Splendor Review

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When I cracked the shrink on Splendor (what happened to the missing ‘u’?), I got a nasty surprise. I really thought that so many people had taken the piss out of the overuse of the “Renaissance merchants impressing nobility” theme in games that it had rightly been killed, had its head cut off and its mouth stuffed with garlic-infused meeples that it was gone forever. Yet it it was again, in my hands, in 2014.

But review copies are review copies, so with a heavy heart I began to dig into the box. A deck of cards with some lovely, if rather generic, artwork depicting various scenese of Renaissance life. Some delightfully hefty gem tokens in various colours. A punchboard of nobles and a page of rules. So it was easy to learn, and it looked nice.

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Cracked LCD- Looking at Legendary: Kirby Wept.

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Upper Deck’s Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game was released in 2012 and it’s been a successful product line supported by one big box expansions, two small ones and more on the way. Reviews have been mostly positive and for good reason. It’s a fun to play, easy to play deckbuilder that brings forward some of the best elements of previous games in the genre but layered with Marvel Comics characters, an appealing competitive but co-op approach and a touch of storytelling. Fans of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men and more obscure heroes like Iron Fist and Moon Knight will find a lot to like in this game.

But I’m not here to review the game.  I’m already well behind the review curve on and besides that, I just picked it up in a trade and have only just started getting into it. Instead, I’m here to administer a critical beatdown in the name of good taste and aesthetics. Legendary is a visual nightmare, a trainwreck of graphic design that dashes the viewer’s eyes against tacky artwork, horrible layouts, poorly chosen typography, ill-advised effects and an overall failure to visually present a game based upon a highly visual medium. Continue Reading…

No, Facebook Hasn’t Ruined Occulus

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The much anticipated, much ballyhooed VR device, Oculus Rift, is now a part of the Facebook empire. I know this because as I sat down at dinner last night I felt a great disturbance, as if half the people I follow on Twitter had spontaneously combusted. It’s rather funny to me how much hugely successful companies are hated. It’s not that such hate isn’t ever deserved so much as how much it eclipses in people’s minds what initially made it popular in the first place.

Never did more people hate Microsoft than when everyone and their brother used Windows. I’m not sure Facebook could be anymore hated right now if it tried, this despite about a quadrillion people still actively using it, and by choice. I tend not to get too wrapped up in that hate and, really, you shouldn’t either, especially over the Oculus acquisition. Not because Facebook won’t do terrible terrible things to it, but because they haven’t yet. The yet is important. It’s entirely possible it goes the other way. So let’s just all breathe for a minute. 

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #204

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In episode #2014 of Jumping the Shark, trust issues abound as Brandon and I sink into the hope-free and forlorn streets of the latest from Telltale Games. The spoiler lamp is firmly lit as we talk about episode 2 of The Wolf Among Us and the second season’s second chapter of The Walking Dead. Why is The Wolf so angry? Is Clementine one of the best characters currently going? Which of these two fine games is doing the best job laying out it’s story? Why are there so many twos in this post? All this, along with the resolution to my Diablo 3 fiasco, is in store for you this week! (Again, the spoiler lamp is lit!)

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Streaming Seattle’s Second Son Soon

I’ll be streaming some inFAMOUS: Second Son tonight at 7PM EST. Well, 7ish. You know how these things go. You can either watch the broadcast here or head over to my Twitch channel at Twitch.tv/misterbinky to get the full streaming experience. Note: the full streaming experience means that you can drop comments in the chat window and maybe have them addressed by me but probably not as I seriously doubt I’ll be able to play and read comments at the same time.

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Cracked LCD- There Will Be Games HD IV: Tyranny and the Hired Hand

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By popular request, here’s another entry in my reprint series of “There Will Be Games”, a saga of hobby game store ownership…this year will be ten years since we opened, I can’t believe it. In this segment we’re up and running but The Man, symbolized in our story by The Barrister, is already coming down on the kids who just want to get their kicks.  Who’s ever heard of wearing a tie into a game store, anyway?

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Cracked LCD- Warhammer: Diskwars in Review

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My first reaction to Fantasy Flight Games’ Warhammer: Diskwars was “they’re bringing back Diskwars? What’s next, Vortex?” My second reaction, after reading the advance post of the rules was “hey, this actually looks pretty fun.” My third reaction after playing it was “holy shit, I’ve been waiting for this game my entire gaming life.” Continue Reading…

It’s Dark Souls 2 Week

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Thank God. I am reborn.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is Manipulative and Perfect

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I played Brothers: A Tale of Two sons over a month ago. I sat down on a Saturday afternoon, looking for a break helping my kids cram a month’s worth of science project research into a single weekend. I had no clue what kind of experience I was in for. I thought it was just a cutesy game about two brothers, which you control simultaneously, where you spent a few hours overcoming obstacles, got a happy ending, and then forgot about the game forever.

About three hours later I sat, dumbfounded, as the credits rolled. I don’t know precisely how to frame what this game is, but I do know there is no other game of any kind or length that had me from the word go and wouldn’t release me until it was finished with me rather than I with it. Forgettable it is not.

The question becomes how to describe what makes it so unique and so special. The game, at its core, is horribly manipulative. It’s also heartfelt and full of wonder and sad and note perfect. I’ve put this post off for weeks on end because I simply do not know how to write about it. I don’t know how to do justice to what Starbreeze Studios has concocted.

After the break, I take my best shot in a deeper, rather spoilery dive…

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No High Scores’ Titanfall Coverage HERE!

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Oh boy, unless you live in South Africa or made the wise decision to not purchase the Microsoft Xbox One Cable TV Reciever and Political Advertisement Delivery Device, the much-ballyhooed TITANFALL arrives tomorrow!  It is sure to be the beginning of at least three years of a glorious run before the servers shut down and the game is no longer playable since it’s a mulitplayer only, online online title. You may have noticed that here at NHS we haven’t written about it. The reason for this is threefold: 1)I don’t think any of us have an Xbox One 2) I don’t think any of us really care and 3) you can read piles of articles about TITANFALL over at Electronic Arts’ marketing site, IGN.com. But we’ve got to keep up with the teenybopper video game blogs to look legit,  so I thought I would step up to make sure that NHS has at least one article about this system-selling sure-to-be blockbuster. So here’s a screenshot of Iron Soldier for the Atari Jaguar.

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