really has a lot of interesting thoughts on all sorts of topics relating to that.

    http://dorkshelf.com/2012/10/24/interview-ubisoft-scriptwriter-jill-murray/

  • Citric

    I just finished everything I was playing, so I don’t know. Suggestions?

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I’ve been getting into the magical world of boardgames lately, and it is awesome. 

      I’ll give you a Dota 2 key if you want to try that out though. It’s a tough one to get into, but when you do, oh lord it is glorious.

  • Fluka

    Very quiet week here, between election, work, and family life.  Mostly election, mmmmm.  *Unpacks bags, stops clutching copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, stops holding breath, and waves tiny fists of excitement.*

    Mr. Fluka got home, and was curious about Hotline Miami so I watched him play that for a while until he got a headache and had to stop (judging from the large amounts of cursing, I think he enjoyed it!).  He then learned about the existence of Good Old Games and downloaded Planescape Torment, but that is unfortunately very boring to watch someone else play.

    In that retro mood, I finally went and installed a bunch of graphics update mods to my Steam copy of the first Deus Ex.  Unbelievably, it worked.  Though it required some rejiggering of the audio settings – this being a cyberpunk game, it took me a few long minutes to realize that all the characters *weren’t* supposed to talk like robots.  Now that I’ve got that working, I might give this a try!

    For my obligatory Mass Effect note, OMG female turian!

    • aklab

      @Fluka:disqus , any suggestions for the Deus Ex graphics mods?  I’m actually thinking about playing that in the next week or so (and I know next to nothing about mods).  

      • Fluka

        Nor do I, which is why I’m amazed it worked!  Do you have the Steam GOTY edition?  If so, here’s a list of mods and an explanation of how to install them.  (The audio bug I was mentioning seems to be solved by turning the audio latency up to 60).  The above mods can also, naturally, be (apparently much more easily) installed on a non-Steam version too.

        • aklab

          Awesome, thanks!  Yeah, I got the GOTY edition in a Steam sale quite a while ago.  I figure if I catch up on my Steam backlog I can spend all my money in the holiday sale with a clean conscience!    

        • Fluka

          @aklab:disqus No problem!  Also, be aware that some of the links are broken, but most of the mods can be found with some quick googling.

    • djsubversive

      regarding DX: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/deus-ex-mods-a-how-to-guide-by-jaesun.34834/

      a list of mods and fixes to get DX running on modern systems. I think I’ve linked it before, with the caveat of “it’s the codex, so anything after the first post is suspect (but Jaesun generally seems all right).”

      Good stuff, and most if not all of the mods/fixes work with the Steam version (I have the GotY version too, Fluka!).

      • aklab

        @Fluka:disqus and @djsubversive:disqus — thanks for the links!  Everything’s up and running and looks great.  

    • Effigy_Power

      I already had my stringin’ up rope handy in case the malearchic maleocracy won.

      • Fluka

        Aaah, but the malearchic maleocracy not only lost, it lost HARD!

        • Effigy_Power

          I feel like burning some boxer shorts, sister.
          FEMINISTAS! UNITE!

        • Fluka

          @Effigy_Power:disqus RAAAMPPAAAAAAAAGE!

          *Overturns desk and runs over to AV Club to get into a fight on a Girls article!*

  • http://arnereport.net/ Arne Kaufmann

    Since I got into Dota 2, I am not playing so many different games anymore. It is kind of sad, but also great how some games can get someone. Right now there is the G-1 league going on, and I am following it, so this weekend will be a full Dota 2 weekend in speaking of games. Playing and watching. 

  • PaganPoet

    This weekend I’ll be continuing my journey on Persona 2:Innocent Sin. Have to say, battling in this game tends to be a bit of a grind, but seeing as how I really got into RPGs in the 16-bit era, it doesn’t bother me so much. The story of the game is really awesome, and that’s a relief. I didn’t know where this was gonna fall…dark and melodramatic like P3? A little more upbeat and funny like P4? Or kind of “meh” like P1? It’s definitely much more serious in tone, but I like it.

    Also soldiering on in Okami HD. This game is just as great as I remember it. It looks stunning on PS3, and I forgot how genuinely funny and moving this game is. I found myself misting up a bit at the scene between Mr. Bamboo and Kaguya.

    Also considering firing up Final Fantasy V. I bought it as soon as it was available on PSN last year, but was just thinking about how I never really played it through. FFV’s story and characters are nothing spectacular, but the job system, as I’m sure you all know, has such depth and replayability. Still…I can’t help but think I would be better off with Final Fantasy Tactics instead.

    • aklab

      Mmm, can’t go wrong with either FFV or FFT: the two most jobclassiest games.  

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

      The soundtrack is incredibly underrated, more so than any but III’s.  Faraway Home is 1 of my favorite tracks in the series, an honest-to-goodness chorale.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PRU2-uzg7g  No Lutheran can resist!

      No argument on the other 2. That’s an unimpeachable weekend lineup.

      • PaganPoet

        I’m suddenly craving a mayonnaise-based salad.

        Great tune! I’ve always really liked the vocal arrangement of it as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDORqqZ3mss
        Makes me feel like a European immigrant.

    • caspiancomic

       I have close to zero specific memories of Final Fantasy V, but I remember that I really liked it. Then again, I’m truly a sucker for a good job system. Although if you absolutely had to choose, Tactics is the obvious choice.

      As for me, I’m still playing Persona 3:Fes. I’d start my own thread but I’m kind of late to the party anyway (computer problems- not going to have my system back until maybe as late as Wednesday). Things are going well for me. Three maxed out S-Links! Kazushi, Kenji, and Yuko. Kenji said we were best friends! And Yuko… well, it wouldn’t be gentlemanly to go into specifics. Anyway! I’ve started working on some of my more neglected S-Links now, like art club dood, the little girl from the shrine, stripey shirt man, kendo rival, etc etc. Also, once an S-Link is maxed, it can never go sour, right? In that case it should be safe to start building S-Links with female classmates, and Yuko’ll be cool with it? Maybe? I’ll give it a crack, anyway. My parameters are also pretty good: I’m at the penultimate level for academics, charm, and courage. #cool.

      Also: three Shadows remain! I’ve added, like, a bunch of doods to my party! INCLUDING A DOG. It’s second semester, and there’s a bunch of kickin’ new tunes playing all the time! It’s all coming together!

      (Only downsides: I’ve locked myself into some requests for Elizabeth that I have no idea how to complete. I can’t get access to the nurse’s medicine because every time I go in he either turns me away or gives me a lecture on Tarot. And that cat! I’ve found the cat at Iwatodai Station, I have a bunch of cat food in my inventory, how do I feed the friggin’ cat!?)

      • PaganPoet

        Yes, maxed-out Social Links cannot reverse. Feel free to get your mack on!

        “You spend a special night together with Yuko.”

        *goes on date with Chihiro the next day*

        Try going to the nurse when you’re Tired or Sick. Also, you’re trying to feed the wrong cat. There’s a neglected kitty in the Tatsumi Port Station too.

        • caspiancomic

           Aha! That is profoundly helpful, cheers. I’ve been to the nurse while tired, but every time I’ve been I’ve drunk his concoction for a meagre boost to courage. I’ll try rejecting his potion and seeing what happens.

      • NarcolepticPanda

        Man, we need our own thread just to discuss Persona 3! So, hey…since we’re always discussing this game…caniaddyouonpsn? *blush*

        Didn’t play too much this week, what I did play was about four hours of grinding through Tarturus. Floor 137! What about you? I think we’re pretty close in sync, it’s October 1st in my game, played about 24 hours. Haven’t maxed out Yuko yet, level 9 so I will quite soon though. After her, I’m at level 7 with Keisuke and Maya, as well as level 6 with Hidetoshi AND started social links with the monk and little girl at the shrine. I’n penultimate in academics/charm/courage too!

        Dude, you got some more doods, now I don’t have to worry about spoilers! Right now my main party members are Akihiko, Mitsuru, and Ken, with Shinjiro sometimes subbing for Mitsuru, and the doggie for Ken. I’m pretty pleased with that lineup, and am therefore completely neglecting Junpei and Yukari. “Sorry, you guys used to be cool…” My main character’s level is 42, you?

        HOW DO YOU FEED THAT FUCKING KITTY???

        Finally, I mentioned this above, but there’s a half off PSN sale on Persona games, so if you’ve got a PSP, pick up P3P for $10. Kinda sad since I bought it for $20 three weeks ago, but I’m totally gonna get the PS2 classic for $5! Freeee roaming, plus cutscenes and an epilogue sounds like it’s worth it.

        • caspiancomic

           Holy cow, we are definitely not neck in neck. Right now for me it’s early days in August, And I’m around floor 110 (I’ve cleared the 110th floor boss, and the way ahead is open, but I’ve been tying up loose ends in the 3rd Block for now). Also, despite being much further along than I am, you’ve somehow played much less! My clock reads around 45 hours, which must mean I’m playing pretty leisurely. My main dood is in his low 40s as far as levels go (we’re at least matched in that category!), and I usually roll with Koromaru and some of the non-dogs. I try to keep my party relatively evenly leveled, but I have to admit that when you can roll on Tartarus with an elementary school student, a robot, and a dog, filling your ranks with Yukari and Junpei doesn’t have the same magic.

          Also, I found the kitty @PaganPoet:disqus was talking about! It’s at Port Island Station, in a little alleyway off to the left that I had never been in before! Bring lots of cat food, I think you need to feed it over multiple days for Elizabeth’s request to be fulfilled.

  • djsubversive

    This last week, I’ve been on a strategy kick, since I got slightly frustrated with Old World Blues. Nothing major, just that I was trying to navigate the hexcrete archipelago at night with a grenade launcher… and got jumped by a pack of about 6 nightstalkers, with no quick-access to high ground. They find and swarm me every time I leave the Lightwave Dynamics Research Facility. I’m sure I could just hide out until morning in the facility, but those holograms creep me the fuck out.

    • Effigy_Power

      I don’t believe a gun is really German until it has two firing modes:
      Auto and singlflufigheimenkaufmanbierlederhosenheimergambelputty.

      • djsubversive

        A) yay for the Deadliest Joke in the World reference.

        B) It was a silenced/scoped Mauser Kar 98K that my scout got. http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=49

        C) the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle has a smaller Action Point cost to fire than other similarly-statted rifles. Oswald used a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Surprisingly (or not), my sniper can make… 3 shots in a single turn with the M-C (or 2 shots with just about every other rifle). I don’t know why this is interesting to me, but it is.

        D) the MG-42 is a beast, and my heavy gunner fires it one-handed, while standing, with no accuracy loss (it’s not a super-accurate gun to begin with – it can just throw a lot of lead at the target). Mike (my soldier/heavy gunner) has been the MVP of numerous missions thanks to him being able to run up and fire a killing burst at one last guy before the end of the turn.

        (I don’t know why this was a reply to you in particular, Effigy. Maybe it’s because you’re just so cool. :D)

        • Effigy_Power

          That’s generally true, I am quite superfly-TNT.

          Also, the reference was to the artist with the longest name, but deadliest joke works too.

      • djsubversive

         @Effigy_Power:disqus well, fuck me. There goes my Python-cred. Although, I DO remember that the Pythons all had to memorize the entire thing (except… Gilliam? the man who died in the middle of saying the name), as that was just the thing to be done at the time.

        Yes, I remember odd facts.

    • http://twitter.com/marlowespade Chris Howly

       This sounds terrific. I think I’ve found my weekend GOG.com purchase, thanks!

      Now if they could just get Hidden and Dangerous in the catalogue…

      • djsubversive

         huzzah! glad to help!

        There’s a mod that ‘fixes’ skill improvements for non-active soldiers (the ones waiting back at base for you to recruit) – it makes them level up similarly to your in-the-field squad, so that they stay competitive if you want/need to switch people out. It also slightly randomizes stats/skills so that not all members of a class have the same numbers.

        Skill Watchdog Mod: http://cchargin.home.comcast.net/~cchargin/silentstorm/

  • Chum Joely

    Finally got my hands on a copy of Dishonored at the “game-o-theque” here at work, so I’ll tackle that a bit over the next 2 weeks, starting tonight!

    I also started playing Fallout: New Vegas last weekend but didn’t get too far– the whole family was sick all weekend and into Monday, so I was only able to get as far as assembling my little militia in a successful assault against the Powder Gang (I got everyone on board except Chet at the general store). Then I was promptly killed 3 times in a row in attempting to walk a little ways down the road to Primm, so I’m starting to feel my low “Guns” ability. (I have a higher ability for handling energy weapons, but my laser pistol is out of energy cells…)  Anyhow, the game has drawn me in enough that I’ll be doing my best to find more time to play this weekend.  No spoilers, please, in case anyone replies to this…

    • djsubversive

      Chet might have a Recharger Pistol (or Rifle, but the pistol’s better) for sale. It weighs more and does a little less damage than a regular laser pistol, but doesn’t require ammo. 

      Also, make sure you have a shovel and a nice hat.

      • Chum Joely

        Thanks, dj, that’s right neighborly of you.  I’ll see how many caps I’ve got and check out what all I can afford. Not too worried about the weight of the pistol, since I still have tons of room in my inventory.

        • djsubversive

          yeah, weight’s not too big an issue in the early game, especially since the 7 WT (or whatever it is) also includes “not needing to carry ammo.”

          I was going to tell you places to check out, but part of the fun of this game is seeing something on the horizon, then trekking to it and finding interesting loot, so get out there and explore!

          (I will say, though, that Yangtze Memorial, the big cross east of Goodsprings, has some neat stuff, so you should check it out. and bring a shovel)

    • Effigy_Power

      Everyone is lizards.
      Damn, I promised myself not to spoil it with my “crazy-guv’ment-conspiracy” version of Fallout:NV…

      • Chum Joely

        Fuck!!! Talk about a huge spoiler!

      • His_Space_Holiness

        You got a problem with lizards, pal?

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

          You of all people should have a problem with the lacertilian blasphemers who rejected Space Catholicism!

    • Bad Horse

      How does NV break out the guns ability? In Fallout 3 it was all small guns, big guns, and energy weapons, with small guns basically being thick on the ground. With my small guns/speech build, I got killed a few times before I found my first Chinese assault rifle, and then it was basically smooth sailing for the rest of the game.

      • djsubversive

         no Big Guns skill, and Small Guns is just Guns. If it shoots bullets, Guns. If it shoots energy, Energy Weapons. If it makes stuff go boom, Explosives.

        I like it. It makes the “big guns guy” viable before you actually find the big guns.

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

    Probably’ll be too busy (again) to play much this weekend. But hey! Guys! This might be useful to some of you:
    GOG has all of the older Telltale games on super-dirt-cheap 8-% off markdown

    If you’ve been meaning to get to any of them, but haven’t, here’s a good chance to get DRM-free copies for crazy prices. They’re flawed, but I would say all of them (with the possible exception of Back to the Future) are definitely worth the single-digit pricepoints they’re at right now.

  • sflack

    I’m finishing up the fourth episode of The Walking Dead, which hasn’t been as underwhelming as everyone made it seem. I mean anything that followed the craziness of episode 3 was bound to be a little anticlimactic.

    I’m also going to start a new run through Bioshock, this time getting the rest of the achievements I need. Bioshock is one of my all-time favorites, so I’m glad to revisit the game. However, I’m NOT looking forward to getting all the research achievements. I barely did that on my first playthrough.

    And then there’s Minecraft. There’s always Minecraft. I’M BUILDING A HOTEL.

  • tiosho
  • tiosho
  • DjangoZ

    Good interview. Her articulation of why Borderlands works is spot on.