What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Rob Delaney

Rob Delaney, comedian

The prolific tweeter prefers to put the phone down when it’s time to play.

By Chris O'Connell • June 21, 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.

Rob Delaney, famous for his humor on Twitter, must spend a lot of time playing games on his iPhone, right? Not so. The comedian, also known for acting stints on Key & Peele and the web series Burning Love, his acerbic Vice columns, and that time he almost sued Kim Kardashian, is strictly old-school when it comes to games. The board game aficionado spoke with The Gameological Society about the virtues of tabletop competition with friends and family and spending way too much time staring at his phone.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Rob Delaney: Last night, for real, I played Scattergories with my wife and sister-in-law. We laughed a whole lot. That’s a very fun game. I hurt my stomach laughing. Two of us, I won’t say who—one of them was me—laughed until they farted.

Gameological: So you have a new-ish board game of your own, and you told me you played Scattergories last night. Is that something you grew up loving?

Delaney: Oh yeah. I love board games. I’m a comedian, and I like to laugh, and I like to make people laugh, but board games are the easiest way to really guarantee that you’ll be laughing, with all the stupid things you say. Last night, my wife—for a unit of measurement in Scattergories, you had to begin with the letter “J,” and she did “journey.” And, like, journey is a thing, but you know. So we were making fun of her saying, “How far away is it?” “Oh, it’s about three journeys.” “Mmm, I’d say it’s more like four.” That’s the kind of fun I like to have. So clearly, I like to party.

Gameological: What kind of board games did you like to play when you were younger?

Delaney: Trivial Pursuit. Bananagrams I started in adulthood, but tough luck, I’m saying it, because I love it. I play it a lot. I love Rummikub and Mancala. I’m recently a fan of Apples To Apples.

Gameological: So tell me about War Of Words. How did that come about?

Delaney: Basically a game company, or rather a “family and party game company” as they like to go by, approached me and said, “Hey, would you be interested in making a board game out of your tweets?” and I said, “Yes, absolutely,” for the reason I explained earlier. It’s so much fun playing board games. I have just stockpiled so many jokes, and they’re so easy to reference on Twitter, and the game maker felt that they could rather easily be plugged into an existing game structure. I sort of created the raw material unknowingly over the last few years, and they asked if they could jam them into a game. I couldn’t have been happier about that.

Gameological: I think it’s interesting that it’s based around your tweets. It’s this newer way of telling jokes, but the game is connecting it into this older way for families used to spend time together.

Delaney: It’s a pretty cool way to connect. The only other comedian that I’ve been able to figure out that had a board game was Rodney Dangerfield. So I’m in pretty good company.

Gameological: What’s Rodney’s game? I’ve never heard of it.

Delaney: Believe it or not, it’s called No Respect.

Gameological: You’re kidding me.

Delaney: No, I’m dead serious. I knew you wouldn’t believe me. I haven’t played it, but somebody dug it up and showed it to me online.

Gameological: You’re very prolific on Twitter. Do you spend a lot of time, then, on your phone or on the computer? Do you play any games on your phone and kill time in between writing jokes?

Delaney: No, I don’t. I have an iPhone now, and I’ve never even figured out what games you can play on it. Years ago, when I had a BlackBerry, I’d play—I don’t even know what it’s called—maybe it was called MineSweeper or something like that. I would play those, and I also played Word Mole on the BlackBerry. I figure I already throw enough time in the toilet on my phone that I don’t need to play games on it too.

Gameological: Do you ever catch flack from your friends or family for spending so much time looking at your phone?

Delaney: Definitely. My wife will be like, “Put that goddamn thing away.” I never hear her and start to complain, [in a stupid-person voice] “You don’t understand! I’m crafting jokes. Leave me alone.” I’m like, “Oh my god, she’s right. Why am I not looking at her beautiful face?” Or doing something with her, if I’m lucky enough to be in the same room as her. So yes, she’ll complain about it sometimes, and I hear her complain and think, “That’s extremely warranted,” and then I’m ashamed of myself and wrap it tight in my solipsism and turn it into a tumor.

Gameological: We hear that we’re on the phone too much, and we immediately feel that guilt like, “Oh my god, I’m such a modern-day idiot who can’t live without my phone for a second.”

Delaney: Here’s the thing. My wife is right when she complains about my phone use because my comedy success didn’t come from the fact that I write 15 jokes on Twitter a day instead of 13, and so it’s like, give it a rest. So I’m totally sympathetic to her complaints. It’s those extra two are the ones that’s she’s like, “Enough already.” I’m addicted to technology like any other schmuck in the world. I aim to remedy that—one day.

Gameological: Not today, though?

Delaney: It waxes and wanes, my desire to change and improve.

Gameological: Do you have anything coming up? I know I just saw you on Burning Love. Do you have anything more with Burning Love, or in general coming up?

Delaney: I wrote a book, and that’s going to come out in November. I just wrote a pilot for the BBC. I don’t know if they will shoot it, but I wrote it, and they ordered it from me, so we’ll see what happens. So those are the last two things. I just finished the book—no joke—yesterday. It’ll come out in November. I just finished all the copy-editing and the craziness. And I’m touring constantly. I was in New York last weekend, L.A. Thursday, and then I’m swinging through the South and all over the place in the U.S. And Greece and Britain. I’ll be in Houston at the end of this month.

Gameological: Is there a name for your book?

Delaney: I don’t want to say it yet. I’m going to be revealing it shortly. I’m not allowed to say it yet. [Laughs.]

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.

(Front page photo: Michael Cargill. Article photo: Roger Scheck.)

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191 Responses to “Rob Delaney, comedian”

  1. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Timely! Seems that Gameological is continuing the proud AV Club tradition of interviewing someone in the same week they get panned in the review section.

    On my lunch-hour today, I played an eight person game of The Resistance: Avalon. It’s not the first time I’ve played, but this time I got to be Merlin. I also made a complete mess of things, but that’s half the fun. With the group I’ve played with, the game has become an entertaining pile-up of bluffing, not-bluffing, and nonsensical mind games. I’m convinced that there’s no “winning” strategy for anyone on the blue team, but it reminds me of Dwarf Fortress‘ motto: “Losing is fun!”

    I haven’t had much time to devote to video games for the last little bit. I’m in the middle of searching for a condominium and I officially threw my hat in with the programming team on the Gameological Game Project thing. I’ve also been wasting time making erudite conversation in the Steam chat.

    Seems like the game project will end up using either ActionScript or Haxe, which I’m told are fairly similar, so I’ve downloaded a suitable IDE and I hope to bone up on one or the other this weekend. As is tradition, the very first program I wrote was yet another “Hello, World!” program.

    Programming!

  2. Jackbert says:

    First and foremost, I am playing Fire Emblem: Awakening my brand-new, purple 3DS. Due to some circumstances, I wasn’t able to pick my 3DS up until five minutes before GameStop closing time last night, so I haven’t played much. I started up Fire Emblem, made a scarred, gray-haired namesake, and played the first few missions. I’m playing Permadeath mode on Normal difficulty.On the advice of other Gameologicians, I held back on a Animal Crossing: New Leaf cartridge, opting for the digital version instead, which I should pick up sometime this week. Finally, I’ve no idea how the 3DS friend code system works, but mine is 2466-2262-3080 if anyone wants to add me. (I’m absolutely elated by my code, as I like all the two-digit numbers in it!)

    As for other systems, I’m about to reach the October full-moon event in Persona 3: Portable. I’ve tried to max out my Shinji social link, but I’m at Rank 7 with seemingly only two dates remaining. I don’t have a backup save, so I’m considerably peeved about that, especially since there was one Wednesday where he just didn’t show up in the dorm. On PS3, I’ve gotten back into Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, which I hadn’t played since last August. After swallowing my pride and changing the difficulty to Normal, it’s become very fun. I’ll also play Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes, which I impulsively purchased last Sunday, and is just adorable so far. (I was going to get a $20 PSN card, but got LB2 for the unexpectedly low price of $20 instead.) After spending the last couple weeks on Batman: Arkham City, it’s great to play as my favorite superhero from a completely opposite perspective of seriousness.

    • vinnybushes says:

       Be careful who you share your friend code with in animal crossing, because it basically allows anyone to come into your town chop down all your trees, steal your stuff and leave (most people probably won’t do that). Enjoy the 3ds! I might also recommend 999 and zero escape: virtues last reward as future purchases.

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

         the mean side of me now wants to scour the internet, because a lot of people post their friend codes on public boards.  But I shall resist such a thing.  Mostly because I don’t have a 3DS, but I’ll pretend its because I’m inherently good.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          If Ninty is still doing friend codes it’s a fair bet that they still have it so BOTH parties need to manually enter each others codes before it allows you to be friends. Which is sort of nice, if having to jump through ridiculous hoops so as to not be affected by dickbag internet clowns is what you want in an online system. I don’t recall adding even my real friends in any wii or ds games because it was such a hassle. 

        • vinnybushes says:

           @Douchetoevsky:disqus I’ve never actually used a friend-code either, which is why I’m grossly misinformed.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Ah, what the heck: 2234-8493-9642. By the way: Did I miss it or did the full review get scrapped? I still need a place to post my QR codes! I revised my Gameological Button design just for Matt.

      @vinnybushes:disqus In that case you could just flip the wireless switch. That will crash your current game session. Reload your save and any chopped trees shall be made whole again. The simple benefits of not bothering with The Cloooooouuuud.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      So long as you both enter the codes proper you’ll be at least authorizing them to visit. My code is 3153-4175-7229 and I go by “Dad” because I hate when my kid calls me by my first name, so I make it universal in Animal Crossing. EVERYONE JUST CALL ME DAD IN MY HOUSE AND THIS GAME. You don’t have to, though.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I find it amusing that they made a game that’s essentially “Sequel to Single Character Lego Game With Everyone Else Thrown In Too”.

      It’s like having a spinoff of a TV series with everyone from the previous show in it, plus any other people from related shows. “St. Elsewhere: The Next Generation: Homicide Law & Order X-Files”!

    • Enkidum says:

      I’m 3 and a half months into Persona 3: FES, which if I understand rightly is slightly different from the PSP version. The main difference being that the only place you can save is Tartarus, which means that during the June full moon there is a gap of close to an hour of game time without a save, which is FUCKING INSANE. I went frigging nuts – lost 4 times and had to click through the same goddam conversations, but paying enough attention that I didn’t inadvertently insult anyone by clicking on the wrong response on the occasional times when there is a response choice.

      Other than that I kind of like the game, although the dating sim aspect of it feels a bit creepy as a 37-year-old white guy. (That being said, I’m a frigging Casanova in this game, flirting and holding everyone’s hand and so far two girls are all weak in the knees over me. Just like real life.) 

      I’m playing on Hard, which honestly I think was a mistake – it’s not like there’s any extra skill involved, as there would be in a WRPG, there’s just a ton more grinding and I’m worried that because I didn’t spend hours obsessively min/maxing out the right skills I’ll be screwed during one of the full moon events. And I die a LOT due to cheap bastard shadows. Ugh.

      • Jackbert says:

        I’d postulate the main difference is the presence of an entirely different character on the portable version. And you can’t save during full moons on the portable version either; portions of two hours without saving aren’t uncommon later in the game.

        The dating sim aspects aren’t creepy for me given my similarity in age to the optional partners. Obviously, the two decade gap makes a huge difference in that regard. I actually wasn’t a huge Casanova in my first playthrough, which I really liked. You could genuinely fuck up your chances with people, unlike Mass Effect, where relationships consisted of choosing the upper-left option repeatedly.

        Playing on hard was a stupid thing to do for your first playthrough, definitely. Persona 3 being my first JRPG, I played on easy my first playthrough, and have progressed to normal for my NG+. Even on easy, I ran into trouble several times, and I’m sure the same will happen on normal when I stop being absurdly overleveled.

        • Enkidum says:

          It’s not really that creepy, so long as I hide it from my wife and kids… which.. uh… yeah that’s a bit creepy.

      • vinnybushes says:

        You can save outside of Tartarus. Just use the clipboard on the dorm’s reception desk.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’m in January in my game. Sucks about Shinji’s S Link. I’m thinking I will miss out on maxing Junpei, Hidetoshi, and Mitsuru. I always ditched Junpei for other friends, always forgot about Student Council, and Mitsuru’s always starts so late I can never finish it.

    • Hey @Jackbert:disqus , any particular reason to go digital on Animal Crossing?  I kinda want to take a dip into it, and I’m weighing retail vs. digital.  Isn’t it the case if you buy digital and you lose your 3DS, it’s gone?

  3. Merve says:

    I share Rob Delaney’s love for word-based tabeltop games. Boggle, Scrabble, Scattergories, I love them all. I’ve yet to try Bananagrams, though. I should get on that.

    This weekend, I hope to finish the Knife of Dunwall expansion for Dishonored. It can basically be summed up as More Dishonored, which is a very good thing. I may also try the Zodiac Tournament DLC for Sleeping Dogs, which I’ve had lying around for a while. I love both games, so this should be a fun weekend.

    On a much less happy note, I thought that E3 was improving. Apparently not. *flips table in rage*

    • Captain Internet says:

      I bought Knife of Dunwall earlier in the week when it was on sale, so I’ll be giving that a go too. Well, ‘bought’ is a little strong- I actually got store credit on Steam by selling a TF2 pre-order bonus for Quantum Conundrum and a ‘rare’ vintage-quality Brass Beast on the Steam marketplace. 

      Living in the future isn’t quite what I imagined it to be

    • boardgameguy says:

      you can play bananagrams with your scrabble tiles – no need to go out and buy a new set.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        But it comes in a cute little banana! I think the tile count may be different, but yeah, just play with scrabble tiles. It’s actually a really fun game that I prefer to scrabble because of how much faster it plays and how it allows for more creativity in that you can rearrange your playfield at any time.

        Also, I’m fairly certain that bananagrams is essentially the exact same as some other game but that one wasn’t as marketable and never quite took off, which is sort of a bummer, but I still like my bananagrams set that I have. It’s nice to throw in a bag along with Hive Pocket (which is a FANTASTIC game that I highly recommend to any nerdy couples) and have some really portable, quality boargames. Bonus points on bananagrams plastic(?) tiles for being able to even get wet. you can play on a beer soaked table and just wash them off later, and you can presumably wash the bag they come in too. Same goes for Hive, actually.

        • Roswulf says:

           I find Bananagrams far less satisfying than Scrabble because of the lack of interaction among players. Don’t get me wrong, I love single-player games, but when gaming sans-screen I want to have a dynamic feedback loop between my actions and those of my fellow players. Altered timing on shouting “peel” just isn’t enough for me.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          A lot of my complaints with scrabble are due to how long it takes me and my friends to take our goddamn turns. I like the game in theory. IN THEORY, communism works. In theory.

          Maybe if I did a timed version I’d like it more but meh. I’m on to other exciting boardgames, and I don’t even like word games that much.

        • boardgameguy says:

          HIVE is great. I recently got an older copy with wood pieces. I find I love big heavy wooden components (see also ROLL THROUGH THE AGES and SEASONS)

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Oh man, I LOVE having big, wegihty pieces in games. I’m very pleased with my pocket edition of hive, but the larger size looks so goddamn HEFTY. hnnng.

          I loved opening up my copy of Space Alert, which was my fist boardgame beyond Catan, and finding SO MANY PLASTIC BITS! Apparently wooden cubes are very common in many euros, but I got the reprint of SA which has little translucent green and red plastic cubes and oh god they are so fun to move around.

    • Enkidum says:

      Both the Zodiac Tournament and the Nightmare in West Point expansions are very nice spoofs of particular b-movie genres, with the cut scenes being really perfectly voice acted. But the games themselves are surprisingly short. I haven’t played through Year of the Snake yet, but will do so. Also they’re a bit easy, but really it’s just a good excuse to spend more time with Wei in a more fantasy-like setting.

      Looking forward to the inevitable sequel.

      • Merve says:

        Nightmare in North Point was a bit on the short side, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it, because fighting the Jiang Shi was a heck of a lot of fun. Plus, you could run over everybody without consequence. At one point, I just drove around the city for half an hour, hitting every Jiang Shi I could find.

        I wish the sequel were inevitable, but sadly, the game sold under 2 million copies. I don’t think Squeenix was too happy with that.

        • Chris Hansen says:

          For a “new IP” game that was resurrected from the dead, Squenix should have been happy with those sales. And there was that SuperDAE leak which purported a new Sleepy Dawgs game

    • Fluka says:

      At least we have conferences like PAX to make everyone feel welcome!  OR PERHAPS NOT.

      How long is Knife of Dunwall?  I am always up for Moar Dishonored.

      • Merve says:

        The Penny Arcade guys confuse me. They’re generally progressive folks, but every once in a while, when someone raises an objection that they could address and dismiss in a polite way, they instead opt to be rude and trollish about it.

        I’ve sunk about 7 hours into KoD so far, and I think I’m just under 2/3 of the way through. So I’m guessing it’s 11 to 12 hours or so. Then again, I’m playing ridiculously slowly, and I suck at games, so I’d estimate about 7 or 8 hours for the average gamer doing a stealth run.

        • Fluka says:

          Sooo…11 or 12 hours for me too, then.  I am also a ridiculously slow player.

          My theory on the PA guys is that they’re still used to thinking of themselves as counterculture weirdos fighting the games industry Man.  So when someone points out “Hey, you’re actually being uncool and hurting people in your community,” they react badly.  I’d be more inclined to forgive individual incidents if this didn’t happen over and over again (post-Dickwolves response, Tentacle Bento, equating criticism with censorship on numerous equations, and now this).  Luckily, the declining quality of the strip has made it easy to cut out of my life anyway.  Which is sad, because I enjoyed it quite a bit when I was first getting back into games.

        • Fluka says:

          Also, I’m not sure what the attribution of this is, but:

          Greatest Internet Fuckward Theory

        • Chris Hansen says:

          I think everyone expects better of them, but I don’t know if we really ever had a reason to.  These are two well off white dudes living in the Pacific Northwest who employ, as far as I can tell, all of 2 non-white people (Kiko and Khoo).  These are the same people who are afraid to draw black people in their comics because they don’t want to seem like they are racist. Their new employee hiring process involved the eventual winner of the job telling an extremely racist joke. I think Gabe once said that he married the first girl he ever dated/slept with, so how can we expect his view of women to be anything less than offensive? He showed his old fashioned views on women as sexual currency during the Pick Up Artist debacle.

          Tycho once said that bisexuality was not a real thing, and that it was the equivalent of choosing what sort of pizza topping you wanted.

          Tycho has immediate family members who fall under the LBGTQ spectrum, and hell: Tycho made a big deal about his reasoning for trying to calm down the rape dialogue from the dickwolves incident was only because he had a daughter. He didn’t even really apologize or say anything of merit, just that he said he was going to say nothing because he had a daughter.

          Gabe went about antagonizing rape victims last time and only stopped when people threatened him and his family. He didn’t understand why people were feeling threatened and scared until it happened to someone he gave a shit about. And even then, he was going to sell DickWolves shirts and wear his to PAX to make a “statement”, but I think the deluge of gaming luminaries who outright said “I won’t feel safe at PAX” made him reconsider.Someone on Twitter put it really well: these guys were bullied as kids, grew up and became bullies.And the worst part is that he JUST fucked up like a week or two ago about the same subject.  But by all means, pull the Paula Deen “but I have trans friends!” card. That makes things way better.

        • Merve says:

          @disqus_RNbDCKYdaU:disqus: “I think Gabe once said that he married the first girl he ever dated/slept with, so how can we expect his view of women to be anything less than offensive?”
          I’m not quite sure I understand or agree with that, but the rest of your comment makes sense.

      • djsubversive says:

        ugh. I hate being reminded of Penny Arcade as anything other than a forum, because it’s almost always bad. One of the first things you see in the forum is basically “Jerry and Mike have nothing to do with this forum!” which, well, only helps things.

        My excuse is that I started reading that forum because they had pretty good S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Fallout threads, and this was before Gameological was a thing.

        • Chris Hansen says:

          If it helps, money that was donated to charity forced him to play through it as an LP for a bunch of people.

        • djsubversive says:

          @disqus_RNbDCKYdaU:disqus I know. Child’s Play is the best thing they’ve done. still not a fan of tube.

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        At least one developer team has decided not to attend PAX. 

        • djsubversive says:

          I saw that. Good for them. “We know that this won’t hurt PAX, someone else will take our place, but we had to do what we felt was right.” or whatever their statement actually said. Right on, indie devs. :)

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      On your less happy note:

      What does it take to teach young men that women are not playthings or puzzles? I will confess that I shared a variation of that attitude until I was 15, and started to form real friendships with girls. Some of my peers carried that attitude well into their twenties. Some of them even kept that attitude after they started dating (and became controlling and abusive.)

      Is there some kind of education reform that can help address this phenomenon*? It seems to happen most often with boys who go directly from the “girls have cooties” phase into puberty. Girls go from being good for nothing to being good for only one thing. There must be some way to encourage boys and girls aged 9-11 to play and communicate as equals.

      *By that, I mean the stereotypically nerdy attitude that treats women as aliens instead of people. I’m not really ranting about womanizing, sexist jerks who “know better”. That’s a separate problem.

  4. Zach_Annon says:

    I have no idea what I’m gonna be playing.  I just went on a massive splurge this week and bought Battle Realms and Warlords Battlecry 3 from GOG, as well as The Secret World from steam, because I’ve been wanting to play that MMO again for a while.  I’ve still not touched Far Cry 3, and have played maybe an hour of Bioshock Infinite, in addition to having two characters in Fallout New Vegas who need to beat the DLCs.  And I’m writing this a few minutes after downloading Alien Swarm to play a few rounds with fellow Gameologicians.  So, yeah, for the first time in a long time, I have too many damn games.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Too many games is a good problem to have.  Though you should power-house Infinite.  It’s worth it!

    • Enkidum says:

      Fucking GOG. I spent a long time whittling down all the games I wanted to less than 20 bucks (Witchers I & II, FTL, and Stronghold Crusaders, which, holy shit that’s a good deal for <20 bucks), and now I realized that I don't have enough space on my hard drive to install either of the Witchers. So I have to move some music or photos or something.

      Whose fault is that, I ask you? GOG's obviously. Fucking GOG.

  5. vinnybushes says:

    Animal Crossing is a given at this point, maybe some more shadow hearts, maybe some Awesomenauts. I have to say I appreciate the lower barrier to entry than DoTA or LoL, maybe that’s because of the massive amount of platformers I’ve played over the years. Regardless, it’s pretty fun and I just unlocked a monkey with a jetpack. This weekend is sounding better and better.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Are you planning on tying to get into Dota after Awesomenauts? (assuming you aren’t into Dota already.) I went from LoL to Dota and was wondering if anyone would make the jump from something that much lighter to Dota. 

      Also, Awesomenauts surprised me by being so likeable. the characters are pretty fun looking (even though the voice wok is atocious) and the big robot explodey dude is a lot of fun. It reminds me of a saturday morning cartoon.

      • vinnybushes says:

        I have access to the dota beta that I’ve barely used. I’m trying to make some inroads, but at this early stage it feels more like work than anything really fun. We’ll see I guess.
        As for Awesomenauts, the aesthetic they were going for was Saturday morning cartoons, so I’d say they succeeded. It also explains the cheesy voice work, which I happen to kind of like, though some characters are definitely better than others.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          I’ve been meaning to play more games of dota with gameological folk. Hopefully the soon to be released guilds system will help with that. I’ll definitely make sure we have one. I’d even be down to play some games with people vs bots if anyone wants to try to get into it. it’s a lot of fun, but the learning curve is steep. It’s maybe not as bad as it’s built up to be though. I’d say it’s no more complex than actually getting into a fighting game, which I have never been able to do. It’ll be fun!

  6. Chalkdust says:

    Out of nowhere I decided to pick up where I left off in Ni no Kuni. Probably because I finished Persona 4 Golden and needed some more JRPG goodness in my life!

    I just defeated the big baddie whose name is not in the subtitle of the game, and am staring down what I expect to be the final act. Fourth party member? Oh, hello! Zombies? Why not!

    I also splurged on the GOG sale and have so far picked up the D&D, Might and Magic and Daedelic bundles. Do I plan on playing any of these any time soon? Nah. Well, maybe Deponia. Mainly, I’m delighted by the inclusion of separate game soundtracks for many of the releases. I can enjoy those separately while I’m at work, or in the car. So I look at it like, “hey, inexpensive soundtracks and I get the game for free!” Yeah, my priorities are flopped.

    • duwease says:

      I’m wondering if there’s some sort of trope in Japanese culture that led to the inevitable FINAL-final boss fight that comes after the FINAL boss fight.  Ni No Kuni isn’t as guilty as most of tossing in some completely uninteresting extra fight after you defeat the person you’ve actually been led to be interested in during the story, but its final-final enemy is still not as interesting as its “final” one, IMO.

      • Kyle O'Reilly says:

         It’s like some sort of M. Night Shymalyn twist that is always there.  Oh you thought that Kuja was the bad guy?  Think again, it’s this weird dude you’ve never seen who is just a giant crystal I guess.

      • Citric says:

        NnK felt like they realized about an hour before deadline they had a bunch of plot lines left unresolved.

  7. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    What won’t I play? I normally don’t use bold, but… first of all, I bought Sayonara Umihara Kawase. It’s really good but the leaderboards bum me out. I also got Crimson Shroud, LocoRoco 2 and Patapon 2 for about 4 bucks each. I finally bought the original Katamari Damacy (can you believe this never came out in Europe?) and the HD version of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On.

    I hear you say “That’s not enough games for one person!”, and you’re right. So I decided to do the free 15-day trial for the Japanese PS+, which got me Datura, Lemmings, Battle Fantasia, The House of the Dead 4, World Heroes and more. “More” in this case means, uhm, 123 PSX titles. One hundred twenty-three. That includes the majority of the Bullfrog catalog (I’ll be playing Magic Carpet and check out the elusive Theme Aquarium, thank you very much), a good chunk of From Software’s (your King’s Fields and Armored Cores, Shadow Tower), some Artdink (two Lunatic Dawns, Zeus Carnage Heart Second), and a wealth of other cult favorites (LSD, Popolocrois, Fire Pro Wrestling G, Thunder Force V: Perfect System, Cho Aniki 4).

    The excitement of discovery! It’s like being locked in a video rental shop overnight.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Oh shit Datura, Katamari Damacy and Loco Roco 2?  Just lock yourself in doors and prepare for a trip man, cuz those are some out-there games.  That’s a fine selection!

  8. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    I’m back to the land of “Shadow of the Colossus.”  Last time I was so interested in the colossi  that I think I shortchanged just getting my Skyrim-esque exploring groove on.  So this time I’ve decided to pretend our hero has no way of knowing which direction to go and is just wandering the wastes, eating fruit and killing geckos.  Except for the existence of turtles (!!), there’s no real secrets or anything to be found in such an approach, but it is just enjoyable enough to be relaxing rather than tedious.

    • neodocT says:

       There’s giant eagles you can hold on to and fly!

      • djsubversive says:

        Yeah, the giant eagles were neat. And just riding around on the horse can be pretty fun. I remember finding the white cliffs, and trying to figure out how I was going to get down to the beach below them (then I got closer and found the path). 

        SotC is an excellent exploration game, because there’s only one actual “enemy” at a time, and your sword leads you right to it, so avoiding it is pretty easy. And occasionally you’ll find a hidden save-temple while wandering around, and those usually have a white-tailed gecko or a nearby fruit tree.

        I should play Shadow of the Colossus again.

        • neodocT says:

           I remember being really impressed when I accidentally stumbled upon that lost city where you fight the lion colossus. It was still early on in the game, and it made it seem like there was so much history in this place.

  9. Dave Dalrymple says:

    I’m not sure what I’ll be playing this weekend, if anything. 

    I’ve been playing the original Breath of Fire for the last week. It’s a perfectly competent 16-bit JRPG, but it’s quite bland. Even though there isn’t much grinding, you end up fighting the same enemies a hundred times. Exploration and experience are very linear. It’s a solid JRPG, but it’s nothing more.

    It shows just how hollow that formula is without some sort of hook*. The true classics of that era, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, etc., all had a little something extra in either mechanics or presentation that set them above their peers. They’re all praised for what they added to their genre, not by how they exemplified their genre.*This applies to any genre, not just JRPGs. 

    • Girard says:

      It’s been ages, but I remember the later games having some more interesting mechanical stuff going on with the dragon transformations and things.

      My main memory of the first one was playing through it with a snarky friend in middle school, and us consistently choosing at every level-up to boost the protagonist’s “vigor” stat, because it seemed so silly and useless compared to stats like “strength” or “defense.” We made so many giggly, stupid jokes about being the “most vigorous warrior in all the land!” etc.

      • Destroy Him My Robots says:

        4 definitely had some sort of chaining based on spells’ elemental attributes (for example casting a water spell right after an earth spell caused a landslide, I think), a fishing minigame (it was awesome), and that whole fairy village business (hey, that sounds like it might become relevant research).

        • Girard says:

          If memory serves, they all had fishing mini-games. “Yes, that game looks fun, but does it have fishing mini-games?” was another ironic in-joke that friend of mine and I derived from our BOF1 play session. Lack of ‘fishing mini-games’ was a total deal-breaker for the ironic constructed persona of obnoxious adolescent Girard.

          I remember the fairy village being in some of the other games, too – at least 5, maybe 3…maybe 2?

          As far as research for the GS game, Dark Cloud 2 (and maybe 1) had a village-cultivation mini-game, too.

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        Yeah, I loved “Breath of Fire 2”

      • aklab says:

        I really enjoyed the character-shaman combinations and the town-building in the second one. The normal story and gameplay are about as straightforward as the first one, but it was still worth playing for those little features. 

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        More than a just a mini-game, the village cultivation in the Dark Cloud series was always the main draw for me. I only cared about the dungeons because they gave me more things to build with!

  10. Girard says:

    Maybe a little “Thomas Was Alone,” or something else from the latest bundle.

    Also playing: “Cleaning my goldanged apartment” because I’ve been swamped with work lately and have kind of let things slip into a “gross bachelor cave status.” And my dad and little (half-)sister will be visiting from overseas next weekend and it would be nice for them not to know what a total slob I am!

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      On a semi-related note, I’ll be playing “shopping for gifts for my girlfriend because her old apartment was overrun with mold and she has to throw a ton of shit out, on account of the mold” this weekend. So mostly I’ll be looking at books and making a list of stuff that she had in there. :(

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       ‘Cleaning my goldanged apartment’ is such a grindfest, and the pay off usually isn’t that great.

      It’s kind of expensive but I think there’s a DLC for it called “Merry Maids: Adventures in hiding your socks so you’ll never see them again”

      • Enkidum says:

        If you can use the “hot coffee” cheat codes for Maids, it’s a whole lot more interesting. Just saying…

  11. dmikester says:

    Well, in the brief times I’m able to get away from my puppy, which is more and more as she gets more independent and able to do things like, you know, hold her bladder for longer than an hour, I have many things to play thanks to PS Plus, which had one of the best weeks it’s ever had last week.  I’m currently working on Portal 2 and The Cave (Portal 2 is fantastic, The Cave not as much but still fun) and I have Saint’s Row: The Third, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and Uncharted 3 waiting in the wings.  Truly an embarrassment of riches.

  12. duwease says:

    Just finished my “high chaos” Dishonored playthrough.  It wasn’t as different story-wise I had hoped, although the last mission has some neat differences.  Gameplay-wise, it was pretty different though.  It was kinda fun to just tear through the guys I’d spent so much effort avoiding before.  I still don’t get what the Outsider is all about, though.  Seems to be all over the place.

    Just started Dragon Age II, but haven’t gotten far enough to form an opinion.  Other than I’m bummed I lost my old DA:O save, thanks to having to upgrade the 360 to one with HDMI, which of course wasn’t compatible with the hard drive.  MS really nickel-and-dimed buyers this last generation, looking back.

    Also still playing Reus, which is one of those games where “lemme just get this part built and then I’ll quit” tends to lead to wondering where a missing hour went.  Really fun game if you like god-games or strategy.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      There was a  $100 wi-fi adapter. Let’s all just think about that for a while.

      • duwease says:

        Oh I know.. it’s currently in my living room :)

        In my defense, it took a LONG time for PS3 to get enough good exclusives!

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      For Dragon Age II, you probably did not lose anything from your old save from DA:O.  The only difference I have noticed is the dialogue is somewhat changed and if you played Awakening Anders will act differently, but not too differently.

      • Fluka says:

        Yeah, only real major difference is cameos from DA:O.  So unless you feel strongly about the fact that Alistair should be a wandering drunken bum, you ain’t missing anything.

  13. Raging Bear says:

    I have Defiance rented. I oddly like it. Despite my staunch anti-MMO stance, I always secretly liked the idea of an MMO that was A) more action than menu based, and B) populated by other characters who I nevertheless don’t have to interact with if I don’t want to (it is, at one and the same time, more and less social than my usual gaming!), and b2) therefore solo-friendly. Not having a subscription fee and being available on a platform I actually own don’t hurt either. Shame about the TV series, though.

  14. stakkalee says:

    On Saturday I’ll be continuing another LAN game of Civ4/Fall From Heaven with my gaming buddy.  My dark elves have just repulsed an invasion from the ice barbarians, and his Lords of Madness are preparing to battle the dwarven craftsmen to his east.  Then on Sunday I’m going to try to get a C64 emulator running because I suddenly have a hankering to play Impossible Mission.  “Another visitor.  Stay awhile.  Staaaay forever!”

  15. CrabNaga says:

    I’m going to be finishing up my Four Job Fiesta of Final Fantasy V, or at least I hope to. Hopefully my relative success so far with my aforementioned four jobs doesn’t go away once it’s time to fight Exdeath for real. For anyone interested, my jobs are Black Mage (always good), Time Mage (or as I like to call it, Black Mage 2), Geomancer (only good in the midgame), and Dragoon (almost entirely useless when every encounter except bosses is settled in one or two turns). This run has definitely weened me off of the mindset where I need to conserve all of my MP for boss fights. Final Fantasy V is probably one of my favorites, so it’s good to have an excuse to come back and play it again annually.

    I’ll probably play more Civilization V, but I’m kind of soured on it since my save from ~1500 AD with me destroying every other Civ caused my PC’s CPU to overheat. I think my laptop might be able to play it better, since it has a better CPU. Another thing that always annoys me about Civ games is that games are practically decided by the 50 turn mark, or even by your starting position. I’d like to play on a higher difficulty, where the other Civs aren’t constantly an era behind me, but I don’t want to have to continuously restart the game until I find a place I want to settle.

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      I also noticed that in Civ V.  I always have to restart due to my starting position being the WORST place possible.  NO matter what I try it is just awful for me to have to invest hours just to find out that some other civilization has every resource available and only a few tiles away.

      • CrabNaga says:

        I wouldn’t mind it nearly as much if the game didn’t take  ages to load. As it is such, (So Also As Such Is It Unto You) it’s really disheartening to get into a game and 50 turns (and 30 minutes) later I realize that my starting location sucks, and all the other Civs settled in the only viable locations for me to prosper. I mean I could just go to war with the other Civs and take their lands, but I also try to avoid that unless I am explicitly going for a Domination Victory, partially because I like being buddy buddy with the other Civs and City States, but also because maneuvering an army makes the game take at least twice as long.

        Also, depending on the map type (I think?) you can either have relatively uniform resource distribution or hilariously skewed resource distribution. I think in one of my games I had 5 salt and 5 copper, which was useful to trade with the other Civs for copies of their luxury resources that I didn’t have, or just gold and gold per turn.

        • ProfFarnsworth says:

          I completely agree.  My very first game game me eight cotton and one silk.  Everyone else had gold and crab.  When the time came for coal and oil, I lucked out and basically had all of it and the only source of uranium on the map as well.  Every single time after that I have been robbed of every resource. Sometimes I wonder about the resource distribution.

    • aklab says:

      Ah, two of the best V’s ever! 

      • CrabNaga says:

        Ha, I didn’t even notice that trend when I was making that post. I like Civ V, but I’m led to believe that the true fans of Civilization think of it as a contarded abomination. I can sort of see their point, but it makes a lot of improvements that Civ IV and previous games desperately needed (such as the hex grid and the one-military-unit-per-tile limit), that I think I’d still prefer Civ V.

        • aklab says:

          That’s what I hear too. But Civ V was the first Civilization I ever played (came to PC gaming late!). I’ve since played III and IV but keep going back to V.  

        • NakedSnake says:

          I loved Civilization I and II, but I have refused to buy or play any of the subsequent additions. Not because they are abominations. Actually they sound quite interesting. No, I avoid them because I am afraid that I will drop 100 hours a month into them for several months.

  16. Bad Horse says:

    Hooray, I finally broke free of my crippling XCOM addiction! It cost me my family, my job, my house, but now I can get a fresh start.

    Wait, XCOM is on iPad now?

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *relapses*

    • CrabNaga says:

      I still want to go back and play XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Classic difficulty. It was just way too punishing for my Normal-playing, save-abusing, death-averse self. The fact that I named all my squadmates after my friends didn’t help when they inevitably get their heads blown off by some STUPID FUCKING LUCKY ASS CRIT GOD DAMN IT, HE WAS IN FULL COVER YOU IDIOT GAME.

      • Roswulf says:

         I was very proud of myself for willing my way through an Ironman playthrough on Normal. Not for winning as such, but for not despair-quitting when my main sniper got unexpectedly taken down two-thirds of the way into the game.

        I admire, but do not understand, the people who can handle Classic Ironman on both an emotional and a game-playing level.

      • mizerock says:

        I spent a disturbing number of days playing the original game until, like, 3am. Then I would drag my ass into work at 10:30, and work until 7:30, then come home and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

        The only reason I can’t rate it the best game of all time is that it made me act so damn irresponsibly.

        See also: SubSpace. Now that game didn’t even have a plot, but I find it inordinately satisfying to lay mines in tight corridors and watch ships fly into them at full speed. And then I would play the victim an MP3 clip from Evil Dead.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I think Frozen Synapse came out on ipad recently? I’d totally buy that if I had an iPad. Could be another nice addiction to complement X-Com

      • Bad Horse says:

        I looked into it, and it looks pretty cool, but between KOTOR and XCOM I’ve just blown my app budget for like the next 6 months.

  17. DrFlimFlam says:

    Fire Emblem Awakening (marry! marry! kill!) and Animal Crossing New Leaf and Super Mario 3DS. I am awash in 3DS love.

    More ME2, probably. I forgot how much of this game is firing probes. I think there’s a lot of yardwork in store for me tomorrow. Not looking forward to it. Like 90+ and humid.

    • neodocT says:

       I had to reread this a few times before I figured out that the new Animal Crossing game does not, in fact, allow you to marry buffyverse characters while waging magic war on unsuspecting villagers.

      Also, there’s lychees now? I remember when there were only five fruits + coconuts!

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Edited for clarity. The animal-person thing aside, marriage in AC would be cute. As soon as Tangy moves in. Though Cookie is pretty adorable and is pretty much the only current townie I like.

        Lychee and durian have been added. I don’t recall seeing lemon before, but it’s certainly there now.

        Also, and I didn’t know this until yesterday, but you can STACK fruit in your inventory, up to 9 fruit per slot. VERY helpful when going on fruit-selling runs.

        • neodocT says:

          No!, now people will make assumptions about my reading comprehension!

          Can you also stack other things? Like fish or bugs? That would be so helpful!

          And, of all the fruits, why the hell would they choose durians? Is this a desperate bid for the Southeast Asian market?

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Durians are fun to look at, but pineapple would’ve been cooler and would’ve fit great on the tropical isle alongside the coconuts.

          Nothing else stacks, unfortunately. I’ve tried on my evening bug runs on the aforementioned isle.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          OH MY GOD I HAVE COOKIE TOO

          COOKIE BROS

        • Uncle Roundy says:

          I would be down with marriage in AC. There’s this goat lady who’s adorably shy and self-deprecating and gave me like three shirts in one day. Clearly she wants the mayor D.

          Everyone I’ve talked to has their townsfolk that they like and dislike; I feel like I’m the only person who likes everybody in his town.

          Believe it or not this isn’t the first appearance of durians in a Nintendo game—they were in Super Mario Sunshine. They were annoying because you couldn’t pick them up, you could only kick them like soccer balls. Come to think of it, I’ve actually never heard anyone speak of them outside Nintendo games.

  18. Roswulf says:

     Having picked up Saints Row the Third on sale last week, I imagine I’ll continue spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME on it.

    In the past few months, I’ve found myself very resistant to shooty games. This feeling was clearest in my deep uncomfortableness with Bioshock Infinite, but it even extended to finding the Gameologically-beloved Hotline Miami unplayably unpleasant.  I was very curious whether Saints Row, as bloodsoaked a game as I have ever played would trigger my newfound aversion to viciousness and gore.

    Nope. I’m having a blast being a ludicrous psychopath placed in ludicrous situations. There’s something about the game’s pure, goofy idness that lets me fully surrender to its charms, morality be damned. And whenever the appeal starts to wane, something glorious (tiger escort!) pulls me right back in. What a wonderful game (albeit one I’m TERRIBLE at…I fail a lot of missions), and it has left me very excited about the seemingly even more ridiculous SR 4.

    • NakedSnake says:

      FWIW, I think that Hotline Miami is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable about what you’re doing. Although I loved the game, it’s definitely a little unpleasant.

      • Roswulf says:

        Oh certainly, I don’t want to imply that Hotline Miami is a stupid festival of violence like, well, SR3.

        I suspect Hotline Miami- by virtue of being a far more focused game- does so more elegantly, but there are moments of Bioshock Infinite that spotlight the simultaneous casualness and horrific import of the violence the player commits (especially the Boxer Rebellion/Wounded Knee exhibit, one of the few shooty parts of the game that I think works, even if I didn’t love it personally). But speaking only for myself, I found the balance of fun and unpleasantness dramatically out of whack in both Infinite and Miami (and a few other games as well- my attempt to resume a Crusader Kings II game in the midst of a world-shaking war with the hordes of the Central Asian plains was similarly abandoned for lack of fun).

        • NakedSnake says:

          I never played Infinite, but I can imagine what you are talking about. The violence cuts against the tones/themes in jarring ways. I love it when movies do that well. Like, if a movie sensitizes you to violence by not foreshadowing it while you get to know the characters, etc. Then when it suddenly comes, halfway through the movie, it’s completely shocking and unpleasant. I’m trying to think of examples but they’re failing me right now. Drive did a good job at making the first gunshot completely shocking and scary, but it became a gore fest after that. Anyhow, my point is that SR3 seems more like a schlocky horror movie. You expect the violence and embrace it as a part of the whole experience. You just go “woooooaaaaahhh awesome” when Jason cut off someone’s head with an outboard motor.

    • djsubversive says:

      The co-op version of Escort and Tiger Escort are pretty great, too, since one Boss is the escort. For TE, you have to keep the tiger calm by petting it, and you punch it when it’s getting out of control.

      Also: “A fucking tiger?” “You’ve faced your fears. Now you’re ready.” “A FUCKING TIGER?!”

  19. ProfFarnsworth says:

    Having miraculously found the cartridge in a box in my fathers house.  I will be playing Illusion of Gaia.  I remember playing this game as a child, but I never figured this game to be so dark, or so good.  It is a good challenge and if anyone gets I chance, I highly recommend it.  I also will play FTL which I picked up at GOG for a very good price.

    • TheRGBColor says:

       Illusion of Gaia!  I loved that game in my young and impressionable years.  You’ll have to report back and let us know how it holds up. 

      I also remember that if there was ever a problem I usually transformed into the knight (who looked an awful lot like Chris Hemsworth’s Thor get-up) and tried to hit that problem with my sword until it was dead.  I don’t think I truly realized until the Sky Garden, or whatever it was called, that this was really a Zelda-esque game.

      Just remember to try to smash everything with your sword, though.

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        Will do.  I am also doing it with some other people as a kind of game club/review.

    • aklab says:

      Oh, I definitely need to replay that one as well. I bought it in my “immediately buy anything remotely RPG-looking” phase, and also because it was always absurdly cheap. Great game though…

      Did you ever play Terranigma? 

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        I have not, but I hear it is really spectacular.

        • aklab says:

          Yeah, it’s really worth checking out. Like Illusion of Gaia but even better — unfortunately never released in North America!

  20. indy2003 says:

    PS Plus has tossed out an alarmingly huge amount of free and heavily-discounted stuff in recent days, so I’ll play one or more of the following…

    X-Com: Enemy Unknown
    Little Big Planet Karting
    Saints Row III
    Deux Ex: Human Revolution
    The Walking Dead
    Machinarium
    The Unfinished Swan
    Gods Eater Burst

    Any suggestions on where to start?

    Just finished playing through Germinator’s story mode on the PS Vita, which was a charming way to kill a few hours. It doesn’t really do much with the whole “germ” concept (it’s basically just an aesthetic element tossed on top of a standard bubble-popping game), but it’s breezy fun. Also finished up Darksiders, which was pretty good, though I didn’t like the final act quite as much as the first two.

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      Deus Ex is an incredibly good stealth game if you are into those kinds of things.  It also has a great story and is really fun to boot.  If you like watching your vassals being killed by hoards of things XCOM should be fun.

      • indy2003 says:

        “Watch my vassals being killed by hordes of things” is on my bucket list right behind “bite jawbreakers in half just to spite my dentist.”

    • neodocT says:

       I’d recommend starting out with The Walking Dead. Because the game is divided into chapters, you can play it for a few hours, finish a chapter, and then play something lighter while you process the horribleness of what you’ve done. It’ll be a fun weekend!

    • Merve says:

      DE:HR is the way to go, I think. But if you’re looking for a fun, relatively short game, I’ve heard good things about The Unfinished Swan.

    • Enkidum says:

      Yeah PS+ has been ridiculous lately. But I’m still trying to grind my way through Persona 3: FES, and can’t bring myself to play through another big game until it’s done.

      Of course I started XCOM and oh dear that’s going to take up a lot of my life.

      • indy2003 says:

        Speaking of ridiculous – I’m glad I already own Uncharted 3 on disc, because I noticed the PS+ download version is a whopping 40 GB. Insane.

    • djsubversive says:

      Do you like fun? Pure, distilled, not-taking-itself-seriously-at-all, turn-street-sweepers-into-zombie-killing-machines, dress-up-with-a-psychopath, Mayor CENSORED FOR SPOILER-loving fun with a capital F-U?

      SAINTS ROW, BITCHES.

      If, on the other hand, you dislike having fun, play something other than Saints Row The Third.

  21. aklab says:

    I’m finally getting into Mass Effect 2 and hope to play a good bit of that this weekend. Finished Psychonauts last week as promised — what a great game! 
    Also replaying Yoshi’s Island, which is pretty much perfect. 

    Finally, holy shit GOG is unloading the game bundles today: http://www.gog.com/ Look if you dare. FTL for $2.49 if any of you are waiting to play it!

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Aw man, i’ve been looking to get into those DnD RPGs, but you only get the super descount if you buy them ALL and I only want MOST of them. CURSES!

      • aklab says:

        I have never played any of them, and want to play all of them, and bought all of them, and will play all of them. :D 

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        Just go for ALL of them.  I think they are all pretty good, and at the RIDICULOUS amount you are saving, it probably won’t make much of a difference.  Unless you have a creed that states “must play all games purchased”, then void previous statement. 

    • Uncle Roundy says:

      If I pick up one game from that sale it’s probably gonna be To the Moon. Even the trailer almost made me cry!

  22. boardgameguy says:

    playing board games that veer into party games, like BANG!, SABOTEUR, LOOT, and, if i get my wish, LIFEBOATS with six players. maybe 4 player LOST CITIES using 2 version of the card game (we don’t have the 4p board game version, which is also very fun).

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I’ve heard good things about BANG!, how are those other ones? How would they compare to Dixit, which I already own, or The Resistance, which I don’t own but have strongly considered? I’ve read that Dixit pretty much blows any party game out of the water, but I think the person I heard that from was comparing it to similarish games like apples to apples and cards against humanity. 

      Also, I tried playing Citadels 2p with my girlfriend and we found it was MUCH more enjoyable this way than the 5p which had kind of soured us on the game. 

      Also sorry i always reply to you with general boardgame talk/questions. In my defense, it’s right there in your name!

      • boardgameguy says:

        For those of you who are tl;dr – board games are fun and great!

        I’m more than pleased to respond to these board game questions. That’s why I included it in my name!
        Like many games that straddle the “party” line, BANG! can be very fun with the right group. That group needs to be willing to hurt their fellow players in good nature. Because of its somewhat repetitive nature, I think BANG! is at its worse when it runs long so having people who will shoot and risk making an enemy is necessary. Its big detriment in my mind, is that players are eliminated, so you can be waiting for the rest of the group to finish if you were killed off early. Teams are secret and you have to deduce who is with who through play. Not particularly hard, but players still have the opportunity to be deceptive.

        THE RESISTANCE is really a take on Werewolf where no one has to sit out (a benefit over BANG!). It’s completely bluffing/deduction as people once again have secret roles that determine their alliance. Both BANG! plays up to 8, but since you don’t frequently have a way to interact when it’s not your turn, i don’t recommend it with more than six. THE RESISTANCE, however, shines with up to ten players because you are still an active part of the game even if its not your turn.

        DIXIT is nice because no one is knocked out and, in my mind, is about finding connections and commonalities between people.

        SABOTEUR is another fun game with a secret traitor that can be played up to nine or ten people. The theme is light (dwarves mining for gold) but allows a more latitude for player interaction than THE RESISTANCE since you can break a players implement for digging tunnels, etc. It’s a great game to bring on trips because its all cards and you only need a flat surface to play.

        LOOT is another card based game but its more about hand management. You sail merchant ships on the high seas (with various point values) and also have the ability to attack merchant ships with pirate ships of different strength. You only get to do one thing per turn, so making sure you have enough cards and the right cards to win your battles over ships is tricky to manage. It also means that you sometimes have to work with your opponents to ensure someone doesn’t walk away with easy points. It has a team variant which I really like because you sit next to your teammate and take consecutive turns. Plays up to 8.

        All of these smaller games can take about 20-30 minutes to play, or 45 minutes at the longest. LIFEBOATS on the other hand, can take up to an hour. Some people don’t like it because it can be really chaotic and hard to strategize, but I like it for that reason. Every round involves voting on which lifeboats of a sunken ship move closer to shore. The trick is, you have members of your team on several different lifeboats, and the composition of the boats constantly changes. Everything is decided by a vote though, so a sneaky, person can try to work situations to their advantage. This is really a love it or hate it game that I have found I love. With six, can take over an hour if people are really getting into the negotiation aspects.

        As for Citadels, I’ve found my favorite is with three. Never tried the two, but I will certainly do so soon.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          I’ll definitely check out Saboteur. Strange themes are like me-bait, I can’t get enough of them. I’ve been delighted to find so many gosh darn strange boardgames as I delve deeper into it. I know i’ve been pretty burnt out on stale themes in videogames for a while now, so it’s just great seeing these games where you are a fish  or a tourist or whatever else.

          I’m also sorely in need of games that accomodate more players and have relatively quick playtimes. I find that citadels with a lot of players tends to drag and isn’t even very fun, and I still have yet to get BSG on the table. 

          That’s probably the biggest downside of tabletop gaming is having to coordinate your games and take into account the people you will be playing with when buying games.

        • boardgameguy says:

          it certainly is a challenge to coordinate a large groups’ taste and availability. sounds like THE RESISTANCE should be up your alley, or a new game that was kickstarted in the same universe of THE RESISTANCE called COUP (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2012515236/coup-bluff-and-deception-in-the-world-of-the-resis)

      • Jason Reich says:

        Hooray, board games. Morels is a nice little 2p-only set-collecting card game that is perfect for a few rounds with the significant other. 

        Also, for any iPad board gamers, Agricola just hit the app store and the reviews are glowing.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Morels is the mushroom one, right? That looks very interesting, I love the whimsy of the theme, and I’m sure it’d be much more appealing to my girlfriend than nerd shit like Citadels’ magic city-ing or Hive’s massively dorky descriptor of “bug chess.”

  23. ChicaneryTheYounger says:

    Just me playing The Last of Us this weekend? It’s so good. Better than The Walking Dead (tv and comics, haven’t played the game) by a longshot.

    • neodocT says:

      I beat it this week, and don’t have much of an interest in the multiplayer. It’s very good, but I still feel that The Walking Dead game was a stronger take on the story.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        Truth
        Doubt
        Lie

        • neodocT says:

          I had a long (very spoiler filled) talk with @Marijin Lems about it on this column last week.

          My big concern with is that I prefer when games let me mold the narrative, like The Walking Dead allows you to. I realize that The Last of Us is telling its own narrative, and it does tell a stronger story overall, but I just got more emotionally engaged with The Walking Dead.

          It’s still a great game, though, and I’m definitely up for further discussing it, when you’re done!

  24. neodocT says:

    I finished Metal Gear Solid 2 this week, which I absolutely loved. Say what you will about Kojima, but at least he does seem to put a lot of effort into making his games say something more about the medium.

    I then started Metarl Gear Solid 3. I’m just past the prologue chapter, and while I’m enjoying it so far, the gameplay seems to be a lot tougher than the previous game, and I’m not sure how well I’ll keep it up before getting entirely frustrated with it. I’m not the best at stealth gameplay, you guys…

    • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

       Metal Gear…?! Yeah, 3 is the best one, even if it does get a little long winded at times. All the times. But since you beat 2, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZfxcLMN8r0

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       MGS3 is a bit of a chore because you have to constantly be swapping out your camouflage but once you get the rhythm down, it’s a much more satisfying experience than the other MGS games in my opinion. 

      It also has a great story that doesn’t fall apart at the end like MGS2.  In fact, the end is one of the most ‘balls-to-the-wall’ awesome endings in video-game-dom that crescendos in an emotional catalyst that will just wreck you!

      It’s a good game.  Stick it out, and then go google Crab Battle when you’re done for a laugh.

      • neodocT says:

        I really appreciate the setting, and playing as Big Boss is surprisingly different, considering he’s really just Snake. I still enjoy playing it, but messing around with the camouflages and the lack of a proper radar are really unnerving me!

        And I really liked the ending to MGS2! It was absolutely insane and convoluted, but I really liked the main twist in the plot line

        spoilers for a decade old game

         namely that it did the Bioshock twist before Bioshock.

        • Kyle O'Reilly says:

          And Bioshock didn’t let you do naked cartwheels either!

          I should cut MGS2 some more slack because I cut slack for MGS4 even though it’s ending (minor spoilers) is practically a soap opera, complete with a goddam impromptu wedding and secret “you thought I was dead the whole time but I’m not” reveal.

        • djsubversive says:

          Honestly, the “woodland”-style camos and facepaints will give you excellent results for most of the game (the forested parts at least).

          The End is possibly my favorite boss fight in gaming (the character The End, not the ending of the game). I say “possibly” because I haven’t really thought about ranking video game boss fights (The End and the first Atris meeting in KoTOR 2 are up near the top).

        • neodocT says:

           @djsubversive:disqus The Metal Gear Solid series really excels at boss fights. I can’t think of a single one that wasn’t at the very least memorable.

          I think Olga in MGS2 was the worst boss fight in the series so far, and even that at least served to teach you how to aim in first person. 

          @kyleoreilly:disqus MGS4 was my introduction to the series (maybe the worst possible introduction), so it’s been a blast to actually play through the story I’d already heard about in that game. I recall mostly enjoying MGS4, but, yeah, that ending was ridiculous.

      • Chalkdust says:

         It’s some sort of cave demon!

    • djsubversive says:

      “Stillllll inn a dreeeeeaaammmmm, snaaaake-eeeaterrrrrr…”

      Snake Eater is fun times. It’s pretty obviously a Bond homage, but with Snake (who isn’t actually Snake from the other games). And a guy with bees.

    • Bad Horse says:

      Are you playing the Subsistence version? Because I also couldn’t finish vanilla MGS3 without the controllable camera, but Subsistence was relatively easy.

      • neodocT says:

         Yeah, I’m playing the Subsistence version that came in the HD Collection. I’ve tried out the old camera style just for laughs, and I feel for those who had to play it that way.

      • djsubversive says:

        Subsistence is the way to go.

  25. Drew Toal says:

    Some combination of X-COM (again), A Link to the Past (again), Call of Juarez, Chronicles of Mystara or Dark Souls. 

  26. Fluka says:

    More Crusader Kings II, which I was cruelly pulled away from by work, family, and socializing last week (it’s like they don’t know what’s really important!).  I’m starting to get the hang of the game, fabricating claims, invading nearby duchies, etc.  I need to work out better intermarriage and intrigue strategies.  I can tell I’m standing on the edge of a bottomless pit, but whatever.

    My phone died an ignominious death yesterday. (“DROID” *reboot* “DROID” *reboot* “DROID” *reboot*)  So I’ll be playing the verizon upgrade game tomorrow.  Part of me is considering getting an iPhone.  Hey, isn’t XCom out on iOS now?  Hmm, but maybe I could get that on Steam anyway…  *Smacks self!*  NO, Fluka!  One bottomless pit at a time!

    Also, Kentucky Route Zero Act II, because ooooh myyy goooood.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      My Scandinavian Empire, which started with two small counties in Norway, now extends from Iceland to Medina in Arabia, from the Steppes of Mongolia to the tip of Spain… there’s no more Christianity, no other Pagans… My capital is Constantinople, Rome and Jerusalem are Norse… and it’s only 1025 AD. Soon the world shall be mine.

      Also I am playing a lot of CK2.

  27. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    I just beat Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective after seeing someone on here talking about it. It  was awesome and oh man those twists at the end! Just a really fun, pretty sweet game.

    I also beat Super Metroid for the first (!) time last night. THAT ENDING IS AWESOME! I love how schlockily sci-fi the last boss looked. fucking awesome. My time was 7:51 with a 73% completion rate. I immediately started a new file to see how much better I can do. So that’s one thing off my gaming “to do” list that has been on there forever. Next I’ll probably tackle A Link to the Past.

    But yeah, I just finished up the two games I was playing. any suggestions as to what I should play next? I have access to pretty much anything on SNES and DS, and am looking to play some of the classics/overlooked games. 

    I started playing phoenix wright before i got to sleep and that’s fun, if a little slow going at times. Also been playing Contra 3 again. Another game with awesome sci-fi character design. and bitchingly nausea inducing Mode-7 special levels. I don’t think i’ve ever beaten it, but I’ve come close. 

    • neodocT says:

      There’s so much good stuff on the DS that it’s hard to recall all of it right now, but you should definitely go play Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, The World Ends with You, 999 and any Professor Layton game right now!

    • aklab says:

      Congratulations! I just replayed Super Metroid for the first time in years, and it’s still so good. The 3 minutes after you beat Mother Brain are some of the tensest in gaming! 

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      I recommend Illusion of Gaia for SNES.  It is like Zelda, but with an unusual storyline, history and much better music.  Also, the gameplay is fun, the boss fights are very challenging and it is one of those few games people never really found, but I have always enjoyed.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      So glad you enjoyed Super Metroid. It’s unequivocally my favorite game ever. You’ll find that it’s a very different-feeling game each time you play it and become more familiar with the world.

    • Citric says:

      Are you willing to dive headfirst into the land of fan translation? Because then you could get Live A Live, Bahamut Lagoon, Treasure of the Rudras, Treasure Hunter G, Seiken Densetsu 3, Front Mission and so on. God I love late SNES, Japan-only Square, if they started releasing that stuff on PSN I would be first in line, though technically I guess there is no line for digital downloads. There’s also a bunch of stuff from companies that aren’t Square, like Gunman’s Proof, and Mystic Ark which may or may not be good, I never got too far, but does have a world of cat pirates.

      If not, for SNES, I’ve got a soft spot for S.O.S., which is about rescuing people from a boat that capsizes, though I’m not actually good at S.O.S. and have never beat it. There’s also that thing that uses the mouse to guide a ball through a maze, On the Ball I think it’s called. That’s neat. On DS, all things Dragon Quest are rad if you like JRPGs, and I (obviously) do.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Oh man, i stumbled upon SOS one night while I was tying out a bunch of different ROMs and it seriously freaked me out for some reason. I had no idea this game existed and it just felt terribly creepy.

        I do have a bunch of fan translation patched roms, including Live-A-Live, which i’ve heard good things about. I’ll probably just try some of those games and see if any stick. I’m usually not into jrpgs (read, am not into jrpgs) but i’ve been trying to get into dragon quest after I loved the heck out of Rocket Slime on DS. I’m playing through 4 on DS now and the sprites are great but it’s not very… fun. I may try to start somewhere else in the series though, because those slimes are so cute.

        • Citric says:

          Dragon Quest is a series you either absolutely adore (like me) or will find impossible to get into, because it’s very much a standard JRPG (or, arguably, the standard JRPG).

          Oh, and Terranigma is rad, forgot about that, really well done action RPG. Square Enix has such a great bank of legacy titles, a shame they’re not going to do anything with them, though I guess there’s not much money in translating and releasing 20 year old games.

        • neodocT says:

           I second Live-A-Live. Especially if you don’t like RPGs, as that game has a lot of variety.

  28. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    Sound the ebay alarms Captain, there’s a motherfucking Rodney Dangerfield board game in existence! But seriuosly, I like when you guys can nab some comedy guys like Gethard or Delaney.  If you can get John Hodgman for one of these, I’ll poop my pants.

    But I probably won’t get much gaming in this weekend because I’m busy with out of town friends.  Still, I’m going over to my friends house who is really into weird ass board games.  He’s got one I can never remember the name of where it’s like a weird mashup of Farkel, Craps and Monoply, with people swapping pieces and rolling bones all while trying to pull back other people’s pieces.  I know that’s a horrible description but it’s fun!

    As long as I’m thinking of board games, there’s a really nice kid who shows up to the all-ages Comedy Open-mic we do at a comic book shop and keeps trying to get us to play Risk: Legacy with him and while his spotty goatee has kept me from committing, the game does sound interesting.  Lots of weird ass rules and bear cavalries.

    Because I never get sick of typing, I do hope to download the new Combat Mod for Witcher 2 and start a proper new game of that because it’s been on my hard drive since the winter sale and I haven’t touched it once.  I hear the opening level is a beast is why.

    • Flying_Turtle says:

      Following the link to the Rodney Dangerfield board game was the best decision I made all day. The photos are just pure magic. Who knew Rodney Dangerfield was such a big fan of placing numbered tiles on a game board?

  29. Mike P says:

    Hey guys! First post here, I have been here long enough to start making comments I suppose.
    I am playing Dragon Origin’s and I am completely addicted. Nothing like buying a 6 dollar game from GameStop.
    And, WWE 13. Cause I am a child. I cannot help myself. 

    • Merve says:

      Welcome, @igetcheated44:disqus!

      And hell yeah, cheap games are awesome. I myself was able to nab DA:O and DA2 as digital downloads from Gamefly for eight bucks. I still haven’t gotten around to starting them, though, but I’m a huge Jade Empire and Mass Effect fan, so I imagine I’ll enjoy them too.

      • Mike P says:

        Thanks Merve!
        Everything I have read, DA:O is much better. I have started out as a Dwarven Noble. The origin story is pretty cool (albeit, I had to name my dwarf Gimli)
        Never played Jade Empire, but I love Mass Effect. That was such a great game series.

        • Merve says:

          If you’re a fan of BioWare’s stuff, I think you’d like Jade Empire. It’s Steampunk Medieval China with magic, ghosts, and GIANT POISONOUS TOADS. Plus, you can sometimes get it for super-cheap. I got it for $3.75 on Steam when it was on sale, and I was able to squeeze nearly 45 hours of enjoyment out of it.

        • djsubversive says:

          Jade Empire is good because it’s a rarely-used setting for fantasy, Magical Not-China. The companions are the usual Bioware Stereotype Squad, but John Cleese shows up as a visitor from Not-England and it’s a delight (not that you would expect anything less from John Cleese). The combat is a little more action-y than most RPGs (there’s a lot of leaping around the battlefield), but you’re a kung-fu master so it works. Open Palm/Closed Fist is just Light Side/Dark Side, even though they say it’s more nuanced than that. It isn’t. You can pet and feed the puppy or kick it in the face (there aren’t any puppies in JE, so that doesn’t spoil anything). Oh, and there’s a kind-of-dumb 1942-style minigame, but it’s mostly optional (after the first time, and maybe one other time later in the game).

          Plus, it has Minister Sheng’s Airing of Grievances (thanks for those, Merve!). Minister Sheng is pretty great.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      6 dollar used games are always a hoot.  That’s how I ended up with the old FPS Prey which is weird as a lady’s beard!

    • Fluka says:

      All the best game experiences start with random $6 purchases.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        That’s what I thought until I walked into a sex shop in Queens with $6 in my pocket and…
        Well, there’s no need to elaborate.

        • Merve says:

          Did you buy this game?

          (Funny story: My friends and I once played a version of that game from the late 1980s, and we couldn’t understand any of the slang. It was pretty hilarious.)

  30. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I may dive back into Forza Motorsport 4 to get ready for Forza 5.

  31. Citric says:

    Away again this weekend, but will probably have time for handheld things. Started Radiant Historia for DS, it seems neat. Also, Brave Story for PSP, which seems less neat, I’m considering dropping it and playing something else, unless it suddenly gets amazing and worth playing late-game.

    I did finish Ys Seven this week though, so that’s exciting. It starts slow – I wasn’t drawn in for the first several dungeons – but then somewhere around the wind temple it starts getting clever, and I was outright hooked in the final areas. There is some busy work when they take away your quick travel for arbitrary reasons, but otherwise it’s really good.

    • neodocT says:

       I really liked Radiant Historia while I was playing it, and the battle system is really nice. Reminds me of old school RPGs, but with some more modern features.  I’m a sucker for time travel stories, though, so I may be a bit biased.

      • Citric says:

        I’m only at Chapter 1, but it has reminded me of a Choose Your Own Adventure book so far, since every so often you’ll get a choice that just gives you an ending where everyone dies.

        I also like the world a lot, there’s clearly something messed up going on but it’s really nicely built and not actually very overt about it. I want to find out more about this place.

  32. djsubversive says:

    No clue what I’m going to be playing this weekend, but for some reason, I’ve had “Frontier Psychiatrist” running through my head since I got up this morning.

    “The man with the golden eyeball!”

  33. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I will be playing my second run of the Mage Knight board game tonight.  Hopefully I will do better than last place out of four this time, though it will be fun whether I succeed or not.

    Still playing Neverwinter as well, which just went from “open beta” to live yesterday.  I’m enjoying my trickster rogue and great weapon fighter enough that I chipped in $20 to support them and get a few extra goodies as well.  The stupid keys for their “lockbox lottery” are still horribly overpriced.  Seriously…a pack of ten keys costs about $10?  So basically I’m buying Super Lotto scratchers, except the best prize I can win is an imaginary horse with flames on it.  NO THANKS.

    (I did buy one key just to see what the fuss was about, and got an enchantment to slot into a weapon when I reach 60.  Whee.)

    On the other hand, extra bank space, extra character slots, and a few packs of dye to change my armor color when I get a more permanent set – those I don’t mind paying a bit for.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Stop trying to impress us with your real friends.
      It’s making us feel bad.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Well, to make you feel better they’re more acquaintances than friends so far, as tonight will only be the third time I’ve gamed with them.  (I was introduced through a mutual friend.)  But they are all pretty cool so far, so hopefully friends eventually.

        (Stupid adult life, where trying to make friends can be just as worrisome as dating before I was married!)

  34. Sam_Barsanti says:

    I just picked up Injustice, the DC fighting game. I’m not much of a fighting game guy, so I’m still trying to wrap my head around it…If anyone else is bad at fighting games and wants to be bad at them together, hit me up on Xbox live at SouthSideSam.

  35. WELCOME_THRILLHO says:

    Hi everyone!
    I’ve finished Dark Souls and I’m trying to fill the void its completion has left in my life. I may go back and try to finish Bioshock Infinite or get back into Persona 4 or any number of other games that I had abandoned in my quest to beat that game once and for all. Maybe System Shock 2? Maybe Amnesia? The possibilities are a little frightening.

    My Dungeons and Dragons group may finally meet once more to continue their drunken pirate adventures and rescue the developmentally disabled brute that has stolen their hearts from the octo-goblins which hold him captive.

  36. evanwaters says:

    Crusader Kings II will probably feature heavily for me. For those who don’t know this one, it’s a strategy + simulation game about medieval rulers fighting over territory, but it’s also about building your dynasty and getting involved in intrigues and plots and throwing your enemies in dungeons and arranging marriages and so on. I’m playing as William the Conqueror post-conquest of England (there’s a pre-Hastings scenario too but it’s more difficult because conquering an island nation is hard), and have already had my gay son lead a rebellion against me and then die, the Lancasters AND Yorks plot against me (though they are predictably also fighting each other), the Duke of Bedford try several times to overthrow my rule before I finally executed him, etc. Also everyone hated me because I was unintentionally hoarding titles because of a misunderstanding as to what “too many holdings” referred to.

    Sadly it’s displaced Civ V for now, but I’ll get back to that I’m sure.

  37. Flying_Turtle says:

    I’m working a lot this weekend, so game time will be limited and precious. I’ve been playing the same 5-6 games over and over, so it’s time to shake things up. I’m thinking about getting back into Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Donkey Kong Country Returns, which are both games I like but stopped playing when I got into the rut (an enjoyable rut, but a rut nevertheless) that I’m in now.