Mall Raiding
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 October 2014, 6:43 am

It's fashionable to hate GameStop, and I can't deny there are a few good reasons for it. One of the things I love about GameStop, though, is the opportunity it affords spelunkers.

A man with five dollars in his pocket and an hour to kill can find some marvelous tombs to raid. All it takes, beyond the fiver and the lunch break, is an open mind and a willingness to sit on the floor in front of a giant cardboard sculpture of Kratos.

There are important lessons to be drawn from a lifetime of crawling through bargain bins. Important things that make your spelunking expedition healthy and productive. Things like wearing kneepads under your pants so you don't scuff your knees, and to never-ever squat because you could blow out a meniscus. Things like bringing hand santitizer because goodness knows what a person has to do to make a Game Boy Advance box that sticky.

But more important than knee safety and basic flu-prevention is the attitude you bring on the expedition. (These days those things are less important than before anyway, since you can hop on Steam or Humble or GoG and hunt through a bevy of overlooked beauties from the comfort of your own toilet.) Attitude is everything. You want your mind so open it's in danger of falling out of your head and seeking a cauliflower to mate with. Gold is where you find it, the song says, and you can find it if you're willing to see it.

So if you're willing to paw through stacks and stacks of Madden 2007 (Currently $0.99. Ignore the "low-stock" designator. We got 'em. Trust me on that.) you can find all sorts of also-rans, never-gonna-bes and please-don't-short-sell-us-we-fired-everyone-in-engineering-and-marketings.

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October 20 - October 26
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 October 2014, 9:46 am

I'm really not sure what to make of Beyond Earth. I think I still feel a little burned from when Firaxis released a revamp of Colonization, and I ended up playing it for about 15 minutes. It's been a while since I've had the Civ V bug, and Beyond Earth — from everything I've seen — ultimately looks like a really well crafted skin of Civ, but a skin all the same. I'm really not sure how much I want that. I'm really hoping to be pleasantly surprised, which is why I'm still going to give it the nod for my game of the week, but my enthusiasm could certainly be higher.

Want to take a moment here to recognize that our own Alan "Pyroman" Cook is getting married this coming weekend. He has made the disastrous choice to have the Meeples play at his reception, and that's pretty much what the rest of my week is going to be about — practicing four songs over and over again so I can bungle them as little as possible in front of other people. All that aside, I wanted to take a second and wish Pyro congratulations. This is really the big thing happening this week as far as I'm concerned.

It's probably worth mentioning the release this week, also, of Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U. It's been a while (ever?) since the Wii U got a major exclusive that wasn't a first-party title (edit: apparently it is first-party — I was wrong). It will be interesting to see how it's received here state-side, given some of the other ... unpleasantness going on in the broader community. Also this week, Just Dance 2015 and The Walking Dead: Season 2 come to a variety of console systems.

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TL;DP: Bus Driver
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 October 2014, 6:17 am

Sponsored By: Steam sale (I am ashamed.)

Behind schedule by: 51 minutes

Express Review

Hey-HEY! Come on over and have some fun with BUS DRIVER! All right! Let’s get ready to make some BUS money!

YAH YAH YAH YAH YAH!

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Ignoring the Smorgasbord
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 October 2014, 4:47 pm

I’ve heard a lot of praise recently for Shadow of Mordor, a stealth-action game set in Tolkien's Middle Earth. In general, I think the praise is mostly well-deserved, and the game delivers a satisfying experience.

It’s just that, with some six or seven hours played, I’m done with it.

This article isn't really a critique of Shadow of Mordor, and shouldn't be seen as such, but I'm going to use it for a few minutes to illustrate a broader point. I used to be of the mind that seven hours with a game was a pretty satisfactory amount of time. I’m not sure I’m entirely ready to back down from that position, particularly if I’m getting something really unique out of that time. A relatively short Brothers or Gone Home experience, despite not being particularly time consuming, is completely worth the price of admission. But when I think about Shadow of Mordor, I’m hard-pressed to think of anything really that unique about it. As a result, it felt like once the patina washed away I was left with a nugget of a game I’d played plenty of times before.

I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism. Not every game has to be some hothouse orchid, a rare and beautiful thing. After all, some of the greatest games ever made are really just extremely polished versions of collected ideas gathered from mediocre games that had come before. That Shadow of Mordor is just a Batman game recast in the land of orcs as seen through the lens of Assassin’s Creed doesn’t mean it doesn’t do a damn fine job of being that.

But given the depths to which I’ve plumbed some games over the past year, my context for being satisfied by just playing a game for six or seven hours has changed.

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We Want YOU To Support the Extra Life 2014 Team!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 October 2014, 11:20 pm

The sun is setting earlier in the day, trees exchange their illustrious emerald leaves in exchange for crinkling amber, and the temperature gradually begins to fall. Autumn is coming out in full, and with it comes the annual Extra Life gaming charity.

If you're not familiar with Extra Life, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across North America. Each year they organize a twenty-four-hour gaming marathon where players of all sorts can test their mental endurance with their favorite hobby. Think of it like the Color Run, only without the physical exertion and with more delirious midnight hallucinations.

Last year Gamers With Jobs organized a team that managed to raise over $3,500 for a variety of Children's Hospitals, and this year we're trying again. On Saturday, October 25th, several of your fellow community members will be logging on to their various streaming channels to prove to the world that they can stay awake for twenty-four hours playing video games, all in an effort to raise funds for Children's Hospitals.

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October 13 - October 19
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 October 2014, 2:01 pm

The number-one cause of my playing Destiny regularly can be boiled down to two primary causes: my roommate, and the need to relieve all the stress built up from playing Alien: Isolation. 'Tis the season, I suppose, what with being October and all. A month coated in orange, pumpkin-spiced [noun /], and decorations ranging from cheesy cardboard-cutouts of witches and mummies to increasingly disturbing plastic zombie babies. So what better time to enjoy a most frightening game like Alien: Isolation?

It seems Bethesda agreed, because The Evil Within hits shelves and servers alike this week. The real excitement here is the involvement of director Shinji Mikami, a Japanese developer whose name gained significance for his role in the Resident Evil series up to and including the fourth title.

The Evil Within looks to be a creepily atmospheric romp through dirty blood-and-rust-covered environments, stalked by brutal creatures of nightmarish design that are sure to keep you awake at night — unless you're from Australia, in which case it's just another stroll to the convenience store. A perfect title to help celebrate a month of low-budget horror movie marathons, interspersed between shifts of cleaning egg off your house.

Also, some game called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out. I haven't looked into it, but I presume it to be a politically charged title investigating the root causes of immigration issues throughout Europe.

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TL;DP: Science Girls
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 October 2014, 6:09 am

Time Played: Around 3 hours (JRPGs deserve their own time scale)

Sponsored By: Me

Volatile Review

What if I told you that a JRPG featuring school girls could be educational? What if I told you it could be educational in a child-friendly way? Well get your mind out of the gutter and believe it, because the science club is here to save the world!

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Donation Drive 2014 Penultimate Update
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 October 2014, 11:42 am

This will be the next to last update for the donation drive, and the final one before the drive ends tomorrow night at midnight. That means there's currently some 36 hours left in this donation drive before we return to your previously scheduled programming. As of earlier today we crossed the latest drive goal of an original written and performed Meeples song.

I'm sorry in advance.

I talked last week about my take on what seems a pretty certain reality that this is the first year that GWJ's donation drive brought in a smaller amount than the previous year. The tl;dr version of that -- we're alright with it because it's for the right reasons -- remains true. That said, I'd really love to see us clear the $25,000 level for the radio play, so I'm putting that last $2,500 we need to get there as a challenge. If you haven't donated, but you listened to the radio play we produced recently and would like to hear another, any amount will help us get there!

As of the moment I'm writing this we have 767 donors. Last year we ended the drive with 821 donors, putting us 54 donors short of clearing last year. While we may not break the total donation amount total, I'd really like to see us break the record for people participating. This number is less than 5% of the total audience for the site and podcast combined, so I know it's something that can be accomplished.

So, here's our one, final push for support. If GWJ and the community here is a place you value, we could use your help in keeping it going. It doesn't need to be a huge donation, but every little bit adds up and allows us to keep trying new things and hopefully keeping this a place you want to visit.

If you've already donated, thank you so much for your support. The outpouring of kind words in the hundreds of emails I've received over the past few weeks is incredible. You people are the best.

Another round of icon updates based on recent donations will be coming in the next day or two, and we should be sending out a new round of beta invites to the new site soon. After the bump you'll see the latest list of forum donors. As always if your name is missing (and, I guarantee at least a few names will be missing), please let me know.

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October 6 - October 12
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 6 October 2014, 10:52 am

Every indication so far is that Alien: Isolation isn't a bad game, but neither is it the savior of the franchise that many might have hoped. Reviews, so far, have been pretty mixed with it definitely clicking nicely with some reviewers more than others. It's not the slam dunk of a game we may have been hoping for, but at least it's not as abysmally bad as some other recent entries into the franchise.

Seems like exactly the kind of game I'll watch a let's play or a Twitch stream of as opposed to buying, reminding me yet again of how grateful I am these services are around. Hearthstone remains the quintessential Twitch game for me, one I'm deeply interested in and enjoy as long as I'm not actually playing it myself. In many ways, these services have become my new favorite review platform, and it's probably how I'll end up judging whether to buy a lot of the fall season's big games or not.

Also this week, Project Spark which was heavily touted in the run up through the Xbox One reveal has quietly reached its official launch date both on the next gen MS console as well as Windows 8. On the PS4 we see the release of Drive Club as well as that console's version of Minecraft. And, 2K games releases their NBA2K15 on just about every platform available, as long as that platform is not made by a company whose name starts with the letter N.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Transistor
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 3 October 2014, 6:15 am

Time played: 112 minutes
Sponsored by: Me.
56k review
Red-headed heroine with a sword that lets her hack the environment, and a raft of powerups based on computer programming tools, goes on an epic adventure to save her world from a mysterious and dangerous enemy. A truly interesting and unique system, mired slightly by some worn-out, conventional gameplay

T1 Review

Full disclosure: I’ve never played Bastion. So I don’t really have anything to compare this one to. I went in knowing it was about a girl with bright red hair and a special kind of sword that lets her do things in the environment that no other sword can do. Well it turns out there is a lot more to it than that. There’s fathoms of depth here.

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Donation Drive Update
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 October 2014, 11:59 pm

Thank you to everyone who has donated this year so far in our annual donation drive. It’s impossible to say how much we appreciate it, but know that if we were to quantify that appreciation into a specific number it would be very large and probably best expressed in scientific notation.

Those of you who donated as of the beginning of this week should have received your beta invite to test the upcoming design and format update for the site. If you haven’t donated yet, but are interested in getting a sneak peek -- and perhaps some input -- into the upcoming changes for GamersWithJobs, then please visit our donation page to support the site and we’ll make sure you get included in the next release of invites.

If you’re just here to check and see your name in lights, go ahead and proceed to the bump. That list _should_ represent most everyone who has emailed me through Monday, September 29. If you donated or emailed me after Monday, we’ll get you in the next update.

As always, I’m sure someone who should be on the list isn’t. First of all, check to make sure you followed the directions for getting your forum account tied to your donation. If you sent the follow up e-mail but you’re still not listed, please PM your information including the name tied to your PayPal account, your email address tied to the PayPal account, the date donated and the amount.

As we come up on the final week of the donation drive, I thought it might be worth doing a bit of number crunching and talking about how the changes this year have impacted the drive. If you’re up for a little light reading on my thoughts on fundraising for the site, then by all means, read on. If you're just here to see the list, it's a long one and can be found at the bottom of this post.

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Games That Ruin Other Games
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 September 2014, 2:32 am

When it comes to discussing issues in a timely fashion, I'm as topical as a tube of Tiger Balm.

As such, I'm picking up on a thread from GWJCC 397 and ensuing comments: the notion that Europa Universalis IV — People's Choice frontrunner for the "GWJ Bestest Fun-per-Dollar-per-Hour GOTY 2014" award — ruined Civilization V for a lot of folks. The gist of it (I'm paraphrasing here) was that EUIV is the Lego Technic of history simulators while Civ is the Duplo. You may have played Civ first, but EUIV has gears and pneumatics. You can't go back.

The reverse is true for me. I know Civ is chunkier and less versatile than other grand strategy titles, but the colours are vivid and the pieces snap into place with a satisfying click. More importantly, I know how Civ works. I look at the assembly instructions for other titles — many of which start with "Watch 7 hours of Let's Plays so you can learn the basics" — and my brain clenches into a fist of rejection. Why waste all that time (let alone money) on being bad at a new game, when I could try Civ's new Civil War scenario or try a one-city run as Venice? When my brain is looking for excuses to commit to a 20-plus hour campaign, the prospect of honing skills in a familiar playground sets my synapses a-cracklin' more than that of scaling a fresh, steep learning curve.

Being so timely and all, I was JUST about to tweet something about games ruining other games when doubtingthomas396 dropped "Backward Incompatibility". In it, he posits that playing Fallout 3 before Oblivion ruined Oblivion. I played those games in order of their release as Bethesda intended, but I could relate. Once, I had a really nice glass of red wine, from a bottle. After that, I could never drink wine out of a box again. My palate had been pampered and it made me fussier. It's like when you have a really good, well made coffee: You can never drink coffee in America again. (Why no, I've not had coffee in America MYSELF; it's just what everyone on Twitter says. So it's a hearsay zing, whatevs.)

As my gaming palate has refined, some games have ruined entire genres for me, and vice versa.

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September 29 - October 5
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 September 2014, 1:02 pm

There's no two ways about it, whatever I pick for the Game of the Week this week, you can make a completely reasonable and legitimate argument that I'm wrong. Someone is getting, as they say, robbed.

Possibly this is true every week, but this time around I'm definitely feeling it.

This week contains two must-have games for me, two different games I'll be picking up for my boys, and probably a handful of others that other people are pretty excited to play. For me, personally, the big game of the week is Shadow of Mordor. The reviews have been gushing, and after watching a few videos it's not hard to see why. Existing somewhere between the Batman: Arkham series and Assassin's Creed, this smacks of one of those deep, open-world, emergent gameplay titles that you can lose days to.

The other big offering this week, though, is probably more for my boys than it is for me. The Super Smash Bros. series goes portable, and the early reviews and opinions are no less favorable than Shadow. With a ridiculous number of playable characters and arenas to battle in, and a cavalcade of fan-favorites, it's hard not to think that SSB may be among the most important and anticipated 3DS titles in years.

Then there's games like Forza Horizons 2, Skylanders Trap Team and even a new Castlevania port for the Wii U to enjoy this week. Yup, it's definitely the fall gaming season.

In the end, perhaps to some surprise, it feels like the Super Smash Bros. launch on 3DS is probably the Game of the Week. It sorta has that "instant classic" vibe to it, the kind of game you might still be playing in a year, and while Shadow has a lot going for it, I'd be a little surprised if I'm still kicking around in it by the time Thanksgiving rolls around here in the US.

So, there it is. My Game of the Week, Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS.

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TL;DP: Damnation
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 September 2014, 7:03 am

Time Played: 99 minutes (official Steam log)

Sponsored by: Bonus Eruptus

850 PSI review

A steampunk, platforming, action shooter with the worst voice acting since House of the Dead 2 that cannot make up its mind about whether it wants to be any good or not.

Incidentally, here's a fun fact: It was originally an Unreal Tournament 2004 mod that won second place for Best Total Conversion. And it plays exactly as well as that would imply.

4500 PSI review

Have you ever seen one of those cars with a custom paint job that changes color as you move past it? That's what Damnation is for me. I've put roughly three sessions into it, each about a half hour long, and every single time I like it a different amount.

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Achievement Gap
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 September 2014, 6:09 pm

One of my favorite additions to games over the past decade has been the introduction of achievements. I know this is a point of some contention, and there are camps of varying stridency on the topic, but I find myself fixed firmly in the camp of people who get a little rush whenever one of those little notifications pops up.

I wouldn’t have necessarily thought this is where I’d end up on the matter. When achievements were introduced into mainstream gaming on the Xbox 360, I was as skeptical as anyone on why anyone would care. But since then I’ve come around on the issue, and I find myself actively missing achievements when they aren’t there. Particularly if it’s a game I play with any kind of consistency, having the occasional pop-up letting me know I’ve crossed some arguably arbitrary threshold is just another form of motivation.

I noticed this recently with Diablo 3’s introduction of seasons, which specifically measures who among your friends, who among your clan and even who among your entire server is amassing the most achievements over the season. As a result I’ve found myself scanning the bloated tome of possible achievements looking for any low-hanging fruit I can pick, and from which I can suck dry the sweet nectar of validation.

It occurred to me recently, though, that the achievement is nothing more than a slightly recast version of one of the oldest standards of video games: It’s just a new version of “score.”

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Donation Drive 2014 Update #2!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 September 2014, 7:49 pm

Halfway through the drive and we're continuing apace quite nicely so far! Very close to unlocking custom icons for some lucky winners and then a hop, skip and a jump away from forcing Julian to write something deep and meaningful about something ridiculous.

We're also on the verge of opening up the brand new GWJ beta site to everyone who has donated any amount. Keep an eye on your email in the coming days for a double secret password to see what we have in store for the future and help us shape it!

Thanks so much for all the continued support! It means a great deal to all of us. Click on through to see a list of all the donors we've tagged so far. If you're missing from the list and you've donated before this past weekend make sure you check the top of the donation page for instructions to let Elysium know your details!

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September 22 - September 28
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 September 2014, 1:42 pm

Today marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, which means the games industry is preparing to shift gears and ignore all sensibilities in a desperate effort to just rush through an endless onslaught of releases.

This week, however, the industry remains in first gear.

There are a lot of interesting titles hitting the virtual shelves for just about every platform, but nothing quite strong or tempting enough to pull your average Goodjer away from Wasteland 2. That is, unless you're one of the few with enough taste to possess a WiiU in your household, offering up some first-class game design experiences from the Big N. At least, that's what I tell myself when I snuggle into bed with my gamepad at night.

Nintendo's autumn and holiday strategy is, quite honestly, a bit of a surprising one. With the exception of Super Smash Bros., just about every game they're throwing at consumers is a niche title of some variety, beginning this week with Hyrule Warriors. Developed by the same team that have worked on the endless Dynasty Warriors franchise, it is a simultaneous effort to not only generate greater interest in Tecmo Koei's series of pawn-slaughter simulators in the West, but to rustle up some love for Link and his companions in Nintendo's home country of Japan.

It's not going to be a game for everyone, and anyone hoping for another Legend of Zelda experience better brace themselves for disappointment, but any game that allows me to latch onto the moon so that I may crush my enemies beneath its grimacing weight is a game worth giving the week to.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: The Maw
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 September 2014, 6:14 am

Time played: 1.9 Hours

Sponsored By: A soft-hearted dad who can't say no when four-year-old boy says he wants to play "the Mawn!"

Bite-Size Review

An adorable cautionary tale about invasive species.

Super-Size Review

My kids love games. They love playing games (my seven-year-old daughter is better at Little Big Planet than I am, and has been speed-running Hohokum). They love watching walkthroughs of games (my 4-year-old son adores YouTube videos of Battletoads and various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles speed runs) They love reading books about games (my daughter has worn out three Pokedexes). They love watching me play games.

So when I opened up Steam and they saw The Maw, they insisted on watching a trailer. After watching the trailer about twelve times (Mr. Newell, I would be much obliged if you'd include a looping feature on preview videos. Thanks!) they said they wanted to play it. More specifically, they wanted to watch me play it.

Well, for $2.38 for the game and all the DLC, who am I to deny them?

As it turns out, The Maw is actually a pretty darn fun game.

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Falling Behind
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 September 2014, 4:05 pm

At some point most evenings, I carve out some time for myself to play something. I go into my office, such as it is (sharing a space with the washing machine and dryer that are separated from me only by a curtain hung from a thick metal wire running the length of the room). More often than not, I will have to navigate my way through the foothills of Mount WashMore, which waits patiently in front of the washing machine, like the proverbial mountain that has finally come at last to Muhammad. Finally I will come to my destination, a well used office chair in front of the cluttered desk where my dusty keyboard shares space with the various bills to be paid and stick figures living their idyllic lives on the pages drawn by my kids.

I settle in here, and play.

I’m a relic in this place, a dinosaur apparently, at my vigil in front of the family desktop. I gather that everyone else is always on the move, or taking their games with them wherever they may roam. I hear tale of people streaming media and games from some isolated and forgotten box of wires and technology to their laptop or tablet or phone. The idea of journeying to the ends of the house where the desktop actually lives seems to be an idea as anachronistic as going into a bank and dealing with an actual teller or using a phone with a cord.

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Donation Drive 2014 Update #1!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 September 2014, 11:13 pm

Hi everyone! Very happy to say the donation drive is going well so far. We're definitely trending a little bit behind last year without the personal rewards, but we're still on track to unlock a bunch of cool projects and prizes this year! Each and every person who donates to the site is carrying hundreds of users who get to enjoy an ad-free experience and an amazing community of people. Thanks to all of you who put something in the pot to make this a great place for everyone.

We've cleared our first stretch goal which means community guest podcasts are a go! Next up are live podcasts, custom forum icons for some lucky donors and the coveted "Make Julian write about something weird" tier. Keep it up!

Jump in after the break to see the list of heroes so far. If you'd like to join the fun and get your forum icon hit the donation page and give whatever feels good.

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Backward Incompatibility
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 16 September 2014, 8:08 pm

I don't know what came over me. Really. Usually I am scrupulous to the point of obsession about playing games in order. I can't even watch a serialized TV show a la carte. If there's a big story arc, I have to watch it all, or not at all.

So why did I play Fallout 3 before I played any Elder Scrolls games?

I read the reviews, I listened to the podcasts. I knew it was Oblivion with Guns, even though people strenuously insisted it wasn't.

For whatever reason — lost now to the sands of time (not to be confused with the Sands of GWJ, who is right this moment playing Europa Universalis 4) — I bought Fallout 3 and skipped over the entire Elder Scrolls lineage that would have given me context.

And I can't go back.

I mean that quite literally. How do I know? I know because I tried.

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September 15 - September 21
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 September 2014, 12:54 pm

The year of deep, crowd-funded computer RPGs marches on with the release of Wasteland 2 by inExile entertainment and Brian Fargo. Revisiting the franchise that essentially launched the Fallout series, Wasteland 2 is billed as a meaty, at times punishing, old-school CRPG, and if the early access is any indication, the game is exactly that.

I spent some time recently playing Fallout: New Vegas to get myself in the post-apocalyptic mindset, but there's something fundamentally different about an isometric, text-heavy game like Wasteland that is almost incomparable to what Fallout has become. That's not necessarily to say one is better than the other, just that you can't really compare them.

Next only to inExile's other big upcoming CRPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera, this game has been the one I've been most excited and eager to play this fall. It's been on my calendar with a circle around it for a long time, and as far as I'm concerned there's nothing else coming out this week. Your mileage may vary.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Doc Clock and the Toasted Sandwich of Time
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 September 2014, 5:39 am

Sponsored by: Antichulius

Play Time (official Steam log): 80 minutes

Lightly Browned, Unbuttered Review

A delightful, lighthearted, physics-based romp through a future in which all the living creatures have been destroyed by out-of-control robots. I say that without a trace of sarcasm, which is hard for me. I should probably go lie down now.

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Shields Up
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 September 2014, 5:40 pm

On the morning my oldest son first went to kindergarten, it took everything I had to not pull my wonderful, reckless, vulnerable boy aside and say, “Find a place inside yourself where you can hide when the world decides to be mean to you, because it’s only a matter of time.”

Aside from being just bad parenting, saying that would have had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

When my oldest son started school, I was worried that he might have trouble fitting in or making friends. This concern had nothing to do with his personality — he’s a bright, outgoing kid who tries as much as possible to assume the best of everyone and is convinced that everyone he meets enters his life as a friend. He tries to find the best in all of his classmates, and is regularly recognized as being exceptionally supportive.

The concern was that all those great things about him would be exploited, which again says a lot about how I have come to view the world. All the more so because I've been proven wrong at every turn.

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Simon Said
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2014, 11:19 pm

Dear GamersWithJobs,

I never thought it would happen to me, but I actually found myself enjoying the Quick-Time Events in Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge.

Yes, I am completely aware that our community has a forum dedicated to just this sort of heretical thinking. I insist that there is actually a good explanation for this, however, and that I can salvage what credibility I have with the jury of community members.

For the uninitiated, Quick-Time Events are a typically frustrating game sequence that demands the player to follow a button prompt within a limited time span. Sometimes the player is forced to mash a single button at ludicrous speeds, only to be set back to the very beginning upon a minor screw-up. In the worst-case scenario, the sequence will always begin during a cinematic cut-scene that cannot be skipped, whose horribly scribed dialogue will continue to droned on by disinterested voice actors, over and over in a Clockwork Orange torture chamber of repetition until the button prompts are perfectly mastered.

Raise your hand if you're thinking of a particularly annoying knife fight.

The primary flaw of Quick-Time Events is that they don't rely on any of the mechanics developed through the game's actual design. They instead turn into a tedious game of Simon Says with the desire of providing a cinematic flair, a move that ultimately comes at the cost of player control. The player's avatar gets to perform all of these amazing feats, breaking up the sequence with a simple button prompt, as if to reassure the player that they are "actively engaging". Follow instructions, and the scene continues as intended. Fail, and you're set back to the beginning.

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