What Are You Playing Wednesday

Happy New Year spelled out using red letter blocks.

Happy New Year spelled out using red letter blocks.

It is time for the first What Are You Playing Wednesday of 2013. So, let’s ask our regular questions:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of those games listed ones that you want to see covered on the site?

I would also like to add:

  • Are there any games you would recommend that are still on sale at Steam while their sale continues for a few more days, or at any other sales going on during this New Year?

 

I spent a fair portion of my vacation dealing with home owner’s issues and damage in my house due to ice dams after a bad winter storm. The industrial strength dehumidifiers and blowers are still in my house, causing a lot of noise but hopefully preventing more damage. That meant I spent most of my time stressing about that rather than actively enjoying video games. But I did get in a fair amount of time in World of Warcraft and I started To The Moon.

So, what have you all been playing?

 

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71 Responses to What Are You Playing Wednesday

  1. Terry says:

    I am playing Assassin’s Creed 3 (360) and Infinite Space (DS). I really like AC3 (it ate yesterday), but Red Dead Redemption’s open world felt richer. Infinite Space is a lot of fun — the space battles have a nice rhythm to them, but I’m still early into it.

  2. The Humble Bundle 7 is still available until 5pm EST today! And the average is still below $7 so it’s still a really good deal. The bundle includes Binding of Isaac and Indie Game: The Movie, which isn’t a game but which fits for obvious reasons :)

    http://www.humblebundle.com/

  3. Kimiko says:

    Happy new 2013, TBH! :)

    I’m about to finish Phantasy Star II from the Sega MegaDrive Collection (PSP) on my Vita. Yes, it took me two weeks to play this game, because it requires so much grinding. There are two more Phantasy Star games in the collection. I’ll have to see if the later games in the franchise can be played emulated for the single player story or if they’re lost forever because of server shutdown.

    I played a little bit more of Science Girls! on the PC, but got stuck on the alien planet with no clear way forward and plant monsters chipping away at my meager health. I’ve looked up how to continue, but haven’t played more yet.

    A game character that I thought might be interesting for TBH readers is Giana from the Giana Sisters games. Her latest incarnation is in Twisted Dreams. Punk Giana is so cool :) The game looks a little too hard/platformy for me, but I’ve bought the groovy soundtrack.
    http://www.project-giana.com/

    And speaking of rockin’ soundtracks, I just came across a little game called Super Hexagon. That too is waay too hectic for me to even consider playing, but I’ve discovered another favorite artist :)
    http://superhexagon.com/

    • Korva says:

      I played Giana Sisters waaay back on the C64, and hearing the new game’s soundtrack brought an instant rush of nostalgia and memory though my conscious mind had long since forgotten what the original game’s music had been like. That was rather an awesome feeling. ;) Twisted Dreams is on my wish list, but I haven’t picked it yet up because platformers aren’t really my thing these days anymore. Still, nostalgia can be powerful …

      Two dear friends gave me a copy of FTL, which I finished once (on easy) and had a good time with. The final boss very nearly kicked my butt, it was pretty much down to whose weapons would come off cooldown first to deliver the final salvo — I really didn’t expect to live through that, so the very close victory was doubly sweet. Overall, FTL has a definite “just one more jump” aspect to it.

      I also picked up Sim City 4 on a whim due to wanting something to scratch my occasional builder itch. It looks like a really complex game and I haven’t really started it yet due to being busy with other things, but common opinion calls it the best of its kind — and seeing how the next game is going to be always-online and Origin-dependent, I was not about to wait for that one.

      Another game I’ve been playing is Don’t Starve, which is quite enjoyable and comes with (currently) two male and two female characters, though all but the first guy need to be unlocked before you can play them. Seeing as how it’s still in beta, I look forward to seeing where they’ll take this game and what more they will add. Hint: stay clear of spider queens. Ow.

      Aside from a builder itch and a survival itch, I’ve also been feeling a craving for a new roguelike. Tales of May’Ejal 4 looks very interesting, though for now I think I’ll try to get into Sim City 4 first. Learning two complex games at the same time feels counterproductive.

  4. Kimiko says:

    Happy new 2013, TBH! :)

    I’m about to finish Phantasy Star II from the Sega MegaDrive Collection (PSP) on my Vita. Yes, it took me two weeks to play this game, because it requires so much grinding. There are two more Phantasy Star games in the collection. I’ll have to see if the later games in the franchise can be played emulated for the single player story or if they’re lost forever because of server shutdown.

    I played a little bit more of Science Girls! on the PC, but got stuck on the alien planet with no clear way forward and plant monsters chipping away at my meager health. I’ve looked up how to continue, but haven’t played more yet.

    A game character that I thought might be interesting for TBH readers is Giana from the Giana Sisters games. Her latest incarnation is in Twisted Dreams. Punk Giana is so cool :) The game looks a little too hard/platformy for me, but I’ve bought the groovy soundtrack.
    http://www.project-giana.com/

    And speaking of rockin’ soundtracks, I just came across a little game called Super Hexagon. That too is waay too hectic for me to even consider playing, but I’ve discovered another favorite artist :)

    ETA: Oh dear. Looks like my reply got eaten by the filter again. Let’s try it with one link less.

  5. Dan says:

    It’s maybe a bit of stretch, but I’ve been having fun playing around with Twine in the hopes of making more choose-your-own-adventure type games in 2013. For those who don’t want to worry about code, it seems to be one of the better options out there.

    I’ve also recently started Primordia from Wadjeteye Games. I’m not sure I would recommend it for others as I usually find adventure games frustrating, but there was a recent sale on GOG and I couldn’t give up the chance to see (yet another) post-apocalyptic robot world. It seems interesting thus far.

  6. Llamaentity says:

    I’ve gotten in quite a bit of quality gaming time lately, especially thanks to having my laptop connected to my TV + a 360 controller. On the PC, I’ve been playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Skyrim, Bastion, The Book of Unwritten Tales, and Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.

    On the Vita, I’ve still been playing Zero Escape. Still haven’t quite gotten the true ending… two rooms left, but haven’t felt like doing them these last few days.

    On iOS, I’ve been playing some Cook, Serve, Delicious! It’s a fun take on a restaurant sim so far (about 18 game days in), though it sometimes runs poorly on the iPad 2, which is annoying.

    I plan on continuing to play the above noted games, moving onto some DS games after Zero Escape, and probably Deadlight after Bastion.

  7. Rum says:

    Still working my way through Gemcraft 0 and thinking about picking up Final Fantasy Tactics: WotL for a bit of retro-fun.

    • Lassarina says:

      I highly recommend WoTL; the only flaw it has (compared to the PSX version) is that item dupe was slain, but the upgrades in translation more than make up for it!

  8. Laurentius says:

    I share my playing time time between: GW2 ( i think i like Asura starting zone the most), Skyrim ( Dark Brotherhood quest line ) and Kotor 2 Restoration Mod.

    • Henson says:

      I just started KOTOR 2 for the first time. Not sure what to make of it so far. I was surprised by the lengthy intro, and I’m only at Telos station, so I don’t know what kind of experience I’m in for.

      • Stille says:

        An amazing, buggy and amazing experience. At least if you’re into story, otherwise it’s just going to be a buggy, proto-Mass-Effect experience. And I tell you so as someone who loathes Star Wars and everything that series stands for. KOTOR 2 just manages to give a non-headdesking explanation to every piece of milquetoast Hero’s Journey crap that ever made me headdesk in the SW universe, and they do so with awesomely-written characters. Do remember to play with The Sith Lords Restored Content Mod tho, some of the best bits are in there.

        • Doug S. says:

          I loved KOTOR 2 when I played it on the original XBOX. I do wish you could decide to side with the villain’s plan in the final scene, though…

        • Laurentius says:

          Kotor 2 is a bit clunky by todays standard but it is nevertheless an truly great cRPG with very engaging story. Kreia outshines every NPC character from Mass Effect and game has far more subtle and interesting dialogue options.

  9. Saozig says:

    I am playing Skyrim, as usual, although I’m itching for a good ol’ game of Civ. I’m someone who always pays a game into the ground and then goes back them still. My Skyrim obsession has driven me to order Morrowind, which is due to arrive today, so I’ll likely be checking that out later today. Hope it’s as engrossing as Skyrim is for me–Morrowind fans keep telling me that, but I’ll have to see for myself

    • menunu says:

      I’m late! But I hope you read this. My Skyrim obsession also convinced me to buy Morrowind when it was on sale at some point this year. It is kind of cool, but the graphics are so dated it made it impossible for me to enjoy. It’s such a bummer because I loved Oblivion and Skyrim. I wish that I had played it when it was released!

      • Stille says:

        There are mods for that, fortunately, and Morrowind Overhaul gets them all in a nice little package :) Unless you’re playing on console, in which case I don’t know how to help you.

    • Stille says:

      Well, count one more nagging Morrowind fan here :P. I have hundreds of hours of Skyrim on board, but I’ve found (modded) Morrowind the far, far, far better game. I love the weirdness of the setting and the depth of the lore, I love how the faction quests interact rather than existing in separate little bubbles, I love how the main quest is (paraphrasing from Kirkbride because I can’t be arsed to dig out the quote) a hero story twisted inside out so the main character is only seen through his effects on everything else in the world. I loved the fact that Morrowind wasn’t afraid to be visually boring at time t so when the awesomeness hit you at time t+1 you were left dumbfounded in front of the Dwemer equivalent of Petra instead of being Skyrim’s monotone, kinda nice video game graphics equivalent of Red Hot Chili Peppers mastering practices. I loved that the tension between colonizers and colonized in Morrowind was (if not too detailed) far better done than Skyrim’s pseudo-shades-of-grey military coup of a civil war. And while it may look that I’m dissing Skyrim, do remember that I’ve played hundreds of hours of Skyrim and not out of masochism. Morrowind is just that much better. Looks worse than Skyrim, of course (although I’ve seen heavily modded versions that looked better than vanilla Skyrim) and gives you less crafting, cooking, NPC-marrying things to do (again, without mods, mods fix everything) but somehow, even when technology-wise Morrowind should be worse (the glued-in-one-place, exposition-spouting NPCs for example), something about the writing and the design makes it so much more memorable than Skyrim.

      If you do play it however, do remember to mod mod mod. Infinite carrying capacity and Galsiah’s Character Development (a level-up-method altering mod that actually makes starting skills less than a cosmetic choice) are a must, and some graphics mods (Better Bodies at the very least) and a fast travel method (multiple mark/recall hits the best balance between exploration and timesaving imo) are heavily recommended.

      • Christina Nordlander says:

        While I haven’t played “Skyrim” yet, I suspect I would agree with you. I certainly found “Morrowind” a lot better than “Oblivion”, despite some technical weaknesses compared to more recent games (such as the stationary NPCs with generic dialogue trees).

        “Morrowind” is set in a wholly original fantasy world where the flora, fauna and even the food people eat is nothing like those of the Earth, not your regular sort-of European fantasy world. The writing is great, and the underlying plot would make for a great fantasy novel. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Skyrim” falls short of it in all these respects.

        • Korva says:

          Morrowind remains the only Elder Scrolls game I played, and it captivated me in no small part due to the unusual setting, yes. It was really refreshing, both visually and thematically. Unfortunately, while the plot and some characters had promise, they didn’t really deliver. As a sandbox complete with a powerful editor, though, I had a complete blast with it.

  10. Liz G says:

    I discoved Amanita Design studio over the holidays. I played the Botanicula demo and then bought it on sale on Steam. I believe the sale is on till Jan. 5th. I also bought Machinarium for iOS, though I already had it for the MAC, thanks to the Indie Bundle. Amanita’s artwork reminds me a lot of Glitch, which sadly closed in early December.

    • Dejadrew says:

      I just re-bought Machinarium so I can play it on my new tablet! I loved that game on my old PC, but never got the chance to finish the last section. Hopefully now I can wrap it up.

      RIP, Glitch. *sniffle*

  11. glitchy says:

    I’ve been playing the three games I got for Christmas. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland is fun. I especially like the challenge stages. I’ve unlocked three of those so far. I found the whip challenge really tough!

    The game I’ve been playing most is Pokémon Black 2. I’m loving that it’s a full-out sequel instead of just basically an updated version. And the new features seem great so far. Pokéstar Studios is HILARIOUS. The one thing I find baffling, though, is the decision to include difficulty levels (finally!)… but only through a thing unlocked near the end of the game. I know you can “trade” with someone who has beaten the game to get it before then, but I don’t have anyone nearby I can do that with, so… :/ Oh well, it’s a minor complaint about an otherwise excellent game.

    I also got Catz 5 for Christmas! I used to love the Petz games, but I lost my copies at some point. I’m really enjoying getting back into them. But… my stupid catz refuse to breed! Argh, I want to see what sort of weird-looking kittens you’ll have! Bluh.

  12. wererogue says:

    Can I admit this here? I’m playing Bayonetta.
    It’s crazy problematic, and I started playing because my wife and I love watching things that are terrible (we watched http://www.rifftrax.com/vod/christmas-rifftrax-santas-village-madness for Christmas. It is amazing). But… there is something to the actual Bayonetta character, despite the ridiculous amounts of exploitation. It kind of reminds me of Xena.

    Also, picking up where I left off on Amnesia, and trying to finish XCOM on Classic|Iron Man.

    +1 for Humble Bundle goodness. With Steam 4 Linux finally snuggled up with my media server, I’ve been strip-mining my old Humble Bundle purchases for games that were too intensive for my netbook to install.

    • Nefa says:

      I played Bayonetta because she came off as being an awesome woman to me. Something I could relate to – because she had glasses, dark hair, and is tall! Then had this air about her which contrasted to my own introvert/lacking self-esteem type individual that amused me.

      Sadly, I brushed off much of the stuff in game as “fanservice” (I watched too many bad anime I guess) and never read critiques of it. I wish the character is utilized better in other media but I kinda doubt it.

  13. evilsatu says:

    I picked up Mirror’s Edge in the Steam sale and spent quite a bit of time with it over the break (Mr S and I both got a nasty cold, so we had a very quiet Christmas). I finished it a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it (although I fell off things more than I care to admit).

    I’ve also picked up Assassin’s Creed — the first one, to see if I like it enough to get the others. I’m not sure yet! The controls seem really fiddly at times, and the lack of subtitles annoys me. Still, I’m enjoying the missions so far. We’ll see.

  14. Lassarina says:

    I’ve been playing the heck out of FF Dimensions (almost to the end of chapter 3!), and I also started a replay of Final Fantasy I for a project I’m doing with a friend, Moogle University, in which we are going to replay all the FF games (in order), deconstruct them, meta about them, be intensely fannish, and probably be very ridiculous.

  15. karazos says:

    I played War of the Roses for the first time in months last night. I had made a post on their forums some time ago about having women represented in some way (the response was not well received, of course). But! I discovered they had added a ‘lady face’ and they may be implementing some kind of voice over for her. As much of a misogynistic, homoerotic bubble game that this was, I was shocked they had actually listened to the community and made some changes.

  16. kdanger says:

    Mostly I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic with my roommate and friends, since I waited for it to go free to play before it started. I’ve enjoyed it, even if I’ve questioned some of the decisions they made about which things to restrict for free players (and some of the character models, gah).

    I also started Quantum Conundrum and a replay of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, which was one of my first console games. I’d forgotten how much I loved some of the characters in that, and how much some of them drove me up the wall.

  17. Negative Kat says:

    Managed to hit level 70 with my Charr Engineer in GW2. I really, really, truly do not like leveling. Three of the four levels were just from cooking, so maybe I’ll try to reach 80 through crafting. I don’t even play more than a couple hours a week, but I feel like I need a break from this game after I max out my Engineer. The story has turned into the usual save the world fantasy snoozefest, so I’m not really invested in that anymore. Meh. Not sure how my SO can play as often and as long as he does. Maybe I’m getting burn-out by proxy.

    • Laurentius says:

      Nah, levelling to 80 is just a tedium. To 20-30 leveling is mostly fun, later it gets worse and worse and after 50 it really drags, step back in design in comparison to GW1 20 levels which for example in Nightfall was mostly achived in Istani starting zone. Story is also pretty much meh especially these lateer stages.

      • Negative Kat says:

        The early game was a blast! Rebuilding my warband, navigating Charr politics… It felt like a roleplaying game. Then about halfway through my Priory missions all that fell away, and suddenly I’m supposed to care about the same vague dragon menace that every single other player character is supposed to care about. I haven’t seen my warband in ages outside of my Warband Support skill– what was even the point of recruiting them?

        I didn’t play GW1, so the little lore I’ve picked up through GW2 did not prepare me to give a fig about this Zeitan fellow. If every story leads to the same dull endgame, I don’t know if I even want to play my alts past level 25 or so.

        • Nefa says:

          GW1 is pretty separate from GW2 with the exception of settings and some npc throwbacks (Logan being in the lineage of Gwen, huge statues of Jora). If you’re looking for GW2 background lore, I’d suggest checking out the novels Destiny’s Edge and Ghosts of Ascalon.

          I haven’t played a Charr outside Beta – but I know Asura somewhat suffer the same with their personal story. An element of the character creation isn’t even fully utilized ingame (you’re able to pick a mentor, who is only mentioned in your home instance but plays no influence on things otherwise).

          Most of the leveling I did ingame it was via tangent. I usually go off exploring with my boyfriend. We get distracted easily and tend to find the jumping puzzles and mini-dungeons to amuse ourselves with.

          I’m hoping they further develop upon the personal story since I’ll agree that after it presses into vigil/whispers/priory arc it suddenly becomes less of your own story.

          I think if they kept the spotlight more on Destiny’s Edge instead of pushing that storyline to the dungeons – it would’ve played better.

        • Nefa says:

          GW1 is pretty separate from GW2 with the exception of settings and some npc throwbacks (Logan being in the lineage of Gwen, huge statues of Jora). If you’re looking for GW2 background lore, I’d suggest checking out the novels Destiny’s Edge and Ghosts of Ascalon.

          I haven’t played a Charr outside Beta – but I know Asura somewhat suffer the same with their personal story. An element of the character creation isn’t even fully utilized ingame (you’re able to pick a mentor, who is only mentioned in your home instance but plays no influence on things otherwise).

          Most of the leveling I did ingame it was via tangent. I usually go off exploring with my boyfriend. We get distracted easily and tend to find the jumping puzzles and mini-dungeons to amuse ourselves with.

          I’m hoping they further develop upon the personal story since I’ll agree that after it presses into vigil/whispers/priory arc it suddenly becomes less of your own story.

          I think if they kept the spotlight more on Destiny’s Edge instead of pushing that storyline to the dungeons – it would’ve played better.

          • Negative Kat says:

            I’ll have to check out those novels. I’ve been meaning to ease myself back into reading books. ^^;

            Sorry to hear that– my first alt was/is going to be an Asura. Hopefully they’ll bring the personal story back in focus later, maybe in an expansion? I wouldn’t mind some post-endgame missions back in the old country, hang out with the ol’ warband…

            Yeah, most of my leveling has been from crafting and poking around the map. Now that the story quests have gone from being my character’s story to being Trahearne’s story I’m having a hard time finishing them up.

            • Nefa says:

              Rumour has it the first expansion may be Q3/Q4 of 2013 so we may find out soon in that case.

              I’m hoping they start a new personal story with it. As much as I enjoy lore – having a personal touch makes a big difference.

              I feel like a minority in the sense that… the whole dragon thing meant more to me? Reaching the final arc and having to go take down the dragon was a big deal in the sense that, the world seemed so depressed and without hope. After the final battle I was felt more at ease with the world.

              Maybe this is because I know more of the history of Destiny’s Edge (though, pretty much summed up in some of the story dungeons if you haven’t read the books).

              The whole Trahearne story thing is pretty much a Guild Wars trope though. The Guild Wars:Nightfall campaign had the same kind of narrative for a good portion of the story.

              However, I almost think they were trying to make Trahearne a more introverted person (which I think is rare in media?) but by doing so just made it seem like he steals the player character’s thunder.

        • Korva says:

          GW2 turned out to be almost as huge a disappointment for me as TOR was earlier last year. This is in no small part due to what you described: the early, culture-based story chapters are a lot of fun and really make me feel like a sylvari/charr/norn — but after that, it utterly falls apart. There is no “personal story”, just a disjointed mess of unconnected one-shots. There is no more cultural identity, just a generic faceless filler “hero” without any identifying characteristics. There is no continuity because NPCs come and go like yesterday’s news and no one remembers you or what you did. YOUR OWN MOTHER (playing sylvari) forgets you and treats you like the generic faceless filler you’ve become.

          It’s a huge shame because the setting had such promise, and I really like the design of the sylvari and the female charr.

          Then there’s the fact that this game, which was hyped as a breath of fresh air by, among other things, not being a neverending gear-treadmill like WoW or TOR unless you wanted to go for entirely optional cosmetic stuff, promptly introduced a gear-treadmill not even three months after launch. Oh, and there’ll be an increased level cap soon too.

          Maybe I’m just not cut out for MMOs, despite seven years in WoW — which was, admittedly, mainly due to my guild.

          • Laurentius says:

            The sad thing is that in GW2 from time to time shows its shape of not being typical MMO but it looks like at some point of development the decision was mode to follow typical grindy route. There soem fun bits: starting zones and especially jumping puzzles !! but for me GW2 is also biggest let down of 2012.

            • Negative Kat says:

              I’d enjoy the jumping puzzles a lot more if the controls were tighter and the terrain made it more clear where you’re allowed to land. It’s nice to have something to do aside from killing monsters, I’ll grant. Too bad they feel almost like an unfinished afterthought.

          • Negative Kat says:

            Yeah, the Legendary and Ascended gear looks like far more trouble than it’s worth. I hate repetition (which begs the question why I play MMO’s, but anyway), and I don’t bother with any of the pvp nonsense or most of the dungeons, so I don’t need the best gear ever.

            Oh, don’t tell me they’re going to increase the level cap! It took me nearly six months just to get one character to the cap as it is! D: The game hasn’t even been up for a year, and the power creep’s already started.

            • Korva says:

              Exactly. One reason why I bought GW2 was the concept that unlike with the hamster wheel MMOs, I could get a character to max level without too much trouble, spend some time getting the same gear-level as everyone else — and then I’d be done with the hated grind and could just have fun in any way I wanted. I thought there would be no more need to worry about falling behind the curve and/or being shut out of content.

              So much for that. It feels as if they’ve lost faith in their own vaunted manifesto before the game was even a few months old.

  18. Ari says:

    Just finished Dishonored and Far Cry 3, now finally getting around to Read Dead Redemption.

    FC3 was definitely trying to subvert the tropes of the genre and question violent games in general, like Spec Ops, but unlike Spec Ops, it failed utterly in this respect and just wound up glorifying it. That said, it was ridiculous amounts of fun and some of the characters are great, and I defy anyone not to laugh when FC3 starts to break the 4th wall and speak to the player (while Spec Ops’ “how many Americans have you killed today?” and “do you feel like a hero?” were grim and unsettling, FC3′s is… well… I won’t spoil it, but I haven’t felt that much glee in a game for some time).

    Dishonored, too, has excellent gameplay, but it definitely could have used stronger characters and a more engaging storyline.

  19. Matt says:

    Got the hang of the movement in Kairo and definitely enjoying the game.

    Except that the vast bulk of my gaming time since Boxing Day has been spent on The Secret World.

    Started one Mary Sue and one genuine self-insert character, both Templars as the most obvious in-character choice. For the third, I tried to start a Dragon, but:

    - dat me-so-solly accent
    - [tw] did my character just get kidnapped and raped in a motel room in the starting sequence!?
    - how does a totally CG-rendered “Asian” character still end up looking like a yellowface actor?
    - what’s with the mute (and gangsterously tattooed) monks? If I didn’t know any better I’d think they did it to save on writing…
    - this explanation of the Dragon’s “chaos” philosophy
    - the Dragon took over Kowloon after 1997. Right. (present-day Hong Kong would have made a wonderful setting for a Templar/Illuminati shadow war with the Communists and the business elite forming a complex, treacherous network of puppets and agents. Huge waste right there.)

    so I promptly deleted the character, restarted the exact same character as an Illuminatus, and henceforth I’m going to treat the Dragon as just some shadowy unknown upstart gang with odd membership markings.

    Which is a crying shame because the rest of the game is quite well written (though I’ll let someone more in the know than me comment on the Native American troping wrt. Red & co.).

    • Matt says:

      corrigendum:

      “the Dragon took over Kowloon after 1997″

      should say

      “the Dragon took over Kowloon after 1997 after the Templars left”, and this is not given in the Dragon into but by talking to the Templar boss.

    • Matt says:

      Further corrigenda:

      ‘this explanation of the Dragon’s “chaos” philosophy’

      Oops, brain trailed off and forgot to get back to this.

      After bearing what I could of the Prof. Me-so-solly’s explanation I didn’t feel they had anything to offer not offered by the Illuminati except a thin layer of philosophizing over it.

      Basically, I felt it was handled in a more mature manner in Jurassic Park. The movie.

    • Dejadrew says:

      Yeah, I love a lot about The Secret World, but the Dragons are just… painful. I was skeeved out completely by the hotel room sex-induced-vision thingy, just… gawd, so MUCH wrong with that it’s hard to know where to begin. The Dragon as a whole… I mean, DAMN, Funcom didn’t miss a single offensive Asian stereotype, did they? Not ONE.

      I mostly stick to Illuminati. They are such gleefully amoral magnificent bastards, and funny as hell. Plus their introductory monologue is the bestest.

      • Matt says:

        Not ONE.

        Challenge accepted.

        There are no moving vehicles (cinematics and that one Savage Coast quest notwithstanding), so I was not aware of any bad driver jokes.

        The model-minority nerdy-Asian-kid stereotype is sort of offensive if you think about all the implications, so that’s another that’s not in there!

        Also didn’t see any buck-toothed individuals though that seems to be a model/budget limitation.

        …I’m sure I can think of more if I really put my mind to it.

        So anyway, I assume later on there’s going to be a Big Reveal that the Dragon is actually an Illuminati splinter cell completely comprised of the sort of folks who have Chinese characters tattooed on them that they can’t read, sprinkled with a small following of actual Asians who are in it for the hipster ironic lulz.

  20. Nefa says:

    My brother got a 3DS for Christmas and promptly got Pokemon HeartGold. To indulge our trading pokemon scheme, I picked up Pokemon SoulSilver and have been powering out some pokemon training.

    It’s quite nostalgic since I played the originals when they were new. The excitement I originally had for Silver was in the aspect that I could make a female trainer. Which seems kinda silly to some people – but was a big deal to me then! I could play the game and be referred to with the correct pronouns.

    Outside my DS play, downloaded Saints Row The Third to start playing on PC. Plan to play through co-op with my friend. I will just have to get past the character creator first! I’m horrible with taking ages to design my player characters.

  21. Alex says:

    I just finished The Walking Dead, brb crying forever

  22. Dejadrew says:

    I got a shiny new android tablet for christmas, and I’m looking at figuring out what games I can put on it. So far, I’ve installed Machinarium, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, and Yesterday. Hopefully that should keep me busy for a little while.

    I gather one can use scummvm to play old games on a tablet, so I’m kinda curious about porting over some of my GOG purchases and giving them a try, but I don’t know what the actual procedure is for setting that up. Anyone have any tips or advice?

    And if anyone has any recommendations for other android games to try, feel free to let me know! My first love is story-driven adventure games like King’s Quest and Monkey Island; I’m timidly dipping my toes into the realm of RPGs and I think I like them okay as long as the story is engaging and the combat is fairly idiot-proof. I kind of have the hand-eye coordination of a drunken slug, sadly.

  23. Momiji says:

    I’ve been playing the first Borderlands with my brother during the break. I remember when he tried to get me into Doom Co-op (I think it was) oh so many many years ago and he practically cleared every level of enemies before I could even land one hit, which eventually made me swear off all co-op/multiplayer up until a year ago or so. Childhood “trauma” aside, it was fun to game with him again. He played a Siren and I played Berserker. Lots of fun! Unfortunately we didn’t have time to play until the end, so maybe we can finish our playthrough next Christmas. :)

    At the moment I’m playing solo with Mordecai. I began as a sniper but just respec:ed to Gunslinger, which seems to fit my playstyle better. I have yet to play the whole game, but it shouldn’t too long unless I get to distracted by the eternal quest for good loot. ^^;;

    • Momiji says:

      On second thought it may have been Quake Co-op, possibly the 2nd game, judging from what year it was released.

  24. Patches says:

    A day late, I know, but SO MUCH LEAGUE.

    For the most part, I’ve avoided serious harassment, and playing with what’s shaping up to be a regular crew makes a HUGE difference. Level 21 and climbing!

  25. menunu says:

    I quit World of Warcraft! I feel really good about it.

    I went in on a four pack of Borderlands 2 with some friends. I got the game for 37 bucks over Steam, and I’ve been playing it a TON! It is so hilarious. It breaks the fourth wall and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The game is extremely polished and the voice acting, superb! I highly recommend Borderlands 2!!!!

  26. Merrypetal says:

    Beat Dishonored and I’m busy with a second playthrough. Reading all the books this time and delving deeper – it is such an interesting game. Feels like I’m peeling away a layer and trying to get a deeper sense of The Outsiders role. After completing Dishonored it left me rather astonished as the game just felt unlike anything I had played before, so dived right back in to figure out why.
    Also playing the puzzle platformer Fez and I love it. It’s so relaxing and though it takes some puzzle solving dexterity at times, it’s also forgiving. Though the game is pixelated it creates a vivid feeling of place, time, space and navigation, oh and the music is lovely. Also playing the Deus Ex DLC, Missing Link and it has reminded me of how much fun I had playing the game. Thanks TBH for being here, and a happy and healthy 2013 to all.

    • gunthera1 says:

      I love the heart in Dishonored and spend a lot of time listening to the info about the characters. But, somehow the gameplay isn’t hooking me. Did you play very sneaky? Did you blink a lot or possess a lot of animals? Do you have a play style that you recommend?

      • Merrypetal says:

        My first play through was almost entirely sneaky, even the assassination targets I opted for the non-lethal option playing low-chaos, though occasionally I did revert to defense when necessary. It just felt right on my morality radar of how I like to play. I maxed out Blink, Agility, Vitality and Silent Boot (gadgetry blueprint I think) option, only used Possession twice and used the See Through Walls rarely as well as Bend Time. When I got it that the world you traverse has essentially 3 realms, I found I used the “above ground: level as my world most of all. Then it “clicked” then and I enjoyed the game so much more as the first two chapters were really frustrating playing ground level (I think I was stuck in Hitman gameplay mode which I had just finished). Lamps, lights and book cases became my friends, and the game just jived from then on! Also, I took more chances sneaking instead of hanging back and the game got more of a flow to it. Saved. A. Lot. I used every opportunity to use sleep darts too, it’s about most of what I spent money on. Also, be selective about the relics you use, according to your style of gameplay. The heart made me so immensely sad. It’s tender, tragic and an incredibly powerful benevolent NPC. I hope this helps, as I know I nearly gave up after the second chapter, but I am ever so glad I did not.

        • Ms. Sunlight says:

          I’m playing Dishonored at the moment and while I like it very much (I love stealth games, or games that can be played as stealth) I do find it quite creepy and hard to play for more than an hour or two at a time.

          Just bought Civ V GOTY edition in the steam sale. Happy days!

  27. Stille says:

    I’ve started playing the rest of the Monkey Island series (I had played Monkey Island 4 back in the day but that was that) and I’m now a third done with Monkey Island 2. Hot damn, but I loved 1. The legendary Sword Master being a woman of colour, the damsel in distress being very much able to save herself as half of the game’s cast reminds you… it made me wonder if games haven’t been regressing since the 90′s. Of course, I don’t know how popular MI was back then, so maybe comparing it with today’s FPSes is apples to oranges. Other than that, it’s the same silly humour I’ve found and loved in other Monkey Island games. Makes me happy.

    Other than that, I’ve returned to Discworld MUD. I swear that place is a bit of a Hotel California, check-out-any-time-you-like but you can never leave. 8 years (and ~270 days actual online time) in, I pretty know the game inside out (or at least the areas that interest me) and, as much as I appreciate the fun of the game itself and the incredible amount of detail put in the world, it’s still the community that draws me in again and again and again, as one of the few places that seems to select for the kind of person – geeky, odd-ball and well-read – that I like spending my time around. Also, while I haven’t seen it claim to be a safe space, it certainly does take harassment seriously and, due to a combination of a large-only-for-a-MUD playerbase and a truly awesome team of moderators, it was the reason why I had no idea sexual harassment was a thing on online games until I started reading The Border House. If any of you wants to give it a try and feels like contacting me in it, give Aphaea (or Stille, or Zuli, but they don’t get played as much) a tell while in-game :)

    • Christina Nordlander says:

      As far as I know, Monkey Island was immensely popular and influenced game design a lot. Admittedly, I didn’t start playing the series until the late 1990s (the first one I played was “The Curse of Monkey Island”), but I know it was a big thing.

      And yes, I sometimes get the feeling that older games were a lot more diverse than modern ones, at least in terms of gender. “Maniac Mansion” had two girls among the possible player characters you could choose from. One of the two projected sequels to “Loom” was to have a female protagonist, though they were cancelled. “Day of the Tentacle” starred two men and one woman. OK, none of this is massively progressive, but it still seems a lot better than the gender ratios we see among modern game protagonists.

      • Kimiko says:

        And don’t forget Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders. Zak is the main character in the beginning of the game, but it quickly switches to two and later four main characters, three of them women.

        • Christina Nordlander says:

          Ah, I didn’t mention that game because I never played it. Thanks!

          So yeah, LucasArts have a decent track record when it comes to protagonist genders. Looking outside the adventure game segment, “Golden Axe” let you choose between three player characters, one of them female (though she was sexualised). Heck, even “Gauntlet”, which goes back to the arcade era, had an Amazon among its four possible player characters.

          • Kimiko says:

            Yah, but then you start to get into the whole “there are many varieties of men, but only one of women” mess. I think TVTropes calls it the Smurfette Principle.

            • Christina Nordlander says:

              True, but if I had to choose between “one female character” and “no female characters”, I know what I’d pick.

    • Korva says:

      MI1 and MI2 were extremely well-received, more than the other parts of the series if memory serves. It might be hard to imagine when you look at the first game now, but back then I thought it was utterly gorgeous. The music was really good too, as was the heart of the game: the humor and the puzzles. And of course, I loved Elaine and the Swordmaster as well!

      It’s sad that the graphical adventures genre more or less disappeared in the late nineties, or thereabout. Technology has improved so much, but at the same time genre diversity has dwindled a lot. Thank goodness for indie games and DOS emulators.

      • Kimiko says:

        I thought MI3 was also usually counted among the good part of the franchise?

        As for the OP’s impression that ’90s adventures were better at gender balance than today’s, I’m not so sure that’s true. Just take a look at LucasArts’ The Dig and Virgin/Revolution’s Beneath A Steel Sky.

        • Stille says:

          Glad I was wrong then :)

        • Christina Nordlander says:

          I’ll give you “Beneath a Steel Sky”, but I don’t think “The Dig” was bad at gender balance. True, it only had one woman in the main cast, but that main cast was tiny: it also only had two men. (Granted, it would have been less cliché if one or both of the other characters had been women, too.)

          Also, the female character, Robbins, even if she became a damsel in distress at one point, was an excellent character: competent, intelligent and tough. Even when she needed rescuing, she didn’t lose her cool.

          • Kimiko says:

            Yes, Robbins was competent. She wasn’t treated very nicely by the main character, became a distressed damsel, and IIRC was sacrificed at the end for no good reason. I mostly remember not liking the MC at all, and being annoyed at the gender roles. It’s been quite a while since I played The Dig though, so maybe I misremembered.

  28. Korva says:

    As I recall, none of the MI games were considered to be bad or even mediocre, just that the first two were the ones where the inspiration and humor were at their best. It gets harder to revisit a theme, generally, when you’ve burned a lot of gags and ideas on it already (or someone else has).

    What do folks who have played MI3+ think of Elaine’s role in those games?

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