SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
What I’ve Been Doing 24 June 2013 AND 1 July 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 2nd, 2013 by Dan

Honest Tea's Reach is Impressive

This has nothing to do with what I did this past couple of weeks, but I love this tea. Actually, I did drink a lot of it over the past few weeks…

Whoa, whoops! I forgot to get this up on time! I forgot to even post this yesterday! Been too busy, but we’re back now!

Movies

Brick – I’ve seen the movie before, but I figured I’d watch it as I fell asleep last Saturday. Made it through about half while conscious, but drifted off soon after. It definitely feels like a freshman effort. Hard to believe that Looper is only Rian Johnson’s third film.

Pitch Perfect – Love this movie. It’s so ridiculous, but I dig the music. It was on to fall asleep this past Saturday, but I couldn’t stop watching it to snooze.

TV

Psych – Katie and I were looking for something to just watch one night and we ended up catching the Clue homage and the radio murder one. The show’s a little silly and not very good, but it’s enjoyable enough tv.

Veep – The show’s not as biting or funny to me in its sophomore year, but we’re also not quite done with it. We’ll see how everything manages to come together in the end.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Finally managed to push through the Incan mummy episode. It was…not good. Now I can finally move on!

Music

Two songs. The first is a summer jam: “Collard Greens” by Schoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar. Good times.

Numero dos is “Man” by Neko Case. Another great track.

Books

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First – Jonah Keri’s profile on the Tampa Bay Rays has been interesting so far, but I’ve still got a ways to go. It was weird how the forward was written by Mark Cuban, considering that he’s, you know, a billionaire and his team is run with plenty of cash.

Video Games

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – My town is doing rather well. We’ve got two new bridges and a new nightclub. Tons of fun!

The Last of Us – Pretty much down to the home stretch of sorts for this game. It’s been brutal and sometimes not very fun, but I’ve really been enjoying how well it tells a story.

Rayman Legends – The challenges remain fun, but I’m ready for the full game to finally come out

Mega Man X – Picked it up on VC because of Nintendo credit Eric gave me. It’s still a solid game, but I end up missing the maneuverability of Zero in his GBA games.

Professional Yakyu Spirits 2013 – Finally got my Carp season underway. I’m doing really well, but the AI is still adjusting to my skill. Can’t wait to get more games in. This version has way better animations than 2012. There was this one diving play at short that had a sweet semi-shovel to second. Very cool stuff.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Game…COMPLETE! Finished off the story. Pretty silly and somewhat dumb, but enjoyable enough.

What I’ve Been Doing 10 June 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 10th, 2013 by Dan

Animal_Crossing_New_Leaf (56)

Everyone else gets the coolest neighbors. I’m stuck with Bubbles and Opal…(Photo by Abriael)

It was a pretty busy last week and this one promises to be just as action-packed.

Movies
None!

TV

Arrested Development – I like to think of S4 as a giant puzzle box that’s slowly unraveling, revealing its secrets to us. There have been some solid laughs in the second half of the season and I’m enjoying the show rather thoroughly. Just finished the Maeby episode, so we’re down to the home stretch. One of my favorite things about the show is the way that the family continually makes the same mistakes because they’re all composed of self-centered fools. It’s like a comedy One Hundred Years of Solitude!

Music

I heard Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” approximately 20 times this past weekend. Enjoy!

Books

Not any of these either!

Video Games

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Daily puzzles is where it’s at. I love the land/territory ones.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – About 3/4 done. Animal Crossing is definitely gonna slow down how much progress I make here…

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Giant Bomb made the latest Animal Crossing release sound so charming and cool that I couldn’t resist downloading it Sunday around 0100. I’m happy to say that it is perfectly charming and it really gets its claws into you somehow. It scratches the Harvest Moon itch too…maybe that’s it.

What I’ve Been Doing 3 June 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 3rd, 2013 by Dan

Dead Space 3

Katie was out of town, so I spent most of the weekend mainlining Dead Space 3 with David and not seeing these weird soldiers because, I dunno, video games! (Photo by GameXpect)

The funny thing about this list is that it was mostly generated over the weekend when Katie was out of town. The rest of week I spent watching the second best baseball game I’ve ever seen and hanging out with her and Kara.

Movies

Guys…I just want to see Star Trek. Why haven’t I seen it yet?!

TV

Veep – I hadn’t even thought of the comparison until I read it on The AV Club, but it’s fascinating how some photo memes turn into viral, badass things and others are just embarrassing.

Community – Finally saw the body switching episode. I guess the Troy and Britta thing never really worked or gelled in the non-Harmon era, but I don’t know that I buy that Troy would handle it that way considering how much he struggled to get Abed to confront his feelings last year. Not a bad episode otherwise.

Happy Endings – Best line of the four (or so) episodes I saw: “If I met you today, we would not be friends”. I wish the show hadn’t gotten rid of Pete, but it remains as funny as ever. The news that ABC won’t pick up this show (and it’s questionable status as a TBS or USA pickup) saddens me greatly.

Music

Here’s a great track by Thundercat, “Oh Sheit It’s X”

Books

Uh…I swear I’m not an uncultured animal. I swear!

Video Games

Monaco – Holy crap, Min, Dave, and I are just stumped by the museum level. We need a fourth who’s very good at the game, methinks…

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Still moving along slowly. I thought I was gonna beat it last night, but I chose to Monaco it up with Min and Dave instead.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Mostly playing the daily puzzles and not even touching the story. I’ve got two games to beat before I get to it anyway, so get off my case!

Dead Space 3 – Played just…hours and hours (like 8 this week) of this over the weekend. Dave and I are nearly done and having a blast recording it for the channel. Hopefully we get good views from that, but even if we don’t we’ve had fun. My favorite part: fighting Necromorphs for 10 minutes while David tries to figure out what to do in hallucination-land.

EDIT:

Somehow left off…

DmC Devil May Cry – Beat this sucker and the Vergil DLC over the weekend. I never played the original games, but the attitude and fun of this version is rather tongue in cheek and very funny. It could easily have been too self-serious and boring, but they 100% avoided that.

What I’ve Been Doing 29 May 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 29th, 2013 by Dan

Slight Malfunction

I bet that’ll be fun to service later.

David was in town for the weekend! DAVID! He’s never in town. Stupid Iowa!

Movies

I tried so hard to get David and Min to watch Star Trek or Fast 6. Neither would agree. Stupid David and Min.

TV

Arrested Development – Got about halfway through the Netflix season. I think it’s at least on par with the latter half of the third season. I’ve definitely had some gutbusting laughs and it hasn’t felt like a total mishap. I want to see how it all turns out with each of the character vignettes, but so far I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.

The Venture Bros. – To be fair I only watched 5 mins of the first episode (I didn’t remember any of it from the last time I watched it).

The Americans – Season 1 complete. I don’t think it’s as groundbreaking as some are saying it is, but it was an absolutely enjoyable season full of much better acting than I expected from the principals. I’m eager to see where they go from here, but it looks like I’ll have to wait a whole year!

Veep – Season 2! Finally cracked into it and I’m delighted to say that it’s also busted that gut of mine. Just some deliciously funny insults, lines, and situations. I feel like Catherine is going to be a larger part of the season, which is fine by me. I like seeing that side of Selina. Julia Louis-Dreyfus does a great job of showing a completely different aspect of her personality from her ass-kicking VP persona.

Music

Vampire Weekend’s latest continues to be awesome. Here’s a fun track for people who like Biblical allusions and veiled Outkast references. The song is called “Ya Hey”

Books

Sadly, no. Maybe this week.

Video Games

Rhythm Heaven Fever – The girlfriend litmus test was in full effect as I had Katie try out one of my favorite games ever. She kind of dug it. I kind of dig her.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Just more daily puzzles to kill time. Still fun.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Slowly moving the story along. I’d say I’m about halfway done.

Rayman Legends – More daily challenges, but this time with David! I think we got a silver on one day, which is pretty boss.

Castle Crashers – Man, I hadn’t played that game in forever, but Dave, Min, and I were looking for something co-op. Kind of slow and didn’t age well, if you ask me.

Spelunky – Speaking of co-op, I think Dave, Min, and I did more of this than anything else. Our quest to hell almost came true, but there were just too many obstacles, not to mention weird bugs resulting from playing multiplayer. Maybe next time that David’s in MD.

DmC Devil May Cry – I think I’m on the final level or at the final boss. Made serious progress Monday morning and I’ll probably finish this weekend while Katie’s biking. I’m interested in the conclusion, but also fairly confident that Vergil is going to double cross me.

What I’ve Been Doing 13 May 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 13th, 2013 by Dan

Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox 11 May 2013

I don’t know about being the most beloved, but it was very nice.

Took an overnight train to Boston to catch a game in Fenway and that was pretty awesome. Check another ballpark off my list!

Movies

Not this week.

TV

The Amazing Race – Almost done with the finale. I was pretty bummed to see Joey and Meghan go, but it’s still been a pretty fun season.

Parks and Recreation – I really enjoyed the putt putt episode. Amy Poehler does a good frustrated even if it all seemed a little incidental and a little overdone. It was pleasant.

Music

FZ: Side F (and Side Z, with a slight helping of E). Decent remix albums of Fez music. Here’s Side Z.

Books

Friday Night Lights Companion: Love, Loss, and Football in Dillon, Texas – Finished out these essays and I rather enjoyed them. Uneven in quality, sometimes, it was still a pretty great little observation of a great show.

Video Games

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Got some time during the train rides to get a little further in the game. I’m at the weird phantom vampire city now and I have no idea where this game is headed.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Bonus puzzles have been stacking up, so I pushed through a few just to pass some time before my train got back to Baltimore because my allergies were killing me.

Poker Night 2 – Still haven’t finished that last unlock. So close! Also have to make it to a million in winnings.

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine – What a neat little narrative. I’m interested in seeing how the epilogue plays out since it looks like competitive multiplayer.

What I’ve Been Doing 1 May 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 1st, 2013 by Dan

Zephyrhills in Publix

Nothing says “I’m in Florida” like Zephyrhills water. It’s not the best stuff, but I miss it some days.

Not a lot of stuff going on this week because I went home to see my family.

Movies

Oz the Great and Powerful – Not my favorite movie, but it was passable. It was fun to see Zach Braff again, but the movie was decidedly low stakes and, I think, hamstrung by having to set up The Wizard of Oz

TV

Oddly enough…nope. Mostly watched baseball.

Music

I’ve already posted Vampire Weekend’s “Diane Young”, haven’t I? I don’t care. I love this song. Can’t wait for the new album.

Books

One Hundred Years of Solitude – One of my favorite lines from the last bit of the book: “…they were all identical, sons of the same bitch”. Marquez’ epic novel was incredibly entertaining, beautiful, and amazing. Quite possibly the best book, pound for pound, that I’ve ever read. Just gorgeous, detailed, irrelevant, and damn near perfect. I don’t love what happened to all the Buendias, but it was amazing to read about.

A Friday Night Lights Companion: Love, Loss, and Football in Dillon, Texas – If you’ve never seen Friday Night Lights then you might not understand why someone would read a book of essays talking about how awesome the show it. It’s a good show.

Video Games

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Just a puzzle or two as I met up with Flora. I need to sit down and crank through this game.

Poker Night 2 – Far better than Poker Night in structure, dialogue, and design, but it’s a bummer that you can’t change the poker AI difficultly or the frequency of comments. On the plus side, no more luck-based achievements. Take that straight flush or four of a kind achievements!

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.

JANUARY

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.

FEBRUARY

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

MARCH

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.

APRIL

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.

MAY

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.

JUNE

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.

JULY

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.

AUGUST

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.

SEPTEMBER

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.

OCTOBER

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.

NOVEMBER

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.

DECEMBER

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 13 Nov 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 13th, 2012 by Dan

Wreck it Ralph 2

I’m gonna wreck it! (Picture courtesy: Italia Film Middle East)

Had me a long weekend and I managed to get back into the movie mood. Too bad none of them were quite as good as I was hoping.

Movies

Wreck-It Ralph – Not as good as I thought it would be. I mean, it’s still a decent caliber movie, but it doesn’t soar to the heights of, say, WALL-E. I felt like the video game worlds they invented ultimately weren’t that interesting, but it was otherwise pretty good.

Flight – More about alcoholism and addiction than I thought it would be. I also found the decision to come clean at the end to not make sense. I didn’t think he would have felt guilty enough or ready to admit his problem based on the entire movie before it.

Taken – For how much the internet just adores this movie I thought it would be much better than it is. Just kind of goes and then it’s done. Not a terrible way to spend 90 minutes, but it’s not gonna warrant a second viewing from me.

Casino Royale – Preparing for Skyfall by watching my favorite Bond movie…in Spanish! I don’t like the dub voices, but I like some of the translations.

TV

New Girl – I found the punch to the face and the facepalming hilarious. Nick continues to knock it out of the park this season and, like I say every week, this show has no idea what to do with Winston.

The Mindy Project – I like this show more than a lot of the critics do. Sure, it’s not blowing the socks off of network comedies, but it’s sharp and witty and I love Mindy Kaling’s delivery.

Key & Peele – Some great sketches in the pair of episodes I watched, but the most recent one was a little weak with its material. That Michael Jackson one was fantastic.

The League – I really liked the episode where Ruxin did poorly on the Wonderlic and started acting dumb for the rest of the episode.

Childrens Hospital – It’s really hard to compare episodes to A Year in the Life, but I do love me some Nick Offerman as Chance Briggs.

NTSF:SD:SUV:: – The infomercial was pretty funny, if not a little predictable.

Saturday Night Live – The Anne Hathaway sketches started out pretty weak, but then they really picked up near the end. That Homeland sketch was brilliant.

The Amazing Race – Can’t believe that a team stole money from another team (essentially) and that the same team managed to lose their passports. To be continueds are unsatisfying, but I’m so hooked for next week!

Happy Endings – Finished my catchup of S2. Wore me out a little, but ABC knew that it might so they didn’t air one this past week. Thanks, guys!

Community – Watched “Remedial Chaos Theory” again with Min. Brilliant and classic episode. ROXANNE!

Parks and Recreation – I’m getting a little tired of the endless repeat of Chris Traeger stories. Come up with something new, writers!

The Daily Show – Long string of episodes to try and get current. I’m still prior to the third debate and the election. Just gotta keep plugging away.

Cowboy Bebop – Just a few dinnertime episodes with Min. Managed to not sing along with “Tank!” once. I’m super proud of myself.

The Thick of It – Not having subtitles available makes this…tough to watch on top of the sometimes impenetrable British political system, but it’s usually very acerbic and very funny and very profane.

EDIT: Glee – Forgot about this one. Wow, this show is…mostly not good. They really tried to rewrite history by claiming that Finn was some kind of super motivator. I don’t buy it. He’s doofy and kind of dumb…kind of like Mr. Shue! I find that I only care for Marley when she’s singing (she looks so happy and smiley when she does), but the rest of the new kids are just noise.

Music

Still loving this Geko Jones track that I rediscovered:

And also listening to lots of Stevie Wonder:

Books

A Confederacy of Dunces – Got a few pages in here and there. Ignatius’ character has become a real archetype for the nerdy, put upon character of the modern sitcom. The dude who thinks that the rest of the world is going to hell, but not him.

Video Games

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box – Very little game time in lieu of tv and pokemon.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Daily Puzzles! Love just popping in to solve them here and there.

Pokemon White Version 2 – Lost my Nuzlocke challenge against Colriss on the Plasma Cruiser. Built up a new team of six and I’m at Victory Road now.

Hotline Miami – This game is just violent, fast, and fun. If you watch my youtube page, there should be some new episodes of Dan Plays starting tonight.

FTL: Faster Than Light – Got some really fun episodes recorded while unlocking a bunch of new ships. Can’t wait to start trying them out!

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – After a three week hiatus to let my backlog catch up (not quite caught up still), I finally jumped back in because David and Min were playing Ironman Classic games of their own. So epic and so fun and I filmed an exciting episode out of it. Very cool and very fun.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa