What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Jon Bartok and Ramphy Boro, Game Champ

Jon Bartok and Ramphy Boro, game store employees

Two helpful staffers at Gameological’s local game store dig into Star Wars and Donkey Kong.

By Matt Kodner • May 31, 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.

Amid the hullabaloo surrounding the cloudy future of used games, we swung by our favorite local game store, Game Champ, to check in with the employees and see what they’ve been playing. Jon Bartok and store manager Ramphy Boro gave Gameological a few recommendations and told us about some of the worst games to grace the Champ’s shelves.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Jon Bartok: This weekend I’m playing Knights Of The Old Republic for the Xbox.

Gameological: The original?

Bartok: Yeah.

Gameological: Have you played that before?

Bartok: No. I just got it a week ago. We don’t take old Xbox games here, so a guy came in, and I offered him a dollar for it, and I got it. [Laughs.]

Gameological: So that was out of your own pocket?

Bartok: Yeah, that’s all I had in my pocket that day. I got groceries, and I did laundry. I had a dollar left, and that’s what I did.

Gameological: Have you started it yet?

Bartok: I’m like 19 hours in. You play as a soldier or assassin, and there’s another class. You pick your class, and update your guy.

Gameological: What are you?

Bartok: I’m a soldier, and I just got my lightsaber.

Gameological: Nineteen hours and you just got a lightsaber? Oof. So have you chosen which side of the force you’re on?

Bartok: I’m the light side. I’m always good, in any game, because whenever I do something bad, I feel bad. I guilt myself, so I have to be good.

Gameological: Is that why you’re at Game Champ? To do right by the community?

Bartok: I like connecting with people over similar interests, like games. I enjoy helping people, and I have a lot of game knowledge, so I like to help people figure out what game is for them. And then when they come back, and they’re like, “Man, that game you sold me is awesome,” that makes me feel good.

Gameological: Do you have a recommendation for what the readers should play this weekend?

Bartok: Of every game on the current generation consoles, I would say BioShock Infinite on the 360 or PS3.

Gameological: Have you played it?

Bartok: It’s amazing. It’s one of those games that don’t come along very often. Overall it’s a really good game. It’s one of the few games that have a lot of hype behind it but can actually back it up.

Gameological: Are there any weird games you’ve seen on the shelves here?

Bartok: There’s a couple really bad games that come in here, like Jurassic: The Hunted, a really bad dinosaur game. That game is really bad. We have Viva Piñata, so that game’s a little awkward, and Let’s Cheer, CSI. Things like that.

Game Champ

Gameological: All right, thanks, Jon. Let’s see what your manager is up to. Ramphy Boro, what are you playing this weekend?

Ramphy Boro: This weekend? Sales. I’m trying to work and sell. Honestly, I just do home and work. That’s what I do.

Gameological: Do you play anything on your way to work?

Boro: On the train, I carry my 3DS XL. Right now, I’m playing Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.

Gameological: Did you play it on the Wii too?

Boro: Nah, I never played it on the Wii, but I heard it was pretty good. I like the one on 3DS better. It’s got more levels, and the graphics are amazing.

Gameological: There was some controversy over the shaking controls on the Wii.

Boro: A lot of people were complaining about that. It’s good because it’s more like the classic way, like press X or Y to jump.

Gameological: I liked it on the Wii, but I kind of get ripped on for liking it.

Boro: Yeah, oh, and like Jon was saying about BioShock as a recommendation. I played the first one, and I didn’t feel the game, but when I played Infinite, I loved it. It’s a really good storyline and looks great. I’m a huge God Of War fan, but I give this one to BioShock over God Of War: Ascension. And right now the game I’m really waiting for is The Last Of Us. It’s out June 14. I’m excited because it’s a different game. I feel like gaming, it’s all the same. This is a vibrant game, like humans and…creatures, that’s what we gotta call them.

Gameological: What’s the concept?

Boro: I heard that this guy has to take a girl to Washington, because she has a cure.

Gameological: Oh, are people turning into monsters?

Boro: Not monsters, but maybe zombies. That’s about all I understand about the concept of the game, but I gotta play.

Gameological: Do you ever catch heat for liking an unpopular game?

Boro: Nah.

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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  • ItsTheShadsy

    This weekend I’m probably digging back into my favorite sub-category of games: DOS! It’s sadly been a while since I’ve done this, but I have a lot of Scorched Earth and Avish to catch up on.

    The nice thing about DOS is many, many games from that time were shareware, so you can still find them legally for free. Anyone have some favorites I should look for?

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       the only free DOS game that is still floating around my head is VGA-Trek.  I’ve heard good things about this site though:

      http://www.dosgames.com

      • LetoII

        Great site! Thanks for sharing this.

    • mizerock

      I have a whole boatload of games from the early 1990s that I would love to try again. But surely they wouldn’t work on my Vista laptop, right? Even if I bought a 5 1/4″ floppy reader for it? I imagine most of the games you are talking about are available [free & legally] from the web.

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

        There’s a super versatile emulator called DOSBox that will play virtually any DOS game, though it usually takes a little technical fiddling with settings to get it working flawlessly.

        There’s also an emulator called SCUMMVM that was originally designed just to play old LucasArts games, but has extended to play a lot of old graphical adventure games. It’s more user friendly, but plays a much more limited library of games.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andy.tuttle.79 Andy Tuttle

       If you can find the game Barbarian I wold recommend giving it a try. It’s kind of an early endless runner, pretty neat stuff.

      I figured I’d just look it up for you, I really want you to play it.
      http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/859/Barbarian.html

  • Jackbert

    Since I have a backlog the size of a house built in 2004, I’m not sure. Definitely Persona 3 Portable (just rescued Fuuka, really digging the new social links) and MLB 13: The Show (playing a lefty pitcher modeled after yours truly in RTTS, currently have 12.4 K/9). Other than that, might pick a couple PSN games from the dozen I haven’t even started, probably Jet Set Radio and something else. I definitely know I will not be playing The Walking Dead, because I finished it Tuesday. Impressions full of spoilers follow for the rest of my comment.

    I hope I don’t lose all my studs for saying this, but I really didn’t like The Walking Dead much at all. When the actual gameplay of your game is solely “puzzles” that consist of clicking on everything in an area until you get lucky, battling a clunky interface all the while, your story better be damn good.

    Or as Kenny would say, it better be some fucking good shit, motherfucker, fuck me, fucking fucker, fuck shit, fuck fuck fuck, SOME REAL FUCKING GOOD SHIT. One of my main problems with The Walking Dead was the godawful dialogue. And like I said, the gameplay had the depth and subtly of being bludgeoned to death with a kiddie pool. Or reading my last metaphor.

    With poor writing, a good story can only be had with a great plot or great characters The Walking Dead had neither. The plot was meandering and melodramatic. I liked the characters introduced in Episode 1 and the relationships they had, like the conflict between Kenny and Lilly, or the family of Kenny, Katjaa, and Duck. Then Episode 3 shot this to bits and Omid and Christa weren’t nearly as interesting.

    However, there were a few things I liked about The Walking Dead. Lee, though he suffered from the lack of depth all “pick your dialogue” protagonists suffer from, had a great voice actor and was decently-written. Same with Clementine. The choices you made, at least through Episode 3, were pretty morally ambiguous and exciting. Finally, Episode 2 was great. Just great in every way. The pacing, characters, and choices were all top-notch. Too bad the other four-fifths of the game wasn’t.

    • caspiancomic

       You’ve broken my heart for the last time, Jackbert!

      *Throws wedding ring on floor, runs out in tears*

      Seriously though, I’m sad to hear it wasn’t your cup of tea. Not really sure I can provide any sort of meaningful counterpoint since my feelings are almost completely the opposite of yours, but I’m glad to hear an opposing opinion. Also, I guess now we need a new hivemind title to work on.

      • Jackbert

        Goddamn it, why are you always doing this?!

        *hurls your fine china at the wall, stomps around loudly*

        Dialogue is a very tough thing to quantify. You only really notice it when it is bad. I noticed Kenny and Ben. The story…ehhh…it wasn’t terrible or anything, but the plot wasn’t exciting, and the actual message seemed to be…balance surviving and protecting your loved ones with maintaining a moral compass? I mean, I guess that is better than most game stories, but the gameplay in TWD was so shitty I expected a lot more. My overall impression of the characters is positive, but only barely. Lee, Clem, and Kenny were the only ones around long enough to really develop. I really don’t know how you could enjoy the gameplay, given the combination of stupidity and clunkiness all the puzzles were made up of.

        So with a bit more info, got counterpoints now?

        • caspiancomic

           Fair enough. I don’t think the “arcade” elements were the highlight of the experience either, and I get the feeling they were mostly included for pacing reasons (20 minutes of conversation/exploration/puzzle solving, punctuated by five minutes of visceral action, good to keep the blood pumping in what would have otherwise been an adventure in dialogue trees and hair cutting.) The puzzley elements were pretty weak, compared to other straight-up “adventure” games, but I think that was intended to make them somehow more accessible to people who were coming to the game as fans of the license, not necessarily the medium (although that’s mostly an explanation rather than an excuse.) One thing I did really like about the arcade elements were that the gunplay’s terrible controls felt like they served a purpose, and taught us a little about Lee’s character (he’s not some headshot God like all the characters on the show, he’s just a dood who sometimes has a gun, and the weighlessness of the controls help give a sense of how difficult it is for the average person to operate a weapon when under duress.)

          As for the characters, story, and dialogue, I think we pretty much just straight disagree. I felt I bonded with almost all of the cast, and even the characters I didn’t “like” I at least understood and could empathize with. Also, I personally have a pretty high appreciation for stories that are more focused on character dynamics that narrative momentum, so having a game that was basically exclusively dedicated to exploring the interplay of a group of strangers trying to survive the apocalypse was pretty intriguing for me. (You mentioned somewhere that you weren’t keen on the new Arrested Development series, right? Personally, I’m almost done, and I’m adoring it, and I think the same thing is at play here: a focus on character exploration at the expense of any “real” narrative.)

          So, that’s all I got. Personally, I’m pretty hyped for Season 2, although I’m also worried they’re going to be tempted to revisit a lot of the dangling plot threads from Season 1. I hope they start totally fresh with a brand new cast and new story.

        • Jackbert

          @caspiancomic:disqus : I did like the gun controls. And it wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the characters, I just didn’t find them developed, outside of Lee, Clem, and Kenny (even those three, barely). I mean, Lilly was cranky a lot, Duck liked detectives, Carley tried to flirt in a fucking zombie apocalypse, Larry was constantly raging, Ben was whiny, Omid made jokes, Christa had no discerning characteristics, and Katjaa was nice. I never found out much about their backgrounds, if I asked they were either vague or just yelled at me. Now it’s not that I blanketly dislike character-driven stories, it’s just if the characters are bland archetypes, you need either an exciting plot or an interesting message. And really disliking the dialogue of Kenny (you kiss your mama with that mouth?) and Ben (can’t never could!), and to a lesser extent being bothered by the dialogue of everyone else didn’t help either. (And no, I’m not too keen on the new Arrested Development season, but I’m only through episode 7, and have mostly enjoyed the last 3, after intensely disliking the first 4.)

        • Uncle Roundy

          Liked for “blanketly”. Gonna be stealin’ that one.

    • Jonathan Dewar

      Every year I buy the latest version of The Show and try to play the entire season in real-time (only playing games on the day they’re scheduled in real life with my real life team, etc) and I always peter out after about two weeks.

      I didn’t this year though, mostly because I’m not a fan of the new Astros uniforms and I really don’t want to look at it for 160+ days straight.

      • Jackbert

        Yeah, I’ve tried to do franchise mode in the 2010 and 2012 iterations. Even just doing one game from every series, I couldn’t get past the beginning of May. Coincidentally, 2010 and 2012 were the years I didn’t have good RTTS careers. At this point, I’ve accepted that RYTS is all I’m going to play.

        • Flying_Turtle

          RTTS is really the mode in The Show, because it’s just too much to try to play a 162 game season (let alone multiple seasons), assuming you have anything else to do besides video game baseball. Even 1 game per series gets you 50-55 game seasons, and that’s still a lot. Plus RTTS offers wish fulfillment aplenty, at least for me.

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4

         I used to do that every year back in the MVP days.  I never would make it through a whole season either.  I think the most fun I’ve had in a modern baseball game (as in, not counting the old N64 games where the primitive physics made things unintentionally wacky) was the year MVP tried to do NCAA baseball.  Because they couldn’t use real players, they had a pretty robust character creator and pretty cool stadium creator (right down to manually placing the distance and height of the outfield walls).  I created a misfit team of mutants playing in what was supposed to be a dilapidated post-apocalyptic stadium.  It was about then when I realized maybe sports games weren’t really my thing.

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

      HEAVY, HEAVY SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD

      I finished the game a couple of days ago, and while I came out feeling considerably more positive about the experience than @Jackbert:disqus, I can’t say I adored the game either.

      Part of that was because I had issues with bugs, especially in the first episode, where many conversations became garbled, had non sequiturs, or were self-contradictory. Moreover, some of the quicktime events wouldn’t activate properly. In later episodes, I also had save file bugs that required me to copy one version of my save file over another every time I started a new episode.

      Beyond mere technicalities, though, I actually appreciated the simplicity of the gameplay; this wasn’t an experience intended to stump the player, and too many difficult puzzles would have ruined the game’s pacing. That being said, the puzzles with mandatory backtracking were fucking bullshit. Example: Lee walks up to a ladder that you know he’s going to have to use later – otherwise why the hell would it be there? – but all he says is some variant of, “I don’t need that,” when there’s a gap between two buildings in view that could clearly be bridged with a ladder. Lee has to walk up to the damn gap, comment on how wide the gap is, and wait for another character to tell him a ladder might be useful. And then Lee has to walk back to the fucking ladder. If I know I need the ladder, let me pick up the damn ladder!

      I can’t say I liked most of the quicktime events, because the floaty controls felt stupid and unfair most of the time, but I thought that the brief “FPS” sections were surprisingly well done, for the reasons that @caspiancomic:disqus has listed.

      Narratively, I thought the experience was a mixed bag, with episodes 1 and 5 being the weakest, and episodes 2 and 3 being the strongest. That being said, episode 2 had one of the series’ biggest narrative flaws: I guessed basically from the outset that the St. Johns’ dairy farm had fallen to cannibalism, so to me, the entire thing felt like a crappy horror movie with very stupid characters. There were also times throughout the series when it felt like the story was trying to tug at my heartstrings without earning it. Katjaa’s suicide felt emotionally manipulative, and I facepalmed at Clementine’s kidnapping. (Really, they couldn’t have avoided that cliché?) Speaking of Clementine’s kidnapping, the crazy guy just felt like a hamfisted way of making me feel guilty for stealing food from the car, and his reasons for doing what he did made no fucking sense at all. Of course, you could say that that’s because he was insane, but that just feels like a narrative cop-out to me.

      The story did have some very effective moments, though. The train escape sequence in episode 3 was tense and exciting, as was the moment when Lilly just shot Carley point-blank. (So of course I left Lilly on the side of the road, where she belonged.)

      The characters were a mixed bag. I quite liked Chuck and his weird world view, and Omid and Christa were refreshing after most of the original party had died off. Some of the characters whose points of view I disagreed with were actually interesting people – Kenny and Lilly in particular. Then there were people Like Larry and Ben, whom I thought were just irritating in incredibly one-dimensional ways. Probably the worst of all was Molly, who managed to be both aggravating and a bundle of stupid clichés.

      The one relationship between the characters that worked the entire way through was the one between Lee and Clementine. Whereas I practically cheered at Ben’s death scene, the final scene with Lee and Clementine was heartrending and beautifully done – if only the rest of the series could have been as emotionally affecting.

      So, all in all, I enjoyed The Walking Dead, some huge flaws notwithstanding. I think it’s proof that games can effectively pair rich stories with nonstandard gameplay, and I’d love to see the formula refined further, because as it stands, it’s far from perfect.

      • Jackbert

        Those puzzles with backtracking were so annoying. I recall that puzzle specficially. They were one of the things I thought was part of the clunky interface. Other things were the shifting cameras that kept bugging out and the puzzles that required you to search really far. For example, to read the train directions, I knew I needed a pencil. To find the pencil, I had to wander an area with weird boundaries at the speed of molasses, battling the glitchy camera along the way.

        I guessed immediately they were cannibals. It was exciting campy pulp, while the rest of the game was boring campy pulp. The choices were also really interesting. As for the characters, I agree they were silly, but they were archetypes from Southern ghost stories my grandpa (from Georgia, I must admit, I did enjoy the setting) used to tell me, but with an interesting twist. For example, the nice friendly matriarch with the twist that, instead of following along with her family out of love, she was the ringleader.

        The crazy guy annoyed me, especially because I chose not to take anything out of his car. I was with Clem, let’s leave it. But no, the fucker kidnaps her. Actually, despite the kidnapping being a cliche, I was pretty exciting for Episode 5. If it had been really good, and the kidnapper was a good character, my overall impressions might have veered to slightly positive. That didn’t happen.

        The Lee and Clementine death scene was very sweet. I’m sure I would’ve been more emotionally involved if I hadn’t been anticipating the ending like mad so I could be done. But still, it was pretty moving. Like I said, Lee and Clem as characters, and their relationship, worked because they had good voice actors, decent dialogue (good in comparision to everyone else), and were actually around long enough to develop.

        Oh, and I have one more thing to add. Thinking of the choices in Episode 2, I’m remembering shooting the crazy woman with the crossbow. That was one of the times I actually felt like I was in danger. (I shot her before she could talk, which I believe is the least commonly chosen choice. Seriously, she came at you with a crossbow, screaming like a crazy person. Why the hell would you want to chew the fat with her?!) The rest of the time, I knew I wouldn’t die until the time was right, so I never felt involved. Oh look, another zombie attack. Well, that’s what, my fourteenth? Hope I don’t die, or else I have to go back to my autosave thirty seconds before. My heart is practically pounding out of my chest.

        But yeah, the general idea of The Walking Dead is fine with me. I’m not opposed to a character-driven narrative with simplistic gameplay. It just has to be good.

      • duwease

        That stinks you had bugs, because I imagine they really kill the immersion.  Not just with conversations not syncing up, but the fact that the quick-time events are meant to be instinctive responses and not have you considering the controls between you and the game.  If I’d had your problems, I think I’d have the same opinion you have.. hopefully they clear up whatever plagued you for the new season.

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

          I really only had technical issues in the first episode (aside from the save-file bug, which wasn’t obviously wasn’t an immersion killer). It’s a testament to the quality of the rest of the series that I came out feeling mainly positive about The Walking Dead, given that my first hour or so with it was such a poor experience.

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

          The save bugs were really widespread, and quite awful. While they obviously didn’t kill immersion, they did undercut the game’s core mechanic if you couldn’t find a workaround.

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

        That guy also does some weird moral gymnastics to make you guilty/culpable, even if you didn’t steal the food from the car! Which makes his weird vendetta feel even more contrived.

    • PaganPoet

      I’m quite a bit further than you in the female P3P playthrough, although I did have two hefty plane rides to make it through.

      I’m really glad that all of the party members are Social Links for her. One of the downsides of the male MC is that you don’t really form any meaningful connection with any of your male party members. I’m glad that was addressed with this. The Shinjiro Social Link in particular is very nice, I’m guessing that he is meant to be her “canon” love (Yukari is meant to be the male MC’s in my opinion).

      I really forgot how much P3P polished off the gameplay as well. It’s a lot more similar to Persona 4 when you compare it to Persona 3: FES. In addition to being able to control all the party members, there are follow up co-op attacks, and your characters don’t have to waste a whole turn standing up and not attacking as long as they’re not dizzy. And maybe it’s just my imagination, but Margaret/Theodore’s fetch quests seem a whole lot less annoying.

      • Jackbert

        NO. Akihiko and Mitsuru or bust. :P

        How far are you? And yeah, the fetch quests seem better to me as well.

        • PaganPoet

          Akihiko is meant to be MY canon love, especially given how much he buffed up between P3 and Persona 4 Arena (also, he’s now in his 20s, so I wouldn’t be hauled off to jail now).

          I am in mid-September. The last full moon mission was the Hermit Arcana at Club Escapade. I’m in the 1st section of the 4th block of Tartarus (the gold colored one). I’ve maxed out my Charm and my Courage, but I still have two more blocks to max out my Academics. I’ve started every possible Social Link except for Mitsuru since you have to be at maximum Academics for that.

        • PaganPoet

          btw, ol pal, do you have access to Hulu Plus? If you do, I thought I should mention that you can watch all 25 episodes of Persona 4: The Animation on it. I’m not sure what your feeling is on it, since it does have the same plot as the game, but it is very well-done and quite funny.

          Also, I’m quite excited for the Persona 3 movie coming out later this year.

      • Simon Jones

         It still didn’t solve my major issue with Persona 3, which is the ability to completely screw yourself with the way in which Social Links and Persona’s flow, with it meaning if you don’t finish at ze designated time, some powerful cap Persona’s (I’m looking at you Siegfried) end up underleveled.

        And Yukari might as well wear a hat labeled DESIGNATED LOVE INTEREST.

        Which Persona 4 kinda didn’t have, interestingly.

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

      It’s far from flawless. Though I’d suggest that the ‘actual gameplay’ you found lacking was actually pretty peripheral and the choices you found exciting were the actual ‘actual gameplay.’ The ambiguous choices were, as far as I can tell, the central mechanic of the game, and all the other stuff – the  character interactions, the plotting, etc. precipitated from those.

      • Jackbert

        I suppose you’re right about the choices being gameplay, but the puzzles took up about 25% of actual playing time, meaning 25% of the game was frustrating or boring, without even getting into the other 75%.

        I just never felt like the choices developed much past the binary found in other games with moral systems. Be a rational jerk or a nice idiot. In Episode 1, you did get to pick who to save twice, but that never happened afterwards. It was more to the service of the narrative rather than mechanical, but it didn’t seem hardly at all any more ambiguous.

        It’s not so much that I despised it, I just didn’t like it very much. Same as with Mass Effect, I expected a great story and great characters and got a pulpy story and decent characters.

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

          I don’t know, stuff like deciding who to give food to didn’t fall along any simple “jerk/idiot” “sith/jedi” spectrum, nor did having to make a snap decision between rescuing two people in immediate danger. The choices had moral repercussions, but those repercussions were in the eyes of others rather than in the eyes of the universe’s arbitrary moral compass.

          Choose to ignore Duck and help the other guy? The game doesn’t say you’re a bad person for doing that, but Duck’s family might feel differently, as might other characters depending on how they personally feel about prioritizing children in situations like that. But you won’t earn any renegade points or whatever. Take a side in an argument about leaving for a new town or digging into your camp? The game won’t explicitly punish you for your choice either way by having you die, but the fact that you sided with someone (or chose to be a milquetoast, as I often did) will generate different responses among different members of your group (even trying to play the middle and be diplomatic isn’t ‘safe,’ as you’ll take shit from people who don’t like your indecisive fence-sitting).

          Neither WD nor ME are genuinely great, despite both being highly lauded. They both fall squarely for me under “good, for a video game.” ME’s storytelling is on par with a middling SyFy series, and WD’s is on par with middling comic book series, but they do both do some interesting things. I give WD a little more credit because its choices were less binary, more integrated with the narrative, and it cut out a lot of the fat to try to efficiently do one thing pretty well, while ME’s choices were often frustratingly and arbitrarily binary, often tied more to stats/goals, and less well integrated in the narrative, and its overall kitchen-sink design tried to throw in RPG, adventure-game, and Call of Shooty elements (and in ME1, ‘open world’ driving), feeling a little like a bloated mass of smaller, not-very-compelling gameplay experiences, rather than something concerned with doing any one thing well.

  • Citric

    The Last of Us reminds me of Matango, I am tempted by it because playable Matango sounds sweet.

    For some reason, in spite of having games on the go for all my systems, I’m hooked on the DS. I am nearing the end of Spirit Tracks – sand temple, which is not a temple I like – and found that game with all the 9s in the title. It would be pretty good if they cut 75% of the text. So many unnecessary words.

    • duwease

      It is pretty talky, but what a great game.  Then again, I’m an outlier for how much talking I’ll take in a game.  I blame all the old games, where you’d hack through identical monsters for hours just to get rewarded with a single paragraph of text.  A game that’s all text is like all reward, all the time!

      • Citric

        They aren’t very smart about where they talk. For instance, you’re in a freezer, one of the guys is in a sleeveless shirt and shorts, the intense music is playing, you should probably figure out how to get out of the freezer. What a great time to talk about the history of glycerin! 

        But it’s mostly that lots of the words are pretty unnecessary, like descriptions of stuff you can see in a picture and stuff like that.

        • duwease

          Haha, very true.  They often fall prey to pausing a panicked moment for a 20-minute History Channel lecture about replicas of the Titanic.

  • vinnybushes

    I got unexpectedly sucked back into Radiant Historia this past week. I’ve had a few aborted attempts to finish the game but I’ve never really been able to stick it out. There are enough lulls in the story that it makes some parts of the game feel a bit like a chore, especially stuff that just feels like busywork and game padding. I’m further than I’ve ever been before,(standard chapter 4) and I’m still liking the game, but I can’t quite get on the “spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger/Cross” train. It’s fun and inventive but I feel a little bit like it lacks it’s own identity. It doesn’t really take any chances. Except for having a playable character who’s a princess wielding magic powered pistols. That part’s pretty original.

    • caspiancomic

       Radiant Histioria is my jam, so I’m glad to see someone else playing it. In fairness, I agree with some of your problems with the story- it can be very thick, and at times it gets way too fascinated with its own not particularly interesting mythologizing and politics, to the detriment of its otherwise interesting character dynamics and setting. Whenever the game decides it needs a half hour’s worth of dialogue to explain that such and such is the king of so and so, and Whatever Kingdom is at war with Wherever over a bunch of stuff nobody cares about, it can become difficult to remain invested. But when all the characters are dumped in a new location and forced to figure out what the hell, it can get really great. Not Chrono Trigger great, I’ll agree with you, but I consider it a really strong game.

      • vinnybushes

         The 40 minutes spent collecting fire wood is kind of the most egregious example. I do enjoy traveling around timelines fixing people’s problems, and the music is crazy fantastic. Finding all the bad endings is fun too.

        • The Guilty Party

          You may think those 40 minutes collecting firewood are wasted now, but man, when you’re eating slow-roasted porchetta style whole pig, you will be glad you invested that time.

          But seriously, yeah, I hate it when games waste your time. Which is odd because that’s all games do, but you can do it in a way that whisks me off to another world of gnomes and lasers, or you can do it in a way that makes me think longingly of grocery shopping. At least with that I get some damn cupcakes at the end.

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

      Your comment reminded me that I should pick that up and beat it. Then THAT reminded me that I did beat it. Then THAT reminded me that I had forgotten I’d beaten it. Then THAT reminded me that apparently the game didn’t leave a very strong impression on me.

  • HobbesMkii

    Crusader Kings 2: The Old Gods, ‘natch. Maybe I will attempt to land on the Mun in Kerbal Space Program.

    But mostly I will be playing the wild and exciting game of “Put All Your Worldly Possessions in Boxes, Then Transport Those Boxes to a New Apartment A Block Away”

    • The Guilty Party

      Only a block? Is your new place visible from your old one? Could you spend the next week rigging up some kind of zip line pulley cargo freight system?

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       It’s expensive but I usually just cop out and get the optional-DLC “Pay some burly dudes in back braces to do it for you.”

      • HobbesMkii

        Movers are OP. It feels too much like cheating to use them.

        • ProfFarnsworth

          That is when you use the “free to play” version where all you do is get a bunch of ‘friends’ who do most of the work and then are forced to make a microtransaction of pizza for their work.

  • Effigy_Power

    Crusader Kings 2: The Old Gods… CRUSADER KINGS 2: THE OLD GODS!
    Sorry, I am sacrificing a lot of Christians to Odin and the taste of copper in the air is making me bloodthirsty.
    Seriously thought, I’ve played a lot of DLCs, but rarely has one elevated the original game to infinity and beyond like this one has. A fantastic game has been made way better and it’s just lovely.
    Viking ships raiding 9th century Cologne? I’ll buy that for a dollar. Or five.
    Got this week’s Humble seller. Walking Dead and a bunch of Telltale stuff for five bucks? Yes, please. I already had Sam and Max, but the rest is viable stuff. Especially Wallace and Gromit.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Sounds like I won’t be able to skip this Old Gods DLC after all.  I still haven’t even played as a Caliph yet.  I’ve got so much catching up to do with this game.

      Also, be pumped for Puzzle Agent 1 + 2.

      • Effigy_Power

        I don’t know what excites me more about this DLC:
        The ability to play Pagans, which is always good -or- the ability to start in 867 AD, at which time Europe is still shredded into countless petty kingdoms and duchies. No France, no England, no HRE… Apart from the Byzantines, Europe is ripe for the taking and ripe to build Empires out and that’s just great.

    • copywight

      Gamersgate just had all CK2 DLC on a 75% off sale for the Old Gods release week and I bought all the ones I didn’t have yet (The Republic, lot of the sprites, the music). I feel bad because I only spent like $7 on the whole shebang (which would retail at, well, like $30), but at the same time I really don’t feel that bad at all. I’m just a dick that way.

      So lots of catching up to do on CK2. Haven’t even got The Old Gods yet, glad to hear it ups the game even further! 

  • The_Helmaroc_King

    Last board game night I had with friends, we didn’t actually play Powergrid (as I thought we would) but we played a game called Wallenstein. I’ve only played it twice, now, and it’s… interesting, but with five people it’s super competitive. The winner had a narrow victory, but everyone outside of the top two were trailing but a fair margin. I was not-last, but only by one point.

    Between work and family, I won’t actually have a lot of free time for games this weekend, so I can’t burn through anything, but I did decide to buy the recently-released The Swapper while it’s on sale. If I have enough time to do so, I’ll be playing that.

    In other news, the Alan Wake games are on sale on Steam for 90% off; both games and a few extras for four bucks! If I didn’t play and beat both games on the 360, I’d be picking that up.

    • Fluka

      I missed it earlier on the Out This Week, but man, The Swapper looks pretty darn neat (both visually and gameplay wise).  Might have to pick that up too.

    • boardgameguy

      Wallenstein uses the same cool tower mechanic that is part of Shogun. In my mind, it is the best battle system devised for any board game and definitely trumps using dice to resolve conflict. Euro game designer Stefan Feld is apparently going to be using the tower for a new euro game where the cubes that come out determine available player actions for the round. That game is called Amerigo and has me curious.

      I played Thebes and London earlier this week. Maybe this weekend I can get a game of Galaxy Trucker or Tikal in.

      • The_Helmaroc_King

        The tower is definitely the most interesting part, and I don’t mean that in a back-handed way either. Granted, like dice rolls and shuffling, it’s simply a way of randomizing the game, but it does add a certain risk-reward factor to aggression.

  • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

    Still Persona 4 Golden, after a week off from most games.  I had a free rainy day in my Social Link-grinding schedule, so I’ve been crawling the dungeons for the rare drop quest turn-in items, and I gotta do the strong shadow post-rescuing Shirogane.  Getting anxious remembering what comes up next in the story, but there’s also a bunch of events I’m looking forward to (the school festival and its cross-dressing competition, which is old, and the ski trip, which is new).

    Time spent in Vegas celebrating my b-day was well-spent, and I won $20 on a Plants vs. Zombies slot machine!  Does that count for anything?  I am wondering how long it’ll be before the actual slots get social.  ”Post your jackpot to Facebook?”

    • Effigy_Power

      And you didn’t take an instagram photo to document your day rather than enjoy what you were doing? What are you, Amish? Get with the program!

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4

         recently a co-worker of my wife went to a wedding and decided that she didn’t like the look of the official video camera-man.  So she pulled out her phone and decided to record it herself.  In order to get the best angle, she snuck into the choir loft.  But since that would make her conspicuous to the congregation, she lay on the floor and held her phone up over the railing.  For the entire service.  But since she couldn’t see the phone from the way she was lying, she got 40 minutes of ceiling.  And of course she didn’t even get to see the wedding.  She’s a very nice person who tries very hard to help everyone around her, but she’s exactly the kind of nice old lady who would ruin a fresco if they let her near it.  (wow, I’m full of old people stories tonight.  Well, it’ll come back to haunt me when I’m the nursing home muttering about taking back Anchorage from the commies).

        • Jackbert

          Key word being phone. Have you seen that T-mobile or whatever advertisement for sharing all your photos all the time and that being a massive revolution? Millions of blurry photos! Billions of terrible Instagram filters! INFINITE duckface selfies! My dad is a photographer, I swear to god, he’s going to have a stroke watching that advertisement one day.

    • The Guilty Party

      I’m fairly surprised they haven’t yet. Oh wait, you’d have to login … wait, I got it. Bluetooth! bam! done. Another way that your grandma can ruin facebook for you.

    • killyridols

      I too am playing Persona 4 Golden this weekend, as well as trying for the millionth time to beat Jaguar Javier in Guacamelee!

      Edit cuz I can’t spell.

      • PaganPoet

        Jaguar is the toughest boss in that game. It took me quite a few times to recognize his attack animations and remember if I needed to dodge roll or just get the hell out of there.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

      I don’t know about actual slot machine players, but among those who spend their time playing virtual (as in no real money) slot machines on the internet, there is a group that will drop a site from their regular rounds at the first mention of facebook integration.  These people tend to be conspiracy nuts, but really I can’t be too surprised.  They spend their free time literally hitting the same button over and over again with no possible hope of real reward and use the chat rooms to talk about how America needs to turn back to God.  These people make actual Las Vegas slot players look like Warren Buffett.  Being an aficionado of some obscure and honestly petty obsessions, I try very hard not to judge how other people spend their free time.  But when they get to the point where they are actually un-ironically congratulating each other on their “skill” at hitting a button and then going back to talking about how Obama has already given back the Nobel Peace Prize and the American press just refuses to report it, it is really hard not to think disparaging thoughts.  These are exactly the kind of people who would love facebook except at some point their own species of groupthink formed a bias against it.  I have no idea, of course, how large a group this actually is.

      (This anthropological report is based on a relative who knows I’m a “gamer,” and so has made it a point to repeatedly show me her sites with unending excitement, fully expecting at any moment to convert me to the grand wonder of it all).

      • EmperorNortonI

         I have a friend who plays Pachinko, a slot-like gambling game popular in Japan that is infinitely louder.  He, too, talks about his skill – but at least it’s in relation to how he can read if a machine is hot, and knowing when to quite a machine that’s not going to put out.

        He, too, plays online pachinko, for no possible hope of reward.  He even bought an actual pachinko machine, and installed it in his house.

        Real games are too much work for him.

        • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

           Pachinko machines are fascinating to me, still being largely mechanical even as other game-y bells and whistles have been added.  An exotic bridge between slot machines and pinball tables.  My dad has a functioning machine he got who-knows-where years ago, so I as a kid merrily shot the silver ball bearings and watched them fall into the various traps and targets.

          I wish some enterprising soul would bring it stateside in earnest.  I could easily see a Vegas pachinko parlor attracting both curious Americans as well as vacationing Japanese tourists, being new and novel to one group, yet familiar and comfortable to the other.

  • caspiancomic

    Hey, didn’t you guys shoot the Old-Time Treasure Appraise Show here?

    Also: any and all attempts to get back into FFT:A2 have faltered, I put too much time between playthroughs. This past week though I curled up under a blanket with some nourishing OJ and Ico to try and fight off a cold, and it put me in the mood for some Shadow of the Colossus.

    • Jackbert

      Hope you’re feeling better! Also, if you can find time in between slaying beasts, I’m up for some Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. I’ve been playing a lot recently, but I’ve tired of random matches with people like MattAttack69, Pothead420, and madetofade (actual match, no joke), who ignore the goddamn objectives. I’d ask you this through PSN message, but you’re never online!!!

      *hurls your regular china against the wall*

      • caspiancomic

         My china!

        Haha, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve managed to get online. I bet my Galactic Readiness has plummeted to like 55% across the board. Also, I’ve almost certainly forgotten how to play and how all my super cool esoteric character builds are supposed to handle. Still, I might stick my head in this weekend and see what’s up.

      • Fluka

        Do any of you ME3 Multiplayer people have a Batarian Brawler?  And if so, have you ever tried doing THIS?

        • Jackbert

          I do not, but it’s on my wishlist. Yes, I have a character wishlist. Don’t judge. Though I can’t really blame you if you judge a bit. I do have a Batarian Soldier though. Blade armor and ballistic blades cause so much bleed damage I’ve taken to calling him The Butcher. His heavy melee is pretty good, but the best is that of the Cabal Vanguard (she was number one on my list until I got her). Her heavy melee is Shadow Strike sans cooldown – it locks on and can one hit kill a Phantom on Bronze. Also, unlike most heavy melees, there is no locked period, so I can switch into regular melees immediately. Heavy melee and three regular melees means I can take down a Brute on Bronze in less than three seconds.

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

          I’ve been wondering (but not enough to actually engage in online multiplayer)…how does ME3 multiplayer work? Is it at all like combat in the single-player game? Are there different classes available for different species? Is it all in real-time, so you need to map all of your special skills to the number keys and not use the shift-pause HUD?

  • Saltonstall

    The demo for The Last of Us

    • WhiteBlacula

       Oh shit. That’s coming out this weekend? Thanks for the heads up.

      • Saltonstall

        Keep in mind that it’s only if you own God of War: Ascension.

        • The Guilty Party

          I think they misunderstand the point of a demo.

        • Saltonstall

          @The_Guilty_Party:disqus I guess it was meant to entice non-God of War fans into buying or renting the game.

        • WhiteBlacula

           Curses!

        • Saltonstall

          @WhiteBlacula:disqus The demo wasn’t much. 15 minutes of scavenging and fighting a few infected people. It was cool, but you’re not missing much considering the game’s coming in two weeks.

  • evanwaters

    I’ve been playing a lot of Doom II lately. It’s interesting that this is the game where they really pushed the engine to its limit- lots of levels pull off weird and neat tricks with height, making it seem like a full-3D world even if it’s not. Of course there are also a lot of fuck-you tricks and general dickery (long distance chaingunners are the absolute worst) but it’s still compelling enough to keep slogging through.

  • Simon Jones

     I been doing two things.

    I am replaying Gunslinger, a kinda brilliant game that had the misfortune to come out near Blood Dragon, which occupied the same ‘We’re doing clever, clever things and only charging you twenny bucks for them’ and that I kinda suspect is gonna end up as one of those lost treasures in terms of gaming.

    I have also been playing Light Novels.

    I just finished Hanachirasu  where your main character is a terrible psychotic dick and, for a change, is actually meant to be one with an…interesting ending where

    *spoilers for a game you will never play*

    It turns out that you murdered your rivals fiancee because you are kind of in love with him and his sword murder and felt she was stealing him for you.

    Then you kill yourself.

    Then I started Saya No Uta.

    I am unlikely ever to finish Saya No Uta.

    Wiki will explain why.

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

      I have a feeling that Gunslinger is suffering in part because the previous game in the Call of Juarez series, The Cartel, was so poorly received. Once one of your games has been dubbed one of the most racist games ever released by a major publisher, it’s kind of hard for your series to make a comeback.

  • TheBryanJZX90

    I need to finish up the Dark Arisen expansion for Dragon’s Dogma. I made it to what is quite obviously the door leading to the last boss’s room, but pretty much without fail I lose steam when I get to this point in a game. Just like in real life, I procrastinate and put off doing what I should be doing, and so I have a backlog of side quests weighing me down. This behavior of “well, I got to the point of no return, guess I have to go finish up all of that less interesting optional stuff so that I can be really overpowered and beat the last boss in a couple hits” ends up keeping me from finishing a lot of games. After being focused on one specific track for so long and being driven forward by the story, suddenly having to go back and address every single previously ignored task just paralyzes me with indecision.

    The funny part is that this is a learned behavior that doesn’t even really apply to Dragon’s Dogma. None of the side quests are particularly useful, and I know there’s actually a bit more waiting for me after I beat the baddie on the other side of that door, so it’s not like I’m actually at a point of no return. But for some reason I just have to take a step back when I get to this point.

    • The Guilty Party

      I got to the literal last save point of FF7 and did the same exact thing. I have no idea why. The worst part is, when I pick it back up months later, I have no idea how anything works and feel compelled to start over from scratch. This is why I can’t have nice things.

      Also, Dragon’s Dogma is cool. It completely surprised me. I was expecting some kind of crappy mix of a beat ‘em up and Skyrim, and instead I got some kind of awesome mix of a beat ‘em up and Skyrim.

      • signsofrain

        That happened to me with Kingdom Hearts – I’m right at the end of the game but I haven’t played it for literally years so when I loaded the save recently to try and complete the game at long last some grunt enemies that I would have wiped the floor with before basically kicked my ass.

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      I’ve done the same thing with games before–for me, it comes down to knowing that once I beat the last boss, there’s no more game left to play, so why should I care about beating the last boss? Sure, there’s the sense of accomplishment for finishing, but considering I’ve already made it three-quarters through and (barring some horrible design imbalance [fuck you, Who Framed Roger Rabbit]) will almost certainly be able to beat the boss after a couple tries, the accomplishment is mostly there already. And if I don’t care about the story (which, most of the time, I don’t), it’s hard to commit to another twenty minutes of playing, just to see some names I’ve never heard of before. There are good reasons for finishing games, and I prefer the satisfaction of completion to the vague, incomplete sensation when I leave something undone, but I still end up walking away a fair amount of the time. (This was especially true when I had a roommate who played games; if he beat something, I didn’t bother. Which really worked in my favor with Final Fantasy XIII.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/ned.leavitt Ned Leavitt

       I did that with FFXIII, trying to do all the side stuff, ended up putting it down until FFXIII-2 was about to come out, and decided to finish the game. It took about 30 mins from where I left off.

  • WhiteBlacula

    I can’t believe you’re allowed to work at a game store without playing KOTOR. 

    I’m nearing the end of Tomb Raider, which I’m loving. I’ll probably play a little Ni No Kuni and hopefully finally start Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

    • The Guilty Party

      Well… it was released 10 years ago. If you’re working as a game store clerk, you are probably on the younger side of life. So what I’m trying to say is that icy claws of death are slowly rending our flesh in their inexorable pursuit of our demise.

      Man. 10 years.

    • doyourealize

      Don’t tell @Eco1970:disqus you like Tomb Raider.

      • WhiteBlacula

         I was bummed that the survival elements get completely abandoned and you basically become an unstoppable killing machine but overall, I’m having a blast with it. I like it much more than any of the Uncharted games.

    • CrabNaga

      I got KOTOR after I already had a 360. If I recall correctly, it had some real problems with emulation (gameplay hangs periodically for seconds at a time). I’m not sure if that’s a universal thing or only my copy. I also tried playing it on my PC at the time, only to find that the port was horrendous and virtually unplayable with my laptop at the time. I decided to stick with the Xbox version.

    • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

      Crap, I own Ni No Kuni. I should probably get back to that at some point.

    • boardgameguy

      i’ve started amnesia: the dark descent over a year ago and haven’t progressed any further because i get too scared playing by myself. i need to coax a friend to come over and blitz through it together over the course of one long day

  • ProfFarnsworth

    Having finally gotten my baby home from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, I am on baby duty for the rest of the weekend (my wife is the one who work outside the home, while I grade papers).  I am relegated to quick 1-2 hour bursts of things.  That being said…I just became a MMO player for the first time with Star Trek Online.  So far…it is okay.  Hopefully it will be better when I can start flying better ships.

    • The Guilty Party

      Hey, congrats on a baby that’s home and doing better!

      And if you’re playing STO, play as a Romulan. They have learned a lot about how to write a quest in the year or two that it’s been out, and the Romulan series is (so far) putting the Federation one to shame.

      On the other hand, if the only thing that keeps you involved is being Captain Heroic of the Federation, then disregard me completely. It’s not that bad. Just not as good.

    • duwease

      The good news is, they still sleep a lot at this point, so you can game.  But it might make sense to not get too invested in an MMO, because they’ll start sleeping a lot less… :)

    • Fluka

      Woohoo, congratulations!

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Starting an MMO the same time you have a baby? Son, you crazy!

      You need something that can work in tiny bursts or can be played with one hand.  Get Ridiculous Fishing for the iPhone if you have one, if not, consider something like Super Meat Boy!

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

      Congratulations on making a whole new person!

      I hear mobile games (or Netflix on a smartphone) are handy for those long nights when you’re holding/cradling a feeding baby or a sleeping/fussy baby who has you trapped because setting her/him down will instantly turn her/him into a wide-awake ball of screams.

    • Effigy_Power

      Happy Growth Scraping Day to all, fellow jerkwad! I hope you kept the fork.

    • Gnarled Bark

      When my brother had his second daughter, she wouldn’t sleep at night unless she was being held or bounced for a good 2-3 months.  This was also right after they got a Wii.  When we came to visit him for Christmas, his Wii tennis ranking had broken through the top of the charts.  Turns out Wii tennis has just the same rhythm as bouncing a baby.  

      But seriously, we should all probably stop this “how games can help you when you have a baby talk” or John’s going to have a long awkward conversation with the greatest video game critic to ever be on a podcast.

  • Nudeviking

    I hooked up the NES last night and was playing Ultima: Quest of the Avatar on it.  I’ll probably play that some, but the weather is supposed to be super nice, so maybe I’ll have to go outside instead…

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

      Quest of the Avatar was the one where you had to recruit the eight guys and be super virtuous, right? I could never resist the temptation to rob that blind shopkeeper…

      • Nudeviking

        Yeah there are a lot of guys and the entire plot of the game is basically, “Be good.”  I honestly like a couple of the later entries (Ultima VI and Ultima VII) that were on a computer better, but 2013 computers are too ultimate so I can’t play them anymore.

        • duwease
        • signsofrain

          Dude, if you have an original copy of Ultima VI it runs just fine in DOSBox. It’s one of the many DOS games I’ve got on the Mac Mini hooked to my TV. (Also Jazz Jackrabbit, the Commander Keen series, Jill of the Jungle, Hocus Pocus, Jetpack…) I LOVE DOS platform games.

  • Blatherly

    I’ll be splitting my time between 2 things: “The Book of Unwritten Tales”, a point and click which seems to take the game back to its roots. Basic story telling and characters who aren’t arseholes (for some reason more recent adventure games think we like this?) with a sprinkling of humour.

    The second is a combination of preparing and panicking over a viva I’m not entirely certain I’m going to get. Apparently borderline grades get as little as one day notice to scramble in and prove whether or not they deserve their mark. Unless of course you’re a control in which case theres no point turning up (but you’ll never know…). Yaaaaaaaay.

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

    I second these guys’ recommendation to play BioShock Infinite. Even if it’s ultimately a deeply flawed game, it does enough things very well and very uniquely that it’s well worth experiencing.

    This weekend, I’ll be playing Go Outside and Visit Air-Conditioned Museums Because It’s Fucking Hot Outside, Seriously Why Did You Think It Was a Good Idea to Go Outside, You Fucking Moron.

    At my computer, I might fire up some Saints Row: The Third or some Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, both of which are a lot of fun. SR3 in particular took a while to get going, but now that I have a tank, things are a lot more enjoyable (and waaaaaay easier). A short note on FC3:BD – the new version of UPlay no longer supports Steam overlay for non-Steam games. Since I didn’t purchase Blood Dragon through Steam, I can no longer easily share my screenshots of it on the Steam community. Fuck you, Ubisoft.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Seconded on the Fuck UPlay front.  I actually haven’t returned to Blood Dragon in weeks because I hate that it has to have two separate DRM programs running in the background.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    Probably a no-brainer to you guys, but kudos on going to a local store.  I really don’t see any reason why anyone ever goes to the chains.  Local stores have the same exact prices on new stuff, a larger variety of used stuff, and will very often have both better trade-in rates AND better prices on used games.  These stores are worth supporting both for the sake of local businesses and for the sake of your own personal wallet.

    • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

       The problem for me is, the nearest ‘local store’ is like 20 miles away.  As much as I’d like to give them my business on the regular, it’s down to cost/benefit etc.  At least I know there’s still a community for them to serve, whether I’m part of it or not.  Plus I do have a local comic shop that fulfills 95% of my comic-needing needs.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Do you ever wonder what big boys like Steam and PC gaming in general are doing to those little stores though?  I haven’t bought a game in the store since Halo 4 last fall, and while I bought it at a local place, the majority of my game budget has gone to the monolithic corporation known as Valve since then, who while nice overall, isn’t exactly a mom’n'pop operation.

    • mizerock

      Game Stop doesn’t count as a “local store”, right? I have no idea where the nearest place is, but I will look into that, it’s a good idea.

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

      I don’t see any reason why anyone ever goes to physical stores.

      I’m part of the problem, though, obviously.

      • http://tmaiblog.wordpress.com/ Chalkdust

        Pending the quality and personality of the people running a store, I do like to go in and shoot the breeze with employees, be it about games, movies, books, music, or whatever they’re selling.

        I appreciate recommendations from people who aren’t running my previous purchases and 1-to-5 star ratings through some algorithm.

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

          It may be because the only physical stores I tend to encounter are Gamestops, where employees are contractually required to communicate in the sort of bizarro-world alien-from-the-planet-of-commerce-trying-to-talk-to-real-hoo-mans dialect that sets my hairs on end. Insincerely recommending (or out and out intimidating) you to pre-order a game that will “definitely” be sold out, trying to get you to join a club or subscribe to a magazine when all you want to do is buy a game. It’s exhausting .

    • mizerock

      It look like there are a couple of local independent record stores (as in, vinyl!) that also carry games. Neither are close enough to visit on a whim, but both are in places I’m likely to be going through at least a few times a year.

  • EmperorNortonI

    I’ve been on a Fallout NV binge, and am taking a break.  59 hours so far, while working full time on a 6-day a week schedule, in a little more than two weeks.  Ugh.  I’m nearly done with the main game, but haven’t done the DLC’s

    Great game, until you poke around the edges.  There are little things that they just couldn’t plan for, or had to build in to keep things limited.  Invisible walls, convenient mountain ranges, a suspiciously cliff-y Arizona side of the Colorado . . . yeah.  But it’s more than the obvious and necessary.  There are obvious dialog options that aren’t available.  Benny is telling me about House, and how he needs to get an edge on House – but I’ve already killed House, and don’t have the option to say anything.  NPC’s talk about things that they couldn’t know anything about, and harp endlessly on one thing while ignoring totally other things.

    And, I can’t burn down canvas tents, with lasers or dynamite or plasma grenades.  WTF?

    But the world building is really impressive, to the point that I wish they’d released a series of sub-sequels, each focusing in on smaller stories with characters who are more embedded into the time and place.  An NRC soldier campaign, or a prospector working for the Followers, or a Caravan leader campaign.

    I’ll play some more next week and finish things off. 

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       I remember you were really mad about those tents in the steam group.  What did those tents ever do to you man?

      • djsubversive

        They’re a reminder that he didn’t raze those Legion camps to the ground, leaving nothing but ashes and smoke for Caesar to gaze upon.

    • djsubversive

      Invisible walls are easily fixed. The story is a vast improvement over the previous game in the series, so all of your complaints about that are just silly.

      The number of ways you can deal with Benny alone is more choice than you were ever given in Fallout 3.

      The DLCs are small side-stories. They involve the Courier by necessity, but they could easily all have other non-Courier player characters and nothing would really change (“two couriers shall have a reckoning beneath the flag of the old world” stuff aside).

      You sound like someone who ate too much chocolate cake and now you’re trying to blame the cake for your stomach-ache. Also, there was vanilla cake but it was stale. And full of stupid immortal kids who should have died off centuries ago. and the guys who made the chocolate cake should make cookies instead.

      This dessert analogy is getting away from me. mmm, cake.

  • http://twitter.com/vowelsagogo Kilzor

    Bioshock Infinite for only $9.99?  They truly are Game Champs.  Sure, they’re financially ruined Game Champs who could probably benefit from some sort of business training, but in my eyes that only makes them more noble.

    • doyourealize

      Pretty sure that finger is covering up a “4″. Good marketing technique, though.

  • Eco1970

    Ooh, ‘or otherwise’ – that’s Gameological’s boardgame coverage sorted for this week then.

    This weekend, I’ll be playing fucking Skyrim again, since my shitass friends are all ‘Is anyone else coming?’ and ‘I’ll let you know later, k?’ Later? Gaming night’s supposed to be in 7 hours! You’re all up for filling my gaming room with empty beercans and crisp fragments when it’s raining, right?

    Bah.

    Anyway, Skyrim’s not so bad. I finally printed put a conplete quests list to tick off. Was getting worried about licking out quests etc and/or my main quest advancement. Bow I can play it better.

    • djsubversive

      I’m pretty sure that “locking out quests” (I assume that’s what ‘licking’ was supposed to be) doesn’t really happen. You can’t refuse any quests, as far as I can tell (other than not talking to the quest-giver in the first place, which would require foreknowledge… or a guide, I guess :D).

      Just remember that Skyrim is assholes all the way down. Space-Pope can back me up on this. It’s just a matter of finding the right group of assholes to work with (Daedric Princes 4 Lyfe).

      If you did mean “put a conplete” and “licking out quests,” then I’m sorry, I can’t help you. :)

      • His_Space_Holiness

        I’m the Space Pope, and I approve the portion of this message regarding Skyrim and its asshole population.

        • djsubversive

          *space pope!*

  • Eco1970

    I just bought Pandemic too. I got the German version simce Mrs Eco speaks German so I though it might be a fun way to get her into playing something, but the one time we tried, after half hour I was like ‘ok, I know how to play this now’ and she was just disinterestedly pushing the bits round.

    Damn my useless gaming group. I’ll probably have to do something couple-y now.

    • CrabNaga

      In my experience, Pandemic is fun approximately 20% of the time when you aren’t completely screwed and just playing the turns until you lose, or you’ve already practically won and are just making the necessary moves to win. What’s even worse is that you know that you’ve won/lost way before it actually happens so the moment of victory/defeat doesn’t really have any impact because it’s like “well duh.”

    • boardgameguy

      my experiences with Pandemic have been different, @CrabNaga:disqus . typically, in games we’ve won, one lucky turn swung what would’ve looked like despair into victory. i’m kind of convinced you need at least three players to win though. with two, there is just too much ground to cover.

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

    I have one act left in Grim Fandango. It’s been about eight years since I last played through the game, yet it still feels very familiar. That shows how memorable and well-designed it was. 

    I picked up Final Fantasy Tactics A2 last Friday, and I’m getting into that now. I absolutely loved “Final Fantasy Tactics Advance” back in the day, and so far I like the little tweaks that A2 has made. I’m not sure if I’ll be able or willing to invest a hundred hours in A2, though. 

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

      That game has so many missions. I did it in bits and pieces, but in the end, by the time I beat it, I had handily put more hours into it than probably any other game (on a single playthrough, at least). I don’t even like it that much, but it’s just got SO MUCH in there.

  • NakedSnake

    This weekend I am playing “Drive a 24′ Truck from Washington DC to Vancouver.” I’m doing it in 4 days, which I think counts as Hard Mode.

    • mizerock

      Dude, that’s insane! And you’ll be going from Fire into Ice. Well, probably 3 days of Fire, and then eventually Ice. Is your home in either place?

      • NakedSnake

        Originally from DC, now moving to my Wife’s homeland. I like that I’m basically driving from DC to BC, and from Washington DC to Washington.

  • KingGunblader

    Nintendo finally released the Zelda Oracle games on the 3DS eShop, so I’ll be glued to those in between 10 hour work shifts…

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

      Good time to buy a 3DS, then.

  • Cloks

    I managed to beat a game in its entirety this week – Thomas Was Alone. Do you like rectangles? Do you feel like rectangles could make you feel? This is a game for you. It is also a good game if you like platformer puzzlers and grumpy rectangles.

    This weekend I’ll be continuing my tour of Rogueport and surrounding environments in Mario’s Flat for a Reason: The Not-So Secret Door. I managed to get six of the seven macguffins over the course of the week and it’s likely that I’ll actually beat the game this time. It did improve considerably after beating the second chapter, so thanks to the people who told me to stick with it.

    • boardgameguy

      i started Thomas Was Alone last night and while i haven’t found the puzzles particularly difficult, i have enjoyed the overall experience because of the narration and the music. not sure how many levels there are, but i stopped around 6 something to go to bed after meeting Laura.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

      Unless I’m being dense and you’re talking about something other than Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door that game is an absolute treat!  The professional wrestling chapter is my far and away favorite!

    • http://warren-peace.blogspot.com/ WarrenPeace

      I just picked up Thomas Was Alone, so I’ll probably be playing that one too. It looks neat. Well, actually, it looks pretty blocky, but I bet I’ll like playing it anyway.

  • doyourealize

    I’ll be trying to figure out Dan Dennett’s RodRego software after starting his book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. Really great stuff so far. My local bookseller started selling ebooks through Kobo (it used to be Google Books), which I’d never heard of before. I decided I’d download the app and give it a try. It’s neat, gives you the opportunity to share progress and quotes (although that feature seems a bit broken) on Facebook or Twitter, as well as – hearkening back to Heisler’s piece a few weeks ago – giving achievements for things like starting and finishing books, as well as reading during primetime TV hour, taking on something unwieldy, reading after midnight, and having a favorite reading hour. It’s not annoying or anything, just extra. The reader itself works just fine, too.

    I’ll also be trying to finish up construction of Lakeview Manor in Skyrim. Most of what I need are animal trophies. Anyone finished the other properties? Are they different enough from each other to complete each one?

    • duwease

      You’ve piqued my curiosity with RodRego.  What’s it used for?

      • doyourealize

        It’s a thinking activity – he calls it a “register”. More about learning how to program it to add, subtract, multiply, and divide than it is a tool for doing those things. I’ve got the add and subtract down, but multiplication has stymied me so far, though I haven’t spent too much time on it yet.

        The chapter in the book I’m reading is actually taken from an earlier work of his, which you can download on the website, but here it is for convenience’s sake.

        • duwease

          Oh neat, I remember having to do similar stuff in a machine language class back in college.. if I remember correctly, multiplication is an abstraction of a process of additions when it comes to the nuts and bolts of how the computer does it, so when you’re writing algorithms, if you can make something addition instead of multiplication (usually using logarithms), it’s faster.

        • The_Helmaroc_King

          Does RodRego do things in binary? If it does, then it might help to know that shifting bits to the “left” in binary is the equivalent of multiplying by two. Other than that, if you’re working with simple enough numbers, multiplication can be boiled down to addition, like @duwease:disqus  said.

        • doyourealize

          @duwease:disqus Yeah, the idea is actually to recognize how any thinking process can be parred down to its simplest parts. It’s not about making anything faster, really, but really to show the user how even the most basic register can do complicated things.

          @The_Helmaroc_King:disqus It’s not really programming in that sense. It’s programming the register in the register’s language, if that makes sense.

  • stakkalee

    I’m rapidly approaching the end of my second playthrough of Fallout 3.  I’ve completed all the DLC and I’m now collecting all of the bobbleheads.  I also just cleaned out the Dunwich building as part of a Point Lookout quest and I have to say that it was pretty spooky – very few light sources, weird pockets of radiation, hallucinations, plenty of ghouls; good stuff.  I don’t know what I’ll play next; I’m thinking I might go back to the first Dragon Age and play through as a mage.

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

      I love playing a mage so much in Dragon Age. I’ve tried going through some of the other Origin stories, but I always lose interest by the time I get to Lothering.

      • stakkalee

        I normally shy away from mage characters – I think it’s from my D&D days where mages had a set amount of spells they could cast, so once you’d shot your load with 3 magic missiles all you could do was try to hit someone with your staff.

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

          Those were the days.

        • Effigy_Power

          Mages in DA:O are not that great, mostly because they are immensely slow. Dragon Age 2, for all its publically perceived flaws (I love it), speeds up magic drastically and turns a lumbering caster into a turbo-charged spell-slinger that ought to be experienced.

    • djsubversive

      The Dunwich Building is one of my favorite locations in that game because it was an out-of-the-way place with no connection to anything else. And then Point Lookout had to make it part of a quest. :(

      Just kidding. Still a neat building. Borers. heh.

  • CrabNaga

    I hate to be so cynical, but “It’s a different game…This is a vibrant game, like humans and creatures…maybe zombies” made me laugh out loud. Why has nobody made a zombie game about getting from point A to point B before???

  • duwease

    I’m a couple missions into Dishonored, and I’m really digging it.  The backstory and style are enjoyable, and I dig sneaking.  I’m doing a Clean Hands/Ghost/No Upgrades playthrough, which probably shouldn’t have been the *first* playthrough, but I guess I’m just stuck on doing the “good” playthrough first, with the “evil” playthroughs of a game being some sort of alternate story afterwards.  Plus I’ve been sneaking since the original Thief, so bare-bones stealth is something I enjoy anyway.  Regardless, I’m also salivating at the chance to really let loose with the arsenal they give you once I get the chance.

    I also found out that Mass Effect 3 was sold during a short-lived attempt at getting my wife to eBay some of these games I won’t play again. Which means no Citadel for me :( Why’d they have to wait so long??

    • indy2003

      That’s one of the more puzzling and clever aspects of the game: they offer a host of nifty things you can use to kill people, then encourage you not to kill people. I guess what I’m saying is that Dishonored is basically a gun store owner.

  • CrabNaga

    I’m probably going to go back to Dust: An Elysian Tail and try to beat the game on the “Hardcore” setting. I made a mistake choosing “Normal” for the starter difficulty because it is ridiculously easy. Enemies practically don’t even attack you until the later stages of the game, and just serve as loot punching bags on your way through a particular area. That being said, I kind of dread some of the later areas on the higher difficulties where enemies do pose some sort of a challenge.

    I’ll probably play more of my dex character in Dark Souls, rounding out my trio of heavily specialized characters (elegant caster lady, strong hit man, and honorable assassin). I’m finding that dex isn’t all sunshine and roses, at least against most enemies. Why do so few things bleed?!Last weekend me and some friends were playing Risk Legacy, which is the latest in a long string of Risk games to screw me over in dice rolls. I’m cursed to only get bad rolls when I need them, and only good rolls when OTHERS need them (i.e. when I’m defending a territory that’s between two opposing forces, or if I’m trying to take away a continent bonus from somebody who is in danger of winning). I think this weekend I might burn the game at a sacrificial altar to the dice gods in an effort to break my curse. 

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Oooooooh, Dark Souls hasn’t come up in a while.  Mind if I ask what your Dex character uses?  I have a DEX STR character who swings a great for PvE, but terrible for PvP Black Knight Halberd.

      • CrabNaga

        Right now he’s just using an Iaito +15. I have a Dark Silver Tracer +5 (massive counter damage) and Priscilla’s Dagger +5 (massive bleed damage), but they aren’t terribly useful for PvE. I should get a better bow; my original intention was to make this character bow-centric until I realized just how not feasible a bow-only run is, unless you have the patience of a saint. Hopefully Dark Souls 2 fixes this. I’m not sure what else to invest my stats into. Maybe intelligence if I want to be a real bastard in PvP.

        My STR character uses a large club, which is hilarious to use in PvP. It has this rolling attack that constantly catches other players off guard. He also has enough faith to spam Wrath of the Gods, but I always feel dirty using that in PvP.

        • Kyle O’Reilly

           Wrath of the Gods does irritate me but as long as your not using that wood grain ring to do cartwheels in Havel’s Armor I don’t think you’re the worst.

          Yeah, bows are really more of a drawing tactic in the game, except for those dragon arrow long bows you can get from the knights in Anor Londo, they can do some serious damage in PvE.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      Dust was a decent game, in my experience, but other than some relatively minor technical issues I thought its main flaws were loose controls and an uneven difficulty curve. It might be because I did the sidequests to get the best gear, but when I played through on hard mode I actually thought things got pretty easy by the end. It didn’t help that I found it extremely easy to spam the aerial Dust Storm combined with magic attacks.

      • CrabNaga

        I barely used the magic attacks on Normal except against the Necromancers who are invulnerable to melee attacks. My go-to combo was to knock an enemy in the air (XY), then do a 3-hit combo and grab them and slam them into the ground (XXXY). Then other enemies would be knocked into the air and you could repeat the 3-hit combo and ground slam until you killed everything. For air enemies, dust storm is ridiculously overpowered.

        The only enemies in the game that actually posed a threat were the giant minotaur guys that you couldn’t juggle and couldn’t stun, and the jerks soldiers in the final area that parry your attacks 75% of the time and counter with one of their own.

  • indy2003

    I should have a pretty decent amount of free time over the next three days, so I’ll probably be able to put some substantial time into two or three different things.

    Played Vanquish on the PS3 over the course of the week, which was… fun, I guess. It took me a while to get the hang of the controls and the story is awful even by Explosion-y Game Story standards, but once I became comfortable with the controls I was having a pretty good time. One of those games which makes you feel like you’re much, much better at it than you really are. Finished the game in less than six hours, but that seems about right for this sort of thing.

    I’ve started playing Labyrinth Legends, which seems charming enough, if a little on the repetitive side. One of those games I probably wouldn’t have tried if I weren’t a PS+ subscriber, but it’s enjoyable enough thus far.

    On the Vita, I’m continuing to work my way through Wipeout 2048 – man, that game gets *tough* once you enter the third and final season! Still a terrific racing game, though, and one which is always fair. I just need to do a better job of memorizing the tracks.

    PS+ also offered BlazBlue: CSE this week, so I picked that up and started playing my way through the tutorial (which I figured I should do, since I’ve never been very good at fighting games). Um… if the tutorial is this hard, I can only imagine how tough the game itself is going to be. Some of the combo chains I’m being asked to construct are insane, and the smaller Vita controls make things even harder. Still, I’ve heard many great things about this one, so I’m determined to press on.

    Other things on my “to-play” pile that I may or may not finally decide to start on: Max Payne 3, The Cave, Closure, Gravity Rush and Darksiders.

  • Kyle O’Reilly

    I’m gonna take this chance to stand up and say Fuck Yeah Local Game Shops.  My beautiful hometown of Omaha, NE has the region-wide but omaha-grown franchise of Gamers which usually has stoned, but really helpful, guys behind the counter who can always recommend some good obscure PS2 or Xbox titles.  “No dude, Blinx 2 is much better than you’d think!” and there’s also the Game Vault which is run by one really nice dude who doesn’t care if I play SNES for 15 minutes on their tv.

    But I digress, last weekend I decided Fallout New Vegas just wasn’t tickling my game bone and dropped it like a pile of broken 9mm pistols.  This weekend I picked up a Humble Bundle which has a game I’ve been dying to try, Thomas Was Alone.  I also plan on possibly starting a new game of  Civilization V because these brave new world trailers are getting me all pumped to spread my influence via trade routes.

    • EmperorNortonI

       Well, there’s your problem right there!  If you’re dropping piles of broken 9mm pistols, you’re seriously missing out on their resale value.  The trick is to use repair to combine all of them into a single pistol, which in good condition will be worth far more than the others, which are only worth something as parts.

      Um . . . yeah.

      • djsubversive

        Get Jury Rigging and use 9mm pistols to repair 10mm submachine guns. MAXIMUM CHIC– err… PROFIT! (and chicken)

  • http://twitter.com/zhandlen Zack Handlen

    I finally caved and picked up a 3DS XL (in red, because red is cooooool), so I’ll probably be messing around with that this weekend. So far I’ve mostly been replaying Ocarina of Time, which looks pretty sweet in 3D, although really, it’d be a hard game to mess up. I’m also slowly getting into Fire Emblem Awakening, even though I may not be very good at it. (I’m playing on Casual and Normal and even at that, I keep having to reset matches because I don’t want anyone to die.) I picked up the Paper Mario Sticker whatever, because I generally like the Paper Mario games; this one is cute, but it mostly seems to fall under Nintendo’s “more More MORE!” design style–I miss leveling up and whatnot. 

  • mizerock

    D&D on Sunday! Like, the dice & paper kind. Though I really enjoyed playing the Dungeons and Dragons arcade game on an emulator years ago, mainly because no quarters were required to continue.

    Next weekend might just be my first totally-free weekend in 3 months, since back when I found out I was going to have to move out of the duplex where I had become firmly embedded after 12 years. I’d like to try this “online gaming” thing that I ignored for years because it seemed to be comprised of 13-year-olds yelling out racist and homophobic slurs. Are there any active Gameological groups that would I be able to join? Games on Steam? Rock Band on the PS3 (or Wii, though all I can do there is sing & play Pro Guitar / Pro Bass)?

    • ChicaneryTheYounger

      There’s a Gameological Group on Steam, and games are played! Sometimes.

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

      The Gameological Steam group, your new home: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/gameological

      • Effigy_Power

        It’s more like a shelter for battered gamers who have faced abuse at the hand of XBL, but it’s like home…

    • Effigy_Power
    • djsubversive

      whoo, D&D! I’m a big ol’ tabletop geek (well, skinny not-that-old), so I like hearing that other people still play, too.

      Also, yes, the Steam Group exists.

  • mizerock

    D&D on Sunday! Like, the dice & paper kind. Though I really enjoyed playing the Dungeons and Dragons arcade game on an emulator years ago, mainly because no quarters were required to continue.
     
    Next weekend might just be my first totally-free weekend in 3 months, since back when I found out I was going to have to move out of the duplex where I had become firmly embedded after 12 years. I’d like to try this “online gaming” thing that I ignored for years because it seemed to be comprised of 13-year-olds yelling out racist and homophobic slurs. Are there any active Gameological groups that would I be able to join? Games on Steam? Rock Band on the PS3 (or Wii, though all I can do there is sing & play Pro Guitar / Pro Bass)?

  • ChicaneryTheYounger

    $19.99 for Bioshock? It’s still £29.99 here, preowned. Y’all have it good.

    • mizerock

      As noted above, it seems that it’s really $49.99 for Bioshock Infinite, but the “4″ is being covered over with a finger. The original Bioshock IS that cheap by now, even in the UK, right?

      • ChicaneryTheYounger

         Just about.

  • aklab

    I’ll be continuing my replay of a bunch of SNES classics, and perhaps something from that era that I haven’t played yet. Maybe a translation-patched Treasure Hunter G

    Also doing some Psychonauts. I’m in the brain-collecting stage of the game. I just finished the Fred Napoleon level, which I loved, but there was this one impossible rooftop jump that almost made me ragequit. Now I’m just rage-playin’ again. 

    • Citric

      Treasure Hunter G has an excellent battle system, one of the best on the system.

      • aklab

        I can’t wait! I’ve played almost everything else from that early/mid-90s stretch when Squaresoft could do no wrong, so I figure it’s time to try some of the Japan-only stuff! 

        • Citric

          I got into the Fan Translation scene as a youngster, there’s a lot of good stuff in there that’s worth digging up. Square in particular had Live A Live, Treasure Hunter G, Seiken Densetsu 3, Bahamut Lagoon (which is gorgeous), Treasure of the Rudras and Front Mission. Still kicking myself for not buying Front Mission for DS, stupid being broke at the time.

          There are also a lot of terrible anime-based JRPGs that people translate, even if I have a soft spot for Sailor Moon: Another Story.

        • aklab

          Ha ha, I remember playing the terrible Sailor Moon: Another Story about 13 years ago. Maybe even a little Angelique if I’m being honest. :P
          I completely missed out on the others you mentioned though…. and a quick image search confirms what I’ll be doing for this and every other weekend! 

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

      Are you talking about the final jump to get up onto the castle in the Napoleon level, because @%$&!# that jump!

      • aklab

        Oh man, yes, that is the @%$&ing jump in question. I haven’t sputtered such obscenities at a video game in years. 

    • His_Space_Holiness

      Yay Psychonauts! Just keep in mind that if there’s anything you need to do around camp, do it before you use Mr. Pokeylope (that sentence makes sense, I swear). The game autosaves after that and you can’t go back. I think I said that without any spoilers.

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

        NOOOOOO! LEAVE MR. POKEYLOPE ALONE!!!

      • aklab

        I’m sure that sentence will make sense when it needs to. :)

  • dmikester

    Following up from last week, I’m playing prep the apartment for a new puppy this weekend (and yes, I promise pictures here eventually).  Maybe some board games too, and I think I might tackle Dear Esther from the Humble Bundle at some point this weekend too.  

    Also, I fully beat Sleeping Dogs this week as in all of the DLC and every trophy.  The DLC was really, really underwhelming, but there sure was a lot of it.  Still, great experience.  I also finally played through a whole game of Proteus before going to bed last night, and just wow.  I do regret not exploring more during autumn, since apparently there’s all kind of insane stuff that can happen.

    • Jackbert

      I actually started Sleeping Dogs this morning and I’ve messed around with it for a couple hours. It’s pretty fun so far! I love the emphasis on statistics and competition. Seems like the platinum wouldn’t be too hard, you have to do everything, but there aren’t any overly difficult or arcane trophies. If I continue to enjoy the game, I’m totally going to go for it. I also bought the Square Enix and Gangland Style DLC packs, because I like Just Cause 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and silly looking tattoos.

      Here is our two-year old German Wire-Haired Pointer, adamantly refusing to acknowledge the camera.

      • dmikester

        Love the dog!  Yeah, we’re getting a Corgi puppy (ten weeks old), and can’t wait.  Should be a blast.

        The platinum isn’t too hard at all, but it does require a lot of grinding in the end; you’ll get a bunch of the stat requirements completed, but definitely not enough for everything.  The most annoying thing to me, and the one part of the game that doesn’t seem particularly well-designed, was getting a high enough Triad score.  It’s extremely easy to get both Face and Cop points (I maxed both out well before I beat the main game), but  it’s very difficult to get Triad points, especially in the beginning when you don’t have enough Face to get the clothes that give you Triad bonus points.  Lots and lots of replaying missions involved (unless you buy the DLC that either just flat out gives you points or the DLC that gives you missions where you can farm Triad points).

        • Jackbert

          Ooh, lucky. We’ve never got a puppy because we get our dogs from rescue organizations. Our current ones are six and two; we got them at five and eighteen months.

          I did notice that I was getting less Triad points and was disappointed when I found those bonus Triad threads but couldn’t wear them. I have had a bit of trouble getting Cop points too; I keep on running into things! Ah, well, if worse comes to worse and I get bored of grinding, I can swallow my pride and burn two bucks.

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

          The best strategy to get triad points, when guns come into the picture, is to always go for headshots. It’s a lot harder to max out triad points when you’re just fighting people in hand-to-hand combat, but you can do it with a combination of counters and limb-breaking moves. Environmental kills can also help.

  • Jer Link

    Just put away Fallout: New Vegas.
    Just opened up Radiata Stories. Only about 2 hours in. I laughed several times, I became perplexed several times.

    Also hoping to have maybe a nice rainy night to sit down with Proteus

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyleromaneck Kyle Romaneck

    I got bored and dropped off of Resident Evil 6 a couple of months ago, and then I made the dumb decision to buy Walking Dead: Survival Instinct on the cheap, which was even worse than I was expecting (and I was expecting pretty bad… why’d I get it?  I was on a Walking Dead high… it was the middle of Season 3… look you weren’t there!).  So to sate my apparent thirst for horror, I decided to go back to a classic horror game that I loved on Gamecube: Resident Evil 4.  I downloaded it on PS3 and it looks amazing in HD.  I’m about 12 hours into it and it’s still a ton of fun, and some legitimate good scares too!  Regenerators…

  • SonjaMinotaur

    I was playing FC3: Blood Dragon but after seeing the trailer for a new Riddick movie I realized that I never got through that game 10 years ago(!) and I picked up a copy for PS3, so I’ve been playing that. It’s wonderfully nihilistic but the automatic save points are brutal- you make a mistake in this game and there’s no going back to fix it. 

    I’m also looking forward to the new Animal Crossing next month, because if there’s something I like more than lurking in shadows waiting to strangle faceless guards, it’s running errands for adorable animals.

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

      “if there’s something I like more than lurking in shadows waiting to
      strangle faceless guards, it’s running errands for adorable animals.”

      This is the greatest sentence I’ve read all week.

      Out of curiosity, how are you finding Blood Dragon, and how far are you in the game? I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth it to continue doing the side content, or if I should just plow through the main missions.

      • SonjaMinotaur

        I’m really enjoying it, but I realize I am a sucker for both the 80′s AWESOME retro-future vibe and over-the-top violence.  I think that I already hit the end mission, or at least I got to a mission that seemed that if I started it I wouldn’t be able to do any other sidequests, so I turned around and left since I’d only “liberated” about half the map. 

    • Effigy_Power

      I think enjoying sneaky murder and adorable critters at the same basic time is a good sign for emotional range. We should party.

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

    Every Dragon Age thing ever was bundled for 9.99 on Amazon recently, and I’ve become invested in that game, despite my general ambivalent-at-best response to Bioware’s stuff. I will probably be playing more of that this weekend, and maybe fiddle with some of the games from the latest Humble Bundle, like Proteus or Little Inferno.

    I will also be playing Oh My God It’s So Damn Hot Why the Hell Did i Move to Virginia, Sweet Jesus. It’s a pretty simple game, there are two meters, one counts how close you are to succumbing to heat stroke, and the other counts how much the AC is ratcheting up your power bill and contributing to global warming by wasting precious energy. You can acquire special skills like a box fan, or the special “underpants only” armor, or decide whether to try to ride your bike to the library in 100-degree weather to enjoy some free AC.

    The ultimate objective is to survive until grad school is over, and acquire enough capital to relocated to, like, Canada or something where you won’t have to deal with this bullshit.

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

      Canada has fuckloads of snow, though. That’s a whole other pile of bullshit right there. (I mean, not for me. I like snow. But everyone else seems to hate it.)

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

        I grew up Cleveland, went to school in Pittsburgh, and have lived in Moscow, and my genes all come from the UK and central Europe. I am super well-suited and accustomed to fucktons of snow, and would 10 times out of 10 take a severe winter over a sweltering summer.

        You can always put on more layers in the cold. In the heat at a certain point you can’t remove any more layers, and you’re just condemned to being hot and miserable. Ugggggh.

      • Effigy_Power

        Luxury. Here it actually snowed less than a month ago, so of course now it’s too hot to step on the pavement, if you even make it there for gerbil-sized mosquitoes.
        When autumn and spring are your favorite seasons, a place that knows only scorching summer and soul-chilling winter is somewhat less than pleasant.

  • ComradePig

    This weekend I’ll be playing a great deal of Rising Storm, the Pacific theater stand alone add-on for Red Orchestra 2. I’ve already dumped 20-odd hours into the beta and it’s pretty great. In addition, I’ll be continuing my play-through of the original Mass Effect, which I recently purchased on sale on Steam. I never did finish it on Xbox and I’m enjoying getting the chance to do so now with less technical hiccups. It still has some design problems (regarding drab side quests most particularly), but it’s a strong title none the less. Outside of that I’ll be playing World of Tanks with my friend, it’s quite an enjoyable title and I’m surprised I didn’t start playing earlier given my love of tanks. Though the grind can certainly be painful at times.

    In addition, I’ll be continuing my single-player campaign in Shogun 2: Total War with the Gunpowder-heavy Christian faction, the Otomo. , I’ll also do some Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and will no doubt  vacillate between glee and rage as I alternatively wipe the floor with, and get repeatedly team-killed by, all of the new players from the most recent Steam sale.

    • HobbesMkii

      World of Tanks with a friend is way better than stand alone.

    • EmperorNortonI

       I absolutely loved Red Orchestra 1.  It was my go-to game for three years or so, maybe 4.  I was rather underwhelmed by Red Orc 2 when ti came out.  They’d nerfed MG’s really, really hard with the “zoom on aim” for every weapon, and MG was my favorite role.  But I’ve been meaning to give it a shot again, now that the community has had a chance to fix things up.  I was wary of Rising Storm, but might give it a shot.

  • ferrarimanf355

    More Pinball Arcade for me. I need more tables, though.

  • Derek_Noakes

    Finally got OpenEmu running on my Mac and plan to spend the weekend bouncing around between all the old Genesis and SNES classics of my childhood. I’ve never been keen on emulators, but OpemEmu does it right. Having controller support out of the box is miles away from the typical Mac emulator experience.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    True story: I took a creative writing class last fall.  I spent most of the semester trying to come up with some original ideas for short stories.  I’d remembered reading about this fungus that takes over ants, mind controls them to go to a fungus-friendly spot, then kills them and bursts out of their heads into a stalk to grow new fungus.

    I wrote a short story involving this fungus spreading to humans, making them like zombie time-bombs.  A similar idea was used in an X-Files episode, but I thought my idea was different enough to run with.

    Less than a week later, I found out about The Last of Us, which is pretty much the exact idea, down to the species of fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis), that I used in my story.

    This is why I have such a hard time writing anything.  ALL THE IDEAS are used up.  I know I shouldn’t worry too much about it, but when someone else’s story matches my concept that closely, it’s really hard not to get iscouraged.

    • ProfFarnsworth

      Original ideas are very rare, but usually they take YEARS to develop.  Don’t be discouraged.  Many, many tries are required, but when you get your ‘original’ idea it will blow everything else out of the water.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I hope you’re right.  Thanks for the encouragement!

  • DrFlimFlam

    Beat Mass Effect at level 52 yesterday, so on to ME2, and I forgot how jarring the change in gameplay is. Sentinel wasn’t so sexy in theory, but a Sentinel-Bastion who could just spam Barrier was pretty hard to kill. Though if it wasn’t for Bringing Down the Sky I would not have had halfway decent light human armor until Ilos, which seems criminal. More armor for all of the other classes would have been nice.

    So this weekend I might play some ME2, but I have to work all day tomorrow, and then it’s game night with another couple. Forbidden Island, Sequence, and Munchkin Zombies (which I’ve never played) on tap for that.

    Just one more week until Animal Crossing!

    • SonjaMinotaur

      Yay! I’m not the only person counting down for Animal Crossing. This whole week I’ve been thinking “Animal Crossing Animal Crossing Animal Crossing Animal Crossing” Telepaths would be disappointed in me. 

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    I’ll probably end up playing whatever I goddamn please. Except for anything tabletop. literally all of my gaming buddies are out of town/state/country this weekend. Even my grilfriend is in New York for the weekend. I picked up the Humble Bundle so I might give little inferno a shot or something. Or maybe I’ll pick up the newer Humble Bundle and try out some adventure games and pretend I’d not rather be travelling…

    *breaks down sobbing*

  • http://warren-peace.blogspot.com/ WarrenPeace

    Due to this week’s Humble Bundle sales, I picked up a shitload of games that I might try out this weekend, including Proteus, Thomas Was Alone, The Walking Dead, Awesomenauts, Capsized, and Dear Esther. But I’ll probably end up playing more Just Cause 2, even though I finished the main storyline the other day. But hey, I’ve got more water towers and gas pumps and shit to destroy!

    • aklab

      I picked up those same shitloads! (Shitsload?) And the Alan Wake collection for 4 bucks on Steam and Arcanum on GOG for 3. Now to find some free time…

  • Vardulon

    Ah, Jurassic: The Hunted isn’t that bad – it’s got a great old-school
    feature in it that once you’ve beaten the game the New Game+ bonus is an
    unlimited-use laser rifle that lets your just zoom through harder
    difficulties.

  • Thomas Crane

    If you want to try some crazy retro gaming, try Gran Turismo 2 on the Dreamcast. Yeah that’s right, you can play Sony’s classic on the Dreamcast. There used to be a company called Bleem that made CD software that allowed for certain PS1 games to be played on the Dreamcast. It played without glitches, but bumped the graphics up like 200x. Everything was anti-aliased. Those were the days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.tuttle.79 Andy Tuttle

    I’ve had Dead Space sitting on my shelf ever since it came out in 2008 and I’m just now getting around to playing it. I’m really digging the game so far, but it starts to get pretty difficult around level 4. I also can’t seem to find enough power nodes to upgrade my suit and guns. Any tips on what I should keep upgrading?

    • Downtown Canton

      Wait til you have to start shooting asteroids. Ugh. But just get through it best you can. Great game. So is 2.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=848125295 Area Man

    I’ll be playing Ni No Kuni, Sleeping Dogs, and some games with my son (Cars 2, Skylanders, The Cave)
    Rainy weekend ;)

  • Downtown Canton

    Other than a break for Bioshock Infinite and some Skyrim, my wife and I can’t stop playing Borderlands 2 co-op. Just finished Big Game Hunt and going around cleaning up side missions. 

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