What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Beth Stilling

Beth Stelling, comedian

Fresh off a move from Chicago, the L.A.-based comic escapes reality by dusting off her Nintendo 64.

By Ryan Smith • December 14, 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.

Beth Stelling is a stand-up comedian who moved to Los Angeles this year after half a decade performing in Chicago. She made her first appearance on Conan in July and released her first comedy album—Sweet Beth in October. She’s also performing on TV Guide Channel’s Stand Up In Stilletos on Dec. 22. She talked to Gameological about her recent Nintendo 64 binge and how GoldenEye 007 might have helped her find love.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Stelling: Yes, this whole week I’ve been playing. I’m documenting it on Instagram, so you know it’s true. I got my old Nintendo 64 out of the trunk, bought a Red Baron pizza and Klondike bars and have been playing Mario Kart, Wave Race, and—what’s the Mario game with the stars, and you have to get them to open the doors to the Bowser castle?

Gameological: Super Mario 64?

Stelling: Yeah, I really like that one because it’s still a challenge to me. I never beat it as a kid.

Gameological: What prompted you to start playing Nintendo 64 again?

Stelling: Oh man, too many people asking me questions about my career and what I’m working on. [Laughs.] No, I actually found myself forgetting things a lot, and it’s like, can’t video games exercise my brain a little bit? Like a puzzle. Playing Super Mario can be like brain reps. Something to challenge me that’s fun and is outside of my current realm.

Gameological: You mentioned you played games while eating frozen pizza and ice cream, does that mean you associate gaming with self-indulgence?

Stelling: I guess so. A little bit of self-indulgence, a little bit of lack of self-control and eighth grade maybe? It was maybe earlier than that—fourth to seventh grade I think. I got the Nintendo 64 in late elementary school, early junior high, and I remember it being a big deal for my sisters and I. I also used to play Sega Genesis, but only Sonic The Hedgehog and Aladdin, so I was never a huge gamer.

Gameological: I was going to ask if gaming was a secret shame for you, but I guess if you put it on Instagram, it’s not that.

Stelling: No, I don’t think it was a shameful thing. I remember playing GoldenEye in high school, and all the high school guys played it. We’d play it at my best friend Amy’s house with her older brother, who was hot. I was dating one of his friends, and we’d play it together.

Gameological: So, did you mostly play GoldenEye to get the attention of a guy?

Stelling :Yeah, I played Goldeneye to get dick. [Laughs.] I’m kidding. I played to make Robert Palermo fall in love with me. So now I can shoot square-shouldered, stiff-walking soldiers just like the rest of the 17-year-old boys.

Gameological: Did it ever work?

Stelling: Yeah, he was totally in love with me until like five years ago. He’s married now.

Gameological: Is this week the first time you’ve played games since you guys broke up?

Stelling: I lapsed with gaming in college, but I had a stint of Draw Something last year. But I was frustrated at not having enough colors for my masterpieces, so instead of paying 99 cents, I just quit. I’ve played some Street Fighter II and Ms. Pac Man in Jimmy Kimmel’s green room. Those were fun. Hmm, what other games do I play? I play head games with men, I guess. I really fuck with them. [Laughs.]

[Stelling later followed up with this via email:] I used my Mario Kart prowess to impress boys I had crushes on. I feel like video games are often characterized as a boys’ thing, but some guys like a gal who can hang with the dudes. I guess that’s me. I somehow choose dude-like things to do. It’s not just to impress them; I genuinely enjoy them (e.g., stand-up comedy). But victory is even sweeter when you’re better than the demographic that is supposed to excel.

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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2,492 Responses to “Beth Stelling, comedian”

  1. Jackbert322 says:

    Nothing, because finals.

    Well…Enkidum, I’ve gotten to the 4th world bonus 10th level, after perfecting every level before it, and, wow, it is really tough. So I’ll try to finish that this weekend. And maybe I’ll advance a bit in my rush-through-on-easy-and-get-the-XP-books playthrough of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    Besides that, studying. Bleh. On the bright side, Christmas break is coming.

    • PaganPoet says:

      All I know is that caspiancomic better be done with P3FES by now or else… *gets out knuckle dusters*

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Oh yeah! *dons battle panties* Wait…no…oh man, you took Akihiko and I don’t wanna be Ken…*inserts earbuds, flips bangs onto forehead haphazaradly, waits for someone to ask him a question*

        • PaganPoet says:

          *cracks knuckles* You see that Shinji?

          You could always be Koromaru, no? He’s the party member nobody hates. =]

          Side note: I DID take a lame-ass online quiz to see which Arcana I was, and I got Emperor, the same as Akihiko (and Hidetoshi, and Kanji from P4). I guess that means I’m manly, an asshole, and a repressed homosexual…except the repressed part…and, arguably, the manly part.

        • Jackbert322 says:

          roof roof GRR

          Koromaru is awesome, but I’d rather be my species and gender, so protaganist it is if Akihiko isn’t an option. I now demand to be known is Jack-kun, which is actually what Yuko called me in the game :p

          Ooh, I’m gonna try and find a quiz. Link me the one you did if you can find it quick, please. And if we can be Social Link characters, Mamoru!

        • Jackbert322 says:

          Yep, that’s the one I took. It was the first Google results and linked to on a few forum discussions.

          Guess what I got?

          No really, you have to ask, I’m the protaganist, I won’t talk unless you ask. Okay, you asked.

          Emperor! *silently offers fist to be bumped*

          Well, I’m not excessively masculine, and I’m heterosexual and comfortable enough in that to make jokes about wearing lingerie armor. However, I am a big fan of team sports, which are pretty much the poster boy for repressed homosexuality disguised as excessive masculinity. Make of that what you will. But the asshole part? Oh yeah, definitely.

        • PaganPoet says:

          *fist bump, brah*

          In your defense, only Kanji is ~maybe~ gay, but to be honest, he’s probably straight. Although it did leave to quite a funny scene when Kanji and Akihiko meet in Persona 4 Arena:


          (watch the first two minutes)

        • Cheese says:

          I took one of those Arcana quizzes, and got The Fool. I’m a main character, bitches! Or a naked female robot wearing a tie. Either way!

        • Hmm… I got Death. So I’m either, Eikichi the low self-esteemed ass who covers it up with  complete narcissism in 2. The complex, spoileriffic plot of Persona 3 (so I won’t go into it) or an old widow who refuses to move on after her husband died in Persona 4…

          Tough choice.

        • PaganPoet says:

          @facebook-579674289:disqus You could also be Reiji from Persona 1, the no-nonsense badass who walks around with his shirt open to show off his abs.

        •  Hot damn! I’ve never had abs before, thanks PaganPoet!

        • caspiancomic says:

           Guy’s I’m sorry! It was my last week this past few days, but now I’ve got three weeks off.

          A PROMISE MADE ON MY OWN LIFE: I will have Persona 3 completed by next Friday, come hell or high water. Also, given the amount of time I intend to spend playing videogames over the winter break, I’ll probably have finished “The Answer” and have started New Game Plus by next week as well.

          For now though I need rest really desperately. See you guys next week! Or my life is forfeit!

        • PaganPoet says:


          Jackbert, Cheese! Here’s our chance for an All-Out Attack!

          Nah, it’s cool, @caspiancomic:disqus kun, I know real life has a pesky way of getting in front of the TV when you’re trynna play your game. Cheers to your winter break, though, enjoy it! I’m overdue for a proper vacation out of the state as well…although, I can’t complain TOO much, as I’m leaving to go skiing this weekend in about an hour.

    • alguien_comenta says:

      Everytime I hear a comment like this I feel really old. I mean, I did my Masters about 6 years ago

      • PaganPoet says:

        Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please to put a penny in the old man’s hat~

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

           but what if I haven’t got a penny?

        • PaganPoet says:

          @Mercenary_Security_number_4:disqus A haypenny will do. If you haven’t got a haypenny, well…what the hell are you typing this on? The public library computer???

      • Girard says:

        I’m doing my Master’s now, and already feel old as shit. I think it’s being around so many undergrads who are bona fide adults who are 11 years younger than me.

        • Merve says:

          I think that grad school just makes people feel old. I’m doing my doctorate now, having completed my bachelor’s only a few years ago. Still, every time I see a gaggle of undergrads on campus, I can’t help but mutter to myself, “Damn kids…”

      • Chum Joely says:

        I did mine 9 years ago.  When it comes to feeling old, I can’t wait for when I will (possibly?) go back for my Ph.D. at age 40 or so.  Then I’ll be surrounded by skeptical youngsters who doubt my ability to learn anything interesting at that age. Can’t WAIT!

        • EmperorNortonI says:

           While going back for my PhD (or restart it, I guess) would likely mean that I would be there while 40, I well and truly regard any return to school as a fate worse than death.  I still have nightmares where, for some awful reason, I’m back in school.  12 years of college/grad school was enough.

    • uselessyss says:

      Huh. I also have finals, but for me that means I’m going to be playing lots of games so I can put off studying for as long as possible.

      I finished Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow this week – I liked it even though it drove me to fist-pumping frustration more than a few times. The thing that makes that game work for me is that all the Tom Clancy-ness surrounding the gameplay makes you feel like a badass.

      It’s obviously a game – the guards all follow patterns and don’t seem particularly concerned that the light above their head has been shot out or their friend is lying dead on the ground beside them; the three alarm system is completely unrealistic and gamey; Sam Fisher’s goddamn glowing goggles would make him a dead giveaway in any real situation. 

      Despite all that, though, all the stuff surrounding the gamey elements – Michael Ironside and Dennis Haysbert, the military lingo, and the cool gadgets – frame the gameplay in a way that you still feel like you’re actually acting as a stealthy secret agent, rather than exploiting gameplay kinks.

      Looking forward to getting into Chaos Theory, though that’ll probably be a little later. I have to get through Dragon Age: Awakenings, which I completely ignored this week, and for whatever reason I started Ultima VII which I got off GOG.com a while ago.

      Hopefully I can make some progress through both of those.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        I was surprised to find that I didn’t hate Tom Clancy’s newest book “Threat Vector,” though I don’t know how fair it is to call any of this “Tom Clancy-ness” at this point, considering how little he seems to be involved in the process/development. 

    • lokimotive says:

      I work in a library, and it was so lovely to go up to the fourth floor, plop myself in the middle of all the wretched students cramming, and just go ahead and read a sci-fi novel. For fun!

    • Enkidum says:

      Yeah, let me know if you ever get that level perfect. You deserve a knighthood if you do.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Just did. *bows, showered with roses* It was pretty intense. Took me about an hour of trying, which really isn’t that long compared to how much I’d play a PS3, but really is long given an average of 15 seconds per attempt, it took me about 240 tries. Am I your hero now?

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       I too have finals, but I see them from the other side.  I’ve been working hard the last few weeks to motivate my kids to learn their World History and Math, and now I’ll get to see just how much of a success/failure I/they were.  I really do like my class this year, and I hope they do well, but . . .

  2. Merve says:

    To decompress between research proposal writing sessions, I might throw in a bit of Max Payne or Assassin’s Creed II. I’d try to finish up Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, but it crashes too often and has its checkpoints placed too far apart to be a good de-stressor.

  3. Citric says:

    I’m playing the same things I was playing last weekend, though I’ll probably wrap up AssCreed. Might start something new after I do wrap that up, but I really should beat what I’ve got going, even if I need to go do a bunch of stuff before I can beat Silver Dragon in Romancing SaGa.

    As a side note, I found my DS, which happened to have Glory of Heracles in it. Turns out I named the main character Testicules. 

  4. AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

    I’m working on a playthrough of The Walking Dead finally. But I just got through episode three and don’t really feel like I have the strength to continue on at this point. Still two more chapters to go.

    And then I work on my second playthrough of Persona 4 Golden wherein I try to cram absolutely everything into one round. Guides will be consulted, saves will be dug up, and I’ll generally suck all the fun out of it.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Same here on P4G! I actually got the “neutral” ending on my first go, but I decided to start over again anyway since I was really unhappy with my time management the first time around. I’m doing much better now, I think I’m well on my way to maxing out every Social Link on this go around.

    • Cheese says:

       I’m midway through my second ish playthrough (The very first time, I got the slightly less bad ending, but I reloaded and got to the true ending).

      This time I’m going for every S.Link, and it should be easy since I’m not wasting my time studying or making envelopes.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Oh, looks like you and I are in the same boat. I’m doing pretty well, but I think I might have messed up the Jester Social Link. I read that you have to have it at a certain level before the November kidnapping/rescue? Mine is only at Level 5 (I can never tell when the bastard is available to hang out!), so I’m worried I messed it up.

        Other than that, Magician, Priestess, Empress, Strength, Chariot, Hierophant, Justice, Hermit, Death, Devil, and Tower are all maxed out.

        Lovers, Emperor, Sun, Moon, Hanged Man, Temperance, and Aeon are all level 7 or above.

        I just started Fortune, it’s only at level 2, but I think I still have enough time to see it all the way through.

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

           The Fortune link is one of the hardest to maximize just because of how late you have to start it. Though if you have the Aeon link maxed by the end of December, you’ll essentially have another month to a month and a half to work on it.

  5. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    So we enter the last week of existence. I will spend it the only way I know how — sitting on my arse playing games that I don’t actually enjoy that much.

    Which, appropriately, brings me to Mass Effect, released the other day on PS3. I played it before on PC late last year, and hated the controls so much I powered through it as quickly as possible while ignoring all side missions, just to fill in the backstory before ME3 hit. It was mostly fun. However, with PS3 games my completist tendencies tend to raise their head, mostly due to those damn trophies with all their addictive intangible nastiness. This is why I am tackling all the side missions while I am playing Mass Effect this time around and god damn these side missions really bring the shittier aspects of this game to the fore. I’ve seen plenty of references to the ridiculousness of all of a planets notable locations being within a short Mako drive from one another, that’s fine. But does anyone ever mention that all these bad guy bunkers are made by the same damn architect, and they’re inhabited by the same three people who yell out these same phrases every time:

    “HOLD ON!”
    and that old chestnut: “ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!”

    Enemies everywhere? No, there are only three enemies – Shepard, Liara and uber space racist Ashley – and you have a whole platoon of bad guy pals with you. Enemies everywhere? The three of us are standing in the doorway. That’s a pretty shit definition of ‘everywhere’. You’re the worst fucking mercenary I’ve ever encountered, and you seem to be in every damn hideout on every planet in the galaxy. I swear that every time a group of space pirates is recruiting “Panicky Mercenary #1” this fucking guy is the only applicant.

    Anyway, the combat is fairly dire (the improvement in ME2 in this respect is retrospectively mind blowing) so clearing out these bastards is rather tiresome, but it does give that guy plenty of chances to yell the same shit out over and over. I’ve only just made it to Peak 15 in Noveria, so there’s still plenty of game to go, which is frustrating as I want to get the game over and done with so I can have a crack at Dishonored which has been sitting there untouched for a couple of weeks now. Starting to get some decent weapons and mods now, so don’t have that whole ‘fired a weapon twice and now have to wait 10 seconds for the thing to cool down’, except for the sniper rifle which still sucks. Sniper rifles helped me sail through ME2 and ME3 insanity. Sniper rifles in ME1 would probably make the Casual difficulty a challenge (I am playing on Normal, not looking forward to the harder levels, but trophies!). 

    So there you have it, the long awaited Mass Effect.

    • Citric says:

      God damn I hated Ashley. She, spoilers I guess, did not see the end credits. Easiest decision in the world, I actually cheered when I was able to get rid of her.

      Others tell me I should give ME2 a chance, but I’m still a bit leery.

      • PaganPoet says:

        She…she’s just awful. Which is why I always send her to her heroic, racist death and keep Kaidan around so Shep can ogle his butt in ME3.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Oh mate, Mass Effect 2 is freaking awesome. The improvement from ME1 to ME2 is like going from Bottle Rocket to Rushmore, totally phenomenal. People will say they liked the first one better but deep down they know they are lying because the second one improves on every single aspect. Better characters (Mordin! Illusive Man! Legion! Miranda’s arse!), better story, better gameplay, varied enemies to fight, better graphics, no Mako, and of course Miranda’s arse. And the best thing is that Mass Effect 3 is as good, if not better, so you can just keep going.

        And I’ll try not to be spoilery, but if you let Ashley live in ME1, in ME2 you can tell her to go fuck herself and in ME3 if you’re lucky you can shoot her head off. 

        Shit man, go and buy ME2, stat.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          I dunno, I thought ME2 leaned too hard on the standard quid-pro-quo, sure-I’ll-advance-the-plot-after-you-do-me-an-unrelated-favor bullshit and had little in the way of an overarching plot.  The first one had narrative focus or something close to it.  And the Virmire mission.  And Wrex in the foreground.  And…sniper rifles that can actually kill shit if you get a good one and put some points into that skill and you realize that headshots don’t do anything special.

          Look, the ME1 sniper rifles at least had this going for them: I celebrated the 40th anniversary of the moon landing by playing the Rogue VI mission (the one that takes place on the moon) using a Kassa Fabrication Harpoon VII sniper rifle.  I might have been singing the Whalers on the Moon song the whole time.

        • Captain Internet says:

          Having played ME2 first I have to say that ME1 was something of a limp disappointment, at least at the start. Example: the first mission I encountered once they actually let me play the bloody game had me hunting for space monkeys.
          On the subject of Bottle Rocket vs. Rushmore, did you ever read Steely Dan’s open letter to Wes Anderson on the subject? Of particular note are the two new theme songs they propose for ‘The Darjeeling Limited’.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Nope. I honestly like 1 a lot better. I like 2 a lot, and I’ll give you that it improved a lot of the core aspects of the first game. but instead of taking 1’s failures (and it had a lot of failures!) it went from being this unwieldy, awesome, messy, sprawling, insanely ambitious RPG to something that feels a lot closer to any other action adventure out there. A *very* good one, but… I dunno. Compared to the original, and to the sequel I hoped they would make, it felt too sleek, too formula-bound.

      • alguien_comenta says:

        Everybody seems to hate Ashley, in my case I did two playthroughs* and in both I chose her. I didn’t like Kaidan at all on ME1, he was too whiny. In retrospective I think I made the wrong choice.

        *The original plan was to do two playthroughs on the trilogy but after the ending I just don’t have the drive to do the second one (which was my Renegade Engineer)

      • Enkidum says:

        I was a total incompetent at romance in ME. I played a man-Shep and tried to romance both alien chick and racist chick, and then accidentally ended up selecting racist chick in the conversation where they confront me and demand a choice. Then for some reason on the final voyage where you apparently get your sweet space lovin’ on, Ashley didn’t come and invite me to bump uglies. Not sure why, as I had been buttering her up and getting all flirty dialogue for like a dozen missions by this point. But whatever.

        Then I wasn’t really paying attention during the mission where SOMEONE DIES SPOILER and ended up saving screwed up mind-boy instead of her. So yeah, I was celibate and let my annoying girlfriend get killed.

        Ladies, the line forms to the right.

    • Jackbert322 says:

      Stew Bum, I’m never sure how much you genuinely hate things, or if you’re just being a cynic with a secret heart of gold. (I don’t know; I’ve been inundated with Christmas specials for the last fortnight.) Is it really that bad? I’m curious because I was asking for the Mass Effect Trilogy for Christmas, but I could also get the ME motion comic, ME2, and ME3 for half the price, and ask instead for, I dunno, cash. Basically, does the story outweigh* the negatives of the gameplay?

      *It’s pretty weird for that to be a common question about video games. No one asks “So I heard Ulysess had some shitty sentence structure and uses too many dashes. Does the plot outweight that?”

      • Merve says:

        ME1’s combat has some strange idiosyncrasies. Whereas ME2 and ME3 play more like shooters with crazy magical powers, ME1 plays like the bastard lovechild of a shooter and an RPG. That’s not a slight against the game, but it can be odd to fire a gun that isn’t 100% accurate because of its stats.

        I highly recommend playing through the entire trilogy. Then again, I played it on PC, and I didn’t experience any control issues. I don’t know how it would work on a PS3.

        But @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus is definitely right about one thing: aside from the Cerberus quest, the side missions in ME1 are terrible.

        • Fluka says:

          Fuck you, Luna Base!  Fuck you, rocket turrets!  I don’t care if you have a plot connection to the later games and give me a specialization!  YOU SUCK!

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          @Fluka:disqus  – Sniper rifle from max range takes those out no problem.

        • Fluka says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus I’ve discovered that on my second play-through!  (Like ME2, I’ve had a long term play-it-when-I-feel-like-it ME1 play-through.)  Infiltrator with a sniper-rifle, occasionally hiding behind the doors so everyone can recharge (turrets, mercenaries, and space zombies can’t use doors!).  

          First time, using an Adept, however?  With a dinky pistol and some half-hearted biotics?  No.

      • Bakken Hood says:

        Dire though the combat may have been, I loved the story enough call ME1 my favorite of the three.  If you ignore all the inane side quests, the core campaign has some of the tightest plotting I’ve ever seen in a game.  I can’t even count all the plot threads that get tied up seamlessly on Virmire.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          On the one hand, I agree. On the other hand, I think it’s important to remember that ME1 is the only one in the series where the writing and acting is so spotty that it sometimes veers into Resident Evil levels of awfulness/hilarity: http://youtu.be/Qt9EfyAhUls?t=9m43s

        • Bakken Hood says:

          Oh, I’m not denying that ME1 was deeply flawed.  I just don’t think the abysmal lows were important enough to detract from all the soaring highs in that perfectly constructed story, the big reveals that made little background details into key pieces of the puzzle, every damn second of the Virmire mission.

      • The motion comic is no substitute for the full Mass Effect. I say play the whole trilogy. 

        I started with ME2 (I only own a PS3), and I found the universe-building to be quite shallow, even with the motion comic and extensive in-game encyclopedia. In the first game, the history and politics of the galaxy are much more at the fore-front: you can better appreciate the various alien species and how they relate to each other and to humanity. 

      • Histamiini says:

        Of course you play the first Mass Effect. It’s a great game. When it comes to Mass Effect, everyone’s just choking on their precious opinions. Don’t get caught in that and enjoy the game for what it is.

      • Fluka says:

        I started with ME2 and some extensive wiki’ing of the first game’s main plot, and it still made a big impression on me (I later went back to #1).  But I do feel sometimes think I missed the 100% ME experience by doing them in that order.  Instead, do what my non-gamer sister did.  Start with ME1, but don’t bother with any of the side missions (except maybe the character stuff).  Can be done in less than 15 hours. The main storyline is pretty solid.  

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Okay, thanks guys. I was mostly sure about playing the whole trilogy, but Stew Bum generally has good reasons for hating a game, so I figured I’d ask. I’ll play them all, but try not to be compulsive about the side missions in the original ME.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          Once again, @Fluka:disqus hits the nail on the head. ME1 main story is essential and enthusiastically recommended. Side missions are strictly optional.

          I definitely do not hate the first Mass Effect. It’s a grind early on but once you level up and get some decent weapons it starts to shine. It has many redeeming qualities but viewed now it is definitely inferior to the sequels. An apt comparison would be playing the first Uncharted after playing Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception – movement is weird, grenades are completely different, the weapons aren’t as good. Drake’s Fortune on it’s own is a great game, but Among Thieves improved every aspect making the first seem slightly primitive (luckily I played Drake’s Fortune first so Among Thieves was just ‘wow’).

          And Mass Effect 1 is going to be a total bastard to platinum. My preference in ME2 and ME3 was to play all difficulties as an Engineer but ME1 makes the Soldier class seem like the only viable option. So I’m looking at five playthroughs to platinum. ME2 and ME3 each took two.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          Wow, Stew Bum.  Going for Platinum on ME1?  I managed, but it took me five playthroughs (it’s mathematically impossible in less than four).  And yeah, Soldier is hands down the class to beat on Insanity.

          Have fun with Asari Ally.  I skipped every sidequest I could skip, fought through the Therum mission (where you pick up Liara) while dangerously underleveled, and did damn near all the inane sidequests with Liara in tow, and Asari Ally didn’t pop until Ilos.  And that was on my second try.

        • Jackbert322 says:

          All right, yeah, I probably should have said “hating certain parts of a game”, but I was thinking of your impressions of Starhawk, which I share nearly exactly.

          Haha, grenades in the first Uncharted. I went back to it after Uncharted 2 and, wow, good thing they changed that. Also, I couldn’t even manage to finish the original Uncharted on Normal, but I completed Uncharted 2 and 3 on Hard.

          Wow, you’re going for a Platinum that requires FIVE playthroughs. Damn, do you Platinum ALL your games? Of course, if I lived in Australia and games cost that much, I probably would too. I’ve never Platinumed a game, but am working on finding XP books in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, am about 25% through a Crushing playthrough with treasures in Uncharted 2 (got bored), and might do Infamous 2 on Hard mode at some point.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          @Jackbert322:disqus I refuse to consult game guides, so the only game I’ve ever Platinum’d is still “Rayman: Origins.” I come close with others, 96% or so, but when it comes time to replaying on the hardest difficulty or completing certain scenarios in increasingly arcane ways, I just get turned off and return the game.

    • I’ve also just started Mass Effect recently. I had already played Mass Effect 2 multiple times, so the main plot holds no surprises, but I’m surprised by some of the side missions I’ve done so far. In ME2, you can generally have your cake and eat it too if you have enough Paragon/Renegade points, but ME1 often forces you to choose between two undesirable options. 

      As for the combat, I’ve found it very hard to adjust to after the streamlined perfection of ME2. I finally decided to switch to casual difficulty after one particularly annoying skirmish.  

    • duwease says:

      They do lampshade the same-y buildings by having pedia entries in-game about how cheap, mass-produced insta-buildings are all the rage in colonialization.  It actually made pretty good sense.  Thinking back, I think I appreciated the world-building in ME1 more than the other two, they really put effort into even the minor things, like explaining the repeating layouts of buildings.

  6. feisto says:

    Speaking of Street Fighter II, my Mac-owning self won’t be able to play this, but someone has to, if only to confirm that this is as effing awesome as it has a right to be (and it’s free!):


  7. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    I realized that there’s a History of the Three Kingdoms mod for Civ 5: Gods & Kings, so that’s what’s up. It’s still lacking heroes, but overall it’s pretty fun and I get to listen to different versions of General’s Orders on rdio all the time. I’m playing on a pretty low difficulty level so I could pick Lu Bu and be all “Why are you guys pursuing me? You know how this ends.” I’m a simple man.

    Also, if you’ve played Civ 2, this is the mod you’ve been waiting for: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=108480475

  8. Girard says:

    I have a long bus ride back to Cleveland for holiday break this weekend, but I also have a new laptop because my old one finally exploded last week (during finals, which was fun…I had already resuscitated a few times over the years, but this time it really gave up the ghost), which might mean some games and movies on the bus to pass the time. I’m guessing Deponia and/or the Blackwell games. Or Half-Minute Hero or Dear Esther if I get sick of point and clicks.

    I’m hoping to take some time to play Pathologic over the break, but it might be too intense to play on the bus…

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      A bus ride to Cleveland for the holidays?  You are now a Tom Waits ballad.  Please pick up your official knowing but distant squint and your surprising immunity to lung cancer.
         What’s the length between Virginia and Ohio?  I used to take the Greyhound fairly regularly between Milwaukee and Minneapolis and I’ve never been more misanthropic in my life.

      • Girard says:

        I’m doing a stopover in Philly to go to a wedding tomorrow, then continuing on my way – there’s no straight shot from RVA to the Cleve because our country’s transport infrastructure sucks butt.

        The bus ride from Philly to Pittsburgh is about 6.5 hours, (followed by a 2-hour ride to Cleveland with my brother), which I’m accustomed to. When I lived in central PA, I’d typically take the train home for holidays, and it’s about as long a trip, though was much nicer and sometimes cheaper than the Greyhound.

        Taking the train from VA, however is super-expensive and I’m now a voluntarily poor-ass student, so I’m bussing. The plus side is that now MegaBus exists and is both cheaper and WAY less soul-destroying that Greyhound, even if it’s not quite so nice as the train.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Man, trains are rad.  The last time I took a train ride I spent the entirety of the trip drinking canned tequila sunrises and playing Minish Cap on the DS.
             It was really fucking delightful.

  9. Raging Bear says:

    I dusted off my facebook account solely to claim a free copy of Metro 2033, so I might play a bit of that this weekend, if my computer can run it, which it cannot. So probably Far Cry 3.

    • Jason Reich says:

      Far Cry 3 for me, too. I’m only a few hours in but I wish I were having a better time with it, particularly in light of all the glowing reviews. The open world between-mission stuff all feels a little same-y to me, and I hate having to dig through 4 pages of menus every time I want to craft a health pack.

      Looks great, though. Love the random hang gliders.

      • Raging Bear says:

        For me, it’s the fact that I can’t seem to hit the broad side of damn anything in combat, particularly when sniping, which I usually enjoy. Part of it is presumably the more realistic inaccuracy of the weapons (and also the aiming motion being less smooth/acceleration-based/something, because I think I had the same problem in FC 2), because I don’t think I usually suck quite so massively. Still, I do enjoy wandering around hunting for treasure.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          The signature weapons that you unlock make this considerably easier, and once you get a silenced assault rifle with a decent scope, you’ll find that’s more than good enough for all the sniping you’ll ever need to do.

          I have to say, though, the game rewards combo takedowns so much more than headshots; I found myself trying to avoid the gun almost entirely, save for the late game missions, where firefights are the norm. (Which makes sense.)

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        If you love the random hang-gliders, wait until you get to the second island.

        I agree, though: the side missions (hunts/wanted) all feel the same, and I skipped most of them, since they don’t really get you anything. The outposts are a far more enjoyable combination of the two, in any case, and the dead drops and races can be fun, if you’re into the vehicular stunts (I was not). 

        Credit to the developers, however, for placing each of the radio towers in a different state of decay: you don’t climb any of them in quite the same way, and a few of the later ones are genuinely tricky to scale. I wish Assassin’s Creed III had taken some cues from this, and I’m still astonished at how bad ACIII is in comparison to FC3, considering that the same studio basically made both.

        Crafting never gets any easier, though. At least, after a while, you only need to craft medical supplies — if even; the game’s not all that challenging once come close to maxing out your tatau. 

  10. stakkalee says:

    Unfortunately due to some minor veterinary emergencies last weekend (yep, plural.  No worries, everybody’s fine.) I barely had any time to play games.  So THIS weekend is the weekend I destroy my buddy’s paladin civ in the neverending Civ4/FfH LAN game, AND the weekend I finish Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I’m enjoying the game very much, despite having some minor quibbles with it here and there (it feels “open world” the same way Dragon Age did, ie. not really, and some of the plot developments are frankly ridiculous,) but I’m already looking forward to my next bloodthirsty playthrough.  I’m worried I won’t get the Pacifist achievement because of the SPOILERS Rescue-or-Abandon Malik part – I’m pretty sure I didn’t cause anyone’s death directly, but it took me a couple dozen attempts to get that, and by the end I was just ready to move on.  Oh well, even if I don’t, there’s always the third playthrough…

    • Bakken Hood says:

      I’m never forgiving Square Enix for how hard they dropped the damn ball with Pacifist.  Really, dickweeds, if you’re going to define “kill” this loosely, at least tell me how many people I’ve killed.  BECAUSE I DIDN’T AND YOU FUCKS OWE ME 70 GAMERSCORE.

  11. CNightwing says:

    This weekend I shall be mostly playing Windows 7 Repair. I’m starting on hard mode, when the computer won’t even boot in safe mode, or into it’s own system repair utility!

  12. Chum Joely says:

    Keeping it simple, I will be playing the few PC games that my non-maxed-out (it might even be described as “minned-out”) laptop can more or less handle: Super Hexagon (which I just picked up yesterday) and Hotline Miami.

    If I find a little more time when neither kids nor wife are on the TV, I might try to finish up Child of Eden. I have finished all but the last level, but finishing one level doesn’t automatically unlock the next one; I have to play older levels over again until I collect three more “stars”, which will then unlock the final one. I guess they were trying to maximize the lifespan of the game with that, but it’s just irritating.  The game is challenging enough and visually/musically interesting enough that I will play it again anyway, and it’s not like there’s a story to get bored of, so… why bother artificially stretching the time I spend with it?

  13. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    I’ll say it. 
    female gamers are hot.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

       That’s a bold position to take on the internet!

    • Girard says:

      Necessary caveats:

      -Male “gamers” are also “hot” (or at least in equal proportion to women “gamers” – I would imagine both sexes and/or both genders have their fair share of Cheeto-dust-encrusted couch-jockeys (you can decide whether or not that is a descriptor of the “hot” segment of the gamer population, I’m not here to judge…))-The term “gamers” is virtually meaningless, since everyone plays games, pretty much. Unless your sexual proclivities include literally everyone with ovaries* who plays any games – in which case keep your hands off of Bonnie Teti and my own, dear, Tetris-playing mom, you cad!*Caveat to the caveat: Or who doesn’t have ovaries but otherwise self-identifies as a woman, of course.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I love the audacious pedantry of this. I want to copy/paste it and include it as a footnote in some academic document.

        • Girard says:

          I heartily approve – especially since it would then become a footnote with its own footnote, which sends it even further down its own fastidious nonsense rabbit-hole!

  14. boardgameguy says:

    i recently bought ROLL THROUGH THE AGES and i hope to play that this weekend.  very excited and i think the wife is going to enjoy it also.

  15. Effigy_Power says:

    The boardgame “7 Wonders”. I am a bit video-gamed out after finishing some major games, most of which ended more on a resounding “meh” than a victory dance, so I am distracting myself somewhere else.

    Planetside 2 seems fun, but it’s also insanely confusing and appears to be this way almost on purpose. There are intense balancing issues between new players and “veterans” (be that through playtime or paying money for upgrades) to the point where 3 perfect hits to the head (the game lets you know if you missed or not) didn’t so much as dent an enemy’s healthbar, whereas a quick burst from their machinegun just dropped me instantly. Did I mention I was using a sniper rifle laser pew pew thing? That shouldn’t happen. So I am a bit leery as to how much fun can be had if I have to slog through hours and hours of throwing cotton wads at the enemy before upgrading… or of course spend plenty of cash to accelerate that. Nothankyou.
    I bought DEFCON (it was like a buck) and played it once and fffffuuu… that game really knows how to make you feel like a monster despite its simple 1980’s style graphics. Once full-blown nuclear war is engaged and warheads rain down on you and your enemies, the music turns to include fucking wailing and crying, with somber tones and just… it’s depressing. They really found a way to make the anonymity of computer-guided nuclear war a bummer. Not sure I’ll be playing much of it, but damn… it’s an experience.

    • Trent Jensen says:

      Which empire were you playing?  Vanu weapons, for example, have a very high damage dropoff from distance.  The game definitely has a high learning curve, but I’ve played for about 50 hours (including the beta) with the same Light Assault starting weapon.  I average a 2:1 kill/death ratio, although a lot of that is that the people I’m playing against seem to be dumb as rocks.

    • uselessyss says:

      I also played through the tutorial missions for DEFCOM just a few days ago, and was struck by its subtle, yet effective mood-building.

      It’s kind of like that “Death from Above” level in Call of Duty 4 (I know, I know) where the terrifying part is how killing people is made mundane and sterile.

    • wpham says:

      In Planetside 2’s defense, the problem you’re talking about sounds like it has less to do with someone throwing X more money or time at the game than the actual game’s balance.  The economy doesn’t bother me because the vast majority of the infantry upgrades result in horizontal power, not vertical.  Buying upgrades that lower time-to-kill tend to come with tradeoffs, like fire rate, bullet velocity, reload speed, etc.  There are spreadsheets out there showing the exact differences between all the guns, but if you like sniping, you might have more fun starting out as NC, whose infiltrators start with a bolt-action sniper rifle.  The other two factions’ infiltrators start with a semi-automatic sniper rifle that require two headshots to kill infantry.

      Your target may have been a MAX, shielded heavy assault, or someone using a healthkit between shots (costs 30 certs, I believe, which is 3-4 days of not playing at all, or a fairly conservative hour or two of playing).

      I agree with your general point though.  I find the game’s brutality to newcomers refreshing, and I highly recommend trying to find an outfit or organized squad to play alongside.  It is off-putting that it takes an hour of YouTube videos just to cover the absolute basics, but at the same time I appreciate how rewarding the game can be once you start to dig in.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      All valid points about Planetside 2 that sounds reasonable read here, but turn into sweet paste when surrounded by 300 players who are of almost indistinguishable factions, 50 icons and plenty of UI. :P
      A tad of “easing into it” wouldn’t have hurt, maybe a small single-player mission just to knock out the basic stuff. I didn’t need a screen explaining the WASD layout to me, but what each of the 5 trillion icons means, hehe.

      • djsubversive says:

        I hate those excessively-hand-holding tutorials. I get it, game, I’ve played your kind before. “Press W to move forward. Use your mouse to look around.” The worst is when they lock out actions until you get the tutorial popup for them (“Press C to crouch, but not until we say you can.”).

        One of the things I noticed on Steam – they’re planning on having an in-game tutorial for PlanetSide 2, but not until February or something. 

    • djsubversive says:

      I’ve been playing the Neo Conglomerate (blue guys) Engineer a lot lately with a couple of friends (“djsubversive” on the SolTech server), and I’m enjoying it. Like I said the other day, the game is more fun when you’re part of a squad of friends (or at least not random internet strangers). We’ve never gotten more than about 4 people, so we either find big battles and join in, or take ATVs and look for quiet points that we can capture. Sometimes it’s smooth and sometimes it’s not, but there’s always xp (and those sweet sweet certs). Also, Engineer is a pretty fun class – ammo boxes, a deployable turret, AND a repair tool. 

      I just picked up the 1x NV sight, and wow. It makes a huge difference in low-visibility conditions. I’ve also got a 3.4x red-dot sight and it’s nice for spotting (Q button, same as Battlefield, and everyone should do this more), but it seems like even if I’m in single-shot mode, I’m not very accurate. I do suck, so that’s a pretty big factor, but the NC guns just don’t have the accuracy that the Purple Space-Lasers or the Red Army has. Speaking of the Red Army (Terrans), fuck the CARV. I swear that gun is responsible for about half of my deaths. Aircraft rockets make up most of the other half. Non-CARV guns and acts of stupidity/oddness (set up a turret but when I move up to it to hop on, I die. “Suicide. Stop killing yourself!” BUT I JUST WANTED TO MAN MY TURRET, GAME) fill out the rest.

      Anyone who likes awesome riffs and weapons that require more strategy than “point at target, click m1, collect certs” should join me (and the couple of friends who also play NC) on SolTech. Maybe we can set up a Gameological Outfit or something.

      Also, I’ve played the other two factions, and I like them, but there’s something about the NC that draws me in. Maybe it’s because the guns require more than just point-and-click, or maybe it’s the sweet rock music we get when we’re capping points and killin’ dudes (hint: it’s totally the music).

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Ooh, I’ve heard good things about 7 Wonders! That’s the drafting one isn’t it? How is it? 

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I strongly recommend you get the two expansions to 7 Wonders, “Leaders” and “Cities,” as they improve what is already a fun, fast, and light game for large groups. If you’re looking for other card game distractions, “Glory to Rome” and “Innovation” are both fantastic.

  16. Nothing. I’m driving to St. Louis to fly to Belize for my honeymoon tonight.

    See y’all suckers in about a week or so. PEACE!

    • stakkalee says:

      Congrats on your nuptials! Enjoy Belize – may you drink many drinks with tiny umbrellas while lounging on the beach!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

         Congratulations!  Though I’m hard pressed to imagine the two of you will be making it to Belize if it means tearing yourself away from the wonderment of St. Louis.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Kyle will be playing pelvic penuckle for about a week.
      It’s a great game, where playing is its own reward, has a great co-op mode and a intensely varying game-length.
      Only the achievements are a bit odd and sometimes hard to get.

  17. DiscardedPostit says:

    Still trudging along with Borderlands 2.  I would have been done with it but the hurricane and its aftermath has really been eating away at all of my free time recently.  Hoping Christmas brings either a gaggle of new games to start working on, or the money to purchase all those games myself

    • Girard says:

      Your little sad avatar face perfectly suits the tone of this comment. I hope your new games, even if they require you to “work on” them at least won’t be characterized by “trudging”!

  18. Fluka says:

    At best, I am finishing the second half of Gravity Bone.  Why yes, I am rather busy with work this weekend – how did you know?

  19. indy2003 says:

    I’ll be spending some more time with New Super Mario Bros. U this weekend. I had intended to start it a couple of weeks ago, but then my Wii U died after less than a week of use (and it had crashed several times during the few days I spent exploring Nintendoland). Sent it to Nintendo for repairs – they said they couldn’t figure out what the problem was and just sent me a new one. Anyway, the new one seems problem-free so far, but I’ve only spent about four hours with it. I’ve reached the halfway point and it’s been a predictably enjoyable experience, though it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the other New Super Mario Bros. games. That said, it’s a joy to play a Mario title in HD and the level design has been consistently strong thus far (save for the ghost houses, which are as much of a chore as ever).

    Just finished the first act of Okami HD, so I’ll probably take a break from that one for a while and dig into Spec Ops: The Line at some point over the weekend, too (as I tend to take a break between worlds when playing most Mario games).

  20. Drew Toal says:

    Nothing. Wedding and then Die Hard II Christmas and Margarita Night (second annual).

    • Histamiini says:

       Congratulations on tying the knot!

      • Drew Toal says:

        Oh thanks. Not my wedding (yet). Just “a” wedding. Guess I should have clarified. Margaritas all around.

        • Histamiini says:

          I know. I just thought your sentence would have been amusing if you were talking about your own wedding.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I was gonna say that you sounded quite underwhelmed. But then maybe your parents arranged the marriage when you were 5 years old and now you are struggling with your fate.
          That or she isn’t great in bed.
          Both bad.

    • stakkalee says:

      Your own wedding, or someone else’s?  Also, why Die Hard II, when the original is a far superior Christmas movie?

      • Drew Toal says:

        We did the first one last year. One of the group has never seen any of the Die Hards (prior to our viewing last year), so we’re slowly making our way through. 

        But, yes. Not only is Die Hard the superior Christmas movie of the two, but one of the best Christmas movies of all time.

    • PaganPoet says:


      I know what all of those words mean individually, but taken as a whole it just sounds like madness.

  21. stuartsaysstop says:

    Was planning on starting Sleeping Dogs this evening (haven’t touched it since I got it over Thanksgiving), but I now have the most pressing urge to play Persona 3 instead, which I set aside to play Dishonored a few weeks ago. I feel silly choosing a 5 year old game for which I paid $5 over a triple-A title I’ve been dying to play since it’s been released, but MUST. RETURN. TO. TARTARUS. Really have no idea how far I’ve gotten — beat the Emperor and Empress right before I took my break — but I’m itching to get back.

  22. ShrikeTheAvatar says:

    My wife and I have been playing through Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest on our old SNES, and it is a ton of fun.

    In my opinion, those SNES DKC games were the precursor to the ‘multiplayer’ gameplay we have now on the Wii, but it’s so much more fun because it ends up feeling a little more cooperative even though you’re not playing simultaneously.  We end up switching our characters in and out depending on how the level plays into our individual strengths.

    The save system is not very forgiving – most of the time you’ll end up having to play about 3 levels in a row before you get another save point.  While replaying the levels you just played 10-20 times is kind of a drag if you get a game over, there’s something satisfying about having the groove of a level down perfectly.

    Having played the games when we were younger than 10 years old, we’re further along in the game now than we ever were able to get then, and it’s impressive how fresh some of the level mechanics still feel.

    And the music… hard to beat:


    • Andy Tuttle says:

      If you and your wife want fun games to play together on the Wii that are like DKC2 I recommend Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Lego Batman. My girlfriend and I play those three games together all the time and spend the whole time just laughing and getting angry when we die. Its a lot of fun.

  23. PaganPoet says:

    As for me, I’m actually heading off to Winter Park, Colorado after work today for a weekend of skiing. I will pack my Vita, though, which means I’ll be getting in bouts of Lumines Electric Symphony at night (PS4 Golden is still ongoing, but it’s a bit plot and gameplay heavy for small bursts in a mountain lodge hotel). I’ll be back in Denver early Sunday afternoon, so I’m sure I’ll find the time to squeeze something else in.

  24. Cornell_University says:

    I’ll be playing “how do I buy christmas presents and pay a security deposit on a new apartment and last month rent all at the same time”.  times like this I wish I rented Wall Street Kid more when I was young and resisted the allure of Friday the 13th.

    beyond that, I halfheartedly have advanced FF8 some more after swearing I was done with it.  completely abandoned Baldur’s Gate when I realized I didn’t know what to do or where to go in ANY quest.  I bought NFL2K1 for Dreamcast at a thrift store, so I might play that if there’s time.  Hoping Tom Brady is on the Pats roster, but unsure.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Where the hell have you been?  You’re still lurking at least, yes?

      • Cornell_University says:

        semi-lurking.  the fourth quarter is what pays for the other 3 at my job (full disclosure: I work for a videogame distributor, so you people and your best of lists are making me work longer hours.  but I’m poor, so it’s okay I love you) so I haven’t had much time for the internet except like 1 in the morning, and there’s little point in commenting then.


  25. dreadguacamole says:

    Having just seen The Hobbit, I’m seriously considering going on a Lord of the Rings Online weekend binge. We’ll see how returning to the game after a couple of years off treats me…
     If that fails, Lego Lord of the Rings cleanup and secret hunting mode, which, I have to say, hasn’t completely bored me yet.

    • Cornell_University says:

      I recommend downloading a SNES emulator and playing the LOTR game for that.  Because I am an awful, despicable person.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Nice try! I’ll stick to the text adventure instead, thank you…

         I remember some sort of platformer came out based on it for the original xbox. The cover (with the game model for the hobbit) was so horrendous I never bothered even looking into it.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          The movie tie-in hack and slashes that were on xbox/gamecube/ps2 were kinda fun. Sort of. Meh.

  26. ToddG says:

    I will be attempting to make progress in the Dishonored DLC, which seems quite difficult to master.  I wish it was more clear about the requirements for three-starring each challenge, but I guess that’s what the internet is for.

  27. lokimotive says:

    I’m not going to play this this weekend, because I already finished it, but here’s a neat little experimental puzzle game y’all might enjoy: http://www.seewithperspective.com/

    It’s sort of Fez like, but, combine that with a first person perspective game… ah…. well you’ll get it when you watch the video.

  28. Lord Autumn-Bottom says:

    On any other gaming site, probably a third of the comments here would be making light of this lady’s mainstream/non-modern gaming proclivities in a very condescending and self-emasculating way.  But not here.  I love you, Gameologicians.

    And I will be continuing my quest to get all the emblems and trophies in MGS4. Just need 3 more emblems to accomplish both of those goals… which, unfortunately (ish), require 3 more play-throughs to obtain, but whatever.

    Might also play one or more of the games on the Journey: Collector’s Edition disc that I bought recently.

  29. Enkidum says:

    Don’t worry, soon you’ll be dead and then you won’t feel old any more!

    I’m finishing my doctorate this year (well, this school year). There’s a guy who got hired a couple of years back as teaching faculty in my department who is close to a decade younger than me. Sigh….

  30. Andy Tuttle says:

    I’ll be making my way through Mass Effect 2 in my quest to finish all three games as femshep. I made her look kinda like Halle Berry because I think Halle Berry is sexy.

  31. zaofan596 says:


  32. I am playing Fallout 3 again and trying to like it this time. And as ever, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, adding little chunks of fifteen minutes before sleep to the hundreds of hours already spent playing this stupid game.

  33. bting140 says: