What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Max Sebela

Max Sebela, gaming evangelist

The Tumblr games maven gives us an early preview of an upcoming party game that will give Apples To Apples a run for its money.

By John Teti • February 1, 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.

Max Sebela is the Gaming Evangelist at Tumblr, that massive site where creative people share GIFs and illustrations and other nifty things. (Even The Gameological Society has a Tumblr, can you imagine?) Sebela’s job is to support the game-loving community on Tumblr, a gig he’s well-suited for as a part-time game designer himself. He spoke to Gameological about this new-fangled version of Risk where you tear up cards—that sort of nonsense never would have passed muster in my day—and a soon-to-be-released party game that one-ups Apples To Apples in the “loud subjective argument” department. (Full disclosure: Max is also a friend of mine, so if you’re wondering why I’m so rude to him in this conversation, it’s because he’s used to it.)

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Max Sebela: I am playing Risk: Legacy tomorrow night. I’m playing Little Inferno throughout the weekend, NBA 2K13, and a little game called Story War. You actually caught me on a pretty good weekend because tomorrow night, we’re unboxing our copy of Risk: Legacy for the first time. It’s going to be the the first match of a long series of the same group playing Risk: Legacy again and again and again, creating a little permanent world where bears fight mechs and we play Risk. Then on Saturday, we have an NBA 2K13 tournament, which is interesting because I’ve never played NBA 2K13, nor do I care much for sports games.

Gameological: Who are you playing these games with?

Sebela: We have sort of a revolving door that comes in and out of our apartment of just the same eight people that come over and play games. Depending on what the game is, it’ll look different. The Risk group is this sort of weird hodgepodge of startup people and NYU people, and then for 2K13, it’s like business and sports fans. It just so happens that our apartment has become the hub if these people are going to get together and play games.

Gameological: That’s cool, although I’ve never been invited to this.

Sebela: Maybe someday. Do you want to come over and play Risk: Legacy tomorrow?

Gameological: No, I’m not interested.

Sebela: It’ll be good! You could team up with me and try and explain the archaic bear-people of my own—

Gameological: Are you saying “bear-people”?

Sebela: So, Risk relaunched a sort of experimental special-edition version of itself—I believe last year—and the idea is that every game permanently modifies the world. So you’re drawing on the board, claiming new capital cities with stickers. You’re basically creating the world, and it carries over from game to game. You’re ripping up cards that will never come into play again. It builds up this bizarre canon of history, and with that came—because it had to take place in a fantasy world in a way that Risk doesn’t—they have five different race sets, one of which is these archaic savages that ride what look like direwolf-type bears. You see them fighting futuristic mech-robots. It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s a pretty cool step forward for that franchise.

Gameological: Now, why do you have to call it a “franchise”? It’s not a Carvel ice cream chain. It’s a work of art.

Sebela: Well, it is a franchise. Risk, I would actually say is an actual franchise. It’s gone through a ton of rule changes, and people have allegiances to one versus the other, the same way you might have an allegiance to a Star Wars movie. It feels like a franchise. The iterations kind of matter.

Gameological: It’s a series, though. “Franchise” is such an ugly word.

Sebela: What about the NBA? What would you call an NBA team?

Gameological: A team or a club, but “franchise” is acceptable in that context, I think. When it’s talking about works of art like games, I hate this word “franchise.” It’s a marketing term. We don’t even use it on the site.

Sebela: That’s permanently removed from your style guide?

Gameological: That’s right.

Sebela: In the case of something like Mario, how do you avoid the term “franchise”? Because you’re talking about dozens of games that might share very little with one another, that ultimately compose something that doesn’t really have a canon or a level continuity. Mario Party is not taking place in the same world as Super Mario Land. It’s not happening. But how do you aptly describe the fact that it’s all encompassing the same set of characters and whatnot?

Gameological: “The Mario games.”

Sebela: [Laughs.]

Gameological: See, that wasn’t that hard, right?

Sebela: “A game with Mario.”

Gameological: What games are popular in the Tumblr office?

Sebela: We have [an arcade] cabinet downstairs that we’ve been working on—that actually, you helped bring in. [I lugged part of this beast into Tumblr HQ one night. The heavy part. —Ed.] I think that Marvel Vs. Capcom has been going pretty consistently on that since it got brought in. We actually have been playing Story War, this game that actually comes out of Tumblr—it has all of its design processes in place right now. I don’t know if you’ve seen that on the development blog.

Gameological: Tell me about it.

Sebela: It’s still in beta. It’s going to enter Kickstarter soon. They’re still balancing it and everything like that. It came up as a solution to the fact that games of Apples To Apples all just result in non-funny exchanges of lack of logic. You’re basically just throwing down cards, and people are like, “Haha, that’s funny. That’s the best one. I’m going to go with that.” There’s no internal logic to it.

So they decided to pull from quasi-Greek, quasi-comics mythology and create a similar type of subjective arguing game where the judge throws down a setting, and then each player chooses from their hand who they think would best perform in that setting. You end up with things like a grassy knoll—a field—and you wind up with a fairy versus a minotaur. You have to argue back and forth and convince the judge why [your chosen hero] would work out the best. So it’s subjective and really hilarious because it’s just screaming at one another, and choosing what you think a fairy is or a minotaur is. You wind up with these really bizarre match-ups where you might be pulling from your Harry Potter allegiance versus someone’s Hobbit allegiance for what a minotaur or centaur might do.

Gameological: Usually these What Are You Playing interviews are with people who don’t have a connection to the game industry, so I’m going to get in trouble with the staff for cheating on this one. Maybe you could tell me a non-gaming-related thing you’re doing this weekend to balance it out.

Sebela: You want me to say something about the Super Bowl?

Gameological: No, that’s game-related. That’s a bad example.

Sebela: I’m doing mostly game-related stuff this weekend. I’m going to Brooklyn Brewery to watch the Super Bowl but also to participate in the Tumblr/Food Republic/Brooklyn Brewery Puppy Bowl. We’ll see how that works out.

Gameological: I hate that Puppy Bowl stuff.

Sebela: You don’t like to see adorable things all flopping around one another?

Gameological: I like that, but I don’t like how the Puppy Bowl has become the default counter-cultural, “Oh, aren’t we funny? We’re going to watch the Puppy Bowl instead of the Super Bowl!” thing.

Sebela: At the same time, Animal Planet has figured out how to take some eyes away from the biggest sporting event of the year, and all it is is putting a crap camera on a table full of puppies. It’s kind of grotesque in that way, but it’s pretty awesome that they can draw eyes away with it. I don’t say, “I’m watching the Puppy Bowl instead of the Super Bowl,” but for picture-in-picture purposes, it sounds pretty great.

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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  • Drew Toal

    I’m about half a beer away from getting Crono back. 

    • PaganPoet

      How did you win that minigame in Bekkler’s Lab if you were inebriated?

      • Drew Toal

        Great question. I admit, I haven’t actually been drinking. It’s more I just like to think of commodities like time and, say, temporal voodoo resurrection rites in terms of beers consumed/not consumed. 

        • PaganPoet

          It’s like that cheesy ass song from Rent, only awesome.

          How do you measure a year? In beers.

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          Too bad, I was just about to anoint you as Drew Toal: Bud Fiend.

      • Citric

        In my experience, when gaming, alcohol level can briefly enhance performance, before greatly decaying performance moments later. If you are in Bekkler’s lab at prime blood alcohol level, you can be totally awesome for at least a few minutes before the skill crash.

        Note that the skill crash happens just before you start trying to convince other people that you’re tooootally better at things when you’re drunk guyz.

        • Enkidum

          I clearly remember one conversation with a friend who doesn’t drink in a bar, after a night of serious boozing and, uh, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes? Anyways, he’s a sharp character, and spent a lot of time around drunk fucks like me, and I’m always fairly self-analytical. So I asked him why he thought I liked to annihilate my brain in this manner.

          OK, I don’t clearly remember all the conversation, but he said something something something about how it seemed like people like to forget themselves and cut loose and basically pretty sensible stuff. And I started talking about how it just seemed a bit strange to me that this was a thing I enjoyed – that the times when I was drunk and most happiest were the times when I was basically in control of my body, not acting like a stereotypical drunk, and just kind of cruising on all cylinders. (I am mostly making this up – this was like 5 years ago and fucked if I remember exactly what was said, but this is more or less the gist of it.)

          As I was describing how physically in control I was, I took a step backwards, which was a bad idea as we were in an area of the bar which was sort of a raised platform, and I tumbled backwards down the stairs in a heap.

          I didn’t feel very good about myself after that.

          Anyone want a drink?

        • Captain Internet

          @Enkidum:disqus smoking hand-rolled cigarettes?
          I’ll have you know that hand-rolled cigarettes- the ones that don’t contain ILLEGAL DRUGS that is- are much more pleasant than the dry, expensive, chemical-infused things you get in packets. Learning to roll a perfect cigarette is a life skill, on the same level as learning CPR or how dice an onion. On top of that, they’re cheaper, and you get so many more options! 

          You’ve a choice of tobacco, a choice of paper, a choice of filter- it’s like a cancerous Subway. Well, more cancerous.

          And it enables you to blend in with the rough sorts down at the docks.

          *sigh*

          I almost wish I hadn’t given up.

        • Bad Horse

          I find alcohol to be nothing but an impediment to successful XCOM. I might lose my first Ironman and it’s all beer’s fault.

        • DrFlimFlam

          A couple beers made me a wonder at Rainbow Six 3 because I wasn’t as jittery with my aim. That was fun.

    • Chum Joely

      Well, my gaming time is most definitely measured out in beers and hits of herbal sunshine. I’m starting to distinguish between games, though, since the more realistic and story-driven games are definitely way too confusing to play after smoking, especially when beer is also in the mix. Like I’ll get some critical dialog option in Mass Effect and I’m like… “What planet are they talking about again? How will this choice affect me? … Man, my crew is hot. Is there a mod that lets you have a four-way?”

      Child of Eden, Rayman Origins, Hotline Miami and Super Hexagon, on the other hand… yeah, those just keep getting better right up until about 5 minutes before my brain completely disengages.

      • Chum Joely

        “What Are You Playing This Weekend?” is excluded from  Comment Cat consideration, right? ‘Cause it’d be just my luck to have my comment about drunken incompetence and lust for videogame characters be selected as my big post for the week.

      • PaganPoet

        Shep + Liara + Tali + ???? Who would your 4th companion be?

        • Chum Joely

          Kaidan can come along for the ride, he seems like he’d be GGG (as Dan Savage’s cryogenically preserved head in a jar would put it IN THE FUTURE). Plus, biotics. Tell me those wouldn’t come in handy at certain key moments.

          Garrus is cool and all, but uh… those mandibles or whatever you call those curious mouthparts do not fill me with a feeling of overwhelming sexiness.

  • Cloks

    I’m playing Dominion and probably a little Dota 2. I beat Kentucky Route Zero: Act One last weekend and it’s really fantastic. If anyone is thinking of getting it, it’s worth the seven or twenty five bucks and you’ll want a season pass after the first episode.

    • Chum Joely

      Interesting. I still have only gotten through the very short first scene and although it was unique, cool atmosphere, etc., I didn’t feel all that excited to plunge forward into the story.

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

      I’m on the fence as I’ve heard it’s less of a game than even Walking Dead, and the majority of the game is spent reading text. Is this true?

      • Cloks

        It’s much less of a game, almost a guided text experience. I guess it’s more like a visual choose your own adventure but it’s done very well.

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

          I’ll have to ‘hmmmm’ on it for a while.  What I’ll probably do is wait for all the episodes to come out like I did for WD.  I really dig the game’s aesthetics from what I’ve seen.

    • Chum Joely

      so @Cloks:disqus , if I do end up changing my mind and going for the season pass after the first episode, do I still pay $25 for it, for a total of $32?  (Assuming that this is how you did it…)

      • Cloks

        Sadly, I went for the whole package. They haven’t added an option to pay a reduced price for the whole game yet but they (being the people who make the game) have talked about adding it once the second episode surfaces.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I’ll probably be playing Dominion (Intrigue, if that matters) and Dota as well! I haven’t tried KRZ yet, but i’m in actual Kentucky and I very well may be travelling this weekend, so essentially we’re the same person.

      I actually am hoping to get a game of Battlestar Galactica going, too, but I don’t think things are looking very bright on that front.

      • Cloks

        I’m not in actual Kentucky, but I’ve been there enough to say that Route Zero manages to capture the parts of it that aren’t overtly stereotyped – if you play it, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how well it embodies a semi-mystical adventure through the bluegrass state.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I’m looking forward to trying it, it certainly looks very pretty. I’m not sure about how to buy it though, the full thing or one at a time. I’ll probably wait for a steam sale, cause money.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    I love the Puppy Bowl…or at least the idea of it.  I’d be more inclined to watch that than an actual entire Super Bowl game.

    I’ll be continuing to play Dishonored if/when I have time, and am considering whether to continue with EVE Online or let my subscription expire.  I might split the difference and only resub ONE of my two accounts.

    • Bakken Hood

      WTF, Gameological?  The Puppy Bowl might be the most brilliant bit of commercial substrate ever conceived.  You’re not supposed to watch it in place of the Super Bowl, you watch it for a few seconds at a time when the Super Bowl isn’t doing anything.  The whole point is, you put Puppy Bowl on the second biggest TV in the room, watch it intermittently with one eye, enjoy the hell out of it, and not worry about missing an epic play or a key plot development.  And puppies are the best thing ever.

      • TaumpyTearrs

        First off, I hate sports. I just don’t care to watch them or participate in them, and thanks to commercials and the way it is played, football is probably the most boring sport of all to watch (other than maybe baseball).

        So if I have nothing to do during the SuperBowl and don’t feel like putting on a movie, my friends and I are gonna watch the Puppy Bowl goddammit. Its not some ironic counter-cultural statement, I hate sports and I love puppies. And I am genuinely amused by the “referee” who will give puppies penalties. The reason it has become the dominant alternative is because there is NOTHING else on. Nobody wants to compete with the Superbowl.

        People watching the Superbowl “for the ads”, or people who have no other interest in football but watch it because its an event are deserving of scorn, not the adorable puppies. For shame, Teti.

        • doyourealize

          Well aren’t you the little counter-culture revolutionary!

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

          I think I’ve mentioned this either here or on AVC before, but I still don’t actually know how Football “works,” despite having been forced to sit through two Super Bowls, and having ostensibly played the game once or twice in gym class growing up.

          Anyway, what options are there for us sticks in the mud who hate football, but also hate dogs? WHERE’S MY KITTY BOWL? (Soupy-bowl?)

        • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

          Overall, the TV landscape isn’t too different from a typical Sunday. Fox and ABC have their regular lineups (reruns). Downton is new. HBO is new (although technically the episodes will be aired first on Saturday). NBC is the only one doing anything “special” by re-running an old SNL retrospective.

          I don’t really care about the Superbowl, but I don’t feel as if I need an “alternative” to it.

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus For some reason I read that as “in gym class, throwing up”.

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

          Football is pretty much a strategy RPG.

          Think of the coaches as players. Each “player” chooses 11 athletes, or soldiers, to go up against 11 other soldiers.

          Each soldier has certain stats and skills that the player-coach take in consideration when deciding who goes on the field of play. Quarterbacks are your “captains,” or your main soldiers. You basically keep him alive all the time and is the least expendable.

          A “play” is basically the player-coach inputting individual commands to each player (which is preplanned through prep and practice), pushing “go” and watching the commands execute themselves. Each “down” is a battle sequence, and the key is to gain ten yards per 4 downs, or chances.

          Actually victory is attributed to reaching the end zone within those 4 downs within a certain time limit, and whichever side reaches that endzone the most wins.

          Looking at a football game, with its rules and schemes and complications is not at all different than looking at a Magic the Gathering game or Civ V game and trying to figure it out. Hell, fantasy football is practically MtG but online.

          I’m not sure why so many geeks disparage sports when it’s really just the whole concept of “game” with an athletic bent. Both Mark Sanchez and Dave Scott both received death threats, so, really, it’s really all two sides of the same coin.

        • Citric

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus  There’s a kitten half-time show in the puppy bowl.

        • Chum Joely

          @facebook-501651:disqus Similar analysis at Kotaku:

          http://kotaku.com/5980571/football-the-kotaku-review

        • http://twitter.com/jessefuchs Jesse Fuchs

          You know, as far as ironic counter-cultural statements go, watching puppies flop around in a parody of a game that is a) the multi-billion-dollar dominant national sport of its time and b) being revealed as a brain-destroying, crime-facilitating arena of horrors at an almost exponential pace actually seems fairly ethically coherent. I’ll tune in tomorrow.

  • rvb1023

    New PS3 + Finally arrived Wizard’s Edition = Ni No Kuni all weekend long. Path of Exile if I get bored.

    • Cheese

       Ni No Kuni plus Persona 4 Arena for me. And I got the digital version of NNK so I never even have to switch discs. I love the future.

      • PaganPoet

        Hey, I saw you online and totally put in P4A to try to invite you for a match, but for the life of me couldn’t figure out how to do it. I was also really drunk at the time. Do you know what to do?

        • Enkidum

          Yeah, just keep drinking and it’ll be all good, son. (or, uh, daughter? can’t remember)

        • PaganPoet

          @Enkidum:disqus Son is right. Don’t let the little pink-haired dolly fool you, I just like her because she is pissed off and coming to snatch somebody’s weave.

        • Enkidum

          Good thing I don’t have a weave, then.

        • Cheese

          If it’s like Blazblue, after you create a room some poorly labeled button sends an invite. We’ll hammer it out this weekend. My Yu is getting pretty adequate if I do say so myself. I know most of the moves. Awww yeah.

  • PaganPoet

    I’m barreling on in the Mass Effect Trilogy.

    Mass Effect 2 is all well and done. Tread carefully to my Mass Effect buddies who haven’t played it before, spoilers may follow.

    I was worried about Thane, mostly on the suicide mission, since I screwed up his loyalty mission and did not gain his loyalty. Thankfully, I chose everyone for the right roles and my entire squad pulled through unscathed.

    I’m a fair bit into Mass Effect 3 so far. First impressions is that they definitely amped up the difficulty of battles from ME2, but not quite to the levels of ME1. Enemies are generally smarter, too. This isn’t a game where you can just stay in cover the whole time, because the enemies will flank you and you will die.

    Graphics have been amped up too! I was surprised that I was able to make Carlos Shepard look not only normal, but actually kind of handsome! Quelle surprise!

    The layout of the game seems to be more…jumbled than ME2. In ME2, the galaxy map had all your important and story related missions listed out for you, and thus you were free to explore the other clusters as you so please. ME3 still has that, I guess, but for some reason it seems less user-friendly.

    Enjoying it immensely so far, I’m happy to see all these stories wind up. It was quite a surprise to finally meet a female Krogan and discover she’s wearing a hijab and niqab! Who knew Krogans were conservative muslims? I like the small touch of giving Javik an African accent, it fits, since Protheans were an ancient race.

    Romance wise, I’m finally excited that Carlos can feel free to express his love for Kaidan. Kaidan’s been released from the hospital after recuperating, so I’m not sure where he is now. I’m sure he’ll turn up in some story mission soon.

    But, oh god, I almost wanted to forget about Kaidan and romance Steve Cortez. POOR GUY! I almost lost it at the scene Shepard catches him listening to the recording of his last phone call with his husband. I wanna scoop him up and put him in a high cupboard out of harm’s way.

    I also really like that Specialist Traynor lady. She’s super cute, has a pleasant British accent, and has a lezzie crush on EDI. Is she romancable for a FemShep? Whenever Charlotte finally reaches this part of her journey, she will be looking for summa DAT.

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

      SPOILERS: FemShep can hop in the shower with Traynor.

      • PaganPoet

        Awwwwwww yissssssss

        • TaumpyTearrs

          SPOILER ALERT: And then since the Normandy is apparently full of gossips or voyeurs, Liara (or whoever you romanced previously) will find out and be all upset about it. C’mon, we’ve been away from each other for years, it was just a physical thing! Come back baby! Liaraaaaa!

        • Chum Joely

          @TaumpyTearrs:disqus Yeah, what is with that? Any time you do anything, everybody else on the ship has “heard a rumor on the lower decks” or whatever.  It’s the top ship of its class in the Alliance Navy, and socially it’s worse than high school.

    • Bakken Hood

      Carson Shepard (reminder: named for the mountain man, not the MTV douche) is back in action, compulsively taking the top-right dialogue choice every time because that’s what he does.  I’m wondering what will happen when he doesn’t get the right-trigger treatment during Certain Events on the Citadel…

      I’m enjoying the Infiltrator class as long as my sniper has ammo.  Gotta love the free bullet time, gotta hate the helplessness when empty.  I’m trying to make good use of my powers, but Incinerate has such a slow cooldown that I have little choice but to keep plinking the husks as they come.  Have to see how much my Spare Sniper Ammo mods help next mission.  I think my real problem is that I love my combo explosions too much; Terra Shepard the Adept blew shit up with the Pull-Throw combo, while Nora Shepard the Soldier set dudes on fire with incendiaries and kerploded them with Concussive Shot.  The best Carson can do is Incinerate enemies frozen by cryo ammo, which does a little splash damage if it kills an enemy.  I think the multiplayer got a few combo-splode tweaks that the singleplayer didn’t.  I might have to bite the bullet and start carrying more backup weapons.

      Please, nobody tell me if he ever finds out what Tali looks like under her mask.  I want to find out for myself.  Don’t know why I care so much.

      • PaganPoet

        I haven’t done a Soldier playthrough yet…just ’cause it seems too straightforward for me. I will do it eventually. I haven’t been an Engineer yet either.

        Carlos was an Adept, a Vanguard, and now an Infiltrator
        Charles (an older playthrough of ME2 from a few years ago) was a Sentinel

        I liked playing as an Adept, but I think ME1 was the wrong game to do it in. Biotics seem to be more useful in 2 and 3 (Stasis in ME1 was especially pointless)

        • Bakken Hood

          Yeah, the power-focused classes in ME1 were underpowered as hell.  A player with a gun was vastly more effective than a AI squadmate with a gun, while your squadmates’ powers were essentially identical to yours.  Heavy armor sealed the deal.  Once they added mechanics like arcing your power trajectories and *heart flutters just thinking about them* biotic explosions, playing an Adept became far more viable.  When I get around to playing on Insanity, I’ll probably recycle Terra the Adept.  Pull throw boom pull throw boom pull throw boom absolutely shreds a swarm of husks.

      • ToddG

        I played an Infiltrator with Incinerate as well, and I found that taking ONLY a sniper rifle (with an ammo-capacity mod) along with cooldown-boosting armor gave my Incinerate a cooldown of ~2 seconds.  It was awesome.

    • caspiancomic

       I fully did not read like 75% of this post, for fear of ME3 spoilers. I’ll come back to it when I’m further along in my own journey. Still, I’ll roll my post into yours anyway. Convenience!

      I’m currently 40 hours into Mass Effect 2, and extremely near the end. I’ve got to clean up all these Project Firewalker missions, and after that I’ve nowhere to go but the Omega 4 Relay. I just finished the Project Overlord mission, and now I’m going to have ten million billion nightmares simultaneously, because it was terrifying. That VI voice frightened the piss out of me every time, which I think was the point. I liked when it went all Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions at the end there, though, that was cool. And it was nice to have a boss fight that didn’t consist solely of squatting behind cover, killing a bunch of minions, then shooting the boss with a sniper rifle from the next town over.

      Other things of note: <3 <3 <3 <3 Thane Krios, where have you been all my life. I've been rolling with Thane and Mordin for almost every mission since I recruited him, and he'll have my eternal gratitude for doubling my probe count. I've now recruited all but one squad member, and still have no leads and no ideas about who the final member is. Do you collect them automatically as part of the plot? Is Martin Sheen going to give me another dossier at some point? Or do I just have to search every inch of every planet in every star system of every nebula in the galaxy? 'Cos I'll do it.

      Speaking of team members, I also did the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission. Heartbreak! Loss! Redemption! Acceptance! It was a pretty rad mission, I really liked it. It was fun chillin' with my favourite character again, even if in the end I'm not likely to see her again any time soon. (I think you can actually nip in and say hello now and again, but I haven't bothered so far.) Also, my emotional roller coaster ride went something like this: Woe! Patrick Shepard is separated from his soulmate, and shall never love again! Wait, hold up… Tali is on the menu this time? How does that even… oh, this I gotta see. So yeah, last time Pat Shep was all about the chocolate blueberry swirl, but this time around he's got the Flotilla Fever. By the end of ME2 I will now have bedded my two favourite characters from the original game. I hear ManShep can finally go gay in ME3… I wonder how Mordin feels about interspecies homosexual relationships…

      Anyway, I think this weekend I'll be able to polish off Project Firewalker and travel through the Omega 4 Relay to certain doom. I'm excited/terrified! The stakes feel really high here, which I suppose is a testament to the writing and atmosphere on display. In all likelihood when I report back next week I'll be 8 or 10 hours into ME3. Will compare notes then!

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        You should re-visit the Shadow Broker’s lair after every mission to pick up free upgrades and resources. 

      • Fluka

        Regarding the final dossier, and trying to avoid as many spoilers as possible, have you already done the Reaper IFF mission?

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Lair of the Shadow Broker is to date my favorite DLC addon of any game.  It just felt perfect for the price and the added story value.

      • PaganPoet

        I like Thane in battle, but tbh his character design kind of creeps me out. He looks slimy, and frog-lizard like.

        Not like Garrus, who looks like a kitty-bug.

      • Fluka

        @PaganPoet:disqus Part cat!  Part dinosaur!  Part bird!  Part cricket!  But *all* man.

      • PaganPoet

        btw, caspian, just a word of warning, be careful if you’re planning on switching lovers. It ~may~ just come back to haunt Pat Shep in Mass Effect 3, you never know. ;)

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      I finally finished ME3 on a “perfect” paragon run. I have no real complaints with the ending. My romance with Liara was appropriately heartbreaking. I’d love to revisit this universe again even though **SPOILERS** Shepard’s story is over.

      I’ve started a renegade Vanguard run in Mass Effect. Super Metroid is also on the table. 

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      BioWare did a great job at making the same-sex-only romantic interests completely irresistable.

      • PaganPoet

        I know. I’m gonna have to replay this game as a male again and make sure to romance Cortez. 

        • Chum Joely

          Well of course YOU like the same-sex pairings.  8^)

        • PaganPoet

          @ChumJoely:disqus Well, yeah, but that argument doesn’t work for why I like Specialist Traynor so much. Unless you figure the political/social aspect of it. =P

        • Chum Joely

          Well, all issues of sexiness aside, I definitely like the social/political aspects here. Yeah, there are women in combat and all other possible social roles. Yeah, military and other people are openly gay and bisexual and nobody bothers them about it. I even liked that when Ashley first mentioned that she strongly believed in God (apparently the Judeo-Christian one), my dialogue options ranged from “That’s fucked up” (paraphrasing!) to “I do too”. I feel like this is a pretty optimistic and engaging take on how humans would have evolved socially by the time we finally got out into space.

    • Chum Joely

      Perhaps, since we’re all playing the same game and/or planning to do so soon, now is the time for me to again shamelessly request friendships from you guys on PlayStation Network, for those of you who may be playing on PS3.

      So @PaganPoet:disqus , @caspiancomic:disqus , @Jackbert322:disqus , @Merve2:disqus and anyone else out there… feel free, invite away! My PSN name is the same as it is here (but as one word, of course). Maybe this will even lead to me doing actual online multiplayer for the first time ever!

      • Fluka

        Awww, I totally would, but I fear I only have a PC!  (Also: crippling social anxiety.)

        • Chum Joely

          The same opportunity exists on Steam, if that’s relevant for you. As for anxiety, do you really find online social interactions as intimidating as real-life ones? You seem to do just fine around here!

      • PaganPoet

        I’ll search you out. I’m RidiPagliaccio, so when you see that name, fear not. It’s not a sex offender looking to talk you…well at least not an unknown sex offender…

        • Chum Joely

          I promise not to be offended by your sex.

  • Citric

    Ni no Kuni – The Pokemon elements just opened up, and I’m not quite sure if I like that part very much. But then again, most of the time I’m just using my mite (named Hitty) and I’m totally happy with him. I dunno, I’ll take a cast of consistent characters I can grow attached to and develop habits with over collecting and switching them out. Everything else is pretty great though.

    Persona 2: IS – I was feeling a little down about a succession of kind of silly plot twists, and then the game dropped some steampunk Nazis from the sky. I guess I can forgive you, P2:IS.

    Silent Hill 3: Sometimes you don’t want a JRPG, or maybe the sunshine and happiness of NnK doesn’t seem appropriate. So I started SH3, and started the customary SH shouting at monsters to go away.

    • PaganPoet

      It’s a shame the Silent Hill HD Collection was such a clusterfuck, because I have been itching to replay the PS2 SH games. I remember SH3 especially making me feel really icky…I’m thinking of that scene in the storage room  with the big mirror in the hospital, where that dark, reddish liquid starts oozing all over the walls.

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

        I played SH2 on PC, which is a nice way to play it in HD without having to buy an HD collection.

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          On top of that, Silent Hill 3 on PC has downsampling built right into it. It looks ridiculously good.

    • indy2003

      Re: Ni no Kuni – I’ve been using my mite (“Demonboy”) at least 60-70% of the time as well – he’s just the most effective option in most cases. Every now and then I’ll run into something that one of the other critters is particularly well-equipped to handle, but Oliver’s spells and the mite’s physical attacks take care of most of it. I can see the appeal of trying to collect hundreds of different critters, but I’d rather have a small, solid core team.

  • Jackbert322

    I’m definitely with Teti on the Puppy Bowl. By all means, watch it if you want, but you’re not being terribly unique, so don’t tell me about how “WACKY” you are.

    Vidya games!

    On PS3: Finishing up some side quests before Virmire in Mass Effect. I’ll also be starting Infamous: Festival of Blood, a quick iteration of one of my favorite franchises (heh, I did that accidentally and just noticed before posting, SORRY John.) for one of my Four in February. (http://m.kotaku.com/5979310/end-the-shame-commit-to-four-in-february)

    On PSP: The weekend before last I picked up Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The two hours I’ve played have been pretty fun, so I’ll continue that. Also, I might finally get around to starting Persona 3 New Game+. I was trying to carry over my male character to max out all his corresponding social links, but haven’t been able to. This’ll sound really corny, and only those who have played the game will understand what I’m even talking about, but here’s why. When playing through, the choices I made related to Social Links were MINE. It was me, Jack-san the blue-haired wonder boy, who chose to hang out with an alcoholic monk and a shady businessman rather than girls. It was me who didn’t make enough time to help that little girl from the dysfunctional family, instead hanging out with Kenji the reverse-pedophile and that asshole Hidetoshi. So I don’t know, I might go back someday. I still REALLY want to finish up the Yukari and Mamuro links, to find out what happens to the bookstore couple and the gourmand, to even once talk to Aegis. But for now, I’m going to play through again as the female character. Some links might be the same; some might change. At least I know for sure I’ll have time for Aegis.

    On DS: Dayum, TWEWY chapter select is rather addictive. IF I can pull myself away from that, I’d like to start Devil Survivor 2. I dunno though. I’m probably also going to have trouble playing Crisis Core over Persona; probably shouldn’t have started that one right away. I couldn’t resist the siren call of that longgg sword!

    RPGs galore it is, mostly on the portable Japanese side!

    • PaganPoet

      FemC has completely different Social Links. I actually need to pick up P3P eventually, myself, and play through as her. But FIRST I need to finish my NG+ in P3FES and finish P2: Innocent Sin (excellent story and characters, the gameplay is…a little old school…in a bad way).

      • Citric

        I find that partway through P2 dungeons I just do conversations because I’m completely sick of combat, but usually the scene that follows will be so worth it that any misgivings about the gameplay fade away.

    • caspiancomic

       It’s been a while since I checked in with my P3:F NG+, but I’m deliberately exploring S Links I didn’t get around to last time (BeBe! Eeee!). The old couple at the book shop (they’re Hierophant, I think?) are actually really easy to max out. I think by now I’ve at least started every S Link I didn’t get to in my first play through, except for the ones that only open up after the summer vacation (I got Fuuka up to level 9 last time, but there just wasn’t time!). I also find it extremely adorable that Jack-san, like Jackbert, naturally gravitated towards alcoholics, white collar criminals, and willing victims of teacher/student sex scandals, and away from girls his own age.

      Also, I read somewhere that S Links are easier to progress if you have a Persona of the appropriate arcana. Haven’t tested this myself, but will be useful data for current playthrough. Also, in a fit of capitalist gluttony, I purchased this gem from Toronto-based (wee!) publishers Udon. A bit slight, but some interesting stuff in there!

      Also also, full disclosure: I have never completed everything there is to do in TWEWY. On my last playthrough I finally managed to collect every secret report, but both the bonus boss and the hidden boss rush mode in Another Day are damn near impossible. On my most recent game I spent some time grinding Neku and Josh’s stats up to 100 each, equipped the best threads, maxed out my synch, equipped the best pins, and got slaughtered for my effort. I think you need one of those novelty high risk/high reward builds like the Lapin Angelique Suicide Special or the Darklit Planets deck to even consider it. Still, if you manage to pull it off, let me know, you’ll be a better player than I.

      • Jackbert322

        Hey! I totally banged Mitsuru. See, I like MATURE women. Also, that art book is actually on my wishlist.

        Oh jeez, maybe maxing TWEWY is more than I thought it’d be. I don’t even know how to get the secret reports! Really what I was most interested in was the Darklit Planets, but half o’ those drop on Ultimate, which I haven’t even unlocked yet. I saw the sticker to unlock it in some store, but just like all the fancy Quest clothing (I own almost all the non-Pegaso regular clothing), I needed Orichalums, which I also don’t know how to get. Maybe I’ll finish maxing all the pins I currently own (8 more) and then take a little break. After that I’ll probably have to start looking at a guide. Or I could, like, not, because that takes helluva commitment, and Neku, well, I really can’t cut into my time that I spend with alcoholics and criminals.

        • PaganPoet

          On my last playthrough, I was able to get with all the girls except Mitsuru. Yukari was the best, ’cause she’s pretty and popular, and not all stuck up like Mitsuru, tho.

      • PaganPoet

        Yes, if you have a corresponding Persona in your possession, you get 150% of the Social Link points (the little music notes that pop up over the character’s head when something makes them happy); this is absolutely VITAL if you want to max out all the social links on a single playthrough. So even if you have to run to the Velvet Room and buy a cheap ass level 10 persona that shares the same arcana as your buddy, do it.

    • Chum Joely

      Cool, sounds like you and I are not too far apart (whereas everyone else, esp. @PaganPoet:disqus , has already finished ME1 and even 2).  I finished Feros after lots of saving and dying and loading, but on the upside, I have now gotten a lot better at managing medigel, grenades, and other limited resources for long and painful missions like that creepy Thorian’s lair.  Next up: Noveria, which I hope to finish with a marathon overnight session tonight, and then more or less straight on to Virmire because I am not even trying to mess with unnecessary side missions on this game. I’m kind of just trying to get through to ME2 and 3.

      On the sexy relationship side, Liara and I have now professed our mutual interest for each other, but she “needs time to think” (I guess this means “no physical stuff until next major story mission is complete”). Zeta Shepard is a woman, and I had flirted a fair amount with Kaidan, but immediately broke it off with him when Liara told me she was hesitating to get with me because she thought I was with Kaidan. In retrospect, maybe I should have used the “I’m interested, but not now” dialog option with K rather than “Sorry, Lieutenant, this was just a battlefield thing”. He seems like a nice guy and has kind of a sexy voice, even though men are not usually my thing at all.  He sounded pretty hurt when I told him. Anyhow, THANKS A LOT, Mass Effect, for making me question my virtual sexuality.

      Can you actually get relationships going with two people at once, or does the dating sim aspect enforce monogamous relationships?  Also, surely having relationships with my crew is not completely Paragon-compliant?

    • Cheese

      I felt similarly when I started a NG+. My first run was FeMC, but it just felt wrong for the male MC to have her high level and boosted social stats, so I couldn’t do it. A NG+ with the same gender feels right. Which of course means I ultimately need to do 3 more playthroughs of P3, two total for each MC.

  • dantebk

    This Sunday is my pinball league, so that’ll take up a lot of my gaming time.

    Lately I’ve been playing Ni No Kuni and The Cave. Ni No Kuni is pretty good, and I like most of it (the presentation, the story, the setting, the side quest/merit-stamp structure) a lot, but the combat is already getting dull and I’m only 5 hours in. Don’t know if I’ll make it. The Cave is decent so far, and though I’m not LOVING it I am contemplating at least one more playthrough so I can see the storylines for some of the other characters.

    And I might be getting Devil May Cry from Gamefly in the mail tomorrow, so that’ll be tempting, but I don’t think I’ll start it until I finish something else. Juggling too many games at once can diminish all of them.

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

    *Googles*

    Wait a sec…the Puppy Bowl is a real thing? What is this I don’t even -

    As for what I’m playing this weekend, probably some combination of Assassin’s Creed II, Q.U.B.E., and Antichamber.

    I had a lengthy conversation about ACII with my roommate today. It turns out that he has many of the same issues with its controls as I do – namely that Ezio has a nasty habit of jumping off towers instead of climbing them. I had always thought that most of my frustrations were due to playing with mouse & keyboard as opposed to a controller, but apparently the same control issues arise on PS3. Assassin’s Creed II: Shonky on Every Platform!

    I know that Q.U.B.E. wasn’t particularly well-received by the gaming community, but I find it quite interesting. While first-person puzzlers such as Quantum Conundrum and Portal focus on moving the player character through a space, Q.U.B.E.’s puzzles are mainly about manipulating objects in an environment. In most games, it’s quite difficult to control an object that one’s player character isn’t holding (which is why those types of puzzles tend to be the worst ones in the likes of Quantum Conundrum and Portal), but for the most part, Q.U.B.E. makes moving balls and boxes around easy. It feels like the kind of game that was playtested thoroughly. Like the first Portal game, it slowly teaches you its mechanics, introducing new wrinkles every few puzzles. Moreover, many of the puzzles come with “reset buttons” that allow you to restart them in case of failure. Overall, I think this game is quite the hidden gem.

    Also on the subject of first-person puzzlers: Antichamber. Oh my, Antichamber. I’ve only played an hour so far, so it’s entirely possible that my opinion will change, but from what I’ve played, I don’t think this is a particularly good game. At all. Don’t get me wrong: I’m fine with subversion of expectations. I like it when my entertainment surprises me. But subversion is a tool, a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Antichamber is every bit the game I had feared it would be, not the game I wanted it to be: it’s so obsessed with screwing with the player’s head that it forgets to, you know, actually BE a game. It reminds me of the homonym quiz show from 30 Rock (goodbye! *sniff*); it doesn’t feel like I’m succeeding at any point when I’m playing, no matter what I do. Maybe my primitive brain is wired to crave the reward structures of a typical video game, and Antichamber is trying to show me how shallow they are. But if that’s the case, then Spec Ops: The Line already did that better. (Did Merve seriously just compare an indie first-person puzzler to a AAA third-person shooter? Yes, yes he did.) Spec Ops exposed the shallowness of a typical game’s reward structure by making players complicit in the player character’s downfall. It started out by giving the player control, and then it made him or her lose said control through his or her own actions. On the other hand, Antichamber never gives the player control, so it feels as if the game is unfairly withholding rewards rather than showing me why I shouldn’t have or want them. It’s like I’m Charlie Brown and the game is Lucy, yanking away the football at the last second. Maybe another hour with the game will change my opinion, but for now, I think Antichamber is a misguided, pretentious mess, too enamoured of its own cleverness to be anything approaching entertaining. [I guess that makes it the Community of video games! (Okay, now I'm just trolling. :P)]

    • Fluka

      Oh dang, Antichamber’s a perversely unfair mess?  That’s too bad…  I think I’m still gonna play it, because ART etc. whatever, but is there any sense for how long it is?  

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

        To be clear, I wouldn’t describe the puzzles themselves as unfair, just the game’s reward structure. The puzzles, though, are usually nothing more than riddles. A vague hint usually appears on the wall (something like “Sometimes you have to go back to go forwards”), and then once you decipher what the hint means, the puzzle becomes almost trivial. It’s basically the audiovisual equivalent of a game of MindTrap (the board game, not the video game). So not only is the game unrewarding; it’s also shallow. But please don’t take my word for it; it’s receiving positive reviews everywhere, so there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it.

        As for the length of the game, I don’t know for sure. There’s a *SPOILER (I guess)* completely meaningless 90-minute timer in the hub area, but I don’t think the game is actually meant to be completed in 90 minutes.

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

          “But please don’t take my word for it.”

          NEW GS VIDEO SERIES: “Gaming Rainbow.” Staffers (or kids) sit in front of a green screen relating brief reviews of games that all end with that phrase. Then Levar Burton takes us on a thematically appropriate field trip before playing the episode’s “main” game for us.

        • Fluka

          Already bought it on Steam yesterday, so I’ll probably get around to it at some point.  Even if I end up enjoying it, it’s good to be prepared for some potential rage anyway!

    • Chum Joely

      Oh shoot, I’m unhappy to hear that too about Antichamber. I’ll put it on my Steam wishlist and maybe the price will come down enough to justify a purchase despite what I now see as increased risk of disappointment.

      • Chum Joely

        Hmm, it’s already on sale for “only” $15… list price is $20. Anyone else here got an opinion on this game?

        • Placeholder

          I played for an hour last night. It’s fantastic in my opinion.

          I have to wonder how far Merve got in the game. His description doesn’t match my own experience. For instance, I found most of the text panels he described as clues after I had solved the corresponding puzzle. The game is very non-linear, though, so maybe I was travelling in the wrong direction in those cases.

    • neodocT

       Antichamber: “Hello, @Merve2:disqus , do you want a reward? No, I’m witholding it. Loot at me, ‘getting off’.”

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    ***TRANSMITTAL SENT FROM UNDEAD PARISH COUNCIL OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY DEPARTMENT***

    RECIPIENT: SEN c/- F.E. Golem

    12th Intercalaris, 1013 (Age of Fire)

    Dear Sir,

    It has recently come to our attention, with the reopening of your fortress “Sen’s Fortress” (1 Forest Lane, Undead Parish, Lordran) following the ringing of the two Bells of Awakening, that your property is in breach of several of the Undead Parish council safety guidelines. Our safety officer recently observed the following hazards at your facility:

    i) Walkways suspended above the ground with no safety handrail. Please refer to Boletarian standard BS3001:98, section 8 paragraph 3, which states “all platforms raised 3 cubits above ground level must be installed with handrails no lower than 3 and one half cubits in height”, thus balustrades will need to be installed in these instances.

    ii) Medium large boulders rolling down the main pathways. There are no specific guidelines prohibiting the owning and operation of said boulders; however it is the council’s stance that they do represent a significant hazard for visitors and snake headed employees alike, and it is our recommendation that the practice be discontinued. Note that the Undead Parish council has received at least one formal complaint regarding the boulders, from a recent visitor who identifies himself as ‘lazy man with onion thing for a head’.

    iii) Raised floor panels at various locations which represent a trip hazard and also shoot deadly projectiles. “Protective eyewear mandatory” signage will need to be fitted in such areas.

    iv) Use of receptacles which try to bite your face off without a permit.

    v) Giganto instant death swinging axe system ™ (installed at various locations in your property) differs from plans submitted to the council, with blades installed on site rather than the feather dusters as per the submitted blueprints.

    You have twenty eight (28) days on receipt of this notice to rectify these breaches or the property will be closed, and you will be liable for up to 5000 souls fine and/or 1 years imprisonment at Blighttown correctional facility. While these hazards are being rectified, you are to install adequate safety signage, bollards and place witches hats in the locations as per the attached building layout drawing and Safety Management Plan.

    You are within your rights to appeal our decision but please note that there is a legal precedent established with bringing buildings into line with the new generation of safety guidelines, see case “Undead Minions vs. Tower of Latria Amusement Park”.

    Also note that our department has passed on your file to our approvals office. They will be contacting you shortly about rectifying several perceived building code violations.

    If you would like to discuss these issues further with our safety officer, please find them at their newly established site office at the bonfire in the upper levels of your property.

    Yours sincerely,

    Blacksmith Andre of Astora
    Manager, OH&S Dept
    Undead Parish council

    /////

    Yeah I’m back playing Dark Souls against doctors orders. After typing out all of the above I’m no longer sure what I was trying to say.

    • Enkidum

      You magnificent bastard.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      Not only is Sen’s Fortress a ridiculously unfeasible deathtrap, but the bonfire at the end of it is semi-hidden, so the first time I made it through and died in the boss fight I had to do it all again.

      • doyourealize

        But you at least had the short cut, right?

    • EmperorNortonI

       Wow . . . I never thought you’d go back to it.  Argh.  I keep telling myself “I’m gonna go back and play it some more!” but then keep remembering that I’m just in the beginning of Blightown, and don’t really want to get back into shape on a bunch of hanging deathtraps.

    • JohnnyLongtorso

      The joke’s on you — Sen’s Fortress is just outside the city limits. The Undead Parish Council has no authority there!

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

      I found Sen’s Fortress to be one of the easier areas wants you get past the snake head dudes.  It has the easiest boss after Gaping Dragon that’s for sure.  You can just stun-lock the shit out of the golem.

      Though the hidden Bonfire is a bitch.

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

    Today I learned that the Super Bowl is this weekend. Because I am a totally rugged, independent snowflake and NOT because I’m a totally out of touch lame-wad.

    I suspect I’ll have no free time (I foolishly played through The Cave a few times last weekend, and that wound up biting me in the butt in terms of schoolwork scramble this week – I don’t want to do that again), BUUUUUUUUT I would love to give Antichamber a spin if I get a moment. Because it looks marvelous and weird.

    • Fluka

      Aw man, it’s this weekend?

      *Starts boarding up her house and stockpiling canned goods to avoid any possibility of awkward sports conversations.*

      • PaganPoet

        Gawd, the bars are gonna suck on Sunday. 

  • Fluka

    So I started playing Mirror’s Edge last weekend.  My opinion of the game oscillates between two separate feelings:

    1) Wheeeee!  I’m running!  I’m being chased and this is exhilarating and whoa I just jumped off that crane and it was awesome!  The art direction and atmosphere are so striking and unusual that I’m gonna totally ignore the lack of a compelling plot!  And!  They’re letting me run around as a really cool nonsexualized Asian woman!  This! Is! Great!

    2) GRAB THE FUCKING FLAG POLE FAITH YOU LITTLE FUCK IT’S RIGHT THERE WHY DON’T YOU FUCKING GRAB IT AAAAAAARRRGGHHHHHH.

    Yeah.  While I’ve been enjoying the game, particularly the chase bits, the checkpoint system and the sometimes wonky collision detection often lead to me dying 20 times in a row.  Particularly if combat (grumble) is involved.  Unfortunately, sometime this past week, I hit a point where I just could not proceed.  Nothing too elaborate – it was just swinging from a pole to a ledge.  But it just wouldn’t happen.  And when I quit the game, it had erased the prior half of the chapter as well.  I…think I need to get away from it for a few days.  For my blood pressure’s sake.

    Maybe instead I’ll finally finish my uptight Paragon playthrough of Mass Effect 1 (peer pressure!).  Or maybe I’ll go full-on-mellow and play Proteus.  Or maybe I’ll just teach myself Python.  Exciting times.

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      Speaking of Mass Effect 1, I used your most excellent suggestion of a Barack Obama inspired Shepard to fight my way through a hostile House of Reps to Platinum trophy glory. Barack Shepard: Behold!

      • Bakken Hood

        That’s…an uncanny likeness.  No photoshop at all?

        Got Asari Ally yet?  That’s probably the toughest obstacle on the way to Platinum.

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          No photoshop, but although he looks pretty good from that angle (as does that magnificent codpiece), the side on profile was a bit dodgy.

          I got Asari Ally on my first playthrough. I had given up on it, but it miraculously popped when I got to the Saren fight on the Citadel. Those squadmate trophies are glitched. For the Obama playthrough, I added Wrex to my squad before Tali, had them both alongside me for every single mission, and the Tali trophy popped first followed 7 missions later by the Wrex one (along with the Platinum).

      • PaganPoet

        What are his power? Socialist Shockave and Birth Certificate Decoy?
        MURRCA!

        • Fluka

          Biotic Terrorist Fist Bump!

      • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

        You made him a Ruthless Colonist? Are you trying to embolden the Birther movement?

      • Captain Internet

        Too Kenyan.

      • Fluka

        Woohooo!  I was gonna ask if you ended up taking one of our suggestions!  Was he the statesmanlike paragon, or did he use the ME universe as an renegade outlet for his justified ANGER?  Did he end up boning anyone?  

    • AmaltheaElanor

      Yeah, I feel the same way about Mirror’s Edge, that it frequently vacillates between really fun and really frustrating.  I always hated it when I couldn’t get Faith to just REACH UP AND GRAB THAT LEDGE IT’S RIGHT ABOVE YOU but she falls anyway.  *grumble grumble*

      On the other hand, the game also has Time Trials, which I thought they were a lot of fun.  And the further you proceed in story mode, the more levels you unlock.

      • Fluka

        I’m afraid there might be a bug somewhere in my version.  I’ve noticed, for instance, that if I aim Faith towards one part of a ledge, she falls, but if I aim *slightly further away*, she’s fine.  I once spent a good half hour trying latch on to a flagpole like this. 

        I really hope they make Mirror’s Edge 2, just so that they can fix all the bad bits and make the world’s most exciting game.

  • Aussie25

    My PS2 Slim died on me last week, so naturally I know feel like replaying all my PS2 games which is now impossible for most of them. 
    However, I managed to borrow an older PS2 from a friend and will be replaying Kingdom Hearts. This game is special to me because it’s the first game I ever bought myself and it also happens to be my all-time favourite PS2 game. 

    I’m still waiting patiently for Kingdom Hearts 3, and I hope I won’t have to have played the thousands of spin-offs to understand the story.I’ll also be trying to finish the excellent story mode of Max Payne 3, if I can pull myself away from the surprisingly addictive multiplayer. 

    • caspiancomic

       I think you and I are going to be waiting for most of our natural lifetimes for Kingdom Hearts 3. Most of the KH team is tied up working on Versus XIII, by which I mean tied up having paper airplane making contests and spinning around in their office chairs getting nothing accomplished.

      And I feel your pain on the side stories thing. I’ve played two: Chain of Memories, which was decentish, and 2937/242 Days, which was shite. I’ve heard Birth By Sleep is actually really terrific, and Dream/Drop/Distance/Distortion/Dance/Dangerous/Dogpile/Doppelganger/Data/Deltoid is supposedly quite good as well. It’s a shame they have to release them all on everything that runs on electricity, instead of just choosing a system and dumping everything on it like a sensible company would do.

      • Aussie25

        It would be awesome if they made a Kingdom Hearts 2.5 or something in which they remade all the spin-offs into one PS3 game, I would definitely buy that before the official Kingdom Hearts 3 is made.

        I know they are doing the HD remix of Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, so maybe they’re already planning to do this?

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       You know that old question: can a video game make you cry?  KH made me cry.  I’m not ashamed to say it either.  OK, maybe a little ashamed.  But not much.

    • duwease

      To be fair, it was already impossible to understand the story by the end of Kingdom Hearts II, and that was before *any* of the spinoffs..

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

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I’m making slow progress but that’s mostly because I’ve been naming all my squaddies after ex-girlfriends and sending them cheerfully to their deaths.

    I am really, really interested in playing Risk: Legacy, so if Mr. Sebela & co. want to Skype me in from LA for a few dozen sessions, I’m on board.

    • Eco1970

      You can’t play R:L over skype-you need to be able to physically sign your name on the board. It’s in the rules.

      Eco

    • http://pseudonymjones.com/ Pseudonym Jones

      My friends and I get together semi-annually for a game of Risk and I think Risk: Legacy could take this to a phenomenal new level. Thanks for the heads up, Sebala!

  • Enkidum

    So, in the past two days I’ve found out that I’m doing my preliminary thesis defence in… oh… eight weeks, and there’s just the small matter of… oh… writing it. And I’ve also found out that I’ve gone from having no funding until the end of the summer other than shitty TAships to having an additional 18,000 dollars from my previous supervisor – turned out all I had to do was ask her. So, uh, yeah, that’s pretty good news. Mrs. Enkidum is somewhat less worried about us starving on the streets or anything.

    No time to play shit tonight or tomorrow, have an abstract due in… 47 minutes, and a grant application to finish by 5 tomorrow. But this weekend I’m definitely going to be getting a couple of serious hours of shooting things. Finished Halo 4 last week, was, as I expected, annoyed by the pretentious and plot-hole-ridden story, but it was fun to shoot things. So maybe I’ll do some multiplayer with my neighbours, or maybe I’ll get back into AssCreed, or I still have Ico to finish.

    Then again I was given Forza Horizon a while back and that might be a nice thing to start, since although I’ve never been a racing game fan (well, not since the arcade days) it sounds like a lot of fun, and I imagine it’s also relatively easy to just play a couple of races and turn it off, which would probably be a good way of blowing off steam while writing. So I dunno, whatchooguyzthink?

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

      Halo 4′s story in a nutshell (spoilers):

      Cortana “I’m dying chief”
      Chief “Cool an ancient floating circle”
      Circle “I’m a bad dude, betcha you can’t press a bunch of buttons to defeat me.”
      Chief “Just did.”
      Cortana “I am dead, but I love you.”
      Chief “My feelings…”

      But in all seriousness good luck on that Thesis.  My wife is finishing up her last semester of grad school with a four class workload and is in a similar “academic time blackhole”.

  • Eco1970

    Tonight my friends will be playing Game 11 (and maybe game 12 and beyond depending on how fast game 11 goes) of our latest Risk: Legacy campaign.

    It’s an awesome game as long as you’re not one of those tosspots who can’t bear to rip up cards and write on the board with sharpies.

    Also I’ll be playing a lot of Fallout: New Vegas. I’m up to about 70hrs now and have just got to the bit after meeting the guy i’m looking for in his suite (trying to avoid spoilers there lol).

    If my new boardgMe Infiltration arrives today (Amazon’s tracking says it should have arrived yesterday), I’ll probably have a practice game on my own ready for next week’s games night.

    Eco

    • boardgameguy

      what games are coming in on the shipment?

      • Eco1970

        Just one, Infiltration. It’s based in the same universe as Android, which I’m a big fan of, and it looks a lot faster and simpler, so my somewhat complexity-averse gaming group will probably be okay with it.

    • djsubversive

      Regarding New Vegas: the game really opens up after you meet that guy. Now would be a good time to go out and do side-quests and explore the Mojave for unique weapons.

      DLCs are a good choice, if you have them. They get you out of the Mojave for a bit (which sort of goes along with “meeting that guy,” since I want to lay low after that), and you get some pretty cool gear from all of them. My recommended order is Honest Hearts (any level, but 10 is high enough to have a good base for your character, which should help you survive the wildlife in Zion), Dead Money (15-20, but they take all your equipment, and Lockpick and Science are used quite a bit for unlocking stuff, so having at least one of those skills at 75 will help), Old World Blues (before level 30. after that, the level scaling starts making everything really bullet-sponge-y and annoying), and then Lonesome Road (after the other DLC, but before you get into the endgame stuff).

      • Eco1970

        I spent ages avoiding going to the Strip, I was wandering around trying to do as many sidequests as possible. as I’m a bit of a completist and i hear you can’t play on after the end. I’ve met that guy and now he’s sort of run off somewhere, so i’m back to sidequests aand exploring for a bit before i go after him.

        I’ve pumped xp into science, speech, lockpick, and guns, then when they were all up over 60 i started upping melee weapons and barter (to get the ‘toy gun’ off the kid :) ).

        Is 75 the skill cap?

        It’s a really great game. Very big. I plan on getting the DLC at some stage.

        • djsubversive

          The skill cap is 100, but locks and terminals are incremental – you need a minimum skill to even attempt them – 0 (Very Easy)/25 (Easy)/50 (Average)/75 (Hard)/100 (Very Hard). In the Mojave, you can usually get away with having 20-25 points less than you actually need, since magazines and drugs can give you a nice boost (+20 for magazines if you have the Comprehension perk (and why wouldn’t you?), and a varied bonus depending on how many drugs you take (all of them, all the time)). BUT, like I said, Dead Money takes all your gear, so for a while, you have to rely on your base stats and skills.

          Barter is awesome. The Pack Rat perk is a must-have for me almost every time, since it makes ammo, most consumables, and a lot of the crafting/loot items weigh half as much.

          Also, bump up Repair. It’s a great skill. Since it seems like you’re a Guns guy, Repair lets you take the Hand Loader perk, which gives you sweet ammo recipes. 

          Also, at 80 or 90 Repair (I forget which one), you can take Jury Rigging, which is probably the best perk you can take to make money (not that it’s hard to make money in the first place). Weapons can be repaired with similar weapons (Brush Gun can be repaired by a Hunting Rifle), and armors can be repaired by other armors in their class (Light, Medium, Heavy, Headgear). Yes, this means that you can repair power armor with the sets of Metal Armor that some of the raiders wear. also, power armor helmets can be repaired with eyeglasses and pre-war baseball caps.

          Don’t worry about getting locked into the endgame. You’ll be able to tell when you’re getting into the final faction missions – a lot of them are numbered ([Quest Name] Part I, II, III, etc.), and the dialogue will reference the upcoming Second Battle of Hoover Dam (which it sort of does for most of the game, but when you’re gearing up for the endgame, it gets more insistent about it). You’ll also probably get at least one quest for a faction that you’ll end up failing if you’re not taking their side (“You’ve been working against [faction]! Keep it up and they won’t like you anymore!”) Plus, there’s a big popup message when you get to the last couple missions for each faction that says “HEY! You’re hitting the end-game! Go take care of anything you still want to take care of, because this is it, buddy!”

          Also, if you haven’t found Raul, you should look for him. Danny Trejo is a badass, even in video-game form.

      • Eco1970

        I’ve done Raul, he was cool. I’ve been trying to finish all the companion sidequests too. I’ve done Boone, EDE-E, Veronika, Raul and Cass (bit disappointed with that one as I didn’t have enough lockpic skill to get the Van Graff’s evidence, so I had to kill Alice, but I had always planned to off the Van Graffs anyway). The doctor in the mormon fort more or less immediately spoke to me about not using wealons so I left him there does he have Ny more quests? Have I missed any cool conpanions?

        Money, I’ve got 30k just from selling stuff I loot from whoever I kill. I’m 20 special caps away from being able to get further with Festus, i’ve got a printout of where they all are.

        I was using That Gun fir ages but recently I’ve been using a Supr Sledge a lot. I heard that melee weapons are good for one of the DLC packs.

  • Eco1970

    Ooh, I forgot DC Universe Online. I’m dling it atm, and I’ll be giving it a look on Sunday. I played City of Heroes for 8 years until those cheapSs bastards NCSoft killed it and my 37 alts, and I’m never getting attached to any MMO again, but I moticed DCUO is f2p so maybe it’ll be fun for a while.

    Eco

  • EmperorNortonI

    I’ve not been playing a whole heck of a lot lately.  I broke an axle or something (really – the front left tire sits at a really unhealthy angle, and I keep waiting for it to fall over all on its own) on my car in the snow on Monday.  I was glad to finally kill that car, which I’ve hated ever since I got it.  Fuck you, Toyota Spacio, rot in hell.  However, being suddenly carless has been time consuming and inconveniencing in all kinds of ways.

    It’s stopped my group Borderlands 2 game dead in its tracks, just as we’d gotten up a rhythm going of regular play and were making real progress.  We’d just killed the Bunker and Angel.  That’s annoying, but what’s really been annoying has been my inability to continue the traditional workday morning coffee and Memoir 44 session that I’ve been running for a year and a half.  I just got the new Equipment Pack expansion, too.

    Note on the Equipment Pack – horrible expansion idea.  I like specialized plastic figures, but I hate GRAY, UNPAINTED specialized figures.  Especially when it makes no sense, as for the French Infantry units included in the set.  Further, the majority of the unpainted figures, which can represent specialized units in any army, are figures of German units.  Another example of the Nazi-fetishism that lurks behind much of WW2 gaming.  However, I knew this before I bought it – I just wanted the scenario set that came with it, especially since the holiday bonus of Days of Wonder was an extra book of free scenarios.

  • dreadguacamole

     Ni No Kuni is out in Europe today, so I’ll be sitting down with my kid to play that for a bit.
     Other than that, I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings online a bit over the last few weeks. Finally got a warhorse!
     Mounted combat is… kind of fun, but also quite weird. The way they’ve implemented reduced mobility, combined with MMO lag, makes it feel like ridge racers. I’m also not a fan of how hard it is not to aggro everything within a five-mile radius while on a mounted fight; everything ends up like a Benny Hill chase (until you get dismounted – then you die horribly).
     Still, a pretty interesting change of pace, and I suspect it’ll get better once I come to grips with it.

  • heavenkey

    I’m stuck with Lee in the sewers of walking dead’s episode 4. Will try to finish the season this weekend to head back to Pandora and kick some ass in Borderlands 2. I love the mechanics of  this game, but I always end up playing something else that seems less time consuming and less loot-greed related!

    • Chum Joely

      The sewers were a really short segment of episode 4… Have you killed off the zombies yet? That’s the hard part. After that, just… find a PUZZLE HINT/SPOILER near where your HINT gets stuck in the SPOILER and you’ll get right on to the next segment.

      • heavenkey

        I hate reading reviews of episode-formatted games like walking dead. Every where they said that this fourth installment is the weakest link of the series, and it was like an irritating back noise in my head the whole time I was playing it last night. And I love your ” Hint” gets stuck in the SPOILER :)

  • doyourealize

    Going for full gold in Catherine -again highly recommended if you missed it last week - and all the endings along with it (so far up to level 4). And I’ll be getting my copy of Ni No Kuni either today or tomorrow! 

    • duwease

      Gold on Normal or Hard?  Getting gold on Normal is a fun puzzle.  On Hard, it’s incredibly frustrating once you get to levels where there’s random aspects that can screw you completely and make you start all the way over.

      As for the endings, I recommend looking at a guide as to the fastest way.. I think if you save at level 6, you can get any of them pretty easily from there once you’ve gotten gold, since you can skip all the puzzles.  It’s worth it.. the different endings are all very, very, different and very odd :)

      • doyourealize

        Ah, is that what they do in hard? I’m going through in normal. Not really looking to torture myself with hard. Maybe later after I’ve seen the endings and just want the challenge.

        I’ve been going to the Wiki for help with the endings, and I’m going gold just so I can skip the puzzles in subsequent playthroughs.

  • Raging Bear

    Imagine my disappointment at learning that the “bear-people” fighting mechs were just people riding bears. That is a swing and a miss.

    I expect I’ll be playing Ni No Kuni, which I’m getting today as a reward to myself for canceling my Dead Space 3 pre-order.

    It’s quite a personal breakthrough for me to realize that I was really only buying it out of a vague sense of completionism and obligation, but that I didn’t actually want to play it, especially since the only times I’ve tried to replay the second, I get as far as the first couple of whip-tail guys who succeed with every single attack against me because they move faster than I can possibly aim or dodge, and I remember “oh yeah, that’s why I never finished a second play-throuh. Most of the combat sucks horrible balls.”

    That, and the demo that included a semi-boss fight that included what’s quickly becoming one of my least favorite tropes (you’re not really fighting the boss, but rather the continuously spawning minor enemies who keep you from being able to focus on the boss. Fun!) made me think I can do without this game in my library. Gawd ‘elp me, I’ll probably still rent it.

    • Captain Internet

      I think I had a similar feeling when I gave up on Far Cry 3- I felt like I was playing out of a sense of obligation, and when I tried to analyse what to, I realised that I just didn’t care.

      Uninstalled it. Read a book. Felt liberated. That means I’ve unlocked the good ending, right?

      • Raging Bear

        If only there were leaderboards for common sense.

      • djsubversive

        Far Cry 3 has a lot of things that just scream at you “THIS IS A VIDEO GAME AND WE’RE AWARE OF THAT!”

        It’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      I’m so with you. I’m sure there are cases where that boss fight design was successful, but generally speaking having them devolve into MMO-style mob management is a good way to make me unhappy.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    I thought you people were saying they had made Risk: Legacy into a video game.  You raised my hopes and dashed them quite expertly, sir. Bravo.

    • djsubversive

       Liked for Tinny Tim. :)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7434UGH3EEMU2AUKTGMU3NLDZA JoshJ

       Yeah I blew many, many game hours on RISK: Factions and was hoping the same thing. I’ll probably never play a physical board game again (except Arkham Horror) but I’d love to try it on my xBox.

  • ToddG

    I have a pretty full social weekend, so my video gaming will likely be limited to things like Rock Band 3 and Mario Kart Wii.  Also watching some sort of Super Bowl.  After much reflection, I have decided that I have a mild desire to see a Ravens victory, despite their status as a division rival of my preferred team.  I figure the 49ers’ status as a Super Bowl rival of said team carries more weight, given that the game in question is, in fact, a Super Bowl.

  • stakkalee

    I’ll be playing through more of Assassin’s Creed 3 and desperately fighting the urge to ditch the game and move on to the Mass Effect trilogy which I purchased this week.  I’m just that invested in the AC3 storyline to follow it through to the end.  Then on Sunday maybe some gaming, and then the Super Bowl (Go Ravens!)

    • Jackbert322

      Oh man, I forgot to mention the Ravens in my post. Ravens, go! You’re from Baltimore, right? My best friend moved there, so I root for all their teams. Everyone else I’m watching the Bowl with though (i.e. my mother, and maybe my younger brother) is pulling for the 49ers.

      • stakkalee

        Yup, Charm City is my adopted hometown.  I moved here in college and found that it perfectly matched my personality – good-natured, easy-going, lazy, and slightly misanthropic.  Plus it has a really vibrant and diverse restaurant community and some excellent movie theaters, and absolutely oodles of crazy people.

    • Chum Joely

      Oh good, somebody out there is still behind me on the Mass Effect trilogy. Tell me when you start and we’ll see how long it takes you to catch up with my slow-gamin’ ass.

      Let’s pretend that the reason is that I’m taking it extra-slow with sweet, bookish Liara, who’s intimidated by my human boldness. That’s totally it. Nothing to do with getting caught outside of cover idiotically at least once at a critical moment in more or less every firefight. (And only SOME of the time is this because of the irritating cover stick/unstick system itself. Mostly I just don’t think like a player of shooters, and make the wrong move, repeatedly.)

      • stakkalee

        I’ve had to skip soooo many comments the past couple of weeks to avoid all the spoilers you folks are dropping.

        • Chum Joely

          Sorry, I for one will stop with the spoilers.

        • stakkalee

          @ChumJoely:disqus Oh no, hey, spoil away!  One of the things I love the most about this site is how it lets gamers take this somewhat solitary hobby and share it with a bunch of likeminded people. I’m just bummed that I’m stuck running around with dumb old Desmond and nerdy Connor when all the cool kids are playing with spacemonsters and sexy blue aliens.

        • Chum Joely

          (Hand on shoulder) You can always put AC3 aside and come back to it AFTER Mass Effect, my friend. No-one will think any less of you.

  • JohnnyLongtorso

    My favorite Super Bowl was the one where I ignored it (granted, I do that every year) and went and got a tattoo instead. Wish I could do that again this year, but I’m broke.

    Playing through Dead Space again, in anticipation of getting DS3 from Gamefly next week. I’m not sure how DS3 is going to be; the demo was not that great, and I don’t like the fact that they completely changed the weapon/ammo system. It feels like they fixed a problem that didn’t exist. Some of the early chatter from people who have played the game already isn’t very positive either.

  • Captain Internet

    Well, what I won’t be playing is Skulls of the Shogun even though now I actually could.

    After my rant about Windows 8 the other day I ended up doing some research and talking to some friends, which is what I should have done before having a rant. Turns out that it’s not as bad as I’d thought- it’s faster than Windows 7, smaller, and barring the whole Metro thing actually comes with less cruft. Moreover, for $3 you can download Start is Back, which gives you the exact ‘Start’ menu from Windows 7, plus a few extra options. There’s other utilities that do the same thing, but this appears to be far and away the best. The point is, once you have this, you don’t need to both with Metro Modern UI at all, unless you want to.

    So, after some consideration I decided to take the plunge and upgrade before the absurd price hike. And I’m now on Windows 8, which- after a little tweaking, plus the above software- works exactly like Windows 7.

    Except that now I have the option of making my PC behave like an iPad. 

    Metro Modern UI and iOS are all very well if you want to consume media, but if you want to actually create anything- or rather, anything beyond the tightly controlled set of things they let you create- they’re a huge pain. 

    Anyway, I’ve a (dry) stag party to attend on Saturday and then a shed load of learning and programming to do on Sunday, but since just like absolutely everyone else here I’m replaying the Mass Effect series, I may very well find some time for that tonight. I really ought to get on and finish Spec Ops or The Walking Dead, but the Mass Effect games really are just so very compelling.

    • Fluka

      Mass Effect games: ruining people for other games since 2007.

      How is the multitasking in Windows 8?  I’ve heard that it makes things more difficult (i.e., more like a tablet), but maybe that’s just the reviews I’m heard for Surface Pro / RT / whatever those are called.

      • Captain Internet

        To be honest I’ve yet to work out how to switch between “apps” when it’s doing it’s tablet thing without using the start screen. It’s also impossible to tell whether something has been closed or pushed into the background without using the task manager, and if you were on a tablet you’d have no way (that I can see) of accessing that.

        Having said that, after browsing through a selection of “apps” this morning I was able to work quite happily with them sitting in the background… although they were just the ‘sport’ and ‘travel’ type “apps” that simply use Bing to show you a variety of bourgeois crap.

        So in answer to your question: I’ve no idea.

  • indy2003

    More Ni No Kuni for me. Just reached the point where fast travel has been introduced into the game, so I’ll probably do some backtracking and fill out some stamp cards before I plow ahead with the main mission. Other than that, I might get back to New Super Mario Bros. U after a while (nearly finished with the fifth world). I have to confess, it’s really not doing as much for me as I thought it would. It’s New Super Mario Bros. Wii with a new coat of paint.

  • duwease

    I didn’t like Starcraft at first, because it just seemed like a chaotic mess of throwing a bunch of bodies at each other.  Then when I figured out the considerable rule base, and what was weak to what, and building strategies, and the importance of battlefield position, it gave all of the randomness context that made it fascinating to watch.

    Football is basically Starcraft, is what I’m saying.

    On topic:  Figuring out XCOM, finishing Unstoppable Gorg, with Duels of the Planeswalkers as the ever-present constant.

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

      Football and Starcraft are pretty similar but don’t tell Korea.  Those guys have enough addictions without finding out about Football’s obtuse rule sets.

  • http://pseudonymjones.com/ Pseudonym Jones

    I just started playing Minecraft, so I’ll be playing about a million hours of that. I never really understood the hubbub until I gave the demo a whirl and as soon as I punched down my first tree I was hooked. So far I’ve been playing alone, carving out a home in my empty little world — how does one get hooked up with a cool server? Is there a Gameological Minecraft server? Because that would be awesome?

    (PS: Awesomenauts, too. Still making time for that.)

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I still love me some Minecraft now and then.  I’ve only ever played solo, and enjoy building castle towers that stretch above the clouds and whose bases extend down to bedrock (via quarries in the Buildcraft mod).

      • http://pseudonymjones.com/ Pseudonym Jones

        Oh yes: the absolute first thing I did after I dug out a little hovel for myself in the side of a mountain was build a tower that extended as high as the game would allow. I should dig a hole down to the bedrock next to it and basejump. Thank you for this idea.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7434UGH3EEMU2AUKTGMU3NLDZA JoshJ

       I have a buddy running a server that’s sooooo not vanilla minecraft. Turtle-bots and minions and Equivalent Exchange and stuff. He’s just so busy fussing with all the mods. We got friggin mining lasers and solar panels and tommy guns.

      Made a cathedral-size t-rex for a home. Doing a giant FF sword for a tower at the edge of the horizon. We’re wanting to put a megalith just within sight from every other structure all the way out.

  • ferrarimanf355

    I’m going to start Lollipop Chainsaw. I keep saying that, but I back away because of potential embarrassment of having to explain this game to my parents if they walk in on me playing it. Help?

    • Chum Joely

      I see “parents”, “chainsaw”, and “back away” right there in your comment. The solution is there, you just have to put the pieces together.

      • ferrarimanf355

        ?

        I’m so not going there.

  • boardgameguy

    story war sounds a lot like the gamewright game called “who would win?”

    http://www.gamewright.com/gamewright/index.php?section=games&page=game&show=263

    i think we can all agree though that apples to apples sucks.

    for me: either some mage knight or psychonauts, but probably not both.

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

    I picked up Antichamber and all of the Crusader Kings II DLC yesterday so I’m gonna be cracking some dense shell of a game this weekend. (I saw that Merve didn’t like Antichamber but I didn’t read why, because I want to be fresh for that game.  It’s supposed to unwrap my mind like a reese’s peanut butter cup so I’m stoked for that.)

    I might play through Proteus again, but the first time was so beautiful I almost don’t want to taint that perfect memory of discovery and awe.

    So often Indie games try for something grand and either fail, or are over-hyped by the press (there is no way J.S. Joust could live up to the transcendental experience the guys at Polygon make it out to be), but Proteus is that one game that really delivered. It knows what it set out to do and it did it with flying colors.

    Also Shank 2, because I like trashy beat-em ups.

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

      Spoiler-free bottom line on Antichamber: After having played a few hours, I can say that it’s the kind of game I think many other people will enjoy, but it’s just not for me. Don’t let my negative opinion of it deter you from playing and enjoying it.

  • Destroy Him My Robots

    I’ll mostly be playing something called Spring Jumper at the moment, which is a game I’m making with Construct 2, the new game creation tool on Steam. It’s the most simple one I’ve seen so far, and sometimes the lack of proper coding is annoying. But in the end you still get to have your instructions and conditionals, they just did away with the scary typing (remember “Physics for Poets” in that Patton Oswalt bit?). The really good news is that the performance of an exported HTML5 game is astounding in Google Chrome. If you want to try something new this weekend (and why wouldn’t you), consider Construct 2. Extremely fun and rewarding.

  • http://twitter.com/CaptainofKrunk Danny Kirby Jr.

    The Puppy Bowl is on before and after the real Super Bowl…

    • Citric

      And don’t forget the kitten half-time show! Probably going to be better than Beyonce.

  • ComradePig

    The first large content update for Chivalry: Medieval Warfare came out yesterday so I’ll be burning a lot of time on that checking out the new maps, duel mode and weapons. Given the increasing proliferation of paid DLC on every platform to see a developer actually deliver substantive, free content is such a breath of fresh air and a return to better times on that front.

    Outside of that I’m nearing the completion of my non-violent playthrough of Dishonored and will likely wrap that up this weekend, and need to jump back into Far Cry 3 where I’m a little over half-way done with the campaign I’d estimate.

    In addition I’ll be steadily continuing to play Fallout: New Vegas and will probably jump onto Black Ops 2 for a bit to play with my friends.

    • DrFlimFlam

      I complained that Dishonored was too difficult to play in a generally non-violent manner. So Harvey Smith gave me a few tips.

      Sometimes, Twitter is neat.

  • ShoeLaser

    Wow, that was the most curmudgeonly interview I’ve ever read. So Teti doesn’t like Risk, bear people, the Puppy Bown or using the word “franchise” to describe huge, moneymaking empires like Mario, Zelda and Halo? I suppose it’s nice he didn’t just call Max “stupid.”

    Oh, and to answer the question: Tigris and Euphrates, most likely. Maybe some Balderdash and the Pillars of the Earth board game if the right people come over.

    • Eco1970

      I too hate Risk. It’s horrible. I’m not even going to bother outlining why.

      But Risk Legacy is not Risk. RL is fucking superb. I own 37 boardgames, and Risk Legacy.

    • ninjapocalypse

      Teti once yelled at me in the comments for an AV Club Sawbuck Gamer for suggesting that another commenter ignore his negative review for a game and try it anyway (the commenter was excited about the game but had decided not to try it after the negative review; I really liked the game, as did a lot of other people).

      I thought this interview came off bizarrely hostile before I read that they were friends and, combined with the aforementioned experience, I had started to think that he was just a colossal dick. Now I’ve gone back to holding out hope that I caught him on a bad day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579674289 Morgan Filbert

    No video games for us this weekend unfortunately. While Sarah is doing better (full feeling has returned to her limbs and back, and she no longer needs my help to walk) we received the news last night that her foster-father had a heart attack and died.

    January 2013 has just been a big old sack of…

    Nothing is foul enough to complete my feelings about the past month.

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

      Really sorry to hear that, I wish through and through that your luck turns around. :(

    • Effigy_Power

      Fuck.
      That’s all I have.

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

      I’m sorry to hear that, man. I hope things look up for you soon.

      In the meantime, to cheer you up, here’s a video of a bunch of dudes trying to jump over a creek: http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80676127/

    • Fluka

      Oh no!  I am so sorry!  My deepest sympathies…what a terrible month….

      Here’s to hoping that February brings a little more happy news… (I’m glad to hear your fiancee is doing better!)

  • djsubversive

    Hey, it’s Friday, and that means I list the same three games that I’ve been playing for the last month or so! [b]PlanetSide 2[/b], [b]Gothic 3[/b], and more time in the [b]ArmA 2: OA[/b] mission edi– but wait! There’s a new contender!

    [b]Omerta: City of Gangsters[/b] is a turn-based strategy game with a “macro” component of setting up speakeasies and smuggling rackets, raiding warehouses and distilleries, and selling/buying guns and booze to various gangster-related types. I sold a load of extra guns to Lucky Luciano, had a stereotypical Hasidic Jewish guy launder some of my dirty money, and muscled a couple of punks out of their protection racket and took it over myself. Also, you get to shotgun KKK members right in their racist guts. Everyone is represented by black-and-white photos and (so far) unique voices; your first advisor guy is a big ol’ jowly dude with white hair and a stereotypical “Joisey” accent.

    It’s a pretty fun game so far, if a little unintuitive. It’s sort of like Tropico, but the city is already laid out for you – you can buy properties and turn them into businesses/fronts like speakeasies, pharmacies, safe houses, distilleries, and “The Don’s Pizzeria” (it’s not a front, honest, officer!). Also, you can bribe politicians and cops, curry favor by plying them with money and booze, and do odd jobs for crime bosses (combat missions). It seems like each “neighborhood” that you go to in the campaign is a separate mission, with a set of goals to achieve before “beating” it and moving on to the next scenario (they are connected, though, with your character being an up-and-coming gangster fresh off the boat from Sicily).

    I’m enjoying it so far, after having finished the tutorial section and the first one after that. And, as I mentioned, Charles Luciano is one of your contacts for booze and guns (a neat thing about Luciano is that he’s referred to as “Charles Luciano” on the map and the mission text, but the little “what this character is doing” blurb when they’re on a mission says “Buying guns from Lucky Luciano”).

    Oh, and the music: the Steam chat regulars know that I love old music from the 20s and 30s (Robert Johnson was the first rock star), and Omerta delivers like a truck full of bootleg rum. I haven’t recognized any songs yet, and they’re all just instrumental tracks, but it’s pretty good jazz/swing-y stuff.

    • djsubversive

      I almost forgot: I’m also playing Silent Storm again, this time doing the Allied campaign. I forget what the group is called for the Allies, but it’s not as great as “Abwehr Section Two,” which is the Axis group.

      The Indian medic I recruited is quickly becoming my secondary sniper when he’s not patching up my soldier, grenadier, and engineer, who tend to get shot a lot. My wee Irish scout named Elf is turning into a silent murder machine (“I be gettin’ better all the time!”), and my main sniper is, as usual, the squad member with the most kills (best chance to hit at long ranges).

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7434UGH3EEMU2AUKTGMU3NLDZA JoshJ

       Woah woah… you said “like Tropico.” I just bought plane tickets DON’T DO THIS TO ME.

  • The Guilty Party

    Sleeping Dogs this weekend. This game is awesome, and I usually give up on open-world type games about two missions in. Why didn’t anyone tell me my ass was so big? Er… I mean, that this was so fun?

  • Effigy_Power

    After a worksome week, probably anything I can get my hands on.
    To be honest, that should just be my statement every week.

    • djsubversive

      ArmA 2? I’ve had to stop myself from tweaking the mission every time I load it up. I’m just adding more and more crap that could easily go wrong.

  • Bad Horse

    Has anyone here ever actually won a game of motherfuckin FTL? That bastard flagship. That 3-phasing cloaking missile-salvoing clear shots full hull can’t lose ridiculously impossible shitbird? I can get to him with regularity but cannot close the sale.

    • DrFlimFlam

       I’ve gotten close. Very close. But no.

    • Gangrene77

      2 times on Easy (not sure if that counts).  Once with the Engi cruiser and once with the default ship. 

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema Reuben

    I was playing Chrono Cross, but then Hitman: Absolution went on sale for $13 and I said fuck it and bought that. So I started playing that now (on PC). So far it’s not bad, although I’m very underwhelmed by the visuals. For the giant hit it took on my framerate, it doesn’t look much better than Blood Money with some overzealous bloom and DOF effects added in. But as far as the gameplay, it seems pretty good. It feels a little less rugged, a little more coddling (I’m playing on Hard), although I’m also only on the 2nd mission so that might fade away.

    One thing that never gets brought up when people are complaining about ports is cutscene video compression. My god the videos in this look like ass. The way I see it, if you are going to do an out-of-engine cutscene video, you  might as well make it as HD and spiffy as possible. But I guess they have to compress the shit out of them to make sure they fit on Xbox discs or whatever. The cutscenes in this, aside from video quality, also look like they were made about 5 years ago. The fidelity of the CG is lousy. I think it’s even more galling because the CG trailers for this game looked stunning. So like… why didn’t they use that same CG for the actual game? This is a very minor point of contention, I just thought it was funny.

    ps: is it possible to comment on a post here without there already being 50 million responses? I realize this is a day after posting but I’ve been here an hour after posting and it’s the same. I feel like my posts never get read. Damn you guys!

    • DrFlimFlam

      There is no Hitman game in the world worth stopping a Chrono Cross playthrough for.

      • http://twitter.com/djbeema Reuben

        I really hate the battle system in Chrono Cross, though. But yeah, this particular Hitman game was not worth it. Another $13 down the toilet. Fuck I hate so many games right now.

        • DrFlimFlam

          Really? I love the battle system. It’s so flexible with how you want to proceed. You can chuck a character’s stamina down a well if you want to set them up to just kill, and you can jump back to a favorite pretty often, which most turn-based RPG’s never let you do.

          • http://twitter.com/djbeema Reuben

            I just can’t make sense of it. I enjoyed the days when the only numbers I had to pay attention to were HP and MP on a linear bar. Like I have no idea how to properly use the whole Element Table system deal. I’m just plugging stuff in at random and hoping it works out. Even when I think I have it figured out, I’m wrong, and some special attack wont be available and I wont know why. Then you have the fugly color system to worry about, which is just obnoxious.

            So far I haven’t had much difficulty, but I feel like I’m bound to run in to a boss somewhere soon that is going to destroy me.

        • DrFlimFlam

          The first time I played through the game I left the advanced components of the system alone, but on subsequent play-throughs (I’ve beaten it thrice, and one more time in a New Game + with that kind of ending) I got more into it. Basically, each successful physical attack will charge the corresponding amount of bars in your magic meter, up to seven, I believe. So you can hit for 2, and then 2, and then 3 to charge it all the way. This also depletes your stamina, of which I believe any single action takes up seven points. What I wound up doing lots what letting Serge go to build up magic bar, then choosing the second best character in the party (because you can always choose between characters who have available stamina- the game goes round-robin, but you can go differently unless only one character has a full point or more of stamina), letting them go, and then going back to Serge to let him unleash whatever, since he was usually the best in combat.

          While each elemental spell or consumable has its own native “rank” to be placed on the tables, the spells can be placed anywhere, with increased or decreased efficacy as a result.

          Also, regarding bosses, you can run away from any fight. Any fight. So if you’re losing, leave, and then come back. I only found the occasional boss fight tough, though, since a boss who has the upper hand elementally also has a direct disadvantage due to the opposing element system inherent in a vulnerable party.

          I really, really like Chrono Cross.

          • http://twitter.com/djbeema Reuben

             Yeah, I figured out the whole “charging” thing and have been using it to decent effect, but all the the elements still feel like a very random process. I did auto-assign and it seemed to assign things really stupidly. I’m very early in the game still (Viper Mansion), so maybe I will grow used to it. I’m definitely not giving up on it. I just need to find a good block of time to sit down and play. Chrono Trigger is in my top 5 games of all time, so I’m hoping there are enough similarities to make it a fun experience.

  • DrFlimFlam

    I hit 90 with a Blood Elf Warlock. Now I guess I run Heroic five-mans, then Heroic 10-mans, then more, I guess? I hate the grind of WoW, of getting up to max level, but then I get there and kind of shrug and wonder what I’m supposed to do NOW. The current thought is to try and grind old high-level dungeons for cool-looking gear to my character dressed for success.