What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Steve Gadlin

Steve Gadlin, comedian

His cat-drawing business is exploding, but he can learn a thing or two about The Cave from his daughter.

By Steve Heisler • March 29, 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.

Steve Gadlin appeared on the ABC investor-pitching show Shark Tank with an intriguing offer: a business that charged 10 bucks for a custom cat drawing. It sounded insane, but Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, bit on the deal. Now Gadlin’s I Want To Draw A Cat For You keeps him busy. That venture is just as idiosyncratic as his others—live game shows like Don’t Spit The Water and Impress These Apes, in which comics compete to win the hearts of three people in ape costumes. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two kids, who make great partners for adventures in The Cave.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Steve Gadlin: I’ve been hooked on this game called The Cave. Which, when I say I’m hooked, I’ll say my six-year-old and my two-year-old are hooked on it. So I get roped into playing for several hours every day.

Gameological: So you play and they watch?

Gadlin: Exactly. They’ll grab up the game, take a stab at it for a minute, and say, “Daddy, we want to watch you play.” And we’ve played through it with every character several times now, so they know exactly what’s going to happen and what to do. They’ll guide me through the game as I solve all the puzzles.

Gameological: Who are the characters your kids like the most?

Gadlin: My daughter loves the twins, which is kind of frightening because they’re two little children that try to kill their parents, which somehow relates to her. She’s real excited about them. And then my son likes the hillbilly character who is out to regain lost love in a carnival.

Gameological: Aw.

Gadlin: I don’t know that he gets those concepts, he just picks him because he walks real funny. [Laughs.]

Gameological: I don’t think I could have predicted that that was the game you would play with your kids. Why that game, do you think?

Gadlin: I was interested in it because I’m an old school PC-gamer fan. Ron Gilbert, who wrote and put together The Cave, is the guy behind the whole Secret Of Monkey Island series, Maniac Mansion, and some real old-school LucasArts games. Monkey Island for me during the Ron Gilbert era was the greatest game of all time, Monkey Island 1 and 2. Now that other people got their hands on it, more recent incarnations, it’s a whole ’nother thing, but to me it was that excitement of, “Ooh! Another Ron Gilbert thing,” and maybe recapturing some of those old Monkey Island jokes. So that’s what got me interested in it. My kids were really hooked on Nintendo Land on the Wii U, and we had been playing that every day. When I saw [The Cave] was available for the Wii U, I went ahead and purchased it. I started playing it expecting them to hate it and beg to put “Mario Chase” back on, but they got really into the story, and it’s been an exciting way to relive some of those stories I used to get into, with my kids.

Gameological: Do you feel like this game captures that old Monkey Island magic?

Gadlin: No, not quite. I think there are shades of it, but back then, you would sit at a game and do a lot of reading. People just don’t do that anymore, so there’s not as much opportunity for him to shine. The stories are told in a real basic way. They’re not as neat as they were in those old games, but the humor and style are there. I’d say this is a good first try, and hopefully if they make The Cave 2, by then the wheels will all be turning.

Gameological: What’s your feeling about kids playing games?

Gadlin: It depends. We’re still in the phase of, if they’re playing games, we’re doing it together. It’s some of the best time I get to spend with them. If I’m not drawing stick-figure cats locked away in a room, I’m sitting down with them and interacting around these stories. For me it’s better than TV, though I’ll say they’re getting a little strange when I’m having to explain to my six-year-old why these twins are killing their parents, and what it means for the parents to be dead, and why they put rat poison in their food. Fortunately, The Cave has this out where the characters can’t die. It keeps telling you that you can’t die in the Cave, so I keep telling her that same logic applies to any other characters that might die in the game. [Laughs.]

Gameological: Do you find games are going to be a viable form of engaging them and educating them and whatnot?

Gadlin: I think so, yeah. I was raised on these things. I was a kid who instead of going out and playing sports, sat in a room and worked his way through a pirate adventure on a computer. I came out okay. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing. Same with any sort of entertainment, you moderate, and you make sure it’s not too extreme. You try to monitor the stuff that goes into your kid’s brain as much as you can. I prefer them sitting there with me playing a video game to clicking on the Disney Channel and letting them sit in front of it for 20 minutes. That for me is far, far better for their minds. And now my kid at six years old—and she’s watched me solve them—but she’s solving puzzles. That’s the kind of thing I wasn’t doing until I was 10 or 12.

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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172 Responses to “Steve Gadlin, comedian”

  1. Merve says:

    That’s an interesting way of looking at gaming for children: a mind-sharpening tool. I’m going to attribute any problem-solving ability I now possess to my childhood gaming habit.

    This weekend, I plan to finish BioShock Infinite. I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but I’ll try anyway. So far, I’m enjoying the game, but I feel as if it’s the kind of work that needs to be experienced in its entirety to be commented upon. What I will say is that the virtual city of Columbia is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a twisted Disney fantasy world with bright colours and gorgeous art direction; it’s impossible not to get absorbed in it. It has also made me very, very screenshot-happy. I’ve never pressed my F12 key this much before in my life.

    • exant says:

      I don’t know about problem-solving skills, but playing the shit out of Wolfenstein 3D as a kid definitely gave me skills at playing games like Wolfenstein 3D.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      I’ve long attributed my strength with maps and world Geography to the fact that I played the crap out of all kinds of games that used a world map when I was young.  Anyone who’s played a Paradox grand strategy title has to know what I’m talking about – I know where Ezereum and Trabzon are, thanks to playing the Ottomans!  Woot!

      • Logoboros says:

        I was teaching a topics Literature class on Viking Myth and Sagas, and on the first day I gave a little informal quiz to see what the class’s initial knowledge base was, and that included a little “label the major countries of the North Atlantic” section. The true horror stories come from the number of students (people admitted into a major state university) who couldn’t correctly identify Great Britain (a couple labeling France as GB). Those were a minority of the students, but still more than enough to really rattle my confidence in the American educational system (or, rather, rattle it even more than it already was).

        But that segment of the class aside, the vast majority of students completely mangled locating Sweden, Norway, and Finland — even when they got them in Scandinavia, they jumbled them all up.

        Did none of these kids play Risk, for crying out loud? That’s all it would take. The only reason I know roughly where Kamchatka is is because of Risk, but I’ve got that factoid safely stored away for the day when it will be useful.

    • Captain Internet says:

      I’ll be doing much the same. I’m not very far in, but I will say that I don’t quite ‘get’ Columbia in the way I ‘got’ Rapture- it’s breathtaking, but it doesn’t make any sense. I could sort of believe a submerged Detroit, but a floating Kensingston? Those are very heavy buildings, and the when the only reason I can see for them being airborne is that they’re sat on balloons it makes me uncomfortable.

      Still, I’m enjoying it so far, and like you I think I need to finish it before any criticism will stick. Maybe it’s all a dream?

      • Make sure to watch those weird kiosk things.  They allude to what’s keeping the city afloat in some of those.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        They’re on TOP of balloons?

        Yeeeahhhh…as someone who’s tried to lift toys like that before, I can safely say that a heavy weight on top of a balloon will flip over to the underside.

        Hooray for upside-down flying cities!

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        It gets explained (well, ~science~ explained) in a later audiolog

    • beema says:

      Question: what are your PC’s specs and what settings are you running Bioshock at? I’d really like to play Bioshock but I’m worried my PC is a bit too aged to get the most out of it. 

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        At 1920×1080, detail set to very high and anti-aliasing off, it runs reasonably well on my older Core 2 Quad OCed to 3.2GHz, and equipped with a Geforce 560 Ti card. If you have an Nvidia card, consider updating to the latest posted drivers, as they noticeably improve frame rates for BI and few other newly-released games. 

      • Merve says:

        Intel i5-2550K processor, Radeon HD 7850 graphics card, 8 GB of RAM. I’m running the game on very high settings at 1920X1080 resolution with anti-aliasing on and V-Sync turned off. I get a pretty stable 45 to 50 FPS.

        The game can scale to pretty low quality, so it should run alright even on an older machine. If you could run Dead Space 3, you could probably run Infinite. That being said, the benchmarking tool is ridiculously optimistic; it claimed an average of around 100 FPS. Hahahahaahahaa yeah right.

        • beema says:

          hmm… I wonder if I could get the benchmarking tool somewhere independently. 

          My PC is roughly 4 years old. AMD 955 3.1ghz quad CPU, 4gb ram, GeForce GTX470. :-/ I really hate dropping the quality on games too low. I guess the newest game I’ve played on it where I actually started running in to framerate problems has been Hitman: Absolution.

          • Merve says:

            You’re concerned about specs like that being too low? Dude, with a machine like that, you could probably run it on High or Very High (with V-Sync turned off, of course).

        • beema says:

          Hmm, maybe I’m a bit more concerned than I should be? I read pre-release stuff about the PC version that said they put all these high end features in to it, and the recommended requirements (which usually cover med-high in past experience) were a bit past my system, I think.

          I dunno. I was thinking my system is pretty dinosaurish at this point. Your system is certainly better than mine. Although I have a smaller resolution (1680×1050) so that could help me out.

      • Erdschwein says:

        This is probably a bit late, but it runs pretty well on my computer and I have 8 gb RAM, a first gen 2.7 i7, and a 9800 GT. It looks good, though I can tell it could be better. But the game is optimized remarkably well. I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it, but they really did a good job with this part.

  2. Citric says:

    Well, let’s see, gonna keep going with Splinter Cell, Shadow Hearts (which makes it really obvious that they intended on doing a multi-disc PS1 game, since the chapter breaks are only missing the “Please insert disc 2” text) and Ys Seven, all of which are quite good, even Ys has more dialog than it really needs.

    But I also popped in Retro Game Challenge for the DS. It’s so lovingly put together, from the magazines that reference old EGM writers to the deliberately wonky translations of some of the games. I’m at Guadia Quest, which I’m not a huge fan of, but I really enjoy it so far otherwise.

  3. rvb1023 says:

    Playing Infinite and loving it, though the respawn mechanics have irked me the few times I have died.  Also the game needs a better save system.

    Beyond that, no complaints so far, only praise.

    • Merve says:

      The checkpoints really need to be placed closer together. Also, the two-weapon limit is really annoying. When did this game become Halo?

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        This is something I’ve long been wondering about. Especially in games that expect you to wildly experiment with combinations, it seems inane that you can’t just flip between a weapon wheel (as you do with the vigors), especially when any concerns about you having enough room to carry all of the weapons can be addressed by Elizabeth’s reality-warping powers. 

        At the very least, I’d have thought you could swap weapons at the vending machines, but no, you’ve actually got to FIND the weapons you’re best with, or forgo certain ones entirely, lest you get stuck with weapons that aren’t useful for the current boss fight. (I’m thinking of a certain graveyard scenario.) 

        Everything else, I could handle.

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          I don’t particularly mind it. Those mechanics (weapon restrictions, rechargable shields) are popular because they work very, very well, and allow for things like creative level design. A setpiece with a lot of sky hooks invariably has gun and ammo caches scattered around, and when you need to change tactics it provides an incentive to move around and get creative (high ground areas always tend to have RPGs or sniper rifles lying around, for example). The removal of quasi-inventory for consumables was also implemented for this reason.

          I imagine that including all the weapons on your person would go a ways toward making combat trivial, as it was in Bioshock 1, where you couldn’t really make a dent in your ammo reserves even on hardest difficulty because you had a lot of weapons with a lot of specialized ammunition. You have to think on your feet when you enter a courtyard shooting gallery and all you have on you is a shotgun and a grenade launcher with limited range. You might end up using weapons you would have otherwise neglected because they’re your best option in the moment.

      • JohnnyLongtorso says:

        I started the game the other day. I thought the intro seemed awfully derivative of the first game. Then once I got to Columbia, I was
        impressed for about a half hour. Then the combat started and I was
        disappointed again. I haven’t found the girl yet, so maybe things will improve from there, but I’m not hopeful. I don’t understand why they felt the need to redo the combat. I hate the Halo style of FPS, where you have to go run and hide behind the nearest crate every thirty seconds to regenerate your shields.

      • I kind of like the two weapon system, as it keeps me from feeling too much like an unstoppable goliath.  I plan on doing my second play-through on either Hard or 1999 mode so the idea of having to really be strategic about which weapons I carry into certain battles appeals to me.

        I’m more miffed about the regenerating shield non-sense really.

        • The_Helmaroc_King says:

          I found it a little weird that this game decided to add a regenerating shield. I still feel like they have their place in games, but I think it’s a symptom of larger design trends, especially the commonalities of modern FPS design.

          I mean, in the context of most modern FPS games, it’s a given that the player can and will take some damage regardless of how good they are; there’s not much you can do to dodge a bullet while still firing back against a large number of enemies. If these game had a classic health system like Doom or Quake, developers would either need to add health packs or force the player to make it through the level on one “life”, but these ideas are probably jettisoned in the name of streamlining the game for wide appeal.

          Now, it’s not that the classic health systems are bad, but it would be difficult to design a game that had that, modern* military weapons, and wide appeal.

          * Not that BioShock: Infinite has modern weapons, but they function similarly enough.

        • Merve says:

          @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus: I don’t mind the regenerating shield. Without it, I’d have to run around scrounging for medkits in the middle of a fight, which would ruin the rhythm of game. Moreover, I don’t run the risk of ending up in an unwinnable fight with just a sliver of health.

        • The_Helmaroc_King says:

          @Merve2:disqus I don’t dislike the shield myself, I was just blathering over why it seems so common. I think it works in this context; the fact that you can choose to customize it slightly with infusions or gear helps.

        • The bigger enemies have ridiculous amounts of health on Hard; you don’t just end up with the “oh, I’ve got the wrong weapons, I have to run around looking for something to swap out so I don’t have to fight melee enemies with a sniper rifle/try to pick off rocket launcher guys in the distance with a shotgun” thing, you also end up with the “oh, I’m completely out of ammo for both weapons, I have to run around desperately scrounging for anything I can shoot while under enemy fire” thing. Playing on Hard wasn’t so much challenging as it was irritating.

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          The regenerating shield is a better compromise between combat ease and difficulty than Bioshock 1/2’s bandolier of medkits

      • Raging Bear says:

        I will curse this two-weapon bullshit until the day I die. And what the HELL is with all these sequels that bring it in when the original(s) didn’t have it?

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          Because everybody knew that Bioshock’s combat was dull as hell and they needed to change it. I’m certainly having a lot more fun in B:I’s combat for several reasons.

        • Raging Bear says:

          @KidvanDanzig:disqus  I, for one, never found Bioshock’s combat dull until now. The $#(*%& two-weapon system (I really just couldn’t possibly swear enough to convey how I really feel about this system) actively discourages me from experimenting with weapons, since some of them are best suited to particular situations while others are fairly consistently reliable. Why plug 50% of my entire weapon inventory with a Heater or shotgun that’s only ever useful at short range, when I’m fighting across courtyards? On the other hand, if I could actually carry more weapons, then I’d have the shotgun when I wanted it, and then actually enjoy the firefights. BUT NO. (Actually, I still basically enjoy the combat. But I’d definitely enjoy it a hell of a lot more without this infuriating nonsense).

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Truth.  It does me no good to tell me what time my last save occurred when I’m unable to see what time it currently is.

      • rvb1023 says:

         The first thing I did when I started up was check to see what quicksave was mapped to. When I found out there was no quicksave I almost had a fit.

        • Mr. Glitch says:

          I did the same thing, and threw the same fit. Dammit, this isn’t Resident Evil on the Playstation!

        • Merve says:

          Blarg. I keep reaching for the F5 key, and when I realize it does nothing, I get angry and eat a kitten.

        • ComradePig says:

           Yeah I was perplexed as to why they decided upon there being no quick-save feature.

          On lower difficulties and in terms of returning to areas it’s not really an issue since Elizabeth gets you back up and you can return to sections of the game in the main menu fairly easily in regard to those respective issues, but for 1999 mode I’d imagine not having it is a real frustration.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Dude, the game lending library at my work was announcing the March 26 date for Infinite for weeks, so I was spamming the “Reserve your game” page waiting for the moment they made them available. Well, that moment arrived during lunch, and when I came back at 1, they were all out.

      Probably some productions pre-reserved copies to “research the competition”, too.

      • Nabokov_Cocktail says:

        You have a game-lending library at work?  I hate you, and are you hiring?

        • Chum Joely says:

          I work at a major games company. “Are we hiring” depends on your career path and portfolio/resume, I suppose!  8^)

  4. exant says:

    I remember when I used to play other games, but now it’s just Dota 2. I think it’s mostly because I have a number of very patient friends willing to help me stumble my way into competence. The depth in this game is staggering. I have thought about getting BioShock Infinite since this is a nice three-day weekend.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Hey, look me up on Steam; I’m going as [GLOG]IllogicalJoker these days, and I’m always looking for more Dota 2 players.

    • I just got Steam set up, and I keep seeing people talk about this game, so I think I’ll have to give it a try too. My username is WarrenPeace325.

      • djsubversive says:

        hey, you’re the one who just got Guns of Icarus, right? Hop in the Steam chat tonight! We’re going to learn to play together, if enough people are available. It’s kind of short-notice.

        • Yup, that’s me! I’m planning on being there!

        • djsubversive says:

          Since I didn’t realize that steam’s announcement system doesn’t show times, I was pretty vague about when exactly this will happen. And since I’m at work, I’m not going to log in to steam to edit the announcement, but I’ll be on about 7 pm CST (midnight GMT; hopefully that’s not too late for Chicanery or anyone else who’s not in North America :D). I also made an Event, which should have a set time and a nice little alert pop-up to remind everybody.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Oh wow, only 7pm Central Time? That’s so… early. I won’t be available until a good 2 hours after that. Well, I’ll probably join in anyway.

        • djsubversive says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus It’s a tentative “let’s see who shows up” sort of thing. I only mentioned 7 because I needed to choose some time, and I didn’t want to make it too late for people who aren’t in North America.

      • exant says:

         It’s worth a try, at least with bots until you know you enjoy the mechanics. I steamfriended you if you need a beta invite.

  5. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Bioshock Infinite!  Overlong ass-blow analysis and
    general story points below!

    Gameological’s review being the sole one I read that showed a measured and tempered response to the game, it’s what’s been on my mind while playing.  And of one of the central themes of the review is Infinite uses the same molds as Bioshock to shape this new experience.  Playing it I see this is true.  Big Daddys, plasmids and the terminal effect an isolated environment has on philosophy and sanity.  Some of these are well-woven into the experience and others do feel like an obligatory carry-over from the first.  But it also strikes me as being quite deliberate. The game begins nearly identical to the firstBioshock; with the protagonist alone on an island lighthouse.  Instead of being dropped into the ocean, the character is shot into the sky, but even then the city reveals itself in an almost identical way to the first.  Even having an airship in place of a whale floating along your line of sight.

    This struck me as a tacit acknowledgment that this game is meant to carry along much of what was built with the first.

    There are times when a template swap feels like cheap derivation and there are times when it feels like a thrilling deviation.  Infinite feels like the latter.  I don’t know what sort of ephemeral quality defines the difference.  It may be as superficial a distinction as being sympathetic to the spirit or aesthetic of the given mutation, which I certainly am.  It may be that Bioshock hasn’t repeated itself in enough numerations that I grow tired of the schtick.  I’m
    only a handful of hours into the game and I’ve already seen things I have never seen in another game.

    When tempering the enthusiasm for Bioshock’s ideas and explorations of ideology, the point is frequently made that it excels, simply because it has such a low orbit to escape.  And that is certainly true in part, but the more I play, the more I sincerely believe the game holds up as engaging genre work, not just engaging video game work.

    I can’t really weigh in on the quality of the shooter mechanics since the Bioshock series is pretty much where my relationship with the genre begins and ends.  I’m the gamer equivalent of having a country music library consisting of Johnny Cash American Recordings ,
    or having Beck’s Midnite Vultures and claiming to be into R&B. But I like shooting and throwing fireballs, so by that simple metric, I’m satisfied.

    All told, I’m enjoying the game.  Perhaps it is
    unfairly diminishing itself by adhering to the first games rules.  But lord, I’m having a difficult time feeling
    that way through the gentle song of an air-skiff bearing a Barbershop Quartet.

    • Cheese says:

      Ahhhhhhhhh….It’s hard not to respond to this with spoilers. I think you’ll like the ending.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only person who felt Levine’s callbacks to Bioshock weren’t out of a lack of new ideas but of an intent to build upon those same ideas.

      I’m excited for next Friday when hopefully, everyone will have finished the game and we can have a long discussion about what the fuck is going on with the music in this game.  Don’t ask me now, I’m petrified of spoilers.

      • Jason Reich says:

        Seriously. I love reading the comments for this feature but knowing it was going to be a big Bioshock week made me extremely spoiler-wary. Hoping to finish the game by next week but loving it thus far (I just finished the Battleship Bay area), and in total agreement about the game’s themes not being a rehash but a further exploration of ideas. As @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus  points out, the opening is practically a shot for shot callback to the first game, right down to your welcome: “Is it someone new?” But hearing that delivered in a completely different way was thrilling to me.

  6. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    This weekend? BioShock, forever… or until I need to eat. I think I’m about halfway through the game, but so far I’m quite enthralled. I’ll wait until I finish the game to talk more about it, but I there are a few touches that’ve piqued my interest. The “couple” that you meet a few times near the beginning of the game, for example, and the animation that plays on the player’s death suggest some things about the plot, but any more and I suspect I’ll spoil the game for myself so I’ll stop there.

    Since I’ve only signed up this week (and missed out on any previous conversations), I’ll just rattle off some of the games I’ve “completed” recently:

    Halo 4! Spartan Ops is an interesting enough concept for a game, episodic along the lines of TV rather than Half Life 2, but the first half of the season was dire in terms of design… and plot… The second half was good enough that I’ll jump back in if/when they release more, but until then I’m done.

    Dead Space 3! Mixed feelings on this one. The series has always had an on-and-off relationship with horror, but this is the furthest away; it’s pretty hard to feel anxious when you’re crafting a powerful arsenal over the course of the game. The whole romantic subplot felt pretty weak, too. I liked the DLC chapter much more than the game itself, though, since it had a much better atmosphere.

    Trials Evolution! I finished the main game a while back, but decided to polish off one of the DLC packs. I still love this game; I was a little disappointed it had such a lukewarm reception on this site when it got reviewed here. I guess the challenging bits make it hard to like, even if that’s one of the things that I love about the game.

    BioShock should hold my interest for a couple weeks or so, especially since I’d like to play it again, maybe see if the choices that pop up now and again can have any significance.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      When first meeting the Lutece twins and their coin-flip experiment, did anybody else think of the opening to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead?

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        It’s a deliberate reference.

        Also when Elizabeth throws coins at you, start keeping track of what face you see, and how often you see it.

    • They say first impressions are important and the first impression Halo 4’s Spartan Ops made on me was, “Hey, I’m a really half-assed mode that replaced Firefight.”
      I never even finished the first mission, people have told me it gets better but if I want co-op I can play the campaign, which is markedly better and if I just want to shoot things that what Big Team Slayer is for.

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Yeah. I have mixed feelings on Spartan Ops, but it has some really fundamental problems.

        My main complaint is the mission design; too many fell along the lines of, “Go here so enemies can spawn around you.” Really irritating when you’re trying to play it smart and the only way to proceed is to be ambushed again and again, and when combined with the levels everything felt really… small. The developer’s improved on this when they released the second half of the season, even if it still pops up now and again.

        It has some other flaws worth pointing out, such as the reused levels and the player’s disconnection from the story. To the developer’s credit, they try to shake things up when they do reuse levels, but the second one is definitely an interesting issue when they’re trying to make an episodic campaign.

        I’m interested enough to jump back in later, but I can’t recommend bothering if you weren’t interested after the first episode.

  7. Chum Joely says:

    Oh man, speaking of explaining/discussing gaming stuff with kids: When my daughter (6-1/2) is in one of her Rayman Origins phases (another one is about to start, I sense), she really goes nuts with it. One time I was putting her to bed and she just had to tell me about her idea for a new level in Rayman. (It involved a mountain coming to life and smashing at you with its fists, so quite a good fit with the game’s aesthetic.) I tried to steer her towards sleep by having her look out the window, and then she can’t help imagining Rayman wall-running up the side of that tree out there and jumping over the train tracks. Et cetera.

    So yeah, maybe some Rayman Origins… other than that, Jackbert has single-handedly got me hooked again on Super Hexagon (this time for iPhone– controls are actually more comfortable than PC for the most part) and Hotline Miami. To the soundtrack of which I am also most definitely newly addicted since I bought it through the weird Steam “audio DLC” arrangement.

    I guess I should also play some Analogue: A Hate Story since that is the inaugural topic of discussion in the GS Game Revue Club (see HobbesMkii’s announcement on the GS Steam group).

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I look forward with equal parts anticipation and dread to when my own girl is old enough to internalize video game logic.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I didn’t realize we were sold on Analogue. It’s been sitting in my queue forever, so I guess that’ll at least get me started!

      • Chum Joely says:

        Actually, I take it back– I’m not sure what the official choice is. Analogue came out of the initial chat on the topic but since the whole thing is getting bigger/more open to everyone now with Hobbes’ announcement, other people may have different suggestions.

        • djsubversive says:

          I don’t know how “official” it is, but it seems like everybody who was there for the Revue Club discussion in chat has picked up Analogue. Still, everyone should go to the Gameological steam group forum and be part of our awesome idea (the Revue Club sub-forum link is on the right).

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      Oddly enough, I recently purchased Rayman: Origins for the express purpose of getting the 6-yr-old girl in the house to play something else besides Minecraft for a while.  There’s nothing wrong with Minecraft, but it just starts to feel less like escape and more like work after a while.  She plays creative mode almost exclusively, trying to build stuff she saw in Youtube videos or whatever comes to mind; I just can’t get too excited about building yet another house.

      • Chum Joely says:

        If she’s anything like my girl, you’ll probably be spending a fair amount of time playing for her, once you get past the first 2 worlds or so. (Fortunately, the game is fun enough that this shouldn’t be too painful for you, heh.) Even though my daughter’s definitely got a good handle on the basic control scheme, there are generally a number of points on any given level that are just plain hard to get right in terms of timing and coordination, and that number increases geometrically starting from the 3rd or 4th world.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          We’ve played it a bit and she’s competent enough to handle it so far, but–not to sound like I’m trash-talking a little girl–she tends to shy away from challenge. Once things start getting tough and she’s died several times attempting something, she’ll just screw around in that “bubble” form, actively avoiding me as I try and bring her back to the game.

          I suppose we just have different play-styles. When she plays, it is for the “screwing around with things” potential (she also likes the Lego games), where I play games to complete levels and challenges, to see what’s next.

      • aklab says:

        Oh, I’m late to the “parents of six-year-old girls” thread!
        Her favorites are Minecraft creative mode and a few of the Lego games — mainly Star Wars & Batman.
        She’s just getting into the Katamari Damacy series too!

        • Chum Joely says:

          Hmm, I only recently got into PC gaming so I don’t even have Minecraft. Maybe an interesting idea for my daughter’s 7th birthday in a few months. I’ve heard good things about the Lego games too… thanks for the tips!

    • aklab says:

      @ChumJoely:disqus , I beat Hotline Miami after your encouragement last week! Now I’m really good at killin’!

      • Chum Joely says:

        Awesome, congratulations! I’ve just started a second playthrough and I can’t believe I made it through the whole game– especially the last boss fight of the main story– without realizing that I could click the middle mouse button to lock on to a target. I’m kicking even more ass on this playthrough (although just plain experience is probably the main reason for that).

  8. valondar says:

    So. Actually planning gaming over a weekend is a vexing idea at best. I definitely should have posted in this last week when I got into the Defiance beta and proceeded to play an adequate third person shooter MMO that I suppose is fine if you’re going to watch the TV show too or whatever.

    This weekend I don’t have any adequate MMO betas to get into. But I have been aggressively strong-armed by… people… into buying the adequate MMO Secret World instead. I read somewhere that folks involved with Longest Journey helped develop this game, and it shows, with the opening cinematic where You the Protagonist are in your underwear getting confusing dreams could have been lifted right out from that adventure game’s opening. I suppose knuckling down and playing my character properly (Cassandra “Twelfth” Hawley on Arcadia, Illuminati and a snappy dresser with her suit and specs if I do say so myself) is going to be a priority.

    And maybe I’m going to crack my knuckles and give Endless Space a long, hard, longing stare. And apologize for encouraging people play Analogue. Well not the last thing, I regret nothing!

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

       tell us more of Defiance, at least what you can without breaking any agreements.  Rev3games thinks the idea of a MMO connected to a TV show is innovative.  To me it just seems like a rehash of an idea that has been floating around since 1987’s “Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future.”  If you can’t give any details, maybe you can just kind of verbally lean one way or the other.

      • valondar says:

        @Mercenary_Security_number_4:disqus Well my disclosure thing was lifted on March 22nd.

        The supposedly innovative part of Defiance the game regarding TV is that MMO players will be able to effect the TV storyline. I’m not entirely clear how this is supposed to happen as there were no indications of this in the gameplay I did (which granted, was early content of the first few levels of the game).

        The game that I played was extremely linear and plot driven with no choices to speak of – not even the scripted moral chocies of Star Wars: The Old Republic, let alone the freedom of a game like EVE: Online. The game did have a number of triggered cinematics, where your character mutely listens to NPCs a la The Secret World – and while they clearly do this for all the ‘main’ game quests, the optional quests also have voice acting… I guess it’s nice to see that SWTOR’s failure doesn’t mean MMOs have given up entirely on that aspect of gaming.

        I suspect any ‘choices’ that impact the TV series must be made in the game’s endgame, and presumably will involve people choosing from a selection of presented options as opposed to a more organic influence.

        Which I’m fine with. Give people the freedom to influence a TV show however they want and the TV show would have to digitally paint in a giant penis statue in the distance.

        The game itself is only innovative in that it’s doing something that’s rarely been done, that is, a third person shooter as a MMO. This gives it a more fluid, actiony feel than even ‘action RPG’ mmos like Tera Online or Guild Wars 2. The game suffers from some bugs (cover doesn’t work well) some odd choices (instead of spawning under you, when you summon your ride it spawns near you, sometimes caught on terrain) and a limited amount of art assets (I fought one of two kinds of mutants and one of two kinds of bugs in a series of extremely similar bombed out ruins for most of my playthrough – and while I stayed in one zone, this is less variety than any one of the six unique starting zones World of Warcraft had at launch).

        I am quite interested to see how the game will relate to the show in practice, though. I’ll definitely be watching the series, and even with the criticisms I’ve given I haven’t written off buying the game.

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

           Sounds . . . interesting.  Thanks for satiating my curiosity.  Whenever I hear about the audience affecting a storyline, I always think back to the death of Jason Todd.  That was a clusterfuck. 

  9. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    Look at this guy, drawing his own cats. It’s much easier to steal someone else’s cat pictures, open them up in Paint then voila! The unfunny adventures of Teti & Soupy is born:


  10. Cheese says:

    I just this second beat Bioshock Infinite, so I will be playing Bioshock Infinite again.

  11. Kevin says:

    I am going on a road trip to Napa Valley this weekend for a picnic and a winery tour. I managed to absolve myself of driving responsibilities, so I figure that an iPhone game should kill a couple hours. 
    This is when I remembered that I bought Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for iOS a while back. I’m no stranger to drunk Dungeons & Dragons, but from what I remember, Final Fantasy Tactics isn’t quiet as forgiving to poor judgement.

  12. Jackbert says:

    On Saturday, I leave for a ten day trip to the East coast, so that means portable gaming!

    On PSP, all not started besides the last one, I’ve got:

    PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe, Worms: Battle IslandsLocoRoco 2, *takes deep breath* Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, a second playthrough of Persona 3 Portable as the female protagonist, and finally, *sputters for air* for some simpler fare, Lumines: Puzzle Fusion. *passes out*

    I will be in the car and on the plane very much in the upcoming days, but I’d still like to have a rough order of things. So anybody got any suggestions on how to prioritize?

    (Also, though I’ll probably be totally tuckered out, I’ll have my laptop, so I might spend a bit of time in Steam Indie Spring Sale games like Analogue: A Hate Story and The Basement Collection.)

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Oh, that’s a pretty good list!  Let’s say Lumines, Marvel, Worms, LocoRoco, PixelJunk, Megami Tensei.  Ultimate Alliance 1 demonstrates what could have been, so playing it makes me a little sad about the company and the series.

      • Jackbert says:

        Yeah, I probably should have clarified better, I have played quite a bit of Lumines. I’m bringing it along so I have a good pick-up-and-play game for all the things that can go wrong when traveling.

        But knock Lumines to the bottom and that seems like a good list, thank!

    • Man, I love Lumines. When I got my PSP, I could play that for hours and hours. I should pick it up again one of these days.

    • djsubversive says:

      Guns of Icarus Online. Tonight.

      You better be there, mac-boy. :)

  13. I am going on a road trip to Napa Valley this weekend for a picnic and a winery tour. I managed to absolve myself of driving responsibilities, so I figure that an iPhone game should kill a couple hours. This is when I remembered that I bought Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for iOS a while back. I’m no stranger to drunk Dungeons & Dragons, but from what I remember, Final Fantasy Tactics isn’t quiet as forgiving to poor judgement.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Hey, there’s a guy a little further up going to Napa Valley too! You guys should hang out!

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      You must have originally made your comment before signing in, because at first it just read ‘guest’.
         But it was akin to watching a dull brown cocoon sprout into a beautiful butterfly to see it go from that to ‘Necronomiconomics’. 

    • And here I replied to your Guest post when you were lurking just a few scrolls down…

      But seriously, give me a good class of wine, then a Monk, a Time Mage, a White Mage, a Summoner and then maybe a Ninja I guess, and I’m set.

  14. Enkidum says:

    Just Cause 2, Sleeping Dogs, or Deus Ex HR, all of which I just bought with tons of DLC because they’re massively on sale on PSN.

    Played an hour of Sleeping Dogs last night and it was a lot of fun, like GTA with an actual interesting combat mechanic, which I wasn’t expecting. But very like GTA in terms of the mission/HUD/cellphone stuff, which is a bit disappointing but maybe there’s not need to re-invent the wheel. Very good voice acting and animation, of course.

    Or maybe I should just finish my thesis. (Cue Fluka in 1… 2… 3…)

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I’m so tempted to buy the Hitman Collection, because it’s so insanely cheap on Steam right now. But that’s how they get you, right? I mean, I just got XCOM and Civ V from pre-ordering Bioshock Infinite (which I recently finished), and I haven’t even INSTALLED those yet. (Thinking about trying to sell Civ V, given how little time I have to really invest/sink time into a full-on simulator.)

      • Buy it!  I power-housed Absolution in a about a week and it was a beautiful, if flawed, game that was fairly easy but lent itself well to replays.

        The story is dumb as a bag of bricks though.

    • Fluka says:

      Yo, I was totally sleeping soundly when you posted this, a luxury that can be afforded by those that have finished their thesis.

      Speaking of which, FINISH YOUR THESIS.

      • Enkidum says:

        Yeah, I had to postpone my preliminary defence by about a month because it just wasn’t ready, but it’ll be done soon. Seriously, it’s pretty good!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      SLEEPING DOGS!  I finished it yesterday morning.  Stick with it – it’s a ton of fun, and the story missions are almost universally fantastic after the first 4 or 5.


      The escalation of violence through the main storyline is so well justified by the story and characters that I barely noticed how bloody Wei was getting (physically and mentally) until near the end.  A lot of games have that same “start out weak and become a total mass-murdering badass” going on, but with the exception of being able to take a few extra hits and dish out more powerful attacks, Wei always feels more competent rather than superhuman.  (Okay, that gets stretched in the last mission or two, but it’s still great.  And I love fights that remove some of your awesome abilities for reasons that make sense, not just “we’re going to change it up and make it hard for you”.)  (Screw you, God of War.)

      Also, regarding the controls for the PC version – with the exception of driving being a bit tough to get used to with arrow keys, this game definitely lets you feel like you’re controlling a real person in a (mostly) real world.  Throughout the game you’re able to run, jump, climb, dodge people in a crowd, slide over cars, punch, kick, grapple, tackle, block, take cover, shoot, disarm, carjack, action hijack (jump from one car to another in motion), swim, shoot some more…the world feels truly open to you at all times.

      • So you really liked Sleeping Dogs?  I hit mid-game malaise after the mission where you have to escort a goddam, hip-hop producer to the club and wrangle women for him with QTEs that required pressing one button.  That’s filler mission design at its worst.

        Sleeping Dogs is a fun game, no doubt, but it tries to do too many things, and is only really good at a few of them.  I understand that a lot of designers equate length with quality but the game just overstays its welcome which is a shame because I really want to like Sleeping Dogs.  It creates a vibrant and breathing world, has really solid character development and an interesting plot (along with the best radio stations this side of GTA IV) but I can only do so many “go here, kick him, lose the cops/18k missions”.

        Also, in what world does shift make more sense for aim down the sights, then right mouse button?

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Good point on the single-button QTEs, but I still think that’s better than the usual “press these five keys in order at the right time or LOSE” of some games.  Of course when it comes to difficulty I’m a wimp…so I prefer ease of control over dexterity checks.

          I liked Shift for aiming just because it’s close to the other keys I’m pressing.  The control-space-shift combo for jumping over cover and slow-motion aiming became pretty natural, and repeating shift for in-vehicle shooting made it easy to remember.

        • stuartsaysstop says:

          But those one-button QTEs weren’t the only part of the mission. There was also KARAOKE, which I thoroughly enjoyed primarily because it’s the only “rhythm” game I’m not terrible at.

        • Merve says:

          @stuartsaysstop:disqus: I loved the karaoke in Sleeping Dogs because they managed to get the karaoke voice perfectly right: more or less in tune, but just a little off-kilter.

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          Sleeping Dogs was refreshing and notable for its restraint, I think. It’s not cartoony like Saint’s Row or GTA (which continues to be a farce despite its pretensions toward ~serious genre fare~), you very rarely fight with guns, the story lacks sprawl. Its tightness is the best thing about it.

      • Enkidum says:

        I’m actually a bit annoyed at some of the DLC I got – it makes me too powerful from the start. But yeah, I spent a good 3 hours running around doing missions last night. 

        I really like the fighting mechanics, for actually giving you some agency beyond pure button-mashing.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          I especially like having to tailor your attacks to different enemy styles.  No grapples on the big guys, grapples only for some others, and no Dim Mak on some gang bosses.

    • djsubversive says:

      So did you ever get Warframe? If so, what do you think? and why haven’t you joined the steam chat so we can get you into the Gameological Warriors?

      If it helps, the Easter update makes all the bad guys wear bunny ears and all the storage crates look like brightly-colored decorated eggs, that break into smaller brightly-colored eggs when you smash them.

      That’s one of the little things that gives a game (and the developers) a thumbs-up from me: holiday updates with silly holiday-themed additions. The “silly” is important. Games are supposed to be fun. Payday had a Christmas one a couple years back, and if you found a present on a level, you got a Santa Claus mask. I love that mask.

  15. GhaleonQ says:

    So, did I miss an article or comments section?  Did we not dance on someone’s (professional) grave?  Although I try to support video games more than I detract from them, I’ll be celebrating Yoichi Wada’s overdue demise by playing pre-Wada Squaresoft games.  I know a little bit of what happened to Square wasn’t his fault (although most was http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=44131749#post44131749 ) and that a new board won’t necessarily be able to solve Square-Enix’s problems, but rarely have I despised an entertaiment executive the way I loathed Wada.

    I don’t need to replay the classics again, so I’ll go with J.J. (think Space Harrier), Hanuku/Softboiled Hero: May The World Be Soft-Boiled (Square parodies itself in quasi-Pikmin fashion; 3-D is the series’ best and has a VERY underrated soundtrack), and Threads Of Fate/Dewprism (absolute nonsense, but demonstrates what they used to be able to do when they were similarly overworked and developing with limited resources).

    And, psh, Live-A-Live is always waiting for me if I want it.

    • Citric says:

      I’ve heard Wada moved the headquarters based on the suggestions of a fortune teller. Which, if true, says everything that needs to be said. 

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Random fact: the Burmese junta did exactly that several years ago. Except, for “headquarters,” read “capital city.” Those guys are nuts about astrology.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I have an insane itch to play Brave Fencer Musashi right now.

  16. fieldafar says:

    Long weekend, wooo! Finally I’ll be able to get back into Tomb Raider, which has been fun so far.

  17. Zach_Annon says:

    Been a while since I’ve posted, but that’s mostly because my gaming tastes have become decidedly more esoteric in the past few weeks.  Last week the space-based 4X RTS StarDrive was made available for preorder on Steam, and since I’m a sucker for such games, I picked it up so I could play around in the beta.  It’s still in its early beta stages, but it’s already showing a lot of promise, with a really fun ship design setup and heavy focus on combat so you can blow up ships early and often.  What can I say?  I likes me some lasers.

    I’ve also started playing Fallen Enchantress again thanks to its standalone expansion hitting beta, and have been pleasantly surprised by the changes they’ve made to it in the last few months.  Currently my custom beastlord sovereign is running around the world collecting as many spiders and umberdroths as she can find to prepare for war against Kraxis, as they’re starting to pursue a magical victory and we just can’t have that, now can we?

    I can’t actually buy any current games at the moment, as I have less than no money right now and have discovered the black hole that is my general financial situation just got about 100 times worse than I can possibly handle, so any other games I play will be older games I already own.  Been thinking about going back to either Guild Wars 2 or EVE online, though I’m out of my MMO phase ATM.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      What did you like to do most in EVE Online?  I’ve tried twice now to get into it, but both times ended up quitting after a month – a combination of boredom and fear of taking any real risks and losing large amounts of money.

      • Zach_Annon says:

         I usually just run L4 missions in my Dominix, as it’s both a fairly easy way to make lots of money and lets me blow up entire navies’ worth of ships in a short amount of time.  I’m considering expanding into incursions, but apparently drones and missiles are terrible for incursions, and of course those are the two weapon skills I have that don’t totally suck.  I’ve also done a couple lowsec roams, though those are kinda boring and I’m terrible at pvp.

  18. EmperorNortonI says:

    Harrumph.  I’ve only been marginally in a gaming mood of late, despite being on break.  I actually find that, while I’m on breaks, I have very little desire to seriously game.  It’s when gaming becomes an escape from that which I truly must do, or the long-awaited rest when work is accomplished, that I am most into it.

    Also, I never want to dip into truly addicting games when I’m on break, because then the whole break will just disappear, and I’ll feel like shit and be living in a filthy apartment.  Grrr.  I’m looking at you, Crusader Kings 2.

    So I’ve not been gaming much at all lately.  I dipped my toe a bit back into Tropico 4, which is so incredibly easy and mind-numbing that it barely counts as gaming.  Sword of the Stars – The Pit is more or less impossible, and a de-motivating sort of way.  It rewards you for failure, by letting you gradually accumulate recipes for its immense crafting system, but I still feel let down on my last playthrough.  I starved to death on Level 16, because some time around Level 12 food drops simply stop.  So, if you failed to super stock-up on the early levels, and didn’t transform them into maximal recipe types, then you’re going to fail, no matter what.

    And . . . that’s about it.  I feel bad about missing out on the Steam Group Alien Swarm round, as I do love that game, and never managed to beat it.


    • Chum Joely says:

      I totally agree about gaming being most interesting/demanding of my time when I don’t actually have time for it. And also the filthy-apartment issue. If I have time to clean up, I’d better clean up, because my kids definitely never take a break from trashing the place.

      As for Alien Swarm, that’ll surely come up again one of these evenings– I’ll send you an invite if I’m involved next time it comes up. (Do you use the same handle on Steam as here?)  Probably some night when everybody should be working on something more important.

  19. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    Thanks to GS reminding me of it + XBL having a sale, I’ll be working my way through Telltale’s The Walking Dead.  The puzzles sort of remind me of King’s Quest, but in a good way.  (minor spoiler) There was one point in episode one where I thought I had thrown a brick too early and broke the story, until I remembered that games hardly ever let you do things like that any more.  Which is both a good and bad thing.  Good because it saves a lot of controllers from being hurled at TV screens, bad because it lowers the stakes and makes every choice “safe.”

    • KidvanDanzig says:

      The game changes a lot as the series goes on. For example there’s never another radio-battery puzzle bullshit thing. You can tell they’re still getting their sea legs in the first episode.

  20. I plan to continue my journey through 90s PC games. Under a Killing Moon is up next.

    • dmikester says:

      I was OBSESSED with Under a Killing Moon when I was growing up, and I still have very fond memories of it.  Tex Murphy is a great character, and the world is very cool (film noir in a twisted futuristic dystopic metropolis).  Also, the first person shooter perspective in an essentially point and click game was wild for me at the time.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Not quite ’90s, but this week I fullfilled my lifelong quest to play Weird Dreams.

      Wildly imaginative and utterly unplayable. That’s exactly what the reviews said, but I never believed them because its sensibilities are impossibly cool. Oh well.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I played that for about five minutes before tossing it aside in a rage.  And that was when I was about 15 or so.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          Yeah, I went from “This is so exciting!” to “Maybe the accompanying novella explains things!” to “Let’s consult a walkthrough” to “I’ll just watch this on Youtube” in 15, maybe 20 minutes.

  21. Girard says:

    This weekend is my weekend to finish my thesis, so like @Enkidum:disqus at this point I have a little internalized @Fluka:disqus super-ego prohibiting fun until that’s done.

    Though the thing itself is written, and hopefully that means this weekend will mainly be proofreading, revision, and other kind of low-key perfunctory stuff, rather than any major overhauls.

    If I have time between all that, I might boot up Anodyne, which I picked up on the recent Steam indie sale.

    Is anyone hunting for Easter Eggs this weekend?

    • Fluka says:

      Games are for finishers!


      • Girard says:

        Games are for finishers, but comments on game websites are for procrastinators (especially when they send notifications right to your email)!

        Yeah, I should probably go into “radio silence” for a bit.

        • Fluka says:

          My non-thesis memories of my final month of writing are of eating lots of Tesco’s Finest Instant Pizzas, and of combing through several months’ worth of Sawbuck Gamer. I still have some traumatic memories associated with Kingdom Rush.

  22. dmikester says:

    Well, last weekend I unexpectedly ended up having an awesome day of board and card games with friends, so we’ll likely continue that this weekend.  Played Sunrise City, Apples to Apples, and Balderdash, and those inspired me to pick up Cards Against Humanity, which I’m sure we’ll have a blast with this weekend.  Maybe we’ll play Small World this weekend too.

    Still going through Mass Effect 3.  I’m enjoying it more than I was at the beginning, but I keep finding elements of it that feel rushed, and I continue to run into graphical and gameplay glitches that I never experienced in the first two.  However, it’s also full of wonderful individual scenes, and it’s very cool to see franchise-long conflicts resolve themselves (like the genophage).  I’m holding judgment until I get to both the original and extended endings.

    • boardgameguy says:

      Sunrise City is so much fun.  I love the way the completed game looks as your city continues to rise into the sky.  The scoring mechanic of landing exactly on ten was kind of fun too for trying to optimize points.

      • dmikester says:

        I have mixed feelings about Sunrise City.  I mostly like it, but there are two things that have come up both times I’ve played it.  

        In the bidding section, it’s easy for people to completely screw someone else over to the point that the person has to pass the first turn or can’t do anything until there are at least one or two buildings already on the board (this even happened unintentionally to me in the game we played last weekend, and my friends took pity on me and gave me a free pass in the next round).  The other thing is that a number of the role cards have pretty ambiguous descriptions that can easily be misinterpreted, and there’s no clarification about them anywhere in the rules or online, so we had to just make assumptions and in at least one instance, my whole strategy got messed up because I assumed my card was more powerful than we ended up deciding it was.

  23. stakkalee says:

    This weekend I’ll be avoiding doing my taxes with Mass Effect 3 and Fall From Heaven, as usual.  In FfH, I’ve finally summoned a gold dragon to head my army, and now we prepare for Armageddon, because my buddy’s ice shamans have nearly completed the ritual to resurrect their fallen god; we stand ready to strike down this foul abomination should he dare to again set foot in the mundane world.  And in ME3 [SPOILERS], Kat Shepard will mourn the loss of her good friend Mordin, who died a hero while curing the genophage.  I didn’t get in to multiplayer last weekend, so hopefully that’ll happen this weekend.

    • Jackbert says:

      What system are you on? A couple other GS dudes and I play sometimes on PS3, and getting a fourth player would be great!

      • stakkalee says:

        Sadly, I’m on the Xbox.  It kinda sucks because although the Xbox seems to have a broader pool of titles to choose from, the PS3 has some really great exclusives that I’d love to play, like Shadow of the Colossus, LittleBigPlanet, and the forthcoming The Last of Us.

        • Jackbert says:

          Ah, that’s too bad. I definitely agree about the exclusives, I chose a PS3 over an Xbox and a Wii solely based on the PS3-exclusive baseball series MLB: The Show.

  24. indy2003 says:

    This weekend, I’ll be finishing up the Borderlands 2 main campaign. Currently at level 28 and about to start Chapter 17 – I’ll probably try to boost up to level 29 first, though. I may continue to mess around with some of the sidequests and what not after I’m done, but I do tend to lose interest in such things once the main storyline is completed.

    After that, I’ll probably tackle Lego City: Undercover and/or Bioshock: Infinite. I rarely buy games on release week (as evidenced by the fact that I’m just getting around to Borderlands 2), but these two were impossible to resist. In fairness, half of the appeal of Lego City: Undercover is that it’ll give me an excuse to play something on the Wii U, which has been tragically underused since I purchased it. Still, it does like like a lot of fun.

    Aaaaaand, on Saturday night I’ll be getting together with some friends (including an exceptionally talented keyboard player) and we’re all going to sing our favorite show tunes. Don’t judge me.

    • beema says:

      If you are planning on playing any of the Borderlands 2 DLC with the same character, it would actually behoove you NOT to level up much during the main campaign. All of the loot and enemies in the first two DLC are capped at level 30. Yeah, it makes no fucking sense.

      • indy2003 says:

        Hmmm. Strange. I hadn’t decided on whether or not to purchase any of the DLC yet, but I appreciate the heads-up. Are the DLC storylines set after the main campaign story? Or are they self-contained things that can be played at any point?

        • beema says:

          I think you can play them at any point after you finish the intro quest. By the time they came out I had finished the main game, though.

  25. boardgameguy says:

    on the tabletop front, i hope to play INKOGNITO (a deduction game that is deeper and more interesting than Clue), AGRICOLA, and perhaps some CARCASSONNE or MARE BALTICUM.  should be a good time, especially since we got in two games of ESCAPE FROM THE CURSED TEMPLE last night.

  26. Cloks says:

    I’ll be playing Summarize Papers about Applications of Data Mining in the hopes of leveling up towards a CSE degree. If I have a chance to play other things, I might try Calculate Voltages in a Circuit or Pretend to Understand Polymorphism.

    • Electric Dragon says:

       I am playing a 4 day weekend* version of Entertain The Visiting Parents.

      (Yes, we get both Good Friday and Easter Monday as bank holidays. Suck it, Yanks.)

  27. Fluka says:

    So despite my determination to work on my backlog first, I ended up playing Bastion last week after all.  And oh my god you guys, it’s once again my turn to gush about something at least a year after everyone else has gotten over it.  It has the same appeal that Braid does: simple, traditional game mechanics combined with beautiful art and music to create moments of surprisingly complex emotion and melancholy.  Advantage goes to Bastion in that I like RPG hack n’ slashers a lot more than puzzle platformers (speaking of which, very minor demerits to Bastion for a brief platforming section, grrr!).  And oh god that soundtrack.

    I ended up choosing to save Zulf and to evacuate.  The scene resulting from that first choice is one of the more moving things I’ve experienced recently in gaming.  The feeling of vulnerability when you lose the battering ram and start that long walk, while being pelted with arrows as the game tells you to Heal.  And then the arrows slowly stop.  It honestly made me choke up a little.  That, plus the final decision to not turn back time, and to just. keep. going.  Oh yeah, and aaah, dat soundtrack.  

    With all the talk this past week, I guess I really should finally get around to playing BioShock the first this weekend (I know, shut up).  Or maybe I’ll just (once again, sigh) try to learn Python.  Maybe I can make it automatically tell people to FINISH THEIR THESIS.

    • beema says:

      Someone gifted me Bastion a long while ago and still haven’t played. Glad to hear it’s still worth the investment at some point!

      • Fluka says:

        Yes, it’s nice and short, too (maybe 8 hours, if you don’t get sidetracked in the “proving grounds”?), so I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a away to while away a weekend!

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      Oh, Bastion was simply wonderful. The art and the soundtrack alone pretty much justified that for me. Heck, I was willing to drop money on a physical copy of the soundtrack from the developer’s website for that one.

      (Spoiler space:)

      Personally, I liked choosing the “reset” ending on my first playthrough and then choosing the “evacuate” ending on a second playthrough. Given that the in-story purpose of the Bastion is some kind of time-resetting device that returns everything to the way it was before the Calamity, it actually puts the second playthrough into its own context. There are also a few touches on a second playthrough that add to that, like Rucks wondering if his narration is repeating itself.

      Both endings were really bittersweet and I quite liked them. The “reset” returned everyone to a happier time but it didn’t change any of the events leading up to the Calamity, implying that it would all happen again; the “evacuate” ending meant the characters had to live with everything that happend, but it was the only ending that gave them a chance to rebuild.

      (Spoilers over!)

      • Fluka says:

        MORE SPOILERS.  Oo, that’s a nice way of doing both endings (and a clever NG+ framing device).  I actually considered doing the reset choice just so that I could give the birds and the other animals back their life as well – I felt guilty after the level where it’s revealed that the peckers et al. were trying to build their own Bastion.  Seriously, what a great game.

  28. Bioshock Infinite: Racism Simulator

    But seriously, I love this game, I’m not going to talk about it because I’m only halfway through, but holy frijoles captain, is it good.  No it’s not earth-shattering-ly new the way the first Bioshock was but it’s damn ambitious in it’s scope and it’s a blast to play.

    For moments when I don’t want to immerse myself for 2 hours at a time I’ll probably dabble with the two games I picked up in the Steam Indie sale which are Incredipede (fun, if a bit gimmicky) and Retro City Rampage (every bone in my body told me I’d love it, and my bones were blinded by nostalgia).

    RCR isn’t that bad, but I think I was just expecting more to the free-roam mode, but you can tell it’s a lovingly crafted game so I’ll keep picking at it like a weird growth in my steam library.

  29. Link The Ecologist says:

    When I look back at my gaming habits as a kid it is almost embarrassing. When I first played Link to the Past I would only play dungeons when a friend was over because I was afraid to fight the boss myself. I don’t think I finished any game on the snes at the time. So I guess my childhood gaming taught me to be afraid and impatient?

  30. zhongguo206 says:


  31. Upon the recommendation of Effigy and others, I bought Guns of Icarus Online, so we’re going to try to play some this weekend. I finally got Steam installed (username is WarrenPeace325, if anybody wants to friend me), so I’ve got a bunch of games to play. I’ve been playing Osmos a bunch, and I’ve been meaning to play Braid for years now, so I’ll try to finally do so. I also bought Just Cause 2, which is on sale right now, and I’m probably going to pick up the GTA4 pack, which is on sale this weekend. Yup, lots to get to…

  32. ComradePig says:

    I absolutely blazed through Bioshock: Infinite on Tuesday and wrapped it up on Wednesday night. Overall it’s just an outstanding game and it’s a testament to its quality that I felt compelled to play nonstop to its completion on those two days. I’ll be returning to it over the weekend for certain, revisiting areas and taking in details and ambiance I missed the first time around though the focus will be on other games. It’s not without its problems, and I’d say the GS review did a good job of commenting on those both on the story and gameplay front, but it’s absolutely worth playing.

    Outside of that I’ll be continuing to play X-Com: Enemy Unknown which I’ve been enjoying immensely, so much indeed that I feel a little bad having gotten it for free with Bioshock. It’s such a refreshing change of pace to play a legitimately challenging title, and a turn-based one at that. Not to mention I love all of the elements on the periphery, building up your team and your homebase for example, that seem like callbacks to an earlier age of gaming. In addition to that, I’ll be playing the extremely fun and innovative multiplayer shooter Natural Selection 2 so that I may stomp about in an armored mech suit.

  33. His_Space_Holiness says:

    Alas, midterm projects and my damnable work ethic have kept me from playing games for more than an hour a day, during Spring Break. At least this weekend I plan to get some more Skyrim in, running errands for those assholes at the Thieves Guild and reluctantly picking a side in the civil war. It made me realize a weakness inherent in those kinds of pick-a-side storylines in open-world games: the developers have to make the two sides roughly equal in appeal, which opens the possibility that neither is all that appealing. Long story short, Ulfric and the Empire can suck lemons for all I care, but what the hell, I might as well be a Stormcloak. Beats digging ditches.

    • djsubversive says:

      Now, I’m still kind of new to Skyrim, but I think the biggest problem with the civil war is that the only reason you even knew there was a civil war is because everybody kept talking about the civil war.

      Also, both sides are assholes.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Just about everyone in Skyrim is an asshole, honestly. There hasn’t been a character yet that I’d want to spend even an hour with.

        Well, maybe Sanguine. Dude knows how to party.

        • djsubversive says:

          Yeah, so far the Daedric Princes have been the nicest and funnest “people” I’ve met in Skyrim. Even Morag-Bol and Malacath (I hope those are the right names).

  34. Erdschwein says:

    I hope to finish Infinite this weekend, I’ve been quite satisfied with it.

    I will probably not be playing much BF3. It’s a game that at it’s core is pretty great, because battlefield is just a great concept, but it’s a bit like the Hobbit: totally comprised for the sake of money. BF4 being announced immediately after BF3’s last DLC was pretty foul too. Sometimes I feel like mainstream gaming is just about finding new ways to be disappointing

  35. evanwaters says:

    On Ultima IV I’ve got all the virtues and am starting to crack the dungeons.  I’m fooling around with the others, but have largely given up Ultima II after many reloads- the math is just too punishing, it’s easy to get caught in a spiral of dwindling resources. It’s weird, Garriott/Origin largely didn’t make this mistake with Ultima I or the later games, it’s just this one that’s a fantasy version of “Nickled and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America”.

    Legend of Grimrock- caught on one challenging level, but we’ll see how it shapes up.

    Also booted up The Ur-Quan Masters after an absence, am now fooling around with it. The killer probes are still annoying even after you’ve figured out how to deal with them, but it’s still fun.

  36. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I’ll be playing Bioshock Infinite and/or Real Racing 3 this weekend.

  37. LeGrandSigh says:

    Thank you for posting this.  I was looking for something to give to my friend and her fiance as a wedding gift.  Now I’ve got one:  a custom cat drawing.  

  38. Wait…how does he make money drawing pics of cats?