GWJ Conference Call Episode 413
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 September 2014, 11:55 pm

Episode 413 - September 10th, 2014
Civilization: Beyond Earth, The Sims 4, Dawn of War II, Hatoful Boyfriend, Velocity 2X, Weekend Session Games, The Donation Drive Launches, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(1-800-Hot-Orks 49.1 MBs, 1:25:42)

This week Sean Sands, Cory Banks, Rob Zacny and Graham Rowat talk about the launch of the donation drive and weekend session games!

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September 8 - September 14
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 September 2014, 10:22 am

The fall season begins in earnest this week. I'm always a little amazed at how quickly I go from feeling like it's still summer to it's definitely fall. Part of that is geography, as a denizen of the upper midwest seasons change shockingly quick, and you can go from literally feeling like it's the dead of winter to spring in the course of a weekend. Two weeks ago it still felt hot, and the AC was running most of the time, and school hadn't started for the boys, and football wasn't really up and running yet, and so on. Fast forward to 10 days later and summer already seems like a distant memory.

The release of the first major game of the fall, Destiny, only reinforces that. Out for every console as long as that console is made by Microsoft or Sony, Destiny is the big post-Halo effort for Bungie. Published by Activision, Destiny is a sort of MMO, sort of shooter, sort of RPG, a Frankenstein's monster of genres that enjoyed a widely popular beta/demo period that only served to whet the appetite for the game.

It's hard to imagine the game not being successful by realistic expectations, but I really wonder what Activision's idea of successful for this game is. It seems like one of those games where if it doesn't sell 8 million copies, it risks being considered a bust. That said, I wouldn't be shocked if it ended up clearing that kind of hurdle.

I'm bought into the hype and because of that, Destiny is my Game of the Week.

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Donation Drive 2014
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 September 2014, 10:36 am

Football is in the air, kids are back in school, the first leaves are falling from the trees, and GWJ is asking for your help funding the upcoming year. It must be September!

As the astute among you will have already noticed, the 2014 Donation Drive is now live. Every year at this time we come to you, our community, to ask for your support in keeping the site alive and kicking. You guys are the core of how we fund everything we do here, and it's because you all step up year after year that we've been able to keep trying new things, putting out regular content and keep the bills paid.

If you're already sold and would like to donate, just click the Donation Drive '14 link in the left navigation, or visit where you can see all the rewards and the running tally. Please read the information at the top that page for rules on how to make sure you get your forum icon update!

We're doing things a little different again this year. You'll notice we've removed the individual level rewards we've had over the past few years and instead we've expanded the "stretch goals." The more we've thought about it, the more the idea of certain people having access to cool stuff just because they donated a bigger amount was antithetical to the philosophy behind the site. The farther we get from putting benefits behind paywalls the better we feel.

So, instead we wanted anything cool coming out of the donation drive to be something everyone has at least an equal chance of enjoying. So, you'll notice that some of the things that used to be individual rewards (like custom icons and guest hosting on the podcast) are still there just recast as a bigger reward. Also, it's something that anyone can try to "win" and hopefully keeps things on an even footing.

We want it to feel like when you donate to the drive, you are really, genuinely and materially contributing to the community which is the center of the site.

I have a few more thoughts after the bump, but let me say now if you are able to donate thank you so much. The lights stay on because of you.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: FreeSpace2
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 September 2014, 6:31 am

Time played: 68 minutes

Warp Speed Review

I AM TEN YEARS OLD AGAIN AND I AM BLOWING THE SNOT OUT OF SPACESHIPS! Brreeeaaaaaaooooowww! Pew pew pew! Vvvvvvrrrummmmmm! Pishoo! Pishoo! Babooocchhchchch! WHEEEEEE!

Sub-Light Speed Review

This review marks a first for me. This is the first game I've bought specifically to review it.

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GWJ Magazine Volume 2!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 September 2014, 1:52 pm

Thanks to your donations in the 2013 donation drive we have once again brought some excellent writers together to do a brand new magazine! Great articles, an amazing cover by our own Kristin Sands and original comics by the ineffable Sway.

Click Here to Download

Thanks so much for all the support! Enjoy the magazine.

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September 1 - September 7
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 2 September 2014, 9:13 pm

Nothing throws me off my game like a Monday holiday.

Hey, did you know that The Sims 4 releases this week for the PC? No? Neither did I! Where did that thing come from?

With initial impressions in the forum and here and there online being generally positive, I find myself wondering if EA is still stinging from the release of Sim City. Their full court press on promoting that game only made it that much more visible when things went south. At this point, I almost think The Sims fanbase is so solidified and fixed that there might have been no point to making a big push about the launch of the game. Get the addicts in and primed for $50 expansion packs.

Cynical, I know, but I'm also not giving it my Game of the Week.

No, that honor goes to Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for the Vita. This text heavy, exposition-rich, puzzle/mystery game is the follow up to 2010's Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and features a psychotic teddy-bear-thing that has trapped a class full of kids on a prison-island to solve a series of murders. If you solve the murder, then the villain is punished, but if the murderer gets away with it he/she goes free and everyone else is punished. I think punished means killed for the purposes of this game.

Early reviews are generally positive, with the sense that the game succeeds despite some localization issues -- the game was released in Japan last October.

I know it's a little obvious that I'd select this game. Sorry.

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PAX Prime 2014 On The Go!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 August 2014, 5:44 pm

PAXPrime 2014 is off and running!

Been having technical difficulties (this laptop is not obeying it's Lord and Master!), but stay tuned we'll be up and running here.

I'll just start with the fact that Defense Grid 2 is here, and it is playable in the Expo Hall. More science fiction tower defense with FPS elements for me, please.

If you hear of something you'd like our take on, let me know here in the Comments and I'll try to get one of my intrepid cub reporters out to see what they can see.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Daikatana
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 29 August 2014, 6:16 am

Sponsored by: Danopian

Play Time (official Steam log): 98 minutes

TL;DR Review

Superfly Johnson appears to have crushed his skull in a door. You fail at life.

Full Review

Author's note: I'm writing this under the influence of cold medicine, which some might argue is the best possible way to review Daikatana. Please bear with me.

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FEAR Multiplayer Playdate This Friday!
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 August 2014, 12:28 am

FEAR remains a surprisingly popular multiplayer shooter in the long years since its release. Thanks to Psoplayer's support of the 2013 donation drive we're going to have a game night this Friday! Server info will be posted on the front page as we get closer to game time. We'll start 7PM CST and play until our old, atrophied reflexes finally give out.

The best part? It's totally free! Hit the FEAR Combat Community site to get a CD key and download the game files. See you on Friday!

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Gratuitously Functional Gore
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 August 2014, 10:41 am

There are some conversational topics I've just given up on when it comes to my parents or grandparents. One of them is on the topic of gore and whether it is "necessary" or not. Their stance is that film-makers rely on blood and violence too much — that it's only there for horrible people to gain any thrill out of. The notion that a filmmaker wants to show someone in agonizing pain for the sake of making the viewer uncomfortable is foreign to them. They don't understand why you'd do such a thing.

On the surface, a lot of games are the same way. Does a head really need to pop like a melon once you've shot it in the head? Do the monsters in Doom really need to split open and reveal their bones and innards to the player? One could certainly assert that, due to the nature of blood and violence in many games, that developers haven't exactly outgrown their inner thirteen-year-old's fascination with the things their parents forbade them from seeing at a young age.

To an outside observer, the incredible backlash that Team Ninja received for removing dismemberment in Ninja Gaiden 3 would just be proof that game players are all a bunch of sick, disturbed man-children. However, not all things gratuitous need be meaningless, and to many fans of Ninja Gaiden 2 the disappointment was more about the simplification of the combat system.

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Too Long; Didn't Play: Alien Versus Predator Classic 2000
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 August 2014, 10:48 am

Sponsored by: Ccesarano

Play Time (official Steam log): 67 minutes

”I ain't got time to bleed” review

Three species, three campaigns, uncounted ways to get minced.

”Stop yer grinnin' and drop yer linen” review

I have a long history with the Aliens Versus Predator series. Not just the games, but the books and comics too. I even made myself a Predator action figure out of old, broken toys.

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August 25 - August 31
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 August 2014, 10:48 am

The release list for this final week of August heralds the unofficial end of the summer gaming slump in the form of one of gaming's longest running franchises.

Another year, another edition of the John Madden-less, Madden football. For context on the age of this franchise, understand that the first edition of the game came out the summer before I started high school. I'm 41 now.

Every year the release of Madden is a test of gullibility and will for me. If I were to roll a D20 to pass a Madden check, I'd only have around a 10 in Madden resist, meaning it's basically a coin flip.

Madden aside, The Walking Dead's second season comes to a close this week with Episode 5, No Going Back. Super Time Force, previously only available on the Xbox One, hits the PC with a Steam Ultra edition that includes characters from Team Fortress 2. The Metro series goes "redux" on PC, Xbox One and PS4, and the 3DS offers up the franchise colliding Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

Plenty of good stuff to warm up the coming fall season of gaming.

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August 18 - August 24
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 August 2014, 10:22 am

I'd be positively remiss not to give Hatoful Boyfriend our game of the week. An otome game in which you court and date human-sized pigeons, this game is the kind of weird that makes me realize how fall short my weird-fu is compared to so many others. Given a thousand years, I'd have never come up with this premise for a game.

Of course, my personal stake in the game has more to do with Julian Murdoch's exceptional crowd-funded piece on the game than anything else. As we close in on the next donation drive, I can only hope that the GWJ hive-mind comes together again to press gang Julian into some new line of bizarre research. Sparkle ponies, pigeon boyfriends, I can only imagine what's next.

Also this week Diablo 3 comes to the next gen consoles, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare arrives on the PS4 and Tales of Xillia 2 arrives on the PS3 and is my random guess for game most likely to be labeled as robbed in the comments.

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GWJ Plays: Omikron
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 August 2014, 11:15 am

As requested by Graham Rowat in the 2013 Donation Drive, Karla and Shawn Andrich sit down to dive into the world of David Cage's (and David Bowies) Omikron. Do they find the dildo shop? Do they survive the unbearable keyboard controls? Let's find out!

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TL;DR Reviews: Agricultural Simulator: Historical Farming
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 August 2014, 10:21 am

The GWJ community seems to have stumbled across a great idea: Take those odd keys leftover from Humble Bundles and gifts, and give them each one hour. Report back on your findings. This seemed to our editor to be a great source of content for the front page, along with a high probability of weird and humorous experiences, so I pressed a goodjer into service. [It's OK, though. He likes it. I think. I mean, I didn't ask, but I presume he likes doing this.]

Here's the first, courtesy DoubtingThomas396 himself, the originator of the scheme. Let's see how far we can push him before he snaps.

Agricultural Simulator: Historical Farming

Sponsored by: A Humble Bundle mistake

Time Spent: 90 minutes.

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Gen Con 2014
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 August 2014, 10:20 am

It's time for Gen Con!

GWJ is hitting Gen Con in force this year and we're … well, it seems like we're mostly unpacking and waiting in the will-call line right now, but we're super excited!

My personal Gen Con strategy tends to be to set a very loose schedule, except for interview times and GWJ events. That way I'm free to go with whatever random encounter the dice dictate. I know we've got a few important GWJ events, but there's always more fun stuff to experience.

Here's a brief, initial list of events on my radar. Let me know what I'm missing, or what you'd like me to direct GWJ's attention to!

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The Dark Dungeons Kickstarter
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 August 2014, 7:00 pm

What was the best game you ever played? The one that you really got wrapped up in? That one that gave you a pure, unadulterated shot of endorphins every time a beep was made? That beep that let your Skinner Box-trained mind know that you had done a good job? Because for me that game was called, “Kickstarter.”

People spend an inordinate amount of time in character creation in some games, and Kickstarter was no different for me. I tried my best to min-max every backer reward, every stat if you will, so that it would appeal to the most number of people while also bringing in the most revenue. Put too much money on a reward and no one will buy it, put too little and you won’t turn a profit (and then you won’t have any money to make your project).

And just as most people want their character’s faces to be just right, I wanted my Kickstarter to look good. I wanted the font to match the tone, the page to flow, the video to razzle and/or dazzle. Charisma isn’t a dump stat in this game.

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GWJ Conference Call Episode 409
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 13 August 2014, 12:35 am

Episode 409 - August 13th, 2014
Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 Impressions, Wasteland 2 Beta, Rise of Flight, Fallout New Vegas, Elite Beta, An Interview With Mike Mearls on D&D 5th Edition, Your Emails and More!

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!
(A Rifty 45.8 MBs, 1:20:03)

This week D&D 5th edition lead designer Mike Mearls sits down with Julian to talk about the new D&D!

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Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 12 August 2014, 9:24 pm

I’ve spent the better part of the past week wandering the vast wastelands of a post-apocalyptic Nevada in Fallout: New Vegas. Aside from the shocking depth of content provided by the long, bloody trek, I find myself startled at how well the game holds up.

Had you asked me a few days ago how long it’s been since Fallout: New Vegas was released, I’d have likely guessed it probably came out sometime in 2012. In fact, New Vegas hit store shelves all the way back in 2010, and is rapidly approaching its fourth birthday. By extension, the graphics engine on which the game is built is closing in on its sixth birthday. Yet, I feel in no way like I’m playing an outdated or old game.

By contrast, if you revisit the games we recently covered as part of 1994 week, and look at the games that came out six years later, you see the huge leap between Doom 2 and No One Lives Forever, between Ultima VIII and Icewind Dale, between the first System Shock and Deus Ex. These were genuinely transformative leaps.

We’ve talked a lot about the way the differences between generations are becoming more nuanced, but there’s an after-effect of this that I hadn’t really thought all the way through. It’s not just that games visuals aren’t advancing at the same rate, but the gameplay systems themselves are similarly stabilizing, meaning that the game I buy today will likely be functionally similar enough to games in 2020 that I’ll barely recognize a difference.

On the downside, I’ll miss the days of rapid evolution and expansion. On the upside, I can safely wait a few years before I play a game, and not really miss out on that much.

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August 11 – August 17
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 11 August 2014, 11:13 am

It's been a helluva year for PC Role Playing Games, and there's still a few to go. While Deep Silver brought us a disappointing Sacred 3 last week, seven days heals all wounds. At least, I hope.

With legacy rooted in the old Gothic game series, Risen 3 by Piranha Bytes and published by Deep Silver hits PCs this week. Characterized as a classic PC RPG that challenges players and opens a living world for them to explore, Risen 3 is the latest in a series of games that seem to be stoking a revolution against games that hold players' hands.

With Wasteland 2 still upwards of a month from its official release, I certainly wouldn't be complaining if Risen 3 jumped in to bridge the gap between the exceptional Divinity: Original Sin and the upcoming Wasteland reboot. So Risen 3 gets my nod for Game of the Week. Here's hoping it delivers.

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The Jobs Cast - Episode 4
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 9 August 2014, 11:31 am

This week Sean Sands and Shawn Andrich talk about moving up in the job world and adjusting to your new role.

Right Click Here and 'Save As' to Download!

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Dungeons & Dragons: Players Handbook, 5th Edition
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 7 August 2014, 6:26 pm

“Why do we have to move?” I asked.

In my head, I can hear the tone of my voice. It’s hard to listen to. I’m actually whining.

“It’s not fair!” I screamed, and stormed out of the house. I grabbed my backpack from the station wagon and headed down the hill, across the field, and to the horse barn. I scrambled up the hay elevator and found a corner by the window. It was hot. The air was full of hay dust. It stung my eyes. I told myself that’s why they were wet.

It didn't matter much. I opened up my backpack and grabbed the book.

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Gamers Gonna Game
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 August 2014, 10:17 pm

GWJ staff regularly receive questions that presuppose that there is a correct way to play games, some prescribed method of gamerhood. Given the various pressures of time, energy and finance — not to mention social pressures from those who cast games in a negative light — it's only natural that we, as adult gamers, sometimes fret about whether we are navigating those pressures as effectively or appropriately as we might.

We at GWJ have, over time, become comfortable with a few standard responses: If you're not having fun, stop playing. If you're not really interested in playing games right now, then don't. It's important to have ways to relax and unwind, within the limitations of our responsibilities elsewhere; within that context, being a gamer is nothing to be ashamed of.

But what exactly is a "gamer"?

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August 4 - August 10
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 August 2014, 10:43 am

The Week Ahead comes to you this week a day late and with a long list of games I've generally never heard of.

I was hoping that I'd have good cause to call our Sacred 3 this week as the Game of the Week, but instead I've read and heard nothing but bad news about the game over the past week. Your Spidey-Sense should immediately tingle when games embargo reviews until the day of the game's release. That same sense should start screaming when said game stealth releases a day or two before the embargo lifts. Technically this is not even a release for this week, as it's already out and disappointing people around the globe.

There's a big list of releases this week, most of which I've frankly never heard of. Victory at Sea and Frontline: Road to Moscow seem like intriguing strategy options, but I think I'll give the Game of the Week Ultra Street Fighter 4.

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The Quiet House
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 31 July 2014, 1:17 pm

My wife and two kids are visiting the grandparents on the Gulf Coast for the last two weeks and the next two to come. While I was able to join them for the first week of the journey, I came home some ten days ago so I could get back to work. Since then, I’ve had the house to myself.

When I get home from work tonight, the Xbox controller will be exactly where I left it. My PC will be waiting in its idle state exactly as it had been when I turned off my game last night. There will be no new dishes in the sink. The downstairs room will still be clean, and there will still be plenty of milk left in the fridge. You can see the jealousy in the eyes of some of my co-workers when I mention that I’ve got my place to myself for a month and describe this kind of existence. They’re absolutely right to be jealous.

I have two boys whom I dearly love, but there are days where I pull into the garage and I can hear them crashing and shouting through the house before I even get through the door. I know when I push through into the foyer, I will be greeted with chaos. There will be a wet swimsuit perplexingly left on the stairs, or there will be a small, unexpected pile of Goldfish crackers crushed under my son’s beanbag chair, or there will be a pup tent fully set up in the living room with my boys swinging flashlights at each other inside like they’re lightsabers.

Today I will come home and the cat will quietly pad toward me to verify my identity, and that will be the extent of the chaos. It will be glorious, and also a little sad.

Living on my own is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

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