What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Kylesa

Kylesa’s Phil Cope and Laura Pleasants, musicians

The Savannah metal band’s principal songwriters devise the ultimate piece of band merchandise.

By Anthony John Agnello • June 28, 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.

Of the many metal bands to emerge out of Savannah, Ga., in the past decade, Kylesa is among the most approachable. Laura Pleasants and Phil Cope, the band’s two persistent members (who are pictured above with the band’s current drummer, Carl McGinley, center), write swirling, spacey hard rock with a dollop of psychedelia on top. The Gameological Society spoke with the duo just before a show supporting their new album Ultraviolet. We talked Wipeout, the politics of coolness, and sweet, Lawnmower Man merch.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Laura Pleasants: We’re playing in Albany, New York, tomorrow and then to Philly after that, or D.C. Is it D.C.?

Phil Cope: Maybe?

Pleasants: Well, we’re playing! We are playing instruments this weekend in various cities.

Gameological: So if you were going to turn your new record, Ultraviolet, into a game, something you play alongside the music, what does that game look like?

Cope: I know! I would want it to be something kind of like Wipeout. Because they always have techno music. I would want it to be a super-trippy racing game that had different levels of speed. Every song would be like this crazy new thing where you drive through a different crazy-ass psychedelic world.

Gameological: I would play the hell out of that.

Cope: Well hopefully there’s some game people out there checking us out. We are definitely down!

Pleasants: I was thinking the exact same thing, but flying.

Cope: Well, in Wipeout, you’re sort of always flying. It’s like a flying car. But they always have techno music. They need to make the stoner-rock Wipeout.

Pleasants: Playing video games stoned is the best way to play video games.

Gameological: Why?

Pleasants: It’s being able to get hyper-focused, blocking everything else out, and getting into that zone.

Cope: It slows the game down a little bit.

Gameological: Laura, I was reading this interview the other day where you cited the old riot grrl music scene in the ’90s as an influence on you. It got me thinking about this game coming out called Gone Home that takes place in that scene and has some of the bands and music to really capture that era. If someone was going to make a game about the modern metal scene, what bands and venues need to be there?

Cope: You’ve got to have Savannah, Georgia. I’m not even going to get into how the game would actually play! That would be too funny. You’ve got to have New Orleans and San Francisco too. Somewhere in Europe.

Pleasants: Seattle, Portland, and Austin too. Then, for the bands that need to be in, the game it’s got to have us! Us, Baroness, Torche for sure.

Cope: It would take a really long time to mention all the things you’d need to get it just right.

Gameological: This may sound odd, but why is metal cool now?

Pleasants: Is metal cool right now?

Gameological: Oh, absolutely. That’s the trend you see among music nerds these days—a sudden, newfound appreciation for metal among critics and hipsters. I was talking to a friend recently who listens to pretty much whatever’s getting widely reviewed, and he says, “Oh I’ve been listening to a ton of Agalloch lately, but I hate the screaming!”

Pleasants: Ah, yes.

Cope: See! I’ve been saying this for years now. People keep calling us “hipster metal,” but I say, “No, hipsters only like black metal!” All the hipsters I’m around, they don’t listen to sludge and stuff that stoners like. They just like black metal.

Gameological: Let me tell you, when your record Spiral Shadow first came out, that was the cool thing to like. You go to a party and there’ll be someone chatting up a girl by saying, “Yeah, all I’m listening to right now is Barry Manilow and Spiral Shadow.”

Cope: You can’t count big cities like this.

Pleasants: Yeah, you can’t count New York. As soon as the indie rock community said it was cool to like metal, then the kids said it was cool to like metal.

Cope: You make a good point.

Pleasants: If you’re in a metal band, though, and you admit to liking indie rock, that is not cool.

Gameological: Why?

Pleasants: I don’t know, but it’s true. We don’t care, though!

Cope: Yeah, we said, “We don’t give a fuck, we like indie rock too!” And maybe that’s helped indie rock people think, “Cool, all metal people aren’t snobs, so we shouldn’t all be snobs.”

Gameological: It’s funny because I’ve started to see the same thing start happening in video games over the past five years. Since there are so many more indie developers, you start to see this weird class culture emerge where people are like, “Oh I don’t play big action games, I only play indie games that college kids made!” It’s like living through the whole indie rock scene in the ’90s all over again.

Pleasants: [Laughs.] It’s funny how those trends start to happen. Everyone wants to like what no one else is liking. As soon as someone else likes it, then it’s not cool anymore, and you have to move on to the next thing.

Cope: It’s like high school. I remember you’d get into something like Nirvana when the first album came out. Then the jocks started listening to it, and you’re like, “Oh no! I don’t like them, no way. If the jock kids like that shit I’m not listening to it.”

Gameological: So you’ve got T-shirts, you’ve got hoodies, you’ve got vinyl and beer cozies. Merch is merch. But if you were going to have a $1,000 piece of Kylesa merch, what would it be?

Pleasants: Some piece of crazy headgear vaporizing system for weed. But it’s also like a virtual-reality helmet. And it connects up with the music with super cheap graphics, so it looks like The Lawnmower Man. A VR helmet with a vaporizer system would be the ultimate Kylesa merch.

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.

(Photo: Geoff Johnson)

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

  • Jackbert

    It was Chapter 17. I had my avatar Jack, Anna, Libra, and Chrom supporting Vaike. They had 14 enemies with full health and shining silver weapons.

    I won. Jack and Anna took down 12 enemies together. After the battle, they married each other.

    Fire Emblem: Awakening is so great! The story is silly and melodramatic, but everything else is amazing. Especially the gameplay. So far Jack and Anna are my only couple, but I’m working on five others, since I can have 14 units in battle. Since Chrom is already married, I’ve been pairing him with Vaike. They’re having a tryst. I mean, his wife doesn’t even have a name; the game calls her Maiden! I could talk for paragraphs about the gameplay in this game, but I won’t; suffice it to say I love it.

    Besides that, I neglected Persona 3 Portable the whole week, so I might go back to that. I’m also alternating between missions in Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time and levels in Lego Batman 2 on PS3.

    • Cheese

      I played nothing but that for about a month straight. I actually felt sort of in the wind gamewise after I decided I was as done as I could possibly be.

      And I married Cordelia almost every time. Poor Severa, daddy’s here now to fix your issues with your mother.

    • DrFlimFlam

       I’ve been trying to hurry up and marry some folk so I can finish my Casual/Normal run through the game before I go back and play FE like it’s meant to be played. My avatar married Cordelia but is constantly vexed that she keeps mentioning Chrom, but I adore Severa because she’s so terrible at being a surly teenager.

      Next time Anna. For sho.

      • Jackbert

        I had to ditch Permadeath after a couple hours cos I was getting mauled. I looked online for tips, but people said you will get mauled sometimes, just quit and reload. I didn’t feel like artificially extending gameplay time, so I quit.

        Anna is pretty great. She has insanely high speed, so she dodges practically everything. Seriously, I’d say about a quarter of the enemies she faces have a 0% hit rate. She doesn’t deal a whole lot of damage, but her speed is so high she literally always gets the two-hit bonus. She also gets many crits due to her high skill. Finally, her inflated luckiness makes enemy crits a complete non-issue.

        I’d also say she pairs quite well with a magic-using tactician like myself. The boosted avoidance is great because unlike defense and resistance, it applies to both physical and magical attacks. Being able to ignore crit risk is great, obviously. The higher critical rate isn’t too important with the powerful magic I have, but it can be nice against the battle bosses.

        It doesn’t hurt that she also looks like a total babe compared to all the twelve year-olds and animal-changers on your squad :P

        • DrFlimFlam

          I married Donnel off to Cherche, but his stats are so ungodly that he’s a level 2 or 3 Warrior with a score of 202. It’s bananas. Next time around I plan on more carefully aligning skills so the offspring are better. Donnel is just insane.

          My tactician is also a magic user and is pretty unstoppable. Next time I’ll make him something different but it’s been fun knowing he can one-hit just about everything.

          Also, I lose people all the time, especially when grinding relationships or trying to get offspring like Kjelle up to speed. So while I say I’d like to do it right, doing it right while also juggling this relationship stuff could be maddening.

        • Jackbert

          @DrFlimFlam:disqus : A score of 202 in what? I heard Donnel could become an absolute beast, but it took a lot of grinding. His personality annoyed the hell out of me, so I decided against the effort.

          Speaking of grinding, I forgot to mention this in my first post, but I don’t really know how to grind in this game. How do you go about it?

        • DrFlimFlam

           Donnel’s “aw shucks” attitude is annoying, and I felt a bit bad for pairing him up with the sweet and smart Cherche (maybe he’d be better with the bumbling Sumia), but his 202 score is, I believe, a game score dervied from his various statistics. He’s got several stats at or above 30 and his current class has room to grow still. He’s the boss killer now, every bit as much as my avatar is. And he’s got another 15 HP.

          You can grind by buying “reeking boxes” and then using them. The difficulty of the foes in a given box is dependent on where you use it. The further along the story is at that location, the tougher the foes are.

          As I understand it, the best way to grind relationships is to do an easier reeking box area with just a few units you want to get a long. Put them next to each other and keep them that way.

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

      I’ve been trying to get into it, but the damn thing stresses me out so much I’m not sure I’ll play it through. I may not be suited to this kind of strategy game. :( 

    • Joy E. Allen

      just as Theresa explained I’m impressed that you can profit $9072 in four weeks on the internet. have you read this webpage 
      w­w­w.D­A­Y3­7.c­o­m

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

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the next game in the Game Revue Club, so I’ll probably get started on that. (Thanks to Jer Link for organizing it!)

    I might also try to finish Botanicula, but despite loving the art, animation, music, and sound design, I’ve grown frustrated with the game. Any game that asks you to find 14 of something is just fucking with you.

    • Fluka

      This is why I love playing Bethesda games where you can pop open the PC console.  ”Hey, I need you to get me 20 Rad-Xs.”  ”Uh, yeah…I got your Rad-X.  I got your Rad-X riiiight here…”  Yeah, I know it’s cheating.  But seriously Fallout, how about I go find you 15 Go Fuck Yourself-paks instead?

      • djsubversive

        I had to use the console to finish “We Will All Go Together.” I got all the ghouls but one of the bodies disappeared or something, so I had to console all of them to my position so I could get all the dogtags. The reward? a damn Service Rifle and some ammo.

        • Fluka

          For me it was joining the Followers.  Come on lady, I’ve done all your busy-work.  Just give me the damn lab coat.

          (However, that Followers’ Lab Coat is fab.)

    • Jackbert

      Whoa, hey, I can actually play that game! I got it free on PS3 with PS+! Although Fire Emblem might be enough strategy for me; I’m already beginning to see red and blue battle squares on walls.

    • Jer Link

       Hey yeah! All are welcome to the XCOM party.

      • Kyle O’Reilly

         Just join the steam group buddy!  It’s all inclusive as long as you don’t open your discussion with homophobic slurs.

        • zerocrates

          We prefer if you just allow the conversation to get to homophobic slurs organically.

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

          Exception: referencing FANBOY OVER HERE!!!

    • Enkidum

      Oooh… I just started playing XCOM but won’t get much done this weekend as I’ll be in a tent. Without my PS3. But maybe I’ll get in on that Game Revue Action for the first time.

      • djsubversive

        If it’s anything like Fallout: New Vegas, it’ll be about a month or so before we think about another game, so there’s plenty of time!

    • CrabNaga

      I guess I should get on the X-COM bandwagon. Time to get frustrated at the RNG once more!

      Botanicula is like a happy blur. I honestly can’t remember much about it (especially not the collecting 14 of something), but overall it was a very pleasant experience. I just liked that the 2nd half of the game actually started to get somewhat challenging in terms of the puzzles (i.e. the puzzles weren’t “click on this thing a couple times”-calibur).

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       Oh X-Com, yay!  That’s one that  I beat recently enough that I might be able to participate in the conversation without having to find the time to play the whole game like I had trouble with for New Vegas!

    • mizerock

      Oh, is that included on Steam if you have the PS3 version? That sounds crazy but somehow possible. Or maybe I’m thinking of “Portal 2″.

      • djsubversive

        XCOM: Enemy Unknown? I don’t think so, but you can still play along. That’s how Chum(…p) and zero played New Vegas.

    • aklab

      I had the same experience with Botanicula. The music in particular I really loved, but I could never quite get the hang of the puzzles. It just devolved into random clicking everywhere. Still got a relaxing and charming few hours out of it before I gave up though. 

    • djsubversive

      huzzah XCOM. I guess this is the game where I’ll name everyone after Gameologicians and watch you all die horribly.

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

        So I won’t get attached, I’ll name all my squad members after foods I don’t like. “Corporal Brussels Sprouts and Private Licorice got vaporized? No big deal.”

        • djsubversive

          but what if they touch? is it double-dislike? @Jackbert:disqus , any thoughts? :D

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

            Do you really want to suggest mixing licorice and Brussels sprouts? That’s like mixing Mao and Hitler.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Didn’t you (I know someone did, but I can’t remember who) have a game where you did that? I remember being told that my character was accidentally shot by someone else, or something like that. Then I told my girlffriend that someone on the internet named a character after my internet name and then i died a funny way and she somehow WASN’T ENTHUSED! Can you even imagine??

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

          If I recall correctly, that was @Effigy_Power:disqus.

        • djsubversive

          @Merve2:disqus : you recall incorrectly. @Jackbert:disqus  panicked and shot @Douchetoevsky:disqus , who was the medic trying to get to Jack to heal him, I think.

        • Effigy_Power

          Why am I always on the hook for this kind of stuff?

        • TaumpyTearrs

           My fiance was pretty amused when I told her that the soldier named after me was vaporized in front of her soldier’s face which caused her to panic and begin shooting her teammates.

          She actually ended up surviving though, and from that point on I reloaded anytime she died because she was my only high level medic. Then she was Psi-active too, so she pretty much ran my team. (especially after I lost my Ghost in the Shell characters, my other high levels. Saito the sniper killed over 100 enemies before he bit it!)

    • Electric Dragon

      Ooh, might join in on that, since I just bought it on the cheaps. Currently in the middle of KoTORII but willing to put that to one side for XCOM. I had many many sleepless nights playing the hell out of the original – several of us in the student house I shared were a little obsessed by that game.

  • Fluka

    Perhaps they should speak to the good people at Oculus Rift!  Does weed help treat motion sickness?  Synergy!

    I finally got myself a decent, upgraded phone, after my old Droid died a terrible terrible death last weekend (*launches it on a tiny boat and shoots a fire arrow after it; chokes on plastic and rare earth metal fumes*).  I’ve been taking advantage of the bigger, more responsive screen to play Waking Mars, which is a fun little game.  It’s a Metroidvania-y exploration and puzzle game, where you make your way through caverns full of strange Martian plant life.  The main gameplay mechanic is, uh, gardening.  You plant seeds, manipulate ecosystems of living creatures, and gradually gather research on the things you find to further human knowledge.  Non-violent gameplay + a thematic focus on science and curiosity + non-white protagonist = it gets my liberal-weenie thumbs up.  Also, it’s nice to be able to play while lying down on the couch with cats.

    Moar Crusader Kings 2 as well, I hope.  Stupid work keeps getting in the glorious rise of the Kingdom of Munster.

    • Enkidum

      Yeah, I just got Waking Mars in the latest Humble Bundle. Haven’t started it, but I’ll be spending several hours on a ferry over the weekend, so…

    • BuddhaBox

      Likewise on CKII. My attempt to revive a Zoroastrian Persian Empire is going fairly well. I’ve conquered most of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. I just need to retake Iraq.

      I sometimes get into a groove where I’m not actually thinking about what an action would actually mean, just what it means in game terms. Which is why I tend to turn my daughters/close female relatives into my concubines for the 100 prestige bonus. Well, that and hoping to get my royal eugenics program off the ground (my large, inbred family also has an abnormally large number of geniuses).

      • HobbesMkii

         Gross. I’ve not been able to bring myself to utilize the Zoroastrian incest mechanic. I feel a little iffy about taking prisoners as concubines. Although I did it enough to figure out an exploit: If your elderly ruler takes a young concubine from your prisoners and dies, she stays in your court, so that your heir can take her as his concubine without the “abductor” malus.

      • Fluka

        Hah, yeah.  Nothing as bad as incest yet in my (vanilla copy) game, but it convinced me to move to primogeniture and screw over all my male heirs, while treating my female family as cattle, at a surprisingly fast pace.  Turns out being a total dick is a *good* thing?  *Excommunicates some perfectly nice people.*

      • Effigy_Power

        Selling off daughters for fleeting political gain is something that happens so gradually and naturally in CK2 that it’s probably the best visual demonstration on what noble women can expect in a feudal society. I wish this game had existed when I was trying to make that point in my “Women in Male-dominated monarchies” course back in school.
        I often start with a female ruler (A massive rune-stone still stands to commemorate the rise to Empire by my Norse Warchieftess), but eventually the powers and attitudes that be drive me, very gradually, to concentrate on sons and gamble my daughters away. Wife dies? Tough thing, but hey, opportunity for more politixing.
        Oppression comes very easy when you’re trying to max out your potential realm.

        • Fluka

          Crusader Kings 2: Patriarchy Simulator.

          (Sometimes quite literally!)

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Fuck I need to play CK2.

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

      Waking Mars looks really cool. I also got it in the Humble Bundle, so I’ll be getting to it at some point. I’ve got lots of other somewhat similar games that I want to play too though, like Aquaria and Capsized.

  • Citric

    So I’ll probably pick up Digital Devil Saga again, and feel stupid about how bad I am at Metal Gear Rising – so bad – but I think the majority of my attention on this long weekend will go to Radiant Historia, which is incredibly intriguing. I just hit chapter 2 on both timelines, and I really, really want to know what happens next.

    Also, I’m thinking I’ll need a new PC soonish, which means I’ve just remembered why I hate PC gaming – I don’t keep track of things, so I probably need to do research to actually get a good deal and build something with legs. And I always buy at the wrong time so it’ll probably get eclipsed soon anyway. Also I don’t have any money. Blaghhh.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I’m playing Radiant Historia and the first Phoenix Wright game after getting back into my DS a few weeks ago playing Ghost Trick. I really love the battle system in RH, but i’m kinda hazy on the story since i started it a while ago and can’t remember much. I’m not too far in though, so i should be able to get back into it. Phoneix Wright so far is a lot less fun than Ghost Trick but it’s goofy enough for me to still enjoy it.

      Also, in regards to pc buying, buy from Newegg if you’re in the US. And use the Logical Increments chart along with places like Tom’s Hardware and you should be fine. You could even run your build by a forum and people will check it for incompatibilities. I think a new Intel chip or whatever just came out s it should be not a bad time to buy.

      • Citric

        Newegg’s in Canada too, I’ve bought from there before. I just kind of hate the process. But, it’s the processor that’s the real bottleneck now, so I guess I’ve gotta do something.

        The nice thing about RH is if you can always replay key moments if you have to.

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

          You might want to actually avoid the new Intel chips though, and stick with an older, cheaper Intel chip, since the new Haswell line seems to be geared towards mobile computing.

    • vinnybushes

      Radiant Historia is fun, but there are definitely moments when the game loses momentum. It’s a novel concept but after a while it feels like it’s not doing anything new with the time travel/alternate dimension idea. I still genuinely like the game but that’s what keeps it off my “best” list. I’ve been trying to finish it for a while, so maybe it picks up again at the end.

    • stakkalee

      I just put together a $1250 build through Microcenter.com last weekend – I’d be happy to share the specs and links if you’re interested.  Microcenter doesn’t have a presence in Canada but you could look up the pieces on NewEgg and get them that way.

      • stakkalee

        Seven years is pretty old in computer years, but it sounds like you’ve been upgrading your existing PC piecemeal?  That Radeon card uses a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot so you could probably get a newer motherboard for $100-$200.  The new processor is probably going to be the biggest chunk of change.  I think if you approach this as just another upgrade you’ll find it easier to handle.  Your best bet is to find a motherboard that has support for the video card (and that’ll fit in your case,) then find a processor supported by that motherboard.  If it supports your RAM that’ll save you some scratch too, but don’t count on compatibility.  Then throw in a hard drive upgrade and you’re probably looking at ~$700 plus whatever monitor you want to buy.

      • Citric

        I think I’d need a new case as well, the old one is a Dell which ever-so-slightly non-standard, which is a pain if I’m replacing most of the stuff. Hell, it was reliable for the most part, I don’t regret it. Basically everything but the power supply probably (I think it’s a 500w) and the video card. The monitor would probably stay, it’s not the most exciting resolution but it’s a pretty decent little unit.

        As a side note, why are cases so ugly? I’m not 14 anymore, I don’t want a case that looks like the wet dreams of Darth Vader. 

  • aklab

    Alternating between Mass Effect 2 and Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, which may be my favorite silly game name. 

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       I’ve been sitting on Arcanum for months after picking it up on a whim in a GOG sale.  I got to the character creation screen, got overwhelmed immediately and backed out.  Let me know if it’s worth the time.

      • aklab

        I only got into PC gaming a few years ago, so I missed all the great CRPGs from the late ’90s-early ’00s. Baldur’s Gate, NWN, they’re all equally intimidating and overwhelming to me. I picked Arcanum to play first because I heard that it was relatively forgiving with character builds, like you could actually successfully make it through the game by playing any weird hero you come up with, without planning your stats levels in advance or anything. 
         

        • djsubversive

          That’s partially true. Technology apparently doesn’t scale to higher-level stuff very well, and there’s a magic spell you can get at character creation that will serve you well throughout the entire game (Harm, I think).

          I usually go Tech, because so many games have mages and they almost always get super powerful.

      • djsubversive

        But the character creation screen has all those sweet portraits of Gentlemen Half-Ogres and Sophisticated Dwarves and stuff. And backgrounds!

        • Kyle O’Reilly

           I know!  It was too much to choose from, usually I just cop out and go whatever the DPS Redguard equivalent for the game is but I didn’t understand their wacky steampunk correlations to fantasy.  I’ll def give it a try after hearing what everyone on here has said.

    • djsubversive

      Arcanum is great. Scavenge through dumpsters, shoot elfs in their stupid elf faces with revolvers, steal so much stuff. And the music and world-building is really good, too.

      • http://starttocrate.tumblr.com/ Http Lovecraft

        Also Gill Bates.

        • djsubversive

          yes. Gil Bates, who “discovered” the steam engine, and his rival Appleby.

        • http://starttocrate.tumblr.com/ Http Lovecraft

          @djsubversive:disqus , have you tried any of the mods to update/improve Arcanums visuals?  I’d love to play it again, I never finished it, but it is UUUUGLY.

        • djsubversive

          @httplovecraft:disqus I’m just using Drog’s Unofficial Arcanum Patch. It’s pretty good, mostly bug-fixes and some restored content. It’s got “Townmap Fixes” and the high-resolution patch for playing in more than 800×600. That’s just a postage stamp on the screen nowadays.

  • Jer Link

    I’ve been thinking about picking up the Magic 2014 game, but despite all of the things I’ve read I have been unable to understand how the drafting system is implemented. You draft once and keep that deck forever? Is that right? If someone could explain it I would be very appreciative. It doesn’t help that I can’t download the demo for whatever reason.

    Aside from that, I’ll be spending my time on XCOM (as Merve mentioned).

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

       Do you mean drafting as it is implemented in Magic 2014, or drafting in general?

      • Jer Link

         as it is implemented in magic 2014.

  • The_Helmaroc_King

    I may get a chance to play some pool on Saturday. I’ll be getting together with my brother and my dad, the latter being far too good at pool, but it seems that I actually enjoy the challenge.

    I haven’t been able to keep up on my backlog of games, unfortunately. If I can carve out the time, though, I’ll consider playing either XCOM: Enemy Unknown for the revue group or one of the games with the new Steam trading cards. Yes, it’s more unnecessary gamification, but at first glance they actually seem less detrimental than achievements are. It sounds like you get cards simply by playing the game, rather than playing with some weird, perfectionist restrictions, so I can actually see them being a nice bonus compared to my usual obsessive achievement hunting.

    It’s far more likely that I’ll be spending my time sifting through condo listings, though. I’ve seen a couple of places that I like, and I’ve already seen nearly all the listings for the communities I want the most, but I’m definitely nervous about making an offer just yet. Buying a condo costs a lot of money.

    • DrFlimFlam

      I have not touched my copy of XCOM yet, but playing one turn-based strategy game on Xbox while playing another on 3DS seems like an invitation to confusion or overload to me. It’s in my queue, it really is, but I’m not ready to go after it yet.

    • Effigy_Power

      Pool can be fun. I always very much enjoyed Snooker, even though I am a tad short for that huge table, but there isn’t a single one to be found in town. Tons of pool tho… ah well.

      Yes, the Steam Cards just arrive after a while basically. They aren’t tied to achievements or specific actions, so I don’t see much harm in it.

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

      Yeah, you just automatically get cards for playing for a certain amount of time. The whole thing seems to be intended to foster community, since you can only receive at most half of the available cards by playing (and since I’ve found that I always get at least one duplicate, I end up with less than half), and you have to get the rest of them by trading with other people. When you do get a full set for one game, you get a badge for your profile, plus some other silly stuff like backgrounds for your Steam profile and emoticons to use in chat. There’s not much to it other than just trying to acquire bits of digital ephemera, but it kind of makes just using Steam into a game, so you can take what you want from it.

      Me, I’m slowly working on putting together at least one full set, but I’ve got a lot of trading to do if I want to figure it out…

      • The_Helmaroc_King

        Any idea what the deal is with booster packs? They’re mentioned in the FAQ and it sounds like you randomly receive them for a game after getting your guaranteed drops, but it doesn’t specify much else. (e.g. Can I complete a set by receiving booster packs?)

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

          Yeah, I’m not sure about those. After I’ve gotten all my drops for a game, it shows that I’m eligible for a booster pack, which supposedly drops randomly, but I’ve never gotten one. I would imagine you could complete a set with the booster pack, depending on which cards you get, but I really don’t know.

  • Dave Dalrymple

    I’m going to give “Sword of Mana” another try. 

  • Matt Gerardi

    I’ve got a pretty busy weekend ahead of me, but I’m hoping to get in some time with Rogue Legacy. It’s a really neat and silly roguelike take on old-school Castlevania. And, believe it or not, it comes from the folks that made the timeless browser classic, Don’t Shit Your Pants

    Also, I’d like to finish up what I’m guessing is the last hour or so of The Last Of Us, but God help me, I just don’t have it in me to keep murdering fools.

    • boardgameguy

      Rogue Legacy does look awesome. Can we expect a review here at the Gameological Society?

      • Matt Gerardi

        Perhaps…

  • Cheese

    Just picked up Muramasa Rebirth for the Vita. It is a Vanillaware game, and therefore completely gorgeous. Gameplay seems fun, but I’ve barely started. Looking forward to it.

    • Swadian Knight

      I loved that game when it came out on the Wii. It’s gorgeous, it’s a ton of fun, and the gameplay is complex and fast-paced.

      One word of warning: there are some gorgeously designed and animated foodstuffs in that game. You will get hungry playing it.

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

        I know, right?  Never before have I wanted to lick my screen to taste in-game food.

        I’m a couple hours into Muramasa and it’s very engrossing.  You can have up to three swords ‘equipped’ at a time, and each sword has slightly different characteristics (speed, damage, reach) and wildly different special attacks. Swords lose durability as you fight, but sheathed swords will heal themselves (they’re demonic swords!), and switching between blades has a strategic element, as fully charged swords will do a full-screen attack when drawn.

        As the game progresses, you can forge new swords on this massive sword ‘tech tree’, and all previous swords are kept in your collection.  There are 108 in total, some of which you can’t get until you’ve put in time as both characters.  It’s like sword Pokémon… gotta forge ‘em all!

        • Swadian Knight

          Oh man, I might have to dust off my Wii this weekend. Remembering the joy of the combat in that game is making me seriously want to play it.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/mattman-begins,89632 Mattman Begins

    Other than The Sword, I simply can’t get into much of the new metal that the kids are allegedly loving these days.  It just ends up driving me back to older metal, usually of the sludgy, rifftacular Black Sabbath/Blue Öyster Cult variety.  Is my thirst for newness in heavy sounds dying?  I’m as much of a Nine Inch Nails die-hard as ever (plus I enjoyed Isis when they were still together), so I’d like to think my palate is a bit broader than some.  But a young ‘un will play me some new Baroness or QOTSA, expecting to blow me away, and I’m all, “so?”

    Anyway, games.  The rain has cooled things down here a bit, so I feel comfortable firing up a game that normally taxes my system when the weather is hot.  Should that game be…Mass Effect 3 (second playthrough, this time with my misanthropic Renegade female Shepard), or Arkham City (restarting after barely doing much other than meeting Bane for his side-quest)?

    • Effigy_Power

      Here’s a statement that gets some of my Old-Metal friends nice and argumentative:
      “Black Sabbath is hard rock, not metal.”
      -ducks for cover under table-
      I don’t actually believe that, but the reaction is always amazing.

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

        Ever tried “Metallica sucks”? That one really gets people going.

        • The_Juggernaut_Bitch

           People can’t handle the truth.

          Though it is fair to say that Metallica sucks *now*… I happened to catch “Master of Puppets” playing on the radio the other night and I was like “Damn, I remember when this band used to be good!”

          And then some snot-nosed punks were like “When was that?”  and I had to beat their asses and throw them the fuck off my lawn.

        • Effigy_Power

          “Metallica sucks” will just make their fans generally angry. Much better is to feign being a fan, but for all the wrong reasons:

          “Metallica’s Load and ReLoad are the highpoints of their career.”

          And, voila. Enjoy a long evening of sickened stares.

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

            “I was really happy with the lack of guitar solos on St. Anger.”

            Lulu was my favourite album of 2011.”

  • ItsTheShadsy

    Miasmata, all the way down. I picked it up during the GoG sale, and I’m hooked. It’s a very imperfect game, but it’s so unusual and experimental that I hugely respect it. The whole product reminds me a lot of Penumbra:
    Overture
    . It’s clearly a labor of love, and its roughness is
    actually pretty endearing. But not everything works as well as it
    should.

    My largest problem so far is the sloppy implementation of the Creature, the threatening monster that lurks in the island. It seems to jump to your location when you’re in the same area for a while, and because of some clumsy controls, it’s not possible to fight back against it effectively. (Are you even supposed to? If not, why are there so many weapons you can pick up?) The bright side is that because there’s no good way to defend against the Creature, it’s quite terrifying and threatening.

    Can’t wait to see where the game goes though. As someone who loves exploration, it’s a gift.

    I’m also working my way through the classic adventure game Noctropolis for my blog. That game is an absolute disaster, but it’s such a colossal, shocking failure that I feel a tinge of admiration for it. The developers clearly slaved over the thing, but it just sucks.

    Also: if you haven’t already, play <a href="bphennessy.com/kingofbees.html"KING OF BEES IN FANTASY LAND this weekend. It’s like 8 minutes long, and it’s wonderful.

    • Fluka

      Oh damn, I’m glad to hear the Miasmata is good!  I picked it up in a Steam sale a while back, and really should get around to playing it one of these days…

      • ItsTheShadsy

        Be warned, it’s certainly not for everyone. Large stretches of the game involve wandering around the woods with a compass for half an hour. If that sounds like something you might enjoy, it’s a blast.

        • Fluka

          …Yes, yes it does.

        • djsubversive

          You get a compass? decline.

          (sorry, I’m channeling the codex)

    • Swadian Knight

      Thanks for the link! That game is pretty fantastic.

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

      SPOILERS: I killed that King of Bees. Treaties are for suckers.

      I’m not sure I understood the game, though. Is there a reason it’s written in messed-up English?

  • vinnybushes

    I’m leaving my gaming pc and consoles at home for a month while I go on a trip. I may steal some moments with my 3ds and whatever will run on my 2 year old macbook. Plenty of books and board games in my future though. depending on the weather this weekend, I’m going to try my best to polish off a book or two and partake in the usual animal crossing upkeep (gotta keep my priorities straight!). On the other hand my copy of project x zone keeps luring me with its siren call. It really is quite fun.

    • Dave Dalrymple

      One of the great pleasures of visiting distant relatives and family friends across the country is seeing what random, obscure, ancient board games they have in their cottages or homes.

      • Effigy_Power

        My parents own “Camp Grenada”. Yes, a boardgame modeled after a terrible joke-song. I have never played it and I doubt anyone else has, so it should still be safe. We may yet save the world by throwing it into a volcano.

        • Dave Dalrymple

          Speaking of board games and volcanos, I wish I could play “Fireball Island” again. That thing was awesome.

      • Citric

        We used to have The Grain Growing Game, but it may have been lost in a flood.

  • http://twitter.com/vowelsagogo Kilzor

    Just got my beta key to Card Hunter two days ago and have been playing it every free moment I’ve had.  I’ve also been playing Borderlands 2 with much less elan/enthusiasm.  Literally, the ending to Borderlands 1 was so bad, it killed my enjoyment of that game and any ensuing related product.  Even games that went straight to “The End” or “Game Over” had better endings than the ending to Borderlands.  Right?  I’m not the only one thinking this, right?

    • Enkidum

      It’s a pretty common complaint. Apparently Borderlands 2 makes the story a bit more of a focus. But I was so annoyed by the ending of 1, like you, that even though I own 2 I’ve never had the urge to start it.

    • indy2003

      For what it’s worth, BL2 has a fairly solid story and a satisfactory conclusion.

    • WELCOME_THRILLHO

       I’ve restarted Borderlands 2 to try out the new Psycho class and I’ve been enjoying it for the most part. I find the Psycho to be an interesting concept, but playing the Commando or Siren is just more fun overall, I think.

      I feel like they took complaints about Borderlands to heart when they made the second one. The environments are more varied, there are more enemy types and there’s more of a story- I haven’t gotten to the ending, but it already seems less skimpy than the original’s story. That being said, there remains a feeling that they’re trying REALLY hard be funny.

      • The_Juggernaut_Bitch

         Mechromancer is the way to go.  The lines of dialog and the VA they have for Gaige makes her my favorite of all the characters, and I’ve played BL2 through probably 10 times.

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

      I signed up for Card Hunter a while back, but I haven’t got a key yet. I’m wary of how addicted I’ll get once I do get in…

  • ProfFarnsworth

    Having beaten Illusion of Gaia, I will play Chrono Trigger which I have never played, but owned!  (I know the travesty!)  About Illusion of Gaia.  I really, really enjoyed this play through.  The music is absolutely the best I have heard in a game.  The themes of the game are spectacular.  This game is one of my favorites.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       I bought & downloaded Chrono Trigger for the Wii VC a while back with some wiipoints that had been lingering on my console for literally years.  The problem is, its the very last thing I did before I unplugged my wii.  So now I have to set up that stupid system again if I want to play it.  I know, my life is so unfair.

    • ItsTheShadsy

      Oh man! I’m so glad you liked Illusion of Gaia, I love that game. It’s all about the atmosphere.

      During a recent playthrough I found the iffy translation sort of distracting. Was that an issue for you too, or am I just becoming a grumpy old git?

      • ProfFarnsworth

        I did find a few words here and there off.  Speaking another language, I can totally relate with bad translation and so it didn’t irk me too badly.

    • aklab

      Have fun. I’m a little jealous. Chrono Trigger has probably my favorite game soundtrack ever, so playing those two games back-to-back you’ll really be wallowing in game-sound goodness.

    • Citric

      I’m considering replaying Chrono Trigger because everyone says it’s so wonderful and I remember distinctly not liking it last time I played it. I know, I’m a heathen or whatever.

      • aklab

        Hey, you know the saying, “different strokes for different people with wrong opinions.” Isn’t that how it goes? 

    • mizerock

      Oooh, maybe it should be a Chrono Trigger weekend, I also own it but have never played it. And it’s always more fun to play a game when there are others around that are also just discovering it.

    • Dave Dalrymple

      I suspect that Illusion of Gaia’s music might move down to #2 after you play Chrono Trigger.

      I don’t want to overhype the game for those of you that are all about to finally get around to it, but it’s really pleasant.

    • PaganPoet

      I love Illusion of Gaia’s faux-historical world. I bring this up every time someone brings this game up, but this game made me want to visit the Nazca Lines and Angkor Wat when I was a kid.

      • ProfFarnsworth

        Me too.  I believe this game is what inspired my travel bug so much.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    I don’t usually buy brand new games at full price, but my wife was at a complete loss as to what to get me for my birthday so she bought me “The Last of Us” (I love being married to someone who keeps up with this stuff).  I’m absolutely loving it, but at the same time I feel sad.  It reminds me of the fun I had in my first play-through of Fallout 3 (probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a video game). LoU’s story is definitely superior, but at the same time that focus on story means there isn’t a big open-world for me to go wander off into if I want to leave the main quest for a while.  For that reason, I’m worried about replay value (I’ve never been the kind of guy who could do a “melee run” and then a “weapons run” and then a “stealth run.”  Usually, every game I play starts as a stealth run and eventually morphs into a “oh shit! just please get them off of me!” fiasco).  Anyway, all that worrying is in the future.  For the moment, I absolutely love it.  And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible visuals.

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

      While I usually like my games to have a bit of a fantastical flair to them, I gotta say that The Last of Us has some of the most arrestingly beautiful depictions of everyday locations, albeit crumbling from decay.  And not ‘encroaching evil’ kind of decay like you’d see in Silent Hill, just straight up abandoned buildings, trashed apartments, litter-strewn streets.  This, contrasted with the few idyllic stretches of nature I’ve gone through, it’s a game that I’ve spent a decent amount of time just looking around, soaking in the visuals.

      They’re also very good about staging and level layout, organically revealing stunning panoramas and landmarks without taking away your camera control.

  • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle

    I got excited for a moment when I thought I read it as Kyuss being the weekly WAYPTW guest, before I realized that this would be impossible. Can’t say I’ve heard of Kylesa. The guy in the middle of the photo really should have paid a little extra for his disguise kit, you can almost see the double sided tape holding that beard on. It’s only one step up from the Groucho Marx glasses and nose combo. A quick perusal of their wikipedia page reveals a list of former drummers so vast that it would make Spinal Tap blush.

    Anyway good luck to them.

    • Kyle O’Reilly

       They could have just got Josh Homme and asked him what game he was playing.

      “What game am I playing?” *turns and lights a match off the back of a buzzard’s head using it to puff his hand rolled cigarette* “Life.”

      • Effigy_Power

        I rather believe that “Life” would be an answer that is way too positive and cheery for that sour grape. It’d be something like “anxiety” or “sad” instead.
        He really has an almost Byron-esque sort of ennui around him… it’s actually sort of annoying. But what a musician.

        • TaumpyTearrs

           That’s weird, I’ve never read an interview with him until an Entertainment Weekly “stupid questions” column a few weeks back, and he seemed to have a decent sense of humor (especially considering the most of the asshats who write for EW are not funny or clever and neither were the questions).

  • DrFlimFlam

    Some more work in ME2 as I try to get a handle on what Sentinel became in that game. With family out next weekend, I want to be in position to rip through ME2, play some ME3 multiplayer for Galalctic Readiness, and finish ME3 as well by July 7th.

    Animal Crossing, of course, and more Fire Emblem as I try to wrap up some relationships.

    • Fluka

      I’ve only played Sentinel in ME2, but my approach to the class was basically “suicide bomber.”  Yeah, sure, jack-of-all-trades too, what with the biotic and tech powers.  But man, Tech Armor.  I loved walking into a swarm of husks, letting them whale on my, and then BAM.  

    • Bakken Hood

      ME2 Sentinel is magnificent.  I did my Insanity run with mine.  I treated Tech Armor as my oh-shit button whenever my shields dropped, and it got me through some nasty fights.  Plus Overload, Warp, and Throw are three of the most universally useful powers in the game.

  • Dave Dalrymple

    I’m also playing “A Dark Room” right now. It’s in the same vein as “Candy Box”, but a lot less random. It also needs constant babysitting. You can’t just leave it running for an hour; you have to check on it every few minutes.

    • boardgameguy

      I’m having trouble feeling motivated. The map section keeps fading to white on me even though I have LOTS of water.

      • Dave Dalrymple

        Do you have lots of cured meat?

  • stakkalee

    Last weekend I put together a gaming PC build for a buddy who’s gotten into EVE Online hardcore.  Unfortunately he’s running on a QVC’s Best PC with all the display settings turned way down so he’s not really getting the whole experience.  I work with computers in my day job so he’d been hesitant to ask me for help but I reassured him that building PCs is the fun part of my job and I don’t get to do it enough.  He picked up the parts on Wednesday night and since then we’ve been giddily texting each other like schoolkids impatient for Christmas morning to arrive.  I’ll be heading over to his place tomorrow to build the new box and get some other gaming in as well.  On my own, though, I’m between games on my XBox and I’m experiencing that gaming ennui you get sometimes – “Starting a new game seems so tedious!”  I’ll get over myself soon and probably go drop some cash on a copy of Saint’s Row 3.  In the meantime maybe I’ll fire up Skyrim again and go chase some foxes.

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

      Oh man, I’ve been feeling that gaming ennui a lot over the past week or so. I have so many games to play, but none of them really excite me. Maybe fiddling around in XCOM with the rest of the Gameological crew is just what I need.

  • Swadian Knight

    I’ve been going through the DLC for Fallout 3, with mixed results. Operation: Anchorage was boring and barely had enough story to hold it together, but I rather enjoyed Point Lookout – the swamp setting feels novel in a Fallout game, the story had some neat pre-war elements to it, and that hallucination sequence was fantastic. I’ll probably try and get through The Pitt this weekend.

    Other than that, I’ve been bitten by the Torchlight bug. It’s a pretty repetitive game and I’m getting sick of looking at the same environments over and over, but I can never resist this sort of hack-and-slash once I get started.

    • DrFlimFlam

      I rather liked The Pitt, the story addition one (Broken Steel or something?) was cool, and despite the difficulty I enjoyed Point Lookout. The rest was questionable at best, and Mothership Zeta, oh lord did I hate that.

      • Sam_Barsanti

        Man, I was really excited for Mothership Zeta, and the part where you walk outside of the ship was really cool, but bleeeeggggghhhh.

        • DrFlimFlam

          It is one of my least favorite experiences in gaming. Like ever. I wanted to go home to the bombed out capitol so bad.

    • djsubversive

      Point Lookout and The Pitt are pretty good, and the worldspaces for them are big enough for some exploration. Op Anchorage is “Bethesda makes a CoD clone,” and Mothership Zeta sucks. I really enjoyed the Chinese spy quest in Point Lookout, and the black-and-slightly-less-black “moral choice” of the Pitt.

      Broken Steel was a “fix” for the “problem” of the game ending. I don’t care that the game ends. I’d long since maxed out my level and gotten all the loot I’d ever need. The early game (until about level 10 or 12) is really the best part, because enemies are still somewhat dangerous and you’re not walking around with a damn armory in your invisible backpack. If you’re on PC, you’ve got Fellout, so the game looks kind of pretty sometimes. I’ll also take this opportunity to (yet again) bring up Fallout Wanderers Edition, which is like the Hardcore mode of New Vegas, but actually hardcore. I had to leave Springvale School (the first dungeon, right outside the Vault) alone until about 7th level, when I’d built up a nice stock of ammo and gotten my hands on some Combat Armor, because every time I’d go near the place, the raiders outside would do some serious damage, and the ones inside would mob me and I’d be dead within 10 seconds. Then I got Jericho and grenades. Both are quite handy to have.

      • Swadian Knight

        I’ve been meaning to check out FWE for a while, so I guess now would be the time to do it. Anything to make the gunplay in this game less clunky.

        It’ll be good to actually have some challenge too! Fallout 3 is extremely unbalanced. I still can’t believe they decided to drop a Fat Man on the player on the second quest of the main storyline – you could literally be dropping nukes on enemies 20 minutes into the game, and that is absurd.

        • djsubversive

          I killed myself with that Fat Man the first time I used it. FWE makes explosives much more dangerous.

  • boardgameguy

    more BANG!, LOST CITIES, and maybe even GET BIT.

    and i really want to start playing HOTLINE: MIAMI but my weekend will largely be dominated by a friend’s wedding, so it will wait longer.

    • djsubversive

      whoa, whoa. Hold the phone. @boardgameguy:disqus playing something that isn’t a board game? What is happening to the world?!

      Just kidding, guy. Have fun at the wedding!

      • boardgameguy

        Thanks. I even managed to get back at a reasonable time on Sunday and got hooked on Hotline: Miami’s skeezy vibe and adrenaline-inducing gameplay. i was worked up for hours afterward.

  • indy2003

    Just finished up Sleeping Dogs and had a grand time with it. So many things which put it a notch or two above the average open world game – the Hong Kong setting, the reduced emphasis on gunplay, the smooth driving mechanics, the satisfying hand-to-hand combat, the stellar story + voice work… just a really solid, satisfying game. It pretty much fixed every major problem I had with GTA IV.

    I’ve also started The Unfinished Swan, and… eh, it’s okay, I guess. I really want to like this one, as it’s a genuinely unique idea and it’s littered with some breathtaking moments, but portions of it also get tedious rather quickly. Granted, I’m only midway through the second chapter, but thus far it seems like a better idea in theory than in practice.

    I’ll probably jump into a new title at some point over the weekend (X-Com, maybe?), but I’m working on a community theatre production at the moment, so I’ll largely be focused on memorizing my lines.

    • Effigy_Power

      Agreed. Sleeping Dogs is pretty much the poster child for how to make an city-based open world action game. Now if you could do the occasional Saints Row move in it, that’d be grand.

    • TaumpyTearrs

       Oddly enough, the gunplay was one of my favorite parts in Sleeping Dogs. Maybe it was because it wasn’t overused, but I also really liked letting a little Max Payne type gameplay into an open world game. During the shootout at the funeral I jumped over a wall instead of going down stairs, and as I fell like 15 feet in slow motion I mowed down 6 or 7 enemies. Awesome.

      And even though it isn’t really useful, the ability to jump out of your car in slow-mo and explode vehicles with one shot was fun as hell. Most of my dicking around in that game consisted of building up speed on the highway and trying to blow up as many vehicles as possible in a single dive.

      And I liked the fighting at first, but after endless hours in Arkham City, the tiny bit of delay and sludginess in the fighting controls really stood out to me. I never got tired of the ridiculously brutal environment kills though.

  • fieldafar

    Animal Crossing: New Leaf

    That is, if my younger siblings will let me anywhere near the 3DS. (Time to pony up one for myself, perhaps?)

  • Kyle O’Reilly

    As I am wont to do, I picked up State of Decay this week despite not having any plans to play it before it gained all this word-of-mouth and Holy-hellbound-George-Romero, this is how you make a Zombie game!

    I went in expecting GTA:Zombie land and what I got was an engrossing, thrilling, white knuckle resource management game with zombie night raids, serious moral moments of indecision (who do you save) and a pretty robust stealth system based around noise.  Foraging through a dresser in a house hoping you don’t alert any nearby zombies is a nailbiting experience as is trying to roll through the streets in neutral in a station wagon so you attract as little attention as possible.  The systems that govern the game are deep, fun and most of all fair.  There is no aim assist and ammo is scarce, you’re melee weapons degrade over time which means every confrontation with zombies is in itself a strategic move between conserving ammo, staying quiet and not breaking your hammer.  I haven’t enjoyed a game this much in quite a while.

    I also am a few chapters into Thomas Was Alone and am absolutely loving the narrative but the gameplay is only slightly engaging to me.  I’ll stick through it though when my wife needs to use the TV for Gilmore Girls DVD marathons.  She’s on a huge Laurelai kick right now.

    • TaumpyTearrs

       This description made me buy State of Decay for my brother’s X-Box, even though I don’t own one and he is going back to school in a month. I’ve already played it for like 8 hours and I love it. I was like 5 hours in before he discovered online that characters could specialize in skills, and now my Marcus is a beast who can suplex zombies and make their heads explode against the ground, gaining half the stamina used back after each kill. I love how easily situations can escalate, and how a few desperate shotgun  blasts to save yourself can mean doom when 2 other herds of zombies hear and come running. Other than huge mobs, the only real trouble are the Big’uns, and they are mostly frustrating because if they are attacking one of my buddies I can’t firebomb them without losing respect.

      One of my favorite moments was that in my first 5 or so hours I found exactly ONE grenade, and then soon after when I went to clean out my first “infestation” and a Screamer summoned another horde or two. I thought I was done for, but then I remembered my grenade and ran around leading the trail of zombies back into the barn, where I dispatched atleast a dozen of them with that single grenade. Never have I valued one grenade in a game so much.

      I’m having trouble adjusting my driving style. In GTA and Saint’s Row I drive as recklessly as possible, flipping and exploding multiple cars each mission because there are always more. But in SoD there are a limited number of vehicles, as I realized after about half the cars in the initial neighborhood were left flipped in fields, jammed between trees, or burning in front of houses.

      This is one of my favorite games in a while, and I’m sad that it and any future games by these guys will probably only be on X-Box since I will always be a Playstation man.

  • Effigy_Power

    Awesome interview. I do like the recent Metal revival. Not sure it’s quite where it was in the heyday of Sepultura and its likes, when Thrash and Death Metal were things people actually listened to, but still.

    However:
    “All the hipsters I’m around, they don’t listen to sludge and stuff that stoners like. They just like black metal.”

    Show me a metal hipster (I almost begrudgingly need to include myself there) who doesn’t like Baroness, Stonewall Noise Orchestra or really weird stuff like Om or all that fusion stuff like Amaseffer and Orphaned Land. Or the orgiastically melodic tracks by Mastodon. Or fudgin’ Opeth!
    Black metal, for the few merits it may have (I fell out of love with it quite a while ago, though there’s still good Dark Wave), is way too loud and dissonant for enjoying while stoned. Nobody wants to get bleeding ears from Immortal or Dimmu Borgir while ‘chillin’… Harmony and Melody are not just names people give their future stripper-daughters, they are a must for any baked music session out there.
    Pro-Tip: German conceptual Prog-Metal band “The Ocean”. Enjoy it baked.

    • Citric

      I find that I can appreciate the technical skill metal requires but I hate the vocals a lot. Not that there’s not stuff I enjoy greatly – does Boris count? And I like Jesu. I remember liking Isis too – but those usually don’t do the guttural screaming stuff.

      • Effigy_Power

        Yeah, my own tolerance for screeching, grunting and screaming is fairly changeable. It helps get me home quicker or compete at Beat’em Ups, but it’s not a fun thing to spend a dimebag on.
        I do recommend Baroness to just about everyone, so give that a try.
        This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V0N1x675FQ
        So much this.

  • Cloks

    I’m not sure what games I’ll play this weekend but I’m probably going to be selecting from XCOM: Enemy Unknown, We ♥ Katamari, The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker and Defender’s Quest:Valley of the Forgotten.

    I will almost certainly play some Super Smash Bros. Brawl with the Brawl - mod. Although it’s changed a lot since I played with it a few years ago, it’s still a more satisfying experience than vanilla Brawl and adds enough twists to even the worst characters to make the game almost new all over again.

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

      We ♥ Katamari

      I helped!

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

      Play XCOM and join in the Game Revue Club fun!

  • Pyrrhus_Crowned

    Nice Agalloch shout out, Anthony! They’re my favorite band. I’ve seen them twice in concert in Chicago and they were amazing both times. Now, I have to check out Kylesa . . .

  • ferrarimanf355

    Probably going to catch up on the PS3 version of Pinball Arcade.

    Have you guys supported the Terminator 2 Kickstarter yet?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1067367405/pinball-arcade-terminator-2-judgment-day

  • djsubversive

    In Gothic 3, I’ve finally made it to Nordmaar. Not just poking in here and there, then running back to Myrtana. I got to the Wolf Clan, did a couple of fetch/fed-ex quests for them (“What do you want?” “I have ham.”), and followed some dude to his hunting shack. I thought it might have been a ploy to get me out of the village to try and kill me, but the wild animals did that well enough. I’ve seen the loading screen so many times. But I finally made it to the Hammer Clan, where hopefully I’ll be able to get my Nordmaar rep high enough to get some of their sweet expensive armor. Rebel Combat Armor or whatever it’s called and the Ranger armor is all right, but armor doesn’t seem to do much when you’ve got packs of wolves/ripperbeasts/sabertooth tigers stun-locking you until you die.

    I’ve been playing Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon on my GBA before bed lately. It’s a fun game. Gong is awesome, punching armored knights in their stupid heads. Haven’t got Guntz or Zylo yet.

    And ArmA 3 went into beta last week, so I’ve been getting back into that. I started making a single-player mission, and there are already silly Monty Python references (thanks, Effigy!), the player is named Bort, and the supply drop contains a backpack, a silenced pistol, and your lucky red hat. It’s very simple right now, mostly a test-bed for the scripts/triggers that I’m playing with, but I got your contact to lead you to a truck, then you get a message that he’s a double agent and you need to kill him. When he’s dead, the truck is unlocked. I need to put a better gun or some gear in there to make it worthwhile, since the truck will eventually not be the only vehicle in town, and there’d be nothing to stop the player from just ignoring that whole thing and stealing another ride.

    • Cloks

      Shining Force is a pretty cool game. Make sure to get Jogurt and level him up at least once.

    • Effigy_Power

      My mission to infuse our dreary American lives with sprightly British comedy commences.

  • The_Juggernaut_Bitch

    I am going to continue to rage about the fact that the day I bought The Last of Us, my PS3 died.

    • Fluka

      Booooooooo!  That is eminently rage-worthy.

  • Telamon

    Torn between continuing my fourth TW: Shogun 2 campaign (200 hours already sunk into that game and counting!), or spending some time with five or six other games I’ve started and really liked but haven’t yet finished (e.g. the Witcher, FarCry 3), or starting a new game I either recently got or intend to pick up (specifically, Guild Wars 2 or The Last of Us).

    Someone help me!  I actually resorted to listing eight of the games I’m trying to pick between and rolling an eight-sided die yesterday.  This did nothing for my crippling indecision.

  • TaumpyTearrs

    Pretty lady who plays stoner metal and wants to make a combo Lawnmower Man/vaporizer headset? Who’s been reading my dream journal? These guys seem like fun, and the Wipeout shout out is great. The look and feel of that game perfectly matched the music, and its a shame we haven’t seen many other games really capture the essence of another genre like that.

    I’m imagining the stoner metal Wipeout as mixing sci-fi/fantasy and shifting graphics and gameplay, so as the song dictates you might transform from a knight riding a dragon through flaming mountains  into spaceship blasting through the atmosphere, etc.

    So basically a video game version of this American Dad scene where we see what Stan imagines when he listens to My Morning Jacket.
    I think this is the scene, I can’t play the video on this computer but it sounds like the right part…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM5YTJlcAzA

  • TaumpyTearrs

     Its got some of the risk/reward flavor of Dark SOuls, but not as brutally punishing since you can befriend enough characters that the permadeath is more frustrating than crippling. If the idea of scavenging for supplies in an open world with zombies around every corner sounds appealing, you should dig it. It has more depth than it seems at first, and for $20 I could easily see getting more time out of it than many $60 games. As far as I can tell the only way it would be any different as a full price AAA game is the graphics would be better and there would be less frame-chugging (mostly when driving) and glitches.

    I’m 8 or so hours in, and since I am enjoying foraging and finding survivors I am ignoring the story missions I am at. Story missions don’t expire, but calls for help and other opportunities do. Since I have so many survivors now, I will go on a supply run, then during or after will get some calls for help or other tasks from my allies to attend to on my way home. Playing this way I could easily see myself getting 20 or more hours out of this game, because I haven’t even finished foraging through the first neighborhood, I’ve barely scratched the “downtown” area, and there is a third neighborhood I haven’t even been to yet.

  • rouqeixnt27

    Learn how to generate 100 dollars per day from home! Just go to: surveymoneymaker dot net