Video Games of 2012 [GO]
Jan 4th, 2013 by Dan

Miami Marlins at Pittsburgh Pirates - PNC Park 21 Jul 2012

Even the Pittsburgh Pirates played video games this year.

Knock on wood, you guys, but I managed to get through 2012 without having all my video games stolen from my house while I was sleeping [EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s 2013 now, you dummy. You don’t need to knock on wood]. Should that even be an achievement?

2012 seems to be a shift in the status quo. Perhaps it’s because the new console generation hasn’t yet kicked off, but I feel like fewer and fewer AAA, big budget titles have been grabbing my attention lately. Of the 56 games on this list I feel like very few (about 12) were big, huge landmark games. Maybe that’s not all that different, but it feels different…

Also, like last year I do count games on this list that did not launch in 2012, but that I played, started, or beat in 2012.


Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective – The weirdest thing about my time with this game was that I chose to play it in Spanish. It was fine practice and, off the top of my head, it taught me two Spanish words I had no use for before playing it (sotano and cachorro, meaning basement and puppy/cub/kitten, respectively), but it also featured very funny writing by Phoenix Wright’s creator and a bizarrely complicated story for such a slight-looking game. In fact, 2012 was kind of a year of interactive fiction, as you’ll see, so it’s appropriate to see GT get top billing. It’s also worth mentioning that the animation in this game is spectacular.

Rayman: Origins – Also known as the game where Min and I attained Super Saiyan level for the first time. No lie, guys, the treasure chest levels and the final Level of the Dead or whatever it was called was a zen-like achievement for the pair of us. If New Super Mario Bros. isn’t your bag, but you think you might still love platformers then you absolutely need to try this game out.

Chrono Trigger DS – Yeah, I played this in the 90s. Yep, it was my first RPG. The DS port added some marginal sections, including an epilogue that sets up for Chrono Cross in the most depressing way possible, but it also came with a new translation that I thought was interesting and brought some freshness to an otherwise “solved” game for me.

Earthbound – I wish I’d spent more time trying to replay Earthbound, but I just didn’t. Heck, I don’t think I got too far past meeting Buzz Buzz…Still love this game.

Cave Story + – How I long for dynamic difficulty level changing! Cave Story + is a fantastic Metroidvania-style pixel shooter, but my hubris determined I would play on the hardest difficulty, which means I’m stuck on Monster X until I can get my skills down pat.


Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Remember how everyone’s favorite character in FF XIII was Lightning’s sister and some guy no one ever saw in FF XIII? Wait…those weren’t your favorite characters? You don’t want to play another 40 hours as those chuckleheads and watch Snow, Hope, and Sazh from afar while playing a nearly incomprehensible story? Too bad!

Saints Row: The Third – I feel bad for you if you’ve never played Saints Row: The Third. I felt bad for myself for not having played it sooner than I did. For maximum awesomeness be sure to give your boss the Latina voice. It’s priceless. Seriously though, this game is the best open world game I have ever played. Period. It’s absurd, ridiculous, and nonsensical, but it’s winking every step of the way and I’m right there with it.

Rhythm Heaven Fever – When I first started writing this list I forgot that this little gem came out in 2012. Can you believe it?! Min, I know you don’t understand the appeal here, but this is honestly among my favorite game of this year. Did I spend $80 importing the soundtrack from Japan? You betcha. Goddammit this game is so good. It’s a must play for anyone with a Wii (or a Wii U). Seriously, go buy it. It’s incredible.

Devil Survivor 2 – Man, the Megrez fight is so stupid and I’m not properly equipped, demon-wise, to tackle it, which is why I never beat this game. It’s better than DS1, mechanically, but I just need to sit down and grind my way out of this and I really don’t want to have to do that…Bonus points for also pretty much being Evangelion


Mass Effect 3 – Hoo boy…What a shitshow this game’s release was…I wish I’d beaten it faster than I had because by the time I reached the ending, well, the internet had practically exploded with criticism. I spent more time wading in comments sections and forums defending the artistic integrity of a game that I honestly didn’t find that impressive compared to the rest of the year’s releases, but it just rubbed me the wrong way to see the fanboys demand changes from Bioware. I mean, whine all you want, but so long as Bioware doesn’t cave– What’s that? You say they did cave? They did change the ending as a response to fan whining? My respect for Bioware and this game flew out the window the second that happened. As far as I’m concerned, I played the real Mass Effect 3, but I never got the chance to enjoy it. Now that the doctors are gone from Bioware and the company is soliciting advice on what direction to take Dragon Age III, I find myself thinking, “Man, what happened to Bioware?” It’s a real shame because Mass Effect 3 was actually quite good.


Shadow Complex – Way late to the party on this one, but I was feeling that Metroidvania itch and, well, this game kind of scratches it. I hate the third dimension they added to the gun because it makes aiming a pain. Other than that it’s fine. Serviceable, really, but it also gets credit for being the first “autolog” type game that I can think of.

Jamestown – I don’t play a lot of vertical/horizontal shooters. Jamestown just happened to be out in a lull and I owned it from a Humble Bundle. It’s enjoyable enough and I dig playing it with multiple people, but it’s not going to set the world on fire. Playing the story in “funny” mode is fun too because the alternative is almost obnoxiously self-serious.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – Cool music and a cool aesthetic, but it controls weird on the PC. I wish I had an iPad for stuff like this and that I put more time into this game.

The Walking Dead – I thought about separating this out into episodes across the series, but it seems cleaner to talk about this game in one fell swoop even though I started it in April and finished it in November. I know I said that Rhythm Heaven Fever was the best game of this year, but The Walking Dead is actually the best thing to have come out this year. I’ll grant you that it’s more interactive fiction than game, but even that’s not that important, really. I mean, would putting more puzzles in this adventure game make it any better? Of course not! The Walking Dead is the success it is because it’s a character-driven story of the likes we haven’t seen before. Lee Everett may not be making the galaxy-defining choices that Commander Shepard makes on a daily basis, but the stakes always seem higher as he does his best to shepherd young Clementine through a world that only gets worse and worse for everyone. That last scene in the jewelry store as Lee coaches Clem to safety…It touched me (and I’m sure most anyone who played it) in a way that nothing else this year could. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that everyone should play this game. It’s brilliant.

Fez – Speaking of brilliant, Fez has that in spades. We’re talking about a game where every detail feels deliberate and mysterious. That’s not an exaggeration either. With maybe one exception, there’s not a single puzzle in Fez that you couldn’t necessarily figure out in some way from clues in the world. They might be obscure, difficult to interpret clues, but they’re there. Add in a soundtrack that is hauntingly beautiful and a rotating mechanic that is as fun as anything else you’ve ever done and you’ve got the most interesting experience of 2012. I can still pull up intense memories of the empty solitude of some of the screens and the fitting music that made me feel isolated, alone, a little scared, and a little excited to discover a cube or an anticube. Fez was awesome, guys.


Diablo 3 – I’ve had this talk with Min so many times, but maybe I didn’t understand what Diablo was before I played D3. I’d only ever played D2 with my brother or a few friends. It was a small-scale endeavor and Torchlight, its closest analogue for me, was a single-player affair. There was no Auction House there to circumvent loot drops or other players to set up trades with on forums. There was the purity of the RNG and the thrill of the hunt. Diablo 3 awakened that feeling inside me that activates when I feel like I’ve been cheated. It was like I took the red pill and I saw the Matrix of the game for the first time when I realized what I’d have to do to beat the game on Inferno. I’ve never felt like a game’s systems were so transparently evil before (I don’t play Facebook games) and Diablo 3 soured me on Blizzard as a developer. Maybe next year you’ll see an entry about Heart of the Swarm, but as of right now, thanks to Diablo 3, I plan on never spending another cent on a Blizzard game (unless a new Warcraft RTS comes out. I actually like those).

Tropico 4 – Min likes to tease me about being an evil dictator when I play this game, but it’s much more complicated for me. When I play Tropico I don’t exercise my ability to rig elections or execute citizens at will. I do my best to be a benevolent leader and resist the control/interference of the US or USSR. I do my best to make the tropical paradise that I feel my people have been denied. It’s a deeply (and weirdly) personal experience for me. Plus the music is pretty sweet.


The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb – Yeah, yeah, expansion pack for a game that I played relentlessly last year. I don’t care, guys, it was almost a new game with how much it added. If you read my blog and you tried/enjoyed FTL, you really should check this out.

No More Heroes: Paradise – I think I’m at assassin #7 or #6? It’s got its purposefully tedious parts in it and it’s so stylized that it’s hilarious, but it lost some steam with me and I never finished it. Whoops.


Spelunky – Forget what that other guy said about the best game of this year because Spelunky is awesome. It’s so sharp in the way that it plays. Die and it’s almost 100% your fault. Brutally difficult, endearingly fun and funny, and tightly controlled. I only wish I had more friends to play local multiplayer with.

Penny Arcade 2 – Not as funny as PA1 and not as fun as PA3

Penny Arcade 3 – PA goes 16-bit RPG. The combat is frighteningly difficult, but the game is tons of fun because of it. These new classes are super neat. It’s like they figured out all the boundaries to RPG combat and sharpened them to a knife’s edge. Really interesting, but easy to bone yourself with bad class selection.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion – Each game takes forever, but playing a few matches with Min was tons of fun.

Greed Corp – Did not like. Sorry, Eric.

Puzzle Agent – Tried this before I went down the Professor Layton rabbit’s hole. Surprisingly funny and surprisingly well-written. I’m fairly certain that these didn’t sell well enough to keep making them, but I really enjoyed the setting and the story. Very cute.

Max Payne 3 – I’m the guy who’s never played a Max Payne game before so when I play this grimy, glitzy, greasy shooter I’m unburdened by Payne’s history. There’s no comparison to the way it used to be or the way I wanted a sequel to be. It’s just an awesome shooter with a dumb, but neat story. Brazil is here to stay as a setting and even though Rockstar characters are all deplorable assholes who I hate, I had a soft spot for Max and Giovanna. Pretty solid shooter.

Sonic Generations – Modern Sonic games suck. All of them. Everyone who thinks Generations is “not that bad” or “good” is wrong. You’re wrong.

BIT.TRIP.RUNNER – A rhythm game! I didn’t realize it before I tried it. The first boss fight sucks and I stopped playing after it. I hear that was a mistake.


Persona 4 Arena – I got a little bogged down by being forced to play other perspectives before finishing the main narrative, but the continuation of the Persona story was solid enough to make me interested in the game, even if I didn’t really care for the fighting mechanic. Guys, who knew a fighting game could have a sweet story?

Driver: San Francisco – Didn’t get enough in to say anything definitive, but I don’t really like the car mechanics.

Trine 2 – I don’t think either of these Trine games are for me, but I’ve only ever played 5 hours of a Trine game ever. It’s the physics model. I don’t like the imprecision in a platformer. I had the same issue with Little Big Planet.

Iron Brigade – The most frustrating networking experience of 2012. It’s a shame too because Min, Lee, and I should have loved playing this.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – Goddammit I love me some Counter-Strike. I didn’t put that many hours into this, but playing it with Simon and some of the old War Cry guys was awesome. If you have any interest in shooters, but you don’t play this…well I don’t understand you.

Orcs Must Die 2 – Not the best tower defense game, but I think I’m under 10 hrs with it so maybe it picks up?

The Last Story – Got so bogged down writing about this with David (remember that feature?) that I never continued it. Lots of promise there with characters that seem deeper than your usual anime bullshit, but I need to give it another 20 hours to be sure.


Mark of the Ninja – The tightest stealth game (mechanics-wise) you will ever play. Seriously, man. It’s pretty boss. The story is fairly dumb, but playing it is so much fun that you can’t help but smile. A solid win in my book.

FTL: Faster Than Light – I’ve recorded 31.5 hours of me playing this game as of when I write this sentence. A game that has such tight mechanics that you can’t help but love it. This was the year of roguelikes for me. FTL plays like the space sim you always wish you had. I don’t see myself getting bored of this game until I unlock all the ships. That won’t be for a while because I’m somewhat terrible with some of the ships, but I do love me this game.

New Super Mario Bros. 2
– More Mario platforming. Not the most inspired Mario game, but it has its moments. Not gonna set the world on fire and, like the first one, not my favorite Mario game.

Torchlight 2 – I can’t really claim to have played this game since the first day was a clusterfuck and I didn’t get past the menu screen. Had tons of fun chatting with Min and his cousin though.

Borderlands 2 – Until the very end of December I was the only one of my close video gaming friends who had this game. As a solo affair (and even as a group affair), the early parts of this game are pretty terrible/boring/tedious. In a group I’ve enjoyed playing this tons more. It’s just fun to have three friends rolling around Pandora with you. I hope we keep playing.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – I love rhythm games. I love Final Fantasy music. This game is beautiful and perfect and could only be made better with more FF VI music.

Kirby’s Dream Collection – Picked it up to own Kirby Super Star. Played a bit of that with Min. Lots of fun, but not gonna set the world on fire.


Professor Layton and the Last Specter – Played it for a few minutes because it was the only sequel I could find in the store. Based on those few minutes I bought the rest of the franchise.

Pokemon White Version 2 – I wish I hadn’t pushed Min and David to get Black and White because the Version 2s are so much better. There has never been a better put together Pokemon game. I’ve sunk over a hundred hours into this game playing it Nuzlocke style and I still have yet to defeat the Elite Four or Team Plasma. I’m not kidding, guys, this is the closest you can come to a perfect Pokemon game.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Ok, for realsies now, guys. This is the best game of the year. Just so much fun to play in Classic Ironman mode where every mistake is locked in place and humanity hangs in the balance. Tactical, turn-based combat has never been better implemented and every system works well. My only gripe is that you “can’t fail” the final mission in the sense that losing it sends you to the start. Losing an Ironman run in the final mission would be brilliant (and sadistic), wouldn’t it?

Professor Layton and the Curious Village – It has a fairly ridiculous plot twist that almost makes zero sense and doesn’t hit with any oomph, but you’re supposed to be here for the puzzles anyway. They’re fun and the characters are charming enough that I’m more than happy to spend hours upon hours just completing brain teasers.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted – I wish this was more Burnout Paradise instead. I don’t like the way the “campaign” is laid out with the unlocks for all the cars. I hate how I have to earn nitro every time I swap cars. It’s just not as good as the Burnout stuff. I’m sorry. That said, it’s so much fun to race at top speed in real-world automobiles. Super fun.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – The 365 puzzles (one a day) and the fact that I bought it digitally are what keeps me coming back to this game over and over again since I haven’t yet beaten the previous iterations. Solid puzzle work and a great 3DS package, but I can’t wait to actually see the narrative.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – More Layton, but on a train!

To the Moon – The Walking Dead kind of ruined this game for me. Everyone was lauding it as this grand, mature narrative, but then The Walking Dead goes and does something truly spectacular while To the Moon failed to really hit with me. The twist was neat and I dug the story, but I didn’t find it to be as amazing as I’d heard. It’s solid storytelling in a mediocre engine package, but it’s worth checking out for sure.


Hotline Miami – Certainly the game that’s inspired the most cackling laughter in me. Just brutal, ugly, sleazy, and weird. Hotline Miami has a kickass soundtrack and relentless gameplay. The bosses are kind of obnoxious, but it plays fairly sharply and I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

Nintendo Land – Fantastic in group settings, but somewhat lacking as a solo endeavor. I’m happy to own it and I think asynchronous information/capabilities makes for way more interesting games than the same old stuff we’re used to, but without a group to play this it can get a little boring.

New Super Mario Bros. U – Haven’t put a lot of time in it, but the course design is definitely superior to the DS version. Can’t wait to beat this with Min, but I’m not breaking down any doors to play it.

Donkey Kong Country Returns – I’m only two worlds in, but it feels slighter/weaker than the old DKCs. We’ll see how it pans out, I guess.


Sleeping Dogs – I’m getting open world fatigue pretty early in this one. Unlike Saints Row: The Third, this is more serious and I feel like not being ridiculous is to its detriment. Sleeping Dogs’ dating system is ridiculous and the cop story is fairly predictable, but I’m in love with the Hong Kong setting and the fact that this is a game not taking place in LA, NY, or Miami. Also really nice to see non-white protagonists. The Batman fighting style is neat, but, like I said, already hitting open world fatigue.

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors – I’m glad I played and finished this before the end of the year because it’s absolutely brilliant. Any game that uses the mechanics of the system its on is an instant plus for me and the final puzzle/revelation is brilliant. How many games make you think about morphic resonance and information transfer like this one? Just the fact that I found myself thinking about philosophical questions like Locke’s Socks/The Ship of Theseus and that it ALL MADE SENSE was really brilliant. Look, visual novels are divisive, but you shouldn’t let that get in your way. 999 has one of the neatest stories of the year (2010) and it’s easily one of my favorite games this year.

What I’ve Been Doing 2 April 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 26th, 2012 by Dan


Seann William Scott is so innocently dumb in this movie, but it's actually quite good. (Picture courtesy nxusco)

Guys, Goon was really good. More later, but you should check it out. This week was a real scattershot weekend as I tried to play a bunch of games I didn’t give much time to before.


Martha Marcy May Marlene – The cult in the movie is an interesting contrast to the fundamentalist Christian society in Higher Ground and the hippie commune of Wanderlust. This movie really ratchets up the tension of not knowing what’s real and what’s not. Ideally they would have made Patrick a scarier presence, but the movie is still on pretty solid ground with what it accomplishes. Congrats on the fantastic part, Elizabeth Olsen. Keep it up!

Goon – This is a mostly sweet movie about a guy who had no place in life other than to fight on the ice. It’s done pretty well and it’s funny and it’ll definitely win you over. Alison Pill, who played Kim Pine in Scott Pilgrim, is great as a Canadian hockey girl and Seann William Scott is endearing. The violence of hockey and hockey fights is really the thing that might put you off the movie. It gets pretty brutal if you don’t like it.


Mad Men – Last week’s premiere was amazing and I totally loved it. Can’t wait to see yesterday’s episode tonight!

Breaking Bad – Finished the first season. The six episode arc they had to work with never went anywhere with any definitive statement, but I think they’re playing the long game for all the seasons. Doesn’t mean that it was bad, just that I’m used to a more dramatic season arc. The progression of Walter White from teacher to meth cooker has definitely been interesting as is the seething anger that lurks beneath hsi outside personality.

Happy Endings – A great tribute to all the sitcom tropes of old. Some really good jokes in there that helped keep it from being too hack-y (like it was when the episode started). Elisha Cuthbert’s Ellen was hilarious.

New Girl – I liked the episode, but I’m rather chilly on New Girl at the moment. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.

Justified – Another table setter. The final two episodes of this season are going to be bananas. I’d like for Limehouse to continue to be a force in S4, but we’ll see if he survives the next two eps first.

Community – It’s entirely possible that this episode contained the first “boner” joke I’ve laughed at since I was 13. The Subway corpo-humanoid is the highlight of the ep. Also a highlight: “Put it in a letter, Jane Austen!”. Alison Brie is so awesome.

Up All Night – This show is kind of meh to me too. At least it’s enjoyable meh. I’d rather watch New Girl because Zooey Deschanel is cute, but this is the better show.

The Wire – Finally finished S1 and the commentary of S1. Can’t wait to get moving through S2 because S3 is amazing. I love the attention to detail in The Wire and the devastating verisimilitude of it all.


“Heaven” is one of the best tracks on the Persona 4 soundtrack, but it’s also pretty awesome to listen to any time. Don’t believe me?


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I’ve got like 10 pages left. So tired of this book.

Video Games

Ghost Trick – Weird ending to this game. Just plot twist upon plot twist. Still one of the better story games I’ve ever played and excellent practice for my Spanish.

Devil Survivor 2 – Still haven’t caught the entire breadth of this story, but I do dig it. Interested in seeing where it goes, but my major play time will probably come when Min and I go to Vegas (he’ll probably sleep through the flight)

Mass Effect 2 – Slowly tearing through this a few missions at a time. For some reason I can’t stomach playing it for long periods of time. I think it’s because ME3 is clearly better and they’re so similar.

Poker Night at the Inventory – Put in a few mins to get some achievements and just play some poker. Still fun.

Jamestown – Was feeling like finally putting some time into the weird quasi-historical/quasi-sci-fi version of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Fighting the Spanish conquistadors and the Martians is weird, but fun. I like all the different ship types.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1 – I played and beat this many moons ago, but I wanted to play ep. 2 and that required playing this. Decent RPG and pretty funny still.

Sine Mora – Tried it out on XBL. I might pick it up when I finish a few other games. Seems interesting.

Pac-Man CE DX – Um…best game on my Xbox. Period. This game is so good I had to force msyelf to stop to play…

Galaga Legions DX – I was tired of only having like two achievements in this so I went and got to 11/12. Might not get the last one (more annoying than tough), but I’ll probably cave and just do it. Not as good as Pac-Man at all, but still fun.

Shadow Complex – Cave Story + made me think the same thing this game does: Why don’t game companies make more Metroidvania-style games? They’re really addictive and fun. Weird. Also weird: Nolan North in a half-tuck role that’s NOT NATHAN DRAKE! I think the shooting is a little awkward with the right stick because they added the whole 3D aspect to it, but otherwise fun.

What I’ve Been Doing 19 Mar 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 19th, 2012 by Dan

They are a group of six friends evenly split among men and women. Haven't seen this formula before! (Photo courtesy

I’ll get into it more later, but despite it being pretty standard fare for a sitcom, Happy Endings is actually hilarious and kind of awesome. I blew through season 1 this weekend (half on Netflix, then I bought the entire season on DVD).

Just catching any TV is impressive considering that I haven’t watched a second of it since Mass Effect 3 came out. Now that I’ve beaten that I had a chance to catch up on all the TV I’d missed.


The Descendants – Picked up the movie at Best Buy this weekend too. Great flick. I think Tiffany liked it despite its Oscar film plot meanderings.


Community – Oh god, so glad it’s back! So glad! This week’s episode was pretty solid work for Community. Everyone showed up and was great. Even the Britta stuff was hilarious. I loved that she was a wizard with domestic stuff and wedding planning. Then of course she Brittas the entire thing by getting too drunk with Jeff.

Archer – Space! Pretty excellent episode of Archer. Can’t wait for the finale next week

New Girl – “Did you just Fredo kiss me?” The singing part was kind of “eh”. “Are those cannons on your back”. After watching a lot of Happy Endings later on in the weekend, I think that New Girl is a less good version of that. Bummer. Still, it’s coming into its own and I dig it. Max Greenfield’s Schmidt is hilarious.

Parks and Recreation – The Ron stuff was great. I guess I’m pretty tired of the Ann and Tom stuff too.

Bob’s Burgers – Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman are HILARIOUS! Footloose warehouse dancing is great! “No more lick foot”. “If guys had uteruses they’d be called duderuses” Great episode.

Justified – The show knows how to make things seem real bad. “I found the gun.” “Did you touch it?” “What am I, an asshole?” I think Winona’s great! Is she gone for good? Good to see Ava returning to prominence. I like her too. Boyd’s got a real firebrand preacher streak and that’s always fun to see. This season is about to get more real quick and I love it!

Up All Night – Maya Rudolph is great. Spitting the scotch back out was pretty hilarious. The stinger with “gift” and “seed” was the best part. I kept wanting to use that as a line, but it’s so gross.

Happy Endings – Not too bad. Wow. Extra Hot Great turned me on to this show and I spent all weekend watching as much of it as I could. I thought it was pretty hilarious. It’s got a modern Friends vibe, but with the jokes pace of a Community, 30 Rock, or Arrested Development. Just BAM! BAM! BAM! Jokes, jokes, jokes. I really enjoyed it. If you know me I hope you don’t mind me making you watch it.


Just listen to more Rhythm Heaven music, guys!


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Ok, Martin Vanger is dead already. Why does this book still have like 100 pages left?!

Video Games

Mass Effect 3 – Finally finished this sci-fi epic and…I loved it. Naysayers out there will tell you that the ending is terrible. They’re kind of right, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t fantastic.

Ghost Trick – This is another one like Dragon Tattoo that I’m getting closer and closer to beating and I just need to put time in to finish.

Mass Effect 2 – Coming back to this after 3 is rough. Combat is slower, the engine is not optimized for PC, it’s trying too hard to be edgy…Still good, but I like 3 and 1 better.

What I’ve Been Doing 12 March 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 12th, 2012 by Dan

Mass Effect 3 screenshots

Floating holo displays are awesome. (Photo courtesy gamesweasel)

Smoke alarms! They notify us about fires, but they also incessantly beep when their batteries are low. It’s tough to sleep when that happens and you don’t have 9V batteries laying around.

Oh, yeah, also Mass Effect 3 came out this week and obliterated my TV watching.


Wanderlust – Sharing a lot of the DNA from Wet Hot American Summer, Wanderlust was appropriately strange, but also pretty darn funny. I’d put it at 3.5 or 4 stars of five.


Baseball: The Tenth Inning – Rewatched about 75% of this fantastic baseball documentary with Greg. Good times and good prep for the season. Can’t wait!


George & Jonathan – I was turned on to Beautiful Lifestyle by The Besties podcast (“Little Marcus” is their opening/closing track). Great chiptune disc with a lot of variety. Reminds me of Sonic the Hedgehog music a lot of the time.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Bloomqvist is captured by Martin and there’s still so much book left! WTF!

Video Games

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – The Sazh DLC can kiss my ass. Hours of playing poker to unlock Sazh? Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Devil Survivor 2 – I love how brutal these games can get. Atlus isn’t messing around. When demons invade there’s no sugarcoating.

Ghost Trick – So very close to being done and plot twists are just appearing and stacking up like crazy.

Mass Effect 3 – Badassfully: Blasto 6 is the funniest part of this game by far! Here’s a tip for any of you who don’t already know: Anytime you complete a mission you should walk around and talk to everyone. They have funny/interesting things to say. Javik, in particular, has an interesting perspective being a Prothean and all. Look for impressions soon.

What I’ve Been Doing 5 March 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Mar 5th, 2012 by Dan


I don’t think it’s possible for you all to understand how pumped I am for baseball to come back this year. It’s been a long, hard offseason, but spring training is off the ground and I’m super pumped.


Higher Ground – Vera Farmiga (and her sister Taissa) stars in this intelligent movie about a woman constantly seeking religion, but unable to arrive at the faith and two-way relationship she so desperately craves. It’s beautiful and slow and it’s fantastic work by Farmiga.

What’s Your Number – Oh, the things we do for love. Seeking something to watch together, Tiffany and I stumbled upon Anna Faris’ ill-received romantic comedy that is simultaneously all about slut shaming and also about finding love before your friends continue to slut shame you. I’m injecting way more importance into this light, breezy romantic comedy than it deserves. As far as these types of movies go, you could find worse. It’s alright.


The Walking Dead – So tired of the non-zombie plots. “Waaah waah, I’m suicidal! Waaah.” Pretty sure they’re setting up a mega-swarm headed to the farm. Not sure.

Life’s Too Short – The tumor stuff was predictable, but funny. I don’t think the Johnny Depp stuff was half as good as the Liam Neeson stuff from last week.

Parks and Recreation – Ginuwine jokes, haha. Oh man, the part where he read out the image URL for Leslie’s campaign poster! The water fountain visual gag was also hilarious.

Up All Night – The stuff with the godparents reminds me of David since Eric just had his baby. Steven Pasquale was pretty hilarious in his Army vet role.

Justified – Not every episode has to be super exciting/awesome. Still some good acting in this episode, but not as sharp as the rest of the season has been.

Archer – “You make me sound like some kind of chubacabra, but for dicks.” Pretty good ep.

Portlandia – The Eddie Vedder tattoo stuff was brilliant. About 1/3 of the Battlestar Galactica sketch (featuring James Callis, Edward James Olmos, and (the real) Ronald D. Moore) was excellent as well, but it strongly relies on you knowing what Ronald D. Moore looks like (Hint: He’s not the guy who played Adama or Baltar and he’s not the guy with his name.)

Houston Astros at Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg’s curveball looked sharp. It was missing a little bit of placement, but otherwise looking great. Too bad Tom Gorzelanny came in and stunk up the joint. Still, baseball! Spring training!


Rhythm Heaven Games – Go out there and get your hands on Rhythm Heaven soundtracks. The music from these games is super catchy and fun and I’m pretty sure they include perfect versions of the songs that have all of the sound effects in them.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – I swear I’m making progress, guys. I really am! He’s actually working with Lisbeth now. It took half the book to get them there!

Video Games

Devil Survivor 2 – Devil Survivor was one of the best DS TRPGs (or normal RPG or games) out there and DS2 is more of the same. New characters, broader setting…I dig it. So much so that it’s supplanted…

Ghost Trick – Used to have a steady slot in my DS, but I’ve sidelined it for a little DS2 action. Gotta finish it because I’m nearly done, but DS2 is sooo fun.

The Old Republic – Nothing like getting a little Bounty Hunting in, but the stupid TOR people haven’t announced the legacy stuff so I’m at a stalemate with getting more playtime in with Min.

What I’ve Been Doing 27 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 27th, 2012 by Dan


Man, nothing else on television is close to as good as this show is right now. (Photo courtesy flipittyjupe2)

It was a hectic, busy weekend that resulted in me becoming an uncle. So glad that the delivery was ok, but now I’m crossing my fingers for everyone to get healthy soon.


Almost watched one this week! Didn’t though.


Justified – The stuff with the organ thieves was awesome. Also the scenes with Limehouse have been stellar. Tensions are running super high in Harlan County and I can’t wait to see what happens. Definitely the best action drama on air right now.

Childrens Hospital – This week they aired the rerun of the 70s episode. I still love the lines about Ken Marino’s character being a baby killer. Great stuff.

Up All Night – “I know you’re kidding, but why put that out there?” Oh man, the Lennon-McCartney of hip-hop and the Simon and Garfunkel of hip-hop. SO GREAT! Alanis Morissette is quite the capable actress. All that terrorist and TSA stuff was great. Beeping out profanity is way funnier than profanity most of the time.

The Walking Dead – This show is kind of on a roll. The violence and gore was pretty impressive this episode.

Glee – Whaaa…? Suicide attempt and a car accident ripped straight out of 80s soaps. Weirdly fluctuating tone, mediocre songs. What was this episode?

Archer – Decent episode with some real great lines. Loved the WV stuff.

My Strange Addiction – Got stuck watching this with Tiffany. There was a dude who was in an intimate, sexual relationship with a car. I watched a show about an actual, real person who is in love with his car. Shoot me next time, please.

New Girl – Jess being bullied by one of her students? Makes a lot of sense as a plot point to me. Good fun this episode. Schmidt is still the best character so far.

Fringe – Finally returned to season 2. The case of the week episodes that don’t advance the narrative are less fun, but this one was still pretty neat. Poor Broyles.


Enjoy St. Vincent’s “Cheerleader”:


Probably read Dragon Tattoo. Can’t remember if I did.

Video Games

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Continues to be a JRPG-ass JRPG. I still like it though. Interested in seeing more of the plot.

Ghost Trick – Getting close to the end! I was proud of myself because the Spanish I’m learning from playing it in Spanish has actually been put to use. For example, a basement is a sótano, a word I didn’t need in Florida, but I needed yesterday.

Rhythm Heaven Fever – Got a few quick rounds in with David. Lots of fun.

What I’ve Been Doing 13 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 13th, 2012 by Dan

Samurai Champloo DVD Cover

The journey is over. (Photo courtesy Sold Out Activist)

Big TV week for me. A lot of huge episodes and great acting made me a very happy viewer.


I was supposed to watch Hanna this weekend, but I never got around to it.


Samurai Champloo – Turned out to be a show about transition and the end of things. About an age where Japan was forced to move forward and accept the great wave washing over it. Combining that with hip hop was a great idea. Mugen’s final battle was annoyingly unsatisfying. With Jin and Fuu at least the fight had something to do with the plot. The guys Mugen fought were not plot-relevant at all to anything that happened in the series. Also, everyone took ridiculous amounts of abuse and damage and then just lived to tell the tale?

Glee – What the heck was that? All of the numbers were embarrassing, Ricky Martin was used to pathetic effect, and none of the music was that interesting. When you make your episode focus Latin music, but you only really highlight pop crossover Latin stuff it’s kind of insulting to me in the same way all of that was insulting to Santana.

New Girl – For a show that gets a lot of grief, New Girl has been bringing it the past few weeks. Playing chicken with the proposed three way was hilarious. The show still has nothing for Winston to do

Up All Night – “Everyone hates flan!” Preach.

Justified – Whoa, what an episode. That last scene with Devil and Boyd…wow. Not to mention the stuff with Dickie and Limehouse. Awesome stuff. Can’t wait for more!

Breaking Bad – Everybody’s been talking about how great this show is for three years. Guess what, guys? They’re right. It’s awesome. Only saw the pilot, but it was impressive. Can’t wait to see more. Glad it’s on Netflix Instant.

Grammy Awards – Tuned in for the back half with Tiffany. I’m bummed that I missed all the Rap categories (I was pulling hard for Kanye’s stuff. Looks like he did quite well), but it was a fun show. I hadn’t realized that there were so many performances or I would have watched it in the past. Paul McCartney was pretty great, Nicki Minaj was appropriately bizarre (just rap, Nicki. Your flow is unstoppably awesome), and it was generally a good showing. Adele cleaned up, holy cow.


The Weeknd – Aside from the Grammys, I’ve been listening to The Weeknd like crazy. His stuff is totally awesome and 100% free here. If you’re looking for some red hot R&B, look no further. Particular props to “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” and “D.D.”


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Get a couple pages in here and there during breaks. Such absolute wish fulfillment writing…Bloomqvist is a weenie, but he gets laid like crazy.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – This game is so hilarious and awesome. I spend most cutscenes hitting the Print Screen button to try and cap the ridiculousness. Well-deserved props from the Giant Bomb folks. I’ll probably beat the main campaign this week.

Ghost Trick – Still clever and fun gameplay. I think Min is playing this on his iPad now. He might catch up and beat me!

The Old Republic – Haven’t had a lot of time to work those alts (Min’s been busy), but it’s still fun. The news that Dave might be willing to play soon is awesome and encouraging.

What I’ve Been Doing 6 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 6th, 2012 by Dan

Dan gets ready to blow out his candles

26! (Photo courtesy DJOtaku)

Everything’s all creaky and sore and old, but just because I’m 26 and old doesn’t mean you guys don’t get to find out what I’ve been doing.


Drive – Finally got around to catching this movie. Min was accurate in calling it more of an art movie than an action movie. Ryan Gosling’s pure rage and “coolness” bordered on psychopathic and I actually sympathized with Albert Brooks’ villain character. This movie is not for the faint of stomach. Lots of brutal violence. Has an 80s ambiance too that’s reinforced by the synth-heavy (and awesome) chillwave soundtrack

Moneyball – David got me this (THANKS DAVID!) and I love it. Started watching it because Min had never seen it and Tiffany needed something to help her fall asleep. Min liked it and it helped Tiffany fall asleep, which is great because otherwise she might have noticed me start to tear up. Sports movies are the best/worst. They really get me.


Homeland – How I managed to put off watching the last three episodes of this season until last week is baffling. This show is the best new thing to come out this year. Great, tense drama. Amazing show.

Samurai Champloo – The last fun episodes before the finale are about as bizarre as television gets. Weird space zombies, bizarre baseball episodes. This show really just throws everything serious out the window before its end. I hope the last three episodes are cool. I’ll miss this show. It’s been a good journey.

Justified – Everyone and everything in this show is so badass and awesome. I love it. Can’t wait to see more gunslinging.

New Girl – The whole Jess/Julia contrast is really interesting. I really like Lizzy Caplan. Hopefully the show doesn’t just get rid of her. The cumrudgeon in her personality contrasts quite nicely with Deschanell.

Glee – If there were ever an artist that could match the awesomeness levels of the Madonna episode, Michael Jackson would be it…except he wasn’t. Meh storytelling combined with odd song selection (“Scream” with Artie as MJ and Mike Chang as Janet? What?) made for a stronger episode than usual, but not up to par with what the King of Pop deserves.

Persona 4: The Animation – I wish I hadn’t waited so long to see these episodes. The hilarity of Yu Narukami and the Persona 4 series is amazing. This show does a great job of capturing the events of P4.

Parks and Recreation – One of my favorite episodes of the season. Oren is always hilarious as were all the weird suitors they chose for Ann. The Ron Swanson runner where he was loving the scavenger hunt was amazing. Perfectly acted by Nick Offerman.

Archer – So many callbacks to other episodes! Archer continues to have an exceptionally strong third season. I was surprised at how great it was.

Up All Night – The starfuckers line was the best of the episode. Show is finding its legs, for sure. I’m happy with it.


Rodrigo y Gabriela – Their new CD, Area 52, is amazing. Check it out if you can. It’s their old stuff, but with a full Cuban orchestra thrown in for good measure. Fun stuff.



Video Games

The Old Republic – Finding time to play alts with Min has really slowed me down. We are making great raid progress though. On to Hard Modes!

Cave Story + – When I defeat you, Monster X, you will know my wrath. I hate you so much.

Ghost Trick – Getting close to the end and the puzzles are only getting more and more devious. Gotta figure out how to save this dude’s life!

EDIT: Rayman: Origins – Totally forgot that Min and I beat the prestige level. So awesome. Great game.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 Jan 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 30th, 2012 by Dan


Here's a suggestion: If you're playing Cave Story for the first time, don't pick hard mode (Photo courtesy escaped.monkey)

Busy weekend with lots of media consumed. That kind of thing happens when I hang out with Min.


The Descendants – Shailene Woodley was a revelation as Alex in this movie. Excellent acting. George Clooney was also quite good. Pretty chill movie and worth seeing, even if the land ownership subplot is kind of tacked on and not as interesting.

Evangelion 2.22 – I thought I’d seen this…but I hadn’t. I really missed seeing some of the fun/interesting battles of the old tv show. I mean, cutting Israfel in favor of a school drama plot about making Shinji lunch and a dinner party? I’d rather have that sequence instead. I also get that the movie doesn’t allow for the ponderous and deliberate psycho-analytic battle against Leliel, but it’s one of my faves so I was bummed about losing it too. Did not care for the new pilot, Mari, at all, and I didn’t love the business with mixing up who’s who in the battle against Bardiel, but, whatever, right? Some things are different. 2.22 makes me want to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion instead. The more relaxed pace allows for much greater character development and interesting concepts. We’ll see what happens with the rest of the movies and the new ending.

Tangled – Min hadn’t seen this, it was on instant, and we were bored. It’s pretty great, but I hate the video quality of the Starz movies.

Haywire – Went to see this on Sunday and it cut out 40 minutes in. We could have either stayed to watch it from the beginning or taken a voucher for a new movie. As interested in seeing this as I was, I couldn’t stomach watching the slow opening 40 minutes again. I’ll either try again or wait for Netflix.


Childrens Hospital – Ward 8 and the children stabbing Nick Offerman with pencils was great. So was the Bob Seger joke to find out how old he was. Fantastic show. Can’t wait for a new season.

Up All Night – Megan Mullally and Shayna. So great. The bit about cheating on watching a TV show with your spouse was great. Super awkward.

Glee – Pretty interesting “Summer Nights” recreation, complete with the overlay in the climactic final note. I like songs like “Wedding Bell Blues”, but the processed voices sound a lot like they don’t belong in the show. I guess it was a dream sequence Wow, making Artie move/act like Mick Jagger is surprisingly effective even though he’s in a wheelchair. Whoa…what?! The thing about Finn’s dad came out of NOWHERE.

Justified – I’m cool with case of the week stuff when it’s this good. Sometimes it’s ok for Raylan not to be the absolute center. I hope they get Carla Gugino on the show more. The other new villain is appropriately scary.

Archer – “Cyril?” “No breakfast for you!” Another great episode of Archer this week. I miss Ray as a field agent, but I guess this has a lot of comic potential.

Parks and Recreation – The bit about Tom bowling like a grandma (and Ron begging him to have some decency as a man) was amazing. April being nice is unusual, but she’s been softening up a lot anyway. Still one of the greatest shows out there.

Scrubs – Just put it on for a few minutes to pass some time. Always a good show.

Sherlock – The middle episode about the Chinese smugglers is kind of boring, but the Moriarty episode is fantastic. I love how crazy Jim Moriarty is. So great.

John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show – Popped this on during dinner for something to laugh to. Pretty good stuff.


The Gregory Brothers – You know they put up a new Auto-Tune (Songify?) the News segment, so that got me listening to all of them again. I even dipped into their non-ATtN music because I love Sarah Gregory’s voice.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Slow and steady. Bloomqvist sure gets around with the ladies, doesn’t he?

Video Games

The Old Republic – The guild’s got Eternity Vault Normal on farm status so now it’s time to start working on Karagga’s Palace.

Ghost Trick – Making a lot of progress in this game. The mystery continues to deepen as my Spanish continues to improve. I love playing games in Spanish!

Earthbound (Mother 2) – Started up a new save file to play in between bosses in a raid. Fun times. Still very early in the game (haven’t explored the meteor yet)

Rayman: Origins – Min and I beat the game and started going for the prestige levels. Holy god the last one, Land of the Livid Dead, is about as punishing as the game can get. Platforming gets frustrating, but it’s also got a super satisfying feel once you conquer it.

Cave Story + – Thought I’d boot up something different while Min was napping. This game is pretty fun and pretty solid, but deciding I should play it on hard mode may have been a mistake. I’m stuck on Monster X because he’s a beast. Every one of his purple projectiles kills me in one hit, so I’ve got to be perfect. On the good side of the spectrum, the machine gun mechanics are amazing. Love that gun and the ability to float with it.

What I’ve Been Doing 23 Jan 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jan 23rd, 2012 by Dan

This is a French video game for sure. (Picture courtesy Giant Bomb)


Evangelion 1.11 – Min has never seen Evangelion all the way through, so I figured the movies would be the best/easiest way to watch them.

Ip Man – I ran into this movie as a “Watch It Again” recommendation on Netflix, so I thought I’d show Min the aggressively pro-Chinese/anti-Japanese parts because I find it funny how blatantly nationalistic this movie is. Also the kung fu is pretty great to watch.


Up All Night – For some reason the runner about Missy being mean to her incredibly good-looking British boyfriend she met off of J-Date is absolutely hilarious. This show is pretty solid. Not amazing, but solid. Good for a few guaranteed laughs.

The League – Finally caught the last three of the season. Allison Williams is hot. WOW! My favorite line, from Kevin to an ex-con: “How were the pick-up basketball games?” “Violent.”

Justified – Strong return. Holy cow that was awesome. The tension in the draw scene was awesome. Best line: “You didn’t have to do that, Ava.” “Of course I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.”

New Girl – “Frankie Munoz’s” was a great, silly joke. LIZZY CAPLAN! Why is she so skinny?! Too skinny. She punched the guy who played Todd in Community! Pretty good episode, but I wish Lizzy Caplan could stay for longer.

Childrens Hospital – Best line: “I would slit my wife’s throat to be with you”. For Malin Åkerman? I think I might too.

Sherlock – Min didn’t catch this when it was on PBS last year so I thought I’d share. Fantastic update of the Sherlock Holmes mythology.

Parks and Recreation – “Bobby Newport” “Bobby NEWport”. Anyway, Paul Rudd was fantastic in his role as a stupid opponent to Leslie’s campaign. I liked the part where he was upset about them smiling after besting him. Great line. The Andy/April stuff was kind of dumb, but I still laughed a bunch at it.

Project Runway: All Stars – Yeah, yeah…Tiffany makes me watch these with her sometimes. They’re not as terrible as other reality shows, so I don’t complain that much. This one had Miss Piggy on it and all the contestants were talking about how awesome it would be to design a dress for her. Um…I’m pretty sure they were paid to say that because it was a pretty ridiculous show concept.

Archer – Burt Reynolds! Pretty good episode. Strong return to form for the show. I like the maintained continuity with Ray and the wheelchair.


Zelda Step – I got a fever. The only cure, more (Legend of Zelda) dubstep.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Still slowly reading it during lunch breaks. Still kind of dry.

Video Games

The Old Republic – Making progress as my Bounty Hunter. He just stole a spaceship for himself! As my Sith Inquisitor I’m making good money playing the Global Trade Network and our guild downed Soa in Eternity Vault on Normal.

Rayman: Origins – Been waiting to have Min over before I played this. Super fun! It reminds me of the fun times playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but in HD. I hope I can get Eric and Danielle over (or go over to their place) to play it. It’s lots of fun and I think they’d like it.

Chrono Trigger DS – I don’t know why I keep forgetting to mention I’m playing this. Beat the bonus boss and got the “new” ending. I might NG+ it to get the other 9 or so…might not. We’ll see.

Ghost Trick – Finally dug this up to give it some more playtime. Still absolutely hilarious, even in Spanish! That’s right, guys, I’m playing this game in Spanish to practice my reading skills. Tons of character, fantastic animation, and great humor.

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