Don't Shoot the Food – Summer Lovin' Edition

No High Scores

Ah, summer in Atlanta, where you can get drenched in sweat simply from watering the garden. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer here in the States and it’s been in the upper 90′s all week here in the Dirty Dirty South, so I’m considering summer in full swing. If it’s summertime, then it’s grilling time!

Honestly, I grill all year long, a benefit of living in a warmer state, but my Northern upbringing still makes me associate grilling with summer. I can remember going to my grandparents’ on a Sunday afternoon and my grandmother grilling out on the driveway. I don’t know why she didn’t grill in the backyard, or why my grandfather didn’t grill, but I remember her making food and then everyone eating on the picnic table in the backyard and then playing bocce. Those were great times.

So, with that in mind (and no readily apparent food that would go along with Daggerdale), I’m sharing my favorite grilling recipe, namely bacon cheeseburgers, but not any bacon cheeseburgers. No, these are bacon cheeseburgers with a twist. I apologize in advance to vegetarians, Muslims and those keeping Kosher as I’ve got nothing for you this week.

Ironically enough, this recipe comes from Steven Raichlen’s book Indoor! Grilling. Personally, I’ve never had much success grilling indoors as I can’t get my various pans hot enough, but hey, a good grilling recipe is a good grilling recipe. I have a lot of grilling recipe books like this, where I buy a book and use just one recipe. It’s not the most economical approach, but I get a good food out of it, so I don’t care.

The twist to this recipe is that the bacon and cheese are worked into the patties prior to grilling which gives the burgers an amazing taste. Add to that a nice chipotle mayo and you’ve got a hell of a burger. My good buddy Mr. Bones can attest to this as he’s had them personally. Bonesy is one of those people that makes me feel like we were brothers in another life because of how much we dig the same things. You know, the kind of guy that has you thinking that you wish you’d grown up with because of all of the fun you would have had, until you keep thinking about it and realize that you both would have ended up jailed, dead or part of an epic story that people told whenever the words “chicken coop” were mentioned. Bones is a great guy who has had a lot of shit thrown his way, but he keeps his head down and keeps on keeping on. He loves horror movies, comic books video games and is totally devoted to the Auburn Tigers and two of the most adorable kids in the world. I don’t talk to him as much as I should on account of me being an antisocial bastard, but he knows I’ve got his back and when this zombie shit goes down, and you know it will, we’ll meet half way between Valley and Atlanta and bust undead domes until civilization rebuilds itself. But I digress. Let’s make some burgers.

A New Cheeseburger – Steven Raichlen

Makes four burgers.

Ingredients
1. 4 thick slices bacon or 6 – 8 thin slices
2. 1 1/2 lb ground sirloin or ground chuck – I don’t care about the fat content when I’m making burgers as the fat usually cooks out of the meat and leaves the burgers quite juicy.
3. 6 oz smoked cheddar or other smoked cheese, coarsely grated – I use applewood smoked cheddar. Yum.
4. 1 clove garlic, minced
5. Coarse salt
6. 1/2 cup mayo
7. 1 – 2 canned chipotle peppers with 1 Tbl adobo sauce – you can usually find these in the Latin food section.
8. 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
9. Four hamburger buns
10. Lettuce, tomato, onion slices, whatever garnish you want.

Cooking Steps
1. Cook the bacon until crisp however you choose to cook your bacon (frying pan, microwave, whatever). Drain, cool and crumble it.
2. Combine the bacon, ground beef, cheese and garlic in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon. Form them into four evenly shaped patties. Use a spoon to make an indentation in the middle of each patty to keep them from turning into meatballs on the grill. Place the patties on a plate, cover them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes. Don’t skimp on the fridge time. Making the patties with your hands is going to warm them up and make them more susceptible to falling apart on the grill.
3. Heat the grill to medium.
4. While the grill is heating up, mince the chipotle peppers.
5. Mix the peppers, mayo and paprika in a bowl, stirring until everything is fully mixed. Place in the fridge until the burgers are done.
6. Season the patties with salt and grill them over medium heat for 4 – 6 minutes per side for medium well to well done burgers. Keep an eye on the burgers as the combination of cheese and bacon make them susceptible to flare-ups, so keep the patties moving around the grill.
7. Once the burgers are done, (I use the poke test to check), put them on the buns, slather some of your fancy mayo on them and dress them however you want. Delicious

For the record, the poke test is where you poke the meat and based on how much give there is, it tells you how done the meat is. If there’s a lot of give, it’s rare. If it gives just a little, but it mostly firm, it’s well done. It’s not scientific, but it beats serving a burger or steak that has a bunch of cuts in it.

Still hungry? Check out the Don’t Shoot the Food archive.

Dark Souls Story Trailer Prepares You For Death

The undead taken away and corralled up North? That doesn’t sound good. This trailer for Dark Souls, on the other hand, sounds and looks fantastic. I’ll be seeing this one at E3, provided my reputation as the World’s Laziest Gamer doesn’t precede me and Namco bans me from the booth for not being hardcore enough to take it. Should be an interesting demo. Some of those bosses look downright gargantuan.

SSX Trailer Has Me Feeling Somewhat Optimistic

While I’m still not down with the whole snowboarding-from-a-helicopter thing, this latest Mac reveal trailer for SSX has me feeling somewhat optimistic that the game will maintain what has made the series so good, namely insane, physically impossible tricks. I’m still not convinced, but I’m starting to warm to this game.

Tomb Raider Reboot Trailer Is Both Gorgeous and Waterlogged

This cinematic trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot is quite a sight to behold. I’m digging Lara’s new look am interested in seeing how the game handles her transition from young woman looking to make her mark to twin pistol wielding dinosaur slayer. Yes, I realize that sentence could be saying that she either wields twin pistols while slaying dinosaurs, or that she is the slayer of twin pistol wielding dinosaurs. Both are correct.

Junta: Viva El Presidente in Review


Over at the Hive, Queen Bee Bill Abner has just finished rewriting editing my review of Z-Man Games’ new release Junta: Viva El Presidente and it is now live for your reading pleasure. It’s a good one, a fun 30-45 minute game that encourages bad behavior and betrayal among friends with a minimal rules set that’s more concerned about letting you have fun than being clever. It’s effectively a modernization of the original 1978 Junta, but this one is actually playable and way more fun. Also, it’s one of those games that offers an experience you can’t get from video games- nothing beats looking your pal dead in the eyes and informing him that despite his generous bribe, your militia along with a coalition of other willing players will be arriving at his stately villa to enact a little regime change.

Danielle’s E3 2011 Wish list

My inbox is stuffed with Press releases of wildly varying relevancy, twitter is aflutter with buzz about big news and Bill is sending out three excel schedules a day – it’s beginning to look a lot like E3 time!

Since my esteemed colleague did such an excellent job with his wish list, I’ve decided to go ahead and post my very own. Here are the imaginary announcements that would beset my little heart with glee:

Psychonauts 2
I’m going to start by wishing for a sequel to one of my favorite games of all time – the hilarious, the quirky, the oh-so-Double Fine Psychonauts. Maybe, just maybe after a year of releasing successful lower-budget titles that charmed the pants off of critics and sold well, they’ll be blessed with a publishing deal. The chances of that happening are probably somewhere between jack and squat, but never say never.

More good indie games coming to 3DS
I really, really want to play the sorts of things I can play on an iPhone on my 3DS. I want a Battlehearts, I want a collection of Art Style titles, hell, I even want a Crayon Physics. Hopefully the 3DS store will be a source of decent indie/handheld inspiration.

More good 3DS games, period
While we’re at it, I would love to see something – anything – that really rocks on the 3DS. Imagine a brand-new 3D Mario title in actual 3D. Or a 2D Mario that uses the 3D effect in the actual gameplay. What about Pikmin, or, hey, a brand new franchise!?

An awesome, action-y sci-fi RPG that is not Mass Effect
You all know how much I adore ME, so I promise not to elaborate any further. I’d just love it if other developers took a few of the most awesome elements (the setting, the conversation options, the mix of character building and action, yes, the romance options) and spun it off in a new direction.

A new Metroid title that rejuvenates the franchise
Other M was… well, a misstep. I’d appreciate a new title that blasts it right out of the water and makes me forget the doe-eyed, dear-diary speaking 14-year-old girl version of Samus. Forever.

The new Tomb Raider game to be good
Everything I’ve heard about the Tomb Raider reboot has intrigued me, from the younger, more realistic Lara Croft to the more intricate world design.

A genuinely new puzzle title
I want my brain bended. Bent? Both.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge: The Contest!


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**Contest is now over, move along. nothing to see here**

Well what do you know it’s time for another NHS contest!

We have a copy of the Xbox 360 version of the newly released co-op dungeon hack, slash and crawl adventure Hunted: The Demon’s Forge from Bethesda and inXile Entertainment. I just started playing this today and while nowhere near ready to say much about it, I do think there’s potential for some fun co-op monster killing and come on people it’s free stuff!

It is, once again, our way of saying thanks to everyone who reads No High Scores and makes writing here a lot of fun, which is truly why we do it. Because no one pays us. Not a nickel. We’re suckers.

Just leave a comment below saying you’d like to win a copy and we always enjoy reading comments about how wonderful we are although that has no bearing on who will win (wink) . Good luck! I’ll announce the winner in the Sunday Time Waster.

Witcher 2 to 360; GoG Gets EA: It's a Live Blog!

So CD Projekt Red and GoG have some big announcement today. I’ve been seeing references to this for weeks (it feels like), but since all they’ve announced up to this point is the announcment of an announcement, I haven’t paid much attention to it. It’s like Spaceballs: “Preparing. You’re always preparing! Just go!” So if you have no idea what this is really about (probably Witcher 2 on 360), well, I’m right there with you. Let’s learn together!

Begin the (not really) “live” blog in 3… 2… 1…

2:30 – Announcment starts in 30 minutes. I can’t believe there’s a public chat window for this thing. Why would you do that?

2:45 – There’s a witcher wolf’s head on the screen. Subtle tip or generic logo?

3:00 – Now it’s a title screen. The people in chat are going crazy. Suuuuuch a bad idea.

3:15 – Still nothing. The chat people are ready for violence. An American just insulted the entire Polish nation. I’m amazed it took that long.

3:20 – It starts. Chat window and my Twitter feed can calm down now.

3:21 – Stream can’t stay streaming for more than two seconds at a time. I’m about ready to call it a day and wait for someone else’s write-up.

3:22 – Feed is smoothing out. Thank god. My first “live” blog was going to end in utter defeat. Wow. Witcher 2 sold through 400k copies in first week. Not bad for PC only game with no DRM. Showing some review scores. How come my Gameshark review isn’t there. Man, f*** these guys. I’m giving their next game a D+!

3:24 – Announced version 1.2 patch improvements – balance tweaks, key mapping, target lock tweaks, TW1 savegame import fix. Something about a “containers exploit fix.” Audio still spotty. Kind of annoying, but tolerable. They’re going on for a bit on the specific fixes. This has to be the first live video conference ever to lead off with a patch fix list. Trailblazing! Oh, and patch will be up tomorrow (6/2) and will include all previously released DLC (mostly equipment and such).

3:27 – New DLC announced that’s also part of patch 1.2. They can’t pronounce the title. I can’t either. Thank god for the slide. It’s called Barbers and Coiffures. Basically, it’s new hairstyles for Geralt. And now we’re getting video of it in action. Um…. okay? I’m so glad I’ll be doing day job work at home tonight so I can take time out to document this.

3:30 – Amazon, Gamestop, and Steam get $10 off on Witcher 2 from now until end of E3.

3:31 – We’re watching a trailer for Papercraft of Kings. I kid you not. I know this is supposed to be all in good fun, but what am I doing here? I have actual work to do while they show cute papercraft videos with edgy background music.

3:33 – They’re now saying it’s probably not that funny. Thanks for confirming. Now they’re promising to get serious and have confirmed Witcher 2 for 360. Folks, I’ve been saying this was a given since we saw the game at E3 last year. Promising no quality compromises in terms of graphics. I’m sorry, but they’re spinning. They’re really just saying it’s still going to be pretty, “You’ll have the same feeling as the players playing on the PC.” Game will be out by end of this year.

3:36 – Announcing cooperation with the creator of intro/outro guy from Witcher 1 (which was good). I can’t pronounce or spell the name. Here comes the trailer for this new work. I missed what they said this is for. Just a new intro for Witcher 2? Frame rate on video feed is awful, but I guess it looks pretty. Not sure why it’s being made this big a deal of. There will be an HD version of the trailer up at GameTrailers. (I’ve now embedded it above.)

3:38 – They’re recruiting now. They’re looking for a new head of PR & Marketing. That’s one I’ve not seen before. Maybe I should freshen up my resume since I’m going to be fired for covering this when I should be working. (Seriously, boss. I’m making up the time at home tonight. And already did last night. And likely will be this weekend as well. That’s just how much I still have to do before I leave for E3. Trust me, I’m covered!)

3:40 – Now they’re bringing some guys from Good Old Games. Reviewing GoG 2011. Over 325 games. More than 40 partners, including Activision, Ubi, and Atari. Talking about Spring software update – new downloader, personal messages, and other improvements.

3:43 – They’re announcing an announcement of an announcment. Good to see I was on the same page with them at the start of this blog. About to reveal new partner by showing a video…. and it’s…. seriously… f**ing get to it…. oh shit. Wing Commander: Privateer! Guess that means EA. I call that a win. Oh no. It’s not… oh yeah! Dungeon Keeper! Nice! I never did get to play that. I wonder how playable it really is. Ultima Underworld (1-2) up next. This was a truly groundbreaking game back in its day. 25+ total games coming, but they’ve not mentioned any other specific titles. The one mentioned are now live at GoG, though, at $5.99. Expect more games in late August/early September. Spending some time justifying why it’ll take all summer to get more games out. Like those four can’t keep people busy for awhile?

3:47 – They’re guessing at 3 questions we must all surely have. System Shock and Syndicate… not part of the deal for licensing reasons. Disappointing, but not shocking. “Never say never.” I think I just tuned out of the second question. Sorry. I’m an amateur. Third question about spreading “good vibes”? Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. Ah well, guess I should cut ‘em some slack. Reminding everyone to follow @gog.

3:50 – Heading into wrap-up to recap big points. This is where I jump off. Nice job, GoG, signing up EA! Keep that catalog coming!

UPDATE: Per Rhamorim in the comments, “Games coming later this month: Crusader: No Remorse, Magic Carpet, and Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.” Alpha f-ing Centauri. Believe it or not I never did play that game. Another of my not so secret shames. Sold.

Papo & Yo Announced for PSN


This Papo & Yo announcement has been on hold due to the PSN “issues” but now it’s officially being revealed. Watch that trailer — and stick with it. Who doesn’t like monsters and frogs? The game sounds really, really neat.

PR ahead:

A Boy and a Monster With a Frog Addiction: Minority Announces Papo & Yo for PlayStation Network…

Minority, an independent Canadian game development studio, today announced that its first title, Papo & Yo, will be coming to the PlayStation®Network next year. The game, developed through a partnership with Sony’s Pub Fund, introduces players to a boy named Quico and his new best friend, Monster, a cuddly creature with an unfortunate addiction to poisonous frogs. Players will lead Quico though a 3D adventure, solving puzzles with Monster’s help… but they’ll have to avoid being torn limb from limb by his amphibian-fueled rage in the process. T

“We formed Minority because we saw an opportunity to create complex and evocative gameplay experiences, and Papo & Yo is our first chance to prove how emotionally connected a game can be,” said Vander Caballero, Minority Creative Director. “Our team has a robust background in both AAA and independent titles, and our partnership with the Sony Pub Fund has allowed us to really stretch our wings. We can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on next week at E3.”

“Papo & Yo is a perfect match for the Sony Pub Fund,” said Justin Cooney, Senior Account Manager for Developer Relations, Sony Online Entertainment. “Our entire game analysis team absolutely loved the title and unanimously declared ‘We want to work with these people.’ The Minority team and its debut title is a representation of the kind of industry innovators we’re looking for, and we’re all very excited to see the final product in action!”

Papo & Yo will take players on a journey that explores the relationship between a boy and his sometimes-scary best friend. As players progress, Monster will react differently to their actions based on his current desires. If Monster is in a good mood, he will play with Quico and help with tasks; if Monster is hungry, he will seek out food; if that food happens to be a poisonous frog, he’ll transform into a terrifying killing machine bent on nothing but destruction. Players will need to learn to use Monster’s emotions, both good and bad, to their advantage if they want to complete their search for a cure and save their pal.

Minority will be demoing Papo & Yo at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next week in LA.

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls available on PSN right now


There’s a slew of new content on PSN today now that they’ve turned the lights back on and opened the doors. Under Siege looks pretty good, but there’s also the new Wizardry game vying for my attention and my non-compromised credit card. I’m skeptical since this is a Japanese development (through Xseed and ACQUIRE) and I don’t care for anime-styled fantasy, but it could be a gloriously old-school, turn-based RPG here. Better get the graph paper ready. Press follows.

XSEED Games, an independent-minded publisher, is pleased to announce today that Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system is now available as a digital download on the PlayStation®Network, at a price of $14.99. The release of Wizardry: Labryinth of Lost Souls will provide fans of the series as well as fans of old-school, retro RPGs with the opportunity to experience one of the classics that inspired the genre as we know it today. XSEED Games will also release a multitude of downloadable content supporting the title in the coming weeks.

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, developed by ACQUIRE, is the latest entry in the long-standing Wizardry series and the first made available for Next-Gen consoles. With its roots stretching all the way back to 1981, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls brings classic RPG-style gameplay to an all-new generation of gamers, pairing definitive in-game mechanics with modern, hand-drawn graphics presented in gorgeous high definition.

About Wizardry

With 30 years of historic momentum, Wizardry is one of gaming’s oldest franchises, and is widely recognized as being one of the most influential titles in the RPG genre, earning it the nickname, “The Granddaddy of RPGs.” As one of the first games to feature grid-based dungeon crawling presented from a unique first-person perspective that remains a core part of the gaming experience today, Wizardry throws players into an epic fantasy adventure as they battle their way through dungeons with the aid of medieval weapons and magic.

These fundamental building blocks from 30 years ago form the basis of the gameplay mechanics upon which Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is built. While these mechanics may seem simple at first glance, experienced players and hardcore RPG fans will appreciate the depth offered by Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls’ deep and intricate dungeons and battles. By pairing classic gameplay with contemporary high-definition images drawn by renowned commercial artist Yuki Hayabusa, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls offers a unique experience in today’s gaming landscape, granting players the choice between five playable races and ten individual characters, each featuring a unique backstory. With eight playable classes, players can easily tailor their character to a preferred style of gameplay – be it a heavy-handed swordsman or a deft wielder of magic – in order to help them battle through the game’s mix of 120 distinctive monsters.

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, developed by ACQUIRE and published by XSEED Games, is currently available for download via the PlayStation Network, with additional downloadable content slated for release in the coming weeks. The game is rated “T” (for Teen) by the ESRB. More information can be found by visiting the game’s official website at www.wizardryps3.com