I’m having a lot of trouble concentrating on writing this post today, to be honest with you.  This morning was my son’s first day at a new pre-school, and… it didn’t go so well.  Now, this is a common thing among toddlers, and it’s a process that he’s already been through a few times, and …

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I am in a weird spot when it comes to David Cage.  On the one hand, I’ve grown tired of shooters and mindless violence and flashy, empty spectacle, and so I’m very appreciative of games with ambition; games that clearly meant something to their creators; games that actively try to do something different.  On the other …

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belt tightening

June 26, 2013


Last night, the wife and I had a tough conversation about money.

Our 3-month old son (that’s him in the site’s header image, by the way) had his first “transition” daycare visit this morning, and he starts going in earnest in 2 weeks.  And for us to be able to afford daycare – and keep ourselves in baby supplies, and pay the rent and the rest of our bills, and also eat – well, we’re already cutting it pretty close, and there’s not a hell of a lot of wiggle room.  I’ve also got some rather sizable debt to pay off, too, and while I’ve made considerable progress on that front I’ve still got a ways to go, which makes this all the more anxiety-inducing.

Something’s got to give, basically.

And after some online banking and some soul-searching (and a little bit of drinking), I came to the realization that the only thing I really spend any extra money on these days is games.

This kinda sucks, as you might imagine – I am a self-professed consumer whore – but the more I think about it, this is not the worst time to be a broke gamer.   If I’m truly honest with myself, there’s really only one game coming out this year that I need in any sort of non-negotiable way.  Steam will have having its Summer Sale any minute now, too, and I could probably see myself picking up one or two things on my wishlist if they’re discounted enough – but let’s be honest here, after all the previous Steam Sales, there’s really not all that much that’s left for me to buy.  And I can certainly pare down my Gamefly account to one game at a time, as opposed to three, to be able to handle the rest of the to-do list.

Hell, let’s look at that to-do list (aka my GameQ) while we’re here, and I’ll take this opportunity to debut a new feature I’m calling Keep or Cut:

  • Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS) – I don’t even know what this is, to be honest – I’d just heard some positive word of mouth, and I wanted any excuse to keep my 3DS busy.  Will most likely CUT.
  • Mario & Luigi Dream Team (3DS) – if I can finish The Last of Us quickly enough, I should be able to rent this close to its release date.  Since Mario Golf: World Tour got pushed to 2014, this is the only must-have 3DS game I can see for the rest of 2013.  KEEP.
  • Saints Row 4 – I’m a big Saints Row fan, but I’ve had my doubts about this ever since they first announced it.  I do not expect high review scores, though I’d love to be pleasantly surprised.  KEEP, but with reservations.
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist – this was always only going to be a rental.  Chaos Theory was the high watermark for the series, and everything since then has been pretty disappointing.  Haven’t seen any indication that I should revise my expectations.  CUT.
  • Rayman Legends – Assuming this is as delightful as Origins was, this is an automatic KEEP.  Though I really ought to go back and finish Origins first.
  • GTA V – I’m not sure why this is still on my rental queue, as I’m probably going to pre-order it as soon as I finish this post.  (Still hoping for a PC release, though.)  KEEP.
  • Beyond: Two SoulsIs this the PS3’s final swan song?  More to the point – do I care?  While I remain in awe of David Cage’s wild ambition, I never finished Heavy Rain and didn’t really enjoy what I’d played, either.  Still, I’m cautiously optimistic, so this gets a KEEP.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins – as far as I can tell, this is the last “big” release of 2013 for current-gen consoles that I have any real interest in, since I don’t care about Call of Duty and I’ve lost all my faith in Assassin’s Creed.   But we all know this isn’t a Rocksteady joint, and this game is starting to smell like a cash-in.  CUT.

Now, you’ll notice that there’s no next-gen titles on this list.  That’s because I probably can’t afford a next-gen console this year; but even if I could, I still haven’t yet decided between the PS4 and the Xbox One.  I’m obviously leaning towards the PS4, but if Microsoft continues its backtracking ways and decides to play ball with indie developers by putting a less-restrictive self-publishing policy in place, well, that might keep the pendulum swinging the other way.  In any event, the only real “next-gen” game that speaks to me in any meaningful way is Watch Dogs, and that’s also coming to PC – which is a platform that already speaks to my current gaming habits anyway.

And speaking of the PC, the other clear upside to being on an austerity budget for the foreseeable future is that there’s really no excuse anymore for me to not finally tackle the GIGANTIC backlog of unfinished games I have in my Steam library.  Hell, even if I only stuck to seeing all the stuff in Skyrim that I never saw on the 360, that would be plenty.  (Now I just need to get over my seething Skyrim rage, which I’ve never quite managed to quell.)

I kinda don’t feel so terrible about this anymore.  I’ll call that a win.

the obligatory PS4 post

February 21, 2013


Now that the apartment move is over, and my life is relatively settled for the moment (i.e., before the baby’s arrival in early April), I am hopeful to return to a more regular posting schedule.  Indeed, I’d hoped to have some sort of liveblog here regarding last night’s Sony announcements, but, alas, the conference took place during the duration of my commute home from work, and so I didn’t get a chance to check out what had transpired until it was already over.

What did we actually learn last night?  We saw the new controller, we learned about Playstation Cloud (and a little bit of how it will impact backwards-compatibility, though not quite enough for my tastes), we saw surface-level specifications, and we saw some launch window games and a list of third parties who’ll be  supporting the PS4.  We did not see the actual PS4, nor did we get a release date or a price.  (I expect those to be released at E3, for whatever that’s worth.)

assume the PS4 will still be using Blu-Ray discs; I’m not sure that was mentioned anywhere, though I can’t imagine they’d be giving up on that format.

Some people were bummed that there was no new Uncharted game announced, but, I mean, come on – Naughty Dog is still in the last stages of development on The Last of Us, and I’d have to imagine that anything Uncharted-related is way too early to show just yet, especially if Sony wants to show us how powerful the PS4 is.

The Diablo 3 announcement shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though I guess I was still surprised that Blizzard was still bothering with it.   I burned myself out on that game last year, and playing it with a controller isn’t going to make me like it again – especially if I can’t carry over my progress from the PC.

Scooping up Jonathan Blow’s The Witness as a timed exclusive did come as a big surprise, however, and that’s the news that I’m most excited about.  Even if it’s also coming to iOS and PC and, presumably, the next Xbox.

As for the other games that Sony announced – I can’t say I’m particularly excited about any of them.  For one thing, I have to imagine that stuff like Capcom’s Deep Down, Bungie’s Destiny and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs are also coming to Microsoft’s machine.  And as for Sony’s exclusives, well, I’ve never been that big of a Killzone fan, and I found Infamous 2 to be a bit disappointing.  

That being said, I wasn’t particularly wowed by the PS3 when it came out, either.  But although most of what I play is on the Xbox, I’ve really enjoyed Sony’s exclusive PS3 titles, for the most part – I still think Uncharted 2 is one of the best games of this generation.

Your move, Microsoft.

>This post was originally intended to be a mini-rant about Sony’s ass-backwards approach to online interactivity, but then I glanced at my RSS feed and they came out with a press release that suddenly makes the PSP instantly relevant again. So: toh-may-toh, toh-mah-toh. I say: why not write about both? When I bought my Blackberry …

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>I’d thought I’d handled my 360’s recent death rather calmly, all things considered; it happened the night before The Lost & Damned came out, so I already knew I wouldn’t be playing it – I imagine I’d have been a lot more pissed off if I’d bought the DLC and then found out my 360 …

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