XCOM: Enemy Within
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 November 2013, 11:24 am

XCOM: Enemy Within is an expansion to last year’s excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, bringing the usual bevy of features one associates with a competent expansion. There are new story beats, new units, new technology, new maps, new resources, new weapons, and on and on. In fact, the thing that strikes me as interesting about this expansion is how, for as many new things Firaxis has thrown into the mix, Enemy Within still feels almost exactly like Enemy Unknown.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Enemy Unknown is an outstanding game, and at times the concern seems well founded that the new tools and toys of the expansion might unbalance the expertly crafted game. Early on as I began to gain access to the new whizz-bangery of Enemy Within, I genuinely worried whether those toys might outpace the natural curve of the game. Fortunately, my impression didn't match my concern, or at least no more or less so than I got with the original game.

Enemy Within feels fundamentally like a classic Firaxis expansion. In Civilization, Firaxis' signature franchise, the developer has always done an admirable job of walking a fine line between bringing enough new mechanics to make their expansions like Beyond the Sword and Brave New World feel like solid evolutions, if not genuinely new experiences, without losing the soul of what made the game great in the first place. Firaxis pulls off that same light touch here, creating an expansion that justifies itself consistently as worthy of your dollars and time without ever sacrificing the core soul of the game.

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November 11 -- November 17
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 November 2013, 10:17 am

The new generation is upon us, and by the end of the week, for good or for ill, the Playstation 4 will be in the homes and the hands of the great multitudes. The build up to this generation generally a quiet, slow burn, counter-pointed by moments of high contention and opinion, now all but done as the actual hardware and games take center stage.

One thing worth noting is how many games the Playstation 4 is launching with in its catalog. Thirteen major retail releases along with a strong handful of downloadable games is nothing to sneeze at, and represents a solid library of games. Though, the number of exclusives is low, headlined by Killzone Shadow Fall and Knack, games I've heard almost no one be excited for. It'll be interesting to see over these first few weeks whether people really find value in having this new piece of hardware that largely plays games made for pieces of hardware we already have.

As I've mentioned before, I've cancelled my own PS4 pre-order, not out of some misguided sense of spite but just because I don't see the value yet. I'm going to need a good reason or two to drop that kind of coin, and while I'm sure the system will get to that place fairly quickly, I'm content to wait. The same is true, I think of the upcoming XboxOne, which is still on my preorder list, but which I suspect I will also cancel.

Lost in the shuffle this week is XCom: Enemy Within which I will be writing about shortly. This expansion to the excellent XCom: Enemy Unknown is a solid evolution of the series, though it runs the occasional risk of seeming like a "been there, done that" experience. I've spent a few days with Enemy Within, and it feels very much like a Firaxis kind of expansion, similar to the kind of game evolution Civilization fans have grown to expect. It doesn't fundamentally change the nature of the experience, but it adds lots of little touches that, as a whole, seem to be a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Definitely worth looking into if you were a fan of Enemy Unknown.

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Savage ships with Linux client
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 July 2003, 1:15 pm

Well, before I was interested, now I'm down right intrigued. Savage from S2 Games is a game where you play a RTS from a first person perspective. One of the things that make this title unique in my mind is the inclusion of multiplayer mode, where all the units are actual human players, much like Natural Selection. Over at Linux Games, I noticed that S2Games has issued a press release saying that the game will ship with a Linux client on the CD. Considering how much Natural Selection I have played, I now have to check this game out, as this is one genre I would definately like to see more of.

Did I mention you also get a spot in the beta if you pre-ordered? How's that for service! Not just pre-ordering on thier site either, but in EB Games and Gamestop. It sounds like a great idea, people who already are interested in your game can offer thier opinions to help balance the game. That's the audience that would be most vocal on release, so why not take thier input and actually put it in the box instead of releasing a patch to fix the game 3 months later when nobody cares?

Draw Your Sword
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 November 2013, 10:27 am

The craven crew of criminals cowers before me. With heads hung low, they plead pathetically for me to spare their lives, that this was all just a misunderstanding. Sure, it looks like they're just robbing these innocent merchants of their rice stores, but it's not so simple as that! I sneer at such pitiful excuses, fingers tapping upon the hilt of my blade.

"What's going on?" a voice calls out. A young man with a boyish face and Flock Of Seagulls hair-do steps forward, looking between the previously posturing highway hooligans and myself. The merchants finally pipe up, expressing their intent to take the rice to the local village. The baby-faced warrior looks surprised.

"I see," he says calmly. "We were told this rice was intended for the Fujimori clan." I see his brow knitted in confusion, but it does him no favors. His words have already betrayed him, for I am a servant of Fujimori, and he has revealed himself to be of the rebellious Ouka clan.

I press L1 and unsheathe my blade.

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Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 November 2013, 12:06 am

You may be aware that the GWJ front page doesn’t run a lot of reviews. This has been the case since about the time I first registered an account here, and I tend to think that it’s our style and perspectives that attracted me here.

Instead, we run what we call “perspectives” (and the occasional “anti-review”). What we try to do is to talk about what we find interesting or important. What we find interesting isn't always the sort of thing that shows up in a traditional consumer-oriented game review. It's rarely about graphics, "gameplay" or how much time a game's narrative takes. What's interesting about a game may be more about how that game fits within other similar or dissimilar games. What's interesting may be the way we felt during a game, or some other thing that a game reminded us of. And unless we're talking at some meta level, what we find interesting about games is almost certainly not how many points we would give that game out of some slightly larger number of possible points.

There are many reasons we here at GWJ chose to write the way we do about the things we do. There were reasons not to go this way, too. But as the greater conversation about games has progressed, grown, mutated and spun off its countless tangents, the way we write at GWJ has kept us as an important part of that conversation.

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November 4 - November 10
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 November 2013, 10:20 am

It's going to be interesting to see how well Call of Duty does this year. The market is in kind of weird transitional space between generations. There just doesn't seem to be the same Call of Duty buzz as normal -- where are the tv ads with Robert Downey Jr. flying a jet for example? I mean, Megan Fox is great and all, but she's not Iron Man. And, Battlefield 4 as a competitor has beat Activision to the punch in the modern warfare space.

Still, counting Call of Duty out has definitely been a losing game for at least a half dozen years now. It has been perched atop the throne of mainstream gaming for longer than I might have ever guessed, and CoD: Ghosts is the most preordered next gen game out there, so it could have a very healthy few weeks as new systems trickle out.

In the end, of course, it matters not a whit. I'm as guilty as anyone, but if faced with the question of why it matters what game sells the most in what year, I can't really give a good answer. Maybe it's just symbolic, a vague and ethereal concern about the emblem of gaming as a cultural platform, and when I look close I realize that sometimes it's as much about who is playing the game than the substance of the game itself. It's elitism, an unsubstantiated superiority complex, and it's beneath us.

Except when it comes to CoD dudebros. The hell with those guys.

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October 28 – November 3
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 October 2013, 10:13 am

If you're not keeping track, it's now right around two weeks until the first next generation system hits. Don't worry if you'd forgotten or not realized it was, in reality, that close. I had to look it up myself.

It's been easy this year to forget that there are big system launches right around the corner. In fact, at least for me, it's been easy to forget that by now in most years we've already seen a flurry — or perhaps slurry — of major console and PC releases. The kind of games that define years. By comparison, and with one or two notable exceptions, this year has been tame and sedate, saving its bluster for the new consoles. Honestly, with an array of excellent indie and mid-level titles, I'd barely noticed.

This week sees the release of Battlefield 4, a graphical powerhouse and possibly legitimate contender against the upcoming Call of Duty:Ghosts. Whatever else I may want to say about EA and Battlefield, it's impossible not to be impressed with some of the power DICE is getting out of the Frostbite 3 engine. It's a gorgeous looking game, and I'm sorely tempted to spend some time with it.

Also this week, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag takes Ubisoft's popular and established franchise to the high seas. After last year's less-than-stellar Assassin's Creed III, I'm hoping that Ubi gets the series back on the right track. Honestly, there's part of me that's surprised, given the traditional choice between pirates and ninjas, that the latest AC isn't taking us to feudal Japan, though I wouldn't be shocked if we end up there eventually. Still, taking to the warm waters of the Caribbean is far from a fate worse than death, and it's not hard to imagine Black Flag being a better game than its predecessor.

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Analysis Paralysis
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 October 2013, 10:37 pm

Righto, the kids are in bed, my wife is happily reading her book, the couch is mine! Time for some GA-A-AAAA-MING.

You need a new game. GTA V.

No way, it's time to dig into my Pile of Shame. I've got so many well-regarded games I've barely played that're just sitting on the shelf, waiting for me. Besides, it's 8pm. What am I going to do, drive down to JB now? I've had beers, it's not happening.

Use Steam. Something's probably on sale. Witcher 2 sounded pretty cool.

Nup. I want to chill on the couch and I don't want to wait for the download.

Use PSN. Get something new ... Dishonored's new DLC is out.

I said no! I don't want to spend any money when I've got all this latent value to tap from my unplayed games. I'm walking down the hall to the games shelf now, and you can't stop me.


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PC Dreams in a Console World
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 October 2013, 7:23 pm

In the churn and wake of the impending launch of two new major console systems, an interesting side discussion is happening. That discussion is around what the release of these systems means for PC gaming. Experiencing something of a renaissance lately, PC gaming isn’t just “not dead” but has returned to a state of genuine viability. Still, conventional wisdom implies that viability has as much to do with the current generation growing long in the tooth as it does with any kind of cultural or market shift.

Extending the conventional wisdom a little further though, there is an implication that new, faster, cooler consoles could mean a shift back in the momentum. That’s not just because of how games on new consoles will look. It’s also because the new consoles will broadcast games over services like Twitch.tv, contribute to the rapid growth of independent gaming and offer media applications like Netflix, Pandora and Hulu. These were all things that weren’t that important when this gen launched, but which eventually became so. And when this ending generation began, they were things that either only the PC could do, or the PC did better. It took a long time for consoles to catch up with similar functionality. Now, these things are going to be a fundamental part of the console experience, which could be seen as undermining the relevance of the trusty old Personal Computer.

So, what does the launch of these new consoles mean for the stalwart PC gamer? Frankly, if you ask me, I think it only makes things better.

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Extra Life 2013 is Over!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 November 2013, 7:34 am

UPDATE: Extra Life 2013 is officially over. It was not only the first year for GamersWithJobs to make a combined effort, but a first for many of us participating as well. Leading up to the event I increased the goal multiple times, and as of this writing we managed to raise $3,652, surpassing our third intended goal.

I want to thank everyone that contributed. Some of you gave generously, some of you set aside time in your weekend to game with us, and others watched our streams and provided a constant run of feedback and encouragement. I've learned a lot this year, and I look forward to putting it to good use next year.

Thank you.

Right now your fellow GWJers are gaming for the kiddies! Extra Life is a 25-hour gaming marathon for charity. All proceeds go to Children's Miracle Network hospitals across North America. You can view our team page and select any GWJer's profile to donate to and contribute to the cause.

Many of us will be on the Ventrilo GamersWithJobs server chatting it up in the Extra Life channel while we stream. Feel free to join us, or see the Vent FAQ thread for information on obtaining and setting up the software.

Behind the break are the list of community members participating as well as links to their streams. Feel free to tune in!

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Diggin' Deep
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 October 2013, 2:28 am

It must be around 1 a.m. when I finally snap the lid shut on my 3DS. I snuff out the colorful collection of light beaming from the LED screen, and the room goes dark.

I don't know what had brought on the collection of heavy, stressful, and worried thoughts to my mind that night. All I know is that I had chosen instead to grab my 3DS, pop the lid, and start chipping away at dirt and rock. Perhaps it was the length of my unemployment getting to me. Maybe it was the fact that my car won't pass inspection unless I drop a brick of cash on it. Then again, maybe it was recent news about my family's drama getting exponentially worse. Somewhere a straw was placed upon the camel's back of my brain, causing it to split in half and just drown me in a suffocating panic about my future. This also tends to be the moment that I begin to consider my ever-decreasing longevity, the afterlife, and my faith.

I'd snagged my 3DS free from its cradle at that moment, dropping myself into the recently purchased Steamworld Dig. It was only nine bucks, so it was one expense I wasn't feeling guilty about in light of my car's costly demands.

As I close the DS, I marvel at how fast an hour had flown by while I performed some awfully monotonous and repetitive tasks, mining beneath a ghost of a robot town. It's not necessarily the sort of game I go for. There was no real narrative to speak of, no clever combination of mechanics, and there really weren't any levels. You simply chip away at the dirt, looking for minerals and materials that you can sell back in town in order to purchase new upgrades that make digging easier.

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Donation Drive 2013 Final(ish) Update
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 October 2013, 9:54 pm

Well, you people really did it this time. 810 backers, $30,025 is the official total plus a few checks trickling in. I think we've said 'thank you' about a thousand times now so please accept as gratitude a promise that we're going to make it worth your while in the coming year.

Special thanks to Kate Craig, Scott Benson, Graham Rowat and Kevin Kulp for lending their time (past and future) and all the GWJ staff for helping make this drive a success. Elysium and I do what we can but the site really doesn't happen without your fine efforts.

This weekend donors will start receiving emails with links to download art and plans for getting on with their special donor perks.

After the jump a final list of our donors. I say final but what I really mean is I'll probably update this list a few times as people let us know they're missing. If you should be on here, make sure you email elysium your paypal and forum info so we can add you on!

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Rocksmith 2014
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 October 2013, 12:00 pm

Music is a vital and integral part of my life. It connects for me to something deep, primitive and fundamental. Anything I am doing is improved with a soundtrack. A perfectly built chord progression can and has brought tears to my eyes or a laugh to my throat. The patterns of expertly crafted music are more powerful, more resonant to me than seeing a perfect sunset, eating a world-class meal or the feel of warm sun on a bright spring day. And the only reason I pick up a musical interest is in the hopes of tapping into that primitive, powerful place.

It’s pretty easy for me to keep track of how long I’ve owned a guitar. I got my first real six string from my now wife, who surprised me with an Alvarez acoustic in the late spring of 1995. It was and is a beautiful-sounding instrument with a rich, deep resonance — a resonance that I wouldn’t really learn how to unlock for months or perhaps years.

Buying me that guitar had been a leap of faith in more ways than one for my then girlfriend and now spouse of 17 years. I knew nothing about playing guitar, and odds at the time probably were that I’d pick at it a few times before admitting to myself that music was not then nor had ever been my forte. After all, playing guitar is not necessarily easy, and it requires time, passion and maybe a little bit of blood, too.

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October 21 - October 27
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2013, 10:07 am

There had never been a chance that my Game of the Week this week was going to be anything besides Rocksmith 2014. I know Batman: Arkham Origins is probably a bigger deal to a greater number of people, but for me this year has been entirely about a handful of titles, and Rocksmith is one of them. From the moment I saw the panoply of improvements planned for the game, I was in love.

I'll have my full review of Rocksmith 2014 up bright and early tomorrow morning once the embargo lifts, but I think you can read a lot into the fact that I've got a couple dozen hours into the thing and I'm still as enthusiastic as ever to make it the game of the week.

Also this week, Path of Exile for the PC, the alternative many people found to their disappointment in Diablo 3, finally makes an official release. PoE, as it has been lovingly termed, is a somewhat dark but largely strong third-person action RPG, and it has developed a reasonable and loyal following during its beta testing.

Add to all that a new Phoenix Wright game on the 3DS and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes into the mix, and you have yourself a pretty appealing list of games to play this week.

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Donation Drive 2013 - Final Day!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 October 2013, 1:26 pm

If this was the mid-90's I'd have a midi version of The Final Countdown playing in the background. Thanks to everyone for all their support this year! We're very close to reaching our special GWJ Jobs podcast stretch goal and we've made the second edition of the GWJ Magazine a reality!

From there it's just a hop, skip and a jump to the GWJ Radio play we're dying to do. Keep at it! If you want to be a hero and help us in this last push to our final stretch goal hit the Donation Page and Indiana Jones roll right under the rapidly closing cave mouth.

After the break you'll find a list of our donors. These are the people who keep the lights on and enable us to make sure this is the best dame site and community we can be. Even if you can't afford to contribute this year, take a moment to read the list and offer a silent fist pump to our supporters.

If you're not on the list and you donated before the last few days, drop Elysium a line so he can make sure you're in the database. Don't worry if you're not on here and you should be, we'll make sure everyone is accounted for.

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A Cold Console War
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 October 2013, 11:24 am

We received an interesting question on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, and it’s one I’ve found myself chewing over occasionally ever since. The question was simple, something along the lines of “Are you actually excited for the next generation of consoles or just going through the motions?”

It’s a good question, and one I hadn’t thought consciously about yet. I do think I had experienced some telling internal monologue that hadn’t been fully fleshed out yet, particularly anytime some new nugget of information sprung up around the console launch. I would see whatever the thing was that I was supposed to think was important, and remind myself that I was supposed to actually care. But apparently, I didn’t.

It’s not right to say I’m not excited about the next generation. I am. Just not as much as I feel like I’m supposed to be. I remember when the Playstation or the Xbox first came out, and that rush of excitement at the unlimited possibilities provided by this next generation technology. I would go around saying how such-and-such was a true 64-bit machine, even though I had no earthly clue what that meant or why it was relevant. Apparently there was some causal relationship between the number of bits something in the machine had, or had access to — or maybe just had etched on its side, like a super-techno tramp stamp — that equated directly to how great the platform was going to be.

And the console makers seemed every bit as excited to unload useless information and constant teases of marketing, fueling great brush-fires of brand loyalty across the face of the internet. “Our 64 bits are much better than their substandard 64-bits — if they even are 64-bits that is,” their marketing message would say. I would metaphorically rise from my chair, thrust my fist in the air and shout my ignorant agreement. Obviously, I would conclude, their 64-bits were much more bittier than everyone else’s. I was younger, dumber and in love with the console cycle.

But here’s the thing: It’s not just that I’m not as excited as I used to be, whether that’s a function of knowledge, maturity or something else. Rather, I’d argue the console makers aren’t even all that excited. It’s like they’re going through the motions just as much as the rest of us are.

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Extra Life 2013
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 October 2013, 3:53 pm

Since I first got the Internet in 8th grade, every phase of my life has been accompanied by some online community. Despite years of online debate, discussion, friendships and attaching screen names to faces at conventions, I've never felt more at home than I do here at Gamers With Jobs. I've seen this community come together for emotional support to members going through rough times, and have even given their hard-earned money to fellow goodjers who really needed it. Any assumptions that can be made about people being absolutely horrible on the Internet are proven wrong on a daily basis here.

Which is why I chose to create a Gamers With Jobs team for the Extra Life charity. Extra Life is a charity event where gamers all over the world participate in a gaming marathon for twenty-five hours straight, relying on sponsorships and donations of friends and family in order to help contribute to children's hospitals across North America. Several of us are preparing our Twitch streams and putting together our game lists to play through, but we need your help.

Any donations made available to the team are gladly accepted and appreciated, but there are more ways to assist us. Right now plenty of us streamers are working on game lists and schedules for our twenty-five hour run. Not only would we like your input in the official thread, but we need community members to play with throughout the day. Your input as to what games to play and when would help us put together our schedules while providing a chance to showcase to our friends and family how great a community Gamers With Jobs is. We could also use an additional PC gaming streamer to help our more PC focused gaming crowd, and any help running test streams in the days leading up to the actual event. There are a lot of ways to participate and become involved.

So head on over to our Extra Life page or the official thread and find out how you can help out today.

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Donation Drive 2013 -- Final Week
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 October 2013, 3:57 pm

The 2013 Donation Drive ends right at midnight this Friday, which means there’s just a little over 3 days left as I type this. First, a massive thanks to everyone who has donated. Your contributions have already solidly guaranteed another year of growth and content for GWJ, and we honestly are always blown away that people are willing to invest in us and into the community the way you guys do.

I will put one thing out there, hopefully to appeal to those of you who may be on the fence or who haven’t donated yet but plan to. Since we launched the donation drive ten years ago, every year we have raised more than the prior year – which is a big part of how we have been able to keep driving forward and trying new things. Some years by only a couple dozen dollars, other years by thousands. Last year we raised just over $27,000.

Right now, we are not on pace to equal last year’s donation drive total. That would make this the first year since we were founded in 2003 where we raised less than the year before.

So far this year we are just short of having raised $25,000, money which goes to support writers, contributors, the podcast, hosting, site design, site maintenance, special event coverage, let’s plays and the myriad little things it takes to not just keep the lights on but keep growing. We are on the cusp of having enough to fund a second annual GWJ magazine, an exercise I desperately want to have a good solid second shot at. I’m extraordinarily proud of what we put out this year, but there’s so much more we can do, and plan to.

If you haven’t donated and want to support the site’s growth and the community as a whole, now is the moment. We are right at the edge of our stretch goal for a new magazine, and with a strong final push in these last few days we are ready to add a second podcast for your monthly listening pleasure. If you would like to donate, please visit our donation page for full details, and thank you all for your support.

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October 14 - October 20
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 October 2013, 1:44 pm

October 14 - October 20

Good grief! Will you look at this list!? At first glance it looks dire, but if you get off the AAA bandwagon, there there are couple interesting points.

Talisman Digital Edition, by Nomad Games is a nostalgic choice for me. The board game was one of my first experiences in deeper boardgames, and it was also the first game I ever won a tournament in. So being able to play this online with friends is a shoe-in for me. This release offers several platform options. There are iPad and Android mobile editions coming soon, and a single-player version called Talisman Prologue is available now. The Steam-based multi-player PC version goes into early access this week, with the full launch coming on November 13th.

My nostalgeurism aside, this week I'm going to give the laurels to critical darling The Stanley Parable. It's a game based on the Source mod of the same name, released in 2011. This full release brings new content, graphics, and in-game voice. The demo confused me and piqued my interest at the same time. From what I can get out of the promo materials out there, that was the point. It will be available on Steam on Thursday, the 17th.

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Ode to Blue
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 October 2013, 8:27 am

Blue's eyes scanned the field of tall grass before him, blades swaying in the cool spring breeze, brow furrowed in concentration. He knew there was a Pokémon out here somewhere. It must have been hiding in the brush. Blue had hoped he was already ahead of Red, having caught a Pidgey so soon after obtaining the Pokéballs from his grandfather, but the kid also had a Rattata with him.

Blue spat. Red. What was so special about him all of a sudden? If it weren't for Blue he wouldn't even have any dreams of being a Pokémon trainer. His head was always up in the clouds, even since they were children. Since before Blue was living with his grandfather, back when his parents were still alive. Granted they weren't home much anyway, being trainers themselves, but it was their tales of wonder and adventure that gave Blue such a passion. He pored through his parents' volumes of texts and encyclopedias on Pokémon, watched every documentary he could find on television, and even got the play sets for Vermilion and Fuschia city gyms. He'd spend hours playing with Red, showing him all of his parents' books, so heavy with knowledge at the time, and pretending to be the leaders of their own gyms.

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Passion Play
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 October 2013, 1:35 pm

Julian Murdoch is standing next to the sink, the top of his bald head gleaming angelically from the mid-morning light streaming through the kitchen window. He is leaning over an odd contraption, pushing boiling water into a cup that has somehow — perhaps alchemically — been transmogrified into coffee. He is straining slightly with the effort of forcing the coffee, a study in Brownian motion within its pressure chamber, through the filter and into the cup.

Frankly, it looks like a lot of work. My question to him is simple: Why?

It’s not that I don’t understand that different brewing methods, like different cooking methods, create a different sensual experience. There’s clearly some fundamental difference between throwing a pot of Folgers together in a coffee maker you bought for ten dollars at Target, and doing whatever this air-press thing idoes with coffee beans you bought at a specialty shop and ground yourself. Yet there’s part of me that thinks it’s just a ceremonial experience and ultimately the end results taste basically indistinguishable.

This must be what JRPG players feel like when trying to explain anything to me.

Julian can’t explain to me why its better, but that’s not because he lacks the language capacity to do so. It’s because if he were to try to do so, it would be like trying to explain to a curious-looking dog why Game of Thrones is a better narrative than Two Broke Girls. The problem is the receiver of information lacks a necessary understanding to be able to appreciate the explanation.

As Julian valiantly tries to give the explanation a shot, I tilt my head like Nipper — the dog from the old RCA logo. Julian gives up and just assures me that it’s better.

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GWJ Donation Drive 2013 Update - Stretch Goal Reached!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 October 2013, 4:01 pm

With 10 days to go we've hit our first stretch goal! Soon all of the podcast spoiler sections and Graham Rowat readings will be hosted in one convenient space separate from the main shows. Thanks everyone for your support! We're very close to our next stretch goal of commissioning all new GWJ mascots to feature on the new site design. After that, a new edition of the GWJ magazine.

Donating can also get you some amazing art, Infinite Lives comics, a special edition GWJ compilation of past articles with all new commentary from the author and more. Hit the Donation page for all the details.

After the jump a (not quite complete) list of all our donors so far. If you've donated in the first couple weeks of the drive and your forum name is not on this list make sure touch base with Sean "Elysium" Sands with your particulars. Detail on the donation page.

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October 7 - October 13
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 October 2013, 9:41 pm

Now that it's releasing, I'm not entirely sure what to expect from Beyond: Two Souls. On the one hand I really like what Heavy Rain presented from a pure story telling perspective. Its inventiveness and willingness to break from what we traditionally think of as a video game was an exceptional and ultimately memorable experience. But, in the end that actual delivery of the written narrative of the game left, at least for me, much to be desired. Ultimately it was a great example of how games could evolve into true story telling mechanisms, but it just didn't deliver a particularly well written story in that medium.

I genuinely hope that Beyond: Two Souls goes above and beyond what Heavy Rain delivers, but I have to admit that I'm skeptical. I worry that I'll walk away thinking, "Well, from a game perspective I'm glad I played, but there are holes big enough in the actual story to drive a truck through." I really, really hope I'm wrong.

Also this week, a new Pokemon addiction offers itself to be snorted off a coffee table with a straw. Pokemon X and Pokemon Y is inevitably something I will buy for my kids, watch with a perverse fascination and ultimately just not get. Which is unfortunate, because the underlying mechanic of Pokemon is something that seems like it should appeal. Perhaps someday.

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Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 March 2003, 12:55 pm

If you look way over there to your left you should see a nifty little poll weÂ've put up. This is your chance to give us your opinion without having to resort to sentences, periods, commas or even words! With two simple clicks you can feed ElysiumÂ's un-holy desire for numbers that go up and give Sway and I valuable data we can possibly ignore if it means more work.

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To Fly: Flight Simulator X
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 September 2006, 10:05 am

I sat down to write a review -- a preview really -- of Flight Simulator X from Microsoft. I thought it would just be fun, 'cause hey, I love Flight Sim. I thought it would be cute to talk about the good old days, before I lost my pilot's license, so I pulled my logbook down from the shelf. That's when I realized two things:

1: My log book is over the shelf on my desk. I haven't opened it in years, but still, no matter how I rearrange my office, it's within arm's reach. This is an entirely unconscious act. I can't even remember putting it there.

2: It's been exactly ten years to the day since I first learned to fly.

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