Atmosphere
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 March 2014, 9:40 am

"The vehicles in Half-Life 2 control like crap," I sigh.

"That's only because you're playing on Xbox," my friend retorts. "Shooters are better with a mouse and keyboard."

"Bull," I curse back. "The Warthog in Halo controls like a friggin' Subaru compared to the rickety piece of crap on tires you get in Half-Life."

"That's the whole point!" he counters. "It's supposed to be like that because it was made by regular schmucks using scrap from a landfill!"

"Nuh-uh," I shake my head. "No way. I don't care if it's 'supposed' to be that way to be more 'immersive' or whatever. If it controls like crap, then that is bad usability, and bad usability is bad game design. Period."

Months later, visiting home from college, I would argue with a high-school friend why Resident Evil's cameras limiting a player's perspective was the entire point.

(In case you were wondering, hypocrisy in one's mouth is thick like peanut butter, but tastes more like dusty raisins. Still sticks to your gums. I wouldn't recommend it.)

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March 24 - March 30
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 March 2014, 9:46 am

Diablo III was a critical and commercial success, and yet it lingered with a sour after taste for many gamers who bristled at some of the decisions made by Blizzard in their follow up to the almost legendary Diablo II. Among its most controversial moves was the addition of the Real Money Auction House, which allowed players to trade in-game loot for hard, cold cash.

But, Diablo III's real sin was not so much in allowing people to trade cash, and much more often in-game gold, for items. It was the jealous and stingy way the game rewarded players with loot in the game itself that really put players off. The auction houses weren't some side feature you could choose to ignore. The longer you played, the more Diablo III steered you toward them.

With the roll up to release of this week's Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Blizzard has done an about face. Last week both the real and in-game money auction houses quietly closed their doors and the most recent patch added the long-desired "Loot 2.0" which completely changed the way itemization and player drops work in the game.

Now, with players engaged back in the game, the question becomes whether Blizzard will be able to avoid a replay of D3's disastrous launch. For all the recovered goodwill generated in the recent patch and the elimination of the Auction House, the real test will be whether or not people are able to actually play the game come Tuesday, or if we'll be reminded yet again of why forcing players to log into a multiplayer service to enjoy their single player game remains a bad idea.

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Warlock II: The Exiled – Preview
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 March 2014, 3:54 pm

Warlock: Master of the Arcane was one of those games that just got better the longer it was out. At release it felt somewhat uninspiring, but over time it saw a number of patches that enhanced and polished the game enough to generally realize the fundamentally good idea that was born decades before with Master of Magic. Developed by Ino-Co and published by Paradox, Warlock was a slow burn. But by the end I felt like I’d gotten my money’s worth.

If I’m honest, I was a little surprised — though not unpleasantly so — to discover there was to be a sequel.

Since the announcement in October of 2013 — an announcement which came with with delightfully cringe-worth tagline "Pure Hextacy" — I found myself increasingly interested in the development of Warlock II: The Exiled. In this iteration we find a fractured world, where you play as an exiled mage seeking to traverse between the broken shards of your world in order to get back home, and in the process defeat a powerful mage responsible for the cataclysmic destruction.

It’s an interesting take on the original game, but there was good reason to wonder if the sequel would come out of the gate having learned the lessons of the first release, or if it too would need its own time to percolate. Well, I’ve had a week with a full preview build of the game, and I think I know the answer.

You don’t, as a rule, want to lay down a lot of declarative statements in a preview, because who knows what may change between now and the April release date, but what I’ve seen so far of Warlock II is highly encouraging.

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Guilty as FAQ
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 March 2014, 9:43 am

"Ooooh!" I exclaim excitedly, tapping my stylus to the 3DS screen. The old lady had slipped up; I am certain. All I need to do is figure out where to present the proper evidence.

This namby pamby granny has been trying to make the case that her back was causing her so much trouble she could barely walk. Alright, I can buy it. A stout little Mrs. Potts of a woman having some back problems is perfectly plausible.

But, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if she was under such incredible pain, then how could she cross the worn-out, rickety bridge?

Note that I have no reason to suspect this woman is guilty of anything, but I am certain it will all come to light once I present that crucial piece of evidence and hear Phoenix Wright, attorney at law, cry "Objection!"

That is, once I figure out what evidence, and where. Do I present the map with the diagram of the bridge? Are any of these statements weak enough where it would seem relevant? Do I just need to press her harder after engaging in a specific conversation?

Bah, enough of this! I lodge the stylus between my teeth and tug my phone from my pocket, opening the web browser within. I'm the right track — I have to be — I just need a bit of a nudge from a good ol' GameFAQ to set everything in motion. Once that piece of evidence was revealed, the ball will start rolling and cause an avalanche of excitement.

Only it turned out that ball I was trying to get rolling was more of a square peg, and in my efforts to shove it down the hill I found myself tumbling over my firmly planted notion and downward. My train of thought was completely inaccurate, and the real flaw in her testimony had nothing to do with her back.

I obeyed the FAQ, presenting the real evidence, but any exhilarating thrill of victory was gone. I had essentially cheated, and somehow felt robbed of the "pleasure" of pounding my head against a problem that didn't exist.

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March 17 - March 23
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 March 2014, 11:11 am

So, as I understand it Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a prequel to the yet-to-come full official release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Additionally the MGS V arc as a whole appears to take place more in the '70s and '80s prior to many of the events portrayed in previous incarnations of the series.

Admittedly, trying to make sense at all of the series is itself an exercise in futility. It is a snake's nest of intertwined and twisting plots, any of which on their own borders on insane. I spent a long time bemoaning the nonsensical and careening narrative that has become Metal Gear Solid, but I've begun to take a new stance largely in opposition to the one I had before.

I like that Metal Gear Solid exists in its crazy ranting incarnation. I like that there's that option out there and center stage on the gaming landscape. It's fun to remember sometimes that gaming, at its heart, is an incredible opportunity for reckless escapism. It's still probably not a game that appeals wildly to me, but I do like that it's out there.

Also this week, Men of War: Assault Squad 2 takes to the PC, which is the sequel to the 2011 game, which was notable for being both strategically deep and significantly challenging. The game developed a small but dedicated following, so I'm confident in saying it'll definitely be on some of your must-buy lists.

Finally, inFamous: Second Son takes its turn on the PS4.

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Romancing the Hearthstone
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 March 2014, 10:46 am

If I were going to select a Facebook relationship status about my relationship with the Blizzard card-game Hearthstone, that status would have to be the achingly cliched "it’s complicated."

I hate Hearthstone. Sort of. I also love it. Sort of.

At first I thought the reason I was resistant to Hearthstone had to do with its business model, but rationally I have to admit, that can’t be the issue. Its business model is entirely reasonable and allows for vast swaths of play without ever feeling absolutely compelled to spend a single dollar on new cards, booster packs or arena passes. Arguably the business model for the long-running Magic The Gathering Online is far more onerous.

No, even though it is entirely free-to-play in nature, it doesn’t really cross that line of being pay-to-win. This is in part due to the steady-but-consistent way it doles out rewards and manages to make its slow trickle of content feel like a reward instead of an extortion attempt. But equally important, the balance of the cards and difference in interplay between a well-constructed deck of even common cards versus a slapped-together deck, regardless of rarity, reinforces an idea that success is most commonly found within mastery of the game systems.

So what’s not to love, then? Now that the game is out of beta, and many of the frustrating bugs and imbalances have had their already polished polish polished further, it’s objectively difficult for me to point at any one thing and say, “There, that’s BS!”

And yet — And YET! — I can’t play more than a few rounds at a time before I find myself frustrated and vaguely exhausted. The thing is, Hearthstone just makes me mad more often than it makes me happy. I really wish I could put my finger on why.

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March 10 - March 16
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 March 2014, 10:30 am

Looking for something fun to play? You've come to the right week.

The ethos of Dark Souls and its equally brutal predecessor Demon's Souls was one I just never could get behind. A brutal, unforgiving and difficult game that seemed to revel in the struggles and failures of its players, this kind of sado-masochism didn't appeal to me. But to hear players of Dark Souls describe it, the experience was almost spiritual, and Dark Souls II is by extension something the faithful have been anticipating jealously for months. This week we lose many of our closest and most disturbed friends to the sequel.

That would have certainly be the game of the week, were it not also time for the rest of us to play Titanfall. Following an exceptionally strong showing during its "beta," the game that had left a lot of gamers curious but skeptical suddenly became a sure-thing. There was something about it to me while I played that reminded me of the old days before Battlefield 1942 was released where we all played the demo on Wake Island. There was just this sense that we were playing something that was going to turn out to be special. I have to admit, I felt that way a bit about Titanfall, which is why it's my Game of the Week.

Also notable this week, fan favorite on the OUYA, Towerfall Ascension, makes its way onto the PC and PS4.

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Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 November 2003, 6:05 am

It could make your WaveBird fly!

Mario Kart DD

More than two years after the launch of the Gamecube and after having received some delays like most hotly anticipated Nintendo titles the latest installment in the Mario Kart series has finally arrived. With Mario Kart: Double Dash!! the idea is to provide new excitement for kart racing fans everywhere but is it a good game? Yes. Is it flawless? Hmmmm...

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March 3 – March 9
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 March 2014, 10:54 am

I never really got South Park. I mean, I get that it's satire, and I get the layers of biting commentary on social issues, but its delivery just never resonated with me. The few times I tried to watch the show I always walked away wishing I'd done something else with my time. It's one of those things where I get the appeal in a very analytical way, but I don't feel it like other people do.

South Park fans always sympathize with me in a very ... almost pitying way, when I talk about this. It's not because they are smug, superior jerks, but because they want me to feel and share the joy the show brings to their lives. It's the way I feel when people tell me they don't get Arrested Development. I look at them and ache for their simpleton ways, thinking, "You poor, dumb, son of a ... ."

Ok, mine's the more smug, superior kind of pity, but you get the idea.

So despite the release of the long awaited South Park: The Stick of Truth this week, I'm giving the nod to the second episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two.

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From the Fires
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 March 2014, 10:39 am

The local video store wasn’t just a staple of my childhood, it was the most important building I could visit, given my surprisingly limited sphere of travel. Now grown, I remember the everyday things about the space: blue carpeting; a row of horror VHS tapes that seemed endless and terrifying, but beckoned with cover art that burned itself into my memories as something exotic and frightening; a wall of NES games at the rightmost corner; the checkout area that, like a vault, had rows of cartridges and tapes and test units; and the ever-changing collection of two arcade stand-ups alongside a never-the-same-twice pinball machine. Much like in a bookstore now, I would wander the rows aimlessly, peering at actor stand-ups, searching for new releases, watching impossibly-tall teens play for ages on a single quarter. Most of all, I remember the place expanding, adding a service window that processed photos for passports, sold bus tokens, and performed services that I didn’t have a use for, becoming a place that – in my mind – rivaled the larger chain-stores that were too far to be of any real use. It was a vibrant bubble of concentrated escapism that I loved to visit.

I like to think that the store, Video Hot, would have continued to expand and take up more of the strip-mall that it sat in. I like to think that it would have kept a great collection of NES games as the new gen creeped in, that it would have created a small section for Laserdiscs, or that it would have dedicated a section of the store for more arcade games. Or maybe it could have included vending-machines along the foreign and classics nook to build up traffic there.

I like to think that these things might have happened, because the store never got a chance to live up to the potential it was building. It never expanded its collection of games. Never again featured arcade cabinets. Never grew out. It never did this, because in the middle of the day on April 30th , 1992, it ceased to be the space I remember — because, by the morning of May 1st, there was a giant, charred wound where the checkout counter once stood.

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A Personal Voyage
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 March 2014, 1:14 pm

There are echoes from my childhood, and usually they are nothing more than that. Snippets of emotional impressions that resonate as both old and distant. A lot of people I know talk about childhood memories in specific and detailed ways that are alien to me. Before age 13 or so, my life is a scattered patchwork of vague sense memories and snapshots of recollection. Very few things can make me feel connected to a strong sense of my own childhood.

But if you play the opening theme song to the series Cosmos around me, "Heaven and Hell" by Vangelis, I am transported as clearly and as keenly to my childhood as if I had stepped into a time machine and the out onto the shag carpet of my 1980 home. For its thirteen episodes, I could be found stretched across the floor with my gaze transfixed on the television screen where Carl Sagan, with a kindness and patience in his eyes that made you believe in the authenticity of his every word, doled out an explanation of a universe far more vast, more majestic and more interesting than I had ever guessed.

I would forever after be fascinated by the night sky, curious about the intertwining sciences that make up the machinery of reality, aware of the world I inhabited in a way that was more sophisticated but also more awestruck. I would never have the patience to learn a scientific discipline professionally, never have the right alignment of synapses to navigate the mathematics it would take to be truly knowledgeable on these topics, but as concepts and thought experiments, I was endlessly fascinated. The idea that all of mankind was encapsulated within the last few moments, of the last day, of the last month on the cosmic calendar, was the kind of idea Carl conveyed to me, and millions of others, and which would be with me for decades to come.

As a new Cosmos series launches this weekend with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a worthy successor, at the helm, I find myself reminded of and celebrating the fact that the original Cosmos had such an impact on me over such a short time. Looking back, Carl Sagan was one of the best teachers I ever had.

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Anatomy of an All-Nighter
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 28 February 2014, 2:53 am

That time you stayed up all night playing a game — the all-nighter — it's a common practice among gamers of all stripes. Observed from the outside, all-nighters can look ugly, often tendered as Exhibit A by the plaintiff in Responsibilities v. Gamer. Conversely, in discussions about what makes a game great, they are often cited to illustrate how compelling, immersive, engaging and other buzzwords a game can be.

For many in the GWJ community whose circumstances lean towards the "-woodge" side of the acronym, the all-nighter is one of the few viable ways to find time for gaming that don't involve incurring some form of injury or disease — that is, until I can convince my employer that sitting at my PC with a controller and headset yelling "BAM! EAT IT!" is work-related.

Despite the all-nighter being a go-to gaming gambit, the critics have a point. All-nighters are mentally and physically gruelling. We can often push a session too far, such that we are severely debuffed upon return to the mundane, non-gaming aspects of our lives. Like democracy, the all-nighter isn't perfect, but often it is merely the least worst option for squeezing in some gaming time. At least it appears that way when we start out.

Relax, folks. I'm not here to judge you, wring my hands or pose rhetorical questions. This is a safe space. I just want to float a theory: Every all-nighter, regardless of the game or the player, is fundamentally the same. They all contain the same basic stages. (My research is based on extensive field testing, but a singularly small sample group, so consider this a form of peer review.)

Here are the 5 stages of the all-nighter. Each stage is named after a soldier ability in XCOM, because that's the kind of flair that gets you noticed.

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Sick Day
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2014, 6:04 pm

As I write these words I am reposed under no fewer than 5 layers of blankets. The fire that had been my throat yesterday is replaced with the fire that is the skin of my nose, which has spent the past 36 hours under constant assault from facial tissues. For some reason I’m holding my jaw slightly open, partly because when I close it my mouth closes and I suffocate—what with my nasal passages being clogged like Los Angeles traffic and also because my joints all feel like they have tiny vice grips attached. Small water balloons that used to be eyelids cover my eyes, and my leg is in a constant state of twitchy, fevered motion.

I am never more whiny as when I’m sick, and this time it’s particularly bad because my wife is equally sick—though her stoic functionality in spite of this crippling malady is both impressive and deeply annoying—so I can’t whine to her. Because let me tell you, she’s having none of it. So, I guess that leaves you guys.

Lucky you.

It’s funny, because I remember thinking a few weeks back about how it might be nice to get a good solid cold so I could relax in bed for a couple of days, maybe get in some quiet, reclining game time. Oh how quickly we forget that, yes, having a cold/flu/whatever comes with its own downside. Still, I did spend seven hours yesterday clicking away, miserably happy at my PC, so it’s not all bad.

As I think about sick days, I find myself looking back fondly on the best kind of sick day there is: sick day when you’re a kid. Call it nostalgia, the fevered memory of an old man dreaming of simpler times, but give me a day free of homework as I sipped Campbells chicken soup and watched episodes of Reading Rainbow and 321 Contact on the 14-inch color tv propped at the foot of my bed, and I’ll give you a happy ten-year-old.

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February 24 – March 3
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 February 2014, 1:06 pm

I had hoped to get up this morning and begin reading reviews of how, despite internal strife, despite the challenge of bringing a franchise back from the dead, despite everything, Eidos and Square Enix pulled off a magic for their Thief reboot similar to what they accomplished last year with Tomb Raider. That's what I had hoped for.

The reality seems to be different. If early reviews are to be believed, Thief isn't a bad game. It's just not a particularly good game, either. It appears to suffer from losing its elements of greatness within layers of frustration and inconsistency. Maybe time will bear the game out better, but it's not the start I'd hoped for,

So I turn, almost grudgingly, to Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. While I am eager to dole out points to PopCap for being willing to inject their creative juices into the largely stagnant corpse of online, team-based shooters, every time I think about wanting to play, I begin to imagine a smiling sunflower questioning my parentage at every opportunity over voice chat.

Still, PopCap's track record precedes them, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

Also this week, Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2, Tales Of Symphonia Chronicles, and Professor Layton And The Azran Legacy land on store shelves both virtual and real.

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Non-Bit Reality
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 February 2014, 12:03 am

Things that are real:

  • dimensions
  • sex
  • physical sensation
  • religious organizations
  • a hand-written letter
  • a fat stack of cash
  • a DVD with data written on it

Things that someone could argue aren't real:

  • human relationships
  • dreams
  • pride
  • an email
  • heartbreak
  • financial investments
  • digital currency
  • risk
  • account balances
  • fraud
  • debt
  • legal arguments
  • property rights
  • substance abuse
  • regret
  • social connections
  • digital currency

Things that probably aren't real:

  • Unicorns
  • robots who transform into dinosaurs
  • the absolute truth that the old ways were better than new ways
  • the absolute truth that new things are better than old things
  • boyfriends whose bodies are pigeon bodies

These lists are not exhaustive. Feel free to suggest additions to each. I find it's easiest to add to that middle list — things that might be real in some sense, but that might be considered "not real" by other definitions of "real."

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The Jobs Cast - Episode 1
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 February 2014, 11:14 am

We've still got lots to do with our new monthly(ish) podcast we're calling The Jobs Cast. RSS feeds to clean up, gotta get it registered on iTunes and all sorts of things. We don't even have a logo yet! None the less, nothing like a good old fashioned MP3 file to get things rolling.

Direct Download

This week Shawn Andrich and Sean Sands talk about their work histories and what The Jobs Cast is all about. Thanks to all of our donation drive supporters for enabling this new show!

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February 17 - February 23
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 February 2014, 9:34 pm

Arguably, if you were to measure a console's success by the length of time between its launch and the final retail release of its last game, then the Dreamcast is the most successful console of all time. With this week's release of Neo XYX, Sega's final console clocks in at roughly 15 years of new releases. I realize it's a stretch, but I find it entertaining anyway.

This week's actual Game of the Week though is Earth Defense Force 2025. I actually know virtually nothing about this game, except that it seems to have been brought up in the comments for the past four or five Week Ahead articles, so I'm assuming that at least for some of you it's a pretty big deal. But seriously, look at that screenshot. I don't even know what to say about that.

Also releasing this week is Banished for the PC, which is an interesting city builder in a colonial period setting where a group of settlers banished from their homeland have to build shelter and civilization out of the most basic materials. The game appears to be brutally hard, and it seems pretty easy to recreate your own Lost-Colony-of-Roanoke kind of scenario.

Otherwise, a relatively quiet week, with some pretty significant releases finally perched just on the horizon.

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UT2K4 GWJ Community Play Date Tonight!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 February 2014, 7:32 pm

Tonight we dine on gibs and headshots! If you want to join us playing UT2K4 tonight hit the first page of this thread for connection info. If you want to do voice chat too, all the info you need is in the Ventrillo thread.

See you there! The fun starts around 8:30PM EST.

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Bravely Default & Me
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 February 2014, 12:05 pm

Bravely Default begins exactly the way I was afraid it would, with an overly-long cutscene of characters I don’t know or care about doing things that don’t make any sense to me, and doing it in a way I find mostly annoying. Vaguely infantilized women speak in high-pitched voices, an annoying, amnesiac lothario woos some girls who fawn over him for reasons that, given a thousand years and the processing power of a million minds, I could not possibly fathom, and some sheep fall into a giant hole. Also, there is a kid. I think, actually, the kid is the important part, not the sheep.

This is not starting well for my effort to break through on a genre that has long-since seemed impenetrable at best and childishly silly and self-involved at worst. I am not what they would call a "fan" of JRPGs.

Actually, I’m not a fan of most games out of Japan. There must be some kind of filters you have to clear from your mind to be able to respond positively to these games in their intended form, and those filters are just lodged stubbornly in place for me. The list of historically revered games from across the Pacific that I either haven’t played or haven't enjoyed is a fully fleshed indictment on me as a semi-professional games blogger. These are games that others talk about in terms of sacred texts. I’ll avoid detailing the exhaustive list and simply put this here, and live with the consequences.

I once tried to play a Zelda game; I didn’t care for it.

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GWJ Conference Call Episode 383
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 February 2014, 11:49 pm

Episode 383 - February 12th, 2014
Elder Scrolls Online, Bravely Default, Fallpy bird, Threes, UT2K4, Europa Universalis IV, Hearthstone, Eschelon Book III, Games You Fight to Love, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(A Hot to Hold 48.1 MBs, 1:24:06)

This week Shawn, Elysium, Julian and Rob Zacny talk about games that make you fight to love them.

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GWJ Plays Europa Universalis IV
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 February 2014, 3:07 pm


Join Sean Sands as he teaches Cory Banks and Shawn Andrich the ways of Europa Universalis IV.

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February 10 - February 16
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 February 2014, 10:50 am

Square Enix has certainly been busy of late. On the heels of last week's, critically well-received Bravely Default, they hit the bigger consoles this week with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

Before I talk about that, I feel like I should follow up on my promise last week to buy and play Bravely Default. My legacy with modern JRPGs is well documented and punctuated primarily by a sense of confusion masked as disdain. And, my more recent efforts to break through the boundaries of comprehension and mutual understanding usually met with disastrous results, most notably with The World Ends With You.

So, it may come as some surprise to hear that I'm generally enjoying Bravely Default. I'll talk more about it on the podcast this week, and there are certainly elements of this game that make me wince in cultural dissonance, but I'm a solid six hours into the game (read: I've finished the tutorial and actually started the game proper) and it's still holding my attention fairly well.

As for Lightning Returns, apparently this is the third major release in the Final Fantasy XIII universe. I glanced at a wiki for the backstory of the game, and I have no idea what I just read. Something about crystals, and merged worlds and a bunch of gods and goddesses that generally sound like jerks. Then I watched a trailer for it, and it ended with a tiny yellow bird pecking at some warrior looking guy's face as comical music played in the background.

I'm still going to give it game of the week, anyway.

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GWJ Plays Hearthstone
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 February 2014, 3:39 pm


Join Shawn Andrich and Cory Banks as they play Hearthstone while Sean Sands heckles from the bleachers.

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Recovery and the Three JRs
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 February 2014, 3:00 pm

Three people are about to undergo the same type of surgery. Each one of them will receive a general anesthesia, and strangers they’ve never met will move sharp pieces of metal up into their noses to cut out as many troublesome polyps as is possible without punctuating their brain sacs. These three people have to prepare for the longest absence from work that they have ever taken. The doctors have told them they should expect to be recovering in bed for around ten to fourteen days. No climbing stairs. No signing legal documents (due to the pain medication). No driving. And no lifting.

These inconveniences will be particularly difficult as each of these people have a 2-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son. Their wife will have to be an even more fantastic mother than she already is, while they lie in bed and recuperate. I say “wife” instead of “wives” because they all are married to the same person. This is because, Manager-JR, Dad-JR, and Gamer-JR all happen to live in the same body.

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Ships of the Line
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 February 2014, 3:52 pm

Recently Eve Online experienced a conflict, which, to my mind, is best represented metaphorically by mousetrap fission. In the linked video, a person drops a ping pong ball into a contained space filled with 138 additional ping pong balls on primed mouse-traps. The resulting cacophony is best enjoyed in slow motion. The cascade of released potential energy becomes a ballet of furious activity. If you think of each of those mousetraps as an exploding space ship, probably one that someone spent a lot of time or effort acquiring, then you begin to get the gist of the Eve-nt that happened in the game.

By the way, Eve Online developer CCP, that "Eve-nt" thing is a freebie. It’s all yours. You’re welcome.

The fallout from this battle is hard to measure, because there’s not exactly a bank that will exchange your Eve currency of ISK into actual money that can be traded for goods and services in the global marketplace. Still, even as the battle was still in the thick of its angry bee-hive tempest of laser beams and wreckage, news sites across the web reported hundreds of thousands of real-dollar equivalents being burned away in the cold night of this virtual space. CCP’s own final report suggests that a rough equivalent of $300,000 to $330,000 worth of virtual property had been obliterated in the onslaught (source: PCGamer).

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