What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Speedy Ortiz

Darl Ferm, musician

The Speedy Ortiz bassist handles a glitched-out Final Fantasy VII soundtrack.

By Matt Kodner • July 19, 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.

Darl Ferm is the bassist for Speedy Ortiz, a noisy Boston outfit that just put out their impressive debut album Major Arcana last week. With a tablet in hand, Ferm (on the left in the photo above, wearing the pizza shirt) has been replaying a glitchy Final Fantasy VII on tour. He spoke with The Gameological Society about the beauty of long games, becoming the Lord Of Catan, and making his own challenges for Sonic The Hedgehog.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Darl Ferm: I’m playing an emulated version of Final Fantasy VII on my Acer tablet.

Gameological: Have you played it before?

Ferm: Oh, yeah. I got really into it when I saw a computer version for it, when I was seven or eight, at Best Buy. I was like, “This game looks awesome,” and I got it. It’s pretty much been my favorite game ever since. I’ve played it a few times all the way through. It’s my favorite Final Fantasy.

Gameological: Are you having trouble with the tablet?

Ferm: It’s actually not so bad because it’s an RPG. There’s some things—like, the part where you have to do the squats in the Wall Market, it’s kind of impossible, but you don’t need to do it, so it’s not too big of a deal. But I hoard challenges like crazy. It’s actually a really good version. It works really well. The only thing that’s really weird that I don’t understand is the music. It seems to fall on top of each other. I don’t understand how that’s even possible, but it feels like someone took three seconds of the song, and then stacked it on another three seconds, and then that repeats and stacks it on another three seconds.

Gameological: Does it happen for the entire game?

Ferm: Yes. It sucks because it’s my favorite soundtrack, definitely, for any video game, and maybe for any soundtrack in general. I’m kind of bummed about that, but it’s no big deal. I downloaded the soundtrack, and I listen to it while I’m playing the game.

Gameological: Is this music thing shaping up to be an interesting twist? After you play something so many times, any change is welcome.

Ferm: It did for maybe five seconds at the start of the game. I was like, “Oh this is pretty hilarious,” and then I was like, “I’m going to get the worst headache ever if I keep listening to this.” It doesn’t have a beneficial twist, but it’s definitely interesting.

Gameological: Do you think it would go over well for someone who didn’t grow up playing it?

Ferm: I think it would. The storyline is incredible. I like the whole dystopian future. It’s kind of Big Brother-ish, and I’m really into dystopian stuff. The story is really great, which is good because I only played VII on pretty much. VIII has a great storyline. I didn’t play IX, but X’s storyline I wasn’t really into. The thing about VII is that I really like the characters a lot, which I can’t really say about most of the other games. Pretty much after VII, every main character is too wimpy for me. They’re all very emo, and I can’t really get into it, but VII’s hero, Cloud, is very badass. All the other characters in the game are really awesome. I think it holds up really well. It’s definitely the best RPG out there.

Gameological: So do you like other dystopian or post-apocalyptic games?

Ferm: I do. The whole BioShock series is amazing, even the newest one, which is pretty strange, I think, compared to BioShock and [BioShock 2]. I never really got into Borderlands, but that looks cool.

Gameological: I ask because yesterday, I started playing the Walking Dead adventure game and blew through four of the five episodes.

Ferm: I’ve heard that’s amazing, but I’ve never played it. That’s a bit of a trend in recent video games that I strongly dislike—the price going up and the gameplay time going way down. That’s one of the great things about Final Fantasy VII. It’s like a 70-hour game. It’s ridiculously long. If you want to beat the game, you have to do all this crap that I actually don’t like that takes forever. But it’s cool. You don’t have to do it, but if you put in the effort, it’s worth it.

I like that kind of stuff, the really long-term kind of games. Or even if it’s a game with a lot of stuff to do, like the old school Mario. You can play that forever without it getting better. It takes so long to beat everything. That’s one of the trends that really bums me out about modern video games, about how quickly you can beat it. BioShock is probably as short as I would want a game to be. It’s probably between 10 and 20 hours, and that’s pretty good, but I’d like it to be at least replayable. Most games now aren’t because they have the longest training sequences ever that teach you how to play.

Gameological: Some of our readers talk about when they were younger they loved the longer 70-, 80-hour games, but now that they’re getting older, some are married with kids, they really appreciate brief games.

Ferm: If a game’s replayable, then short is good. That makes it really nice. A lot of games, if it’s really short, or if I’m expecting it to be really short, I have to put the difficulty to a ridiculous degree. I also like the way that Mario or Sonic—like, Sonic’s a really short game, but it rules because you can replay it and make your own challenges out of it. It’s like, I would beat it, and then I would challenge myself to beat it without losing any lives at all. It was really tough, but I was able to do it. It depends on the game, because a lot of games are so story-based with all these cinematics, and then they’ll be so short. I didn’t get a video game to watch a movie; I wanted to play a game. It depends. It’s not a great trend considering how expensive video games and systems are. I’d much rather have something worth the money.

And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.

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190 Responses to “Darl Ferm, musician”

  1. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Tonight, my friends and I played a game of Settlers of Catan for the second time with the Explorers and Pirates expansion. We’re actually enjoying the new rules in the expansion a fair bit. The booklet introduce the different rules piece by piece across multiple scenarios; the first scenario is a touch underwhelming but the second adds some interesting new wrinkles. There’s still some more scenarios for us to try, so we’ll have to play those some other time.

    I’ve still been playing a lot of The Resistance: Avalon during lunch at work. Every game is different, and there’s rarely a dull game! I love it. This afternoon, I was the Red Lancelot and with some luck the other two spies and I managed a strong 3-1 victory.

    This weekend, I might end up playing more Borderlands 2. I was no big fan of the first one and I wasn’t planning on getting the second one, but a friend gifted it to me during one of the sale periods and I’ve decided to give it a shot. I’ve only played a few hours so far, but I have nearly the exact same complaints as I had with the first game. I’ll try to steer things my way in the future, but I’m not expecting any sudden revelations.

    I would like to jump back into the first Portal this weekend, though. I only played it years ago on a second-hand computer, but I’d like to burn through it once or twice and round out my Steam achievements on that. I’m hoping it might pump me up for the sequel sometime.

    I’ll also be watching the last days of the Steam Summer Getaway Sale. I managed to craft a badge! I may jump into the community market to round out my collections while prices are low; I expect prices to start rising once the sale is over.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       For a while I was really into an online-emulated version of Catan, with the Cities and Knights expansion.  Once you and your other players get it, that version is infinitely superior to the original.  But the site shut down, and I’ve not played for years.

      • Matt Kodner says:

        Cites and Knights is just an okay way to play the game I think. It always ends up taking what feels like forty minutes too long, and isn’t that much more exciting than the original. 

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        I liked Cities and Knights, but my group tended to play with the Seafarers expansion the most. We never did play much with the Traders and Barbarians expansion.

        So far, though, I might like this new expansion more than the other three. At the very least, I like that every player gets one gold if they don’t get a resource on any roll other than a seven. Since players can trade gold for any resource at two-for-one rates, it’s an easy way to keep the game competitive if the rolls are being one-sided.

    • Gameological Society Commenter says:

      I too will be watching the last days of the Steam sale. I tried to be conservative with my purchases this year, so I have only bought Torchlight II, Dear Ester, XCOM Enemy Unknown, Counter Strike GO, Tropico 4, Deus Ex collection, Ace of Spades, Mount & Blade Warband, Magicka, Borderlands 2, Borderlands 2 Season Pass, Dear Ester, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dragonborn DLC, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Heathfire DLC, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Legendary Edition, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Standard Edition, Dead Ester, Evoland, Chivalry, Dark Souls Kart Racing: Prepare To Drive Edition, The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, Hitman: Absolutely!, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Age of Empires Legacy Bundle, Darksiders 2, Rogue Legacy, Left 4 Dead 2, Arma II, Antichamber, Frozen Synapse, Dear Ester, Fallout New Vegas Ultimate Edition, Fallout 3 Penultimate Edition, Kerbal Space Pogrom, Sleeping Dogs and some but not all of the DLC, The Saints Row The Third The Full Package, Civilization V, Civilization III, Terraria, Dear Ester, Mark of the Ninja, Bastion, Portal 2, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Eurosurgeon Simulator 2013, Strike Suit Zero, FTL, Hotline Miami, Mirror’s Edge, Half Life 2 Episode 2, Secret of the Magic Crystals, Kane & Lynch 2 Dog Days, Sim City 4, Dear Ester, Dear Ester, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum, Fez, Orcs Must Die 2, Fable III, Fallout Tic Tacs, Star Wars Knight Of The Old Republic, Dear Ester, Tomb Raider I, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider IV, Tomb Raider V, Tomb Raider VI, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Tomb Raider: Legend, but NOT Tomb Raider: Underworld because I wanted to see if Tomb Raider I, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider IV, Tomb Raider V, Tomb Raider VI, Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Tomb Raider: Legend are any good first. Plus Mom’s credit card is maxed out. I just have to work out how to download these to my iPhone now.

      • CrabNaga says:

        Yes, but have you checked out Dear Esther? I hear it’s pretty good.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Hitman: Absolutely sounds ~faaaaaaaabulouuuuus~

      • neodocT says:

        Good thing you got Deus Ex, you’ve gotta play Deus Ex!

        • djsubversive says:

          Deus Ex is great. The sequel/prequel, Human Revolution, is pretty good. Those are the only two Deus Ex games.

          New Vegas is also great.

          Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is… well, I really like it. Which means many people will not. It’s a change from the “Freedom Fighters + Heat” that the first K&L was, if you’ve played that before. It’s still “things can’t get any worse. oh shit, things just got worse!” because that’s just the world Kane & Lynch (and Agent 47, apparently) live in.

        • Merve says:

          @djsubversive:disqus: Now let’s not forget about that other Deus Ex game.

          You know the one I’m talking about…

          …the mobile spin-off, Deus Ex: The Fall! :P

        • djsubversive says:

          @Merve2:disqus I’ve already forgotten about that one.

      • djsubversive says:

        should’ve gone for ArmA 3 instead of 2. Did you get the Combined Arms or whatever it’s called, with Operation Arrowhead? OA adds the Desert and Takistan maps, I think, and the “lite” version of PMC gives you Zargabad and the nuke-site, I think (PMC lite comes free with something and lets you play the first mission in the PMC campaign, but the models are all the low-res versions). The armored SUV is pretty neat.

        ArmA 3 looks better, the stances are neat (even though they took out the “chillin’ with a pistol” pose from the Alpha version), and there’s no more “psychic driving.” The instrument panels actually do stuff now! And the editor is easier to navigate and use, which is a big plus for me (since that’s where I’ve spent 90% of my ArmA-time). 

        Plus, if you get ArmA 3, you can join the NRA Weekend Getaway with me and Effigy and be a bro with a polo shirt, sandals, and NV Goggles strapped to your baseball cap. 

    • Raging Bear says:

      I urge you to stick with Borderlands 2. I groused quite a bit about the first, but I pretty much found all my complaints corrected in 2 (mainly that it has drastically more variety in environments/enemies/missions, and is way more fun because of it). This is not apparent for the first part of the game where you’re in a relatively limited environment and have a lot of forced contact with Clap trap.

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Oh, it’d be nice if it does. I’m only a few hours in and I haven’t seen much to dissuade my original opinion, but I’ll probably be giving it some more time. Heck, I played the first Borderlands to completion despite my complaints, so we’ll see how I feel later.

        Personally, though, my largest complaint is how co-op works when you’re going through the main storyline. The last time my friend and I played, I had absolutely no idea why we were on half of the missions, with very little time to experiment with different equipment. I know the Borderlands series isn’t heavy on the plot, but I don’t find the combat exciting on its own and I don’t appreciate feeling dragged along for the ride.

        Luckily, I only play with a second person and they’ve suggested that I host the game in the future so I should at least have the opportunity to read the flavor text.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Ah, I can’t speak to the co-op, as I only played it for a few hours total in the original, and never in the sequel. I can say there’s more of a plot in 2, and it’s decent enough.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I will be playing the Mage Knight board game again tonight.  After my first two attempts at playing ended with me in last place, I finally got better at it on the third try.  Tonight will be a different scenario (Druid Nights) but should be fun.

    • blue_lander says:

      I played settlers of Catan on the n-gage, didn’t care for it much

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Wait, was it really on the N-Gage? regardless, boardgames tend to be better when played around a table with some buds.

  2. Jackbert says:

    I took a week off from Fire Emblem: Awakening to suppress my grinding problem, so I’ll finish the story up on that. I think I’m also near the end of Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time so I’ll try to polish that off as well. Finally, I played a lot on Steam this week; finishing Hotline Miami (who wants to talk about the ending?) and starting Borderlands 2. I’ll play more of each. Also, if I get my OS updated, I’ll start X-Com: Enemy Unknown.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Which ending? Did you find all the Scrabble tiles?

      • duwease says:

        Crap, I forgot I need to go back and do that.. I was gonna, and then I thought “Well I’ll wait for them to fix the achievements first”, and they never did.  Is the second ending worth it?

        • PaganPoet says:

          It’s not wildly different, it just leads to a bit of more informative dialogue. I think it’s “worth it” only because I’m a completionist and I had fun replaying the levels anyway.

      • Jackbert says:

        No, but I’m going to.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Hey Jack! I finally figured out my friend code with the assistance of Dr Flim Flam! I’m: 1392-4819-4024. I’ve had this system for just over a month, but I finally did it!

      • Jackbert says:

        Cool! Now I can send you poorly drawn Swapnotes! We both have to enter each other’s codes, mine is: 2466-2262-3080. I’ll add you once I get home!

  3. PaganPoet says:

    Raised my eyebrow at his finding Zidane and Tidus as “emo,” but Cloud as “bad ass.”

    Terra > the rest FACT. Your faves could never rock mint green hair.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Zidane Tribal and I are homies for lyfe, and the You’re Not Alone sequence aside he’s probably the least ’emo’ lead character of modern Final Fantasy. Surely Tidus is, in fact, the most emo character of modern Final Fantasy.

      Man, are there still emo kids? Did they die out? Did they all start listening to Skrillex or something? I thought ‘hipster’ supplanted ’emo’ as the generic barb for ‘someone my age I don’t like’ anyway.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I dunno. Tidus does have that whole “I hate my dad” angle going on, but he’s also irritatingly chipper. Vaan is also hardly emo. Lightning could fall under the umbrella, but she doesn’t strike me as “emo” so much as she’s just irritable and short tempered. Squall is…well, there’s no defending that.

        And you’re right, “emo” is pretty much an early noughties term, isn’t it? Not sure what happened to the emo crowd, but I’m glad I’m able to flat iron my hair again and not feel weird about it.

        • flowsthead says:

          Vaan is technically the main character, but FF 12 really feels like it has no main character so I don’t usually count Vaan. It seems much more of an ensemble compared to the other games.

          Zidane is the most cocky, but in a good way. He’s just a great adventure hero.

        • djsubversive says:

          @flowsthead:disqus Vaan is a chump and I hated having to spend the first six hours or whatever it was with him and Penelo.

          FF XII is Star Wars, but they split Luke up into Vaan and Basch, and then forced us to use the crappy lame-wad stupid-head half of Luke for-fucking-ever. 

          As soon as I got the chance, Vaan got sent to the ship to not adventure, but he got to make pew-pew noises because he wants to be a sky-pirate.

        • zzyzazazz says:

          @djsubversive:disqus Basch isn’t Luke, he’s pretty clearly Han.

        • neodocT says:

           Squall: “…”

        • djsubversive says:

          @zzyzazazz:disqus Balthier definitely thinks he’s the main character. Doesn’t he even say at one point “I’m the protagonist of this story”? I think the game should have gone from Reks in the tutorial to Balthier and Fran and their heist. Vaan is just dead weight. Penelo too, but not to such an annoying extent.

    • rvb1023 says:

      I have always asserted FF’s female protagonists are better than their males. Even if you sub Terra for Celes.

      You could even argue that Yuna is just as important as Tidus (even though the game is from Tidus’ POV) and that Ashe and Basch split the role of main character in XII. That’s the actual main characters mind you, not whatever Vaan and Penelo are supposed to be.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Since most FF games (at least the ones I played, so I guess through FFXII are ultimately about a woman upon whom the world rests, yes, I’d say they’re stealth main characters.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Yeah, you’ve got a good point. Many of the heroines are just as important or even more important to their respective worlds than the male protagonists:

          Rydia, Lenna, Terra, Celes, Aerith, Rinoa, Garnet/Dagger, Yuna, Ashe, Lightning, Serah

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          When I was a younger man more inclined to game analysis (which is now on the comeback thanks to this fine website), I realized that all Final Fantasy games are about young girls with power, known or otherwise, who must comet o terms with that power in order to save the world. There is a male protagonist, but he’s more of a player cipher than an intrinsic plot element.

      • djsubversive says:

        “… not whatever Vaan and Penelo are supposed to be.”

        marketing ploys.

      • Dave Dalrymple says:

        It’s a really common fantasy trope to have a female who must sacrifice her life to save the world, and is accompanied by a male character. They fall in love. The female character has made peace with her inevitable death, but the male doesn’t find out right away. (See, for example: Elfstones of Shannara, Final Fantasy VII, X, and Adventure.) 

        In these stories, the male is almost always the main character. The focus is on the male character overcoming their grief and moving on. The female character remains an enigma. We’re not privy to her fears and doubts, if any. (Yuna is an exception.)

        This is a shame. Following a character as they prepare to sacrifice themselves is a powerful story. (Gregory Mcdonald’s novel The Brave is a fantastic example. Johnny Depp’s film adaptation misses the point.)

        I’d love to play a game that explores that theme. The sacrificial hero is pretty common now, but it tends to come up at the last minute. In Mass Effect 3, for example, Shepard doesn’t have time fear death. S/he has only a few minutes to do her thing. I want a slow march to the inevitable, filled with angst.

      • djsubversive says:

        “I have always asserted FF’s female protagonists are better than their males.”

        Counterpoint: Balthier.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Balthier is uncharacteristically awesome for a FF character, though.

          …and also handsome and charming. *blush*

          Plus he travels with a stripper bunny lady who kind of sounds like Bjork.

        • rvb1023 says:

           Protagonists. Balthier is awesome but XII seemed to be mostly about Basch and Ashe. Actually, drop Vaan and Penelo and XII has the best cast hands down. I’ll even put up with the FF version of the Playboy bunny.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      I’m convinced that every person that insists that VII is their favorite only believes that because they haven’t played VI.  And most of the time, I’m right.

      • Harry Palm says:

        I’ve played VI and I don’t like it at all.  The story is just a Star Wars rip-off with Darth Vader replaced by the Joker.  The fact that The Joker disappears for half the game is a problem, too.  There’s also that stupid squid that follows you around.  That was just dumb.  I didn’t like how the Esper mechanics only developed the characters you were currently using because it forces you to use as few characters as possible.  This is even more of a problem when you factor in the fact that the game has far too many playable characters.  It has the largest roster of any Final Fantasy game but has a system that pushes you to use as few as possible.  The playable characters are good, though.  I do give the game that.  I just wish I could’ve actually used most of them.  I think it’s an incredibly overrated game.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Those are pretty fair criticisms. I’ll admit I do have rose-colored glasses on when I look back at the game, but the large cast never bothered me. I actually quite liked grinding in this game, teaching everyone all of the spells.

          The squid was just comic relief. I know he is a bit silly, but the rest of the game can be rather oppressive in its bleakness (the genocide of a people for economic and political gain, brainwash and slavery, an actual apocalypse, hell, even teenage pregnancy is touched on), so I appreciate the humorous scenes as well.

          As for the plot being a Star Wars rip-off, I think that was clearly intentional. In fact, wasn’t Final Fantasy VI the first game to introduce Biggs and Wedge? That’s an outright Star Wars reference in what I think was meant to be an homage. And, honestly, you could make the argument that Final Fantasy VII has the same basic storyline as well.

          Anyway, Final Fantasy VI is by far my favorite, but I can see how others might prefer a different one.

        • aklab says:

          *slow clap* You really had me going! For a minute there I thought you were serious. Whew! 

      • The correct answer to the question of whether VI or VII is better is “which ever one I played first”

        Real OGs like IV though because of innovative go to the moon technology

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          That might be true enough. I played IV well after playing both VI and VII. I liked it just fine but I gave up playing because there were a number of small conveniences introduced in VI–auto-equip, for one–that were a pain to play without.

          Honestly, my lukewarm feelings toward VII likely stems from the fact that EVERYONE I knew was playing the damn game so I had a concentrated dose of it for quite a while. To be honest, I do really think the Materia system is well exectuted. But Cloud is still a bit of a dull non-entity.

    • zzyzazazz says:

      Cloud is definitely second only to Squall in the “emo” category.

  4. Enkidum says:

    Ratchet & Clank (the first one, got the HD collection last week), which I’m enjoying a lot, been a long time since I’ve played a jump-around-hitting-stuff-and-picking-up-coins platformer, and it’s a very nice one.

    XCOM – have to finish the last mission on my first playthrough where I saved every step of the way and so avoided losing any soldiers, then going to replay without combat saves.

    Persona 3 FES – I just started summer holidays and might as well keep grinding. But zzzzzz….

    Awesomenauts, because it’s awesome.

    Maybe some more of KOTOR on the iPad.

    Maybe The Cave / The Unfinished Swan / Quantum Conundrum, which I’ve been playing through occasionally with the kids.

    And I picked up Binding of Isaac and Endless Space on Steam sales, both of which are completely unplayable due to bugs. Which is annoying, because I really want to play them. Also got Civ 5, might just go into that instead. 

    Yeah, I might have a few too many games on the go.

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      The second Ratchet & Clank is even better.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       That’s weird, I never had any problems with Binding of Isaac, and I’ve logged a ton of hours on it.
       Anyhow, there’s a new, improved version coming out sometime later this year, so it might be worth waiting for it.

  5. EmperorNortonI says:

    Thing are recovering a bit for me IRL, so more gaming is on the horizon.

    I’ve been playing a TON of Rogue Legacy lately.  That game is fun, and great when I feel like being mindless.

    However, I’m still sad about Company of Heroes 2.  I keep wanting to log back in, but I know it would just be bad for me.  Stupid nazi-fetishists and their game-imbalancing whining.

    So, I might see if Wargame:Airland Battle will scratch that itch.  I got it on the Steam summer sale, but haven’t installed it yet.

    I also might try out the Rising Storm expansion for Red Orchestra 2.  I’ve heard good things.

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      I am very glad to hear that you are doing better.  It sucks to hear that nazi-fetishists are ruining what could be a good game.

      • EmperorNortonI says:

        I may be over-reacting a bit.  However, it’s been my observation that in any WWII game, the really hardest of the hard-core players seem to gravitate towards playing the Germans in a somewhat disproportionate manner.  Furthermore, they totally buy into the myth of the invincible Wehrmacht, superior to everyone at everything, and they are not happy when anyone else has a unit that is equal to or superior to a German equivalent.

        Which makes the East Front a real pain in the ass for them, because Russian hardware was pretty dang good.  Their problems were almost entirely in command and organization, which are very difficult to represent even in something as big and complicated as War in the East.

        Furthermore, while a lot of German hardware was pretty dang impressive when you look at pure combat stats (armor thickness, gun size, etc.,) they really paid a price in terms of mobility and reliability.  Further, the areas where the Allies had a real advantage are kinda boring – mobile artillery, radar, air support, the 50 cal, and replacements.

        From what I can tell, the original design philosophy in Company of Heroes 2 was to take the Americans and make them a little more quantity-oriented.  However, they didn’t have the guts to give the Russians a true quantity advantage in terms of total squads, so they just fiddled with the figure-count on support squads and overall manpower pricing.  However, with the quantity matching up 1 to 1, they had to give the Russians some units that were a little better than the Germans, to make up for other areas where they were weaker.  But then the German players complained, and at the moment, ALL the Russian units are weaker, and the prices don’t really allow you to get any sort of numerical advantage to make up for things.  Furthermore, the Russian tanks are garbage, across the board. 


    • CrabNaga says:

      I think I hit a brick wall in Rogue Legacy when I started New Game +2. Along with the enemies being higher level, it replaces every single enemy with its third tier counterpart, so there’s tons of projectiles going all over the place, especially if you encounter one or more of the ‘McRib’ enemy.

      • EmperorNortonI says:

         I’m not sure if I’m going to play all the way through a single complete, let alone three.  Just not my style.

  6. Citric says:

    A few things:

    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – I love Platinum, I love them so much, they’re so good at the whole over the top action thing, and their games are deceptively deep for all that flash. That said, I am terrible at this game. I am quite far in, will probably finish it, will probably get killed a million times in the process.

    Bomberman 2 for DS – I like it, it’s got neat little challenges embedded in there and it’s pretty fun. 

    The 3rd Birthday – I like the body swapping mechanic, it’s a neat way to handle extra “lives” and is surprisingly flexible. I wish I could use it in a game with a different story, because this is the worst. Aya was a confident detective before, now she’s a whimpering (she makes the most pathetic noise when her ammo is depleted) amnesiac whose clothes fall off if you look at them funny (it’s an armor damage mechanic). The story is some Source Code-inspired time travel malarky that makes no sense and doesn’t bother trying to make sense. Some people can tell that the random soldier I’m running in is Aya, some can’t, it’s ridiculous. Yet, it’s still fun, so I’m continuing on. 

    Digital Devil Saga – I am moving very slowly on this one, I must confess, but it’s a really good game anyway.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       I still can’t get into Revengeance – not only am I terrible at it, I just don’t find it any fun. It’s a Platinum game, so I keep trying since there’s every chance something will click at some point and I’ll come to love it. 
       It doesn’t help that the characters, plotting, and cutscenes put me off pretty badly…

      • SamPlays says:

        I hated the demo. Revengeance may be one of the least fun games I’ve played in a while (and I’ll usually go out of my way to give something a chance). It looks great and the core mechanic of slicing watermelons into a million pieces is interesting but the whole thing seemed more like a tech demo than an actual game.

    • Gipson says:

       I also couldn’t stand Revengeance. I can’t remember the last time I played a game I was that bad at. I mean really bad. Like, can’t consistently beat the first combat tutorial bad.

      • Citric says:

        The thing is the entire game is built around the perry/counter mechanic, which is explained really poorly for something the entire combat system is built around. Once I got something of a handle on that the game got better, and now I really like it.

  7. Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

    I think I’m about halfway through Alundra now and I like it a lot. Some of the bosses are really cool. I’ll probably play a little more of that.

    I didn’t end up playing any Parasite Eve this last week though. I got distracted by finally getting a Steam account and buying Binding of Isaac (which is awesome), Hotline Miami (which is addictive, “I should really go to sleep, just one more try” and then two more hours of playing kind of addictive), and Surgeon Simulator 2013 (which my CPU isn’t good enough to run properly making it nearly unplayable… or more unplayable?).

    I also finally started Grim Fandango which I’ve owned for years and never got around to playing. I got to year 3 and so far I love it. I probably haven’t enjoyed an adventure game quite as much since playing Day of the Tentacle.

    • Citric says:

      Parasite Eve is excellent, make sure you don’t touch the sequels.

      • Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

         Really? I have Parasite Eve 2 also and was planning on starting it after I finish the first one. Is it really bad enough that I just shouldn’t bother?

        • Citric says:

          It’s pretty bad. They went to a RE-style tank driving control scheme, so the controls are just terrible. I don’t remember the story that well, but I remember being angry at it.

          If you have it anyway, might as well try it, but don’t get your hopes up. I made it through the first disc, but unless it turned into a completely different game in the last few hours it might be the worst game Square ever made.

        • The_Horse_Chestnut says:

          Honestly, the control scheme is the only bad part about PE2, but I never thought it was too much of an issue. Most of the gameplay is more of the puzzle solving variety anyway.
          And the worst game Square ever made? Ever played Ehrgeiz?

          Speaking of Square, after trying the FFXIV beta last weekend, I felt an urge to replay FFXII. I had been playing the International version (with the zodiac license grid) earlier in the year, but got annoyed at having to make too many tough choices in developing my characters, so I restarted with the standard version instead.

        • Citric says:

          @The_Horse_Chestnut:disqus  I have played Ehrgeiz, though I played it how it was meant to be played – with other people. It might not be so great as a single player experience.

          And since I’m also comparing it to the super racist Square’s Tom Sawyer, it’s an expression of how deep my loathing for PEII actually is.

    • Girard says:

      You are playing some excellent games! Also, this reminds me that I’ve gotten halfway through Alundra like, three or four times… I should actually knuckle down and beat that thing.

    • CrabNaga says:

      I played Alundra a long time ago. All I remember is the story seems to revolve around characters constantly dying (and the game gets a ton of mileage with the “sad song” on the soundtrack). The Zelda dungeon mechanics are interesting, but I recall there’s a ton of really obtuse block puzzles in the game. 

      Seriously, you know you’re progressing in the game if you see somebody die. It’s like a ratio of one character dying per dungeon. Another fun fact, the “sad song” that the game uses is actually also the “sad song” in Legend of Legaia.

    • PPPfive says:

      How are you playing Grim Fandango? It wont run on my PC

      • Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

        It barely works on mine. The audio glitches constantly forcing me to save, quit out, reopen the game and reload my save very frequently. The load time is super fast though so it’s tolerable, but probably only because the game is so good.

        Why can’t you play it? Is it freezing right after the opening cutscene? Mine did that, but there’s a patch for it. Don’t remember where to get it, but it was easy to find.

        • PPPfive says:

          It irritates me that I can’t buy it for a dollar on Steam. For some reason I feel entitled to that

  8. caspiancomic says:

    Final Fantasy VII you say, eh?? HMMM THAT IS PRETTY CONVENIENT TIMING FOR ME. What could I be talking about, will we find out this afternoon at about 3 o’clock???? MAYBE WE WILL???

    Also, uh, I’m gonna be playing Virtue’s Last Reward. I’ve buried something like 15 hours into it and only just gotten my first proper ending. I got a few Game Overs and To Be Continueds in there too, but now one of my little question marks for my save file has a picture there. Hurray! That ending was confusing as shit though! I’ve still got at least 2/3s of the game left to explore, so I’ll try and get a few hours in between screenings of Only God Forgives and adventures at the street art and taco truck festival at the old Brickworks.

    In other news, I still have no idea what my 3DS friend code is. Am I supposed to have one for my system, or do I get a different one for every game, or… Please don’t tell me it’s written down on the system’s box or in the manual somewhere, because I threw all that stuff in the garbage without reading it. Help me, @Jackbert:disqus! I don’t know how to use technology!

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Yes. Pull up the square happy face at the top of your home screen and all will be revealed.

      • caspiancomic says:

        Oh snap! That wasn’t hard at all! Cheers, Flim Flam.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I spent yesterday figuring out how to delete people since there was a friend of a friend who was putting up dumb messages in my town and left me uneasy to keep Pawnee open overnight. It only took a second, but they sure do put it in a  different section of the friend area (it’s under settings)

    • indy2003 says:

      I’ll also be playing Virtue’s Last Reward – just a bit further along than you are this point; currently have three faces on my save file. I’ve gotten to the point where the story has me so hooked that the puzzle room sequences are starting to feel like a chore. I mean, they’re clever and satisfying on their own terms, but I’m increasingly eager to be done with them. Also, fingers crossed that Only God Forgives is as good as it looks like it should be and not as bad as everyone is saying it is.

  9. Merve says:

    I’ve tried to get out game-time-for-money mindset that Mr. Ferm seems to espouse, but I have to admit it’s attractive and logical. I still boast about how I got over 40 hours of fun from a $3.74 purchase of Jade Empire. That’s less than ten cents per hour of fun!

    This weekend, it’s probably more XCOM and Resonance for me. I might try revisiting Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, or Costume Quest if I have time. I’ve never bothered to complete any of them, but I probably should at some point.

    • Girard says:

      I’ve, conversely, gone whole-hog on that mentality and now apply it to all media consumption. I’ll only read War & Peace, Infinite Jest, or phone books, and I’ll only watch Berlin Alexanderplatz, Shoa, and Resan. My only criterion for great art is “How good a bargain is this?”

      • DrFlimFlam says:

         Same. Really cuts down on movie purchases.

        • Girard says:

          It’s tricky with non-time-based art. If I go to a museum that charges admission I need to spend at least an hour looking at each painting to make sure I get my money’s worth.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Believe me, there were LECTURES about spending $75 at the Milwaukee County Zoo and only spending like four hours there. If it was me, I would have shut that place DOWN.

      • duwease says:

        Unfortunately I took a speed reading course back in the day, so I have to smear Vaseline on my glasses to really get my money’s worth out of a book.

      • CrabNaga says:

        I purchased a set of the first four Song of Ice and Fire books. That George R. R. Martin really knows how to craft a fine and intricate deal!

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          He also knows how to describe a fine and intricate meal.

          Seriously, ASOIAF dinner parties are the best. Especially if you make people choose families and some morons choose Stark and/or Tully. Give them some bread and salt.

          And then laugh.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I subscribe wholly to that idea. My standard is generally $1 or less per hour of fun.

      Thanks to Steam and general patience, I always do that or better.

  10. I’ve just bought a copy of Uncharted 1 and as i’ve never played any of the Uncharted, i’ll be inclined to finish the whole trilogy.

    Also, i’m still playing Civ 5 and Witcher 2.

    • ProfFarnsworth says:

      All of those choices are good.  You will have to keep me appraised about your playthrough of Uncharted.  Mine was terrible and horrible, but I want a second opinion and would love to hear yours.

    • SamPlays says:

      A word of caution based on experience… when you hit the later parts of Uncharted 1 (no spoilers), you may find it easier to run-and-gun rather than aim for headshots (or aim at all). Also, Naughty Dog mucked around with their shooting mechanics in a really bad way on Uncharted 3 (really heavy recoil, a little too much precision required). They released a patch that provides an option to revert to the style most people seem to love from the first two games. It may not sound like much but I started enjoying Uncharted 3 only after switching to the original aiming. Uncharted 2 is fantastic, so enjoy!

      • indy2003 says:

        Maybe it was just my lack of skill, but I found the final stretch of Uncharted 1 to be ridiculously difficult in contrast to the rest of the game. I died so many times trying to *redacted*.

        • SamPlays says:


          I found the game got more difficult once you hit the Nazi submarine base. Up to that point, I became very accustomed to the cover-shoot mechanic. But those mutated things proved to be too fast and fearless for that tactic to work. As I mentioned above, I eventually learned to stop aiming and just fire the machine gun blindly while running AWAY from the creatures (going in circles usually worked best, especially in the power generator room). They were fast but I could run faster. For me, it was a memorable aspect of the first game because I had to completely abandon the comfort and precision of cover-shooting and resort to a run-and-gun play style that I usually don’t use.

    • Gipson says:

      Hope you enjoy Uncharted. Obviously Uncharted 2 is the pinnacle of the series – that’s common knowledge and I agree – but I think the first game is actually underrated in most hindsight opinions. I really think that’s a great game with awesome world design, good character moments and decent enough combat built around some unique set pieces.

      • SamPlays says:

        The only problem is that once you play the sequel, the first game seems downright puny in comparison. A single island with even less deviation from the back-to-back swarms of enemies flooding the screen.

  11. Ain't Neva Gonna Stop Slugging says:

    Before all you nerds start whining about how “overrated” Final Fantasy VII is, I want to let you in on a little secret:

    One time I was pooping and poop came out.

    • Citric says:

      Don’t talk about pooping. I got some kind of ailment in that area and now my body is like “you need to poop all the time now! Lulz.”

      This has been me complaining about my butt.

    • Miko the Squiz says:

      And on the “Final Fantasy VII is a classic worthy of its reputation” side of the debate, Sluggo, ladies and gentlemen.

  12. Cloks says:

    I beat Red Dead Redemption earlier this week and enjoyed it so much that I’m playing another PS3 game – the very similar 3D Dot Game Heroes.

    Hopefully I’ll get the chance to play some more Sentinels of the Multiverse which is just stone-cold Steve awesome. You get to be a superhero with a preconstructed deck fighting a deck that plays itself and it’s really challenging and fun and has enough combinations to last for a while without getting stale. Highly recommended.

    • PaganPoet says:

      3D Dot Game Heroes’s Tower Defense minigame is more fun than it has any right to be.

      • Cloks says:

        The mechanics in that are pretty great – letting you fight the baddies at the cost of doing more power later down the line is a gimmick I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s pretty hard to make a TD game fresh but they pulled it off and it’s completely optional as well.

    • Gipson says:

       Sentinels of the Multiverse is great. I’ll have a chance to play with a bunch of the expansions this Sunday.

      The only beef I have with it, in comparison to most co-op games, is that it’s really quite easy. Even with advanced rules and the more challenging villains, once you’ve figured out the game’s flow, it’s hard to lose with 4-5 heroes.

    • Sarapen says:

      So I take it you didn’t do too many of the ambient challenges? I shot so many goddamn people while surfing Teen Wolf-style on the roof of the train but I could never get that damn achievement.

      Sometimes after a hard day at work I’d unwind by turning on Red Dead Redemption and walking into a saloon and hogtying everyone in the room. There’s something I find soothing about having a room full of prostitutes and cowboys shouting impotent threats and begging for mercy while writhing like worms on the ground.

      I also tried making a corpse pyramid like I used to do in Oblivion but apparently when there are too many bodies some of them start disappearing when you take your eyes off them.

      But is there anything more satisfying than lassoing a dirty horse thief and dragging him behind your trusty steed as you canter through coyote country?

      • Cloks says:

        The furthest I levelled up the ambient challenges was to about 6 as a Master Hunter – I enjoyed them but concentrated on the main game. I just got a PS3, so I’m focusing on beating as many games as I can before I go back and get platinum trophies on them. Red Dead is definitely something I’d like to return to – especially for the zombie DLC – but I have a stack of other games to beat before I sink all my time into it.

  13. NakedSnake says:

    Pretty good interview! For myself I am going to finish off The Walking Dead, as I am about halfway through and pretty into it. I love all the hard choices you have to make, and the way that your opinion of the other characters changes depending on how useful/reliable they seem to be.

    I’m also getting pretty into this paperback I found while shopping at Target. Monster Hunter International. Apparently there are monsters among us at all times and they are only kept in check by mercenary outfits like MHI. So I’m going to need to set aside some time for that.

    • Matt Kodner says:

      god bless those anonymous MHI hunters. we may not see your work, but dammit if we don’t respect it. 

    • Sarapen says:

      I’ve read that guy’s Grimnoir books (yes that’s the title of the series), basically the 1930s but with wizards, except from the way the wizards are described they’re actually X-Men mutants, making it puzzling why they’re called wizards in the first place.

  14. Matt Kodner says:

    I was planning on saying, “I hope to start The Walking Dead this weekend because Gerardi gifted it to me for my birthday,” but then the dangdest thing happened. I decided to check it out Tuesday night, and ended up beating the whole thing by Wednesay night. I really loved it, and happy to be caught up with the rest of you.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Aggh, that reminds me, I might also finally start 400 Days this weekend! Can’t put it off forever!

      • Girard says:

        You’ll likely also finish it this weekend. It’s pretty brief, but does some interesting stuff with narrative structure.

        The eps themselves are sometimes a little too linear, though, I found. Even moreso than the Walking Dead, you’ll be stuck in areas/sequences where there is literally only one action avaialble, literal “click to advance game” stuff. One of the most grating is a sequence where you are walking along a road, and you can only “press up to advance game.” ‘Up’ is literally the only button you can press, and you’re just expected to hold it for a few minutes.

        So, yeah, it exacerbates and condenses both what WD proper was lauded for and criticized for. Still, it’s certainly worth the hour or two it takes to play through.

  15. rvb1023 says:

    I picked up The Secret World from Steam and am actually pumped to start an MMO. I really wish this game had been a single player RPG instead but still excited nonetheless.

    Also, this little game came out called Shin Megami Tensei IV. So I have something to do for the next few months regardless.

    • NakedSnake says:

      Yea, it seems like any appealing idea for an RPG ends up becoming an MMO these days. I’ve heard good things about Secret World, but after avoiding MMOs all these years, I can’t see myself dividing in now.

      • rvb1023 says:

         I wouldn’t have gotten to it but they cancelled the subscription. A one time fee I can stomach.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Yeah, it’s kind of ruined by being an MMO – they would have probabaly been able to implement decent gameplay otherwise.
         Still, it’s a lovely, lovely game which Funcom probably wouldn’t have been able to make – not with that scope – unless they pitched it as an MMO. It’s also mostly soloable, and has hands down one of the best, most interesting settings I’ve seen in ages. I’d recommend giving it a go.

      • neodocT says:

         I felt that way about The Old Republic. I thought it was neat to have a Star Wars RPG where you’re not necessarily the Jedi chosen one. You can be a bounty hunter, a smuggler, an assassin!

        When I started playing, the story did seem interesting enough, but the grindy, generic gameplay put me off, and I haven’t gone back since.

  16. 2StoryOuthouse says:

    While I’ve mostly just been vacillating between Dishonored (because I’m finally getting around to it) and FTL (because I picked it up during the Steam sale), this weekend most of my gaming time will probably go to the Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Beta. It’s completely insane and messy, with no objectives other than the developers’ taunts (“I’ve hidden on X island, whoever can kill me first will get $100,000!”), but what other game is going to throw 100+ people into one map and invite them all to blow shit/each other up?


  17. ProfFarnsworth says:

    I have too many choices this weekend.  Mostly though I will be spending all my waking moments working on the very difficult and annoying game called “pack all your crap into boxes, and prepare to move across the country” game.  I will probably rage quit a few times and get little accomplished.  I might try and do a bit more of The Legend of Dragoon.  I have gotten to disk 3 and am now just grinding for money to buy ridiculously shiny armor.  I will also try some of the games I have been hoarding this Steam Sale.  Saint’s Row: The Third and Legends of Grimrock are pretty fun so far, especially for how inexpensive they were to me. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       I liked Legends of Grimrock until I realized it was a puzzle crawler as much as anything else. Eventually I just don’t want to try and solve them anymore.

      I will also be playing Saint’s Row!

  18. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    So from what I can tell from the photo, Speedy Ortiz (really?) consists of 3rd Rock from The Sun-era Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a creepy home-schooled guy who took that shirt off his first muder victim, creepy home-schooled guy’s mother, and the guy from The Vines after narrowly coming second in a hotdog eating competition. Album of the year, I’m calling it now.

  19. vinnybushes says:

    This weekend I’ll be playing Shin Megami Tensei IV. I’m getting into that compulsive groove I sometimes get into with pokemon. I’m fusing demons and leveling skills like crazy. The main difference is that unlike pokemon this has a story. A good one. With darkness and foreboding and mystery. It’s a blend of science fiction and fantasy that happens to scratch just about every jrpg itch I can have simultaneously. I’ll try to get out and do some other stuff this weekend, and… crap! I just stayed up all night playing the damn thing didn’t I?

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Even with the Ninty eShop offer I cannot bring myself to fork over $50 for a game in a series I’ve never actually completed. It’s so tempting ($30 back for registering a gift plus ONE game I have to buy), but I just can’t do it.

      • vinnybushes says:

         I picked up the nifty boxed copy which has enough substantial extras that I feel the purchase was justified.

  20. Destroy Him My Robots says:

    Guess who considered buying Aquanaut’s Holiday 2 and Tail of the Sun digitally last month, but didn’t. Now guess which games got added to PS+! Alright! Sales? Who needs sales? All I know about those two is what I picked up from reading Scroll so this should be exciting. One is focused on marine life and the other on prehistory!

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      That’s the only downside with sales. With all of the kick-ins and freebies and stuff you’re bound to look foolish at some point. the only way to truly win is to never buy anything and then cash in when it’s free.

  21. dreadguacamole says:

     I finally caved in and got a Wii U, spent a big chunk of last night getting it set up.
     Always thought you couldn’t get any worse than Sony at building user interfaces, but man does Nintendo prove me wrong. Also, there’s a couple of pretty important bits that didn’t come with the package, which friends tell me is a pretty common business tactic.

     Aaaanyhow – as soon as my son gets a hold of it, I’m done for. I’ll likely be playing the Rayman demo over and over for the foreseeable future.

     If I get any gaming time for myself, I want to polish off the new Secret World missions, and some of the stuff I’ve been getting in the Steam sale. Mars: War Logs is surprisingly good! Mark of the Ninja is awesome!

    • Raging Bear says:

      If you like the Lego games, I felt that Lego City: Undercover might be the best so far.

      • indy2003 says:

        Agreed. It’s a complete delight. Honorable mention to Lego Batman 2, though. I know some disagree, but I’m quite pleased that they’ve added voice acting to the Lego titles.

        • Raging Bear says:

          I was ambivalent about it in Lego Batman 2, but I rather like it in Lego City. The gags are so endearingly goofy and borderline vaudevillian, (I’m thinking mainly of the sidequests) and they wouldn’t work without being voiced.

          Plus, Peter Serafinowicz is in it, and that man is solid awesome.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          LEGO Batman 2 is definitely one of the better entries. LOTR isn’t bad, either, though like all LEGO games it has glitches.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Batman 2 and LotR are probably my favorites too. Lego City certainly looks great, but it needs to come down in price a little, I think.
           I’ve got such a backlog of games I can afford to be picky. Thanks, steam!

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        Next to Earthbound, a super-annoying WiiU exclusive.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      I have a sneaking suspicion that the Wii U is going to be the first Nintendo console I don’t own, at least not until well in its lifespan. It weirdly kind of bums me out, I used to grab Nintendo hardware as soon as possible, but oh well.

      (And Mark of the Ninja is indeed awesome.)

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Yeah, I actually feel kinda bad that Nintendo fucked up the Wii U so bad. I’m sure some of my friends will get one when the new smash bros comes out, but I don’t think anyone I know has one now. The 3DS looks cool at least and has a ton of games I want to play. I’ll probably get one of those over a Wii U.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         I wasn’t planning on getting it, and I’m not really a fan of Nintendo, but:
        – it’s currently dirt cheap in the UK, same price as a 3ds.
        – Rayman Legends is, as far as I’m concerned, a killer app, and the wii is the best platform for it. My son’s borderline obsession with the first game helps.
        – the ps4 and the xbone left me completely underwhelmed, especially since I have a relatively beefy PC. The wii seemed to be the only one offering something remotely different.

  22. Girard says:

    This weekend I need to catch up on work I’ve been procrastinating on all summer, but if I have a spare moment I may continue playing Alan Wake, though it’s leaving me a little cold right now (for a game about writing, the writing sure is kinda…bad?).

    After listening to the latest Retronauts podcast, I’m kind of in a mood to play the GBC Wario games I never played through on the GBC, despite them sounding really interesting, design-wise. So maybe Wario 2 or 3 is in the cards this weekend.

    (ALSO last week that new Retronauts thing did a whole podcast on the connection between prog rock and video game music, which is SO up my alley…Everyone should listen to that.)

    • neodocT says:

       Isn’t Alan Wake based on Stephen King, though? Seems like the bad writing’s just a good homage.

      And the GBC Wario games are absolutely amazing puzzle platformer things featuring an immortal protagonist, and make me sad that the Wario Land series seems to be dead. 

      • Girard says:

        I didn’t want to shit all over King, since I haven’t read him personally, and know folks who like him well enough, but, yeah, the fact that the game frequently drops references to King as though they are erudite literary references probably indicates the literary aspirations of the game.

        • neodocT says:

          I’ve read a few of his books. King’s very good at coming up with plots,
          and I really like his use of setting, even though 90% of his stories take
          place in small town Maine. But his writing generally ranges from average to awful, really. He’s a fun enough read, but as far as literature goes, he’s very much lacking.

    • a_scintillating_comment says:

      The story! It’s simple! A writer, contacts a writer within a story about a writer who’s trying to write his way out of a story he forgot writing by writing another story…

      Yeah, I wanted to believe I was missing something in the story, it was too deep for my plebian understanding but I think something was lost when the story made it’s way from Sam Lake’s head to that virtual northwest. But there’s something to be enjoyed in trying to piece it together, even if it never does come together.

    • Citric says:

      Wario Land 2 is the best. I didn’t like Wario Land 3 as much, but 2 is easily the best puzzle platformer I’ve played.

    • Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

      I tried really hard to like Alan Wake. It started out being very interesting and just got less and less so throughout. I think I got to the very start of the last level and haven’t played it since. That was over a year ago. One of these days I’ll throw that game in and finish it, but it’s hard when I have so many games I actually want to play.

  23. neodocT says:

    I originally to replay Metal Gear Solid 4 before I lose access to my PS3 in August, but I got Skyrim in the Steam summer sale, so that’s not going to happen. Playing Skyirm really brought me back to my old days of obsessing over the Elder Scrolls lore in Morrowind, in a way that Oblivion didn’t. I really hated Oblivion.

  24. DrFlimFlam says:

    Playing Fire Emblem Awakening on Easy without permadeath was a mistake, I now realize, because I spent 40-50 hours developing habits I now have to break, and it’s SO HARD to break them. Keeping your unit tightly controlled, letting your enemy come to you, keeping them together, especially early on, I almost had a level beat last night when I got sloppy and Lissa paid the ultimate price. So yeah, sometimes I just beat a level, no problem, and sometimes I grind a single level out for a week.

    Animal Crossing, which is NO LESS frustrating. I watched bells crater at 28 yesterday before spiking up to 126, so I sold, and then my friend announces his price of 501 bells per.  I may get out of the turnip game altogether. Too much stress for that kind of experience.

    Still keeping one eye open on the Steam sale, though it seems possible, even likely, that I may be done, as most of the items seem to be repeating. Still, so far I’ve got Ace Combat, Rage, Saints Row the Third Complete Package, Just Cause 2, and Torchlight II. More than I thought I’d buy.

  25. Dave Dalrymple says:

    I’m going to dig out the SNES this weekend. I’ll probably play Final Fantasy VI and some Tetris Attack puzzle mode. 

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I found my SNES yesterday and saw that I had an almost complete Yoshi’s Island file on there from when I replayed it a few years back. I know what I’m doing this weekend.

    • aklab says:

      Tetris Attack recently came back into my life in a big way. Now every night after dinner is Tetris Attack time! The kids are like, “god, put us to bed already!” and we’re like, “first one to win 15 matches will put you to bed!”

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I almost snagged a tetris attack cart a few weeks back but decided i’d wait until the weekend to pick it up. Immediate regret. 

  26. duwease says:

    Finally managed to find enough individual hours here and there to unlock all the decks in [b]Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014[/b], but I’m finding that the preconstructed deck multiplayer isn’t balanced enough for my tastes, so it’s back to Sealed.

    Actually, I’m going to find time for the new [b]Walking Dead[/b] episode, because the series is fantastic and I want it to know that.

  27. stakkalee says:

    Not too much gaming for me, due to a variety of home improvement chores, but once I finally decide to put those off I’ll probably spend some time with Skyrim, and I’m sure I’ll spend a few hours in the Bomberman MMO which I find highly addictive.

  28. Zack Handlen says:

    Still working through Demon’s Souls, and surprised at how compelling I’m finding my second play-through. I rarely replay modern games, mostly because I feel weird about giving up another thirty hours or so when there are new games I’m interested in playing (like, say, The Last Of Us, which I really really like, but have yet to finish), but for some reason, this is scratching an itch. Going through it again is a much quicker experience than the first time I played it; I still die often enough, but the terror of exploration is largely gone. And it’s fun that, since I haven’t played the game in a couple years, I don’t concretely remember where everything is and how to beat the bosses, and yet enough of me does remember that the difficulty isn’t nearly as stressful. I wouldn’t trade the intensity of my first run-through for anything, but there’s definitely pleasure in not having to stress quite so much. (That said, I’ve started the poisoned shanty town section, and ugh. I’m wondering if I’ll actually finish this playthrough, or if I’ll just get to a point where the amount of effort I have to put in isn’t worth the enjoyment, and quit. Seems like there’s always that equation in my head, whatever game I’m playing–games get more difficult as you get deeper in, and sooner or later, I start wondering if the work to reward ration is in my favor at all anymore.)

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      This is a gaming conceit woven into their very fabric, and I’m glad when some games deviate. Yes, I should be getting better at the game, so I don’t mind a mild difficulty curve, but I mostly play games to enjoy myself, so I don’t need a game that becomes a chore due to difficulty. Some people like that, and I’m glad there are games for them, like the Souls games, but man, sometimes I just want a fun adventure.

  29. Shadow_play says:

    I started playing Elder Scrolls IV for the umpteenth time. I am determined to see it though to the end this time (won’t happen)

    • Fluka says:

      I have played numerous characters and spent hundreds of hours in the last three Elder Scrolls games.  I have still yet to finish a single Main Quest.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I have yet to play more than 15 minutes of an Elder Scrolls game at a time. I know I’m in the minority here, but I get easily overwhelmed by the vastness of it.

        • Fluka says:

          Oh, totally.  I love the games, but sometimes because of the huge number of things to do, it’s like having a second job.  In that, if I actually do quests, I have to keep a little to-do-list next to me to remember what my highest priority tasks are.  No getting sidetracked with more tombs, we have loot to sell!  Do your chores first!  

          Then again, the best way to play is probably just to wander off into the wilderness and explore, homework be damned.  But that can feel like suddenly being dropped into a vast ocean.

        • djsubversive says:

          Skyrim was the first ES game I really got into, and it was because of the Frostfall mod (subtitle: “Hypothermia, Camping, and Survival”). I do quests sometimes, but mostly I get on my horse (thanks, Convenient Horses mod) and ride around exploring stuff and trying not to freeze to death in the mountains. It’s pretty great.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Yeah, you literally spend several hours getting a feel for the world and figuring out your place in it. Which is daunting and makes you wonder how many indie games you could have devoured in that time.

  30. CrabNaga says:

    I’ll be playing Borderlands 2 probably. I’m really glad that they made a class that revolves around how I played the first game (i.e. run in, blast some jerks in the face with a shotgun, get knocked down, kill someone to get a second wind, repeat). The Gunzerker is awesome.

    I have a save at around 1250 AD in Crusader Kings II, in which I just formed Britannia, but also lost the majority of Spain to the invading Aztecs. I don’t really know what I should be doing at this point, because up until now my goal was “form Brittania and maybe take some duchies from heathens in Spain.” Now the Aztecs are here and currently have twice my armies, so I can’t fight them outright. Maybe I’ll just declare Spain a lost cause and try to do something about France or something.

    I’m also in the middle of a Civilization V game with the new expansion, and I’m playing as Venice. I’m making bank off of trade routes, but tensions between me and that jerk Washington are getting to a boiling point. I took Chicago from him when he foolishly decided to try and take Stockholm from me, but it looks like he regrouped his army and is now focusing his efforts on all the other weak Civs in the area.

    I’ve also picked up Reus, Don’t Starve, and Saints Row The Third from the Steam Summer Sale, and should probably try playing those as well.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      I’ve picked up Don’t Starve in the Steam sale as well, and it’s a really great game, but it reeeeally hurts when you die, especially after you have set up a decent base and begin to feel a little comfortable.

      You can usually see death coming about a day in advance (usually after some unwisely planned exploration), and you know you are going to have to try to get some food no matter what, but all the safe places to find food are too far away so you decide to attack some creature, but your weapons are about to break, and so on. You really have to be careful, every little mistake adds up until you are in a spiral of unending tragedies.

  31. a_scintillating_comment says:

    Metal Gear Solid. As part of the Legacy edition that just came out.
    It’s my first Metal Gear game.I’m loving it so far. It holds up quite well. But unexpectedly what I’m enjoying most is the humour. This game is hilarious. All these years I thought it was a more serious game.


    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Kojima has a fun sense of humor. If there’s one thing MGS games do well, it’s understand levity.

      • PaganPoet says:

        One thing that strikes me about the MGS series is that it’s a very Japanese interpretation of American 80s spy and action cinema. The general plots, characters and settings feel like they’re straight out of a movie where Dolph Lundgren plays the villain, but the sense of humor and incomprehensible details of the plot are pure Japanese.

  32. ferrarimanf355 says:

    It’s looking like the Terminator 2 Pinball Arcade Kickstarter is going to make it. $1100 is still needed, and there’s two days to go. 


    Feels good, man. :-)

  33. Fluka says:

    I’ve spent the last week stewing in some kind of weird cold/allergy hybrid which has utterly defeated me and kept me working from home.  This has given me lots of time to play games, and specifically Portal 2.  Which, yeah.  I’m glad I saved it.  Because to me it’s pretty much a perfect game.  Sure, it’s not as elegant or understatedly witty as the first game, but the puzzles are just the right amount of challenging, the environments are fantastic, and the script is damn funny.  Just the right length, too, and finishing with a super-satisfying ending (“Wait, do they want me to..?  YEESS.”)  I also like the little musical cues attached to the different bridges, gels, and faith plates.  Boring to hear someone gush about a game, particularly 2 years after it was “cool”, but I loved it.  Mr. Fluka bought it for $5 at the Steam Sale too, so might play co-op this weekend!

    With Portal 2 now completed, XCOM now takes its place as the “Universally-acclaimed stockpiled game.”Working further through the backlog, I’m now playing Knights of the Old Republic.  Which feels supremely like the joint genetic ancestor of Dragon Age and Mass Effect.  Which it, you know, is.  In both a good and bad way.  Like the “cancer that is killing games” that I am, I still prefer the gameplay and writing of later BioWare (ugh, d20).  But the characters are still pretty great, and I’m enjoying myself quite a bit.  Enough to remember that at one point in my life (like, 20 years ago), I even actively enjoyed Star Wars!  That said, I’m totally gonna break from my usual play style.  Dark Side first time around, and totally not romancing that utter toolbag Carth.

    *Gains 10 Light Side points.  Squints eyes and pictures Carth as the slightly less dorky Kaiden Alenko.*

    God damn it.

    • neodocT says:

      Portal 2 co-op is one of my all time best multiplayer experiences. It’s really nice when you work together to finally get a puzzle. And considering there’s four portals in play, the puzzles are much more complex than in singleplayer, too!

    • dreadguacamole says:

      The ending for portal 2 is right up there with the ending of Planescape Torment, as far as I’m concerned. So good.

    • djsubversive says:

      That whiny biotic in Mass Effect was always “Carth Alenko” to me. It just feels right, and whenever people call him Kaiden, I’m confused for a minute.

      • Fluka says:

        Effigy and I came up with the name Carthden Alenkasi.  I also call him “Kaiden, but in space!”

        • djsubversive says:

          Also, Atton Rand should be worked in somehow. He’s the KoTOR 2 version, with a DARK SECRET that he doesn’t want the Exile to know (Kreia finds out almost right away and uses it to blackmail him).

        • Fluka says:

          @djsubversive:disqus From everything I’ve heard about Kreia, I like the cut of her jib.  

  34. Victor Prime says:

    Since I have a three-day weekend, I could spend it doing anything. I’ll probably spend it playing Earthbound or one of the Playstation Plus games (Saints Row the Third  or the Ratchet and Clank  collection, mostly) anytime I’m in the living room, Team Fortress 2 for my precious drops when I’m in the bedroom, and Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (or Ages if I manage to finish Seasons) when I’m not on the computer, such as when I’m on the can.

    None of this includes games I might buy from Steam or the eShop or PSN.

    Or cleaning. Which might be a thing even though it’s seventy million degrees everywhere in this goddamn house.

  35. PPPfive says:

    I’m entirely hooked on Factions, The Last of Us multiplayer. I will be playing that in the dark unrepentantly as my eyes become ever more bloodshot and yellowed

  36. NameJobBye says:

    Sort of off-topic, but I just bought my first HD tv a few months ago.  My PS3 games look great, but now my PS2 games look extra fuzzy; I also bought Final Fantasy IX through PSN and it’s so fuzzy I can barely play it.  Does anyone else have trouble viewing non-PS3 games on an HD tv?  Is there a way to fix it?

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      You’re going to get fuzz with older-gen games. Some games use a different resolution for the menu as opposed to gameplay, like Chrono Cross, so HDTVs are constantly going black and changing resolution whenever you go to the menu.

      That being said, your issue sounds worse than the reality of SDTV games on an HD device. I keep an SDTV around for classic systems and it’s amazing what we used to consider good enough on TV, but when I do play PS2 or Wii on my HDTV, it’s still not horrendous. Just kind of ugly.

      • NameJobBye says:

        I don’t have a problem with the graphical limitations of PS1 or PS2 (I was playing PS2 regularly until a few months ago, and I feel I have a good memory of what FF VIII looked like on my original PS), but the switchover to HD just makes it look like this vaguely defined, flickery mess.  Maybe I’ll go digging in the dump for an SDTV.  

      • Yeah the amazing graphics of the SDTV era now look like you’re trying to pure through a vomit stained green glass window into a dark bar. It’s amazing the brain can look at an SD display of Vagrant Story and figure out what’s a rock and what’s the player character.

    • neodocT says:

       I never had problems with non-PS3 games on my TV, but maybe it’s a good idea to reset and readjust your video settings. You can do that by pressing the power button twice (or was it holding it down for a few seconds? It’s one of those!).

    • Citric says:

      If I use component cables, I can’t play Ico on my older HDTV due to weird resolution reasons. This isn’t a “well it looks bad” situation, it’s genuinely unplayable, because my TV doesn’t know what to make of the signal and glitches out. Same deal with PS1 games through the PS2, but they look okay through the PS3. Other PS2 games look fine to me.

      • NameJobBye says:

        @neodocT:disqus , I tried tweaking all of the video settings, but they didn’t seem to make a difference, unfortunately–thanks for the suggestion, though.  @Citric:disqus , the other weird thing is that Persona III, which I purchased through PSN, looks fine, whereas my actual PS2 games look crappy.

        • Girard says:

          The PS3 emulating PS1/2 games likely renders them to a higher-res, progressive image that the HDTV takes without questioning (just like how older games have always looked fine on emulators despite digital displays being progressive and – now – having fixed ideal resolutions). The actual PS2, however, outputs an interlaced signal at a higher frame rate and much lower resolution that the TV must, after the fact, de-interlace, interpret, and render.

          Honestly, I even kind of prefer how HD games look on SD displays in some respects, at least ‘realistic’ games. With less visual information there, the artificiality is less noticeable, and it’s more like I’m watching a cheap TV show than watching a cheap CGI cartoon. Now that I have a decent gaming PC, I’m getting used to HD gaming, but that level of resolution makes every flaw pretty glaring, and it’s taken time to get used to that.

        • Colliewest says:

          Totally agree with @paraclete_pizza:disqus. I don’t need the world to look like it’s made out of carbon fibre. I got a beautiful SD Sony Trintron for free off craiglist. Guy even carried it to my trunk. Only problem I have is it’s sometimes hard to read the tiny text on modern games.

  37. evanwaters says:

    Probably mostly Skyrim, and I’ve drifted back into World of Warcraft as well- I’m finishing off all the Cata stuff with one of my mains because I find it pretty compelling. 

  38. I’m playing my new favorite game: idling for steam cards

  39. aklab says:

    I’m really late to this party, but probably finishing up my Dead Space playthrough, then switching to Antichamber every so often when it gets too intense.

    I might throw one of my new Steam purchases into the mix too. I am currently installing this mysterious, little-known game called Dark souls, but dunno how soon I’ll have the mental fortitude to try it. :)

    Also finished up the first Secret of Monkey Island today!

  40. Baramos x says:

    Final Fantasy VI is better.