Tuesday Babbling – Returns on a Wednesday Edition

xboxone

I’ve had this post, half-finished, in the hopper for about three weeks. I call it being fashionably late to the party. Regardless, there’s been much ballyhoo about the Xbox One in the weeks since Microsoft disappointed gamers everywhere by not making them center stage at The Grand Unwrapping of 2013. Why we seem to care so much about this is rather beyond me.

Folks, this one wasn’t about us and that’s neither a slight, nor a problem…

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What “Next Generation” Means to Me

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We’re a couple of days away from this year’s E3, when the Captains of the Video Game Industry will issue forth with the usual ridiculous spectacle as the suits take the stage to tell us what we can expect in the coming year. Of course, the 2013 edition of E3 is different than the last eight because we’re going to be told more completely (?) what the “next generation” of console gaming is going to look like. Speaking as someone who has literally played video games for my entire life, for over 30 years- I could not give two flying, flipping f#$ks and a deep-bowel s&%t about what Don Mattrick or any of the other used car salesmen they’ll trot out on stage have to say. Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #176

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bill was off sunning himself on a rock this past week (for the visual, you are most welcome), so JtS #176 marks the triumphant return of the Brakke and Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power (TM)! This week we get funky with our iPads as Brandon breaks in Warhammer: Quest and its mixed critical reception. I take to the skies in my trusty Sopwith Camel and go head-to-head with WWI-era German fighter planes in Sid Meier’s surprisingly addictive turn-based strategy game, Ace Patrol. And, we talk a whole mess of Knights of the Old Republic, as I venture a bit deeper into Obsidian’s sequel (w/Content Restoration Mod) and Brandon ponders whether or not to get the stealthily released iPad port of the original game. All this and stories of flayed fingers abound this week, so enjoy!

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Calendar Man – Week of 6/3

Remember Me shot 1

This week sees the release of Capcom’s Remember Me (PS3, 360), a title that appears to have divided critics, as I had expected. I hope it’s at least interesting as I want something interesting to play. I’m starting to feel like everything I play is a shadow of something else. Here’s hoping.

This week also gets the general availability of Marvel Heroes as well as the Odyssey expansion for EVE Online for all of your MMO needs and State of Decay (XBLA), Gunpoint (PC) and PA: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 for your indie needs. In other PC news, Prime World Defenders releases as does the Allied Corps expansion for Panzer Corps and the Forbidden Worlds expansion for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Sentinels of the Multiverse Retroview

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I liked- but most definitely did not love- Greater Than Games’ Sentinels of the Multiverse back when I first reviewed it in 2011. Less than two years on, the game has seen three major add-ons (Rook City, Infernal Relics, Shattered Timelines )and an array of character, villain, and environment micro-expansions. I actually did not realize that there was a second edition, dubbed the “Enhanced Edition” that clears up some rules issues, adds a new balancing mechanic based on the number of players, and provides much-needed status tokens. I thought it would be a great candidate for the Retroview treatment, just as the Lord of the Rings LCG was. Thanks to a charitable friend, I was able to get my hands on practically everything available for the game to date so I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks playing solo and multiplayer games to capture a sense of where I am with the game at this stage in its apparently ongoing development. Continue Reading…

Mobile HK-47 Is the Very Bestest HK-47

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That headline is a misnomer. Any HK-47 is the best HK-47 of all, mobile or otherwise. I am, of course, referring to everyone’s favorite cranky assassin droid from Knights of the Old Republic. In one of the strangest game announcements in recent memory, the iPad version of KOTOR was revealed to the world today in the form of an IGN review. What follows was the strangest collection of journalistic twists and turns I’ve ever seen. Many sites didn’t want to report that an iPad version of KOTOR existed, they instead reported that IGN had reviewed an iPad port of KOTOR as if the latter would be possible without the former. I’m all for hedging one’s bets and sure, I’ve had issue with IGN content in the past, but I’d never accuse them, or anyone for that matter, of outright lying and making up a review of a non-existent product.

I can certainly understand exclusive reviews, but keeping the very existence of your game completely under wraps until the review drops seems like an odd choice. I know that many PR shops are experimenting with shorter PR cycles, Evolve, for example, and I’m all for it, but there’s short and then there’s this. Sure, it’s great for the consumer to read about a game for the first time, see it in iTunes and buy it, but this is KOTOR we’re talking about. Even if the port was utter crap, many people would buy it just for the nostalgia factor. Instead we got a morning of articles about how this game may or may not exist.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I wouldn’t mind taking a walk on the Dark Side this time around, but for me, so much of what made KOTOR awesome was the story twist. Now that I know it’s coming, will it still be worth it? What’s a meatbag to do?

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #175

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week’s rendition of the Big Show features part two of Bill and Brandon’s descent into the murky underbelly of Metro: Last Light. We take a look at Microsoft’s showy review of Xbox One from every possible angle and conclude that it’s still a big box of questions without much in the way of answers. What did you think? Did Microsoft do enough to convince you to be a buyer on launch day?

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Calendar Man – Week of 5/27

fuse shot 1

Calendar Man is a day late this week on account of two things. One is Memorial Day. The other is my run-in with a utility knife to the tune of 12 stitches in the middle finger of my left hand. Typing has been compromised, to say the least. On the plus side, I get a week’s vacation from finishing my basement. Yay, stitches.

This week has the release of Fuse (PS3, 360), Insomniac’s four person co-op alien weapon game. I played the demo and was a bit worried over the fact that my AI teammates did not know that my gun was a mobile shield platform. They all seemed content to stick behind actual cover and leave me to die. Then again, seeing how I did die so much, maybe they were on to something. I’ll have more thoughts later in the week when my copy arrives. Also out this week is GRID 2 (PS3, 360, PC), a game about cars, not grids. Other releases include the Old Gods expansion for Crusader Kings II, Daedalic’s Night of the Rabbit and other games I can’t tell you about at the moment because I think bees are building a hive in my stitches.

I’ll leave you to your own deal finding due to the aforementioned bees, but don’t worry. My main man Cheapy D has got your back. He always does.

Mice and Mystics Review

Mice & Mystics box shot

Once upon a time, there was a boy. And the boy loved games very much.

He would pester his friends and his parents to play games all the time, but while they loved him, they didn’t love games quite so much and he never seemed to get to play as much as he would like. Then, one day, he read a book about a game called Dungeons & Dragons, and his little eyes grew round and bright like brass buttons, and he knew his world would never be the same again.

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Cracked LCD Classics- There Will Be Games HD #1

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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…