What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Wendy Molyneux

Wendy Molyneux, TV writer

Obsession, nausea, and marital discord: gaming is an emotional rollercoaster for the Bob’s Burgers writer.

By Jason Reich • November 16, 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.

Wendy Molyneux writes for the beloved animated show Bob’s Burgers, which was just renewed by FOX for a fourth season. She’s also a regular contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and a devotee of family board game night.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Wendy Molyneux: Well, my husband and I are board game freaks, and we just got our stuff out of storage after a complicated house move, so we may play a few of the ones that are okay for just two players, like Mr. Jack or Dominion.

Gameological: I’m not familiar with Mr. Jack. What’s that one about?

Molyneux: Oh, it’s a really good one. It’s based on Jack The Ripper. One person plays Jack, and the other person is the detective. If the detective figures out which character on the board is Jack, they win. If Jack escapes, he wins. It’s actually only meant for two players, so if you are part of a gaming couple, I highly recommend it.

But what I’m really looking forward to is Thanksgiving weekend, when many Molyneuxs will be together and once the kids are asleep, toot toot! It’s board games and alcohol time. The good thing about a big family is that you can get a bunch of tables going. A little Catan, a little Carcassonne, some Ticket To Ride. I was watching that show Sister Wives, about the Mormon fundamentalist polygamists, and in the background of a shot I saw that they have all the same games. I got a chill. Is that my future? More wives? Nineteen kids? On the upside, you could get a shitload of tables going with those kinds of numbers.

Gameological: Classics are classics, no matter who’s playing, I guess.

Molyneux: True enough. I actually like all the corny classics too, like Yahtzee and Monopoly. I have a special personality that’s reserved just for playing Monopoly. I get really aggressive and condescending, and everyone finds it really annoying except for me. It makes me feel alive!

Gameological: Any hurt feelings or long-standing Molyneux family feuds as a result of your gaming habits?

Molyneux: No, but I will say that I think my mother is a sneaky little sucker. She is the sweetest person in the world. She is always making everyone baked goods and buying them presents, and then she sits there and quietly beats all of us all the time in this really cold-blooded way.

Gameological: As a comedy writer, do you lean toward lighthearted games? Or is gaming your opportunity to put funny aside and get hardcore?

Molyneux: I like dramatic games. I really enjoy the board game Pandemic, where you try to stop the spread of a global disease. I get so into it. I really start to feel nauseous when we draw an epidemic card. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. We have to stop that disease!

Gameological: So you can rein in your aggressive side for a cooperative game? Speaking personally, I prefer something more cutthroat and competitive.

Molyneux: Jason, you’re competing against a worldwide epidemic! Wake up, Jason, we need you! Get that medicine to Shanghai now!

Gameological: Bob’s Burgers recently did an entire episode about video game obsession—“Burgerboss.” Was that a particular favorite?

Molyneux: Oh yes. I definitely identify. Right now I’m obsessed with completing everything in Kingdom Rush on my iPad. I get in a really bad mood when I can’t clear a level, especially because I can only play about 45 minutes a night after my kid’s asleep. When my husband and I were first dating like a decade ago, we stayed up for two days playing The Sims, not eating or showering, and then we got into a big fight like two weird heroin junkies or something and decided to leave the house and never play again. Games can make you completely insane. I think Bob’s obsession made complete and total sense.

Gameological: TV writers spend a lot of late nights sitting around, staring at each other across conference room tables. Is there ever any opportunity to break out a few games to pass the time?

Molyneux: There was a two-week period when we all played Draw Something on our phones. That was pretty fun, but it’s easy to burn through all the entertainment value of little apps in a few days. The other staff game is that we bet on the TV show The Bachelor, and we keep an obsessive secret blog about it.

I play a lot outside of work with fellow staffer Jon Schroeder, and he is always playing Settlers of Catan online during breaks. My sister and writing partner, Lizzie Molyneux, made him an awesome T-shirt that says “I wouldn’t call it settling….” We haven’t converted anyone else yet, but we just got a season four pickup, so there’s time.

Gameological: You have a toddler. Do you see evidence that he’s gotten his mom’s gaming genes?

Molyneux: Actually, he likes to open board games and just look at all the pieces separately, especially Candy Land and Scrabble. And he likes this game Monkey Preschool Lunchbox on my iPad. His favorite game right now, though, is taking two Matchbox cars and making them say hi to each other.

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

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  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    My daughter got her first board game for her birthday this year from her uncle; The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel.
       It’s simple, has great art direction and comes with an awesome pair of plastic tongs shaped like a squirrel for grabbing multi-colored acorns.
       Not much in the way of strategy and she cheats fierce, but it really is a well-done early development game.
       Until the whole thing devolves into us taking turns putting plastic acorns in our noses.  And each other’s noses.

    • Jackbert322

      pA = Cf * ad/T + AG

      Accounts for the amount of time it takes for board games to devolve into putting stuff in your nose. Based on Parker’s cuteness factor, age constant, Boolean tongs qualification, and whether or not acorns are the stuff you’ll put in your nose.

    • PaganPoet

      I just googled The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel and it looks just…just darling.

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

       I love it when 3-5-year olds cheat at games. You can hear the little gears whirring, and you almost feel bad for pointing it out and asking them to play fair because they’re doing some pretty inventive out-of-the-box thinking. Or just overtly moving their little counter six spaces when they rolled a five (hey, when you’re 3, subtle subterfuge isn’t really in your vocabulary, literally or figuratively).

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

           Getting down to our the base of our little lizard brains, it does seem as though rules only exist so we know when we have successfully deviated from them.
           The universality of little cheaters tickles me; the innate desire to tilt in their own favor, invariably followed up by the “Who, me?” patented Lil’ Stinker smile.
           I think it may be what unites us as a species.  

    • nattyish
      • PaganPoet

        The best part about that clip is the “padded room” he’s in when he’s wearing the straight jacket and screaming is the bathtub.

  • Jackbert322

    Well, Punch Quest is the newest addition to my iOS endless runner rotation. It’s a fun game, I was really surprised at how deep the combat is. Cool customization too. I made my guy look just like me except bald and with a mustache.

    Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to finish Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If I do, it’ll have only taken me five weeks, placing it second behind inFamous, which took me three, but inFamous is much shorter and that was during the summer. So basically, I really like it, have been playing way more than normal, and it may end up being my favorite game ever. SPOILERY BITS The second boss battle was absolutely hilarious. I had previously upgraded my Typhoon and Energy Capacity, and had a big jar of energy on me. I’m assuming it’s gonna take me a lot of tries like the first boss, so I’m figuring, I’ll eat the jar, use my Cloak to get the lay of the room, just scope it out. I literally walk in, eat the jar of energy, and she straight up bull rushes me. TYPHOON. She falls back, I take a couple steps forward. TYPHOON. She falls back again, I go right next to her. TYPHOON. Begin cutscene. By far, the easiest boss battle I’ve ever done. Not even close, it took me like fifteen seconds. I kinda felt sorry for her…I wonder if she had a family…anyway, it cracked me up. END SPOLIERY BITS

    I’ll also be playing Persona 3, and Caspian and I will full out hijack this motherfucker later on discussing that.

    And finally, I diddlied around a bit with settings, and it seems as though I might be able to get Team Fortress 2 running pretty well on our family Mac laptop. Got into my first game last night, and, amazingly, I might have had more kills than deaths. Coming from somebody whose handful of Uncharted 3 deathmatches have resulted in a 0.2 K/D (I think that’s how those whippersnappers calculate it), this is quite remarkable. So I’m going to see if that was a fluke. I’m very excited for this weekend, because the last three have been crazy hectic and unlucky and busy, but I should hopefully have a lot more gaming time over the next couple days.

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

      I made the mistake of not upgrading the Typhoon until very late into DX:HR, so that second boss battle was hella tense. For me it was like: run, shoot, run, duck, run, run run, run run run, RUN MOTHERFUCKER RUN, duck, shoot, shoot, shoot, SHIT I GOT HIT REAL BAD, run, run, run, shoot, run, FUCK FUCK FUCK, run, shoot, run, run, shoot, duck, run, take cover, run, shoot, SHIT I GOT HIT AGAIN, run, run, shoot, REGENERATE FASTER DAMN IT, run, run, shoot, HOLY SHIT SHE’S BEHIND ME FUCK FUCK FUCK, run, run, RELOAD FASTER GOD DAMN IT, run, run, shoot, shoot, shoot, EMPTY THE WHOLE FUCKING MAGAZINE…aaaaand done.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I was so needlessly anxious about spending praxis, I was upset about buying Typhoon early on, knowing I was only getting it to get through the boss battles.
           My concern was unfounded, given by the end of the game, I was sitting on so much surplus praxis I was upgrading Jensen’s cyber-slacks to automatically nano-crease and pleat.
           Pleated pants are fashionable again in 2027.

        • Jackbert322

          Oh yeah, I had like 8 praxis coming out of the second boss battle, but spent it all on hacking improvements, energy improvements, the jump augmentation, and a bunch of dermal armor that I thought I needed for saving Malik, but didn’t. Last thing I did was saving Malik, so right now I have a grand total of 0 Praxis.

        • fieldafar

          My first DX:HR play-through was a lot like that. I had so many Praxis points but couldn’t decide what to spend it on.

        • Fluka

          I’m playing the first Deus Ex right now, and let me tell you, JC Denton could totally use a Style Augmentation.  Nerrrrddd.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @Fluka:disqus   Oh, my.  It is totally worth the two praxis kits to get the candid gay friend augmentation.

        • djsubversive

          @Fluka:disqus But his vision is augmented.

        • Fluka

           @djsubversive:disqus That augmented vision should be telling him to get rid of his smelly, orange soda stained trenchcoat.  

          Seriously, the outfit?  This is terrible.

        • djsubversive

           @Fluka:disqus He wanted lemon-lime. :(

      • Fluka

        I fought Typhoon Exploding Arm Style, and consequentially had to youtube the fight to see what I’d missed!  Poor crazy-looking lady.  The aesthetics and music surrounding the boss fight are quite neat as well.  But yeah, no chance in hell would I actually want to fight that.  (I <3 u Typhoonie.)

        Also, @Jackbert322:disqus , you need to update us when you hit the *third* boss fight.  That one can get…interesting.  (Unless you've already done it?)

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

          It’s funny, I prepared for the third boss fight with upgraded Typhoons, with the idea that if he overwhelmed me at any point, I’d just unload it; otherwise, I’d straight up fight him with guns and stuff.

          SPOILERZ

          I also didn’t get the implant, so I had all my augs during the fight, which kinda made it pretty cool (seeing through walls allows you to see him when he goes invisible). Didn’t have to use the Typhoons at all, and it was a fun, challenging fight that I won.

          Speaking of which – I think the moment where you have to decide to get the implant or not is pretty damn brilliant. Early in the game, they toss out all the conspiracy angles at you – Illuminati, Freemasons, etc. – so by the time you get to that point, the paranoia actually gets to you. Before, you generally know those kinds of conspiracies are bullshit; but at that point, your mind’s reeling because you don’t know who to trust (hell, even Pritchard’s still questionable). So it makes a legit tough decision.

          I ultimately DIDN’T get it for two reasons [decisions made prior to actually beating the game]: 1) the breakdowns were infrequent, so I figured I could fight through it and perhaps get it later, and 2) the breakdowns starting occurring JUST AS the conspiracy starting happening, which was way too coincidental.

        • Fluka

          @facebook-501651:disqus  MOAR SPOILERSES
          The chip choice is such a fun little sneaky part of the game! I love the fact that it plays on the compulsive RPG desire to clean out one’s Quest List.  ”I *need* to do this, because it’s on the list!!”  I got slightly spoiled on this ahead of time, mostly in that I knew it was definitely optional and that it changed something (although I didn’t know if it was a good or a bad change).  For me, the deciding factor was listening to the scientists around Tai Yong medical saying stuff like “Why are we making a new chip which we didn’t design ourselves?”  Which set all sorts of TRAP bells ringing.  I still want my husband to play it to see what he’ll do as well.

          To be fair, I’ve also heard you can also finish the fight easily *with* the chip, by just carrying in a big ol’ hacked turret from earlier in the level.

    • caspiancomic

       Warning: full up motherfucker hijacking incoming!

      So, technically the answer to the article’s question is “nothing,” since I’m spending the weekend in Montreal, but my weekends extend all the way to Monday, and I’ll be spending Monday playing Persona 3:FES. Right now the game has shot me right in the face with its double barrelled PLOTGUN: I’ll tread around spoilers (even though I’m pretty sure @Jackbert322:disqus is ahead of me) but Ken and Shinji had their thing, I beat the twelfth thing, then all those things happened, and now everybody has their own sort of things going on, and the last thing I did was a forced stealth thing in a hot spring (which I passed!). So yeah, Tartarus and the Dark Hour are still what’s up, but we haven’t yet got much of a long-term plan. Also there’s a new kid who wears a scarf, but I don’t know what his whole thing is yet.

      On the gameplay front, I’m pretty overjoyed with my squad. For a while there I was limping around with a crew full of C-Listers, but these days it’s all Parvati, Surt, Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Throne, and Mot; who cover me for Bufu, Agi, Zio, Garu, Hama, and Mudo, respectively. In other words, I’m stampeding through the gloriously hideous fifth block laying waste to everything in my path.

      I’m also maxing S-Links left right and centre. Keisuke! Mutatsu! Pharos! I’m this close to maxing out Chihiro, which is good, because I accidentally started an S-Link with Fuuka, and I don’t want to reverse my Treasurer Link. Also, Pagan Poet mentioned that there are three S-Links for which you need maximum academics, charm, and courage: and I think I know now what they are. I’ve already started one, but I don’t know if they all turn romantic, so I think it’s safest to take them one at a time so they don’t interfere with one another.

      As a final note, regarding Elizabeth’s requests. They’re getting more esoteric as time goes on (and she’s also allowing less time for completion each month), so I’ve accepted a few requests that I thought would be easy only to hit dead ends. I think I’ve figured out how to get Oden Juice or whatever it’s called, but where are these flowers at Gekkoukan I need to water? And apparently I have to find a missing girl with Apathy Syndrome, and give her a drink… I suppose I could look it up on GameFAQs, but for some reason it feels less like cheating if I ask internet pals instead of just looking it up.

      (Also, dood, if you’ve been messaging me on PSN, my bad. I usually don’t sign in unless I’m going to use the store.)

      • Jackbert322

        Holy shit dude! You totally caught up with me. Like, we are exactly the same spot! How much did you play this week? I remember like five days ago you messaged me on PSN saying you were just starting the fourth block. And know, I haven’t been messaging you, but you should go online more so we can share boring minute details about our adventures all the time. Muahahahaha. School trip was last week for me, I just fought the big bad swords on floor 171, started hanging with Mitsuru (woo hoo she’s my fave), and have so far maxed out 6 social links, and am working on Hidetoshi and Mutatsu (level 8). I was so happy when I got Throne, because I needed Hama FOREVER. I think my squad is a bit behind yours though, because I still have Orobas for Garu and Ghoul for Mudo. What’s your levels look like for your character and the others!

        • PaganPoet

          I love the artwork for Orobas…he looks like he’s in a Beyonce music video.

        • Jackbert322

          Well, Orobas just became obsolete…fused Atropos a minute ago. Don’t have any good fusions with Orobas right now though so I guess I’ll keep his backup dancer skills for a little while longer.

        • caspiancomic

           I took a couple of days off school for health reasons, and basically spent three days wrapped in a blanket sucking back cups of tea and playing Persona. I must have played like six hours a day for three days straight.

          What’s amazing is that I’ve apparently put 70 hours into this game, and I still have four months left on the calendar. This game is enormous! I can beat most JRPGs in like 50 hours, 60 if I run around finishing sidequests, but I still have like a fifth of the game’s total runtime ahead of me!

          Also, my main dood is like level 60, with the rest of my squad somewhere in their mid 50s. Mitsuru is bringing up the rear because she took a few days off to have emotions.

      • PaganPoet

        Flowers are on the roof of the school! You have to give the apathy syndrome girl in Port Island Station 20 Cielo Mists from the dorm!

        Muahaha, I’m not EXACTLY sure where you are in the game, but did the big “OOPS!” twist happen yet? You mentioned that you beat all twelve shadows, so I think that it has…

        Speaking of the kid with the scarf (Ryoji), I love Aigis’s “distrustful/angry” emotion dialogue art whenever she’s talking to him. I’m not sure why, but it makes me laugh.

        • caspiancomic

           Oh, the big “OOPS” thing happened all right. Actually, for about an hour there, there was one thing after another really happening. It was pretty intense for a while.

          20 Cielo Mists!? Jesus this woman must be thirsty!

        • PaganPoet

          @caspiancomic:disqus You should have purposely lost the hot springs event, the scene is so much more hilarious that way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsiLGTAGcMg

        • Sleverin

           I absolutely ADORED Aigis the whole game.  I have this thing for adorable awkward chicks…even if they’re machines, I mean it’s Aigis, c’mon!  Only thing I didn’t like in P3 was that ever since her introduction in the game I tried doing S-Link stuff and just being nice to her.  If I remember correctly it was only until about the near end of the game that she finally becomes the lovable character I had wanted since the beginning.

          In regards to the articles question, it’s gotta be Persona 4!  I’ve been listening to the music all evening for P3/4 and it’s got me in the mood for this game.  Time to dungeon crawl in the classic…dungeon crawl!  This dungeon is so meta it burns :D

      • Drew Toal

        Poutine and canned syrup time.

  • ferrarimanf355

    Gonna try to get started on one game in my backlog- Max Payne 3.

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

      A lot of people kinda pooped on MP3 because it wasn’t as “self-aware” as the first two; in reality, it is, it just doesn’t break the fourth wall. They’re just as aware of the ridiculousness of the premise; in fact -

      KINDA SPOILERS BUT NOTHING REALLY DIRECT

      - the ridiculousness is key to the plot and story of the game.

      END MAYBE SPOILERS

      I actually liked it alot. The voice work/dialogue is really great, and the cover mechanic adds to the bullet time mechanic instead of detracting from it.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      I recommend turning off the aim-lock when you start the game. I figured it was necessary or helpful, but then I realized it was the main thing that made it feel weaker than previous Max Paynes. The cover mechanic is a big change too, but if you don’t abuse it and have the auto-aim/lock turned off its not a problem. The more realistic physics definitely took some getting used to, after spending the previous games sliding along walls.

      After playing it and thinking about it for a while, the changes were necessary for the game to work today, but combined with some of the level designs it felt like it stopped me from achieving the zen-like stream of death I expected from Max Payne. Except for that glorious last level. Although boss fights still suck in the EXACT same way they did in previous games, which is frustrating.

       I did enjoy it though. I just really wish the survival levels from MP2 were still in this one, because some of the most fun I’ve ever had was getting so good at them that I could spend like a continuous ten minutes in bullet time. The multiplayer is ok, but I would have spent FAR more time killing ‘bots in survival than I did on the multiplayer.

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

    Molyneux family reunions sound like a blast. I wish my family were more into board games. All they want to do is huddle under a blanket and watch shitty Bollywood movies.

    This weekend: Jade Empire. I think I managed to complete every single quest in the Imperial City. Now it’s time to join up with the Lotus Assassins, which is the most ridiculous plot twist ever. The game doesn’t shy away from pointing out how silly it is. As Henpecked Hou says, if he’d known how easy it was join the Lotus Assassins, he’d have done it long ago to get away from his wife.

    I might also try to get in some Prince of Persia: Warrior Within if I have time. The game has opened up and become more platform-y, which I like, but the combat has become excruciatingly laborious. Gone is Sands of Time’s mechanic of having to suck up downed enemies with the Dagger of Time. Instead, enemies require approximately 241 hits before going down. Even worse, all the female enemies speak in annoying seductive voices, saying things like, “The pain is exquisite.” No, the pain is NOT exquisite. It fucking hurts! You’re being stabbed to death by a huge sword. Get a fucking reality check! Still, the platforming is as brilliant as ever, so I imagine my reaction for the rest of the game will be 50% awe, 50% rage.

    • djsubversive

      Henpecked Hou is the best.

      I’ve said it before, but I want a Henpecked Hou/Black Whirlwind game. With a subtitle mentioning wine. In fact, it can even be a proper Jade Empire sequel. Just kill off Zu and Sky, horribly and off-camera. In fact, don’t even mention them or reference them in any way. No “There was once a rogue Lotus Assassin” or “a man who avenged his daughter and was an asshole.” None of it. Just ignore them both entirely. A million dollars, in the bank. Get on it, Bioware. Chop chop.

      And I know I’ve said THIS before, too: Fuck Sky.

      Oh, also, more of their not-England. Even if it’s just more Sir Roderick the Magnificent Bastard.

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

        I actually hate Zu more than Sky now. Sky at least pretends to listen to others. Zu is just an asshole who runs off without telling anyone where he’s going.

        I will say, though, that having my character tell Sky that she wanted to be “just friends” was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in a video game.

        Another vote here for a Jade Empire sequel. Just imagine how gorgeous the game would look with today’s graphical technology. It’s a not-very-well-kept secret that at some point, BioWare did some work on a potential sequel, but it seems as if that project has been shelved indefinitely. I’m as big a Mass Effect fan as anybody, but I’d rather the studio work on a new series or one they haven’t visited in a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

    I am so addicted to Just Cause 2 right now.

    It’s like the GTA version of bad 80′s action movies. Think Samurai Cop and Rambo III combined. i fucking love this game and the ability to blow shit up.

    Also, i can relate to Panau alot as a Malaysian. But the voice acting could have been better, but i’m okay with the so-bad-its-good aspect of it.

    • Matthew McGrath

      Buddy, Just Cause 2 is so good it hurts.  My first “wow” experience was driving a car off of a cliff as I was escaping some bad guys; I grappled my way to safety as to not blow up with the car…and then out of nowhere there was this beautiful sunset right before me.

    • BarbleBapkins

      Just Cause 2 is pretty amazing, definitely one of the best open-world sandboxes, because it realizes that if you give the player that much space to explore, getting around better be fun as shit.

      I hardly ever fast travel, because I end up finding something even more fun to blow up on my way that completely distracts me from my original destination. Which is really all you can ask for in a game like that.

      • TaumpyTearrs

        Another key feature of the giant world: There is always some shit to blow up, and it always moves towards your game completion. This is the first game where my playstyle of “do a mission or two, then dick around for an hour” was catered to and actually helped me.

        And the hook and chute system spoiled me for other games. When I played GTA 4 after JC2, the first time I crashed my car in the middle of nowhere and had to walk for like 3 minutes I was like “Fuck this, time to play JC2 instead.

        Shit, everybody talking about it makes me want to buy it again. After like 50 hours I got pretty burned out on it and traded it in, but that was like a year or two ago so it might be time again.

        I actually still have the couple of videos I recorded from it on my Playstation, and when I watch them every once in a while it brings back good memories.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Shit yeah! Just Cause 2 is so fucking awesome. I feel like it gets overlooked in the Saints Row/GTA discussion. 

      More games need to be badass action movies all the time.

      • TaumpyTearrs

        Proudest action movie moment for me:

        “The 30 Second Assassination” as I call it: The target is in a motorcade on a suspension bridge. I come roaring up in one of the sports cars, driving the wrong way against traffic on the paralell bridge. I get neck in neck with them, fly out of the car on my chute and let it smash into oncoming cars as grapple to the back car of the motorcade. Shoot the gunmen in the target’s limo ahead of me, slap an explosive on the rear car and grapple to the limo. Turn around so I can admire my handiwork as I detonate the explosive, causing a traffic pile up. Slap an explosive on the limo, pull the chute and BOOM, target dead.

        I felt so badass. Luckily, I remembered to hit the “save last 60 seconds” thing immediately, so I can go back and watch it occasionally. That and the video where I drag a guy behind my jeep for about a minute, hit reverse and drag him in front of the car for a minute, still screaming, til he smashed into a fence and died.

    • Jackbert322

      I will add to the Just Cause 2 love. Got it free with PS+, but boy do I wish I had a PC so I could try out those mods.

      • fieldafar

        You can find a PC digital copy for as low as $5 if you look hard enough.

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

          I’ve seen it go as low as $3.74 US on Steam. *punches self for not buying it then*

        • Jackbert322

          No PC, our family computer is a Mac. http://www.sadtrombone.com

        • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

           @Jackbert322:disqus Um, run Windows on your PC via Bootcamp?

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

      Panau is strange because it’s like they cobbled together every bad asian stereotype for the actors, slimy yakuza-triad, communist china, speed-racer Japan (and zombies!?!) and f’in Ninjas!

      Great, now I’ve gotta go play Just Cause 2…

  • BarbleBapkins

    Well, I have finally succumbed to the Binding of Isaac fever that was going around these parts a few months ago, so probably going to try to take out Mom’s Heart a few more times to unlock ???.

    Other than that, I have been replaying Super Mario Sunshine, which doesn’t seem to be as fondly remembered as I think it should be. I can definitely see how it has become the black sheep of the 3D Mario family, if only because it is so wonderfully weird, but it is really a solid game (and gorgeous to boot).

    It is paced surprisingly slowly; levels actually feel like a place that might exist, and exploring them takes a bit more time (or at least invites you to take more time) than the quick run and jump of most Mario games. In hindsight one of the most interesting things is how the “secret” areas, where they take away FLUDD and give you a difficult, linear platforming challenge, seem like the early attempt of what Mario Galaxy would become.

    It is pretty damn hard too, though not as bad as I remembered. I never made it past the halfway mark as a kid so I am looking forward to seeing the later parts that I never got to.

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

       I think one of the main gripes was that the levels felt like places that might exist, i.e. they didn’t feel super-imaginative, especially when every level had the same tropical motifs. It felt very samey for a Mario game, especially when compared to the Galaxy and 64 games adjacent to it. All that sand, sun and palm trees – it was like being in a Mario MetLife commercial!

      It was also the first game to confusingly eschew the Koopa Kids and include Baby Bowser as Bowser’s kid, which at the time was very confusing. I know the Mario games aren’t about continuity, but if they suddenly replaced Luigi with baby Mario or something, that would be pretty jarring!

      It did have super-solid gameplay, though, as should be expected of Mario.

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

        Sunshine’s a solid game, but the same-iness is problematic, since one of the staples of SMB is crazy variety of levels. Never beat it, but it definitely has its moments.

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

      Personally, It think Sunshine is better than mario 64.

      the in game plaza where you go between missions is just so much more enjoyable than the castle, and as you said, the secret areas where they take away your fludd are the most pure distillation of platforming in the whole series.  Those get thumb-bustingly hard towards the end of the game!

      • BarbleBapkins

        I agree, Delfino plaza is a lot better than Peach’s castle in SM64. I think it has to do with the fact that it is pretty much completely open to exploration from the get-go, instead of being gated off by a bunch of locked doors as the castle is.

        Girard and Kevin: I can see how the levels might not have as many varied settings as other Mario games, but I think they did a reasonable job at getting as much gameplay and stylistic variety as possible, considering the restrictions FLUDD imposed  (have to find some way to get water in a variety of spots in the levels!). The difference in feel between, say, the dock level and the hotel level and the themepark level is pretty big.

    • Basement Boy

      Careful with TBOI… I passed the 1,000 hour mark recently (I’d say maybe 1/7 of that is “paused ” time and 1/7th my g/f playing). I’m so fucking hooked, still… been playing for a year now. 

      • BarbleBapkins

        It is crazy addictive. I find myself just absentmindedly clicking on its icon and then 2 hours later I’m looking around wondering what happened.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_756IDO2F7YT3FGA3JRVJELULPE JaredA

      I’m working on a full run-through with my friend, but I’m getting kind of discouraged because how are we ever going to get all those blue coins?! There are so many of those paintings where you spray it and have to go find the coin somewhere else.

      Also, collecting 100 coins on all the levels. We tried it on 2 different levels and got to like 94 each time.

  • Citric

    Romancing Saga! I love it, nobody else does. It just gives you a big world with a bunch of stuff to do, and then steps away so you can wander aimlessly doing whatever. There’s some sort of end goal, no idea what it is. There’s an evil dude out there doing… something. Probably have to kick his ass eventually. All the voice acting sounds like it was done by a high school. I’m just wandering around stumbling onto stuff hoping for the best, and enjoying every minute of it.

    I’ll probably pick up something old and Square this weekend thanks to that Secret of Mana thing and the many discussions it provoked. Something perhaps with a greater sense of purpose than RS. I’m just hooked on Square lately, since I also recently finished one of their Japan-only things too.

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

      Square’s reputation over here would be well-served, I think, if we got more of their Saga-like games.  I’m not saying it would improve our impression of their games’ quality, I guess, but they have a reputation for being overwrought nonsense with really arcane gameplay systems.

      If we got stuff like all of the Saga games (rather than just some), Blue Wing Blitz, the Hanjuku/Softboiled Hero series, and the Nanashi No/Nameless Game series, where (as you wrote) it’s just a bunch of weird stuff that happens and the gameplay is pretty breezy, I think people would have their palates cleansed for Lightning looking really stern for 45 hours.  I think that the Musashi games were like that, though I don’t much recall them.

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

         The first Musashi game was a breezy, silly Zelda-alike (I would argue that Musashi and MegaMan Legends were both better 3-D Zelda games than Ocarina of Time turned out to be) and tons of fun. You had two swords, one you learned new sword techniques for, and the other which functioned as a kind of Kirby ability-theft mechanic.

        The PS2 pseudo-sequel was a more dour, simplistc actioney affair with an overload of Nomura-style boots and buckles, and kind of a disappointment.

      • Citric

        Square does need more games where they don’t take themselves too seriously. But then again, they still employ Tetsuya Nomura, and I still remember the special features of Advent Children where he sat in a darkened room wearing sunglasses for his interviews, so I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.

        Also, Brave Fencer Musashi is one of the best PS1 games, full stop. Just straight up excellent from beginning to end, and really fun to boot. Okay the voice acting was… inconsistent, let’s be nice and say that, but everything else was just pure joy.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    I’ll be alternating time between Baby Learning Class, Baby Housecleaning, and EVE Online.

    The two former are fun because we get to figure out where to store all of the toys we bought for her that she won’t even play with until she’s much older.  Went a bit overboard in getting Lego sets that are ages 6-12, and will sit in storage for the next 5 years or so until she won’t swallow parts.  At least we only have to wait 1.5 years for Duplo.

    As for EVE Online, the war declared on my alliance ends tomorrow, and the idiots that attacked us are hopefully regretting it.  Through station lockdowns and only going out in fleets, we shot down nine of their ships with no losses over the last week.  I didn’t get to participate in any of that combat, but have been spending the week skill training to be more useful the next time that happens.

  • PaganPoet

    I FINALLY have a weekend all to myself, so there will be much gaming to be had this weekend.

    Persona 2: Innocent Sin is barreling on, and I love the parallels it has with Persona 4 Golden (which I won’t be playing this WEEKEND, but you can be sure I will be picking up first day it’s out on Tuesday) concerning the shadow self, revealing the darker side of oneself that you wish to keep hidden. Makes for some pretty dramatic scenes. The game is definitely a huge step up from Persona. Still some dated gameplay mechanics, but overall the story, characters and mood of the game are top-notch. I would recommend it to any fan of the series with a footnote warning that you may need to tolerate some minor annoyances.

    I also found Uncharted 3 on sale for only $15, so I finally snagged it. I find Nathan Drake oh-so-handsome and charming as a lead character (if a little bit…murderous and sociopathic) and the games always have such breathtaking locales and setpieces, I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to get the game in the first place.

    I’ve also had an itch to play Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for some reason, even though I’ve already got the Platinum Trophy. In my opinion, it has to be among the most stunning games ever released, and I’m certainly looking forward to its sequel, that it has the same sorrowful and melancholic tone. I know many people felt like it didn’t “feel” like a Castlevania, which is a fair criticism, but it’s a great game in its own right.

    • Jackbert322

      Uncharted 3!!! *metal gear solid alert noise* Oh please please please do co-op arena with me! It’s really fun! You can dress up your own male character, and if you have enough money, you can buy him a nipple exposing shirt. Hey, I remember what you said about Chris Redfield on the Resident Evil 6 review, just though you might be interested. Heh. I totally am not saving for the nipple exposing shirt.

      • PaganPoet

        I’m just looking forward to using the “Kiss” taunt…the animation is just too hilarious, I can’t deal.

        • Jackbert322

          Oh god I know. My little brother finds it absolutely hysterical. Whenever we play, that taunt is the only thing that keeps us from killing each other (sometimes). Whenever he tries to melee a guy with a helmet, that kiss is what keeps me sane. *insert chorus of “awws”* But yeah, I sent you a request so if you ever want to play co-op arena with me (and possibly him), and probably fail quite resoundingly, we can just be one big kissing family. All the helmet guys will be too moved to attack us.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      Yeah, about Uncharted 3 – some of the locales have become, how should I say this, historically sensitive – since the game’s release a year ago. Some of those set-pieces have gone from Uncharted 3 to Modern Warfare 3 by now. Also, excellent on passive or active 3d HDTV, if that is even a remote option for you.

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    Dota 2, as always. I got a SWEEEEEEET new courier who makes grass grow  like Amaterasu, which is awesome since I always end up having to buy the courier anyway.

    Also will continue my boardgaming escapades, trying to lasso a new group to play Space Alert with. I’m thinking of picking up a new game soon too. Maybe Twilight Struggle or Dominion. I’m leaning pretty heavily towards Twilight Struggle right now.

    Also this interview was awesome. I don’t watch Bob’s Burgers regularly but it seems pretty alright with me. Plus BOARDGAMES YEAH!

    • Histamiini

      SuperHorse now also enjoys Dota. And has a new courier as well. I already had an egg, and another gameologue offered me his spare essences, which I gratefully accepted – and now the egg has hatched! Miracle of life! I wouldn’t call it beautiful but it has spirit.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        My little guy is kinda ugly too, but I love him all the same. Hit me up on the Gameological steam group. Bunches of us play Dota, though I haven’t been able to play with a full team of us yet, I’m entirely sure it’s feasible.

        • Histamiini

          Three of us did a two Diretide matches a couple of nights ago. I didn’t enjoy the mode much because I’m mostly interested in learning the basics of proper Dota. But I did get the egg.

          I’ve been shamelessly party-crashing the group chat this week. You might find me there. I’m the blue horse.

  • http://twitter.com/ThePrederick Jacob Flanagan

    Going to finish Spec Ops: The Line. Fully enjoying it so far, it’s a nice narrative change to the ongoing drumbeat of Battlefield/CoD/MoH.

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

      Let us know what you think when you finish it, because without giving anything away, that ending is some crazy shit (in a good way).

      • fieldafar

        More like the second half. 

        Great game, by the way. Definitely in my top 5 of 2012.

      • Fluka

        With that game, I’ve been lucky enough to get only enough spoilers to really pique my interest (though maybe knowing that the game…does what it does…is already too many spoilers?).  It may end up being the only military shooter to ever get added to my to-play list.

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

          It wasn’t even on my radar until the last couple of weeks of pre-release promotion, when the devs finally started pushing the story stuff. I went in knowing that the game had a somewhat subversive nature, and though going in completely blind might have given me a different experience, I don’t think it would have necessarily given me a superior one.

          Really, the beauty isn’t in the story itself as much as it is in the story’s message and how the game uses its mechanics to tell the story.

        • HobbesMkii

          @Merve2:disqus Hrm…I know nothing of the story, outside of the foreboding Michael Douglas (sound alike?) voiceover in the commercial, so this is grabbing my attention.

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    As part of my quest to become the most pointless human alive, I platinum’d Need For Speed Most Wanted earlier in the week. This game, which superficially is about fast cars racing other fast cars to see who is the fastest car, raised troubling questions of who I am as a person, which surely must be an outcome unintended by the developers. Some may remember last week when i bitched about online trophies and needing sufficient “friends” for some of these Most Wanted trophies. Well, after sending out lots of friend requests to complete strangers that I encountered in the underwhelming multiplayer, I managed to get all of the trophies needed and then promptly deleted all of these helpful folks like a complete utter arsehole. In real life, sure I can’t stand most people but at least have the common decency to pretend to care whether folks live or die. This is the oil that lubricates our society and makes me a small cog in a gigantic machine that somehow doesn’t break down that much or even roll off it’s axle and crush a bus full of school children from time to time. Thanks to the anonymity of the PSN, it seems my more sociopathic tendencies are allowed to run rampant. The evidence shows that under the guise of friendship I use complete strangers to gain access to intangible benefits of little real value, then cast them aside as I see fit when they have outlived their usefulness. This is who I am. Can this realisation be a legitimate learning experience? Can I build on this moment of clarity by becoming a better person who contributes genuine humanity to our society?

    Nah.

    So I better talk about the weekend game question. Could it be: Dead Space 2? This morning for some reason I was enthused to have another go at playing that Dead Space 2 hardcore game. This isn’t anything new, I have intermittently been enthused about this for over a year but always find an excuse to avoid what would definitely be a frustrating and soul crushing experience of repeated failure. But today the optimism unwittingly arose from my withered aorta again. But I had to go to work, and now by the end of the day I just can’t be bothered. There are occasionally pulses of enthusiasm but they are dashed as soon as all of those instakills flash back in my mind. Between now and the release of the Omega DLC I have nothing to play apart from the rest of the Orange Box (meh) and continuing with the oh so overrated Dragon Age. It should be the perfect time to do this. But I procrastinate and ultimately end up with the same result. Beating that damn game mode may actually bring these feelings of real achievement that I have heard about, but then again would it really be worth the effort? Will finally achieving the last gaming achievement that eludes me bring the whole mess crashing down, as forever after I drift directionless on an ocean polluted by the discarded boxes of Call of Duty clones and RPGs where you fight dragons and all the goddamn towns have the same name? All I can say is, damn you Visceral Games. Damn you. At least give me a couple more saves you bastards.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       ”raised troubling questions of who I am as a person, which surely must be an outcome unintended by the developers.”

      great line.

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

      Today I learned the Last Boy Scout is a movie that doesn’t actually have any boy scouts.

  • Chum Joely

    In theory, I hope to find time (not easy with two young kids who never sleep!) for some Fallout: New Vegas and Dishonored.  I’m still not much further along in New Vegas than I was last weekend– still in Primm. I beat the gang holed up at the Bison Steve, but then I didn’t have quite enough Speech points to get Deputy Beagle to tell me about “the men who tried to kill me”, so I am trying to figure out if I can boost my Speech in some way because I don’t want to let that fancy-talkin’ muthafucka go without getting my info.  I already read a “Meeting People” magazine, put on a charismatic outfit (!), and drank vodka to boost my speech (love these mechanics, they’re so silly), but I’m still two Speech points short. I don’t see that there’s any way to threaten or bribe him– even if I shoot him in the leg as a warning, he literally doesn’t even flinch or react as his HP drop (nice AI, Bethesda).

    All that is the theory, but most likely I’m going to end up burning through all my gaming time on much faster-paced, sugar-rush types of games. Right now, that’s Hotline Miami (I have to force myself to stop playing and walk away from it at work when lunch hour is over) and Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One.  I had never played any R&C before and didn’t really know what kind of game it was, but PlayStation Plus had it for free, and I’m not regretting it.  Nice fast-paced, colorful, highly varied gameplay.  The “comedy” in the cutscenes is pretty stale, but I don’t mind too much about that. Once I get better, maybe I’ll go to online play so I can have partners. This game obviously needs to be played with as many people as possible (ideally all in the same room, but there are no other PS3 gamers in my house– maybe when I visit family at Thanksgiving).

    • Jackbert322

      All 4 One is a pretty fun game. It was my first experience with the series thanks to PS+ as well. A lot of fans of the series didn’t like it as much, saying the previous games were much deeper. So I get the most recent one before All 4 One, A Crack In Time from 2009 with Portal 2 during a buy 2 get 1 half off sale. Eugh. I’ve only played like four hours, and I can’t put my finger on why I don’t care for it, but I did not have fun. Definitely liked All 4 One better. There is a major problem in All 4 One however, about 80% through the story, there’s a sequence that’s glitchy, and you can’t get through with the AI Clank. You have to have a human partner, because the way Clank is coded in that sequence, he acts as a saboteur, and basically ruins it if you’re doing single player. I tried it out with my little brother, but he couldn’t handle it at all. Kinda stinks that I can’t finish; maybe in two years my brother be good enough. So, be forewarned, I’d recommend trying to find a friend with the game, as the online community is abandoned.

      • Chum Joely

        I’m clueless about online play… I do know some people with PS+ who might (get the game and) play with me, so can I just seek them out by gamer ID (?) through the in-game “Online” option if we arrange beforehand to be online at the same time?

        • Jackbert322

          You should be able to choose an option called host game and sent individual invites. I’m not sure though, I’ve never tried. Whenever I’ve been online (got the game in June) there was never anyone playing. I’m not sure if the community abandoned it fast (only came out like a year ago) or if the servers are really terrible.

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

        R&C is really a game you kinda have to grow up with; although, even with that Crack in Time is kinda disappointing, mainly because the various side characters are not nearly as fun as the titles before it, and Nefarious becomes BORING. I’m glad you’re having fun with All-4-One though, as most fans kinda felt it was the worse in the franchise.

        • Chum Joely

          So what’s the best one?

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

          @ChumJoely:disqus Either 2 or 3, from the first PS1, I’d say.

    • Chum Joely

      Ha, turns out I was 20 XP away from leveling up, and I hadn’t cleared the top floor of the Bison Steve yet. With the help of the Incinerator I acquired downstairs (first big gun I’ve found), I scooped up the needed XP and went heavy on the Speech points when I leveled up. That, plus the boosts mentioned above, were enough to get Beagle to tell me where that checkered-suit son of a bitch went. Also he is trailing me in “stupid friendly AI” mode.

      Beagle… that god-damned smooth-talkin’ motherfucker.

      This is the first open-world game I’ve really gotten into, and the more I explore, the more I’m appreciating the depth and complexity of the game and story design here.  (“Of COURSE the Powder Gangers would have a stockpile of combat-related boost drugs in one of the hotel bathrooms.”) That, plus the fact that I’m skipping work for the sole and unique reason that work sucks, is making for a pretty fucking awesome Friday morning. (Did I mention that I’m also on beer number 3 at 11 o’clock in the morning?)

      Technically, I’m connected to work via VPN, so I’m not even that much of a slacker.

      • stakkalee

        Congrats on having a very enjoyable Friday!  Perhaps enjoy some herbal remedies as well; after all, it’s not really a “mental health day” unless you’re REALLY relaxed!

        God I loved New Vegas.  I’d recommend you focus your earlier skill points on the non-combat skills like Speech, Science, maybe Medicine.  They really unlock some unique gameplay options later on, giving you plenty of alternatives to shooting dudes in the head.  It genuinely felt good to me to talk my way out of some fights, or pass a Perception check that reveals new options.  Have you been to Nipton yet?  Have you met the main game antagonists?  I felt genuine loathing for them when I played – few games have been able to really cause me to feel true revulsion, but New Vegas managed.

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

          God I hated the Legion. Not because they were ruthless murderers and pillagers. No, I hated them because of their awful fashion sense.

        • stakkalee

          @Merve2:disqus Seriously.  Leather skirts, wolf helmets and goggles?  Buddy, I’m doing you a favor by putting you down.

        • Chum Joely

          That was my inclination anyway– the non-combat skills, just because that approach naturally appeals to me anyway. The game does seem to be supporting that as a very valid approach, which makes me like it all the more.

          Just passed through Nipton, heading north to Novac. I was about to say “Not much going on in Nipton”, but then I recalled that I had met a lottery winner, incinerated an anti-communist robot prototype hiding in a kitchen, and shared Med-X with Boxcars at the general store. Despite the rough-around-the-edges look, this is a pretty serious game. I haven’t met “the main antagonists” yet, but I’m guessing from your comment that the moment is coming soon. And from @Merve2:disqus ’s below that it will be the Legion. I knew it was coming from conversations in Nipton, so it’s not a total shock.  Looking forward to it though.

          Oh, and I was already there with the herbalism within a few minutes of my previous post, so yeah, I’m getting into some good immersion here.

        • stakkalee

          @ChumJoely:disqus Actually, I thought you would have met the Legion at Nipton, since that’s where I met them.  You met the lottery winner, and the runner up, but did you see the “lucky” lottery losers?  Did you head on over to Nipton City Hall?  If not, no worries, it shouldn’t affect your gameplay going forward.

        • Chum Joely

          Actually, no– my official active mission had me going to Novac, so I just zipped through Nipton without much exploration. I heard who the “lucky losers” are, but didn’t meet any. No City Hall. Just the interactions I mentioned before.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Oh god, Nipton… 

        • djsubversive

          I hated the Legion because they took my drugs away from me. Everything before that, I can (barely) tolerate. As soon as they were dumb enough to give me back my arsenal/stash, I popped Med-X, Psycho, Slasher, Steady, and any other combat-related drug I had (and a couple bottles of beer to chase it all down) and murdered everyone in my way.

          Also, the Legion breaks the legs of slaves and makes them carry heavy loads. You can see this if you target a slave in VATS.

          They were an effective “invading army antagonist,” though. And Caesar was oddly eloquent. I kind of want to see Arizona, to see what the “home life” of the Legion is like, rather than just getting the raping, pillaging invaders with football pads and machetes.

          I’ll have to settle for Raul’s stories, though. That dude’s been around.

        • djsubversive

          My most recent game had me and Boxcars as Odd-Couple style roommates. I’d come home, yell at him for not cleaning up the place, drop a bunch of shit around his chair, and put a dose of med-x on the counter. “If you want it that bad, just walk over here and get it.”

          http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=102732106

          Note the dino toys on the counter, and the totally-not-impressed Arcade standing there. “Really? This is what you do with your time? Try to bury this poor broken-legged kid with garbage?”

        • stakkalee

          @djsubversive:disqus Actually, Nipton was my first “Fuck, Yeah!” moment in New Vegas.  I walked into town, saw the “lucky losers”, and met Vulpes Inculta in front of the city hall.  He gave me the “What are you going to do about it?” speech and I just kinda snapped.  No save, no prep, no nothing, I just leveled my shotgun at him and took his head clean off.  I was low on bullets, so I had to finish off the rest of his crew with dynamite.  Then I looted their bodies and finished off the rest of the ones inside of city hall.  I was playing in hardcore mode with no doctor’s bags, and I wound up getting both my legs crippled, so I had to hobble all the way to Novac before I could get it healed, but damn did it feel good.  And afterward I always had to worry about a Legion kill team tracking me down as I wandered the waste, but it was totally worth it – hell, those guys have some good loot.

        • djsubversive

           @stakkalee:disqus people play in non-hardcore mode?

        • Chum Joely

          @djsubversive:disqus @Merve2:disqus @stakkalee:disqus  So you guys convinced me to head back to Nipton and look around.  I was there at night, so somehow with the muddy graphics I guess I just didn’t spot Vulpe and his gang in front of City Hall before. This time, I saw them. I heard Vulpe’s speech, saved the game and tried going after them with dynamite and an incinerator, but failed twice, somehow (I am SO BAD at shooter mechanics).
          But now that I’ve gone through City Hall and collected a bit of loot (plus the backstory of Nipton’s charming mayor), maybe I’m in better shape for attacking their little shack next door.

          Nice how when you try to interact with the crucifixion victims, there’s a popup that says “This person appears to be close to death. Taking them down from the cross would kill them.”  Ugh.

      • djsubversive

        Deputy Beagle… boy’s about as useful as tits on a lizard.

        I like Primm. Johnson Nash is a cool old dude, and his wife makes the best food out of poison sacs from gigantic scorpions.

        If you don’t mind tips-but-not-really-spoilers, check out the sheriff’s place. Thoroughly. And the Bison Steve gift shop (with the teddy bears and plates; there’s a Hard/75 locked safe). Between those two places, you can get a sweet hat and some decent guns.

        It’s neat to see somebody else go through New Vegas for the first time. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ve been trying to stay quiet. 

        Primm Slim is the best. “Perhaps it was fate that drove them into a shootout between bank robbers and police in Plano, Texas. Police later issued an apology. It’s been said that Vicki would have tried to cash a bad check in that bank… had she lived.”

        • Chum Joely

          Thanks. I already split Primm before I got to check out your suggestions, but I imagine I might be back (feel free to chuckle discreetly to yourself here as appropriate).

          You’re right about Primm Slim. There’s been quite a bit of cool dialogue/radio chatter in that same vein of “Please, please, PLEASE come and spend some money here on the thinnest possible excuse.”  Definitely adds to the atmosphere.Also, thanks for keeping mum about the true spoilers!

        • Captain Internet

          Have you tried the JSawyer mod yet? Details are here. It rebalances the game to make it significantly more edgy- water and food are heavier, Stim-Paks are less effective, weapons have been redistributed, and much more. You’ll need all the DLC to make it work, but it’s definitely worth it. 

        • djsubversive

          @Captain_Internet:disqus Oh, I know about the JSawyer mod. I appreciate what it does, but it’s sort of incompatible with Project Nevada, given all the stuff PN adds (weapons and armor, mostly). I liked the “Used Stimpak” item, but just about everything else I can adjust with Project Nevada – loot rarity, XP gain (I’m running at 66% right now, and it feels about right), skills/level, HP/AP/Carrying Weight calculations, speed reduction from broken legs (one or both), how much skill level affects weapon damage (default is something stupid like 75%, and PN default is about 20%, I’m using something in between)… it’s very customizable, which JSawyer isn’t.

          Also, the first and only time I tried running it, I had a DEATHCLAW IN GOODSPRINGS. This may have been due to some other mod, but I’ve never had it before or since. That thing murdered like half the town in a daring pre-dawn raid. I left the gas station after talking to Ringo, got the “combat music sting”, and heard gunshots. When I figured out what it was, I tried to run away. It killed me.

        • djsubversive

          @ChumJoely:disqus wait until you get the Black Mountain Radio signal… “It’s True-Eyes Seeing Time with Best Friend Tabitha!” (best radio show ever)

          You’ll be getting to Nipton soon. Remember what I said about finding sweet hats. Other people might be wearing sweet hats that you want. This is the wasteland. If they can’t hold onto their sweet hat, they don’t deserve to keep it.

        • Chum Joely

          My weekend of gaming is almost over, but I got as far as Novac(ancy) and I’ve been tuned in to Black Mountain ever since. Tabitha and Rhonda (? — the host) are the best mutant DJs I’ve ever heard. Reminds me of Morbo on Futurama.

          I’m having some narcissistic fun sharing my playthrough here, but I think it’s time to kick it over to my long-neglected, recently purged Twitter account (@chumjoely on the off chance anyone cares). Now optimized for increased narcissism!

        • djsubversive

          @ChumJoely:disqus hey, if you check back here after the weekend, the twitter thing is kind of neat, but you should hop in the Gameological Steam chat and regale us with real-time antics! I just started a new game, too – going for a Legion-friendly punchy cannibal/serial killer, a combination that I, somehow, haven’t done yet. 

          After about an hour or so, most of which was in Doc Mitchell’s house playing with sliders and adjusting stats, Goodsprings has had 3 mysterious deaths, with bodies popping up in strange places around town.

  • EmperorNortonI

    I had a bit of a break lately, and got in a fair bit of gamin.

    I tried to learn DOTA2.  I’ve not given up entirely on it, but . . . well . . . something about it I just find incredibly offputting.  I appreciate, in the abstract, the greater tactical and strategic options that pulling, stacking, and denying offer you.  I just find none of them in the least interesting – they seem more like gamey exploits than solid strategy.  Denying, in particular, is just objectionable on its face, the sort of gameplay move that is based on pure dickery.  I don’t like the greater focus on perfect farming.  Beyond that, I could not get the feeling of actually playing the game – it seemed like everything was going on automatically, and I could contribute nothing to it.  And, finally, the graphics are dark and ugly, and the characters are way too “Dark Fantasy Extreme.”  It’s petty, but I really do love the candy-covered bright confections of League of Legends, with its odd mix of extreme, cute, and cheesecake.  I figure I’ll go give it another shot sometime, but the experience made me want to go back and play League, which I hadn’t done in months.  So I did, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    On the other hand, I deleted XCOM.  I loved that game until the middle or so, but once my squad got decent, it became an incredibly boring slog.  I found that I simply had no interest in actually finishing the last mission, but knew that unless I deleted it I’d always feel vaguely obligated to finish it.

    Today, my regular gaming buddy and I just started Borderlands 2, and I’m absolutely loving it.  Yay stupid jokes.  He’s trying the Mechromancer, and I’m Soldier.  There didn’t seem to be a real support class this time, sadly, and the Gunzerker just isn’t as appealing as old Mr. Fists was.  I really enjoyed playing the punchy Berzerker.

    And we’re poised to begin a new Memoir 44 Campaign.  I pulled together a ton of D-Day maps in all three formats, and we’re working out a set of what-if rolls and reserve rules to go with it.  It shall be epic.

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

      I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling that DOTA 2 type games are more akin to doing chores to make other people happy than actually playing a game.  Farming is the least interesting part of RTS games so why would they make a whole spin-off genre for it?

      • EmperorNortonI

         Sad to say, but I must disagree with you on two counts.  First off, I do love the Dota2-clone League of Legends, though in part because it is somewhat less farm-focused than DOTA2.  Or, I might just be saying that because I suck at League.

        I also must admit that in any game that has farming, I feel that the farming is incredibly interesting and should play a much larger role. 

        Dota and friends – wouldn’t it be awesome if, instead of killing endless waves of monsters for money, you instead actually planted crops and harvested them?  You could have a huge arena with farmfields everywhere, and would have to manage your time in-field, improving your harvest, against surveying the borders for raiders looking to burn your fields, and fighting your enemies.  You could also add in cows and sheep as well, which would be stealable.  Actually, this might work.

        Warcraft – the whole point of the conflict is about control over farmland, right? 

        Starcraft – those resources are dumb.  Has anyone ever heard of a gas pipeline?  And why the heck do the Zerg need gas and crystal anyway, shouldn’t they be farming or something?

        Civ – Farm, Farm FARM!!!!!!  My favorite command is build irrigation.  But there’s so much room for improvement!  Plow-upgrades, the move to animal traction, ox vs. horse traction, wet vs dry fields, ditches and drainage,

        Settlers 7 – Farm, then mill, then bake! Yay!

        King of Dragon Pass – now available as an iOS app, and highly recommended to everyone.  You choose the mix of wheat, barley, and rye to plant as a hedge against the season’s weather, your own farming magic, and the barley-loving gods.  Also, having lots of cows is a key part of your clan’s prestige.

         

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Aw man, I’m not really crazy about Dota 2′s art style or anything but for me it is MILES above LoLs. I especially hated all the lady characters designs and how tit-heavy they are. I rarely play games that have really sexualized characters, I guess, and I really hated that aspect of the character design in LoL. Also the graphics seemed really generic fantasy to me, and there didn’t seem to be an overarching style for all the characters or anything. The whole thing just felt really generic and smashed together to me.

      As for the mechanics of Dota, I find denying to be really fun, and I mostly play support so farming doesn’t matter at all to me. For low level games you really don’t need to worry about stacking and pulling much, those are a little more advanced. 

      Did you ever play an actual game? Because I don’t know how you could feel like you aren’t doing anything unless there are like no teamfights or something. I don’t intend at all for this to sound like I’m being a dick, and I apologize if it comes across that way. I just think Dota is a great game and it could use more people who aren’t assholes playing. Especially considering the following LoL has, it’s a shame Dota gets short changed so often. 

  • Captain Internet

    I’ve started a run-through of XCOM on Classic Ironman-Lite. Ironman-Lite is a PC-only version where you backup the save file before and after every mission, partly because a) there are still bugs in the game that will give you negative money and undead soldiers and b) I’m clearly a massive coward. 

    Still, I’ve not had to reload yet due to the tips I’ve picked up from this highly amusing and informative series of videos from someone called Beaglerush narrating his Ironman Impossible run. The latest one has a summary of most of the best tips, so try that out and then head back to the start of Series 1.

    I’ll likely also play some Black Ops 2, but I’ve all but given up on the campaign- I just can’t take the histrionic nonsense and constant swearing. For example, there’s a mission in Afghanistan where after twenty minutes of riding a bullet-proof horse around a valley shooting down helicopters with a magical rocket launcher, your character decides to lead a cavalry charge head-on into tank battalion, saying ”The Russians want to give us a display of brute force… let’s give them one of courage!”. 

    Nnngggh. 

    Shortly afterwards the game simulates mental illness by having you tap a button. The multiplayer is a great, though.

  • Raging Bear

    I will probably be sample plattering this weekend. What with accidentally having PS+ again, I’ve just downloaded, for entirely free, Quantum Conundrum, Outland, and Double Dragon Neon, and I’ll see which of those hold my interest (I’ve already tried Renegade Ops, Payday, and Pac Man championship, which all seem probably fine for their proper audiences but didn’t do much for me). I also actually paid for The Unfinished Swan.

    In fact, I think I also “bought” the first Sly Cooper HD remake when it was free the last time I accidentally had PS+, so I should be able to download that. Now that I have a PS3 with actual hard drive space, I’m thinking PS+ is actually surprisingly rocktastic.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      You have a Vita as well, no?  I am now proudly leasing a + from Sony, as on Monday it applies to the Vita and they’re offering an embarrassment of good games.
         Jet Set Radio, Uncharted, Gravity Rush (The only one offered that I already own), and Final Fantasy Tactics for psp.
         And since I’m still rocking the now-microscopic seeming 60GB for my PS3, I need to upgrade that as well to take full advantage of the service.
         I gotta say, I really do think the Netflix streaming model of games acquisition utilized by PS+ is a really good idea. 

      • Raging Bear

        I do have a Vita, and that announcement was very pleasing. I also have Gravity Rush (and also Mutant Blobs from Space), but I’ll probably get the same ones you mentioned. Do they still count as free if I finally had to buy a bigger memory card to be able to accommodate them? Sure they do.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Proprietary storage gives me anger diarrhea, it’s true.
             But apparently my rage is easily forgotten when provided a service that for a minimal annual cost, perfectly emulates that buddy who lets you borrow his games for as long as you want.

      • Matty J.

        (checks pulse)
        (checks PSN)
        Jet Set Radio? Did you say Jet Set Radio? Had no idea it had been resurrected. There goes my weekend.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          It’s currently out for PSN, but won’t be available on Vita until Monday.
             But yeah, if you’re playing it on PS3, it’s up and rarin’ to go.
             The coordination required to skate and tag at the same time is so beyond me it places the game in the same fantastical category as Zelda.

  • Destroy Him My Robots

    In the nine days since its release, I somehow managed to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 35 hours. So that’s probably gonna be a decent chunk of my weekend. Update on my photo album because I know this is just as exciting to everyone else as it is to me: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5mh1dfqypz53umg/MehOaLWNIo

    Speaking of photos, it makes me sad that Unfinished Swan (which I was interested in before, but bought because of the excellent Digest) doesn’t have a screenshot button. Interesting that a game that’s fixated on unfinished art has some moments (in the first chapter) where taking a step back and appreciating the entirety of the work you’ve done so far is so visually rewarding.

    Oh, and Everyday Hanafuda is way too easy and apparently the AI never calls Koi Koi, which is lame. It’s almost as if my money would have been better spent on Crashmo.

    • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

      They just had to throw a double rainbow in there, didn’t they?

  • Bad Horse

    PC strategy is inexplicably my jam right now – it is the exact opposite of what I usually play, but I’m going with it. I’m playing 3 matches of DEFCON a night, which I seem to not be completely incompetent at, with some Civ 4 on the side, which I am definitely mostly incompetent at. Funny how despite being an extremely dark game about the end of the world, DEFCON seems to be a lot lighter experience overall.

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

    Thanksgiving at the Molyneux household sounds great, but I bet Christmas is hell. Uncle Peter flies in from overseas, just brings one big package, and the whole family takes turns removing a single layer of paper each for hours and hours until the last “lucky” person gets something invariably disappointing uncle Peter assures them has changed their life.

    • Citric

      The entire time he sits in the corner, talking about how awesome his gifts are and how they’re going to revolutionize everything in the world, but all he gives out are socks.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Peter: *flies in through the bedroom window*  “Here, try my new game!  It has great multiplayer, an open world to explore, a dynamic skill system and NPCs that move and think for themselves!”

      Wendy: “This is a single-player generic RPG with ten skills, roads you can walk more than ten feet off of, and NPCs that all call you ‘chicken chaser’!”

      Peter: “Oh, yeah….uh…we ran out of time to implement that other stuff, and the developer wouldn’t give me enough money.”

      Wendy: “Go back to Neverland, you useless little man-child!”

      • Citric

        I feel the need to bring up something from my high school days, which is Peter Molyneux related.

        Back when Lionhead was founded, he was trying to get the world lathered up in a huge froth for this game Black and White, and as a result they had a really active fan community. Inspired by the promises made, these fans not only went to the boards to talk about the game, they created clans for the inevitable multiplayer, clans which started up fierce rivalries and were trying to sabotage each other and so on.

        Before the game was released.

        A friend of mine was one of the founders of one of these clans – Sea Ess, which stood for something I don’t remember – and I started to participate as a joke specifically to annoy him before getting swept up in the fervor, and eventually most of our grade had been drawn in to Peter’s world of impossible promise. It was a vibrant community – which seemed to consist of our high school and a bunch of British people, admittedly – which stuck together through delays and setbacks because this was going to be the greatest game ever.

        Finally, release day, my friend was excited, this was the game that he had been waiting for years to actually play. He bought a new computer specifically to hit the specs. And… it crashed.

        It mostly didn’t work. If it did work, it was a disappointment. The pre-release community quickly disbanded. I don’t think there is even any evidence it existed anymore.

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          That game really was a major disappointment.

          Me: “Good lion!  You watered that tree just like I do!  Wait, NO, don’t throw the villagers!  NO, don’t poop on their houses!  NO DON’T EAT YOUR POOP!” *slap slap slapslapslapslapslap*

          I couldn’t bear to hit an animal like that, even a virtual one. That game lasted less than a week for me.

        • HobbesMkii

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus My favorite part of that game was desperately trying to recreate the gestures to cause rain while my followers starved and then were wiped out by the neighboring tribe. I quit when the game wanted me to punch a rock a certain distance so that it would hit a particular object, and no matter how closely I followed its directions, practically throwing my mouse across the pad, the damned rock would, at best, topple over pathetically.

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

          Weirdly, I remember really liking Black & White a lot when it came out in high school. Admittedly the only build-up I had was a write-up in “Game Players” magazine which sounded cool but wasn’t super hyperbolic or anything. And I hadn’t played many god-sim games, so maybe I wasn’t aware of other games which had already done what it did better. So I wasn’t in a position to be disappointed. It was just kind of complex and cool and did some weird stuff that was new to me at the time, combining RTS, role playing, simulation and, uh, Tamagotchi in a way I felt mostly worked.

        • HobbesMkii

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus It was sort of like Digimon (the device, not the related properties) and Pharaoh combined into one. Except without the part where your creature would “digivolve” into a giant slug.

        • JokersNuts

          I remember a friend playing Black and White all the time, he loved it and always showed me how he could rub his pet monsters belly.

      • HobbesMkii

        To make up for our blatant lack of innovation and our black/white morals system, here’s a dog!

  • stakkalee

    The neverending Civ4/Fall from Heaven game goes well.  Last week, I was pressing my buddy’s paladins on 2 fronts, with plans to open a third.  Well, last weekend went even better than I could have hoped.  Using my Nexus gates I was able to teleport a new stack of water-walking mages to the north, where I’d placed an arctic settlement years and years ago.  Why is that significant?  Because that little outpost was a hop, skip and a jump away from his northern territory.  The mages were able to walk to an island outpost where he was basing most of his naval units, and I managed to decimate his navy.  He still has some ships, but not enough to move a large force against any of my own islands.  Meanwhile, the eastern and western fronts merged, cutting his territory completely in two.  He’s decided to hole up with his superior numbers in his northern peninsula, but that won’t save him.  I’ve blocked off the mouth of the peninsula with almost a hundred mages, so any attempt by him to press south is met with a barrage of empowered fireballs.  Meanwhile, my secondary stack, comprised mainly of combat forces, is wiping up his weaker southern territory.  I expect tomorrow will consist of finishing off the southern stragglers, and then turning to focus entirely on the half-dozen cities he has on the northern peninsula (where his civilization started.)  I’m ignoring his island outposts, because really, what are they going to do?  If all goes well, the neverending game may finally come to a close tomorrow.  Probably not, because Civ always takes longer than you expect, but a boy can dream.  God I love this game!

  • Drew Toal

    Lacking anything new to play, and not being at all interested in Halo 4′s Spartan Ops nonsense, this may be the weekend I actually try to play Dark Souls. Finally, Steve Heisler and I will have something to talk about at fancy Gameological parties besides our Whiggish political leanings and how contemptible the wine is.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      “I find the Capra Demon to be a poor test of my mettle and for a first pressing, this Bordeaux is awfully long and rough in the tannins.”
      “Well, this Obama’s America after all…”

    • http://twitter.com/Gerardi Matt Gerardi

      Good luck, Drew. Whatever you do, don’t go toward the graveyard when you get to Firelink Shrine. You’ll understand. 

    • HobbesMkii

      I’ve only played that game long enough to defeat the first boss monster. It did feel like a major achievement though, more so than winning Halo: Reach felt. On the other hand, I reached that momentous milestone by basically running away from him the whole time, except for the few times I ran behind him and stabbed him in the butt, which diminished the glory somewhat. 

      Also, the XBox Live players don’t leave very friendly messages behind.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I still think the message template“Fuq u n00b” was a dubious inclusion for the XBox version.

    • SensitiveSethPutnam

      I finally picked up Dark Souls last week, and I’ve become obsessed.  Going to try to tackle the Stray Demon again tomorrow I think.  Or maybe go back to the bridge to handle that dragon once and for all.

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

      Take the master key and trust no one.

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

      Oh Dark Souls. I was just starting to love it, and then I found myself cursed by some enemy I didn’t even see coming. So now I have to somehow find my way back to a merchant in some mysterious location to buy the secret thing that lifts the curse, using souls I don’t have and can’t get because oh yeah, my HP is also permanently cut in half until the curse is gone.

      Help me, Gameological Dark Souls Emotional Support Network. I haven’t felt like the game has been cheap or unfair at all thus far, but this curse thing is really making it difficult to want to go back to it.

  • http://twitter.com/Gerardi Matt Gerardi

    I’ve pretty much devolved to all Halo 4, all the time. The multiplayer is great fun. Really I just love the absurdity of it all. For example: I once rounded a corner and saw five little red dudes fighting a giant robot. One was on top of it, just punching it over and over again. The lovely scene ended in tragedy when a jeep came flying, kamikaze-style, into said giant robot, creating an explosion that killed almost everyone. 

    That’s what I’ve always loved about the Halo games. The multiplayer especially feels like it’s been built to foster something that’s closer to the Three Stooges than Starship Troopers. Of course it’s still intensely competitive, but it’s also intensely goofy. 

    Plus, Halo 4 added the ability to instantly respawn after you’ve been killed. It’s tapping into the same part of my brain that’s a sucker for games like Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami. I just have to keep trying!

    • HobbesMkii

      Interesting. I’ve always felt like instant respawn hurts online multiplayer in shooters by creating a hectic, difficult to follow game style. I much prefer 10 or even 15 seconds as a penalty. Maybe it’s because my main introduction to it was the first Call of Duty and its expansion, where the WWII setting slowed everything down a little bit. 

      It’s probably because I also favor Capture the Flag/Zone games, and I hate killing a person in their base, grabbing the flag, then turning to run only for them to spawn behind me and kill me.

      • http://twitter.com/Gerardi Matt Gerardi

        Halo 4 is weird with it. It’s technically not instant. You press a button, but if you just mash it when you die–like I usually do–it’s effectively instant. You can still wait 5 seconds or so to respawn, like normal. If you wait, you’ll actually spawn closer to the action. Coming back in before the timer runs down plops you in the middle of nowhere, especially on the bigger maps, but now that everyone can sprint–something new for Halo’s cybernetic supersoldiers, believe it or not–it doesn’t take too long to get back into the action. Plus, I prefer taking the time to size things up and plan. 

        Edit: Not that planning usually helps. But seeing my “plan” fall apart in front of my eyes as a jeep comes roaring over a hill, turret blazing, is just as fun to me.

    • Ack_Ack

      Ugh – I was just getting into the Halo 4 multiplayer when a Beer festival induced injury caused me to break the ringinger on my right hand (one week today).  I can still play a bit, but not for long, which is too bad, because I’m really enjoying it. 

      I’m just starting the Spartan Ops missions, which are pretty interesting – I’m in the first Chapter, so I can’t jump into co-op, but I plan to hit the second chapter this weekend, finger willing.

      If Halo is too intense, then I’ve always got Assassins Creed III or Dishonored to go through.  I’ve been advised to rest this weekend, so in front of the Xbox I shall be.  Hit up Bender R Bender on Xbox Live, if you feel like beating a cripple at Halo MP (or helping him survive!).

  • HobbesMkii

    I’ve been toying with the idea of finally playing the end of LA Noire. I’ve already had Phelps’ fate spoiled for me, so I feel like it could be cathartic. You know how sometimes therapists suggest their patients confront their fears head-on? It’d be like that.

    On the other hand, Sunset Invasion came out for Crusader Kings II and I do kinda want to play against the Aztecs.

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

      There is so much WTF in the Sunset Invasion, especially considering how serious Paradox historical sims take their authenticity.  It looks really fun and it’s an awesome concept (“we’ll beat those conquistadors on their own turf!”) but I’m still floored it exists.

      • HobbesMkii

        I’m thrilled by its WTF factor. The Pdox community boards went ballistic that it’s appeared before the hypothetical Pagan DLC, but I buy Johan’s explanation that  it used up hardly any development resources (it is basically just different colored Mongols) and was just something they did as a lark. 

        This combined with the African DLC from last month, and the 1.08 patch’s added ability to allow female generals, I think Paradox has finally given me enough existing groundwork to start creating a mod version of my own fantasy narrative. That’ll be my next big project.

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

      At the risk of damning the game with faint praise, the last two hours of L.A. Noire are the best two hours of L.A. Noire.

  • boardgameguy

    love that her realm of gaming was mostly the tabletop variety.  mr. jack is a fun 2p game that some thing was improved upon in mr. jack pocket, a smaller, easier to travel with version of the deduction game.

    i’m going to be getting together with two friends this weekend and board games are heavily involved in the planning.  i anticipate playing most of the following: lifeboats, mare balticum, castles of burgundy, glory to rome, sunrise city, village, and who knows what else since this buddy of mine seems to kickstart every game and always has about two or three new ones.  maybe even go classic and play some race for the galaxy, settlers of catan (but probably with cities and knights), or power grid.

  • lokimotive

    I’ll probably be playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 for quite a while. I’ve never had a Wii, so I never got to play with it.

    On the other hand, I’m sure Hotline Miami will still be in heavy rotation for me, even though I’ve essentially finished it. It’s such an easy game to obsess about, especially considering I don’t really understand what I’m graded on, so when I get an A+ I’m excited about the randomness.

    Saints Row: The Third is still looming over me on my unfinished playlist. It’s a bit difficult to go back to it after Hotline Miami, because the wanton destruction seems so trite in comparison. Additionally, the open world seems rather aimless. I think it’s interesting that Hotline Miami gets so many comparisons to the original Grand Theft Auto. It’s really nothing like it in terms of how the game actually plays out. There’s really no wanton destruction in Hotline Miami, to the contrary, there’s very precise destruction.

  • fieldafar

    After hesitating for a bit, I got in Halo 4 MP, which is actually quite fun. So that could take up my gaming weekend.

    I may also continue with Sleeping Dogs, to unlock all the achievements (and also I heard there’s new DLC featuring a Adam Jensen costume, that sounds interesting).

    • Ack_Ack

      Sleeping Dogs is one of the only 1000 point XP games where I’ve managed to get 100%.  The hardest part is getting Gold for everything – also, there are a few random events that can be hard to find.  Good luck! 

      • fieldafar

        Thanks! I am not the kind of person who plays games to get 100% at achievements or whatever, but at the rate I was unlocking them in Sleeping Dogs, I thought why not.

  • Fluka

    Oh god.  She mentioned Kingdom Rush.  I am suddenly having a flashback to the final month of my thesis writing, where I handed my advisor a full second draft of that cursed 200 page document.  And then, upon waking up the next day, proceeded to play that game for a straight 12 hours, only looking up at 9 pm to realize that I had forgotten to shower or have lunch.  *Curls into a tiny ball of bad memories.*  Sweet game, though!

    More Deus Ex the first here.  JC Denton is such a nerd.  The mechanics feel surprising identical to Human Revolution for all the time that’s passed, though I’m really grumpy about having to constantly hoard lockpicks and multitools, and constantly missing augmentation canisters.  Non-lethal stealth is really fucking hard, too, as hitting someone with a baton or a tranq dart usually results less in “nonlethal takedown” and more “run around screaming like a maniac.”  (Things are better now that I’ve discovered I can also use the taser twice to down people).  So clever clogs JC Denton has been solving a lot of problems by using the “Use 10 mm Pistol tool to shoot man several times in head” stealth method.  I’m only at the LaGuardia helipad right now, so I have a looong way to go.

    • djsubversive

      Tranq darts are good if you can get close enough for a clean headshot (guys with helmets can be a problem). 

      Lockpick/Nanotool conservation is annoying – get a safe that takes the last 3 picks in your inventory, open it, and get a can of soda and 100 bucks. Save before unlocking stuff. 

      If you’re using the Shifter mod, it makes the augs less of a hassle – if you find the “other” augmentation canister and you’ve already got something installed, you can use it as an upgrade instead. If you’re not using it, yeah, missing augs is a killer. “Wait, I could have had 2 more levels in my leg upgrades? Where the hell was this?”

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

      It’s great that you’re playing through the original Deus Ex. The game was so ahead of its time that Human Revolution, having stolen many of its mechanics, still feels modern. After playing through Invisible War and wanting to drive a spike through my cerebellum, Human Revolution was incredible by comparison. It’s really the sequel that the original Deus Ex deserved.

  • Cloks

    I started playing Tetra Master and take breaks from that to find new people to play Tetra Master against. Apparently there’s some sort of side story about a kidnapped princess and a black mage or something but give me completely unnecessary card-collecting and I’m hooked.

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

    I finally finished Mass Effect 3 and realized everything people said about the ending was true. It is heart-breaking-ly terrible.  Ugh.

    On the plus side, I finally sat down and watched Indie Game: the Movie (started slow but I loved it in the end) and have decided to give Super Meat Boy and Fez each another crack.

    Super Meat Boy is one of my favorite games of this generation so that was a no-brainer, I just need to try and get more bandages and what not.  It’s easier to deal with the games brutal difficulty when you realize how those two nerds killed themselves making it.

    Fez, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with which I’ve posted about before. Honestly, I tried so hard to like it at first and was dissapointed by what I considered a gimmicky mechanic and some rather annoying gameplay oversights (WTF no fast-travel!?!).  But hearing Phil Fish, gush about it gave me the heart to try and go back and crack it’s thick shell to get at those Nega-cubes.  I’ve started taking notes a la Teti, but I haven’t progressed at all.  I’m enjoying more though now that I’m taking it at a relaxed pace as I think it was intended.  It can be very relaxing but I just wish i could feel more progress.

  • djsubversive

    I’ve been playing older stuff lately: Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Silent Storm, and some SimCity 4. 

    SimCity 4 is, well, SimCity, but more Four-ish. Not a bad time-waster. I just slashed low-wealth taxes in one of my cities and got almost 100,000 people moving in over a couple of months. Now my hospitals are full, my teachers are going on strike, and they’re sucking up all my water and power. That 3 million I’ve built up isn’t going to last forever.

    Kane & Lynch is good. Okay, the first half is pretty good. Once you get to Cuba, it turns into full-on Freedom Fighters: Cuba, which isn’t a BAD thing. Freedom Fighters was awesome. It just feels like they missed a couple of levels between Retomoto Tower/Tokyo Street and Cuba. Build up the “bigger squad” thing a bit more, maybe have you deal with one armed vehicle in a previous level before throwing half a dozen at you, plus a helicopter, plus a bunch of dudes on mounted weapons. It all feels like too much being thrown in for the finale.

    Cuba aside, I like the game. It might be masochistic-gamer streak, or, like I said, because Freedom Fighters was awesome, and K&L is basically Freedom Fighters Plus Heat (“so, it’s like a 3rd-person single-player Payday: the Heist?” “yes it is, other dj.”). Rob a bank, kidnap a crime boss’ daughter from her own club and hold her for ransom, and deal with Lynch’s fuck-ups. Lynch fucks up a lot. 

    I can’t really recommend the game unless, like me, you thought Freedom Fighters was the best non-Hitman thing IO has done (AND FF has Jesper Kyd music). It’s like the gameplay of Freedom Fighters, but in the world of Hitman (Blood Money even has a reference to K&L in one of the newspaper articles after a level – the “Two prisoners escaped from a transport van in Neada” story is basically the intro to K&L). And it hits a wall once you get to Cuba. It’s much tighter, gameplay-wise, than Freedom Fighters, though. And getting new crew members is story-based, unlike FF’s Charisma (XP). 

    Really, more than anything, it’s made me want a map editor/mission maker for Payday: the Heist. 

    Speaking of, the Gameological Society for the Redistribution of Wealth (Into Our Hands) (not an actual thing) had two successful robberies last night with Hobbes, merve, and myself. merve more than doubled in levels, which means he should be getting a secondary weapon soon. And we’ll have another partner in crime pretty soon – a friend of mine is getting a new computer so he’ll be able to actually play most of his games at something other than all-low-quality settings. (this is the same friend who’s volunteered to help me test my ArmA 2 stuff, other people who are involved in that project).

    • HobbesMkii

      The problem I had with SimCity 4 was how desperate it seemed to want you to purchase and use The Sims 2. Now, I own The Sims 2, and I could be said to enjoy it–much as I could be said to “enjoy” crack cocaine or heroin–but I did not partake in SimCity 4 so that the game would attempt to push another one on me. 

      Also, I refuse to fly helicopters and rescue individual citizens. I’m much more of a Richard Daley kind of mayor than a Cory Booker kind of mayor.

      • djsubversive

         oh, definitely. screw the driving/flying minigames and the Sims-inclusion. It’s actually kind of half-assed, since all it does is give you the face and name of a Sim you made, and sticks them in a residential plot. Then you can track them as they commute and bitch about healthcare and education. I’d rather just ignore my existing advisors than add another one.

        I don’t pay attention to those things, unless I’m trying to select a school or hospital or something to adjust funding, and some jackass cop decides “the mayor can do my job!” no, jerk, I can’t. I’ve got bigger things to worry about, like the pollution levels of your air and water.

    • NephewOfAnarchy

       I loved the two Kane and Lynch games. They’re quite clearly liberally borrowing from Michael Mann films, so we get levels “inspired” by Heat and Collateral etc. The second one actually incorporates cinema style shaky cam into the gameplay which works amazingly well. I kind of wish this had been a huge best selling series so we’d be getting a new K+L game every year!

      • djsubversive

        Warning: some spoilers for Kane & Lynch: Dog Days (and some for Dead Men. and a lot of words-words-words about them) ahead, but I doubt that anyone who’s reading this is actually concerned about spoilers for Kane & Lynch.

        I’m a fan of the characters and the setting. Like you said, there’s a very heavy Michael Mann influence, and I can dig that. Also, I like that the “backstory” for why all this is happening is just that – backstory. Kane knows what he’s doing and why, Lynch sort of knows why he’s doing what he’s doing (babysitting Kane because of some nebulous promise from The7), and The7 know why they’re doing what they’re doing, but they never come right out and tell the player any of this information. It’s mostly just hinted at and it’s up to you to piece it all together.

        I really missed the crew mechanic when I played Dog Days: equipping Rific and Thapa with heavy guns and setting them on overwatch while me and Lynch (and Shelley, because Shelley hates Lynch so I make them work together) push through to the next bit of cover, then calling up Rific and Thapa and doing it again… I liked having that sort of control over your crew. And the response lines when you give them orders were great, particularly Lynch. “I’m going, asshole!” “Don’t tell me what to fucking do, Kane!” (but he does it anyway). 

        Man, Lynch is just great, full stop. From the mutterings and rantings to “they kept getting back up!” as an excuse for why he shot all the hostages and “I was aiming for her leg!” when the hostage deal with Retomoto went bad… and then Dog Days comes along and puts you right into that crazy head. I liked Dog Days, though. The style was unique and interesting (the shaky-cam and the blurring of cops you shoot in the face), and the story kept me on edge the whole time I was playing (except for a couple of sections that gave me some trouble at first and were eventually solved by flanking and/or explosive containers). 

        The naked torture and subsequent escape was just brutal, to say the least (and not only due to Lynch’s nakedness all up on your screen). The cut from that to “3 days earlier” in the opening credits was so… dissonant (I think that’s the right word). Lynch screaming and swearing his face off, naked and bleeding, tied to a chair. Cut to: Lynch sitting on the couch quietly watching tv with his girlfriend laying on his lap.

        Here’s an idea that came to me while I was playing Dog Days, and so I’m going to talk about it here: Is Xiu (Lynch’s girlfriend) real or just a figment of his insanity? We never hear her talk, and he seems to never be able to get a hold of her once the game actually starts. Also: I found myself wondering how many of the “cops” I was shooting were actually cops and if any of them were just people that Lynch THOUGHT were cops, because he’s crazy. Both of those theories are probably just me overthinking things, though.
        I don’t know about “every year,” but I wouldn’t mind another K&L game, as long as it went back to the “Michael Mann’s Freedom Fighters” style of the first game.

        Also, I’ve mentioned Freedom Fighters a lot. It’s an old PS2 game that’s basically “Red Dawn: New York City” – you’re a plumber-turned-revolutionary who fights the Russians who’ve invaded America. The squad mechanic in FF is pretty much the same as in Dead Men (assembling your squad is a little different), but the shooting in Dead Men is much better. FF is older and there are a few flaws (hilariously inaccurate guns being one of the biggest), but it’s still fun as hell, and it’s a neat look at how much IO improved the idea between FF and Dead Men (setting Dead Men in the much grittier Hitman world helped too, at least for me).

  • IzToo

    I’ 

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.tuttle.79 Andy Tuttle

     This weekend I will be attending our groups annual Sausagefest which is basically a big bbq where we all eat sausages and play games. I’m sure we’ll get some Settlers on, maybe a game of Ticket to Ride and my current favorite which is a card game version of Warhammer Blood Bowl. I anticipate some big party games too like Rock Band 3, You Don’t Know Jack and Just Dance. Its going to be a big shindig and I would invite you all if I could.

  • Ghostfucker

    “Making two matchbox cars say Hi to Each Other” actually has surprisingly deep game mechanics. The crafting system is kind of unnecessary though.

  • Haymz_Jetfield

    “I have a special personality that’s reserved just for playing Monopoly. I get really aggressive and condescending, and everyone finds it really annoying except for me. It makes me feel alive!”

    I totally heard this in the voice of Gene Belcher.