Achievement Gap
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 September 2014, 6:09 pm

One of my favorite additions to games over the past decade has been the introduction of achievements. I know this is a point of some contention, and there are camps of varying stridency on the topic, but I find myself fixed firmly in the camp of people who get a little rush whenever one of those little notifications pops up.

I wouldn’t have necessarily thought this is where I’d end up on the matter. When achievements were introduced into mainstream gaming on the Xbox 360, I was as skeptical as anyone on why anyone would care. But since then I’ve come around on the issue, and I find myself actively missing achievements when they aren’t there. Particularly if it’s a game I play with any kind of consistency, having the occasional pop-up letting me know I’ve crossed some arguably arbitrary threshold is just another form of motivation.

I noticed this recently with Diablo 3’s introduction of seasons, which specifically measures who among your friends, who among your clan and even who among your entire server is amassing the most achievements over the season. As a result I’ve found myself scanning the bloated tome of possible achievements looking for any low-hanging fruit I can pick, and from which I can suck dry the sweet nectar of validation.

It occurred to me recently, though, that the achievement is nothing more than a slightly recast version of one of the oldest standards of video games: It’s just a new version of “score.”

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Donation Drive 2014 Update #2!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 September 2014, 7:49 pm

Halfway through the drive and we're continuing apace quite nicely so far! Very close to unlocking custom icons for some lucky winners and then a hop, skip and a jump away from forcing Julian to write something deep and meaningful about something ridiculous.

We're also on the verge of opening up the brand new GWJ beta site to everyone who has donated any amount. Keep an eye on your email in the coming days for a double secret password to see what we have in store for the future and help us shape it!

Thanks so much for all the continued support! It means a great deal to all of us. Click on through to see a list of all the donors we've tagged so far. If you're missing from the list and you've donated before this past weekend make sure you check the top of the donation page for instructions to let Elysium know your details!

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September 22 - September 28
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 September 2014, 1:42 pm

Today marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, which means the games industry is preparing to shift gears and ignore all sensibilities in a desperate effort to just rush through an endless onslaught of releases.

This week, however, the industry remains in first gear.

There are a lot of interesting titles hitting the virtual shelves for just about every platform, but nothing quite strong or tempting enough to pull your average Goodjer away from Wasteland 2. That is, unless you're one of the few with enough taste to possess a WiiU in your household, offering up some first-class game design experiences from the Big N. At least, that's what I tell myself when I snuggle into bed with my gamepad at night.

Nintendo's autumn and holiday strategy is, quite honestly, a bit of a surprising one. With the exception of Super Smash Bros., just about every game they're throwing at consumers is a niche title of some variety, beginning this week with Hyrule Warriors. Developed by the same team that have worked on the endless Dynasty Warriors franchise, it is a simultaneous effort to not only generate greater interest in Tecmo Koei's series of pawn-slaughter simulators in the West, but to rustle up some love for Link and his companions in Nintendo's home country of Japan.

It's not going to be a game for everyone, and anyone hoping for another Legend of Zelda experience better brace themselves for disappointment, but any game that allows me to latch onto the moon so that I may crush my enemies beneath its grimacing weight is a game worth giving the week to.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: The Maw
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 September 2014, 6:14 am

Time played: 1.9 Hours

Sponsored By: A soft-hearted dad who can't say no when four-year-old boy says he wants to play "the Mawn!"

Bite-Size Review

An adorable cautionary tale about invasive species.

Super-Size Review

My kids love games. They love playing games (my seven-year-old daughter is better at Little Big Planet than I am, and has been speed-running Hohokum). They love watching walkthroughs of games (my 4-year-old son adores YouTube videos of Battletoads and various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles speed runs) They love reading books about games (my daughter has worn out three Pokedexes). They love watching me play games.

So when I opened up Steam and they saw The Maw, they insisted on watching a trailer. After watching the trailer about twelve times (Mr. Newell, I would be much obliged if you'd include a looping feature on preview videos. Thanks!) they said they wanted to play it. More specifically, they wanted to watch me play it.

Well, for $2.38 for the game and all the DLC, who am I to deny them?

As it turns out, The Maw is actually a pretty darn fun game.

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Falling Behind
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 September 2014, 4:05 pm

At some point most evenings, I carve out some time for myself to play something. I go into my office, such as it is (sharing a space with the washing machine and dryer that are separated from me only by a curtain hung from a thick metal wire running the length of the room). More often than not, I will have to navigate my way through the foothills of Mount WashMore, which waits patiently in front of the washing machine, like the proverbial mountain that has finally come at last to Muhammad. Finally I will come to my destination, a well used office chair in front of the cluttered desk where my dusty keyboard shares space with the various bills to be paid and stick figures living their idyllic lives on the pages drawn by my kids.

I settle in here, and play.

I’m a relic in this place, a dinosaur apparently, at my vigil in front of the family desktop. I gather that everyone else is always on the move, or taking their games with them wherever they may roam. I hear tale of people streaming media and games from some isolated and forgotten box of wires and technology to their laptop or tablet or phone. The idea of journeying to the ends of the house where the desktop actually lives seems to be an idea as anachronistic as going into a bank and dealing with an actual teller or using a phone with a cord.

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Donation Drive 2014 Update #1!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 September 2014, 11:13 pm

Hi everyone! Very happy to say the donation drive is going well so far. We're definitely trending a little bit behind last year without the personal rewards, but we're still on track to unlock a bunch of cool projects and prizes this year! Each and every person who donates to the site is carrying hundreds of users who get to enjoy an ad-free experience and an amazing community of people. Thanks to all of you who put something in the pot to make this a great place for everyone.

We've cleared our first stretch goal which means community guest podcasts are a go! Next up are live podcasts, custom forum icons for some lucky donors and the coveted "Make Julian write about something weird" tier. Keep it up!

Jump in after the break to see the list of heroes so far. If you'd like to join the fun and get your forum icon hit the donation page and give whatever feels good.

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Backward Incompatibility
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 September 2014, 8:08 pm

I don't know what came over me. Really. Usually I am scrupulous to the point of obsession about playing games in order. I can't even watch a serialized TV show a la carte. If there's a big story arc, I have to watch it all, or not at all.

So why did I play Fallout 3 before I played any Elder Scrolls games?

I read the reviews, I listened to the podcasts. I knew it was Oblivion with Guns, even though people strenuously insisted it wasn't.

For whatever reason — lost now to the sands of time (not to be confused with the Sands of GWJ, who is right this moment playing Europa Universalis 4) — I bought Fallout 3 and skipped over the entire Elder Scrolls lineage that would have given me context.

And I can't go back.

I mean that quite literally. How do I know? I know because I tried.

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September 15 - September 21
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 September 2014, 12:54 pm

The year of deep, crowd-funded computer RPGs marches on with the release of Wasteland 2 by inExile entertainment and Brian Fargo. Revisiting the franchise that essentially launched the Fallout series, Wasteland 2 is billed as a meaty, at times punishing, old-school CRPG, and if the early access is any indication, the game is exactly that.

I spent some time recently playing Fallout: New Vegas to get myself in the post-apocalyptic mindset, but there's something fundamentally different about an isometric, text-heavy game like Wasteland that is almost incomparable to what Fallout has become. That's not necessarily to say one is better than the other, just that you can't really compare them.

Next only to inExile's other big upcoming CRPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera, this game has been the one I've been most excited and eager to play this fall. It's been on my calendar with a circle around it for a long time, and as far as I'm concerned there's nothing else coming out this week. Your mileage may vary.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Doc Clock and the Toasted Sandwich of Time
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 September 2014, 5:39 am

Sponsored by: Antichulius

Play Time (official Steam log): 80 minutes

Lightly Browned, Unbuttered Review

A delightful, lighthearted, physics-based romp through a future in which all the living creatures have been destroyed by out-of-control robots. I say that without a trace of sarcasm, which is hard for me. I should probably go lie down now.

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Shields Up
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 September 2014, 5:40 pm

On the morning my oldest son first went to kindergarten, it took everything I had to not pull my wonderful, reckless, vulnerable boy aside and say, “Find a place inside yourself where you can hide when the world decides to be mean to you, because it’s only a matter of time.”

Aside from being just bad parenting, saying that would have had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

When my oldest son started school, I was worried that he might have trouble fitting in or making friends. This concern had nothing to do with his personality — he’s a bright, outgoing kid who tries as much as possible to assume the best of everyone and is convinced that everyone he meets enters his life as a friend. He tries to find the best in all of his classmates, and is regularly recognized as being exceptionally supportive.

The concern was that all those great things about him would be exploited, which again says a lot about how I have come to view the world. All the more so because I've been proven wrong at every turn.

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Simon Said
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2014, 11:19 pm

Dear GamersWithJobs,

I never thought it would happen to me, but I actually found myself enjoying the Quick-Time Events in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

Yes, I am completely aware that our community has a forum dedicated to just this sort of heretical thinking. I insist that there is actually a good explanation for this, however, and that I can salvage what credibility I have with the jury of community members.

For the uninitiated, Quick-Time Events are a typically frustrating game sequence that demands the player to follow a button prompt within a limited time span. Sometimes the player is forced to mash a single button at ludicrous speeds, only to be set back to the very beginning upon a minor screw-up. In the worst-case scenario, the sequence will always begin during a cinematic cut-scene that cannot be skipped, whose horribly scribed dialogue will continue to droned on by disinterested voice actors, over and over in a Clockwork Orange torture chamber of repetition until the button prompts are perfectly mastered.

Raise your hand if you're thinking of a particularly annoying knife fight.

The primary flaw of Quick-Time Events is that they don't rely on any of the mechanics developed through the game's actual design. They instead turn into a tedious game of Simon Says with the desire of providing a cinematic flair, a move that ultimately comes at the cost of player control. The player's avatar gets to perform all of these amazing feats, breaking up the sequence with a simple button prompt, as if to reassure the player that they are "actively engaging". Follow instructions, and the scene continues as intended. Fail, and you're set back to the beginning.

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GWJ Conference Call Episode 413
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2014, 11:55 pm

Episode 413 - September 10th, 2014
Civilization: Beyond Earth, The Sims 4, Dawn of War II, Hatoful Boyfriend, Velocity 2X, Weekend Session Games, The Donation Drive Launches, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(1-800-Hot-Orks 49.1 MBs, 1:25:42)

This week Sean Sands, Cory Banks, Rob Zacny and Graham Rowat talk about the launch of the donation drive and weekend session games!

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September 8 - September 14
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 September 2014, 10:22 am

The fall season begins in earnest this week. I'm always a little amazed at how quickly I go from feeling like it's still summer to it's definitely fall. Part of that is geography, as a denizen of the upper midwest seasons change shockingly quick, and you can go from literally feeling like it's the dead of winter to spring in the course of a weekend. Two weeks ago it still felt hot, and the AC was running most of the time, and school hadn't started for the boys, and football wasn't really up and running yet, and so on. Fast forward to 10 days later and summer already seems like a distant memory.

The release of the first major game of the fall, Destiny, only reinforces that. Out for every console as long as that console is made by Microsoft or Sony, Destiny is the big post-Halo effort for Bungie. Published by Activision, Destiny is a sort of MMO, sort of shooter, sort of RPG, a Frankenstein's monster of genres that enjoyed a widely popular beta/demo period that only served to whet the appetite for the game.

It's hard to imagine the game not being successful by realistic expectations, but I really wonder what Activision's idea of successful for this game is. It seems like one of those games where if it doesn't sell 8 million copies, it risks being considered a bust. That said, I wouldn't be shocked if it ended up clearing that kind of hurdle.

I'm bought into the hype and because of that, Destiny is my Game of the Week.

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Donation Drive 2014
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 September 2014, 10:36 am

Football is in the air, kids are back in school, the first leaves are falling from the trees, and GWJ is asking for your help funding the upcoming year. It must be September!

As the astute among you will have already noticed, the 2014 Donation Drive is now live. Every year at this time we come to you, our community, to ask for your support in keeping the site alive and kicking. You guys are the core of how we fund everything we do here, and it's because you all step up year after year that we've been able to keep trying new things, putting out regular content and keep the bills paid.

If you're already sold and would like to donate, just click the Donation Drive '14 link in the left navigation, or visit http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/donation-drive where you can see all the rewards and the running tally. Please read the information at the top that page for rules on how to make sure you get your forum icon update!

We're doing things a little different again this year. You'll notice we've removed the individual level rewards we've had over the past few years and instead we've expanded the "stretch goals." The more we've thought about it, the more the idea of certain people having access to cool stuff just because they donated a bigger amount was antithetical to the philosophy behind the site. The farther we get from putting benefits behind paywalls the better we feel.

So, instead we wanted anything cool coming out of the donation drive to be something everyone has at least an equal chance of enjoying. So, you'll notice that some of the things that used to be individual rewards (like custom icons and guest hosting on the podcast) are still there just recast as a bigger reward. Also, it's something that anyone can try to "win" and hopefully keeps things on an even footing.

We want it to feel like when you donate to the drive, you are really, genuinely and materially contributing to the community which is the center of the site.

I have a few more thoughts after the bump, but let me say now if you are able to donate thank you so much. The lights stay on because of you.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: FreeSpace2
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 September 2014, 6:31 am

Time played: 68 minutes

Warp Speed Review

I AM TEN YEARS OLD AGAIN AND I AM BLOWING THE SNOT OUT OF SPACESHIPS! Brreeeaaaaaaooooowww! Pew pew pew! Vvvvvvrrrummmmmm! Pishoo! Pishoo! Babooocchhchchch! WHEEEEEE!

Sub-Light Speed Review

This review marks a first for me. This is the first game I've bought specifically to review it.

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GWJ Magazine Volume 2!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 September 2014, 1:52 pm

Thanks to your donations in the 2013 donation drive we have once again brought some excellent writers together to do a brand new magazine! Great articles, an amazing cover by our own Kristin Sands and original comics by the ineffable Sway.

Click Here to Download

Thanks so much for all the support! Enjoy the magazine.

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September 1 - September 7
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 September 2014, 9:13 pm

Nothing throws me off my game like a Monday holiday.

Hey, did you know that The Sims 4 releases this week for the PC? No? Neither did I! Where did that thing come from?

With initial impressions in the forum and here and there online being generally positive, I find myself wondering if EA is still stinging from the release of Sim City. Their full court press on promoting that game only made it that much more visible when things went south. At this point, I almost think The Sims fanbase is so solidified and fixed that there might have been no point to making a big push about the launch of the game. Get the addicts in and primed for $50 expansion packs.

Cynical, I know, but I'm also not giving it my Game of the Week.

No, that honor goes to Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for the Vita. This text heavy, exposition-rich, puzzle/mystery game is the follow up to 2010's Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and features a psychotic teddy-bear-thing that has trapped a class full of kids on a prison-island to solve a series of murders. If you solve the murder, then the villain is punished, but if the murderer gets away with it he/she goes free and everyone else is punished. I think punished means killed for the purposes of this game.

Early reviews are generally positive, with the sense that the game succeeds despite some localization issues -- the game was released in Japan last October.

I know it's a little obvious that I'd select this game. Sorry.

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PAX Prime 2014 On The Go!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 August 2014, 5:44 pm

PAXPrime 2014 is off and running!

Been having technical difficulties (this laptop is not obeying it's Lord and Master!), but stay tuned we'll be up and running here.

I'll just start with the fact that Defense Grid 2 is here, and it is playable in the Expo Hall. More science fiction tower defense with FPS elements for me, please.

If you hear of something you'd like our take on, let me know here in the Comments and I'll try to get one of my intrepid cub reporters out to see what they can see.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Daikatana
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 August 2014, 6:16 am

Sponsored by: Danopian

Play Time (official Steam log): 98 minutes

TL;DR Review

Superfly Johnson appears to have crushed his skull in a door. You fail at life.

Full Review

Author's note: I'm writing this under the influence of cold medicine, which some might argue is the best possible way to review Daikatana. Please bear with me.

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FEAR Multiplayer Playdate This Friday!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 August 2014, 12:28 am

FEAR remains a surprisingly popular multiplayer shooter in the long years since its release. Thanks to Psoplayer's support of the 2013 donation drive we're going to have a game night this Friday! Server info will be posted on the front page as we get closer to game time. We'll start 7PM CST and play until our old, atrophied reflexes finally give out.

The best part? It's totally free! Hit the FEAR Combat Community site to get a CD key and download the game files. See you on Friday!

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Gratuitously Functional Gore
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 August 2014, 10:41 am

There are some conversational topics I've just given up on when it comes to my parents or grandparents. One of them is on the topic of gore and whether it is "necessary" or not. Their stance is that film-makers rely on blood and violence too much — that it's only there for horrible people to gain any thrill out of. The notion that a filmmaker wants to show someone in agonizing pain for the sake of making the viewer uncomfortable is foreign to them. They don't understand why you'd do such a thing.

On the surface, a lot of games are the same way. Does a head really need to pop like a melon once you've shot it in the head? Do the monsters in Doom really need to split open and reveal their bones and innards to the player? One could certainly assert that, due to the nature of blood and violence in many games, that developers haven't exactly outgrown their inner thirteen-year-old's fascination with the things their parents forbade them from seeing at a young age.

To an outside observer, the incredible backlash that Team Ninja received for removing dismemberment in Ninja Gaiden 3 would just be proof that game players are all a bunch of sick, disturbed man-children. However, not all things gratuitous need be meaningless, and to many fans of Ninja Gaiden 2 the disappointment was more about the simplification of the combat system.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Alien Versus Predator Classic 2000
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 August 2014, 10:48 am

Sponsored by: Ccesarano

Play Time (official Steam log): 67 minutes

”I ain't got time to bleed” review

Three species, three campaigns, uncounted ways to get minced.

”Stop yer grinnin' and drop yer linen” review

I have a long history with the Aliens Versus Predator series. Not just the games, but the books and comics too. I even made myself a Predator action figure out of old, broken toys.

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August 25 - August 31
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 August 2014, 10:48 am

The release list for this final week of August heralds the unofficial end of the summer gaming slump in the form of one of gaming's longest running franchises.

Another year, another edition of the John Madden-less, Madden football. For context on the age of this franchise, understand that the first edition of the game came out the summer before I started high school. I'm 41 now.

Every year the release of Madden is a test of gullibility and will for me. If I were to roll a D20 to pass a Madden check, I'd only have around a 10 in Madden resist, meaning it's basically a coin flip.

Madden aside, The Walking Dead's second season comes to a close this week with Episode 5, No Going Back. Super Time Force, previously only available on the Xbox One, hits the PC with a Steam Ultra edition that includes characters from Team Fortress 2. The Metro series goes "redux" on PC, Xbox One and PS4, and the 3DS offers up the franchise colliding Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

Plenty of good stuff to warm up the coming fall season of gaming.

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August 18 - August 24
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 August 2014, 10:22 am

I'd be positively remiss not to give Hatoful Boyfriend our game of the week. An otome game in which you court and date human-sized pigeons, this game is the kind of weird that makes me realize how fall short my weird-fu is compared to so many others. Given a thousand years, I'd have never come up with this premise for a game.

Of course, my personal stake in the game has more to do with Julian Murdoch's exceptional crowd-funded piece on the game than anything else. As we close in on the next donation drive, I can only hope that the GWJ hive-mind comes together again to press gang Julian into some new line of bizarre research. Sparkle ponies, pigeon boyfriends, I can only imagine what's next.

Also this week Diablo 3 comes to the next gen consoles, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare arrives on the PS4 and Tales of Xillia 2 arrives on the PS3 and is my random guess for game most likely to be labeled as robbed in the comments.

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GWJ Plays: Omikron
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 August 2014, 11:15 am

As requested by Graham Rowat in the 2013 Donation Drive, Karla and Shawn Andrich sit down to dive into the world of David Cage's (and David Bowies) Omikron. Do they find the dildo shop? Do they survive the unbearable keyboard controls? Let's find out!

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