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.
The interview subject for this week’s What Are You Playing This Weekend? had to postpone, so we’re keeping it in-house today and surveying the Gameological contributors for their answers to the usual question.
Because of familial obligations, I had to jam in all my weekend playing into the last few weeknights, which has left me disoriented and sleep-deprived (but satisfied). Most of this was spent with Mass Effect 3’s final expansion, “The Citadel.” I was a little skeptical about how much juice BioWare could muster up for this one, considering how bland the “Omega” expansion was, but the developers brought their A game this time, and I recommend “The Citadel” for anyone still in a lingering depression over Mass Effect 3’s doom and gloom. (I’ll be reviewing the expansion for Gameological.) When I return, it’s a bit of an open question. There are a few games I have stalled out on that I want to pick back up, including The Witcher 2, Dishonored, and The Walking Dead. But I’m open to suggestions here for next weekend, so pitch away.
I’m going to be playing a slightly modded SimCity 4, which is the previous version. It’s not that I’m trying to be an iconoclastic “down with the man!” badass—although it’s true there is nothing sexier than the rebellion of playing a 10-year-old urban simulation game—but I’m waiting for the Mac version because the screen attached to my Mac is bigger than the PC one. My current city is named Souplandia. It has many cat-themed buildings. I’m also going to go back through Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend Of Rhythm Alien and pick up a few loose ends that I missed, for two reasons. First, the game is a great way to zone out, and when I get in a groove with it, it feels amazing—like I’m in sync with an energy that’s greater than myself. Second, playing it this weekend gave me an opportunity to type out the entire ridiculous title here, which pleases me.
I finally joined the ranks of the iPadded this week and downloaded the first chapter of The Walking Dead, which I’ll be firing up presently. Really, though, I’m mainly interested in how I can turn this incredible piece of technology into a $600 board game machine. Ticket To Ride and Carcassonne will be in heavy rotation, and I’m curious to check out a bunch of other Euro-style games like Caylus and Le Havre that have made the leap to iOS. There’s also Ascension: Chronicle Of The Godslayer, which has the kind of title that immediately makes me tune out, though the comparisons to Dominion are enough to convince me it might be worth frittering away the remaining weekend hours, er, chronicling my slaying of gods, I suppose.
After having put it down since November, I’m finally up to the last chapter of Professor Layton And The Miracle Mask, so I’m pretty determined to wrap that up soon. I’ve also spent the past evening or two cursing up a storm over how insanely hard the curated levels in this week’s Sound Shapes update are. Mostly, though, I’m inextricably hooked on Sonic Dash on my iPad. The one-thumb controls make it perfect for a quick session while waiting for water to boil and spices up otherwise boring phone calls. Layton and Sound Shapes both demand too much of my attention while I’m trying to be social. This Sonic infinite runner, though, is just passive enough to allow me to multitask while still being active enough to make it feel like I’m kinda sorta doing something maybe.
Anthony John Agnello
At any given time, I’m usually playing three games and this weekend is no different. I’ll be putting the finishing touches on Lego City: Undercover on Wii U for our very own Gameological review, as well as more time into Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which I’m playing for review beyond these shores. (It’s fun, pretty, and it interrupts you constantly. So, you know, it’s a standard Nintendo game.) The third pillar in this tripod is purely for leisure, though, and I plan to play a bunch of Burning Rangers on Sega Saturn. I tend to get the Saturn itch every spring, and while Burning Rangers has been sitting on the shelf for 10 years now, I’ve never managed to actually beat it. No more! I will fight all of the futuristic fires and save all the space dolphins this weekend. Let’s go, Burning Rangers!
I’ll probably be doing a little more train travel than usual this weekend, so I’m looking forward to spending time with Ridiculous Fishing, the new iOS game from Vlambeer. We’ll be covering it in Sawbuck Gamer next week, so I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say the title is pretty apt. I’m also hoping to sneak in some more time with Starseed Pilgrim. It’s a game that’s gotten a lot of comparisons to Fez, and rightfully so. Here’s the elevator pitch: a platformer where you grow the platforms. In practice, it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, and none of it is explained. Piecing the game’s rules together has been fun though, and it’s great for those satisfying “Aha!” moments.
My main focus this weekend will be playing StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm. I’ll also be getting in my daily dose of World Of Warcraft. My husband’s seriously into it right now, and he doubts my commitment to Sparkle Motion if I don’t at least log in to do a few dailies or a dungeon with him. But what I’m most excited about is a session of Pathfinder I’ll be playing in on Sunday. As of last time, our party had been on a boat that was attacked by some psionic aberrations (think Lovecraftian horrors with mind-control powers) and wound up shipwrecked with the crew on a tropical island. Has at least one of these expendable fellows been possessed by an alien monster? I’m thinking yes.
I plan on screaming at my smartphone’s tiny screen for at least two to three hours this weekend. For the fifth week in a row, I will be attempting to beat the final and deviously hard level of Super Hexagon. Despite mastering all of the game’s incessant trickery and acrobatics, I have yet to break my personal 22.48-second mark. I have also set a goal (likely to remain unmet come Monday) to reach “The Cellar” in The Binding Of Isaac. I recently picked it up, and I have been relying almost completely on beginner’s luck, although I have stopped stress-shrieking when I get down to my last heart. And if i’m lucky, I’ll squeeze a round of Settlers Of Catan in with neighbors at some point.
Like most weekends, I’ll be trying to do at least a couple of drafts in Magic: The Gathering Online. Magic is still my favorite game, even after playing it on and off for almost two decades. At two-and-a-half hours per draft, this will eat up the majority of my free time over the weekend, but I’ll also be trying to squeeze in an hour or two in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Yes, Skyrim. I know it’s been out for a year and a half, but, believe it or not, I’ve been playing it intermittently that entire time, with occasional breaks for a few other must-play titles. I’ve got about 125 hours invested at this point, which still puts me almost 80 hours behind my total time spent playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. What can I say? When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it.
My Big Weekend O’ Game Reviewin’ involves diving into both God Of War: Ascension and Gears Of War: Judgment, which I’m beginning to suspect are the same game. They’re both the fourth game in their series, and they both disguise that fourthness by using the sequel naming device currently in vogue—dropping a number for a colon followed by a vague noun. Both are written as prequels because their original stories came to a natural conclusion. Both star angry dudes who have to kill lots of things. Both are properties that feel completely exhausted. But hey, some of the new multiplayer modes sound fun, right?! I’m way more pumped about playing Lego City: Undercover, which I really hope is like playing an episode of the old TV show CHiPs with the Erik Estrada character replaced with a plastic block (which probably means better acting).
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.