It’s turning to summer here in Atlanta, which means soon it will be so humid that you will be able to look out your window and see schools of fish swimming by. For most folks, summertime makes them think of dreadful things like beaches and cookouts. For me, it takes me back to the summer of 2006 when the game shop I owned and operated with two partners , Atlanta Game Factory, was going strong. I think of scorching hot days driving through Atlanta rush hour traffic in my beloved and airless ’82 Chevrolet Scottsdale, trying to get to a local distributor to pick up Magic cards for the Friday Night Magic booster draft. I remember sitting out back priming Warmachine figures and shooting the shit with Peter, Mike, and Elliot. Waking up every warm morning and not caring one lick that I had a twelve hour work day ahead of me. It was my favorite time with the store, the best summer I ever had. Continue Reading…
Here’s something you may not know about me, although if you’ve been listening to the podcast you’ve probably picked up on it. I’m real big into routines. Routines, patterns, ruts whatever you want to call it. I’m not a big changer. I don’t like change. Change is scary. Well, not all change. Quarters are pretty cool, even if you can’t do anything with them.
Since we started this site, I’ve had a routine as to when I post. Calendar Man on Mondays, long form stuff on Wednesdays and Fridays with other stuff sprinkled within. Well, the Friday stuff dropped off a few months ago, as did the stuff in between, leaving me with just Wednesday. Now, unfortunately, that’s on the verge of getting dropped too as I’m starting to get tired. It happens. We all have lulls. I’ve been pretty good at fighting them, but the train is presently pulling into lull station and on it, I see a very comfy chair with my name on it.
In case you didn’t get the memo, Microsoft just revealed its new $500 (?) television remote control/cable box called the Xbox 361. It also may play some video games, according to some suit in a blazer and jeans for the special occasion.
The new Call of Duty game was shown and it will be a Durango exclusive for a couple of days. As long as you pretend that games like Thief, Vanquish, and Brink never existed it will provide innovative new gameplay experiences like the ability to lean and slide. Also, for the first time ever in a video game, there is a dog. What is most impressive though, according to the video I watched, is how the Xbox Infinity will simulate Captain Price’s arm hairs better than ever before. There were also some wireframes that show how your dudebro entertainment experience will come alive like never before with the NextBox. I thought it was pretty touching seeing those soldiers cuddling up. I hope my bros will purchase the Xbox instead of the PS4 so that we can share the man-love a couple of days early.
Nothing too exciting this week for me, although I am curious about the new Xbox reveal thingy. I know that’s not a game, but given the games that are out this week, it’s the most interesting video game related item on the docket.
Let’s see, the 3DS gets yet another remake with Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations (PS3, 360, Wii U) tells you what happens between RE4 and RE5, as if the lack of that knowledge was keeping you up at night and Fast & Furious: Showdown (PS3, 3DS, 360, Wii U, PC) ushers in another summer of movie tie-in games. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing hits the PC and I have the floppy, E3 hat to prove it, Fallen Enchantress gets the Legendary Heroes expansion and LEGO Batman 2 and Sniper Elite V2 hit the Wii U. Good times.
By now, I’ve become something of a master at losing against the AI in Eclipse. I’d go so far to say that no one loses in such spectacular fashion as I do. Truly, I have elevated it to an art form.
Come with me on my journey of life, loss and obscene, alien faced excess.
This week sees the release of the first THQ property of the post-THQ era. Metro: Last Light (360, PC, PS3) must have been pretty much done by the time THQ closed its doors, so hopefully the restructuring will have minimal impact. It is winging its way to me as we speak, and I would imagine Barnes and Bill are also going to play it, so it should be a Metro-palooza ’round these parts.
Me, I started Deadly Premonition last night. It’s very weird. I’m also enjoying the hell out of Nolan North’s performance in Spec Ops: The Line, even if the combat is somewhat generic and the Heart of Darkness allusions are a bit thick. Etrian Odyssey IV has been shown the back burner in favor of Eclipse and Transformer: Legends with the latter occupying more and more of my time. Card management is hell!
As if the sheer, overwhelming power of my writing wasn’t enough to leave you punch-drunk, staggering across the page with confusion, this week I’m going to serve up short reviews of two totally unrelated expansions. First is Power Up for the acclaimed family game of giant monster ultraviolence, King of Tokyo. Second is the Slave I ship for the acclaimed geek’s game of small fighter ultraviolence, X-Wing. So if you own one and not the other, please do skip accordingly.
You might call them “Risk-style” or “take over the world” games. You may even call them “garbage”. But myself and a lot of other folks writing and thinking about board games have taken to referring to those in which you control and conquer spatially arranged territories on a map with on-board pawns and engage in conflict resolution to determine placement or removal of pieces with other players as “Dudes on a Map” or DoaM games. I’ve been thinking a lot about the genre lately since it is one of what is really a very small number of distinguishable macro-genres among board game classifications, and also because there have been so many damn good, damn innovative games in this genre over the past ten years.
Etrian Odyssey IV is a game about maps.
It may look like a game about dungeons and monsters and airships, but it’s really about maps. Sometimes games look like they’re about one thing but they’re really about another. The World Ends With You looked like it was about Japanese teens fighting shadow monsters but it wasn’t. It was about pins. Pins and fashion. It was about equipping pins and leveling up pins and not equipping pins to level up your pins and switching out your pins and admiring your pins. All your pins. So many pins. It was also about wearing unpopular clothes and taking the attack hit for your unorthodox fashion sense, only to see your dress code skyrocket up to popularity. The World Ends With You was into wool caps before you were into wool caps. Now that you’re into wool caps, it is so over wool caps.
I would have liked to play Soul Sacrifice, the Vita’s new action-RPG thingy, but alas, I don’t see many releases on the horizon for the handheld and I wanted to make some cash while there was cash to be made. Sorry Soul Sacrifice, I hope people like you.
Far Cry 3 continues to impress, mostly for all of the brainless mayhem but occasionally for being able to take out an entire outpost by letting a tiger out of a cage and having it do all of the hard work for me. Funny story: I warped to a completed outpost, heard a tiger growl, went outside and promptly got mauled to death. The tiger giveth and the tiger taketh away. That being said, I’m all in for Blood Dragon so yeah, Ubisoft, go on with your bad self.