What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Rachel Bloom

Rachel Bloom, comedian

The star of “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” has a way with words—just don’t ask her to draw you a picture.

By Steve Heisler • January 25, 2013

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.

Rachel Bloom is a comedian, writer, and singer who’s known for her comedy music videos, including “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” and “Pictures Of Your Dick”—with an album of songs coming out in the next few months. She has also written and provided voice work on Robot Chicken, and she appeared at the illustrious Just For Laughs festival in Montreal last year, performing an abridged version of her one-woman show, Rachel Bloom Is A Triple Threat!. She’s also an unabashed theater nerd who actively lobbies to play board games at every party she attends.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Rachel Bloom: I should get into The Sims, because I’m interested in all this stuff. Everything about video games interest me. I love sci-fi and fantasy, and the idea of role-playing in these worlds is super exciting. I literally think that it’s just, I’m super afraid to get one because I have a history of getting distracted. If I find something I like I do it all the time. Like when there’s chocolate in the house I can’t stop eating, or, like, masturbating. I just do it all the time. I’m afraid of becoming like everyone who plays video games, where it’s like you just play for 20 hours.

Gameological: Tell me about the games you do play.

Bloom: My friends have these semi-frequent parties at which it’s game night, and we play—oh my god what’s the electronic thing, where you guess a number? It’s one of those trivia games, but it’s an electronic thing you pass around.

Gameological: Catchphrase?

Bloom: It’s Catchphrase. And then we play Murderer. We play a version where you close your eyes and if someone taps, you you’re the murderer, and everyone closes their eyes, and the murderer can murder people by tapping them, and they get tapped out. There’s a detective who tries to figure out who the murderer is. It’s theater-game shit.

Gameological: We used to call it “Mafia.”

Bloom: I’ve played many different versions. Personally, the reason these games are so special to me—every single summer, I did a daytime theater camp. That’s how I spent my summers, and when you’re a kid, that’s all you do. An hour of your day is spent actually rehearsing for a play or whatever, and the other three hours are spent doing these theater games. It’s a very guttural, core part of my childhood that instantly takes me back. I love playing any of those games.

Gameological: Do you get really competitive?

Bloom: I don’t have to win. The game is the most fun part. And part of having fun in a game is winning, in theory, but I don’t always have to be the winner. I just have to feel like I’m doing semi-well. I’m not one of those people who needs to win. Yeah, I’m used to losing, but I’m really bad at sports. I’m very clumsy. I’m used to losing feats of strength.

Gameological: You know how there’s people who are good at Scrabble, and then there are people who are good at chess? Are you more of a word-based person, or a strategy-based person?

Bloom: Word, word, word, word. Word a thousand times. That’s what my strength is. If you go back as a child, my strengths were always in languages and history. In math I wasn’t good at. Math and logic. I’m not a very logical person. I general I don’t think things through. I’m an instinctive, passionate person. I’m a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, is what I’m trying to say. I’m trying to tell the world I’m the dream woman. I’m like, “Come out into the rain, and chase the rain for the rain’s sake, and play Scrabble in the rain!” I don’t know why they’re so fucking obsessed with rain in these movies. It’s like, “Aw, man. I love it when this natural process occurs, and water falls from the sky. Other people stay inside when it rains, whereas I like to do the exact opposite and go outside in the rain.” I wonder if there’s a scene in a tornado. That’s what I’d like to see in a Manic Pixie Dream Girl movie, they’re like, “Oh my god, it’s a tornado! I have to be inside it.”

Gameological: I was thinking about that during Hurricane Sandy—about how many people are like, “Let’s just go out!” Anyway, I’d like to hear about a board game you have been utterly defeated by. That you, to this day, curse the name of. There has to be one, right?

Bloom: Any game where it’s drawing, and someone has to guess what I’m drawing, because I’m a really terrible artist. The way that I draw, my drawing skills literally have not improved since I was eight. So when it comes to Pictionary—when I played that, people have no idea what I’m drawing. You can’t use words, so that fucks me over.

Gameological: Have you tried Draw Something?

Bloom: Yes. And I am not good at it.

Gameological: Any time I find out someone’s really good at visual art, and I didn’t know it, I always get more impressed than I would have if they were good at anything else. Being good at anything is really impressive, but being good at drawing is super impressive because I’m so bad at it.

Bloom: I’m the same way. Finding someone good at drawing is like my equivalent of my parents finding out someone’s Jewish. They’re like, “Aooohh. He’s Jewish? Aooohh?” You’re just impressed on a primal level. There is a really smart part of me that when I find out someone’s Jewish, I don’t like them more, I just feel a hair more comfortable for whatever reason. It’s maybe an oppressed minority thing? Though I don’t feel oppressed at all. I don’t want to feel that way. The other day I was getting coffee with my friend Charles. He seems like a Jew to me, and I get along with him, but I always assumed he wasn’t because he was a French last name. We were talking, and he was like, “Oh, us Jews,” and I was like, “You’re Jewish?” He said, “Yeah, I thought I was French for a while, but it turns out it’s an Eastern European last name and I’m fully Jewish.” There was a part of me that liked him more. I always liked him, but I was like, “Aooohh. Okay. Well, now we should really hang out.”

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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276 Responses to “Rachel Bloom, comedian”

  1. Drew Toal says:

    I’m still coming to terms with my Fallout III failure, so I think maybe New Vegas. Maybe.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Honestly, Fallout 3 has *SPOILERS!! AAAUGH!!* a pretty disappointing ending, especially if you don’t buy any of the DLC. The fun of that game is definitely in the journey, not the destination.

      • Bad Horse says:

        Super disappointing. The way I feel about Fallout 3’s ending is probably the way most people feel about Mass Effect 3’s ending.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

           The main problem with ME3’s ending is that it would have been pretty easy to make a much better one. How much trouble would it have really been to do an end-boss fight with the Illusive Man? Or have different cutscenes for the different endings, rather than (in the original one) virtually the same one for all three, or (in the so-called Extended Cut) a series of still images slightly redone for each ending? Or even a decent explanation of why, given that the Crucible only took the Alliance a few weeks (at most) to build, the Protheans, who battled the Reapers for several centuries, couldn’t do it? Because it was so important for Mac Walters and Casey Hudson to have complete control over the ending that they couldn’t get feedback from anyone else on the team? Sheesh.

        • Xtracurlyfries says:

          I agree – too soon man, too soon.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       I’ve “finished” Fallout 3 but not New Vegas, but I can say I enjoy spending time in New Vegas more.

    • djsubversive says:

      New Vegas is a much better game than Fallout 3. I also love Obsidian, so I’m a bit biased. The only thing I think I liked better about 3 was the urban exploration. Not enough ruined city in New Vegas (vanilla New Vegas, that is: Lonesome Road has plenty, and Dead Money’s first half is in a confusing maze-like city).

      But the lack of city to explore is MORE than made up for by the actual world-building (locations make sense. I’m looking at you, Little Lamplight. and Canterbury. and Megaton. and Tenpenny Tower…), quests, and tweaks to the gameplay (reloading benches and campfires along with workbenches, better iron-sights, companion wheel, HARDCORE MODE, more ammo types, and more).

      What I’m saying is, play New Vegas. It’s a good game.

      • Chum Joely says:

        Oh yeah, so now that I’m back to New Vegas and playing in hardcore mode, I wanted to ask you this, DJ: Of the various DLC available for New Vegas, which is “the one” that I should definitely buy/play?

        Also: Are the DLC missions just plugged into the existing world, so that I can find that mission in amongst everything else I’m doing? Or do you play it sort of standalone, like a small separate game disconnected from the main story arc? I’ve never actually done DLC before on any game, so I am completely clueless.

        • Reuben says:

          All of the major DLC is “standalone.” This is how it is for all Bethesda games usually. You install it and a new quest item pops up, and you get taken to a new area outside the main map for the entirety of the DLC. There will be stuff that co-mingles with the main game, like in some NPC dialogue, but that’s usually the extent of it. 

          If you are only picking one DLC to play (and I’m not sure why you would, but whatever), I’d say Old World Blues perhaps. It has incredibly funny dialogue, if nothing else. 

          I thought Lonesome Road was actually the stupidest of them all, although its story plays in to the main game story more than the others. I really enjoyed Dead Money and Honest Hearts, though. Dead Money ramps up the difficulty, which is a really nice challenge and change of pace from the main game where by a certain point you are just destroying everything without batting an eyelash. Honest Hearts has some interesting NPC’s, and it has a side-quest with probably the best series of computer log entries in the entire Fallout series. 

        • Chum Joely says:

          Thanks. The idea was that, if they have to be purchased separately, I would want to focus my money on the best one. Also, even if they all come as a packet (I haven’t looked into it), I have ridiculously limited time for video games, so I would want to play the best one first.

  2. PaganPoet says:

    I said last weekend I was going to get some major gaming done since I had Monday off from work, and boy did I ever. I neglected family, friends, and basic bodily needs and I do not feel the least bit ashamed.

    I’ve finished my playthrough of Mass Effect with Carlos Shepard (reminder: my Paragon; Charlotte Shepard is my Renegade); Now, I really dislike Ashley Williams in general, and I pretty much have a crush on Kaidan Alenko so when it came time for the mission on Virmire, naturally, I chose Kaidan. Either I’m becoming a big ol’ softie as I grow older, or it’s a testament to how good the voice acting is in this game, but I actually teared up a bit on that last transmission between Shep and Ash. When Charlotte Shepard gets to that mission, she will be saving Ashley, so I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with that.

    Overall, I enjoyed the game immensely. I am however glad that they streamlined the inventory in ME2. Cycling through weapon and armor upgrades got pretty tiring.

    I, unlike many, actually kind of liked the Mako sections. It’s just a neat feeling to be exploring an uncharted world, you know? That said, the controls were very frustrating. If they had made it much much easier for the vehicle to explore steep mountains, it would have been much more enjoyable.

    I’m now a decent way into Mass Effect 2. Now, this is the only ME game I had previously played, so I’m already aware of how excellent it is. Last time I played it, though, I didn’t have the Zaeed DLC, so that part of the game is new to me. 

    Although not really much happens, I did enjoy the mission where you explore the wreckage of the Normandy. Especially when you find Navigator Pressly’s wrecked datapad journal. The first entry is him complaining about Shepard allowing aliens on board the Normandy. The second entry is about him relating somewhat to Tali and her pilgramage. The last entry is about how stupid and ignorant he was, and how he would feel proud to serve and die amongst any of his crewmates no matter where they were from. I may be getting overly sentimental about this, but I find that the same sort of thing happens in real life. Whenever people have prejudice against some sort of subculture (homosexuals, atheists, Muslims, etc.), I usually find that it’s because they don’t actually know any.

    As for gameplay, my favorite characters are Garrus, because he’s awesome, and Kasumi, who is very useful in battle (also, her loyalty mission is very sweet and sad). I find that all of the party members, generally, are much more useful in ME2 than they were in ME1 because they’re more independent in battle.

    I’m playing the game in hardcore difficulty right now, which, aside from a few deaths here and there, has worked for me so far. I actually started it in Insanity difficulty, but after I started dying in one of the very first battles, I decided that that was going to be too difficult for me.

    • Fluka says:

      Zaeed was BFFs with my cold-blooded renegade Shep.

      Also, somebody spotted him on HBO.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I think Zaeed is not a big fan of Carlos right, as he chose to save the refinery workers and let Santiago escape. Carlos was able to smooth him over with his charm, but I still sense there is some hostility there.

        I think Zaeed will be a much bigger fan of Charlotte when he meets her.

        I actually screwed up Thane’s loyalty mission, too. He’s not loyal to Carlos. Everybody else is (except Legion, who I actually haven’t even recruited yet), so I’m hoping he’ll still survive the suicide mission. Even if he doesn’t, though, I read he’s one of the more minor characters in ME3, so I don’t imagine I’ll be missing that much.

        • Fluka says:

          Oooh, rough.  Thane’s minor but quite memorable in ME3, so I hope you get to keep him!  SPOILER recs, but I guess you’ve done suicide mission before, so whatevsky: don’t bring him in the final team of course, and keep strong ground team with Garrus, Grunt, and Zaeed behind to hold the line too, maybe.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          @Fluka:disqus : Yeah, the best team for the final team is really Tali and Jack, because not only can you resurrect them if they fall (they’ve got lower defense than most of the others–I’m assuming that you’ve already sent Mordin back to the Normandy with the crew survivors), but they can also hold off the adds while you take care of the Human-Reaper Larva, with Tali’s drone and Jack’s shockwave to knock the Collectors off the platform.

        • PaganPoet says:

          So here’s my plan for the Suicide Mission. The Normandy has all the upgrades, so I need not worry about that.

          I’ll be sending Tali into the vents, and use Jack as my biotic specialist. Miranda and Jacob will be my team leaders. Mordin will be selected to accompany the Normandy crew back to the ship, while Garrus, Grunt and Zaeed will hold the line. Tali and Jack will accompany me to the final battle. Since Thane is the only person who is not loyal to Carlos, I figure this is the best chance to make sure that everybody survives.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I’m largely in the same boat, so I’ll roll my thread into yours: finished Mass Effect, started Mass Effect 2.

      Rundown of Mass Effect endgame (Beware: spoilers abound! This means you, @Jackbert322:disqus!):

      Patrick Shepard rolled Paragon through and through, collecting a few Renegade points early on by getting a bit cocky on the Citadel. I went into Virmire with maxed out Charm, so Wrex lived to see another day. You know who didn’t though? Ashley Williams. The decision was in some ways easy to make: Kaidan was one of my favourite characters so I wanted him to live on the strength of his personality alone, but I also particularly disliked Ash, who was a cantankerous old racist. But it also ended up being kind of difficult, in its own way. I learned a lot about Ash, her family (oh God she has like a billion sisters and I killed her), her religion (racism and religion, of all the traits I thought would be bred out of humanity by contact with alien lifeforms), etc. Also, I kind of humiliated her right to her face by explicitly and in no uncertain terms choosing Liara over her. So I basically kicked her out of bed and then killed her. Oh god… the guilt! The guilt! Also, I chose to save the Council, ‘cuz I’m an upstanding kind of guy.

      ME2 impressions so far: by and large, and improvement in almost every way, although I was annoyed by the way they completely changed the controls and menu layout at first. I’ve collected most of my team (I’ve got three more dossiers I’m about to work on, one of which is Tali’s! Yay!), and for the most part like them. I’ve done Zaeed, Grunt, Kasumi, and Mordin’s loyalty mission, and they all went well- except for Zaeed’s. I chose to abandon his revenge quest to save the locals, and cocked up the dialogue options at the end of the mission, so now Zaeed hates my guts. It’s no skin of my nose, though, cuz I kinda hate his too. Although meeting Kaidan again after that Collector attack and having him suddenly hate my guts was a bit harder to swallow. Come back to me Alenko! I just want to get the old gang back together!

      Also, new most favourite character ever? Mordin Solus. That guy rules. During his loyalty quest there were all these attempts to make his actions seems monstrous and morally bankrupt, and the paragon options kept pushing for me to call him out- and generally speaking, I’m opposed to the whole genophage thing and sympathetic to the krogans- but I just friggin’ love the character so much I didn’t want to hassle him too much for fear he would get annoyed with my moralizing and leave the crew. I’m worried I may literally let this character get away with murder some day.

      Anyway, the plot is chugging along nicely, but I’m going to spend the next several in-game hours completing loyalty quests, investigating leads in the assignments, and recruiting Tali again (joy!!), and also I guess those other characters (whatever). Still, even after those three dossiers have been attended to, there’s still going to be one empty spot in my Squad screen. Fingers crossed for Liara! (Don’t tell me one way or the other! I’ve got a mission lined up where I’m supposed to meet her. It’s gonna be aaaaawkwaaaaaard!)

      • PaganPoet says:

        Did you manage to actually kill the Thresher Maw in Grunt’s mission? I spammed the Reaper Collector’s Beam at him and he went down. EDI gives a pretty funny status report if you do.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Hell yes, that Maw didn’t stand a chance. Sniper rifles are surprisingly deadly against heavily plated subterranean borderline eldritch horrors. Wrex was pretty tickled that I pulled it off.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         Having completed the ME trilogy some time ago, I feel like a time traveler who knows there is some bad shit ahead but can’t reveal it due to that whole causality thing.

        I’m not entirely sure I could ever do a 100% Paragon/Renegade run.  Paragon Shepard may have a good heart, but he’s also a by-the-books dullard.  Conversely, Renegade Shepard gets things done, but he can also be an asshole from time to time for no discernable reason.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Yeah, when I first started ME1, I was planning to play it “as me”, by making the decisions I would probably make in that situation, for good or ill. But I figured that would give me this muddy, poorly-defined Shepard with one foot in both camps, and I really wanted to commit to one narrative for my first journey through the series. Besides, if I was really in those situations I would have abandoned my duties and gone AWOL the instant I saw a Husk.

          But as I mentioned above, even now I haven’t really got the heart to go full Paragon. I couldn’t bring myself to chastise Mordin for his experiments (even if I did disagree with them), and I usually downplay my involvement with Cerberus when the option comes up (it’s weird: sometimes the Paragon option is to defend Cerberus’ actions, other times it’s to damn them. Make your mind up, Shepard!)

        • Reuben says:

          Is any of the ME1/2 DLC worth playing? It’s been over a year since I finished 1 and 2, so going back at this point would probably be weird, but I’ve always had a nagging interest in playing the DLC. (still have not played 3)

        • PaganPoet says:

          @twitter-259492037:disqus The ME1 DLC is okay. It’s good fun, but you’re not missing out on too much.

          I HIGHLY recommend the ME2 DLC, though. Lair of the Shadow Broker, Stolen Memory, and Overlord are all awesome. Overlord is even kind of spooky, almost Dead Space-esque.

        • Fluka says:

          @twitter-259492037:disqus Yup yup, what @PaganPoet:disqus said.  Though if you’re not replaying the game with the crew, the Kasumi Stolen Memory DLC might seem a bit short (though the Loyalty Mission is sweeeet).

          If you only play one, *definitely* play Shadow Broker.  I think it’s one of the high water marks of the whole series.

          There’s Arrival too.  It’s very middling, but it does connect to the start of ME3, if you’re gonna play afterwards.

      • Fluka says:

        Re Liara, no spoilers, but do you have the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC installed?  Because you *really* should have Lair of the Shadow Broker installed.

        Mordin Solus might be my favorite ME2 squadmate.

        • PaganPoet says:

          The ME Trilogy version of the game has Lair of the Shadow Broker and Kasumi DLC already on the disc. The Zaeed DLC has to be downloaded, but there is a code to get it for free.

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus WHAT.  Aw man, between this and Ni No Kuni, I am actually jealous of PS3 players for a change.

          Do you still have to pay for Arrival?  Stupid Arrival.

        • caspiancomic says:

           If that’s what I think it is, I have that mission sitting in my journal waiting to be acted on. I’m getting kind of nervous about it now, a lot of people seem to be staring at their shoes whenever I mention Liara. I’d better get that mission under my belt before next week’s WAYPTW so that I can come to the group in tears if anything happens.


      • Merve says:

        All I can say is: man, you’re in for a shock when you see who fills that empty spot in your Squad screen.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        Mordin is the bomb. Talk to him as often as you can, between missions: he’s got a musical number.

    • doyourealize says:

      I never downloaded the Kasumi mission. Maybe I’ll get that…I’ve heard good things.

    • Bad Horse says:

      Kasumi’s loyalty mission is what a Bond game should be.

      • valondar says:

         Between that and the Imperial Agent story for Star Wars: The Old Republic, one gets the impression there’s frustrated BioWare writers who’d really like to cut loose and do a spy RPG.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Well, I’m not exactly surprised, but I am disappointed to confirm that I have already gotten way, way, way behind the rest of you in the big group assault on the Mass Effect trilogy. I haven’t even finished the “rescue Liara” mission in the first game yet. But part of the issue is, I have really limited time for gaming, and I rage-quit more than once over the multiple difficult battles (no saving in combat!) that were immediately preceded by lengthy cut-scenes. So: 30-second cutscene, get killed in 10 seconds, repeat.

      It did give me an incentive to finally take a few minutes and figure out the somewhat baffling Equipment menu, however. Once I actually activated all the equipment and upgrades that I had been piling up with the thought that “I’ll sort that out later”, I found my whole team was working a lot better together. In the sense of not dying every 10 seconds.

      So there’s that for this weekend, and astoundingly enough I also found myself irresistibly drawn to starting up a new playthrough of New Vegas, 10 days after finishing my first one. Hardcore mode this time, with no rush to see the ending, so I think I’ll just get every single mission I can and explore a lot more of the world. I’ve already finished the game, so I can just pop in and visit whenever I want with no feeling of “wasting time” because I’m not progressing fast enough. I’m also playing a different type of character (more guns, less speech, etc.). I still expect to seek out and fall in love with Veronica again, however.

      Oh, and the first episode of Kentucky Route Zero. That shouldn’t take long.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        Honestly, after playing through ME2 first, I had a hard time getting through the first game; I finally just dialed the difficulty down, and played through once to get a character import for ME2, as well as being able to make certain choices for the later games (this was before Bioware made some DLC comic that let you do the same thing without actually playing the first game).

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          I liked Mass Effect well enough on the first playthrough.  And I think the last two hours are killer.  But honestly, every time I do another playthrough of the trilogy, the first one is the hardest for me to get through.  Combat is kind of pain (like the way you get in and out of cover) and so much of the game is cookie cutter (like the MAKO exploration).  Generally, I find it tedious, and just chug through as fast as I can so that, like you, I can have a character to import to ME2 (which is better in pretty much every way).

          Though I always go out of my way to have all three Conrad Verner encounters.  That guy is crazy.

        • Chum Joely says:

          @AmaltheaElanor:disqus Conrad Verner, is that the “fan” at the Citadel? I love the mission description for the first contact with him in my Journal: “What could be the harm in just talking to him?” Well, given that he flew off the handle and looked a tad murderous when I politely turned down his initial request for an autograph, I’m thinking, there could be some potential for harm there.

          Oh, and also on the topic of side missions, I was absolutely appalled to see that I was getting missions (not just “notes” or something: MISSIONS) added to my journal for things that I randomly happened to hear about on the radio news shows in the elevators around the Citadel. I mean, seriously, can’t I please just choose my own side missions, ME-1 ?  Yeesh.

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus yep, that’s the guy.  There are three different encounters with him during the course of the first game, and depending on how it goes, he shows up in both the second and third games (which are just as, if not even more, hilarious/disturbing).

      • I eventually caved and switched to the easier difficulty on Mass Effect for a while. If you’re not putting lots of points into defence and buying good armor, you’re going to get into a world of hurt in the early going.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Well, I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I’m not the only one who is sort of overwhelmed by the combat in this game. I didn’t even think of turning down the difficulty level, but I’ll keep that in mind. I have been creeping forward, thoug,h after 15-20 tries on each battle, and as a matter of fact I did quickly switch to a strongly defensive policy on my level-ups, once I realized that the ass-kickings were going to keep coming consistently and frequently.

          I am really pleased that I received my Sony wireless headset (the older version of the “Pulse” headphones) just before I started playing this seriously, so that my wife doesn’t have to hear me play the same 2 minutes over and over again (plus those pesky cutscenes) while she’s trying to work on her computer in the evening. Instead, she just hears the swearing.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Yeah, one of the things that really took me off guard in the original ME was the towering difficulty. It’s a result of a lot of things, I think: the game throws almost all its mechanics at you right away, and hardly explains any of it. Any other game would give you a few introductory missions in which changing weapons, upgrading equipment, learning cover, learning tech/biotics, etc, were all learned one at a time. In Mass Effect it’s just like, “Welcome to Eden Prime! Here come the Geth, try not to die, idiot!” I didn’t learn how to equip ammo upgrades until I was like 25 hours deep.

        • Chum Joely says:

          You’re right, there are very few things that are actually explained. I was just fumbling with buttons, and then menus popped up, and I twiddled with them until it seemed to be doing something semi-appropriate… Fortunately, I stumbled into ammo and armor upgrades by necessity, much earlier than you– on the Liara/Therum Ruins misson where I would never have gotten through it otherwise.

          This is really opening my eyes… I just figured I was incompetent.

      • Reuben says:

        You rage quit Mass Effect? That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that. You must have a really low threshold for rage quitting. Am I the only one here who found it to be not challenging in the slightest?

        • Chum Joely says:

          I explained in my post why it got me so mad. I am new at this genre, so I’m still learning my way around combat. This game repeatedly takes fights that start with a huge multi-directional assault (requiring trial-and-error to figure out where to start my counterattack) and puts them right behind a painfully long load time AND a longish cutscene, so if you screw up on one attempt, you have to sit there for over a minute waiting to try again. For the first several attempts where I was dying in well under a minute, this was incredibly frustrating.

          I also mentioned that I have very little time to spare for gaming (I can only do it after my two young insomniac kids are in bed, and only on the weekend because I wake up at 5am during the week), so I can’t waste it with this kind of nonsense. Hence the rage.

        • Fluka says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus If you make it there (and haven’t already played it?), Mass Effect 2 solves a lot of these rage-inducing problems.  They explain the combat in a tutorial.  Your crew dies less.  I can’t remember any cover-less free-for-alls which start with an unskippable cut scene.  And best of all, the whole thing is portioned out in lots of nice, working-person sized missions.  It’s like watching a good Sci Fi TV show.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Thanks @Fluka:disqus , that’s definitely encouraging, and seems to be what other people are saying here as well. Once I finally creep my way through ME1 — I hope it doesn’t take many months like New Vegas did– I will be looking forward to a more streamlined experience in the sequels.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          Given that Penny Arcade devoted a strip to precisely the problem of the game not being intuitive–and, you know, the PA guys play a lot of video games–I’d say you were probably in the minority. (The previous two strips were about omni-gel and the slow-ass elevators that ME1 used to kill time while different maps were loading; like the steep learning curve, these were mitigated or eliminated in ME2.) 

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus : The first two missions are training missions, running through game basics in turn, and there are also training videos that you can play in-game that go through other combat maneuvers. The main problem that I have with that, in fact, is that when you go through the game again (and it’s very re-playable, as each class works in very different ways, with different squad members), the training missions get a little tedious, even though they’re pretty quick to get through; I find myself thinking, “Do I have to waste a medi-gel on this guy? I already know that he’s a traitorous dick.” 

        • Reuben says:

           @Halloween_Jack:disqus Oh, I will fully agree that the combat in ME1 is completely shitty. Just clunky and terrible design. But it wasn’t bad to the point of rage quitting. I also played in on PC… maybe that was better somehow?

    • George_Liquor says:

      Hey, lets run through the first names for our Shepards! Dolf Shepard’s my guy… it seemed appropriate.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        DoloresMae Shepard (“The Lord is my shepherd”); I’m not religious, just liked the pun.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Carlos Shepard (Carlos is my real name…I’m boring, I guess)
        Charlotte Shepard (a Frenchified, feminine variation of my name)

        • caspiancomic says:

           Yeah, my dood is Patrick Shepard, Patrick being my, you know, actual name. I think I’m going to do my second playthrough (whenever I get around to it) as a Renegade FemShep, and I’m not sure yet what I’ll call her. I guess the obvious choice would be Patricia. Maybe I’ll name her after my sister or something. My sister is definitely a Renegade, so it kinda fits.

      • Pandas_please says:

         Lorelei Shepard, I-I don’t have a clever reason I just liked the name.

      • “Alysta” is my current female Shepard.

      • Bakken Hood says:

        Terra Shepard is named after the FF6 character, and Carson Shepard is named for Kit Carson.  If you say anything about MTV personalities I’ll stab you.

      • Chum Joely says:

        Zeta. Black female, Paragon & Engineer, Spacer & War Hero, the best- and toughest-looking character model of the bunch IMHO.  Not “sexy” best-looking, but just… looks like a correctly rendered human being, unlike many of the others.  I didn’t tweak the eyebrow width or nose height or any of that nonsense, just picked a package of presets because they look the most polished.

      • valondar says:

         I have a Lyra Shepard.

        Mostly because my original Jedi Exile was called Lyra. Which is odd, because Lyra the Jedi (and eventually Sith Lord) was cold hearted, evil, and blonde, things the sensibly, Janeway-bunned brunette Lyra Shepard doesn’t have.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      Garrus is my go-to guy in all three games, but I have to say that my favorite other squaddie is Jack, not only because she’s a Vanguard without the biotic charge, but for sheer attitude. I started to fall in love with her at the end of her recruitment mission, when I chose the Paragon dialogue option and her reply was, “Shit, you sound like a pussy.”

      • AmaltheaElanor says:

        I heart Garrus.  He’s both my favorite squad mate, and the best person to romance, IMO.  In ME3, when you meet Kirrahe on Sur’Kesh and he whips out the Scorpion pistol, Garrus says, “How come I don’t have one of those?” and I laugh. every. single. time.

        • PaganPoet says:

          He’s generally the most likable character in the series, and he rocks in battle.

          The Turians are my favorite alien species. I like the flanging effect of their voices, and they look like kitty-bugs; I wish they would show females of the alien species (other than Asari, of course), I would be interested to know if they look different.

        • Fluka says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus Best part of Mass Effect 3 Omega DLC = answering this question.

        • @PaganPoet:disqus : Female Turians and Krogan appear in ME3. Female Salarians are the ones wearing hoods.

      • valondar says:

        Loved Jack. After frankly finding the human companions bland in the first Mass Effect (goddamn Carth Onasi), it was nice to see a more diverse bunch in ME2 – of which for me Jack was the best.

        Favourite companion though has to be Mordin Solus. He’s a nerd’s nerd, and he’s ineffably charming about it.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Next time, please remember your spoiler alert etiquette 8^)

  3. Jackbert322 says:

    Busy weekend ahead, so I won’t have much gaming time. Some pre-Virmire side-questing in Mass Effect, with looong load times filled by Lumines, probably. Damn you, College Board and my place of employment for scheduling the SAT and an overnight camp-in on the same day! *shakes fist*

    • Fluka says:

      Good luck on the standardized testing!  *Feels tiny sympathetic pang of anxiety in her stomach.*

    • PaganPoet says:

      Did you do the Space Pirate mission yet where Wrex finds his family armor? That was by far the most difficult battle for me in that game.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Nope, how do I find that?

        • PaganPoet says:

          It’s on a planet called Tuntau in the Pheonix system of Argus Rho.

        • Dwigt says:

          Alternatively, you can wait for Wrex to tell spontaneously about his family and how his father betrayed him. Then, the next time you talk with him, investigate about his family and he’ll mention how attached he is about the family armor.

        • Jackbert322 says:

          @DwigtKSchrute:disqus : He told me about his daddy issues last conversation, and I just got back on the Normandy after finishing Feros, so I’ll talk to him. 

    • doyourealize says:

      Damn! A lot of Mass Effect-ing going on on Gameological-Land.

      • fieldafar says:

        All this Mass Effect talk makes me want to play it again!

      • PaganPoet says:

        A month ago it was a lot of Persona 3 and 4 going on.

        • doyourealize says:

          Neither of which I’ve played. Backlog expansion?

        • Pandas_please says:

           @doyourealize:disqus If you’re going to play both definitely play Persona 3 first, there are some game design improvements in 4 that make it hard to go back to 3 after playing it.

          I haven’t played all the way through 3 yet but I highly, highly recommend 4.

        • PaganPoet says:

          @doyourealize:disqus I highly recommend both, but as @Pandas_please:disqus said, playing 4 before 3 might make 3 more frustrating, as 4 made some gameplay improvements.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Me, @PaganPoet:disqus , and @caspiancomic:disqus are the GAMEOLOGICAL ROLE PLAYNIG GAME HIVE MIND.

      • Dwigt says:

        For me, it’s because the original game was finally released on PS3 last month. So, I thought it would be time to carry the same character over the whole three games. And to see Conrad Verner in action.

        Then, after the whole controversy over the ME3 ending, some people have started to realize that it didn’t prevent most of the game to still be awesome, as the previous two titles were. Knowing that you’ll be somehow disappointed, but being able to contain this disappointment within the right sections, helps a lot.

        I’m curious to see the new ending, but I had zero will to start a second round after the clumsy conclusion burnt me once. ME had this series of twists that managed to make some sense. ME2 was much more straightforward and streamlined. ME3 had obvious twists, then a big reveal and twist that should have been shocking and be as effective as the twists in the first game, but instead feels shoehorned and just plain bad. Whether it is an accident or the beginning of the end for Bioware will only be addressed by ME4.

        • PaganPoet says:

          In a way, all the buzz around ME3’s ending is setting me up to believe it really is awful. Maybe once I see it, I’ll think “Oh, that’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          I played the trilogy on my PC, but with the full release on the PS3, I’ve been tempted to splurge and buy it.  If only it weren’t so much money.  And so tempting with all that ME2 DLC I never got for my PC version…

        • Merve says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus: I don’t think it’s very good, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the massive Internet outrage would have you believe.

        • Dwigt says:

          @Merve2:disqus There was so much Internet outrage because people assumed that the ending would be easy to rewrite and fix. And it’s definitely badly written and poorly thought-out. I wasn’t angry when I experienced it, but instead of the intended “Ohhhhhhhh!!!”, I was all “Meh…”
          But I agree that once people have seen the ending, it would create a lot of issues if another ending took its place, the same manner you react to a well-known movie reedited later by the director. It would be a paradox à la Fringe. You can’t erase the memory of the previous ending.

          The outrage had two positive side effects that justify in my eyes its existence:
          – it was a wake-up call to Casey Hudson, who assumed he was David Chase or Shawn Ryan and could write on his own an ending while every other part of the game had been submitted to peer review. Patrick Weekes, who was a staff writer for all three games, explained what went wrong, and the backlash may help everybody not to screw it again
          – it was quite joyful and inventive, the way the Star Wars prequels reviews by Mr Plinkett had paved the way. Most of the criticism was indeed articulate and creative. There were memes, “Marauder Shields”, dramatic analysis

        • Drunken Superman says:

          I just like to think of the entirety of ME3 as the ending, as some of the arcs I was most invested in were resolved throughout that game.  It’s more satisfying that way, than to feel so much disappointment based on the last 5 minutes of something I put well over 150 hours into.

      • valondar says:

         That’s it! I’m going to go and finish Mass Effect 3. I don’t want to be left out again.

  4. Fluka says:

    Work meeting right now, so nothing until Monday.  Except maybe some FTL, which has welcomed me back into its fiery, drone-retrieving arms.  Played some on the plane, and had one of “those moments,” where I limped through an entire sector of pirate battles at <5% hull, searching for a store somewhere, anywhere, and oh god, one was right there at the end.  Good when read in conjunction with some Iain M Banks.  (I would love a Culture game…)

    Now I need to decide what to play next, though!  Help me, Gameological!  Do I play something sexy and new and narratively engaging, like Walking Dead or Spec Ops?  Or something from my "embarrassing I haven't yet" list, like Portal 2 (sorry) or BioShock (I know, I suck)?  Or the "aw, what the heck, why not!" choice, Mirror's Edge?  Leaning towards Portal 2 and Walking Dead right now, cuz of the shortness.

    Now, back to writing this goddamn talk!  Look at me still talking while there's science to do!  

    Shit science.

    • Pandas_please says:

       Don’t feel too bad I haven’t played Bioshock yet either. It’s just sitting there on my shelf, like it has been for the last year and a half…

      I gave it a shot a while ago for only about an hour and, while the opening scenes struck me, I just found the game play to be kind of dull. Maybe it gets more exciting as it goes along.

      • JoshJ says:

         I thought Bioshock (1) was a really interesting story and world packed in a shit game. The shooting mechanics suck, the optional powers are fairly middling, if with interesting applications (but you’ll just use upgraded freeze the whole way). The enemy spawn scripts are depressingly predictable and obvious (a flaw shared with Dead Space) but the storyline and setting was cool enough that I dropped the diff to easy to blow through it. The last level pissed me off too, not just because it’s a dreaded escort mission but for the screen effects you’re forced to suffer through.

    • Merve says:

      You have to write a talk? I always thought your job looked more like this: http://i45.tinypic.com/2mjpc1.png

      My vote’s on Mirror’s Edge. There are plenty of shooters and puzzle games out there, but when was the last time you played a first-person parkour game?

      • Fluka says:

        Niiiice – thanks for that. :D  That is the kind of scientist I am in my head.  In reality, I’m data-analysis only, which means lots of dataplots and talks (using the Big Science Button requires traveling to a big laboratory far away from home).  In more cliched video-game humor, though, my current project *does* let me use the expression “Can it wait for a bit?  I’m in the middle of some calibrations.”

        • PaganPoet says:

          Mirror’s Edge is a flawed game, but I’m also going to recommend it if nothing else but because Faith is such an awesome character. I LOVE HER. An awesome, strong female character (who is not caucasian), who is not overly sexualized, whose motivation is something very human (the desire to help/protect her sister). We need more female characters like her, less Soul Caliber Ivys and Ninja Gaiden Hitomis.

        • valondar says:

           Yeah Faith was genuinely surprising to me. She’s the kind of character that if she exists at all in videogames, there’s usually an option to play as a bald white space marine dude instead (not that I’m pointing any fingers).

      • Chum Joely says:

        +1 on Mirror’s Edge. I didn’t finish it but now I’m wondering if I should borrow it from the work library again. Warning: The “combat” mechanic is insufferable, but fortunately there’s not much of it, jsut a lot of running, sliding, and jumping.

        Portal 2 is pretty incredible, too. Every single character is great (including Cave Johnson, whom you only get to know via old recorded announcements).  It might not be that short, though, if you ever get hung up for a long time on what should be easy puzzles… not that such a thing has ever happened to me, of course…

        • jessec829 says:

          I’m so ashamed by my Portal 2 experience. I finally got around to playing it the other night, and I could tell right from the get-go that it really is a great game . . . that I suck at playing. I couldn’t even get past the early sections where it’s basically training you how to play the game. I gave up. It was not a proud moment for me.

      • uselessyss says:

        I really like Mirror’s Edge, and it’s short enough to feel like a breeze, which might be good between longer games.

        Don’t go into it for the story, though – while I agree with @PaganPoet:disqus that Faith is a good character (if not one with a hugely memorable personality or anything), the plot is honestly pretty lame.

        It’s a shame since the future setting is actually unique and interesting.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Yeah, I really like the idea of a dystopia that’s really clean and sterile and beautiful, as opposed to something post-apocalyptic like Mad Max or something.

        • valondar says:

           Mirror’s Edge’s plot is complete nonsense, but I don’t care at all. It’s just some justification for the beautiful running sections. Mirror’s Edge gets a lot of point for style – the soundtrack’s lovely, the main character is cool looking, and the parkour is suitably epic yet nauseating.

    • I’m gonna back up Merve and say Mirror’s Edge because it’s fun without feeling like it is demanding the whole of your free time.  You can burn through Spec Ops in 5 hours if you try, but it’s a huge downer so expect to take a break from games for a while.  And Bioshock is like a fine wine.  Your palette must be cleansed and ready, and it’d be better to play without feeling you have a bunch of other games hanging over your head.

    • Embrace the shortness!

    • Fluka says:

      Well dang it, guys.  That’s pretty damn unanimous.  Mirror’s Edge it is!  (Or maybe Mass Effect 1 again cuz omg so much Mass Effect talk today yes yes moaarr plzz…)

      Now I just gotta get through two full days of talks.  There are no power outlets.  I just want a nap.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      At first, I though, “There’s no way a Culture game is anyway possible!”  Then I thought for a moment, and I imagine an old-school adventure game.  Then I thought for another moment, and imagined an awful third-person shooter, kind of like, I dunno, Ratchet and Clank, except with an agent and a knife drone.  So, maybe it could happen.

      • Fluka says:

        Player of Games: the Game!
        …Okay, that would actually be really cool, with both the game and the narrative being playable.

      • JoshJ says:

        I just blew through three Culture novels so your comment stands out to me. I wonder how a game that has you paired up with a literal Dues Ex Machina (Culture ship)would go.

        • Fluka says:

          Yeah, having juuust finished Surface Detail, it occurs to me that space battles might not be so interesting in the game.

          “Engage battle!!”
          “Yo bro.  During the time you said that, I just destroyed half your fleet.”

          Don’t fuck with the Culture.

    • Reuben says:

      Nobody recommended The Walking Dead? The hell is wrong with you people?

      Mirror’s Edge is a game you play if you have shit else on your plate and spare time and you want to check out something that has is a unique premise but terrible gameplay.  Like something you play as a thought experiment. 
      Whereas The Walking Dead is something you MUST play because it’s a gaming experience everyone should have.

  5. GhaleonQ says:

    The God And Fate Revolution Paradox: will it be my game of the year?  I’ll report back.

    Oh, wait, Nippon Ichi games, no matter the genre, take a year to complete by themselves.  I will report back in 2014.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vS990lrET8 .  Anyway, I appreciate the restraint on their irony, the premise, the continued innovation in gameplay, the increased dependence on surreal silliness instead of pop culture references, and the totally misleading art and music that suggest this is them pandering to the Love+ crowd.  (They have OTHER games for that, rubes!)  It should be fun.

  6. Citric says:

    This week, I feel the need to complain about one of the three games I am playing, which I think nobody cares about.

    So Romancing SaGa’s a dick. Alright, so I’ve hit the final boss, and while I had started to do well again the final boss just had to have one more round of dick moves that makes me think I’ll have to go out, do a couple more quests, and get tougher and stronger. It’s the second form, which has a cheap bastard attack called “Animate Dead”, which revives your characters and makes them attack you if they die. In my case, it revives them before I have a chance. Also, healing magic suddenly gets crappier during that section so it’s harder to get everyone topped up on health before the inevitable big attack that hits everyone. Also, there’s an inevitable big attack that hits everyone. Plus the whole dungeon is thick with unskippable cutscenes for when I have to go through it again, which I will if I want to toughen up.

    I hate you, Romancing SaGa, I love you, Romancing SaGa.

    I’m also playing:

    Persona 2 IS: The plot is starting to get a little bit… reminiscent of FFVIII, and while it’s not bad yet the characters are coming across as incredibly dim very suddenly. I’ve got faith in the writers, and am convinced they’ll somehow pull off the very stupid twists that seem to be happening where I’m at, but I’m also really worried that this game will take a dramatic turn for the worse.

    Ni no Kuni: God it’s pretty. And the combination of gorgeous graphics, happy music, and low-stress situations make it incredibly relaxing to play. It does love fetch quests even at my extremely early point – I am literally searching for a red herring – but I can’t help but be charmed by it. 

    • caspiancomic says:

       Oooooh Ni No Kuni! I finally got an email from Namco Bandai saying my copy shipped, so I’ll probably get that early next week. I’m not too put of by the wait, since I still have 1.5 Mass Effects left to finish.

    • doyourealize says:

      Dammit, thanks for reminding me of Ni No Kuni. Now I have to run out to get another timesink. And since you were reminding me of games I forgot, I also remembered I need to pick up Kentucky Route Zero, which I’d never heard of until Tuesday and now need.

  7. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    As time marches inexorably along, so does my pointless pursuit of gaming ‘achievements’ to house in my virtual Hall of Life Wastage. Last week I had to put new shelving up to accommodate the rest of the Dishonored trophies (note for new comers that the stealth and non-lethal approach is a million times more enjoyable – and faster – than the ol’ stabby stabby routine), and this week it looks like I’ll have to create some space for Mass Effect. With the engineer playthrough finished last night (Dilbert Shepard died on the way to Ilos after contracting rapid onset exploding racisyphilis from Ashley Williams), it’s now on to the next and thank fucking god final playthrough, this time with an Adept. Since I am sick of creating increasingly bizarre Shepards, I’m going to throw it out to y’all. Please reply with suggestions of the creation of whom I am calling ‘The People’s Shepard’. Only guidelines are Adept and only goes on missions with Wrex and Tali. Name, gender, outlook, appearance, background, romance options, whatever you reckon, just don’t forget to include a stamped self addressed comment so I can notify of results (subject to Terms & Conditions, winner will be notified by Disqus which basically means you won’t be notified).

    Also on the agenda is Demon’s Souls, which I realise I purchased on the PSN this week out of a mistaken sense of nostalgia which was actually a forgotten memory of relief at finishing the fucking thing last year. If I attempt to platinum that monstrosity I might as well hand in my society membership card and live in a pile of my own filth in a cave in the mountains (though @doyourealize:disqus did it, and he’s a respectable member of society, so maybe that’s something for me to aspire to).

    I am very tired.

    • Fluka says:

      Okay, I’m putting in my votes as follows:
      Gender: Lady.
      Appearance: Stylish black woman.  Perhaps Michelle Obama-esque.
      Romance: Mildly disappointing fling with Kaidan.  Possibly unrequited love for Wrex.
      Name: Kittenmittens

      • Pandas_please says:

         I’ll second a Barack Obama play through. Do America proud Barack Shepard!

      • I love the name “Kittenmittens”.

        At the weekly trivia night I go to, there are four teams (including mine) that come regularly and keep the same name, one of which is Kittenmittens. (We go by “Cheetah Town” since our high school mascot was the cheetah.)

        We four regular teams used to be bitter rivals, but over time we’ve started to bond over our hatred of “outsider” teams.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

      Well, If you’re calling him ‘The People’s Shepard’, you might as well with The People’s Champion, but your call. Try this website http://www.masseffect2faces.com for face inspirations.

    • Captain Internet says:

      Please cheer the fuck up. I feel like every Friday is suicide watch. You’re an insightful guy and just sharing a comment thread with you is a delight.

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Ha, you’re right I do come across as a miserable bastard, but it’s sort of meant to be my schtick. For a change of pace I promise that my comment on next week’s What Are You Playing This Weekend will contain mention of a minimum of two unicorns, one pretty rainbow and at least one fluffy kitten who has just found out she’s won the lottery so she can buy all the marshmallows she can eat!

        • Captain Internet says:

          Sympathy is conditional on you not also being a patronising tool.

        • Enkidum says:

          Pretty sure marshmallows are poisonous to cats. Yup, in fact I looked it up in this book of facts that I made up, and, yeah, that kitten’s gonna die. Sorry, but those are the rules, you delightful, miserable, bastard.

        • Girard says:

          I’m looking forward to the rhetorical gymnastics you will inevitably do to make that scenario utterly dire.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          As someone living in Canada I feel strongly about you being happy on the outside, even if your heart is imploding. So put on a brave face and smile, damnit!

    • Merve says:

      My votes:

      Name: Kaidan Shepard
      Gender: Male
      Appearance: As much like Kaidan Alenko as possible
      Class: Adept
      Romance: None until ME3, when he finally romances Kaidan
      Additional info: Secretly wishes that Garrus had a thing for male humans.

      Name: September Shepard
      Gender: Male
      Appearance: Bald with very pale skin
      Class: Sentinel
      Romance: None
      Additional info: In conversation, always selects the “I have to go” option.

      Name: Douchebro Shepard
      Gender: Male
      Appearance: Default, or something douchier, if available
      Class: Soldier (Pew! Pew!)
      Romance: Flirts mercilessly with everyone. Only beds Ashley and Miranda, though, because “I ain’t touchin’ that alien cooch, bro.”
      Additional info: Always selects Renegade options. Has a “tight bromance” with Kaidan and Vega, but “No homo, bro.”

      (I just realized you only want to play an Adept. That’s alright; I’m sure September would be fine giving up his hi-tech abilities. On the other hand, though, I’m not so sure that Douchebro would want to be a biotic, because “Wizards and magic are, like, for NERDS, amirite bros?”)

    • doyourealize says:

      Who says I’m respectable?

    • Jackbert322 says:

      All right, don’t think I can beat @Merve2:disqus ‘s submission of September Shepard, but let’s do this.

      Name: Erna Shepard
      Gender: Female
      Appearance: As grandmotherly as possible in hair, complexion, what have you, as well as goth makeup
      Background: Spacer so she can have a passive-aggressive exchange with her mother, Ruthless to counteract the Spacer Paragon point bonus
      Traits: Chooses the neutral option in conversation every single time
      Romance: Due to choosing the neutral option in conversation every single time, nothing
      Additional Info: Never talks to unnecessary people, never does side missions, I figured you’d want to finish this shit as fast as possible

    • duwease says:

      Name: Merlin Shepard

      Look:  White hair, wrinkly, lots of facial hair

      Merlin Shepard is a transplant from a fantasy world, but isn’t really a fish out of water, since everything is basically the same but with more metal, flashing lights, and complex terminology.

      Sample dialogue:

      Wrex: “I’m a Krogan.”
      Merlin: “So… a space dragon?”

      Liara: “Biotics are able to use implants to focus their latent psionic powers into manipulation of subatomic particles, resulting in physical manipulation of the world.”
      Merlin: “So… space magic?”

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Started playing Dishonored a couple of days ago.  I always play stealth in games that allow it.  I’m very pleased by a system that allows me to climb on shit, and doesn’t really have the “you can jump five feet, but that ledge is 5.1 feet, so you fail” problem.

      I’ve taken two evenings just on the first mission so far, exploring everywhere I can go.  I’m avoiding the evil and deadly stuff, mostly.  It’s too much fun to figure out how to knock guards out when their patrols intersect each other.  (I’ll definitely need a higher sleep dart capacity after this.)

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Why not make him funny and slightly annoying and call him Dax Shepard?
      He get’s to have fun with Kristen Bell… -entice-

  8. SteveHeisler says:

    I’m going out of town next week, which means I need to play as much Ni No Kuni as humanly possible before that happens. My numero uno familiar Fightface needs to level up again.

  9. HobbesMkii says:

    A group of friends and I are going to try our collective hands at learning a PnP RPG, Pathfinder.

    • dreadguacamole says:

        Nice! It’s basically a pimped-out version of D&D 3.5, and it’s got some of the best adventures out there at the moment.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Awesome.  It’s no small feat getting a campaign together.  Have you rolled up a character yet?

      • HobbesMkii says:

         No, that’ll be our first step this weekend. Then we’ll apparently take turns GMing adventures, with me slated to go first, which means I have a fair amount of reading to get through.

        • djsubversive says:

          I’m a huge d&d geek, so if you’ve got any questions or anything, feel free to ask me if I’m idling in Steam chat (or playing Arma 2, since it probably means I’m just in the editor).

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @djsubversive:disqus Thanks! I may very well take you up on it. I might try convincing the group to try a prefab adventure first, just so I get the hang of it.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Don’t let this hack advise you wrongly, I am the real authority here.
          Though I’ve never played pathfinder.
          And I am kinda busy this weekend.
          And I have stuff on DVD.

          Ask Sub. Leave me out of this!

        • djsubversive says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus That’s all right, grandma. When we need somebody to explain THAC0 and descending Armor Class and when to Save Vs. Spell instead of Save Vs. Rod, Staff, or Wand, we know who to talk to.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I had tons of fun playing a rogue specializing in shadowstep and disguises in Pathfinder.  Good luck!

    • djsubversive says:

      Pathfinder is fun. If you’ve played D&D 3.0/3.5, it’s similar to that, but everyone gets more ‘stuff’ (powers/abilities), and Feats come faster (every 2 levels rather than every 3).

      Have fun! Clerics are awesome, and you should totally have one in your group. :)

      • Effigy_Power says:

        For added fun, have everyone in your group be a cleric and see them fail just about every skill-test that isn’t related to healing or what the name of that saint was.
        A few traps and locked doors ought to make that fun.

        • djsubversive says:

          Hey, clerics normally have a pretty good Wisdom, so… um… they get a decent Perception score?  You’re right, though: a party made entirely of one class will have a tougher time with encounters designed for a party of multiple classes (or at least the Big Three – Divine Magic, Arcane Magic, and Skill-Monkey (usually rogue or bard)).

          One of the good things Pathfinder did was consolidate a bunch of skills – Spot/Listen/Search are just Perception, Hide/Move Silently are combined into Stealth, and I think there’s an Athletics that covers Climb/Balance/Jump/possibly Tumble (I’m probably wrong about the Athletics one).

  10. Merve says:

    Those music videos were weird. I’m not sure I understand what they’re supposed to be about. But maybe that’s the point.

    This weekend, I’ll be playing (and hopefully finishing) The Cave. I like the game’s tone and sense of humour, but I find the puzzles a little rote so far. Mind you, I’m only an hour in, so maybe they get a little more imaginative. I might also try to get in some Fahrenheit, which has an interesting atmosphere, but also has THE SINGLE WORST CONTROL SCHEME EVER HOLY SHITBALLS. I want to see where the story goes, though, so I’ll tough it out.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

      Yeah, Indigo Prophecy Fahrenheit‘s controls were donkeys, Heavy Rain 364 Days of London‘s were a lot better. But at least there’s a crazy cool twist to the former, and nobody wears sunglasses indoors.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         The game’s hacky writing is more than compensated by its pure, undiluted, batshit insanity. I was once summarizing the plot to a friend, and just listening to myself I was surprised by just how unhinged it was.
         Heavy Rain was such a huge disappointment – generally, I guess, but also because it didn’t turn out that your son had really been abducted by a sentient judicial system run amok or the fact that it didn’t finish with a wuxia fight against clay robots.
         Or maybe it did, and I got the really boring ending.
         I like drugged out David Cage so much more than arty David Cage…

      • Girard says:

        I wouldn’t call the twist “crazy cool” so much as “brain-meltingly stupid.”

        Actually, I don’t think I’d call it a “twist,” either, so much as an “abrupt, jarring, totally inappropriate and poorly-written tonal shift.” My favorite is when the race of cybernetic nano-creatures appears out of nowhere, and later you get to have awkward zombie sex with your love interest in a quicktime sequence!

        • Alkaron says:

          Yeah, isn’t that the game where SPOILER the end boss battle is a Dragonball-Z fight between your character and the Internet?

        • uselessyss says:

          The thing is, the story actually had huge potential.

          The opening sections of the game, where you play as both the fugitive and the detectives trying to catch him, are really cool. If Cage had managed to suppress his need to barf every half-interesting story idea into the latter half of the game, it might actually have lived up to his ambitions, ironically.

          Plus, Angelo Badelamenti does the soundtrack, which is ace. And there are genuinely useful and interesting uses of split-screen gameplay.

          Argh, it could have been so good!

        • Xtracurlyfries says:

          Yes. I will play any game for which the Bad Angel creates the score.  I’m holding out for him to do some kind of weird sports game just so I have a difficult decision to make, since I don’t play sports games. But who am I kidding IT WOULD BE AWESOME.

    • Girard says:

      “I want to see where the story goes, though, so I’ll tough it out.”

      Oh, you…you poor, naive soul… If you think the control scheme is something to curse about, just you wait until you see where the story goes.

  11. HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

    Finally put Max Payne 3 to the merciful sleep it so deserves. Too much time to spend on such a slightly above average game. I’ll probably finish Dark Souls this weekend.

    • That game’s story had no idea what it was doing which is a shame because aesthetically, it had some great ideas and Max has always been a likable character (how many other fat drunk heroes are there in gaming).

      It was like, “You’re in Rio, PSYCHE, now you’re in Hoboken, now you’ve killed all the mob, now you’re on a boat in Panama, everybody is dead except that coke head and your partner, don’t ask them any questions about why they’re the only ones who lived, have you ever seen Man on Fire, God I hope you haven’t seen Man on Fire.”

      Can’t discount the badass soundtrack though, especially during the airport shoot out.

      • I have zero motivation to finish that game. And I spent 75 hours completing Dark Souls so it’s not like I can’t, I just won’t.

      • I supposed I’m the only one who ‘liked’ Max Payne 3. Is it’s schizophrenic in level design? Oh, hell yeah. But I think the shooting mechanics are tighter and more intuitive than the previous games, and the cover mechanic works in the game’s favor.

        Plus, the voice acting is incredible. The plot doesn’t make much sense (when did a MP plot ever make sense?), but there’s a… satirical logic to it.


        Basically, it’s what happens if Brazilian mobsters hired a John McClane or a Punisher-type typical-action-hero, and kept him in the dark, telling him to “shoot all these people when shit happens”. You’re essentially an action hero on the “bad” side for most of the game. I thought that was surprisingly clever for a game.

  12. Swadian Knight says:

    I’m graduating this weekend, so I’m afraid I won’t be doing a whole lot of gaming. In fact, between the endless boring ceremonies, close-quarters coexistence with my family for long periods of time and the overall celebratory mood, I’ll be surprised if I even want to do anything that doesn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol this weekend.

  13. dreadguacamole says:

     DMC! Pretty excited for it, as it looks like Ninja Theory have finally delivered a game with decent gameplay.
     The Cave, which is pretty underwhelming so far, but seems worth finishing. Not sure I’ll be able to slog through all characters, since it looks like there’s a lot of recycling.

     Finally, I got something called Dungeon Lords MMXVII. It’s… oh god. It’s a game from the guy who made all of the Wizardry games, trying to be all modern while staying stuck in the early eighties. It’s a game that, at launch (in 2004?), received such a thrashing that it made me stay away despite its pedigree. It’s a game that during development prioritized boob jiggling on the female character models over *having a fucking stair-climbing animation*. Seriously, they just levitate up them; I like to think they’re climbing with their toes.
     The MMXVII at the end of the title means that it’s an updated, completed version… which just boggles my mind. It’s a terrible, terrible, tragicomically unfinished game, but almost endearingly so; I suspect I’ll stick with it for a while unless I get my progress wiped by a bug. It’s got that old-school charm, I guess.

  14. Enkidum says:

    I just watched that You Can Touch My Boobies video, and, yeah, that’s really strange. Sometimes I want to be Jewish because it seems like the in-jokes are just so much better. (I realize those two sentences may not appear to have anything to do with each other, but trust me, they do. It’s not every video that has a floating Golda Meir admonishing you for thinking about boobs.) Someone on staff here has a real taste for burlesque, it would seem.

    Uh… yeah. So probably gonna shoot some more aliens in the face in Halo 4 because I’m super edgy and artsy and alternative and stuff. I must be getting reasonably close to the end, spoilers for those who care, I just found out that I’m the next evolutionary stage of humans or some shit and I can save the galaxy or something by shooting stuff in the face, I think. And there’s a librarian and a concertina or something the name of which I forget that I’ll be immune to because I’m genetically awesome. I’m pretty sure that’s an accurate summary of the plot. Plus there’s a big giant dump truck thing with rocket launchers that you don’t get to drive but you get to shoot stuff in the face from.

    But mostly I’m going to be playing the game of super fun data analysis! In fact I spent several hours yesterday and today playing this game, until I realized that the dozens of correlations I was doing between luminance and frequency were totally meaningless because the luminance data was in one order and the frequency data was in another. So I get to replay that whole level tomorrow, which will force me to postpone my plans of playing the “write a new experiment to pilot” game, which will postpone the further game of “graduate”.

    Yeah, I’m ripping this whole schtick off from @Fluka:disqus , but what can I do?

    • Girard says:

      I’m a goy, but due my hometown’s demographics grew up with a lot of Jewish friends (and got to enjoy peripheral Jew benefits like having school cancelled for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, and getting to go to lavish Bar Mitzvahs in middle school without my family having to go bankrupt throwing one for me), and sometimes experience that weird sense of comfort/familiarity when I discover a new friend is Jewish or of Jewish heritage.

    • doyourealize says:

      Is that video really that specific to Jewish children? I thought it kind of references all high school “sexy sex” stuff in general. Like, “What is all this stuff? I don’t know, but it turns me on.”

      Oh, and anyone who thinks those two sentences don’t go together hasn’t watched enough Seinfeld.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Yeah, I saw that video a while back, and that’s the impression that I got.  Kinda like Steve Carell’s fantasy scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin – He wants to have sex, but has no real idea how it works, other than the aforementioned boobie-touching.

      • Enkidum says:

        Well, the boobie-touching dreams are probably universal, but I’m pretty sure most filthy goyim don’t have floating Golda Meir or a bunch of the other details in their fantasies. Then again, I’m sure there are Golda Meir fetishists out there…


    • Fluka says:

      Liked for doing statistical analysis, whoo!  Graduate is a really hard grind, but the achievement you get at the end is sweet.

      (Also, I always though I was ripping off @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus ‘s “Engineering Game” schtick!  Then again, there are a lot of grumpy STEM people who play games here…)

  15. Gonna put a dent in the Ol’ Mass Effect 3. My female engineer has been with Liara since the first game but she was SERIOUSLY tempted by that adorable Specialist Traynor. Next time, I guess. 

  16. Matt Wiese says:

    Picking up ni no kuni tonight, so I have most of my gaming planned for the near future. If I need a breather I might play a little bit of Dark Souls, although I’ve started to get a little burnt out on it.


    “or, like, masturbating.”

    *raises eyebrows*


    but for real, you just know she’s not joking about that

  18. Girard says:

    This weekend is apparently the Global Game Jam. I don’t have time to give up my whole weekend to work on a game (grad schoo, natch), BUT Richmond is holding a local Game Jam event this weekend, and I’ll probably stop by this evening for the Q&A with Kellee Santiago from thatgamecompany, then swing by again on Sunday to see/play the games the GameJammers made over the weekend while I was chained to my desk doing schoolwork.

    Also, maybe I’ll sneak some The Cave in this weekend.

  19. Raging Bear says:

    I’ll play The Cave, unless I get fed up with the fact that it runs like chilled shit on my 2-week-old computer and put it aside until it’s patched, which if I’m remembering CaspianComic’s (or someone else?) experiences with Psychonauts on the mac, may simply never happen.

    On the other hand, I can now decently run Trine 2, the Walking Dead, Killing Floor, Bastion, Amnesia, etc. etc. So maybe I’ll catch up with some neglected Steam pals.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Frame rate on Windows isn’t great either and we got irrecoverably stuck in the geometry two or three times as well. I blame CliffyB.

      Seriously, he’s listed as a play tester.

      • Raging Bear says:

        CliffyB in the Gears of War sense? That tears it; I’m going to continue vaguely disliking him.

        • djsubversive says:

           no reason to be vague about it! Dislike him because he goes by “CliffyB.” There may be other things about the guy to dislike, but how can you top that one? Really, “CliffyB”? Cliffy? No space? B?

          Oh, and he was involved in Gears of War. Those are two great reasons to dislike him.

    • Merve says:

      Hmm, The Cave runs well on my rig. Have you tried upping the refresh rate? The default is 25 Hz, and it caused my screen to become all jittery. I upped it to 60 Hz, and now it looks great.

      • Raging Bear says:

        I’ve never fooled around with frame rates in my life, but I may have to look into it. Turning off all the (shockingly few) graphical options certainly didn’t seem to make the slightest difference.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        You Merve, are a delight.

        • Merve says:

          I was under the impression that that was a fairly common slang term for a desktop PC. It’s probably because I’ve spent too much time on video game websites. ;)

        • Effigy_Power says:

          No, I mean we don’t call it “Rig” anymore, now we call it a Rizizzlegoozazzle. Get with the flow, Grandpa!

        • Merve says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus: My own parents call me Grandpa because I’m always complaining about things like touch screens and Instagram. Now you’re calling me Grandpa too? Sheesh!

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @Merve2:disqus: Well… no smoke without fire.
          Do you have a lot of older ex-girlfriends who could possibly have pregnant children by now? Not really… you’re not old enough for that.

          I wonder what they are trying to tell you…

  20. doyourealize says:

    We called that Mafia/Murderer game “Werewolf”. One or two players were werewolves and they’d pick off villagers every night until they got caught and hanged…or not, and the werewolf/ves win. The first few times we played it at family functions, one of my cousins ended up being the werewolf every time. Since then, we always just picked him off first (yes, I’m aware of randomness, and that the past has no effect on future werewolves) and now he hates playing that game.

    As for this weekend, besides the thrilling game, “Read a Hundred High School Midterms and Grade Them Until You Can’t See”, I’ll hopefully continue with Catherine, and excellent game by many standards, complete with enormous feelings of accomplishment. Also loving the mobile game Final Fantasy Dimensions, which I consider to be a game you happen to play on the phone, not a phone game, and therefore very worth the $20. 16 hours in and still on chapter 2 of 4 (maybe 5). And maybe some Rivals of Catan with my wife. We’ve done all the “expansions” I guess you’d call them, but haven’t put them all together yet for the “Duel of the Princes”. Love that game, and even though it’s a card game for two players, it is in no way Settlers of Catan-lite.

    • duwease says:

      Ooh, Catherine.  Soooo underrated.

    • Citric says:

      Which way are you going with Catherine? I went with the sensible one, because the crazy one reminded me a bit too much of a completely nuts girl I once knew.

      • doyourealize says:

        I went with “C” for crazy. Mostly because conversations with the “sensible” one included her telling Vincent what to do and Vincent just staring at her with wide eyes and gaping mouth. On the 6th night, though, I don’t know if that was right choice. I’m sticking with it, but at this point, both seem like a really bad choice.

        *Minor Spoilers Ahead* Don’t tell me anything, but I was thinking Catherine was some kind of figment of Vincent’s imagination since she always showed up after everyone left the bar and the waitress (Erica?) never seemed to notice her. And she would just mysteriously be there in the morning with Vincent. But then she flushed the toilet when Katherine showed up and kind of threw out that theory.

  21. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    I didn’t play Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts at all because I was occupied with Mass Effect 3. So… is everyone ready for my thoughts on the ending? Yes? All right, here goes:


    That about sums it up. Don’t see anything warranting much of a discussion there. About the rest of the game (Mass Effect 3 spoilers in this paragraph): I think Bioware should maybe just do something silly and fun for a change because the serious stuff was largely bad (that kid) while the goofy stuff was cool (Mega Reaper vs. Thrasher Maw-ktopus, passing Paragon QTEs to give people cool hand shakes, drunk crew members, sly visual callback to Joker mentioning he might get his hip damaged if he had sex with EDI right when the dramatic battle for the future of the galaxy is about to begin). The only problem with that is that I’m not sure if Kai Leng was supposed to be serious or goofy. Whatever it was, it must never be allowed to happen again. Oh, and save the camel toes for DeviantArt, please. It’s, uh, distracting.

    Anyway, I’ll be playing more The Cave, Half-Minute Hero and Anarchy Reigns. On Wednesday I’ll probably get a little downloadable 3DS game called “Assault the Cheating Boyfriend! Caught You Red Handed” because just look at that title. It’s probably going to be awful, but I love the premise too much.

    • uselessyss says:

      I think there’s some art guy at Bioware that’s obsessed with camel toe or something.

      It’s in the Dragon Age games, too.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      Sadly, I think that Kai Leng was supposed to be serious; he’s in a couple of the tie-in books. He’s supposed to be what TVTropes would call “The Dragon” to the Illusive Man’s Big Bad; the main problem is that, even with a couple of exclusive powers, he still needs heavy backup from Cerberus to keep from going down like a thing that goes down, but he insists on taunting you regardless. My dream version of ME3 includes the option to bring Leng back to the Normandy and set him up in shackles on the shuttle deck as a human punching bag.

    • Drunken Superman says:

      Huh, I never noticed any camel toe.  And I’m the kind of guy that would, BELIEVE ME.

  22. stakkalee says:

    I’m about halfway through Assassin’s Creed 3, haven’t quite gotten to New York yet.  This is the first AC game where I find myself somewhat sympathetic to the Templars – I appreciate the Assassins’ “let people decide for themselves” ethic, but poor naive Connor is going to have some serious heartbreak coming up, I just know.  The Templars want to protect the native tribes (at least they say so), even if that protection is imposed from an outsider, and enforced with violence.  Knowing what I know about how things are going to turn out I can’t say that the Assassins’ way is truly for the best.  I’m interested enough to keep going at least, and to do the homestead missions, because I’m a sucker for crafting mechanics.

    • Only about 6 of my 60+ hours in AC3 has been spent on the single-player, does the story pick up a bit at all?  I’m an hour or two past when you take control of Connor and I am boooored.

      Except when I’m sailing ships, which I’m worried I’ve already mostly burned through.

      • stakkalee says:

        Eh, a bit.  A lot of the young Connor missions feel like training, but by the time you start wearing the assassin’s robes things start to feel a little more kinetic.  I suspect if you just ignored all the sidequests and focused strictly on the story missions that might help keep things fresh, but I’ve heard that the homestead missions have to be done within certain sequences, and if you don’t do them at the appropriate time you’ll lose access to them, so I’ve been doing them whenever they’re available and as a result the game does sometimes feel like it’s getting bogged down.

  23. Cheese says:

     I keep meaning to play Persona 4 Arena and I never do, because of the commitment it would take to not suck.

    My distractions of choice this weekend are Dishonored and Path of Exile, whose open beta I just started yesterday.

    • jessec829 says:

      I was so terribly disappointed with Persona 4 Arena. I think I got too excited about a new Persona game, not realizing that it would basically be a straight-up fighting game with Persona characters. Based on the glowing reviews, I realize the problem is me, not the game, but I only played it a little and then sold it . . . and then bought a Vita so I could play P4 Golden and soothe the wound in my soul. I do not make good fiscal choices.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I actually impulse bought a PSVita for P4Golden as well, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. There are a few other decent titles for it as well, I just hope it ends up to be a decent purchase in the long run.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Well, I also get my butt handed to me all the time online. Next time I see you online, I’ll invite you for a few matches.

  24. fieldafar says:

    Considering the fact that I pledged some money for their Kickstarter, I’ve only just started playing FTL and now have fallen in love with it. Despite the fact that I always lose horribly, I keep coming back for more.

    Speaking of hard-yet-addictive games, Super Hexagon on my Android is also fantastic.

    • I don’t think I’ve made it more than 5 systems in and I still love that game.  I tried reading about all the “unstoppable” strategies like transporters and those emp cannons, but no dice.  USS Canarkel gets blown to bits by those space pirate scum every time.

  25. Bad Horse says:

    If I play games, it will probably be mostly XCOM. No surprise there. But more likely, I’m going to spend a bunch of time dicking around with Twine. I had an epic, episodic space opera that I always wanted to make in game form but it would have required so much money to do it the way I saw it in my head, so now I’m trying to figure out how to convey the best things about it in hypertext using a few simple variables.

  26. indy2003 says:

    More Ni no Kuni for me – five hours in and having a marvelous time thus far. Strong voice work, gorgeous visuals, a terrific sense of humor and a complex-yet-intuitive combat system. I suspect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time with this one over the next few weeks.

    • Pandas_please says:

       The game’s sense of humor has been the most pleasant surprise for me so far, but the puns, oh god, the puns…

    • Anybody trying Ni No Kuni with Japanese voice on and English text?  Not willing to part with the week one price for it, but I’m dying (DYING) to hear more about people’s experiences, approaches, etc, to the game.

  27. I’ve been on a pretty predictable side scroller binge since I got a controller for my pc, and have finished Shank, They Bleed Pixels and am to hammer horse through Shank 2.

    On a very weird lark, I decided to try Katawa Shoujo, the “dating simulator made by 4chan set in a school for disabled, but trust me it’s actually really heartfelt and sad” game.

    I haven’t watched anime since middle school and I find the tropes of the genre cringe inducing but everybody told me it’s really good.  So far it’s okay, a bit spotty, where art and dialogue in certain parts are obviously from different contributors.  Also there’s no real gameplay but Walking Dead one Game of the Year from Polygon so who needs gameplay anyway? 

    We’ll see if I finish before getting sucked back into Company of Heroes which I had to set down because I kept dying on the first batch of missions.  That game is brutally hard but so was World War II so it makes sense.

  28. duwease says:

    I’ve pretty much played FTL out, except for unlocking some of the more elusive ships, which may compel me to make a couple more runs.  So I downloaded Unstoppable Gorg, since I occassionally get a hankering for defense games.  It is *quite* good.

    Other than that, trying to finish up Hitman Absolution and go back and beat the scores of some people on my friends list.  Unfortunately, they don’t know we’re in a competition, so it’s not quite heated.  If anyone here enjoys single-player score chasing on Xbox, hit me up so at least I’m playing against someone paying attention..

  29. Cloks says:

    Dungeons and Dragons! Starting a new campaign that I’ve been waiting for for about half a year. Besides that, I pirated Kentucky Route Zero, played about two minutes, felt really bad and bought it. I’ll probably play the first episode through this weekend and it seems pretty great.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Are you playing 4th edition?  What’s the campaign about?

      • Cloks says:

        3.5 and I’m not really sure. There’s a military and some sort of war going on and we’re playing a bunch of Kobolds.

        • djsubversive says:


          Monster-race campaigns are great. 

          semi-related story (got longer than anticipated): We had an Eberron campaign that wasn’t exactly monster-race-centered, but we discovered and re-started an old dwarven fortress near the border of Brelynd (the country with Sharn) and some monster-country to the west (all I can remember is that it starts with a D… Dromund?). We originally started as a travelling circus, but sort of became politicians and ambassadors after we restarted the dwarven city-fortress, with outcaste dwarves and refugees and other people who we convinced that working with us was a better choice than working against us. Also, only one of us was a dwarf, and he became king and did more background stuff (because the player moved). 

          We had to clear the dwarven city-fortress out, and we discovered that there was a bunch of mines that were still good, an underground lake, and a tunnel that led to the Eberron equivalent of the Underdark. 

          We got an alliance of all the members of the Five Nations, plus some representatives from the monster-nation, and some of the local kobolds who were living in our mine (with the dragon they worshipped). With everyone helping (and dying instead of us), we cleared out the tunnel, got down to Khyber, and murdered a sleeping god-thing. This gave us some pull with the Five Nations and Dromund (the King of Brelynd liked our circus, so we didn’t have to worry about him). 

          We eventually ended up establishing trade relations with the 3 hags that run the monster country, and got the monster-nation to join the world economy, and set up a member of the banking house with them. 

          The game sort of fell apart after it turned into a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of breaking away from Brelynd and becoming an independent (but allied) nation-state. We’re a border territory with Dromund; they could try to annex us! That’s why we pulled them into the Khyber-Cleanse and worked so hard to get them to be part of the world economy – we wanted to be on the best possible terms politically with the nation where all the ogres and giants and hags and other horrible evil d&d monsters live.

          We may be playing D&D ‘wrong,’ but we have fun so it’s right.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I’m doing pathfinder now, which I enjoy a lot.  But I do miss 3.5 for all the ridiculous prestige classes.
             So is your group a platoon of low-level Kobold pawns?  Are you going to slowly work your way through the ranks to become unlikely generals in the war?  Or defect and open a pleasant bistro in a quaint, pastoral village?

      • Cloks says:

        We’re all level 6 but we’re ridiculously over-powered, right now I’m a swordsage with all kinds of maneuvers and stances. I’m not sure how we’ll all end up but I’m playing a true neutral character for the first time and I like to get into the RP part more than the rest of my group so it should be interesting.

        • djsubversive says:

          Alignment is the worst. Everyone should just pick a fictional character or couple of traits (like Nature and Demeanor from the old World of Darkness games).

          My Eberron Cleric of the Traveller had the alignment of “Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and the Traveller is basically Rufus.” This was also the character that fought with 2 shields, one of which he could throw Captain America-style, and rode on a silver surfboard-thing (they’re called “skyboards” or something, and in Eberron, they’re used to get around Sharn, the fantasy New York City), so it’s not like it was all that serious anyway.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow says:

      Hey Don’t do that! You give them their money right now! I paid two whole dollars for the privilege to buy KR0 for five dollars!
      And it was worth it!

  30. Thomas Crane says:

    My Gunzerker is now level 32 in Borderlands 2, prior to even getting out of the Arid Nexus. Can’t wait to get that thing to 50.

  31. Basement Boy says:

    Gonna take another stab at The Cave, love the silly quirk factor and the graphics are twistedly gorgeous, but trying to get a PS3 controller to work via iMac/Steam has been a real hassle… was really hoping to not have to play it via keyboard.

    • Jackbert322 says:

      Use Enjoy. It lets you map your keys to controller buttons and actually works for PS3 controllers and Macs. It’s a bit of a pain to have to plug in your Dualshock and open Enjoy every time, but if you really want/need a controller, that’s the way to go.

    • Raging Bear says:

      Oddly, I’ve found that though plugging it in via usb produces the weird cycle of constant bluetooth pairing attempts, if I just start the game, it usually works fine.

  32. jessec829 says:

    I think I’ll finish up Gravity Rush and then start either Ragnarok Odyssey on the Vita or FF XIII-2 on PS3. I feel silly sitting on my couch and playing my portable, but my searing hatred for FF XIII leaves me reluctant to actually try FF XIII-2, even though I bought on based on people’s assurances that it’s much better that XIII. Of course what I really want is to play Ni No Kuni, but that will have to wait until next Thursday, a magical day also known as payday.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Question about Gravity Rush. How good are you with the controls with the gravity slide? I’ve been replaying all the replayable missions, trying to unlock the gold scores, but I just can not get the hang of those slide ones.

      • RE: Gravity Rush. Getting the gold score on all those missions is DIFFICULT. I never found them unfair though — just took (quite) a few tries to learn the course. And getting some upgrades to Kat’s abilities took some of the edge off.

      • jessec829 says:

        I don’t think I’ve gotten gold scores on any of the non-combat replayables. I don’t really care, though. I like to be able to play a game well enough to enjoy it (i.e., get through it with minimal frustration), but I’m not a completionist. As Pseudonym Jones says below or above, upgrades really help with improving my replayable scores, but I don’t think I have enough room between my current status and my upgrade ceiling to get much better without actually improving my own skills significantly . . . and I’m unlikely to put in the time and effort needed for that.

        There are some guides online with tips on getting the gold, though, that you might check out if it’s keeping you up at night.

    • Citric says:

      If you get far enough into FFXIII-2, you get to see Hope die. It wasn’t quite as graphic as I was hoping, but it still happens. Best part of the game.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Yeah, but it’s a bit dampered by the fact that the death happens in an alternate timeline.

        • Citric says:

          I was pretty disappointed when the characters wanted to save him. He’s up there with Ashley from Mass Effect as a character I’d gleefully kill as many times as possible.

      • AmaltheaElanor says:

        But what about Snow?  I found him more annoying than Hope.  (I also have yet to play XIII-2 but it’s on my shelf.)

      • Pandas_please says:

         Is it in stunning slow-mo because if it is that just might make me purchase that game.

  33. OhHaiMark says:

    It’s all Ni No Kuni, all the time ’round here this weekend. It’s just SO delightful.

  34. His_Space_Holiness says:

    I’m PS3-less for the forseeable future, so for me it’s all about the PC games that I can play on my laptop. Right now it’s XCOM, with my all-song-character army (I recently reloaded a save after losing only one soldier because there is NO WAY IN HELL I’m letting Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner get taken out by some putz Muton) and the old adventure game The Longest Journey. I’m particularly enjoying the latter’s nutty story and horrifying CGI cutscenes. Aw, it’s not their fault, it’s just old!

  35. Eco1970 says:

    I and my friends have mostly been playing the boardgame Android lately. It’s awesome, but insanely fiddly.

  36. Eco1970 says:

    I and my friends have mostly been playing the boardgame Android lately. It’s awesome, but insanely fiddly. I’m playing Fallout: New Vegas in my pants a lot too, when I’m alone.

      • Pandas_please says:

         This is either a strange auto correct thing or the weirdest euphemism I’ve ever heard.

      • Eco1970 says:

        My flat is quite warm so when I’m at the PC I usually take my trousers off and just wear my noxers and a t-shirt.

        When my friends come round to play Android pr Arkham Horror or Supremacy or Risk:Legacy pr Cosmic Encounter, though, we play in the gaming room, which isn’t so hot, so I wear trousers.

        • djsubversive says:

          Way to ruin the moment by explaining yourself, guy. Trying to come up with New Vegas-themed masturbatory euphemisms is the most fun I’ve had all day.

          For the record, all I could think of was something about Vault 21 being filled in. heh, filled.

          SPOILER: well, that and “fucking and killing Benny in his sleep” but that’s less “euphemism” and more “the best way to deal with him.”

          I’ve had a boring day.

        • doyourealize says:

          Soooo…it wasn’t a typo?

  37. I recently got a PS3 after being a PC gamer for about 17 years so I’m catching up on all the consoley stuff that’s passed me by. Currently working my way through the Metal Gear series (finished 2, ready to start 3) and Final Fantasy xiii-2.

    I also ordered ICO/Shadow of the Colossus and Demons Souls which should drop any day now but I need to stay focused. If I walk away from FF, I know I’ll probably never pick it up again.

    • As long as you’re exploring console/PS3 exclusives, be sure to check out (among many others) Journey, Little Big Planet1/2, God of War 3, and if you enjoy Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls is 100% worth checking out.

      • The graphics won’t be an issue, the first game I got on the console was the original PSone Metal Gear and it didn’t really bother me after the initial 10 minutes or so.

        And thanks for the suggestions, I completed Dark Souls on PC and it’s easily one of my top 5 games of all time.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

       ICO/Shadow of the Colossus were the best games of the PS2 generation.  A word of caution, though: the transition to HD was unfortunately inconsistent and can lead to some off-putting moments where a previously beautiful game intermittently looks quite unfinished.  Don’t let that take you out of the moment and you’ll be fine.

  38. uselessyss says:

    Well, I’m pretty sure I’m near the end of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, so I’ll be finishing that.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it – I did get this far, so I guess I like it well enough.

    In many ways it’s the pinnacle of the “golden age of 2D adventure games” in the ’90s. The hand-drawn animation is gorgeous, and still very impressive ~15 years later. The background art is nice, too, but its really the many custom animations that stand out. The voice-acting is also good (not great), and I like that it takes place in the “real world,” unlike so many other adventure games.

    On the other hand, it also embodies many of the worst aspects of adventure games. It feels sluggish – that might seem like a weird criticism of this type of game, but it still bugs me. Everything – walking from one side of the screen to the other, transitions between screens, even looking at your inventory – takes longer than it should. I’m all for deliberate pacing, but when a game forces you to backtrack constantly, I want to do it quickly.

    Many of the puzzles are incredibly illogical, as well, and I think they feel especially out-of-place because of the realistic setting. I used a walkthrough a couple of times, and my reaction to the solutions was usually “How the hell was I supposed to figure that out?” rather than “Man, I should have known!” The game frequently gives you too few clues, and I was often in a position where I didn’t even know what my goal was. Because of this, you end up talking to everyone you can two or three times about every single item in your inventory, which gets tedious quickly.

    That being said, the story’s kind of entertaining in a dumb way – plausibility is quickly left in the dust, and you’re left with a wildly careening tone and some cheesy humor. The main character will talk about one item in absurdly poetic prose, and in the next second he’ll make an eye-rollingly dumb wisecrack. There’s almost a strange (probably unintentional) charm to the whole thing, which is probably why I’ve made it this far and why I’ll finish it.

    Wow, I wrote a hell of a lot about this stupid adventure game.

  39. I’m planning on doing another run through The Cave this weekend — it’s pretty repetitive (as mentioned in the review here) but I’m still enjoying it. I think the characters are interesting, and I want to see what happens in all the character-specific levels.

    One thing I really like about The Cave are its achievements (kind of silly, I know), which harken back to the early days of achievements, when they weren’t just a list of mundane tasks you’d tick off on your way to the ending (or, god forbid, a couple hundred scattered trinkets to collect). The Cave’s achievements are for the most part rewards for lateral thinking — like, in one case, I was trying to solve a puzzle the wrong way and a trophy popped which validated my (albiet incorrect) line of reasoning. I like that.

    Other than that, I’ll still be playing Awesomenauts. I’ll be waiting right here, whenever anybody decides to be interested in Awesomenauts enough to discuss it. Just… just let me know.

  40. Effigy_Power says:

    Got some more sky to rim, thanks to the Dawnguard thing.
    It’s a bit disheartening to do the same questline over again after finishing it with a character I made to be a vampire. I understand it’s a lot of work and voice acting and such, but the difference between the two is virtually inconsequential. I am playing a male Orc werewolf, who is also leader of the companions, wears heavy armor and swings a massive axe, mostly because that’s almost a carbon copy of my female Nord, who was fun. While archery and sneaking is still my preferred style of playing TES games, it’s just still way too broken. With Auriel’s bow and some hefty glass or ebony arrows and sneaking slightly leveled, nothing can really withstand a quick barrage, so it sort of takes all the challenge out of the game.

    I also finally snapped up the new CK2 DLC “The Republic”, so I will try and create a family of money-grubbing sycophants who shake your hand with the right and put a dagger in your gut with the left… Mafioso basically.

    And on Saturday evening I will be playing “Seven Wonders” with some friends. It’s a great board-game with wonderful rules and just a lot of flow.

  41. robthom says:

    ” “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” and “Pictures Of Your Dick””

    A broad with a potty mouth,
    thats funny

  42. djsubversive says:

    This weekend, I’ll be playing (as usual) PlanetSide 2, Gothic 3, and working on my ArmA 2 mission (possibly actually maybe testing it finally). And, in case anyone wants a visual log of my progress (and lots of pictures of an explosion from multiple angles), my ArmA 2: OA Screenshot library: http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198000981147/screenshots/?appid=33930&sort=newestfirst&browsefilter=myfiles&view=imagewall

    PlanetSide 2 can be frustrating or awesome, or somewhere in between. The other night, I joined a random squad that was part of a nearly-full platoon (squads can be up to 12 people, platoons can be up to 4 squads), and we proceeded to kick ass all over Indar. Highlights included holding a tower against the Vanu and the Terrans for almost 45 minutes (it was a 3-way fight, but the tower was the goal and we kept it from them), and mass-dropping on a tech plant in need of defenders, turning the battle around in about a minute.

    So far, we have Hobbes, Emperor Norton, Citizen Snips (sorry, SNIIIIPS!!!), and myself in the Gameological outfit, but never all 4 of us at the same time. We had 3 once, and a couple of my buddies who play, which brought us up to 6 people. But I’ve had some good luck lately playing with the Terribles or Terribads or whatever they’re called. They work together as a group (mostly), and actually communicate with each other, unlike most of the random squads I’ve been put into.

    Gothic 3: Fuck yeah. This game is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s big and open-ended, doesn’t tell you what to do (or where to go), and doesn’t give a fuck about the player being “special.” I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to sack a castle, now that I’ve got someone backing me up to help take away some of the threat. I’m trying to finish as many quests for people as I can before I liberate their towns – I may have to come back to the castle after I find the rest of the Fire Goblets, because I’ve got paladins all over whining at me about their magic.

    Another thing that I like, but could see to be frustrating: when you fast-travel (using teleport runes that you can find near the major settlements), your companion (Diego in my case) stays where they were when you magicked yourself away. Because they don’t have a teleport rune, you see.

    I just learned how to fight with 2 swords from one of the Nomads in the desert that I’m supposed to kill for a bounty (I’m not going to do that though, because dude just taught me how to fight with 2 swords). Then I had to make the long trek back to Myrlana on foot, so I can try to take out some orcs guarding the pass to Nordmaar so that I can THEN hunt down white wolves up there and bring their pelts to some stoned inventor guy in the desert will give me the plans for a ship that some other guy in Myrlana wants. Probably the longest quest I’ve been on so far, just because it makes you cross most of the world twice. Damn, I love this game.

  43. valondar says:

    I’ve been severely frustrated with Witcher, the one game I promised myself I’d get through. I’ve seen someone on the internet describe it as a game that was popular because it was a BioWare-style RPG (on a BioWare engine, no less) released during the drought while everyone waited for the healing tonic that was Dragon Age: Origins… and that’s about all the sense I can make of people particularly liking this game.

    Okay fine. The combat is different. I can’t say playing a Witcher reminds me THAT much of classes in other RPGs – it’s an interesting blend of creating the right alchemical potions and using your different fighting stances. It’s quite literally a click-to-kill affair, but I’m more forgiving of that in RPGs than most.

    The voice acting is mediocre at best, awful at worst. The writing likewise – while it occasionally rises to the event (the titular Witcher Geralt was given a nice little speech at the end of the first chapter) it can just wallow in being the kind of faux profundity you imagine self-important teenage DMs (totally beings unlike myself as a teenager) must engage in. Geralt had a weirdly whiny and nonsensical aside with a friend of his about the meaning of order and chaos and the role Witchers play that seemed so damned sophomoric. My first impression of the guy was Elric without the stuff that made Elric cool, and it hasn’t changed much.

    I won’t rag too much on the game for having repetitive loading screens, or it’s endless use of the same character models… and I probably shouldn’t touch the game’s take on romance – or sex achievements, basically – with a ten foot pole. Whatever else that is the writing of the supposed sexy banter is so stiff and unnatural I feel like forgiving BioWare for all their cornier romance options.

    People keep telling me that the sequel is one of the best RPGs of recent years, especially for people like me, who love CRPGs which have a lot of, you know, story and dialogue and interesting choices. Some of them also tell me to skip the Witcher and just get to that. But I’m stubborn so I refuse to.

    Just so I didn’t feel like I was going out of my head, been dicking around with a new Planescape: Torment game. Even when I’m in the Mortuary with a floating skull chatting up zombies, that’s a more fun game.

    • djsubversive says:

      Saints Row The Third is pure fun. The only downside is that cutscenes keep me from shooting (or punching) everything that I don’t blow up first.

  44. ferrarimanf355 says:

    Gonna dive deep into Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends in preparation for Project CARS…

  45. dantebk says:

    I’ll definitely be playing a lot of Resonance this weekend. I’m loving that game. The last time I played I went into it feeling like “I’m completely stuck, I have no idea what to do next, and I’ll have to look up some hints just to keep going”, then within the hour inspiration struck and I solved several major puzzles in succession. For me, that’s the best feeling an adventure game can deliver, and an indication of good design.

    Beyond that, I can’t decide. I have Ni No Kuni from Gamefly and I’ve downloaded The Cave and Cart Life, so I’ll probably start one of those.

  46. Colin says:

    This weekend it’s the original Borderlands, AKA Fetch Quest: The Game. Single player is pretty dull, but playing it in co-op with my nephew is much more fun – and challenging. The enemies are all 1-3 levels higher and there’s more badass units. What with every mob dogpiling us, and them respawning, we have to revive each other almost every step. Trying to teach him the ins and outs of gun selection is difficult when he goes for the ones that “look cool”.

  47. Citric says:

    I don’t know if anyone cares about my adventures in Romancing SaGa, but I just beat it in the most thematically appropriate way so I feel like telling the story.

    So, as I complained about before, the final boss in RS is a pain in the ass, but this time around I was doing rather well. He didn’t get to animate any dead, I was hitting hard, and even healing everyone before his big stupid attack which sucks, also known as Rain of Swords. So I was feeling confident, until he finally did his big attack again before everyone was healed up.

    By a stroke of luck I had one guy, the main character. He managed to shield the attack. Everyone else was dead. I knew he’d start animating all the dead. So I figured “well, I’m boned” and decided to just screw it, and use some powerful attacks that consumed LP. LP is the big life measure in RS, run out of it you’re screwed. But hey, it’s the final boss, I’m screwed anyway, let’s do this. 

    First time, it hits decent, animate dead doesn’t work, and I’m golden. Second time, it triggers a glimmer – that’s where new attacks come from, basically – and I get this super powerful thing which looks pretty good. Then it appears as though he’s using Rain of Swords.

    “Well I’m boned,” I think.

    But then he starts talking. He starts going on about how it was’t supposed to be this way, and he’s going to take me down with him.

    Did… did I just win?

    I DID WIN!


    So I have beat Romancing SaGa, with a lucky shot from my main character, who is the last guy standing. RS is a bit about luck, a bit about perseverance, and a lot about the character you pick at the beginning. Could there be a better way to finish off the final battle?

  48. Reuben says:

    I started playing Chrono Cross for the first time last week. Going to attempt to get some hours in on that.

    So far the battle system is really putting me off. Like I have to stop enjoying the game and go on gamefaqs to get shit done.  I think I have come to realize that the ever more complex battle systems put me off of most new JRPG’s, which makes me mad because old JRPG’s still rank as some of my favorite games of all time.