What I'm Playing: Loose Ends Edition

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Every summer, I fall into the same routine. I buy a bunch of games through the sales on Steam, Good old Games and Humble Bundle with every intention of playing every one to completion. On top of that, I almost always have some console game or another to finish that ends up gathering dust through no fault of its own. This year, I have resolved to complete at least five of the neglected games in my list. I've already finished two of them (Far Cry 4 and Arkham Knight) leaving me to talk briefly about the remaining three games on my list.

Polygon's Piece on EA is Fantastic and You Should Read it Now

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This week I have family visiting and will be cutting down my posts to spend more time with them. Today, I'd like to direct you to a recent cover story from Polygon. It is a very well researched and insightful piece about EA, the publisher we all love to hate. Please take some time to check it out. It's a lengthy story, so I'd set aside at least 40 minutes to read through it.

ESL Discussing Anti-Doping Measures

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In a recent video interview, Kory "Semphis" Friesen , formerly of Cloud9 talked about using Adderall during a CS: GO tournament in March. Adderall is a prescription amphetamine abused by many competitive gamers to heighten focus and remain alert. Friesen claimed the entire team was using the drug at the time of the ESL Katowice One event last March. In response, the ESL has announced that it is taking measures to counteract doping during its events. The extent of these measures are yet to be determined, but it is an important step for professional gaming.

The Guardian's See-Saw: Up and Down with Destiny

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My time with Bungie's latest game has been tumultuous. The Dark Below was a nasty blow to many players, making most of their higher level gear unimportant and forcing them through a largely uninteresting story and a raid based more on just killing things than working as a team. The House of Wolves has brought a number of those scorned players (myself included) back into the fold by adding some new and varied content as well as offering players a simpler way to up their equipment without invalidating it. For a while it seemed that Bungie had learned some lessons about running the game, but it didn't take long for the other shoe to drop.

REDUX: My Old Nemesis

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's time for another blast from the past. While drafting a piece on my current feelings for Bungie's Destiny, I was reminded of my old fight with Ninja Gaiden. Sure, my issues with Destiny are a bit different than my long fight with the hideously difficult Ninja Gaiden, but many of the emotions involved are the same.

Arkham Knight Was Great Until it Ended

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

There has been a lot of talk, good and bad, about Arkham Knight. The PC port was a mess, but is being fixed. The console version has been very well received, being hailed as "Batman, perfected." I've finished the campaign and have seen all parts of the ending. I slogged through hordes of enemies and slagged countless tanks and drones before it was done. While I had a lot of fun in the process, the endings have been more than a bit of  letdown.


REDUX: DLC (If Only I'd Been Right About This)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I was perusing some of the older pieces on the site today and came across this piece from many years back about the expanding role of the player in additional content. As far as console games go, I'm afraid that I was quite incorrect in my predictions. Fallout 4 may be the closest thing we see to my optimistic view of the future.

Downloadable content. This generation of consoles is well acquainted with the concept. Additional maps, weapons, vehicles, missions, songs, stories, costumes, what have you. The games that survive the test of time in this generation are the ones with regular downloadable content be it in the form of microtransactions, episodic gaming, or just regular updates and fixes from the developers.

Smoke in the Air: Firewatch

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We live in the Pacific Northwest. At the moment, the air is hazy with smoke from a 2,000 acre wildfire less less than 50 miles from our town. We are told that the fire has not grown much, and there is no word of any evacuation at this time. Things are under control and we are at no risk of burning to a crisp. But all this smoke and talk of wildfires got me thinking about Firewatch, the indie game from Campo Santo. Due out later this year, Firewatch is a first person mystery game that takes place in the Wyoming wilderness.

Go Support Girls Make Games, Right Now

Thursday, July 2, 2015

While browsing the Humble Bundle site today, I came across the latest Weekly Bundle. Titled the Leading Ladies 2 Bundle, it features up to seven games with female protagonists. Among the collection is the unbelievably excellent Sunset, a story driven game that defies classification and Lumino City, a puzzley adventure game in a gorgeous hand-crafted world.

Proceeds of this bundle go to Girls Make Games, a series of summer camps and game jams for young girls that want to, well, make games. Current statistics list 47% of gamers as female, but women only make up 12% of people working in the industry. There are currently fewer women working in development positions now than in the eighties. That's a pretty sad fact.

Do what you can to support this bundle. If you're not interested in the games, consider gifting them to someone who is. $12 will get you all seven games. You can customize how your money is distributed between developers, Girls Make Games and a tip for Humble Bundle. The bundle is available through July 8th.

That's it. Get over to Humble Bundle or donate directly to Girls Make Games.