What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Saints Row IV

From Within

Gameological staffers share their weekend gaming plans.

By The Gameological Society Staff • August 16, 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.

Matt Gerardi here, your Gameological editor-for-the-week. It’s been a weird couple of days, Gameologerinos, but we’ve reached Friday, and that means it’s time for What Are You Playing This Weekend? We don’t have an interview for you today, but I did the next best thing and turned to the Gameological staff.

Steve Heisler
Skyrim: Winking Skeever

I’m getting back into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s been almost two years since I sunk 130 hours into this game, and I’m playing it again mostly because I want to figure out what other 130 hours I missed out on by focusing on the first 130 hours. So far, the game feels surprising but familiar, like going back to your parents’ house and noticing they added a new wing off the dining room. It’s a nice place to be. Still reeling from The Last Of Us, this is a nice exercise in the familiar.

Cory Casciato
State Of Decay

That’s weird, I may also be dipping back into Skyrim, although in my case it would be to finally finish the main quest. I’m 120 hours in, and I still haven’t gotten around to killing off the big bad dragon at the end. I always get distracted by my need to create ever better magic weapons, armor, and accessories. I’ll also continue working my way through State Of Decay’s zombie apocalypse simulation. I had to restart a while back after I accidentally killed off all my favorite characters, and those zombies sure aren’t going to kill themselves. Finally, I’d really like to find time to get a draft or two in on Magic The Gathering Online. I have yet to get a chance to draft the new core set, M14, which is a bummer since by most reports it’s one of the best core sets ever for drafting. Chances are good I won’t manage to do all of these things this weekend, but damn it, I’m going to try.

Samantha Nelson

This weekend, I’m at GenCon, the massive annual gaming convention in Indianapolis, so I’ll be gaming whenever I’m not sleeping or buying games. What I’m most excited for is The Rising, a live action role-playing games where you fight zombies with Nerf guns and solve puzzles. I’ll also be playing a game of Pathfinder where all the characters are goblins, trying a new Lovecraftian horror game called Tremulus, and memorizing spells for True Dungeon, which is like Dungeons & Dragons with sets, actors, and animatronics.

Ryan Smith
Saints Row IV

Having just headshot my peers into oblivion on top of a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles at the Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer reveal on Wednesday, I’m ready to scale down from the fancy pants Xbox One to the slightly less explosive Xbox 360 to review Saints Row IV. I’m about four hours in, and I’m digging it. It’s like Saints Row 3 combined with Crackdown—one of my favorite games. I’m also intrigued by the way it’s made me dispose of my own empathy. Because part of the game takes place in a computer simulation, I’m much less concerned about the well-being of the random pedestrians I run over with a car or kill with the dubstep gun. I usually feel bad about the collateral damage in Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row games, but for some reason that extra layer of separation from reality in a game-within-a-game has transformed me into an unthinking killer.

Anthony John Agnello
The Bureau

I will be nose deep in The Bureau, the ‘60s-themed offshoot of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I’m actually pretty excited to get started too. I had never played an XCOM game until last fall, and I became hopelessly addicted to its blend of office management and strategic alien murder. Efficiency is a delight in games, and XCOM was about nothing if not deft economic maneuvers. That’s not why I’m pumped about playing The Bureau, though. It apparently has more in common with Valkyria Chronicles, where you’re ensconced in the gunfights rather than above them. Plus, I dig the 1960s. I get to wear a fedora and fend off extraterrestrials while telling other people what to do. Now that’s wish fulfillment.

Danny Gallagher

Dirt 3

I’ve been on a workout kick ever since I moved my recumbent exercise bike to within controller’s reach of my Xbox 360, and I found racing games are the best motivator to peddle through the pain. It feels like one of those exercise bike simulators they used to have at the old Wonders Of Life pavilion at Disney’s Epcot back when such technology was considered “futuristic.” Thanks to this health habit, I rediscovered Dirt 3. I had forgotten how much fun it is. It rides a fine line between a speedy arcade racing game and a realistic driving simulator. It doesn’t skimp out on the physics, which helps it feel authentic, but you also don’t have to be Tanner Foust to play it.

Joe Keiser

I’ve been bouncing up and down the East Coast lately, and a lot of the people I’ve been visiting don’t have the patience to leave me alone for a long stretch of time—let’s just say they were born yesterday, that’s close enough. That means I’ve been surrendering a lot of matches in the online card game Might & Magic: Duel Of Champions. But I’m losing because I get called away in the middle of a turn, not because I’m horrible at the game! I’m looking forward to this weekend, when I will finally have enough time to…lose because I’m horrible at the game. This is my first multiplayer digital card game surrogate. While I appreciate not having to sort all of my cards alphabetically by type and color and rarity when I’m done, I miss seeing my opponent’s face when I play a deck specifically designed to end the game in a six-hour stalemate. I think I just remembered why I shouldn’t be allowed to play card games.

Matt Kodner
The Binding Of Isaac

I’ve been on a The Binding Of Isaac kick ever since Gerardi wrote about the competitive racing league that sprung up around it on Twitch.TV. I was moderately into the game before I tuned in, but now that I know the tricks of professional Binding players, I have been tearing through Isaac’s personal hell. If you think my months-long obsession with the game would cause my social life to suffer, then you’d be right! But I just moved into a new apartment with a friend from school, showed him Binding, and I can see it slowly taking root in his brain. He’s also trying to get me into something called Torchlight 2, which, frankly, I won’t ever play because it’s not on Mac. I also just started Saints Row IV, which has a hilarious tutorial. That is a good sign for what’s to come.

Derrick Sanskrit
Gone Home

This weekend is shaping up to be eerily quiet for me, with most of my friends and family off on vacations and such. I’m looking forward to sitting down and digging into Gone Home without any distractions. With all the Saints Row and Dragons Crown going around, it’s nice knowing there’s a quiet adventure game about a girl in a suburban home with ’90s riot grrl mixtapes waiting to be explored. I’ll also dabble in Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, though I’m not really expecting to be too surprised there, and keep up appearances in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. More than anything, though, I expect to lay on the couch with rymdkapsel, a minimalist space-station simulator, drawing me away from Netflix. It’s really hard to stop thinking about that game. There must be some sort of subliminal messages in the music or something because a game that deconstructed has no right being so captivating.

Drew Toal

I just got married Saturday, so I’m playing “Oh My God What Have I Done?” for the rest of my natural life…Just kidding. It’s magical. It’s iPhone Contra for me until I get back to civilian life.

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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191 Responses to “From Within”

  1. Jackbert says:

    I am continuing to cram as many video games into the last couple weeks of summer vacation as possible.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum – Played the main story on Sunday and Monday. Loved it. Originally, my only problem was the awful creepily sexualized characterization of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. In the words of my viewing mother watching the Poison Ivy boss fight, “Where’d they get her voice from, a third-rate porno?” Then I thought about their characterization with the lens of Batman: Arkham Asylum the comic book written by Grant Morrison. In Morrison’s comic, Batman is rendered impotent, regarding women with a mixture of revulsion and fear. Of course, the distinct artistic feature of video games is their interactivity. Therefore, as we are in Batman’s shoes, the characterization of the female characters is actually strong, because it is consistent with Batman’s view. Of course, I’m pretty sure Warner Brothers added the skimpy outfits and orgasmic cries of pain to sell more copies, but I still think they were artistically accurate, even if accidentally. On Tuesday and Wednesday I collected all the riddles. Loved the patient interview tapes. On Thursday I tried out the challenges because I’d like to platinum the game. They are so hard. They ate me alive, defecated out the bones like an owl, and ate the bones. I’ll try them more this weekend, but I don’t know if a plat is in my future.

    Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – I’ve played this game for around eight hours so far. It is beautiful, whimsical, charming, and very boring. The beauty, whimsy, and charm is starting to wear thin. I need things to happen, please.

    Sleeping Dogs – Nearing the end of this game, I believe. Still enjoying it a lot. The story remains exciting, impressive given its length, and I’ve unlocked enough fighting moves to make the gameplay really tight. Unlocked the last two karaoke songs the other night. Take Me On by A-Ha is the best karaoke song I’ve ever heard.

    X-Com: Enemy Unknown – Two weeks after completing Fire Emblem: Awakening, it’s time for another strategy RPG! Excited for the sci-fi setting, I’ve always preferred it to fantasy.

    Bastion – Our Internet was broken again for the last few days, so I couldn’t access Steam to finish this up. Now that I’m used to mouse/keyboard controls from Hotline Miami, the gameplay is quite fun, and it’s obviously aesthetically beautiful. Wish the story was a bit more interesting though.

    Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Finally got around to picking this up last week. It’s great so far. So cute, so addicting. My favorite townspeople are Kody, the dude-bro bear, Eunice, the awkward ewe, and my newest town member, Curlos, the non-sequitir spouting ram. The in-game clock corresponding with real-life time is partially nice, partially annoying. It’s nice when I play a bit of 3DS just before dinner, annoying when I wake up at 5 A.M. and Re-Tail isn’t open. Anyone got any tips for making Bells? I finally got my mortgage paid off yesterday evening, and my house expansion is more than double the price of it! My townspeople also want publics work projects, which are crazy expensive.

    Yes, I am definitely playing a lot this weekend.

    P.S. Congratulations on your nuptials, Drew!

    • PaganPoet says:

      Holy frijoles; you ending summer with an All-Out Attack?

      • Jackbert says:

        To the first, definitely. I’ll probably pick up P3P again and finish my female playthrough at some point as well. To the second, definitely. When I saw his name, I thought of you, and he’s a huge fan of music too.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Oh, hah, no I just meant an AOA on video games in general. You seem to be elbow deep in plenty of games already. Compare that to this spring where you (and casp and I) were focused on Mass Effect, etc.

        • Jackbert says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus : I know you meant video games in general. I meant it’s such an AOA that Persona 3 could be joining in as well. Since I’m wrist deep in Arkham Asylum and Bastion, it’ll be their replacement. But yeah, compared to the spring, where I could only play on the weekends, I’m getting in a lot more time.

          Also, I just talked to Curlos, and he greeted me by saying “Hey, Jack. There needs to be more dancing right now. -spins around- Shoom! That’s better.” Then he told me about how the letter I sent him welcoming him to town is his most prized possession. He’s become my favorite townsperson.

    • Matt Kodner says:

      Best way to pick up bells is to head down to the tropical island and ready yourself for some hardcore beetle hunting. 

      You can net (hehhhugh) yourself some fancy profits once you figure out which ones to chuck and which to sell, but you have to be careful. 

      The bug hunting is very grind-y. I burned myself out on the game after a solid week of hardcore beetle pawn. So you have to be careful and not sweat the house expansions once you’ve got a comfortable size.  

      • Island bug hunt after dark. Catch anything especially large (like Kodner said, you’ll recognize the good ones after a while), and catch any fish with visible fins. Hold the speaker to your ear and jam the button as soon as you hear the bite. With a little patience, you can bring home over 300,000 bells with each evening trip.

        • Beetle farming is probably the most brute force effective, and early on definitely your best option while you work off your smaller loans and work up a nest egg. But for efficiency of time you probably want to make sure you have a large enough network of online pals to take full advantage of turnips. I routinely buy about 6400 a week (usually at 90-96 bells each) and rarely sell them for less than 250 each, sometimes as much as 600+ if someone gets really lucky. And I’m a fairly moderate player on the Stalk Market – some of the other people I coordinate with regularly invest millions of bells each week to some truly ludicrous returns.

          Sure, it has downsides. A crippling lack of storage space, for starters. 6400 is four pages of personal inventory (16 bunches of 100 each), and I typically stuff them in my entire “B” inventory plus a little spill-over since there are only 60 slots there and I need 64. I understand that the heavy investors usually just leave them on the ground all over town. Also, this only works if you actually play* on Sunday mornings to get your initial investment from Sow Joan.

          *Or adjust your clock to, if you’re that kind of player.

          But I have my house fully paid off, public works all over town, and am still sitting on about 9.5 million bells in my account right now without having to make the tedious relay between the island, transfer box, and ReTail over and over again, not to mention the frustration of actually catching the money bugs without scaring them off.

        • Jackbert says:

          @MattKodner:disqus : By tropical island, do you mean anything different than the main island? Currently, I can only access the main island where I live, the second part of the island where the shops are, and the beach. I’ve heard townspeople tell of a man named Gulliver washed up on the beach shore, but when I go down, no one is there. Does that have anything to do with it?

          @DerrickSanskrit:disqus : I did make 20k or so bells in an hour yesterday at 4:30 P.M. when the fish where biting all over the place. I even caught a hammerhead shark! Donated it to the museum though, because I figure public betterment is more important than a bigger house.

          @ChrisIngersoll:disqus : I’d heard of selling turnips on here before, but didn’t know the details of it, thanks for providing them! I don’t have many 3DS friends, but I’ll try it out this Sunday anyway.

        • long_dong_donkey_kong says:

           I’d add to this, cut down any island tree, bush, or flower that isn’t a palm tree. You don’t want to waste your time on a beetle that is less than $6,000.

        • @Jackbert:disqus I really wouldn’t recommend turnips unless you have like 50 online friends that check prices daily. If you’re relying on only your own town you are going to take losses far more often.

          Tropical island will open up after about 10 days of play, I think. Be patient for now.

        • I believe it’s after you pay off the first expansion of your house, though it may just be the initial loan. Tortimer shows up to say hey the next day, and the day after Kapp’n’s waiting at the pier to take you to Tortimer’s vacation island.

          @long_dong_donkey_kong:disqus I keep a couple of the other trees because giants stags and rainbow stags are still plenty valuable and show up there. It takes time to recognize the ones you want on sight, but I’ve gotten quite used to chasing the bums away to make room for high-society beetles.

        • Jackbert says:

          @ChrisIngersoll:disqus : All right, I have 2 friends with Animal Crossing. I’ll still try it out but I won’t invest too much into it.

          @DerrickSanskrit:disqus : Yep, I paid off my first loan yesterday, and Tortimer showed up today. Psyched for tomorrow!

    • caspiancomic says:

       Aw man do I ever miss summer vacation, that sounds like a hell of a slate you’ve got here.

      (OH PS dood, I got your email from like a million years ago and totally plan to respond when I can successfully remove my head from my lower colon. I’m pretty notoriously useless when it comes to keeping up a correspondence, as Chum Joely will testify. Good to see you around, I feel like I haven’t seen you around the comments for a little while)

      • Jackbert says:

        I’ve definitely got a lot of stuff going on. Baseball season is over and my job is done so I’ve not been interrupted by leaving the house. I’m also going to boarding school in a couple weeks, where I’ll have books, comics, and sports, but no video games, so I feel like I’ve got to dramatically prioritize one interest. Just counted, I’ve got ten of these idyllic days of freedom left if I only get a master’s. Guess I’ll have to become Dr. Jackbert!

        (PS Okay, I didn’t know if you even still checked that email, but I burned through your comic in a day after being linked to it from a Game Theory article, and figured I’d try. Good to know you got it. Yeah, I’ve been off for the last couple weeks because our internet has been broken-patchy-broken, but it is (seeming to be) fixed for good, so I should be active again.)

        (PPS By the way, I learned that it’s Ni no Kuni’s fault you spell “buddy” as “buttie” now. This gonna become another Disgaea situation?)

    • Andy Tuttle says:

      *Pushes up glasses and waves finger* Mmmm, I believe the song is called ‘Take On Me’ sir.

    • Chalkdust says:

       Ni no Kuni drags on in the first act but improved considerably for me around the time you get your second party member.

  2. aklab says:

    So glad to see Gone Home is finally out! I am really looking forward to playing it, although it’ll have to wait for a while…

    I had an inner ear infection this week (boo!), so I couldn’t do much other than lay on the couch and play Final Fantasy Tactics (yay)! I’m in chapter 3, just starting to get some of the special characters.

    Also my sister is coming to visit this weekend. Playing video games with my sister is probably the #2 definitive experience of my childhood/young adulthood (other than hiding from people and reading books). Hours of drunken Tetris Attack, here we come! 

    • caspiancomic says:

       I’ve been meaning to return to FFT for a while now, it’s been a couple of years since I played it. Is chapter 3 the one with the game-ending category 5 boss gauntlet of controller-throwing inconsolable misery? You’ve played this game before, right?

      • Salmon says:

        Yes, Chapter 3 has (SPOILERS) the sequence of three battles (Riovannes Castle), with an infamously tough two-part fight with Wiegraf in the middle.

        I bought Final Fantasy Tactics shortly after it came out in the USA because I had recently overdosed on Final Fantasy VII and loved it (I’d only seen bits of VI at a neighbor’s house and didn’t quite get it — I was probably about 11 years old at the time). I remember being startled at the learning curve compared with VII, where I was frequently failing at very early battles and aborting every time I ran into their permanent death mechanic. Contrast that with VII where, like most people, the first time I found myself utterly incapable of progressing without emergency grinding was the Demon Wall boss in that temple. 

        Anyway, those early failures in FFT made me the most cautious player I could be, keeping multiple saves, etc, so when I hit Riovannes Castle and got utterly schooled by Wiegraf, I had a backup save to go back to. 

        I’ve been replaying it for the first time since it came out, this time on the iPad — the new translation, higher resolution, etc, all make the game work so damn well. The story isn’t nearly as subtle and mind-blowing to me now as it was when I was 11, but I still enjoy how subversive it is.

        • aklab says:

          I couldn’t get used to the controls on the iPad version. Although I tried it when it was the iPhone version, on iPad, so the screen-resizing may have been a factor.

          You’re right about the learning curve! I remember when I first played it and got utterly destroyed on the first “random” battle in Mandalia Plains.  

        • caspiancomic says:

           Yeah, the game has three really major difficulty spikes (Dorter City Slums in chapter 1, Golgorand Execution Site in chapter 2, and Riovanes Castle in chapter 3,) and on various playthroughs they’ve all managed to stonewall me. The first time I beat Wiegraf I almost fainted from joy and disbelief, only to find myself going toe to toe with Marquis Elmdor on the Riovanes roof and getting my food chewed all over again.

          I came to Tactics right off of VII as well, and had much the same experience. I had played SRPGs before, but only baby’s-first-SRPGs like Shining Force and Vandal Hearts. I thought I was hot shit going in, but the Dorter Slums are like, what, the sixth map in that game? I think I’ve still only beaten that game half as many times as I’ve started it.

        • Salmon says:

          @caspiancomic:disqus  Yeah, the Dorter Slums was the wake-up call for 11-year-old me as to how difficult FFT was going to be. I think part of it is it’s the first time wizards are thrown against you, and the fact that all magic had charge time, could “lock on” to a target, and had area of effect, that really was an eye-opener coming from FF7’s system.
          ANd yeah, @aklab:disqus, I remember it dawning on me that random battles were going to be almost as tough as story battles, with the small chance that on certain locations (like “Belias Tor” in the southeast) having a possibility to pit you against horrifically powerful monsters that just make quick mincemeat of your team. 

          I do think ultimately that’s key to FFT’s staying power, the same now as when I was a kid. It’s one of the only RPG’s where grinding is actually just as engaging as the main game, because until you get very powerful in the late game, you won’t be able to sleepwalk through any of the battles. You need to be mentally engaged for each one. And some of the aforementioned danger spots made travel between some points of the map genuinely nerve-wracking

      • aklab says:

        Yeah, that’s the one! I have enough trouble with the end of Chapter 2, where (SPOILERS I guess?) you have the fake execution site, then the battle where you have to fight Gafgarion solo at the gates of Lionel Castle, then the first real boss in the game. Although in that area that is still one random-battle spot, so you can level up a bit. IIRC the tight spot in Chapter 3 leaves you stuck with nowhere you can even level up.
        My solution is generally just to build levels incessantly throughout, which isn’t a problem, ’cause I’m hopelessly addicted to the job-class and abilities mechanic.  

        • caspiancomic says:

           I’ve read a lot of guides that recommend preparing for the Wiegraf duel before the game even starts. Selecting a birthday for Ramza that will make him a Capricorn or a Taurus will give him a leg up in that battle, since Wiegraf is a Virgo. Gotta game the system for every little bit you can get.

        • Salmon says:

          I actually love how deep FFT’s system is and how it has a dedicated enough following to have put thought into alternative strategies like this. 

          One of them that I liked was if you game the A.I. a bit by sending a party member into that battle with no equipment at all — all of the AI enemies will zero in on her/him leaving the rest of the party to attack Belias/Wiegraf unmolested. I like the lateral thinking behind that strategy, but also the mental image of Ramza convincing one of his friends to run into combat nude as a sacrificial lamb. 

        • aklab says:

          @SalmonLeap:disqus , I do that with chocobos. In a really tough battle I’ll send a black or red chocobo ahead of everyone else — they get off one good shot and absorb a round of attacks, which is usually enough for the rest of my team to get the upper hand. But then I feel guilty!  

    • SaviourMachine says:

       GH is eventually out? Great, i almost forgot about it, once i saw the preview i was looking forward to playing it. i like that sort of “world telling the story” games

    • Mike_From_Chicago says:

      Between “gone home” and “state of decay” it’s like my subconscious has starting commissioning video games. The question: if I was going to download one of those two this weekend, which would be the better call (I’m thinking state of decay, since gone home is on steam and will likely drop its price quickly)?

      • ddt9 says:

        I believe it’s slightly cheaper if you pick up gone home direct from their website: http://www.gonehomegame.com/

        For the record it’s a really lovely game and story. 20 bucks is kind of a hard sell for a game that takes roughly 2 hours, but I don’t feel like I got cheated. 

  3. PaganPoet says:

    Ducktales Remastered; it’s delightful so far, although the change in voice actors is surprisingly noticeable, seeing as how I haven’t seen the cartoons in like 16, 17 years. Had to giggle at the Transylvania theme being given a dubstep beat.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

      Most of the voice actors are the same people.  Which one stuck out to you as different?

      edit: it was Mrs. Beakley and Duckworth, wasn’t it?

      And yes the game is delightful. I’ve been waiting decades to replay it and I’m not disappointed.

      • Yeah Beakley and Duckworth are very noticeable, and although I haven’t gone to Transylvania yet I understand that June Foray (at the tender of age of what, 95?) had some difficulty in recapturing some of Magika Despell’s… uh, magic.

        Getting annoyed at the overly generous hitboxes for some of these enemies and what seems like a slight delay in me hitting the jump button and Scrooge actually moving, but I’ll get back in the 1989 groove soon enough.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Launchpad sounds different to me as well, but maybe that’s my own mind’s trickery.

    • Zack Handlen says:

      I’m thinking about getting it but 15 bucks is pretty steep for nostalgia; I honestly think I would’ve preferred just a port of the original.

      • Unexpected Dave says:

        Given the amount of bloat, I’m surprised they didn’t try to charge $20 for it.

      • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

         Since I’m a diehard fan of most of the voice actors, getting to hear them again was worth the extra money for me.

    • I per ordered it at a discount.. not sure if I regret buying it or not yet. I was more a fan of the TV show than the game so some of the mechanics are still a tad frustrating. But I love the graphics and music (even the surprisingly subtle dub step part).

  4. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I will be playing three games this weekend – Shadowrun Returns (checking out the user generated content now), the Mage Knight board game tomorrow night, and trying to resist the urge to call in an airstrike on my wife’s university for being on the verge of ruining our financial future.  (If one is paying tens of thousands of dollars for a graduate degree, the course difficulty should not go from “cakewalk” for 15 classes to “sell your soul if you hope to pass, and good luck getting instructor assistance” for the final two!)

    I also may take the time to check out one of the 25 or so games I’ve bought via Humble Bundles this week.

    • boardgameguy says:

      MAGE KNIGHT! That’s exciting. Have you played it before? I think it is one of the best solo games out there, and works well for 2-3. Four players can get a bit long, but if you have patience and/or something else to keep you busy during another player’s turn, MAGE KNIGHT is great. I love the feel of constantly trying to figure out the optimal solution to the puzzles it presents in movement, battle, etc.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        Yeah, I’ve played it about five times so far.  It actually is pretty fun.  My first two sessions were a pain, as I was still figuring out strategy and the rules, but now that I have a decent knowledge of it, it’s fun.

        Unfortunately, I had to cancel it for this weekend.

        • I’ve played Mage Knight twice now, and it was pretty agonizing. About 6 hours to play the game, and 5.5 hours of that was looking up rules.

          I figure it gets better with more plays, but my stomach ties into knots just looking at the box now.

        • boardgameguy says:

          @potatosolution:disqus you can do it! once you internalize some of the rules the games positive qualities jump to the fore. were those solo plays that took that long?

  5. Fluka says:

    Okay, first off.  It’s, like, so unfair that you you videogame professionals get to play Saints Row IV this weekend.  That’s the game I want to be playing, but apparently it doesn’t actually exist for another four days.  Stupid rave advance reviews.  *Sits in corner, crosses arms, pouts like small child.*

    Coming back from vacation, I returned to KOTOR and found myself still stuck in the tedious fish-based court system of Manaan.  Then, my quicksave got corrupted by a crash, erasing all of my underwater base progress.  So I am unhappy with KOTOR at the moment.  Will return to it eventually.

    Instead, I’ll probably end up playing the rest of Gunpoint, which I installed last weekend, “just to see what it looks like,” and then proceeded to play for three hours.  I like nonlethal stealth infiltration and system hacking games I do I do.  I also appreciate the fact that the game gave me an achievement for accidentally whacking myself in the face with a door.  (Just like real life!)  Might end up playing the newly purchased Gone Home too, which apparently is something really special.

    But really, like Steve and Cory, I’ll probably just end up playing Skyrim.  (Weird.  Something Nordic in the air?  Fall and cold weather getting slightly closer?)  I booted it up again last night, updating all my old mods (“Okay ‘Climates of Skyrim’!  Give me the darkest nighttime lighting you’ve got!  …No, that’s too dark.”) and adding a few new ones (unsurprisingly, Skyrim has housecats now).  Time for my Argonian crime lord to build herself a beautiful swampside family home, and finally begin her infiltration of the Dark Brotherhood.  Crap, and I’ve still got to play Dragonborn.  I’m going to be playing this game until TES-VI comes out, aren’t I?

  6. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    So, I have some personal matters that should take priority this weekend, but I think I might be able to sneak in some game time.

    FTL is a decent choice; I’ve lost a little bit of momentum, but a complete run should be less than an hour so it’s easy to fit in without needing to devote a lot of time.

    I’m considering starting Portal 2 or restarting Half Life 2 at some point soon-ish. I considered replaying the original Half Life at one point, but I don’t think I will.

    There’s still a little life I could wring out of Hotline Miami as well. I’ve completed the main story a while back, but I wouldn’t mind going for some higher scores.

    Of course, what I should actually be doing this weekend is looking over these condo docs and deciding whether or not I’ll be committing to the property I have an offer on. Finding a condo that I like and won’t be a big risk down the road hasn’t been quite as easy as I’d hoped.

    • Electric Dragon says:

       ” I considered replaying the original Half Life at one point, but I don’t think I will.”
      Have you tried Black Mesa?

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        The fan-made HD conversion, right? I have not; as far as I’m aware, it’s only a fraction done and it’s a ways away from completion.

        Also, I apparently own two different versions of the game, one being the very original and the other being the Source engine port Valve did. I’ve played both for a few minutes each to see if I could notice anything different between the two, but aside from a little bit of difference in colors, I couldn’t really tell.

        • Electric Dragon says:

          If by fraction you mean two thirds to three quarters, because it’s complete up to the end of Lambda Core and there’s only the Xen levels left to do. It’s not so much a conversion as an entire remake, and faithful to the spirit of the original while exploiting the capabilities of the Source engine.

    • apple_mummy says:

      If I make a suggestion: maybe don’t play Portal 2 unless you’re willing to sink a lot of time into it at once.

      It’s actually pretty shot, but it’s also much more of a story than puzzles, and I’d imagine a lot of the magic would be lost if played in spaced-out intervals like a usual game.

  7. Merve says:

    First off, congrats to Mr. Toal!

    This weekend, I plan to finish the first couple of missions in the single-player campaign of the Medal of Honor reboot. This is my first modern military shooter, and it’s boring as fuck. And this is coming from someone who likes FPSs. Maybe this game just didn’t put its best food forward and will improve in later missions.

    After that, it’s driver rollback time. The first two Max Payne games aren’t compatible with newer AMD drivers, but if I roll back to an earlier version of them, I should be able to finish up MP1 and get a start on MP2. I’ve left them alone for far too long; it’s time to finally play through the Max Payne trilogy.

    • Cloks says:

      MP1 is pretty great but there are sequences that’ll make you mad that they exist. You’ll know which ones.

    • NakedSnake says:

      The original medal of honor was absolutely fucking amazing when it came out. It had so much new and cool stuff that it blew my mind. Playing the gunner in a truck, the D-day landing, using stationary machine guns. It was great. I went back and played it years later though, and discovered it was the most reductive, derivative game of all time. Basically, all the innovations it made had been repeated so many times since, that the original seemed, well, un-original.

      Incidentally, I had the same experience in watching The French Connection. The movie that gave birth to many of our cop-movie tropes now just seems like a list of cop-movie tropes taped together. Still has a great car chase scene tho.

  8. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Just forty minutes ago I finished Last of Us.  Being the lummox that I am it’s going to take me a while to process my thoughts on the ending.  But I will say it’s worth noting solely for the ambiguity.  And not only from a plot standpoint, but a moral one as well.  Video games, being the medium of planetary explosions and elf-goddess make-out sessions don’t really handle understated ambivalence well, so that’s sufficient reason for me to take notice.  All in all, I give the game seven bees (rating metric yet to be determined).
       And now, as a palette cleanser; something dumb as shit.  I picked up the Origin Humble Bundle today, as most are unlockable on Steam.  But Dead Space is going to have to wait, and even Mirror’s Edge feels to freighted with dystopian anxiety for me to get into it just yet.
       Maybe back to Darksiders II .  That game has all the emotional heft of a Yelle album, which is exactly what I’m currently in the mood for. 

    • PaganPoet says:

      Excuse me, “Je Veux Te Voir” is a very emotional song, I get all misty eyed every time I watch a porn.

    • Fluka says:

      The Last of Us is one of those cases where hearing spoilers about the game ending actually made me *more* interested in playing it.  

    • Merve says:

      Mirror’s Edge may take place in a dystopia, but its fluid free-running feels liberating; if anything, it’s the perfect antidote to anxiety.

      Speaking of Mirror’s Edge, due to the cheap-as-fuck Humble Origin Bundle, I now have an extra Steam key for the game. If you would like it, hit me up on Steam. (I’m Merve there too, though I’ve occasionally been known to go by Spanky as well.)

      • Girard says:

        I feel so liberated every time the game is like “Nope, sorry, I want you to jump extacly 5 millimeters to the left of where you jumped. You die now.”

        That game drives me bananas.

        • SamPlays says:

          Parkour is all about precision. Haven’t you watched American Ninja Warrior? Or that cheapie European action thriller about parkour?

        • boardgameguy says:

          @SamPlays:disqus District B7 is pretty fun when you are in the mood for a light action movie.

        • Fluka says:

          Agreed, but with the provision that I still love the game.  The main character is great, the settings are *gorgeous*, and when things are working and you’re in a groove it’s exhilarating.  But I had to stop playing before I broke my keyboard over my knee with a primal scream.  Which is all to say…looking forward to Mirror’s Edge 2!

        • Merve says:

          IMO, Mirror’s Edge is pretty forgiving, but inconsistently so. It’ll sometimes allow jumps that shouldn’t be correct, but it never punishes you for jumps that should be.

        • Girard says:

          @Merve2:disqus I got a sinking feeling in my stomache when I hit a [literal, actually] wall in the fucking tutorial that I could not get past “correctly” nomatter how many times I tried, and nomatter how many Youtube videos I watched and aped. I would successfully scale the wall, but it would chastise me for doing it wrong and invariably send me back.

          I had to skip the tutorial to actually get to the game at that point, but got kind of annoyed when I’d make 20 jumps toward, say, a distant drain pipe and I’d only grab the pipe on the 20th despite not apparently doing anything differently.

        • Merve says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus: I can’t say that was my experience with the game at all. I think I recall that there was a particularly pesky part in the tutorial, though.

    • MintBerry_Crunch says:

      Seven bees, eh? Careful, some of us watch Conan O’Brien rate video games, we might just know what that is.

      Y’know, Mirror’s Edge—maybe this is one of the luxury of video game design thoroughness—but you’d think the concept of clandestine (unarmed) runners would go out the window when a surveillance state and their plentiful guns went into the mix.

      Ah well, at least it’s a pretty game.

    • SamPlays says:

      The fact that you’ll even spend time contemplating the ending of the game makes it sound appealing. Most game endings are completely disposable.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Yeah, I’m mulling over both the ending and the fact that I’m mulling over a video game ending.  It’s all too weird for me.

        • SamPlays says:

          I’m guessing the only solution is to demand DLC that incorporates planetary explosions and elf-goddess make-out sessions. You know, for less ambivalence and whatnot.

  9. evanwaters says:

    Hit a big snag with Crusader Kings II- the latest patch has a few glitches which jumbled up some traits, which, long story short, meant that my Norse king’s male heirs all died of syphilis. Turns out playing as a female ruler kinda sucks because it’s an automatic negative opinion modifier in most cultures. Accurate but lame.

    Might dive back into XCom though. If I have time- moving in a week, so many things still to be packed.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       Yeah, they shifted some trait files, meaning each trait changed its number by 1. Because the game points to traits using numbers, it meant they all moved over 1 place (which meant a lot of rulers suffered from Blindness or Syphilis, for some reason). The CK2 forum has a suggestion on how to create a mod that will restore your game to its previous state.

      • evanwaters says:

         I can’t get that to work on the Mac version, though- all the trait files are bound up in some kind of file package I don’t know how to open.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Yupp, my last 5 generations of Scandinavian Emperors were retroactively blinded. It was something.

      • BuddhaBox says:

         On the bright side, every single member of my dynasty is now a Saoshyant (i.e. The Second Coming of Zoroastrian Jesus).

  10. MintBerry_Crunch says:

    There’s been some trouble with some of the Humble Bundle keys for The Sims 3, so for this week I had to settle for its natural cousin, Dead Space 3

    Some godless developer taught those Necromorphs to play dead after they’d been shot. Cold-blooded, calculating nerds the lot of them.

    But I’ll mostly be fantasizing about inviting friends to watch in-game, indoor television in GTA V , wherein after they’re gone, I’ll go to an in-game web page, [in-game] masturbate, and then fall asleep with a pizza smeared face. What a refreshing experience that’s going to be.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      “It’s a trick; get a plasma cutter.”

    • Marozeph says:

      I’ve also grabbed the Origin Bundle. I haven’t played a Multiplayer-FPS in ages, so i’m probaly going to try some Battlefield 3. It will undoubtly end with me getting pwned like the noob i am, but losing can be fun. At least in moderation.

      Apart from that, i’m gonna try to finish Rogue Legacy (i made it to the final boss, but got my ass kicked so far) and explore Skyrims Dragonborn-Expansion.

  11. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    Ducktales — Woohoo!

  12. Smilner says:

    This weekend, I’m going to see how close to 100% I can get in [b]Arkham Asylum[/b] before getting kind of sick of it.  I don’t anticipate it happening, but stranger things have.  I’m still on my first playthrough of [b]FFXIII-2[/b], which is easy to put down and play something else for a while.  It’s a more palatable game when you realize that the plot is complete nonsense, and just sub Charlie Brown Teacher-style noise in for the cutscenes.  I might pick up [b]LA Noire[/b] again as well, or perhaps Redbox [b]The Last Of Us[/b] with this shiny rental code I scored.

    As far as my Friday night tabletop… I dunno, [b]Carcassonne,[/b] perhaps?

    • Smilner says:

       Plus!  My wife decided she wanted to try out Arkham City, as well.  Really, she just wants to beat the shit out of Gotham’s lowlifes.  I directed her to the Riddler’s Challenges, which spares you the trouble of *looking* for losers to pound into hamburger.  That excited her, but when I offered her the options of playing as Catwoman, Robin, or Nightwing, she looked like she wanted a divorce.  “Why the hell would you ever be someone other than BATMAN when you can be BATMAN?” she inquired.  I told her that Nightwing rocks dual stun sticks.  She reconsidered her position.

      • Jackbert says:

        But if you have the skins pack, you can be Year One Batman, or TDKR Batman, or even Batman Beyond Batman. I’m still with Batman.

    • SamPlays says:

      I probably spent an extra 10-12 hours playing past Arkham City’s main game + side missions. I did my best with the Riddler challenges but some of them were not worth spending an hour trying to master the precision gliding required. However, the game has such a great combat system that it was enjoyable scouring the city for thugs to render unconscious. But it got to a point where I asked myself “What hell am I doing?” and decided to quit. I think I got maybe 67% of the game, which astounds me because I feel like I did a lot of the extras. 

    • boardgameguy says:

      When you play Carcassonne, do you include any of the expansions? Last month I got to play with Traders and Builders, which encourage players to build and complete the works of other players without having to dramatically affect the base game rules. So that was neat.

  13. Godots17thCup says:

    I picked up a beat-up cart of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for $6 this week. It’s the only SotN-style Castlevania I haven’t played.

    Sooo I probably won’t be seeing much in the way of real people for a couple of days.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Electronic Gaming Monthly (R.I.P.) used to shit bricks over those old Castlevania games like CotM and I’ve never been able to figure out why.  I love Metroid but just can’t get into the Castlevania series.  What am I missing out on?

  14. Effigy_Power says:

    Okay Drew, you bagged one without your mustache. I get it. Your upper lip is awesome. Now shut up about it. ^_^

    Europa Universalis 4. Even though I miss the personal touch of dynasty management from Crusader Kings 2, the scope and scale of this game is just so grandiose. My Norse Empire was so big it wasn’t really fun to play, but I remembered that I had a finished CK2 savegame with a British Empire that also encompassed France, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. So basically the whole European West. With so much territory I’ve managed to hold the rest of squabbling European micro-States at bay easily and concentrated on Exploration. My ships reached the shore of Nova Scotia in 1473, quite a while before Columbus would have… not that there’s a Spain to send him now. I became Papal Controller and Defender of the Faith, which I have used mostly to conquer the hapless Huron and Iroquis Nations of North America, bringing them to the true faith, of course. I have however been treating my conquered subjects quite nicely. I’ve also colonized some Caribbean Islands and the South of Africa. The Aztec Empire is, thanks to my imported game from CK2 with the Sunset Invasion DLC, titanic. All of South and Central America as well as all of the Southern Half of the US is Aztec, so there’s a huge foe there.
    So yes, I’ve been busy. I have just instated one of the first historical laws leading up to the Reformation, so I am excited to see that happen. Europe is a giant battlefield of constantly fluent principalities, except for my British Empire and a now massive Sweden.
    History. Catch the fever.

    • Roswulf says:

       EU IV for me as well. I’m leaving my CK II empires for later plays, and instead went with the Castillians for my first go.

      Other than consolidating Iberia, I’ve been focused on colonizing the Americas. It’s been a slow process- there are SO MANY Caribbean islands and I’ve needed to keep overextension slow to be ready for European wars. Plus I’ve had TERRIBLE monarch luck, with no above average kings and constant regencies. The homefront is defined by an endless titanic struggle with a very large and aggressive France, with myself and the unified British as the main bulwarks against the dastardly chevaliers. The defense of the Pyrenees by my outnumbered warriors was a thing of legend, sending the grand army French king fleeing back to Paris a dozen times before the Brits managed to end the war. And the struggle with France is global too- France colonized the coast of North America starting from the north and our two blobs meet at the Chesapeake Bay.

      But my favorite part of the map is China, where a second Zhou dynasty emerged in the early 16th century. It’s not a giant death orb of conquering or anything, it’s just a new Chinese dynasty replacing the Ming as the holders of the Mandate of heaven.

      So…fever caught.

      • David Montgomery says:

        My first-take review of EU4: %^#@!% France! SERIOUSLY.

        Coincidentally, this is identical to my review of EU3.

        The dominance of France on the vanilla map is the elephant in the room if you’re playing on the European continent — and finding ways to beat France have been some of the highlights of my EU3 experience. Like the time I played Bavaria and tried to conquer the continent, and spent decades bribing all the mid-level powers (Castille, Venice and Holland, if I remember) into an alliance to finally take France down to size. Or as Venice, when I fought a 30-plus year with France where she marched largely unimpeded over my territory, taking provinces in Italy and Greece, and I used control of the sea to slide in behind her lines, retake territories and pick off isolate French armies. That ended in stalemate, but left France exhausted and in chaos for when I came back for revenge a decade or two later.

        My first EU4 play was as Aragon, in which I took out about 30 loans to try to beat back a French invasion, ALMOST did it but failed (in part due to stupidly spending a bunch of diplomatic power on a tech instead of on reducing war exhaustion), then got stabbed from the other direction by Castille about three years before I managed to pay off all those loans and rebuild my army.

        Definitely addictive. I’ll do a few playthroughs before bringing in my CKII games (a Welsh-Irish-Scottish united kingdom in one; a large but not dominant Brandenburg in the other — in which, curiously given my initial point, France no longer exists but rather through quirks of marriage ended up ruled from Budapest as the western half of the Carpathian Empire.)

  15. rvb1023 says:

     Dragon’s Crown for me. A friend and I just spent the better part of 5 hours playing through the game with 4 of the characters and are having a blast.

    Otherwise, I will actually devote time to finishing the Witcher 2 as the recent trailer and Charles Dance announcement reignited the hype. Which reminds me, I need a PC capable of running The Witcher 3.

  16. Girard says:

    “iPhone Contra” better be ONE HELL of a euphemism Toal. You’re on your honeymoon fer crissakes!

  17. SaviourMachine says:

     I have about 4 unfinished games ahead, so   these weekends are going to be an exhaustive exersise in multitasking. The main thing for me is The Swapper. I like its riddles, though some of them tend  to rely more on your knack than solving the puzzle. The story is also kinda captivating, but i think the game may be one of those examples when game’s own minimalism and mechanics don’t fit well with narrative. I also want finish NOLF2, which t began even before the beginning of the summer. Antichamber is also waiting for its turn. I also somehow bought Shadow Warriot Classic Redux, i hardly wanted to play an oldschool shooter with сomplex tangly levels. However, it quickly bothered me, but i spent money on it, so i has to go through it. The upcoming release of Saints Row 4 is great; for the whole summer i’ ve been craving a game which will finely entertain me and it suits this purpose excellently.

  18. Unexpected Dave says:

    I was a little disappointed byDuckTales Remastered, so I’m going to go back and play the original tonight. 

    I’ll reserve my rant about the remake until then. 

    Otherwise, I’m hunting for a new RPG or action RPG. I’d love some suggestions. (It must be something that’s available for download on PS3. My disc drive died a while ago.) 

    • Jackbert says:

      Persona–oh wait you’ve played that. Deus Ex: Human Revolution!!!

      • SamPlays says:

        *Adopts visage of bearded, suave old guy drinking at a club* 

        I don’t normally replay video games. But when I do, I prefer to replay Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Stay thirsty at The Hive, my friends.

    • miltthefish says:

      Dark Souls, if you haven’t already played it, even though it’s nearly 2 years old now.

      I’ve been on a retro kick lately and playing punishing old SNES and PS1 games where trial and error and elbow grease was the only way to get past certain parts of a game has made me appreciate Dark Souls as a modern classic. It is hands down my favourite game of this generation.

  19. Girard says:

    I’m wrapping up three weeks of being shut away in a windowless computer lab with loud 10-year-old boys whose ignorance of basic social skills and personal hygiene may have been a factor of age or may have been a factor of them being total computer dorks taking a game design class. I may spend this weekend as far away from screens as possible.

    Actually, though, it was awesome.

    And, who am I kidding, I’ll probably pick back up with MegaMan Unlimited, MegaMan 4 Minus Infinity, or something again once I’m back home. I needs my screens, man!

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       A life without screens?  I’ve never heard anything so preposterous, but I feel you.

      When I went camping in the Grand Tetons, my wife brought her iPad so she could check her school email at McDonald’s and stuff on the drive out and while we were deep in the woods I would be overcome with an urge to just flip it open and admire its beautiful screen much as Smeagol admired the ring.  My Precious, LCD…

  20. Electric Dragon says:

    Sleeping Dogs. Quite early in the game still. I’m enjoying the sense of place, and driving around Hong Kong, but at the moment I’m struggling with progress because I am terrible at the actual fighting bits.

    • SamPlays says:

      It gets better with practice. And you won’t need much practice to get a feel for it.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Counters are your best friend.  Except when you fight the guys who block counters.  Then they’re your best friend until you sneak in a massive kick to their head.

    • indy2003 says:

      @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus is correct. Get countering down and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a pretty frustrating game. Honestly, the hardest element of the fighting for me was mastering some of the complicated combos you can earn as things proceed, as the game seems awfully picky about your button-pressing timing. But yeah, counter and get a couple of basic moves down (I highly recommend the one that allows you to break people’s legs) and you’ll be good to go.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        For some reason, no matter what buttons I pressed, I always ended up with the combo where you pull the guy’s head down just as your knee rushes up to meet it. No matter. 60% of the time, it worked every time.

      • Electric Dragon says:

        Cheers for the tips, all. Definitely been a big help. Also a help: slowing the pace of the bouts down – I think a failing was just panicky button mashing, whereas you can treat it like the classic kung fu movie fight scene where they only attack one at a time.

  21. duwease says:

    Continuing to pick through Dragon Age II when I have the time.  I’m partway through Year 2, just started Aveline’s ‘quest’, and it’s friggin adorable.  The characters are really starting to flesh out, and I think I’ve actually got enough of a hang of the combat system to survive on Hard without reloading too much, although it takes a lot of management.

    I don’t think I’ll be doing a ‘character romance’, as those always feel so awkward to me (well, Liara wasn’t so bad), and none of the characters really fit a good mold for me.  Although I got the first.. er.. ‘romance’ scene with Isabela, and it was far more amusing and less awkward than I had expected, so I’m curious.  Still, she’s such a teenage hormone fanservice character otherwise.

    Other than that, I’m just fretting about hearing about Saint’s Row IV and Gone Home, because that’s two more games I have to throw on the pile of games I *must play* that seems to be rising at an unmanageable rate (Bioshock Infinite, Last of Us, State of Decay)…

    • Fluka says:

      Wait, is that the quest where you play matchmaker for Aveline?  If so, that might be my favorite part of the game, dawwww.

      Isabela gets a bit more depth as the game progresses, enough so that this here grumpy feminist actually liked her character quite a bit.  She’s a lusty pirate lady with giant garbanzos and no pants, but she’s unapologetically and proudly so.  She walks the fine line between sexual and sexualized, and her sexuality is made part of her character rather than just as cheesecake for the player.  Everybody wins!  Besides, (tiny spoilers) I love the friendship she develops with Aveline later in the game.

      • duwease says:

        That’s the one.. so fantastic :)

        Looking forward to Isabela getting fleshed out, as I haven’t really done much with her yet other than submit to a fling at the homestead once.  Even that was surprisingly amusingly done, and thankfully absent the naked robotic groping that Mass Effect does.

        Although, in an argument between her and Aveline, Aveline asks her how she gets men looking like such a worn-out sea dog, and Isabela replies it’s just a numbers game, and she shrugs off the folks telling the drunk crone to buzz off.  After that I was left wondering if the dialogue was written before a character model do-over… and what could have been had they made her appearance live up to that dialogue somewhat.  I think if she did indeed look a bit more like a weathered sea-dog in a provocatively dressed package if it wouldn’t have really added some great edges to the character.

      • duwease says:

        Following up on that hunch, it appears she did have quite a different character model in Origins that’s more like what I was envisioning: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Isabella

        • Fluka says:

          Aw man, I *still* forget that she’s the same character as the one in Origins.  Though if you run into certain Origins characters she’ll recall the threesome (or foursome) you shared during that game.  So…definitely the same character.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Stop it you two. I have EU4 to play, I can’t go back to Dragon Age 2 right now…

    • Fluka says:

      Also, agreed on this being a way too overstuffed week for must-play games.  This is like when Dishonored and XCOM came out the same week last year, gah!

  22. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    Feeling nostalgic for the money sinks games from my childhood, I bought some cheap Star Trek CCG cards off eBay. Now I’m either going to have to harangue my spouse into learning how to play or find someone else who wants to play (super-casually, because I’m not investing a lot of time/money into this).

  23. stakkalee says:

    Very little gaming for me this weekend since my dad is coming into town, so we’ll probably do some sightseeing and listening to LPs at home (he just got me a portable turntable since my old one’s speakers are pieces of shit.)  If I have any time for gaming I’ll probably spend it in the Shadowrun Returns editor, but I might pop in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and continue my low-kill playthrough.  I gotta say, those games are NOT meant to be stealth games; they want you to knife as many dudes as you can.  Clearing out the Borgia towers is super difficult when you’ve tied one hand behind your back – at one point I just got so frustrated I killed all of the attacking guards rather than running away like I resolved to, but for the most part I’m only killing the captains.

    • Merve says:

      I don’t take the AssCreed games very seriously, so I tend to play them as loudly and bloodily as possible. The stealth mechanics are too bare-bones for me to treat them like stealth games.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        It’s not much of a stealth game unless the game forces you to in the few missions that are truly stealthy. Especially once Ezio’s combat gets better, well… it does so in AC2, in Brotherhood you can fight like an ace right from the start. So yeah, dueling 10 guards isn’t all that threatening, so even if the game had a better stealth system, it’d still feel sort of superfluous.

  24. JokersNuts says:

    No ones playing Ducktales? With the original voice cast and gameplay I had a nostalgia overload playing it this week. I was obsessed with the game when I was 6 but haven’t played it in over 20 years. Obviously remade with love, I recommend it to any old gamer who grew up in the 80s.

    I am also playing Eathbound on Wii U. I never played through this game before but I am having a great time with it. I love the comedic and quirky style of the game, and don’t mind much the Dragon Warrior esque constant level grinding you have to do. It’s a fun one and I’m always interested to see what happens next.

  25. HobbesMkii says:

    My boss at work is away for a full month, so since I didn’t have any major travel plans, I instead used my vacation to give myself three and four day weekends from now through Labor day. So this weekend it will be tons of Payday 2 for me. I’m so close to the saw, which will allow me to cut through safe deposit boxes, that I can almost taste its rapidly spinning bl–ow! Huhrt ma toong.

    In between that I will be pausing to play Europa Universalis IV. Apparently there are were some problems with the CK2 convertor in version 1.11, but they’ve released the 1.111 hotfix, so I may play a little CK2 in order to reform the last of the pagan religions and convert it over to EUIV.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Yeah, there were some tech-level issues also and there appears to be a pretty horrid bug with the Monarch-Point pools maxing out at 999, meaning you can’t upgrade squat.

    • djsubversive says:

      I’m building up Mastermind and Ghost – sneak around as long as we can, and keep heads down when someone inevitably spots us and goes for an alarm. I think I’m gonna have to spend the points to Ace the cable-tie skill. Also, like I mentioned last night, we shouldn’t be afraid to take out a civilian if it’ll keep us stealthy.

      We were so close to stealthing that jewelry store. :(

  26. Roger Sterlings Lucky Strikes says:

    Just purchased Ultima 4-5-6 on GOG.com for MAC, so there’s that. I love those games and they are fun to revisit from time to time. 

    Last weekend, I played Home, which was fun and creepy. I ran through it again, using different choices and was surprised how the mood of the game changed.
    Binding of Isaac just mocks me. I can’t even get trough the second level…but I keep trying. 

  27. EmperorNortonI says:

    At the moment, it’s Wargame – AirLand Battle.  Now that I’m home and have a proper internet connection, I’ve been playing multiplayer matches.  It’s fun.  Because I like to suffer, I’m using nation-specific Warsaw Pact decks, and for the Soviets and Poles, I’m using Cat-B decks, which only allow units before 1980.  Obviously, this means your forces match up rather poorly against the long-ranged missiles and ample helicopters of NATO, but you’ve got some serious quantity on your side to make up for it, a little bit. 

    EU4.  Hrmn.  Ugh.  Why couldn’t you have waited a bit?

  28. indy2003 says:

    I restarted New Super Mario Bros. U this week, partially because I had a sudden craving for some 2D platforming action, and partially because I had drifted away from the game halfway through the last time. I initially wrote it off as a surprisingly bland reworking of New Super Mario Bros. (and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and New Super Mario Bros. U), but I don’t think I gave it enough credit for being an exceptionally well-designed riff on the old formula. The levels are quite diverse, and the difficulty is gradually increased in rather masterful fashion. I’m dying a lot now that I’m in World 7, but the game has a way of making me feel like I’m *this* close to being good enough to make it through.

    Elsewhere, I had started playing X-Com: Enemy Unknown, but I hadn’t really done any research on how that game is supposed to be played and I lost too many men early on. By the time I was a dozen missions in, I realized that I should have taken greater care to preserve all of my squad members (gruff sniper Sam Elliott is unbelievably skilled, but there’s only so much he can do). So, I will be starting over, but I’m happy to do so because the game is a (soul-crushing) delight.

  29. KingGunblader says:

    I’m continuing to work my way through Tales of Xillia, although I’ll be taking a break from that this weekend to hop in on the final beta for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Will I be buying my first MMO? Probably not.

    Oh and Plants vs Zombies 2 on my smoke breaks, obviously.

    • Chalkdust says:

       Had a few days off from Xillia, anxious to get back in.  It’ll be my weekend as well, though I will probably fall back on Lego Batman 2 if I need to break it up.  In vague terms, I just got past a pivotal moment involving a tournament.

      Speaking of tournaments, I will spend some time this weekend at Medieval Times with some old friends I haven’t hung out with in a while.

      • KingGunblader says:

         Ah, yes… the tournament. :P

        Get ready to be extremely frustrated with the optional fights after you clear that section.

  30. huge_jacked_man says:

    Just finished my Rage playthrough (base game + Scorchers DLC) and it was much better than I remembered.

    It starts poorly and the driving in that game is still terrible but the shooting sections are very fun, lots of weapons to play with and playing on Nightmare difficulty actually gives you a modicum of challenge. The DLC levels were pretty good although that girl character they shoehorned in was fucking awful (“Show me your big gun”, “Why go out, I want to stay here with you and play videogames” and other shitty male fanservice).

    This weekend I will play through Max Payne 3 unless I get terminally irritated by the game’s insistence to wrestle control away from me and play a cutscene after I clear every room. 

    Also I might get that new Spelunky game on Steam, I hear good things about it and the daily challenges sound like a blast.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Spelunky is an absolute blast, as I have stated about a billion times.  Some advice I’ve heard about it that I like:

      – Don’t be afraid to die.  A lot of times you’ll have to experiment to see how things react and what strategies work and a lot of times those experiments will kill you.  So it goes.
      – Think of it like a Tarot deck.  You always get a different hand in Spelunky and one may seem better off the bat, but it’s all about how you read them.
      -Use a controller, that’s what this game was designed in mind for.
      -But mostly, have fun.  It’s a good damn game!

      • huge_jacked_man says:

        Definitely going to use a controller for it, and as for the type of game it is I’m told it’s similar to a roguelike in terms of permadeath/random level generation. Looking forward to it, I never played the free version.

  31. boardgameguy says:

    I’m sponsoring an event for high school youth and so I’m going to bring some light table top games. Most have already played Bang! or Settlers of Catan, so I might try to introduce Saboteur, Lifeboats, Get Bit!, or Ra. I also recently received the Kickstarter version of Dungeon Roll and will likely take a few delves into the dungeon.

    Video games wise, I’m on my second play through of Hotline: Miami and it’s still so fun.

    Otherwise, I might shift to Capsized. Anyone here have thoughts on that?

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Capsized is you’re pretty basic run of the mill twin stick shooter though the controls are a bit wonky.  I always find myself switch weapons without meaning to.  I’ve made it a few levels in but have switched to other games but if you liked Waking Mars but wish it had more guns and blood, this game is for you.

    • Chalkdust says:

       I tried Capsized, got a level or two into it then got annoyed with how sloppy the physics felt.  Looks nice but poor handling.

  32. Cloks says:

    So, I posted this somewhere else but I thought it was interesting enough to share. Feel free to skip this wall of text though!

    Things I bought in Canada: Startopics, Super Mario Bros. 2

    A handful of NES games, mostly first party titles, had special Canadian
    editions that offered English and French text within the games. I
    believe I learned about that thanks to this thread and I set out to
    purchase some during my vacation. One of the cooler ones that I saw was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!
    which has English and French on the front label but it was a little two
    expensive for me. These are both games I want and they’ve got the
    French on the back warning and hopefully in the game as well as a CAN
    code on the label.

    Weird mistakes I bought in Canada: Wii Mini

    I don’t own a Wii but I’ll admit it right off the bat: there’s almost no
    reason to own one of these. They don’t have internet or SD cards,
    Gamecube compatibility or Gamecube controller ports. What they do offer
    is the entire Wii library in a sleeker package, a game system that looks
    much cooler than the actual Wii. I had a hard time buying one at a
    Canadian Best Buy because according to the clerk, they’re discontinued,
    making this somewhat of a future
    item. They’re now eighty dollars at Best Buy, so if anybody wants one
    (something I very much doubt!) this would be a good time to get one.
    Note that they’re not available in the US! 

    I’ll be playing Ni No Kuni, Megaman 2 and maybe Crystallis this weekend. Also, trying to finish up Metal Gear Rising. It’s hard.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Crystalis is just great.  It’s been many years since I’ve played, but I remember it being an excellent example of an action/rpg years ahead of the genre really taking off.
         That, combined with elemental-based sword power-ups and the always delightful post-apocalypse sword and sorcery setting and the game’s a real winner.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      I remember hearing about the Wii Mini. It’s not for me, but I can imagine there might be a market for something like that. I also remember hearing about it being a Canadian exclusive, and my mind just boggled.

      Is there any particular reason you went straight for the bilingual games? Do you speak it? Francophilia? Novelty?

      • Cloks says:

        Novelty, pretty much. It’s something that I can pull out and show people in my NES collection that they probably didn’t know existed and they’re also games that I wanted to play.

    • SamPlays says:

      Perfect. As soon as English becomes the sole official language of Canada, we can sell all of our bilingual crap to @Cloks:disqus. 

      Please tell me you didn’t come to Canada for the shopping. 

      *shakes head disapprovingly*

    • NakedSnake says:

      I played through Crystallis recently. It’s definitely a great game. Secret of Mana meets Zelda. However, I would say that at this point, it definitely needs a grain of salt. A lot of the mechanisms seem a bit rusty now (and I play a lot of retro game). But yea, definitely worth checking out. As for StarTropics, it has a strong start, but in general I would say it fails to live up to the hype surrounding it. By the end of the game I was begging for it to be over.

  33. Boonehams says:

    I messed around with the Inauguration Station for Saints Row IV and found that you can set your character to taunt with the Bernie Dance.  As far as I’m concerned, this game earns automatic Game-of-the-Year status.

  34. Basement Boy says:

    @ Matt Kodner: I’ve been regularly re-playing The Binding Of Isaac for a year and half now, still finding amazing combinations. I’m the opposite of a speed-run-player tho, ever since I unlicked Isaac’s D6… now it’s all about meticulously attempting to maximize items.

  35. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    I’d like to try out Dead Space 3 now that I picked up the EA Bundle.  I’ve always liked that game series (though never enough to pay full price for the games.)  It kind of continues the vein that Resident EVil 4 was going down before Capcom decided to shoot themselves in the foot over and over and over.

    But in all honesty, I’ll probably just play some spelunky and sleep all weekend because that’s easier.

    • huge_jacked_man says:

      There is no way Spelunky is easier than Dead Space 3…

      • Kyle O'Reilly says:

         Difficulty wise no, but in terms of ease of use.

        With Dead Space 3, I’ll have to finsih the 10 GB download, slog through the obligatory cutscenes, reacclimate to the controls, slog through the usual boring first levels, and also be in the right mood.

        With Spelunky, I plug in my controller, press A to start it up and just die over and over.  It’s a blast.  Plus I made 103rd on one of the recent daily challenges!  I’m on a roll!

  36. Andrew Bare says:

    I’m currently playing through BioShock Infinite on 1999 Mode, and it’s gone far better than I expected. I still have those fucking siren fights immediately ahead of me, but if all goes well I’ll have finished my third (and last, save future DLC) playthrough of an outstanding game by the end of the weekend.

    Aside from that, I’m just trying to guide my beloved Florida Gators through an NCAA ’14 dynasty. We won the national championship in our second season, but bumping the difficulty up to Heisman level has made this year much more challenging, though so far it as only resulted in one heartbreaking overtime defeat. Recruiting is going well, though I still need a few more offensive tackles to make up for my struggles in the first couple recruiting seasons. 

    • MintBerry_Crunch says:

      Goodness me, it’s like knowing someone’s plodding towards death row. Just wait till you get to the Ghost Mom battle; if you have a temper I’d wrap everything in your room with styrofoam. 

      (And those fights with the big Handymen? Miserable! I wish I’d never bothered in the first place in fact.)

  37. Matthew Burke says:

    This weekend I will finally triumph over the bane of my existence, Dark Souls. I just beat the Four Kings last night so I’m ready for Gwyn. That flame-sworded prick doesn’t stand a chance. This will be the greatest accomplishment of my trivial life.

    • huge_jacked_man says:

      You better beat the DLC as well or you cannot say you beat the game. 

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      Honestly, all the damn knights leading up to Gwyn are more of a nuisance than him.  As I’m sure you’ve heard there’s a bit of a parry strategy that can take him down.

      Really once you beat Pikachu and Snorlax the other bosses are much easier.

      • Matthew Burke says:

         Yeah I noticed that. After those two all the bosses seemed like more trouble than they were worth, by that I mean it was always more difficult just to get to the boss than the actual fight.

        • huge_jacked_man says:

          And that’s why you need to play the DLC. Best bosses in the game, a couple of them are harder than anything in the base game yet they feel “fair”. 

          Also I don’t think there’s a single boss in Dark Souls you cannot get to by running from a bonfire to the fog door.

  38. dreadguacamole says:

     I’m on holidays back in Argentina, getting an ungodly amount of time while friends are family are unavailable.

     Since I’m stuck on a work laptop, I’ve been limited to playing technically undemanding games – mostly been replaying the Spiderweb games I hadn’t gotten around before (the Avernum remake is great!) and KotOR2 with the restored content. I’ll also get around to playing the few graphic adventures I got, as well (there’s a couple of Blackwell and Dream Machine episodes I haven’t played yet, and I want to do another run-through of KR0)

     I was hoping to get some Expeditions: Conquistador in as well, but it doesn’t play nice with my current hardware; Oh well.

     I also got Guacamelee to play with my son, but that game is godawful without a controller – an extremely demanding platformer with QWOP controls; looking forward to getting back home and being able to actually make some progress with it.

     *Really* looking forward to Saint’s Row 4, and finally got a hold of a PC copy that’s not hideously expensive. Knowing that Rayman Legends and SR4 will be waiting for me when I get back puts me in the awkward position of kind of wanting to get back from holidays…

  39. annagjwell says:

    my best friend’s
    ex-wife makes $81/hour on the laptop. She has been fired for 8 months but
    last month her paycheck was $13003 just working on the laptop for a few
    hours. Go to this web site and read more.. http://www.works77.cℴℳ

  40. Bad Horse says:

    More XCOM. I beat Classic Ironman last week, yay! But my subsequent game taught me it was a total fluke, so boo.

    In related news, I look forward to seeing a review of The Bureau, which could be the proverbial bespoke game for me, or it could suck.

  41. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I may play Rise of the Triad this weekend, or some more Pinball Arcade. Man, I wish the PSN version of Pinball Arcade got new tables already, they’re two packs behind!

  42. ProfFarnsworth says:

    Congratulations Mr. Toal!  Marriage is wonderful!  I will be playing Crysis 2 which I picked up from the Humble Bundle Sale.  So far I like it.  I love the fact that I can be a super-powered human and do amazing things just for the heck of it…

    I might just pick up and finish Legend of Dragoon as well since I am just about finished with it.  I should definitely do that…since I need to do start Grad School this week.

  43. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I’m going to mix it up with some Avernum, an old-school RPG series by a group that’s been doing them for decades. It’s somewhat antiquated, especially the controls, but I’m a sucker for a good Ultima-esque game.

    I’m also at the tail end of Super Mario RPG. It’s been quite a fun game, both longer and more abridged than I expected.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Steam tells me I’ve got 72 hours of Avernum played, and most of that is within the last week or so. And that’s only the remake, god knows how many hours I’ve spent on the originals.
       All I’m saying, is that it’s a great game.

  44. Andy Tuttle says:

    I’ve also been on a Binding of Isaac kick myself. I have still never beaten the game, but I’ve unlocked two characters, so I feel like that is an achievement in and of itself. I’m actually going to go out into the real world this weekend, not sure I’ll have time to play any games. There’s a Weezer concert on Saturday and probably something involving hiking on Sunday. I’m sure I’ll get in a hour or two of Pinball FX 2 or Assassin’s Creed Revelations though.

  45. mizerock says:

    I have Animal Crossing for the GameCube that I played on my Wii, once, about 2 years ago. Should I plug it in again? Will the critters yell at me for being away so long? Does it have multiplayer?

    • Chalkdust says:

       Oh man, your house is going to be full of sooooo many cockroaches.  I stopped playing for a while, then came back and, after cleaning up my house, decided it was just better for everyone to leave it derelict.

    • ghettojourno says:

      Multiplayer: I don’t think so…. Some of the townspeople will let you have it for being away so long. I was in a similar situation recently.

  46. SnugglyCrow says:

    Any y’all gotten the Binding of Issac Mama’s Boy / Dark Boy / Spelunker Boy achievements?  So, so brutal.  I’ve OCD’d on this game at great personal cost getting all of the original achievements save for the above three in about 70hrs and then here go hell come.  After maybe 30+ hrs later I finally picked up Spelunker Boy but I’m at a point where I might call off further exploration.  Dark Boy sounds do-able but Mama’s Boy is widely regarded the most difficult of the game.  So much luck is required and so much heartbreak is doled out in attempting these perfect runs.

    I just read about somebody unsuccessfully putting in 3straight days attempting to get Mama’s boy and somebody in the comments of the Gameological BoI sports league article claimed to have 687hrs logged.  Maybe my level of commitment isn’t high enough.

    Damn Gameological for ever making me aware of this game!  But damn, Mr. Teti, ‘The Joy of the Forsaken’ is excellent writing.

    • Here’s a tip – the “boy” achievements will drop in the challenges too. So one could, for instance, begin the game with Dr. Fetus…

      For my part, I just happened to stumble into Mama’s boy with flying and Mom’s Knife. Certain enemies (like the headless jumpers) require luck but many of them can be figured out (like the grumpy fly which simply requires you stand still).

    • Basement Boy says:

      I’ve done everything *but* those you mention… I’m just not good at *not* getting hurt (tho can stay alive long enough to beat the game regularly). My “Basement Boy” achievement was a complete surprise.

    • SnugglyCrow says:

       Errr, I mixed up Mama’s Boy and Dark Boy–Dark Boy’s the harder one.  And I just got Mama’s Boy last night so I’m only one achievement away from perfection on the vanilla edition.

      Cyanotetyphas:  I’ve heard good things about attempting these during the challenges but I wasn’t sure if things were going to get harder with the WotL add-on + my life probably doesn’t need more achievements right now.  And I still haven’t learned how to use Mom’s Knife effectively–I re-roll it if I see it.

      I imagine it’s appropriate to have the most difficult achievements in a randomized game be based largely on luck but the 30+ hours I spent attempting Spelunker Boy, with no movement in the game otherwise, was like staring into the abyss.

  47. Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

    I finally picked up Xcom. I was doing pretty well til I got to this underground base type place with these Oddworld looking multi legged demon aliens that rip me apart. Gonna have to keep reloading saves until I get through it with at least Chet Chinstrap and my original character Dog Vomit still alive. Also I’ve finished Saints Row and moved on to the second one . I love it so far.

  48. Friday night is guild missions in Guild Wars 2. As
    usual, I’ll be having a wee nip of Jameson as we smash monsters and
    solve puzzles.

    Still working through my Steam backlog. Maybe I’ll finish Dishonored this weekend.

  49. ghettojourno says:

    Rayman Legends Challenge App, DuckTales: Remastered, Darksiders II, EarthBound, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, LEGO City Undercover, Runner2 (with the Good Friends DLC).

    That’s what I know for sure, but I obviously jump around quite a bit. There might be some Wii classics thrown in for good measure.

  50. Flying_Turtle says:

    First, let me join the chorus of Drew’s well-wishers. I’ve done many, many ridiculous things, but getting married is not one of them.

    As for games, when I’m not working, it’s going to be more Civ 5. My games have been following a formula of early-game treachery from the computer followed by a stalemate war, my determinedly moving up the tech tree, getting a technological advantage, and showing up thousands of years after the original conflict to wipe them off the map. I may want to look into becoming better at forgiveness or something.

  51. apple_mummy says:

    I’m gonna start Mirror’s Edge.

    I GUESS.

    Since life is gonna be hectic soon, I’ve been pretty determined to waste this valuable weekend as much as possible, and the Humble Bundle was pretty convenient timing for that! 

    But for some reason, giving this game a try feels like a chore I really do not want to do. Besides Dead Space (I just played System Shock II), the rest look kind of terrible, so it’s the prime candidate, and looks pleasing enough. So why am I so damn reluctant?

  52. WordsBackedByNuclearWeapons says:

    Work starts back up in a couple of weeks so I am trying to get in as much gaming as is appropriate to maintain healthy relations with the wife and 4 year old.  Mostly this means being up all night, which at my ripe old age means midnight at most. 

    Right now CK2 The Old Gods and Kerbal Space Program are competing for my attention, with Europa Universalis IV waiting to be downloaded off Steam.  I’m holding off EU IV until my Norse Empire is stable and ready to convert.  Right now I hold about 8 king titles as well as Emperor of Scandinavia.  I want to form the Russian Empire but the attrition in some of those provinces is brutal.  I have to get my tech up to cancel it out. France is of course the mother of all bitches in this game, dominating France, Iberia, and the Italian peninsula.  I think I’ll assassinate the king of France and see how his invalid heir holds the kingdom together. 

    My college buddy introduced me to Kerbal Space Program last week.  At first I was all about finding ways to blow up my Kerbals.  Then, I started to place challenges for myself.  First it was, fly a rocket without blowing up, then get into orbit.  Now, it has evolved into grandiose schemes to set up multi-part bases on the Mun and assemble a spaceship in orbit to get to Duna(Mars).  Docking is a bitch though, so I might hold off on that.

  53. djsubversive says:

    Hobbes and I have been playing Payday 2 lately. Good robber-y fun, when we can get a full crew.

    Effigy and I played a bit of Dead Island last night. It’s a game that gets better with more players (as long as everyone’s on the same page), because it helps alleviate the tedious “constant forth-and-back” (as Eff puts it).

    I’ve been spending my non-heisting time playing around with the Shadowrun Returns editor. Got a warehouse with stuff in it now, and a pair of guards. When you kill one of them, he drops the keycard that gets you into a small office area, which has a computer with the day’s elevator codes. I haven’t built the elevator’s destination yet, but I’m thinking it’ll be a research facility of some sort – office/Secret Lab stuff.

    I’m getting the hang of lights, sort of. It’ll be annoying when (if?) they fix the off-set Y-axis (0 is around ceiling height, -2 is ground-level).

  54. Free Origin code for Dead Space 3: AQGQ-CN3J-9P7N-F3ET-KDGJ

    I got it in the Humble Origin Bundle but already have it.