What Are You Playing This Weekend?

William Watterson, actor

William Watterson, actor

The star of Lost Planet 3 has invented a more peaceful version of the Atari 2600 game River Raid.

By Ryan Smith • August 30, 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.

Having already worked in short films, commercials, TV, and theater, William Watterson recently added video game voice and motion actor to his performance credentials. He played a small role as Sam Turner in the 2011 detective game L.A. Noire and landed the starring role in Capcom’s Lost Planet 3 as lead character Jim Peyton. The Cleveland native spoke with The Gameological Society about the creative ways he plays Atari 2600 and what it’s like to act in a video game.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

William Watterson: I play what is called “Pacifist River Raid,” my own invention of sorts. It’s a version of River Raid for the Atari 2600 where you’re only allowed to shoot the bridges. You can’t shoot the boats or the helicopters, and you can’t get extra lives by racking up the points. You gotta dodge like mad and shoot the bridges. Every once in a while you have to cheat because there are alleys the exact length of the helicopter, and you can’t fly by it without shooting it, but other than that…

Gameological: That’s interesting. River Raid was pretty challenging as it was.

Watterson: I just got to the point where I was cruising through it and just mostly dying out of boredom. I thought, “Okay, I have to switch this up.” Eventually, it really improves your game, it’s almost like doing kung fu underwater—okay, it’s really not at all like doing kung-fu underwater, but it sort of teaches you how far you can get with evasion as opposed to being on the attack. A lot of times, you’ll end up dying because you’ll go to shoot a helicopter, and you’ll crash into it before you can shoot it, and you realize you could have made it and gotten further if you didn’t have to shoot everything. It really ups your game.

Gameological: Talk about your Warlords drinking game.

Watterson: Warlords is great because it’s a four-player game, and it’s more social than your average Atari game. There’s an inherent flaw in the game with the purple guy—I think he’s on the bottom right. He’s slower and a lot more prone to some of the special attacks. The Pong ball doesn’t really adhere to the physics of Pong, and it just curls and stuff like that. The purple guy is always at a big disadvantage, and so we try to level the playing field by making the winner of a round take a big shot, and they end up losing some hand-eye coordination.

Gameological: What it was like to be an actor in Lost Planet 3?

Watterson: I did motion capture, facial capture, and the voice for the protagonist—the guy you play as in Lost Planet 3. It’s funny. There’s this perceived divide, and it happens a lot, in L.A. at least. It’s like the scene from Swingers, where he couldn’t get the goofy gig because he didn’t have mascot experience. It’s like, “Oh, do you have motion-capture experience? Well…” But ultimately, the big secret is that it’s all just acting. It’s not different from doing theater or movies. There are aspects of the technology that you need to pick up on, and you have to get comfortable in the suit and being surrounded by the tech, but it’s not different from green screen or black box theater or improv, where someone says “Hey, there’s a giant bug there,” and you’re like, “All right, now there’s a giant bug there.”

If you break it down to its blue-collar essence, which is how I act anyway, it’s all “Where do I stand? What do I say? Okay, got it.” The motion-capture suit is just a costume, and the marks on your body are just props, the same as a hat or anything else. The big advantage of the way we did it for L.A. Noire and Lost Planet 3 is you’re actually playing out the scene with the other actors. Yes, it’s weird that you’re looking at a tennis ball, or you’re in a skintight suit and your nuts are hanging out, and you have a camera on your head, but if you turn and look into the eyes of the other people, you’re fine. And it’s just about what’s happening between you and the other actors. It’s the same muscles. All the other stuff just has to go away in your head.

Gameological: Are you saying you’re not actually acting these scenes out on some frozen alien planet? Did you at least shoot something in a walk-in freezer or something for the sake of authenticity?

Watterson: No, but you do have to find it in your body—the difference between when you’re walking in the pirate cave versus when you’re actually trudging in the snow. I mean, I grew up in Cleveland, so I know snow. You can find it in your body the same as you would during an improv scene if someone says “Okay, you’re a grandpa,” and you find in your body how old you are and how broken down you are. You play with your spine, so if you’re playing an uber-confident guy, maybe you puff your chest out a bit and straighten up. You try to pick up small physical triggers that then inform the emotional stuff that’s on the page. It’s using a lot of those tools.

Gameological: One thing you don’t hear much about in terms of acting in video games is improvisation and actors putting their own unique touches on characters. Were you able to do any of that?

Watterson: Some of it, yes. I’m new to voiceovers, so I tended to just hit whatever was on the page when I was in the booth because I knew we had a lot to get through. Every once in a while, I might try to make it more like something I’d say or make it sound more real. There’s probably more room for improv if you have more experience and depending on the character. Some of these actors I’d been working with on this game for three years, and we had friendships and history to draw on. The thing is, you have a lot of info you have to get across, and none of the cutscenes are superfluous. You’re driving the story forward, so you can’t screw up too much.

But usually at the end of a scene, especially some of the lighter-hearted scenes with me and Gale in the bay, we’d just throw a barb at each other or something we call a “button” on the scene. The scene is over, and you just look over and say one last thing like a “Fuck you,” or “Well, that was weird,” some observational peg. We did that a few times. I saw at least two cutscenes that ended up using some of our improvisations. That’s great, because you’re always looking for some kind of truth, and that was very true to [Daniel’s and my] relationship as actors and Jim and Gale’s relationship as characters. It’s great that there’s room for that kind of humanity in a video game.

Gameological: Do you think they captured the real you in the game?

Watterson: It’s a head-wreck, man. In a great way, but whoa is it weird. The very first time I saw it all put together, I got dizzy, and I thought, “That’s my voice. That’s…mostly my face.” They made me a bit thicker—I’m a wiry guy—and he’s got a full beard too. I can grow a beard like that, but I had to shave the beard in order to get my face captured by the cameras. It’s not exactly me, but anyone who knows me would see it and go, “Bill, what are you doing in the computer?” But wow, I look awesome. I would totally be afraid of me.

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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251 Responses to “William Watterson, actor”

  1. PaganPoet says:

    I feel like every male protagonist from a game made in the last 7 years was modeled after this guy’s headshot. Seriously. Look at him. He looks just like Joel Nathan DeWitt.

  2. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    This weekend I play the most dangerous game.  Painting all my kitchen cabinets.
       What’s that?  The most dangerous game is hunting man?
       Well, where does painting cabinets rank?
       563rd, right after Mystery Date?
       This weekend I play the 563rd most dangerous game.  And Darksiders II.  And I bought Journey on sale.

    • PaganPoet says:

      In defense of Mystery Date, that episode of Mad Men made it seem pretty spooky by thematically linking it to the Richard Speck murders.

      Journey is amazing. Keep a box of tissues nearby.

    • Enkidum says:

      Oh yeah gotta get on that Journey goodness.

      Speaking of stuff on sale, if anyone want a steam copy of any of the games below, find me on Steam and I can give you the keys. Bought them in Humble Bundles and already have them, or they’re Windows-only.

      War of the Roses: Kingmaker
      The Showdown Effect
      Thomas Was Alone

    • The Guilty Party says:

      Wait, you’re painting cabinets? Aren’t cabinets normally some kind of wood surface? What color are you painting them, then?

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Once I tried to use paint stripper to get my old house cabinets down to wood. It was green paint, white paint, blue paint, WALLPAPER, and then two more layers of paint.

      Halfway into the first cabinet door, which took several hours and still looked TERRIBLE, we threw our hands up and moved on. They wound up yellow with white and now we don’t live there and man it is NICE to have cabinets no one painted and painted and wallpapered and painted.

      So, uh, yeah, good luck!

      • OldeFortran77 says:

        I stripped the wallpaper from a number of rooms and re-painted to good effect. Then I got to the bathroom walls and discovered they’d never finished preparing the wall underneath. And I stripped the kitchen wallpaper and found this incredibly uneven surface above the windows. I’ll probably re-wallpaper the bathroom, and I’m applying layer after layer of spackle to the kitchen wall to get it smooth.
        Painting kitchen cabinets has to be a lot higher than 563. Have you seen the guys who do that professionally?!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Sorry to chime in so late (painting cabinets and all), but wallpaper?  That’s pooped up.

  3. Sandwichands says:

    But he doesn’t look anything like the burger king man.

  4. HobbesMkii says:

    Might I suggest that, if you have been hesitant to get into anything from Paradox’s catalog due to price, that you examine this week’s Humble Weekly Sale: https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly which is Pdox week. If you pay more than the average (currently $5.80), you get Crusader Kings II! More than worthwhile on its own for that price.

    • Chalkdust says:

      And for the adventurous, if you pay at least $125, you’ll get 48 games in total!  I… I am not adventurous.  Or possessing of much disposable income.

    • The Guilty Party says:

      I have such a hard time getting into Paradox games. I really want to like them and I think I should, but I’ve never gotten over that initial ‘oh god what the hell is going on? what should I spend my money on?’ and I end up either kind of stagnating or trying to conquer someone, failing, and dying.

      It’s like, when I compare it with the Civ family, there, especially at the beginning, I know I have a few clear choices, and it’s matter of balancing war/scouting/expansion/etc. I feel like with Paradox anything, I don’t even know what I’m choosing to do or not do.

      Anyone have useful tips for getting into it? (I’m pretty sure I have CK2 sitting around because I saw it cheap once and Steam sales and … well you know the story.) 

      • The Guilty Party says:

        And if I fail at it, I will do more PvP in The Secret World. I’m actually halfway competent at it nowadays! First mmo where I’ve ever gotten this far PvP-wise.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        It depends on the game. For CK2, I always recommend playing as a small single-county count in Ireland. You’re insulated from the churn that goes on on the continent, or England, Wales, and Scotland’s constant warring, so you’ve got a nice little sandbox to work in in order to conquer your neighbors. You will learn a lot of the basics of warfare, diplomacy, vassal management, etc. By the time you’ve united all Ireland, you’ll be on your way to preparing to conquer the rest of the British Isles.

        For the Europa Universalis games, I recommend playing one the larger European countries (France, in particular, crushes all her enemies, as was the historical fact of the time). You’ll generally win wars, advance faster in technology, and get to colonize, and other countries will generally fall over themselves to be friends, unless you do something foolish, like conquer too many people without causus belli, and put your badboy score through the roof.

        Vicky I’ve never learned. A lot of guides recommend Brazil as a starting country, for reasons similar to Ireland in CK2.

        For HoI3, I recommend playing one of the Big Six nations, and setting the computer to manage to parts of the game you don’t want to learn yet. In fact, it’s useful to play through a couple times, turning the computer to manage the parts you don’t want to focus on and letting yourself manage the parts you want to learn each time.

      • EmperorNortonI says:

        For CKII, I found Poland to be a tolerable starting country.  You have some provinces, your neighbors aren’t all that strong or aggressive, and you can choose what to do.

        I also enjoyed playing as an Algerian duke.  It had many of the same good points for a beginner as Poland.  As a Muslim power, I found that the need to find jobs for all of my family was a really interesting dilemma, and forced me into playing fairly aggressively.

        EUIV?  Pick a ruler you’ve heard of, find their first year, and go from there.  That’s always kind of fun.  Other than that, I have to agree with Hobbes, play somebody strong enough that you won’t get stomped.  Also, with EUIV I strongly recommend playing around with different starting times, and just just always starting from the earliest point in time.  It’s really interesting working forward from decisions and strategies already made.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      HAHAHA! And you all said I shouldn’t bother waiting until CK2 was under ten bucks to get it! WHO’S LAUGHING NOW! 

      *proceeds to saw off own hand*

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      No Victoria II makes me a sad manda.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I’ve started buying every Humble/Indie bundle that comes out.  I can’t pass up $10-15 for a bunch of games that I might play later.

      I just hit the 50 games mark on Steam…and probably 25 of those I haven’t even played yet!  It’s like the days of the Commodore 64 all over again…get a box of floppies, and take the next three years before I actually try them all.

  5. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    I’ve had the chance to try a few different card games at work recently.

    Love Letter! Simple, easy to pick up, quick and fun. It takes about an even amount of luck and skill, in my experience; I recommend trying it, if you get the chance.

    DC Deck Builder! Easy to pick up if you’ve played other deck-building games like Dominion. Surprisingly fun, but I’ve only played once so I can’t speak too much about it.

    Hanabi! A relatively simple, co-operative game where you can’t see your own hand and there’s very limited ways for other people to help out with that. Pretty fun, but again, I’ve only played it once.

    Not sure about the weekend, but I’ll manage. Somehow.

    • CNightwing says:

      Hanabi is cute, but I feel like you can break it by establishing protocols based on information theory right at the start. That’s what you get playing with computer scientists I guess.

    • boardgameguy says:

      I’ve been wanting to try both Hanabi and Love Letter.

      @CNightwing:disqus But if you know creating protocols will break it, why play that way? Why not just play as the spirit of the game intends?

      • The_Helmaroc_King says:

        Hanabi may be best played infrequently. There are some instances where it’s fairly obvious what someone else intends, but that’s not always possible if there are doubles in their hand. Mostly, it seems to come down to how well everyone can remember what’s in their own hand, and figuring out what you should point out in other people’s hands.

        The “protocols” @CNightwing:disqus mentioned are probably less about communication than about making optimal plays. Like in my example; if you point out a single color or number in someone’s hand, chances are you intend for them to play that.

        Love Letter is better at that; there’s often only one “right” play to make without losing the round, but the game moves quickly enough and has enough variety that you should get other chances soon enough. There’s a decent amount of luck involved, but the game has such a low commitment that it doesn’t hurt much.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      I think i’m going to pick up Love Letter next time I order a game, which will most likely end up being some combination of Cosmic Encounter, Kemet, and/or Android: Netrunner. I need some more really short games for playing before or after the bigger ones at a game night.

  6. Merve says:

    Nice interview. That’s some interesting insight into the video-game acting process from Mr. Watterson.

    This weekend, I’m going to try to finish Rayman Origins before Rayman Legends comes out next week. I doubt I’ll succeed. If by some chance I do manage to beat Origins, then I’ve got the frustrating but fascinating Max Payne 3 on the docket, as well as Grubbins on Ice, the DLC for our current revue club game, Costume Quest. And if I get tired of that – though I doubt I’ll have the time to get tired of anything – I’ve got a raft of DLC for Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, and BioShock Infinite to try out.

    • OldeFortran77 says:

      Nobody else really mentioned it so I wanted to second your opinion. That was a nice interview. He sounds a like pretty cool dude.

  7. Cloks says:

    Infamous, although from the little I played the platforming is shockingly loose, o-ho-ho!

    • Bad Horse says:

      Once you get comfortable with Infamous, the platforming is nice and fluid. It’s more geared to be in constant motion, doing cool parkour shit nonstop, than it is to play conservatively.

      • Chum Joely says:

        I basically agree, although at times it would crap out on me (or maybe I just got mentally out of sync with the right way to interact with the platforming mechanic) and suddenly you’re stuck cycling between a certain windowsill and pipe and back to the windowsill (etc.) because Cole never quite grabs the right thing at the right time…

        Anyway, the more projectile-based combat is so awesome once you power up a bit that I can forgive the occasional slackness in the platforming. Oh, and that level near the beginning when you first meet the evil mutant power chick, and you’re hallucinating your way through the highway tunnel… that’s one of my big action-game memories from the past few years. Enjoy.

  8. caspiancomic says:

    Picked up Spelunky on PSN earlier today. In other words, nice knowing you guys.

    (This oughta hold me until that Rogue Legacy Mac version comes out.)

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Yeeeeeeah Boyee!  Have fun dude, and remember that dying is part of the game.  Just die and learn and die and learn and die some more.  And be pumped for Rogue Legacy too, that and Spelunky are the holy grail of fun, accessible roguelike platformer type games.

  9. Jackbert says:

    This weekend, I’m not really sure what I’ll be playing. Rayman Origins and Animal Crossing, of course, but I’d like to play a game with a story, and my request for Dragon Age II was rejected. I got the MGS HD Collection at the start of summer and forgot about it until now, but I doubt I can finish one of them in five days. Still, the rest of my unbeaten games are platformers, open-world, or short PSN games, none of which seem like a good summer-cap, so I might as well try. Which one is shorter, 2 or 3?

    A week from today I’ll be attending my first day of class at boarding school. I’ll try to pop in from time to time, but due to numerous factors, said environment will make my posting quite limited. I’ve loved reading and commenting on Gameological for the last year. Thanks go out to the staff and community for making this such a great website! I’ll try to be active in the Steam group!

    • PaganPoet says:

      Awww. Study hard, party hard, man. I hope your stay at boarding school is a good one, and I hope you pop in when you can “just to say hey” (My Kylie Minogue promotion is pretty shameless). We’ll miss you around here, hopefully we’ll see you when you’re on break.

      btw, MGS2 is shorter than MGS3.

      • Jackbert says:

        Thanks! I’ll pop in when the water puts me in a mood to play. I’ll try to show up during breaks, though I’m worried they’ll coincide with Gameological breaks.

        How long would you estimate MGS2 at, if one was hurrying?

    • Citric says:

      I finished the MSX Metal Gear in something like 3 hours, so you can do that.

      Also, since everything I know about boarding school I learned from If…, uh, don’t get shot by Malcolm McDowell?

      • Jackbert says:

        I’m probably going to try to finish MGS 2 or 3, due to their stories being heralded as classics and all, but if I have extra time, I’ll check out MG.

        I haven’t seen that movie (Or TV show? Maybe even interactive art performance?) but I’ll try not to get shot by that guy.

        • Citric says:

          It’s a movie from 1968, about people in a boarding school. Because it’s always best to make references that slightly confuse your audience.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          My cultural touchstone is Dead Poet’s Society. If your father doesn’t want you to be an actor in a school play but you do it anyway, for the love of god, LIVE.

        • Jackbert says:

          @Citric:disqus : Checked it out, sounds like a surreal ending, eh? My go-to piece of art set in a boarding school with a surreal ending is the novel Prep. The first seven chapters are each around forty pages long and make out the book to be a generic, unremarkable coming-of-age story. The last chapter is one hundred pages of highly graphic depictions of sex.

          @drflimflam:disqus : That one I’ve seen. Don’t worry, if I meet anyone as annoying as Robin Williams, I’ll drop out right away.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @Jackbert:disqus: Promise. Because there’s nothing funny about contracting Robin Williams Syndrome.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Frankly, that’s just always good advice.

    • Fluka says:

      Jackbert!  We’ll miss you and your most excellent comments!  Be sure to come back and visit between your fancy book learnin’!  *Sniffles, waves handkerchief.*  He’s all grown up!

      • DrFlimFlam says:

         I promised you wouldn’t cry.

      • Jackbert says:

        You’ll see me more often if you go in chat! Or indivually message me, but then *looks at script, affects louder tone* you won’t get to experience the awe-inspiring greatness of our leader and master Effigy_Power.

        • Chum Joely says:

          (examines script) All pathetic boot-licking from Jackbert Jr. aside,

          Yes, Fluka, you should just woman up and come visit us in GS/Steam chat already. Sheesh. ;)

        • Effigy_Power says:

          We shall have a parade in your honor, Jackbert.
          A small parade.
          A few people.
          Well, maybe not a parade.
          I’ll make my employees sign a card?
          Nah, too much.
          Well, I might play some music when I go to the fridge and salute.
          Maybe without music. Or the salute.
          I’ll think of you.
          I won’t.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Truly, a tribute to stand the test of time.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

         All the luck to you with Boarding School.  While we all suspected you were a wizard, it must be a surprise to find out for certain all the same.
         Are you still going to be in the Twin Cities or the surrounding burbs?
         I hope it goes well and don’t blow this great educational opportunity on a focus in the humanities.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        It better be Ravenclaw. That’s how Gameological rolls.

      • Jackbert says:

        Thanks! I’ll still be in Minneapolis during breaks, but my school is in the Northeast, so I’ll get to revel in people not making fun of me for calling sugary carbonated beverages “soda.” Don’t worry, I’ll continue to focus on math and sciences that utilize lots of math.

        @drflimflam:disqus : It’d be Slytherin, to be honest. Too ambitious.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

      I teach at a school with boarders.  It should be a good experience, but not because it’s fun or comfortable in any way, shape, or form.

      1 – The dorm is in all likelihood a miserable and restrictive place.  But work life is miserable and restrictive, so you’ll be better able to adjust to a real job in the future.

      2 – Suffering in youth builds perspective on the suffering you will face in the future.  You’ll look at the hardships of living alone and college life, and think to yourself, “eh, it really isn’t much worse than boarding school.”

      3 – Make the effort to get to know everyone you live with, and be on decent terms with them.  Again, this is a great life skill.  In the future, you’ll be stuck with random groups of strangers, and things will go a whole lot better if you’re already used to dealing with that situation in a positive manner.

      • Jackbert says:

        Plus, I have roughly an hour of free time a day, and am expected to do around four hours of studying a night. I’m not really expecting it to be fun, although I think it might be as times, but it’ll definitely be a stepping-stone to future aspirations, as well as an experience that develops skills to help me succeed in said aspirations. Being the most blasé person in my college dorm in regards to homesickness will be a nice bonus too.

        • EmperorNortonI says:

          Wow, that schedule sounds just as punishing as the school at which I teach.  Good luck.

        • Carlton_Hungus says:

          I went to boarding school many, many a year ago.  We also had mandatory study hours at night.  Just face your computer monitor away from the dorm room door and game/surf the internet until your heart’s content.  Just be prepared with the quick alt-F4 or alt-tab when a prefect walks in.

    • stakkalee says:

      Good luck with boarding school!  I think you’ve already learned the most important lessons – kindness, thoughtfulness, respect for others.  We’ll keep your plaid jacket clean for when you get back!

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

      Good luck man, the gameological comments will be different with a lackbert of Jackbert.  Hopefully we’ll still see your home movies avatar pop up every so often. 

    • Merve says:

      My only knowledge of boarding school comes from the works of YA author Gordon Korman, so as far as I know, you’ll be engaged in a nonstop prank war, and your roommate will be a nerdy kid named Elmer. Good luck, @Jackbert:disqus!

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Well, I hope they teach you some valuable skills and knowledges there, so you don’t end up like the rest of us and waste your days away on Steam. ^_^
      Also: I hear those boarding school girls are crazy horny, unless it’s an all-male boarding school, in which case I heard those boarding school boys are crazy horny.
      Adopt, adapt and improve.

      • djsubversive says:

        “Adopt, adapt, and improve.”

        Good enough for the Round Table, good enough for Jackbert.

    • caspiancomic says:

       AHHH JACKO. Try super hard to drop in now and then, the hive mind won’t be the same without you! I’m going to try and start Fire Emblem Awakening pretty soon, so try to communicate with me telepathically if you can. Or maybe I’ll just finally email you back like a normal person, I don’t know why this sort of thing always takes me so long.

      Anyway dood, have an amazing time at school! Spare us a thought now and then, eh!

      • Jackbert says:

        Thanks! I’ll try to drop in, dood! You can also chat me up on Steam, if you prefer the short structure of instant messaging over emails. 

  10. evanwaters says:

    So I discovered Star Made. It’s essentially Minecraft in Space- same emphasis on building and same blocky style, but now you’re building spaceships. It’s addicting but it’s still in essentially a free beta stage and some parts are counterintuitive.

    Also I picked up The Witcher and The Witcher 2 during a Steam sale on a whim. I’ve only gotten a little into the first, and it’s… odd. Feels caught between a few sides- it’s not as purely an action RPG as Diablo III, or as expansive and open-ended as the Elder Scrolls series, etc. Lots of cutscenes, a janky engine, really gratuitous fanservice, it’s not really that *good* a game but I got it for cheap so I’ll see how this goes until I get bored.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Witcher’s a bit of a weird one, but it does get better after an ungodly amount of time. On the whole, I’d say it’s pretty good but very hard to recommend.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       I just skipped the Wticher 1 and went right to the (everybody says) superior Witcher 2.  Witch* it turns out my decently equipped gaming laptop can’t display at more than 15 fps. 

      *see what I did there.

  11. Citric says:

    Silent Hill Downpour! It has been neglected. I was also considering Star Ocean: Second Evolution but I’ve hit a stupid part, namely I was stupid and definitely need training and shopping.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I personally feel that neglect is a perfectly appropriate reaction to Silent Hill: Downpour.

      • Citric says:

        Aw, I like it. It’s not Silent Hill 2, and the weapon system is pretty dumb, but as a different thing it has its charms.

  12. Matt Koester says:

    This weekend I’m probably gonna play more Puyo Puyo online with my buddy Nick. I started playing Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine last time I was on vacation and came back ready to get my friends hooked. Of course, whatever skill we have is completely dwarfed by the game’s community, which is as talented as a cult-block-puzzler community should be I suppose.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      It’s unfortunate that many online games are kind of ruined by trying to join the populace that is ridiculously good at it.

  13. Fluka says:

    Saints Row 4 Saints Row 4 Saints Row 4.  I can’t help but love a game which gives me a quest log update of “Perform a Sexy Dance.”  And which has me run around in someone’s embarrassing non-canon fan fiction.  And which *insists* on proper Stealth procedures (*Shoots guard.* “Mission failed: shoot out the light first!”).  This game is just so fun, you guys.  Actually, the better word for it is “joyous.”  The creators are having fun, my character is having fun, and I am having fun.  Favorite new game this year so far.

  14. Kilzor says:

    Final Fantasy XIV!!  If you’re somehow able to get on to the servers (which has gotten easier these past couple of days), I’ll be courting danger on the Cactaur server as Kilzor, Lance Kilzor.

    (If I’m feeling lady-like, I’ll also be courting danger as Galdana Honeycutt on the Siren server)

    Short review: very similar experience to ST:TOR (which was my first MMO).  Very enjoyable world though, and the travel pains of SW:TOR are much abbreviated.  The crafting is surprisingly…soothing.

    • The Guilty Party says:

      It’s vastly improved from the first time it came out. The UI no longer makes me grind my teeth in frustration. I like that there’s enough complexity to the game systems & job system that it feels there’s lots to learn/explore/do. What I’m not a big fan of is most of the sidequests. They’re a bit overly ‘kill 5 rats’, and yes, I know that’s what it boils down to in other games too, it’s just often not very well masked here. The main story has been interesting so far, though.

      • Kilzor says:

        I like how they try and spice up the Kill Rat quests by saying things like “I know it’s ridiculous that I’m sending you out to kill five rats, but no really, here’s the craaaazy circumstances behind this boring request.”  End result though, you still have to kill five rats.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Anyone here on Sargatanas?

      Also, Arcanist is pretty great.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I played FFXI and that consumed all, even moreso than WoW did while the flame burned bright.

      But who is to say what a cold and shut-in winter may bring…

    • ZTO says:

      I have to agree I rather like the crafting. It provides some low stress busy work while I wait 45 mins to join a duty. That said, I’m worried that it’s a waste of time outside of materia attaching since it seems like loot found in duties is easily 2 or 3x better than similarly leveled loot. (EX: lvl15 bow found in a dungeon was not replaced on my archer until I HQ’d a bow for level 24).
      At any rate, if anybody is on Midgarsormr, let me know

  15. EmperorNortonI says:

    I always wanted to get into voice work.  I have a nice low voice, great for melodramatic villains, complete with an over-the-top maniacal laugh.  But choice and circumstance never put me in the right time or place, and now that opportunity has passed.

    I picked up EUIV this week, and have played through a bit.  There are good points, which are very good, and bad points, which are mainly bad to someone who’s a historian knowledgeable in non-European early modern history.   From what I can see, they absolutely NAIL everything in central and western Europe, but have serious problems with the way they chose to model contacts with non-Europeans.  But it’s SO MUCH BETTER IN ALL WAYS than the EUIII or EUII that’s it’s not even funny.  Utterly incredible upgrade.

    I’m also still banging around with Wargame AirLand Battle, which everyone who likes RTS even a little bit should play.  It’s an incredible, wonderful game.

    I beat Rogue Legacy early this week, a major accomplishment in my opinion.  My secret weapon at the end?  The Dagger spell, which in the hands of the Archmage or Spellsword was pretty much all that was needed to beat the final two bosses.  I couldn’t even touch Johannes with a fighter character, but dagger?  That was the stuff!

    • duwease says:

      Yeah, I ignored Int at first, but New Game+ means you take pretty wild damage even with maxed out armor, so all of a sudden those spells that never got used got worked into the strategy big-time.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Heh. I played all of ten minutes of New Game+ before deciding I was nowhere good enough to play it. Beating the game on normal will have to do for me.

        • duwease says:

          They double your gold output for New Game+, so you quickly come up to speed.. well, it’s a little faster than the first go-round, at least.  Probably gonna need a Barbarian for the first few parts though.. it was disheartening how quickly I died in my first attempt after feeling like a champ by the time I beat Normal.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       That dagger advice I’m going to have to take to heart, because I have played the whole game basically as Hokage and Barbarian and have been routinely destroyed by Johannes.  Having a good distance spell should do wonders for me.

  16. NakedSnake says:

    Partially at the recommendation of folks here, I’m using my new 3DS XL to focus on finally playing Chrono Trigger . So far, it’s not blowing me away the way that Final Fantasy VI did when I played it for the first time last year. The combat seems a little less fun, perhaps, without the “jobs” system. But it is a very solid game and full of many bright and interesting moments. Most significantly, perhaps, is the apparent (so far) absence of filler and grinding. It’s been straight ahead the whole time, which is a very nice feeling for an old-school rpg. The plot also fits together nicely, with the elements from different ages linking up in interesting ways.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I first played Chrono Trigger in the FF Chronicles collection and then finally beat it on DS. I’m a huge fan of Cross, and I certainly LIKE Trigger. It’s part of the 16-bit pantheon with PSIV, FFIV, FFVI, and SFII, and I quite like it, but yeah, it is not what I consider a high impact RPG, really. Good music, great visuals for the age it came from, and a solid battle system (though the way people freaked out over the multiple party member techs baffles me).

      I liked the trial early on quite a bit. The game is certainly more self-aware than some.

      • NakedSnake says:

        The trial was great. There’s no question that the game does a lot of new cool things that sets it apart. Is it heretical to say I find the music mostly generic?
        But don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it a lot, but I guess I expected something a little more transcendent. It seems to hit a sweet spot in terms of being endearing and memorable, too, so I’m sure the game is worth sticking with. Is Chrono Cross a big jump forward/upward?

        So wait, Shining Force II is the “classic” one? Then I wasted my time playing the original Shining Force?

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          It depends on who you ask. I think your opinion hinges largely on how highly you revere Chrono Trigger. Many fans of that game heard SEQUEL and flipped out when the game is actually a retrofitted game released years before in Radical Dreamers.

          But it’s got a fantastic soundtrack (my favorite ever for a game), a huge cast, a unique and flexible battle system, NO grinding, and it does tie together with Chrono Trigger some in interesting ways.

          Chrono Trigger is Very Good. But it’s also nearly 20 years old, and the genre has been refined even more than it did. But for its time, it eschewed so much of what RPGs were, so I think it was talked up so much as a result.

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      Like most 16-bit RPGs, you can usually do without grinding until right before the final boss. 

      I’m surprised you don’t find the combat as fun. The different area-of-effect types, as well as the various tech combinations, make battles a little more strategic, but no less fast-paced. 

      • NakedSnake says:

         Aw man, so I have a lot of grinding at some point in my future? Hopefully the game at least caters to that with some kind of dinosaur forest. The area of effect stuff is cool, but I almost feel like the battles are too fast passed to take advantage of that. If I spend time “lining up a shot” I’ll often be wasting another character’s times. And as for the combos, I again feel like I’m wasting time finding just the right one for each situation. I mostly spam lightning II or fire II and then the 3rd person heals everyone. 

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I don’t recall grinding ever. I played the DS version a bunch, put it down, picked it up 2-3 years later and realized I was at the end. I fought two or three bosses and it was over.

        • Unexpected Dave says:

          It’s not much grinding. Considerably less than FFVI.

    • Citric says:

      I actually never really liked Chrono Trigger, I originally played it right after FFVI and it seemed way less ambitious and compelling.

      I keep thinking I should give it another go, just because it is so revered, but I haven’t done so yet.

  17. Chewbacca Abercrombie says:

    This weekend I’ll be finishing Saints Row 4. I’m pretty close to the end, but I’m not sure how much I have left. I’ve played through all four games as my red mohawked, blue bearded, white eyebrowed Englishman. Well, Englishman since the second game. He wakes up from a coma and suddenly has a British accent and all anyone can say is “did you do something with your hair?” After I finish the game I’m thinking of starting again from the first game as a female character. Yes, I liked the games that much.

    • djsubversive says:

      You can’t make a female character for the first game. That’s what made the hair comment so great in SR2. Also, the first Saints Row seems… too serious. Not totally, since there’s Freckle Bitches, K-BOOM, and drive-through confessionals, but compared to the silly over-the-top stunts/missions/everything in the later games, it’s just kind of boring to deal with the Rollers, the Vice Kings, and Los Carnales (“Los means The. You’re calling them The The Carnales.”).

      I do miss Dex and stronghold fights, though. They were minimized in 2, and pretty much nonexistent in SRTT (other than the safehouse-acquiring missions).

  18. dreadguacamole says:

    My son probably won’t let me do anything but play Rayman Legends this weekend. I am not complaining.

     When I get some time for myself, I’ll probably be on Saints Row 4 (fun!), with a possible side of Retrovirus (pretty good!).

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      If you had told me that Rayman would be king of 2D platformers this past generation, I would not have believed you. But Origins was so dang good, and it sounds like Legends is up there, too.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Yeah – I recently tried Rayman 3 again, and it’s almost a caricature of 90’s platformers… “edgy” characters and humor, horrible camera controls, murky levels…
         Origins might just be my favorite platformer.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Origins definitely is my favorite platformer. The only reason it’s not in my “playing this weekend” list above is that, in fact, I just installed it on the PS3 in the lounge at work (the new job has its privileges too!) and will probably be playing it more during the week, e.g. today when I am done with work but my wife is in charge of picking up the kids for once.

          I forgot that Legends was finally out… I will have to schedule in that purchase sometime soon.

        • Merve says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus: Actually, Legends drops in North America on Tuesday. Those lucky Europeans already have their hands on it, though.

      • indy2003 says:

        I’ve only played (and loved!) Origins thus far, but are any of the other Rayman titles even worth bothering with?

  19. Unexpected Dave says:

    I’m playing Chrono Cross right now. Notwithstanding that the plot is built around a series of shocks and twists, it’s still pretty entertaining. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I think you mean SHOCKS! and TWISTS!

      I love the huge cast of characters. Many people prefer a smaller cast, and I get that, but I like how a ton of locals want to help and be involved in whatever your given quest is.

      • Unexpected Dave says:

        One of the biggest thrills when I played the game for the first time was realizing that pretty much every named character was recruitable.

      • The_Horse_Chestnut says:

        My main problem with the huge cast is that so few of them are actually characters, and most tend to be incredibly badly translated accents instead.
        I’ve tried to play the game twice and both times I got annoyed at it just after the manor area.

  20. Girard says:

    I started student teaching this week, which means no free time ever for anything for about a semester, I think. I might steal some time to work more on Wario Land 2 or Xenoblade, but mostly I’ll be doing busywork and oh so very much lesson-planning…

  21. dreadguacamole says:

     Random post time: Rocket Cat, the developers of Punch Quest, have a kickstarter for an action-roguelike:

     It looks pretty amazing, and it’s got a celebrity endorsement from Tarn Adams!

  22. I’m playing Guess Who’s Getting Married: It’s Your Sister with the bonus Groomsman expansion pack. Also Spelunky.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Please tell me that you’ve found a way to merge the two experiences in some kind of randomly-generated underground wedding ceremony.

    • snazzlenuts says:

      I hear the “Drunken Toast” mission is tough to navigate through.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Yes, but the Fall Over Drunk, Destroy A $600 Cake And Be Yelled At By Your Mom Blooper Reel is pretty great to watch… probably less fun to play.

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the actual title of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

      If you share a joint with one of the caterers, turn to page 64.

      If you down a Jaeger-bomb and then waltz with your Grandma, turn to page 91.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      It’s not a fun game, but the sequel Guess Who’s Getting Divorced: It’s Your Brother with the DLC Be The Supportive Sister Even Though You Don’t Really Have The Insight To Judge Their Relationship And Are Expected To Just Cheer Along Because He’s Your Brother is drastically less fun. So try and have her avoid that.

  23. duwease says:

    Well, I’ve almost built the max number of slots in Duels of the Planeswalkers, so I’ll probably be able to finally put that down (with regular short asides to play online).  Also trying to finish Dragon Age 2.. I’m in Act 3.  Act 2 was wild.. looking forward to the plot movements here on out.  I’m a bit disappointed (*Spoiler*) by how easily Isabella worked her way back into the group, though.  I’m still bitter, and our short talk didn’t sway that much.  I mean, she’s to blame for a pretty major catastrophe!

    My other obsession?  Steam Trading Cards!  I didn’t actually complete any sets, but I did go back and play a little Hotline Miami, Reus, FTL, Scribblenauts et al and do a couple things I left open to get cards.  I made $4 for playing games! I make money, the dev makes money, Steam makes money, some collector gets a fun little collection.. it’s like everything capitalism promised to be. Whoever came up with it should get a promotion.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      **DA2 SPOILERS**

      I felt like they didn’t handle the Isabella outcomes very well at all. I mean, my tank (and his dog) went to the mat for her, and BARELY pulled out a victory in one of the most tense boss fights I’ve ever been in (FFIX’s last fight was still crazier and more skin of my teeth, though). But as hard as I fought, and I WON, I was still without my in-game romance for a long time. Still, it drives home the point about Isabella – you take her for what she is, and that has to be good enough.

    • Unexpected Dave says:


      Sadly, there’s never any middle ground in Dragon Age II. Isabella is either booted out of your party, or completely forgiven, never to be spoken of again. 

    • Effigy_Power says:

      On the other side… could YOU stay mad at her?
      But yeah, that Arishok is a tough nut and due to the 1:1 nature of the fight can be tougher than even the fight against the game’s namesake. Unless you are a rogue, in which case you can stun-lock the guy relentlessly.
      Really in general he can be handled similarly to Loghain in DA:O, which is also a horrid fight for anyone but rogues.

  24. Labrat85 says:

    Possibly some Europa Universalis 4, anybody had any success with the Teutonic order? From 1444 i just can not get off the ground, either the HRE by way of Austria puts me in my place, or the soon to be Commonwealth destroys me.

    And also Saints row 4, it is delightful. I do wish the main villain was more fun, like Handsome Jack  or GLaDOS (Not similar to either, just so entertaining that i look forward to every appearance)

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I have not been able to make any of the other Monastic Orders survive an imported game of CK2. I’ve been able to eliminate Christianity completely, but keeping these people alive when they so clearly don’t have the capacity for it… it’s hard doing. So I imagine the Teutonic Order will suffer from the same issues.
      It’s a dying form of authority by the Renaissance and I guess that’s the reason why.

  25. DrFlimFlam says:

    Lots of work this weekend. I have Sunday off, but that’s it.

    I put my ME femshep run on hold to go back to Skyrim as the temperature sits at just above roasting in the midwest, and the cool, cool basement is a great place to visit Winterhold.

    I also picked up Link’s Awakening for 3DS because that game is awesome.

    I have been playing Mario Kart Double Dash!!, which in retrospect IS  one of the weaker series entries if for no other reason than a paucity of tracks, but my son likes to play shotgun so he can fire off weapons while I take the wheel, much like Jesus once did, if country songs can be relied upon. It’s very fun to be able to play with him while he can enjoy being competitive in the higher tiers while doling out sweet, evil Mario Kart justice.

    But man, this game is lacking in multiplayer modes for co-op. It’s Grand Prix or bust.

    • boardgameguy says:

      Mario Kart: Double Dash is my favorite of all Mario Kart games. I like the strategy of picking two characters with their unique attacks, the cart size that will fit them, and the design of the levels that are present. I played so much in college that I could do the entire Star Cup circuit in close to 7:30, which isn’t impressive by Internet standards but good among the crew I played with. Every other kart has felt inferior to me.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I still can’t believe I beat the entire game, as dogged as the leading CPU kart was on the highest difficulties. Wario/Waluigi were always in second place, so you had to get first at least half of the time and second EVERY OTHER TIME.

        I must have been decent by my own standards to beat it back then, but I got skunked in 100cc just last night.

        Which I blame on the giant characters my son gravitates towards. I know King Boo is cool, man, but I can’t see hazards on the ground with his giant Boo body, and I can’t dodge anything in the otherwise brilliant Bowser vehicle, so seeing what’s in front of me is huge.

        I always always pick Koopa Paratroopa, and if given the choice of my own duo will back that up with Koopa Troopa. I just love having three shells.

        I also have enjoyed the infrequency of the blue shell in this game. Much less than entries I’ve played since.

        • boardgameguy says:

          Diddy Kong with Koopa Troopa in the train cart, until you unlock the gold cart. They are tough to beat with few visibility issues. But it’s way better that you let your son pick.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          @boardgameguy:disqus, we had a good run with the bullet cart that handles like a roller skate. I’ll have to get him to go train today.

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      “Double Dash!!” was the last game without retro tracks, so it does feel smaller than the DS and Wii versions.

      • boardgameguy says:

        Retro tracks are overrated compared against well designed new tracks.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I just wish they picked the right tracks, as chosen by me.

          Generally speaking, I don’t care for original Mario Kart or Mario Kart Advance tracks at all.

  26. Raging Bear says:


    Which is not a lot less comprehensible in Japanese. Good ol’ Suda.

  27. stakkalee says:

    I’m all set to enjoy the 3-day weekend with lots of gaming.  On Saturday, some two-fisted gaming with my buddy, me in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, him in EVE Online, and a LAN game of Fall From Heaven.  Then on Sunday I’m planning on getting together with friends and playing drinking-and-smoking games, and on Monday I figure I’ll play some Skyrim – when I last played the game I was literally standing on the portal to Sovngarde, ready to put an end to Alduin’s reign of terror.  I should probably do something about that.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      A few swigs of some Nord mead ought to do the trick.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Don’t fear the Sovngarde part. It’s fun, not very long, not awfully hard depending on your build and has some unique views. Mostly it’s not very long.

  28. indy2003 says:

    I am currently playing Ducktales Remastered. I know the reviews have been kinda mixed on this one, so perhaps it’s just my nostalgia permitting me to overlook the game’s flaws, but it’s just been an absolute joy. I’ve finished up every stage except The Moon (and apparently there’s an additional final stage after that), so I may be wrapping that up today.

    Also about 14 missions into Saints Row III and having a wonderful time. It could have easily been a rather ugly, loathsome game, but it’s so cheerful and good-natured about all of the murder and mayhem it delivers that it’s just about impossible to find any of it particularly off-putting. Where else am I going to get the opportunity to engage in a shoot-out while riding in a rickshaw being pulled by an S&M-loving pimp with an auto-tuned voice?

    Finally, I’m slowly but surely continuing to work my way through Super Mario 64 on the DS. Just finished up the fire world and nabbed my 29th star. I had forgotten that there’s generally a much greater emphasis on puzzle-solving in this particular outing than in any of the other Super Mario 3D titles – sometimes it’s fun, but other times the vagueness of the whole affair can be quite frustrating. Still, when the game hits its stride, one can see why it remains a classic.

    Oh, and I will be counting down the hours until Rayman Legends is released, but as a PS3 and Wii U owner, I’m really torn on which version to buy. Any suggestions?

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      Greatest thing about Ducktales Remastered: It’s possible to unlock the original music. Unfortunately, you almost need to beat the game twice to get enough money to afford it in the gallery.

      • indy2003 says:

        Yeah, I’ve only been able to spend my way through the first two categories of bonus swag so far. I can definitely see myself going back at some point, though, so one day…

    • Merve says:

      I’ve been told the Wii U version is the one to get, because there are a few features that are meant to use the Gamepad, and they feel a little awkward on other platforms.

      • indy2003 says:

        I hear some people saying that the Wii U version is much better in terms of the multiplayer experience, but that it can be pretty frustrating on a handful of single player missions which are basically designed to be completed by two or more people. Still, I’ll probably go Wii U since that’s the system is was designed for to begin with – maybe I can talk my wife into doing a playthrough with me.

    • Unexpected Dave says:

      Mario 64 had a great sense of freedom that was missing from the Galaxy games.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      I played the PS3 demo and while it got me pretty hyped, there were definitely some parts where the game goes “Press X, I guess” that feel like you were originally supposed to be doing something cooler than pressing X.

  29. JohnnyLongtorso says:

    This morning I’ve been playing “amend your prior tax returns” thanks to the IRS finally issuing guidelines on same-sex marriage filings. We’ll be getting a nice chunk of change back.

    I got Killer Is Dead from Gamefly. I haven’t played it yet, but going by Shadows of the Damned, he must have had some severely fucked up childhood.

    Also, continuing my CCG binge, I got some Lord of the Rings TCG cards off eBay. Anyone in NYC want to play some dead CCGs?

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Good for you on getting your deserved marriage benefits buddy!

      Killer is Dead has been getting trashed in reviews so I’d be curious if Suda 51 has used up all his good will in terms of
      “Here’s a highly stylized cel-shaded game with questionable content”.

      • Raging Bear says:

        Has it? I’ve been liking it so far. I mean, the combat is a bit God of War easy-to-get-screwed-over style, but I really enjoy the pervasive atmosphere of crazy.

    • stuartsaysstop says:

      That’s awesome about the amended returns. Part of me wants to bite the bullet and marry my fiance at the courthouse sometime this fall but I know my MiL would throw a fit.

    • a_scintillating_comment says:

      Congrats Johnny

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I’ve lived in Canada so long now that I totally forgot that that’s not a given yet. With my tax-bills being already verging on the insane, not getting benefits from Common-Law-filing would be horrid.
      Yay for fiscal happiness!

  30. boardgameguy says:

    Likely not playing a ton of games this weekend, but going camping and then hitting the best state fair, Minnesota’s, on Labor Day.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      What? Was there a movie made about your state fair that I was unaware of? Does it have large dairy sculptures?

      Really, i want to know why you think it’s so great. Sell me on this “Minnesota” state fair.

      • boardgameguy says:

        For one, the people watching is unparalleled. It has the highest attendance of any state fair per capita and second most raw (Texas is first, but theirs lasts for a month and includes people who go to the UT/Oklahoma game whereas MN lasts only ten days).

        It does have large dairy structures, specifically made of butter of high schoolers who have won a content.

        The food is incredible. And the booths that they come from are equally hilarious. My favorites include grilled corn on the cob, sweet tango apples, Tom Thumb Donuts, draft 1919 root beer, deep fried cheese curds, and Sweet Martha’s Cookies, but everyone has their own favorites.

        The Giant Slide. Plus other Midway rides.

        The Miracle of Birth center. Farmers plan their animals pregnancies to coincide with the Fair so all sorts of animals have babies and you can watch the process. So if you like baby animals, this is the place for you. The reason I really like it is because they have pictures of cows, chickens, and pigs on the wall labeled as “beef, poultry, and pork” – they aren’t trying to hide where these animals eventually end up.

        Plus, there are always random things to see and experience. One year, I went on a ride that took us into a heart and lungs struggling to breathe due to COPD. Another I went to an exhibit on US Presidents and had all of their heights listed.

        I think we have some other gameologicians that claim Minnesota. What do you think @Jackbert:disqus and @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus ?

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          It sounds fairly similar to the Iowa State Fair, and both better than what I had growing up, the fun but not heartland-inspired Orange County Fair.

          Tom Thumb donuts, 1919 root beer, I assume you simply forgot to mention HUGE TURKEY LEGS, etc. I need a certain cool weather spell to go (the first time I went and saw Alice Cooper it was 95 degrees and I just sat in puddles of sweat while a 60 year old in leather pants rocked the entire grandstand for 90 minutes), but state fairs are fun.

          My son saw a calf born this year when his grandparents took him, but does he mention the miracle of life? NO. He talks about the cow nearby that pooped.

          State fairs are fun.

        • Jackbert says:

          I consider the Minnesota State Fair to be a hellish depository of profusely sweating, morbidly obese people, disgusting smells, awful, massively overpriced food, acrophobia inducing rides, crushingly boring animal and art exhibits, and NOISE. It reminds me of everything I loathe about Minnesota, the Midwest, the United States, and the world. I hate the Minnesota State Fair.

          I might get dragged to it this weekend. Dragged by my dad to the animals, by my mom to the art, by my brother to the rides. We might even go on Labor Day, the absolute worst day to attend. If you see a tall, thin, blonde teenager with an expression of revulsion on his face reversed by most for Nazi Germany and child rapists, come over and say hey.

        • boardgameguy says:

          @Jackbert:disqus If you see a tall, thin late 20s guy with a beard who seems to be enjoying himself, it’s likely me!

          The Fair doesn’t remind me of everything I hate about Minnesota, only that the state contains multitudes.

  31. Chum Joely says:

    Now that Effigy_Power has walked me through the MotionInJoy setup on my PC (thanks Eff!!!), I can play Alan Wake with a (PS3) controller, which will hopefully help me to increase my skill level from “mentally disabled toddler with greased fingers” to “sleep-deprived novelist”, and therefore actually finish a mission with significant numbers of enemies in it.

    I’m up for trying a first session of Planetside 2 some night late this THREE-DAY WEEKEND with anyone who’d be interested in joining me in Steam land… preferably at 10:30 or later (Eastern US/Canada time).

    And with any luck, I’ll also have time for messing around with a couple of older standbys, like Driver SF (I might actually finish that damn thing this time) and Saints Row 3, which I will have to finish if I’m ever going to pick up SR4 and become President some day.

    Oh, plus I’ll certainly be “helping” my 4-year-old through a fair number of levels of Angry Birds: Star Wars on the iPad. He can actually get through about 60% of the levels himself, if he’s patient enough to keep trying… and I’m starting to get hooked on it too.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       Driver SF is definitely worth finishing even if it drags a bit because it saves some truly wack-a-doodle powers til the very end of the game.  It really gets into the whole coma dream thing and just says fuck it for the final boss.

      • Chum Joely says:

        Thanks, duly noted. Also, liked for use of “wack-a-doodle”.

      • Chum Joely says:

        I guess I’m only about halfway through, actually, since I just hit the (first?) “big reveal” about Jericho at the beginning of Chapter 5. Easily the most awesome moment of the game so far. I love that they chose to represent the new wrinkle in Tanner’s coma experience as lightning striking the enemy cars. It’s visually impressive and feels exciting on the gameplay side, and it’s especially satisfying because it makes total sense as an extension of what we’ve already seen of how Tanner’s “shift” power works. Plus, what a great twist to the overall progression of the story/game– a real game-changer.

        I love moments like this, where games introduce a new element that really “clicks” on all the different levels of the experience. This dorky action game definitely just acquired an additional star in the official Chum Joely rating system.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Well, I pick up PS2 every couple of months and it’s been a bit, so I might just play some of that after the weekend. Swords and spells are fine, but sometimes you just need the guttural bellow of an exploding artillery shell.

      • Chum Joely says:

        “After” the weekend. All right, we’ll sort this out online, Power.

      • djsubversive says:

        Also: “what the hell, NC,” Hobbes trying to drive, and me trying to park. Good times.

        PlanetSide 2 is one of those games that isn’t as much fun without a squad to laugh at your failures.

  32. inamine says:

    I’ll be playing Error 1017. Should I beat the final boss and actually log in to my server I’ll be playing Final Fantasy XIV.

    Should the servers maim me horribly, I’ll probably try to get further in Shin Megami Tensei IV without giving in to easy mode.

    • ZTO says:

      Error 1017 is just about my most favorite game ever! I think the secret is to log in at like 7 AM and never log out again. Kind of makes me sad since I was setting myself up to get an early lead in gathering + carpentry and become wealthy, but I keep getting locked out. What server, by the way?

      • inamine says:

        I’m attempting to play on Gilgamesh primarily.

      • Destroy Him My Robots says:

        Did you get to max level in 1.0? Because otherwise I’m afraid that “early lead” train has left the station a while ago.

      • The_Horse_Chestnut says:

        Yeah, I feel like an ass about it, but after spending 2 hours yesterday trying to log in, I’m not going to log out again until there’s some sort of maintenance.

  33. beema says:

    This weekend, Sunday night after Breaking Bad, specifically, I will be venturing out of my house at night for the first time since January! It’s going to take all my willpower, and will most certainly kill my entire Monday, but it must be done.

  34. aklab says:

    I finished Mirror’s Edge a few days ago, so… Mirror’s Edge all over again. I really enjoyed that game. 
    Also more Final Fantasy Tactics! Right now I’m in the part of the game where I set everyone to auto-battle and build levels while I work on laundry. 
    And I’ll probably play through the first 2 acts of Kentucky Route Zero.  Word to the wise! A bunch of Steam Greenlight games, including KRZ, are on sale! 

    • duwease says:

      Thanks for the tip.. I picked up Papers, Please too!

      Mirror’s Edge was indeed a great game.. my only sour note was trying to engage in the time trial mechanic for achievements and such, and the game is *not* precise enough to make doing that fun.  But playing the game normally is a blast.

      • aklab says:

        It really is a rush. It’s going to feel weird the next time I play a normal FPS and keep wanting to scale the walls instead of just walking down corridors…

  35. Kyle O'Reilly says:

     Going to Mary’s Home, MO to party it up with the in-laws and I’ll be in Iowa tonight for comedy so I’ve only got a fraction of time on Saturday to play video games and I’ll probably play my usual Spelunky wherein I’ll think I  did okay on the Daily Challenge and then check back the next day when it closes to see that thousands of people beat my score.

    I also picked up Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition for PC and it is mind-staggeringly poorly optimized.  It will play like a slow motion mess after literally seconds before running as smooth as butter.  The steam forums are a cacophony of people trying to figure out why this is and what the hell you have to do to fix it.  I’ve messed with all manner of .ini and other files and still I’ll randomly get a Liu-Kang who bicycle kicks through the air at a glacial pace.  Oh well.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      That’s the one problem with (most) PC games. You buy it, it runs like butt soup, that’s it.

      I’ll be interested to see if Steam ever goes Origin. I would’ve wanted my Rockstar pack refund the moment I tried to play ANY of those busted games on my computer.

      • aklab says:

        I have a pretty crappy PC, and I’ve very seldom had problems running anything, even games with system requirements way above what I’m using. Like, surprisingly so.
        But then Dark Souls. I actually spent a few hours playing it in what I now realize is super-slo-mo.  

      • Kyle O'Reilly says:

         Yeah you have to roll the dice sometimes but considering the cheapness of PC games compared to their console counterparts I get by.  Also modding, you haven’t played Just Cause 2 until you’ve played it with a Superman mod.

  36. Chum Joely says:

    Also, regarding the article itself, I’m glad to see that this guy is getting some work after his long, post-Calvin and Hobbes hiatus…

  37. SonjaMinotaur says:

    I am still way too obsessed with Animal Crossing (and if anyone’s interested in networking for turnip prices, I could use some more contacts; EVERYONE in my existing network had bad prices this week) but I am going to try to put the 3DS down long enough to play some Pikmin 3 this weekend.

    • Chum Joely says:

      “Networking for turnip prices”, eh? I haven’t played this game, so I can’t actually judge, but all I ever hear about with this game is this kind of preposterously dull-sounding detail, so I’m not very inspired to check it out…

      Then again, I know the lead writers of various Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry games, and they literally miss meetings at work sometimes because they are so caught up in turnip trading and all… so I guess people who really know games can also really appreciate this one. I’m not really criticizing, just a bit baffled…

      • SonjaMinotaur says:

        I know, right? It sounds dull to me when I talk about it, too. But I lost soooo much money this week I am not about to stand on dignity.

        Seriously, though, Animal Crossing has always been my favorite sim game, and I’m really loving New Leaf (hello, carpal tunnel). But it is hard to explain the appeal to people that aren’t into it. 

    • Merve says:

      I’ve never heard anybody bash the Animal Crossing games, so I’m sure it all makes sense in context, but “networking for turnip prices” just sounds like such an oddly specific thing to be doing. In fact, I’m going to start using that as my excuse for not doing things.

      Friend: Hey, do you want to go to a loud, terrible, annoying bar full of drunk idiots tonight?
      Me: Sorry, can’t.
      Friend: How come?
      Me: I’m networking for turnip prices.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        But you HAVE to. I’m sitting on a relatively small ten stacks, but it’s Friday afternoon, so it’s getting down to terror time.

        I can tell my interest is starting to wane some in ACNL. It’s been a crazy two-plus months, but eventually you get tired of waiting for a great new store to buy things at, and the desert island, which seems like such a neat idea, burns out so fast I haven’t been in weeks.

        I mean, I still play every single day, but not as much as before.

        I’ll get my friend code into the Steam group or something. Oh, Nintendo, with your codes.

      • Citric says:

        It might beat my all time best excuse.

        Guy: Hey want to hang out with me even though we generally don’t get along without some kind of buffer because I’m really annoying?
        Me: Uh, no.
        Guy: Why not?
        Me: I’m… er… not wearing any pants?

  38. ferrarimanf355 says:

    I’m on vacation in Washington State, but not for PAX, it’s for a Dave Matthews Band concert at The Gorge tonight.

    I have my PS Vita, and I’m playing Asphalt and Pinball Arcade, with some Real Racing 3 on the side.

  39. djsubversive says:

    I picked The Saboteur back up, and I’ve been spending the last few days punching Nazis in the back of their stupid Nazi heads, stealing their clothes, and blowing things up. 

    Also, playing The Saboteur.

    Technically, it’s not “this weekend,” but our Monday night 4th Edition Shadowrun tabletop game has been pretty fun lately – we’ve been hired to “recover” a Sega Dreamcast, one of two in the world, which is currently in a museum exhibit. At first, we thought “sweet! museum heist!” but then we decided to hit the convoy as it travels to the next museum in trucks (from Seattle to San Francisco), because that seemed to be the least risky move (museums have much better security than highways). When I mentioned it to Effigy, she suggested blowing a tunnel and filling it with smoke and gas, and that suggestion was met with approval from the rest of the team. We’ve also got about a dozen tech-gangers (mostly dwarfs) that we’re using as bullet-catchers and patsies to take the blame for the heist (setting up other people to take the heat has sort of been our M.O. for this game). The last four or five sessions have been spent coming up with plans, in between the serial killers that have come to our attention because they’re hunting our (PC) troll street samurai (who is full of chrome and very good with a sword).

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Yay for The Saboteur, The Greatest Open World Game of All Time That Isn’t a Saint’s Row Game.

      Part of me wants to play it again. Part of me never wants to climb buildings like that ever.

      • djsubversive says:

        It’s not too bad, unless you’re trying to escape. Then it’s agonizingly slow. I used the rooftops to get to a Fight-Back Zone this morning (after blowing up 3 trucks, a bunch of Nazis, and a couple of AA guns), but I must have missed a tower (or they had a nearby tank) because I got blown off the roof while sniping. There was an explosion, a red screen, and a slow-motion “oooohhhh shhhiiite!” Luckily, I had completed the mission already, so I just had to buy grenades and ammo from the handy black market dealer in the basement of a bombed-out slaughterhouse.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Clearly I need to make this heist-planning thing my main source of income.

  40. Effigy_Power says:

    I guess my last GPU upgrade finally made it possible to play the Witcher 2 with both speed and fairly good graphics. It’s a lovely game full of gore, nudity, strong language and all the other stuff that can sometimes seem gratuitous, but feels just right in the squalor that is its setting.

    I recently complained that games often tip-toe up to the line where bawdy innuendo and clumsy cleavage-shots would meet just full-on sex, so it’s kind of nice to see that line crossed. On the other hand, as @Fluka:disqus has pointed out to me on Steam, the nudity, at least from the waist down, seems to be exclusively female. While that suits me just fine visually, it is a bit unequal that male junk still draws this approach. The game is made by a Polish company and judging by some of the European TV-stuff I’ve seen, male nudity doesn’t seem to faze anyone. I mean hell, Robert Webb got his kit out full-on in “That Mitchell and Webb Look”. Not exactly porn.
    It’s all rather more bemusing than anything else, but it’s a valid observation.

    If I had to have any actual issue with the game then it’s that it is too hard. Don’t get me wrong, on actual “Hard” difficulty, I don’t care what happens. If the first Necker tears your lungs out, fine, go nuts. But if a game has an “Easy” setting, it should be easy. And I mean easy. So easy a child could master it once the shock from all the violence and sex wears off…
    I am not looking for a challenge from this game, I just want to leisurely tapdance my way through it and the fairly frequent deaths don’t make that as easy as I’d like.
    Otherwise the game seems fine. Bit of UI confusion and the inventory is a bit overly complex, but the gameplay itself is as fun as the story.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Whoa whoa whoa… This means that @Fluka:disqus has been sighted on Steam? The equation is about to change, everyone… 

      • Fluka says:

        Discretely been there for a little while now!  Very occasionally on Gameological; happily accepting all friendings.  Mostly using it to post stupid screenshots!

    • Fluka says:

      Ironically, I think the conversation we had made me more likely to play The Witcher 2, as I realized I’ve had very similar conversations recently about Game Of Thrones, which I adore despite its egregiously one-sided nudity.  (Come on, GoT – HBO’s own Rome got over this in the very first episode!  Hodor does not count!)  I’m actually quite happy to see sex finally making its way into the fantasy genre, after years of sexless Tolkien “where do dwarf babies come from?” high fantasy.  I just wish they could be a little more courageous about it, and have the men take their pants off during sex too.  (Fear of the homophobic Internet Hate Machine backlash likely plays a part in this…)  I think I’m sold on finally actually getting around to playing this, though.  


    I’ll be playing through XCom: Enemy Unknown after starting a new game last night. Things are going swimmingly, which makes me feel very anxious about what’s to come after this second month of the project. I just know that first terror mission is coming and even though I have a great core squad, it’s taking an awfully long time to research better gear since I’ve prioritized engineers at the beginning, rather than scientists.  Along with Dark Souls, I think I find XCom to be one of the most satisfying games to play given how much deliberate, cautious play is rewarded.

    Also going on a date Saturday night. Not a Mass Effect romance or a creepy simulation, either- a real date with a real person. Let’s hope somebody likes Thrillhouse!

  42. ProfFarnsworth says:

    I will be playing the oft repeated game called Homework this version has a difficult expansion in Quantum Mechanics and will probably require the entire weekend…why did choose to study physics in grad school?  Lasers and explosions?!  Right!  If I ever do get a break (Life is trying INSANELY hard to make sure I freak out somehow with my premature son needing surgery AGAIN!), I will get some good ol’ Mass Effect 2.  I am trying out a FemShep and I LOVE the voice over actress’s voice.  She is definitely the best at this game so far.

    • Fluka says:

      FemShep *and* physics grad school?  Thumbs up to this post!  What subfield are you concentrating in?

      (And good luck with your son’s surgery – that must be insanely stressful and hard…)

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        I am concentrating in Condensed Matter.  Primarily I want to study Photovoltaics, due to a Professor at my university who is an expert in that field (and I am absolutely fascinated by them).

        What was your subfield?  If you don’t mind my asking…

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Could you please charge my cellphone real quick? With your mind?

        • Fluka says:

          Ooooh, a useful and interesting topic – nice!  I studied (and still am working in) High Energy / Particle stuff.  The type of stuff they do at CERN, but thankfully not one of the experiments at CERN. (The LHC eats lives, people!)

    • Effigy_Power says:

      The only Bioware game here male voice and female voice are created equal is Dragon Age 2, otherwise the female voice-over thus far seems to have been slightly better. Not that Male-Shep is bad, Fem-Shep is just better.

      • ProfFarnsworth says:

        Indeed.  It seems that the ME series does really well with both male and female voice acting, but Fem-Shep just does it better.  It seems to me to be more believable.

        • djsubversive says:

          A while back, I listened to the podcast from the guy who voiced Pinky (of “and the Brain” fame; “Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen”! that’s the name!) with Jennifer Hale. She discussed how voice acting for a game like Mass Effect is odd because she has to keep her voice relatively neutral, because players can jump around during dialogue.

          It was a pretty good conversation, and I enjoyed the few other episodes I listened to. Here is the podcast page, and here’s the Jennifer Hale episode.

    • Merve says:

      I wish your son the best with his surgery.

      I also wish you the best with your homework. Remember, it’s all worth it for the LASERS and EXPLOSIONS.

    • NakedSnake says:

       Best of luck with the surgery. Must be tough.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Jennifer Hale is a gift to all who hear her.

      Best of luck with the surgery. Puts you through the wringer.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      A bit late, but I hope the best for your son’s surgery.

  43. His_Space_Holiness says:

    Having concluded my totally rockin’ summer internship, I’m finally free again to post on WAYPTW! Yaaay!

    I’ve had bad luck console-wise recently, having started, gotten bored with, and abandoned Disgaea 3 and Saints Row 2 in quick succession. So after a replay of Sly Cooper 3 (to 100%, hell yeah!) to recharge my fun batteries, I’ve decided to dive into Fallout: New Vegas, which I understand has some fans around these parts. My California-bred soul loves the existence of the NCR and the rockin’ Western soundtrack. “I’ve Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle” is and always will be awesome. I sneak, snipe, and enjoy the always-disconcerting sight of my trusty, sweet-natured sidekick Veronica punching guys into bloody pulp almost before I’ve drawn a bead on them.

    Also, after a hiatus of several years I finally started playing World of Warcraft again. All my old characters got screwed up by the Cataclysm expansion, so I started new ones: a Blood Elf priest, representing my first stab at playing a healer, and a Worgen warlock, because fuck yeah, werewolves. Alas, the name “Zevon” was taken, presumably five seconds after the expansion went live, but whatever, it’s a minor work of his anyway.

    This has also led to my being in two different guilds simultaneously, so we’ll see how that goes. Recruiting seems to be a lot more common than when I last played.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Welcome back, Your Tentacleness.

      I could never play WoW again, it would seem too much like kicking an abusive cocaine habit just to pick it up again. When I broke with that game so drastically, giving away almost 6000 gold that day (to some noob who seemed pretty happy about it), deleted my Spectral Dragon and all that… it was almost like a ritual burning. That bridge is thoroughly disintegrated.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Well, I didn’t so much quit as watch in horror as my old computer abruptly lost the ability to play it after Cataclysm. So it’s not quite as traumatic as all that.

        Also, I hate to break it to you, but reptilians don’t have tentacles. You may be thinking of the Cthulians, a couple of galaxies down. They’re… odd.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Sometimes I think you don’t represent space as a whole. You’re the most divisive pope since that Spidermonkey. That bastard was so Ivy League, he just couldn’t connect.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Hey, does the Land Pope represent Earth as a whole? I do my best to spread the faith, but there are a lot of planets out there and a lot of them don’t want to bask in His Intergalactic Grace. Them’s the breaks.

        Also, some of them worship maddening squid-things from beyond time and space, so there’s not much for me to work with there.

        • ProfFarnsworth says:

          Well, Your Holiness.  I have a solution, Farnsworth’s Killing Bots!  These bots kill at a 3rd grade level and even have my patented death beam!  I also have a selection of DOOMS day devices, but unfortunately the sphere-o-boom is not for sale.

    • djsubversive says:

      New Vegas is full of assholes, Skyrim-style. Except for the Followers of the Apocalypse. Those dudes are all right.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        I thought about bringing him along, but he’s just too creepy. The monotone and thousand-yard stare would get real unsettling real quick. I don’t blame the guy, he just lost his wife and all, but he’s not someone I want on a road trip.

        • djsubversive says:

          You sound like a courier who needs more Raul Tejada in your life.

          “Hope my creaky knees don’t give us away, Boss.”

  44. Passe_Partout says:

    This weekend I will be continuing my MMORPG binge with FFXIV, which has managed to enthrall me by hitting the parts of my brain that just love doing menial tasks for virtual rewards. I enjoyed my first ever dungeon run yesterday mostly because everyone seemed to know their roles and there was a minimum of chatting required.

    I will also try to suppress the rage that Lost Planet 3’s shooting mechanics bring forth by focusing on the story and how nice it is to listen to interaction between characters like they are actual people who have normal lives and aren’t spouting ridiculous dialogue every time something happens. It’s too bad the combat really makes it hard to keep playing. I also give them kudos for the few references to a certain genre movie they managed (or were obligated) to include.

  45. Xyvir says:

    This birthday my girlfriend and I are celebrating her birthday and I have to make the arrangements for it. Also, I’ll at some point probably be working on my card-and-dice NES-RPG inspired battle game ‘DVP,’ which I’ve been working on like for over four years now.

  46. Flying_Turtle says:

    Thumbs up to this week’s interview subject for mentioning Warlords.

    As for this weekend, when I’m not working, I’ll be back in Football Manager 2008. Steam tells me I have put 508 hours in that game…so yeah, I guess I really enjoy soccer management sims.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I don’t know if I enjoy sports management sims so much as I am compelled to play them. I had to uninstall iOOTP12 from my iPhone because it was giving me headaches staring at it for so long and I was STILL playing it.

      • Flying_Turtle says:

        I can stop any time I want! I just…uh…don’t want to right now!

        FM even has some fun with this, because in the Game Status screen (which is screen #1 when you load a game) they give you an “addictedness rating,” and some of those are fun.

        I still haven’t given OOTP a try yet, and maybe I shouldn’t. I may never see the outside again.

  47. Electric Dragon says:

    My PC has been unavailable for the last week as I’ve been decorating. Finally getting to move stuff back to normal now, so back to Sleeping Dogs this weekend. We had our bank holiday last week though so it’s back to work on Monday.

  48. Brain Stew says:

    I would’ve said KILLER IS DEAD but I put that dog to bed last night and there’s no compelling reason to go through again at the risk of carpal tunnel. So, I will pick up where I left off in Ryuu Ga Gotoku (Yakuza) 1&2 HD which is slightly less hazardous to my health. 

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