Weekend Playlist, 12/4/2009
Ryan Kuo: I have a ton of games to play through for this year's IGF. These range from quite interesting to quite frankly awful, and include such gems as Hot Potato Online and Danger Balls. Woo!
Between frantic IGF sessions I'll be continuing in Red Faction: Guerrilla and Brütal Legend. I really didn't want to mention Brütal Legend because I'm sick and tired of formatting that umlaut, but the writing and music and hack-and-rhythm-and-strategy gameplay have completely won me over. And Red Faction: Guerrilla is easily my favorite sandbox game, now that I've piloted a giant mech in two spectacular missions. All it needs is a house I can decorate. And then demolish, and rebuild, and demolish again, over and over.
And I'd like to put in some more time in with Left 4 Dead 2 (with friends, of course). We got ourselves Depeche Mode T-shirts last night in one of the more epic gaming sessions I've had recently.
Marc Saltzman: Hot Potato Online? Danger Balls? Yikes.
This weekend I'll be playing more Assassin's Creed II (yay), Avatar (meh) and a PC game called Campfire Legends: The Hookman (interesting). Also, I'm so hooked on some iPhone games, like 5 Ways to Kill Yourself and Ravensword.
William Abner: Hopefully more L4D2 Versus mode, as Gus has become my nemesis. I'm also going to play the Divinity II beta and dabble with Assassin's Creed II.
Jason McMaster: IGF judging and Assassin's Creed II are my weekend entertainment. Also going to spend some time with Tony Hawk: Ride to see if I can send the board through my TV.
Troy Goodfellow: This weekend, it's a lot more Solium Infernum. For all the game's many problems and its unnecessary opaqueness, any serious student of games as rules and decisions -- not as interactive movies and adrenaline fueled fun-rides -- has to take a look at this game.
Evan Narcisse: I just got The Saboteur and will try to give it some time this weekend, if only to pour one out for what we once knew as Pandemic. I'm in the early going of Assassin's Creed II and am enjoying how much more personality Ezio has compared to Altaïr from AC1. I played my chunk of Left 4 Dead 2 last weekend and, man is that game ever better than the first. And, to steal a Jones catchphrase, I want to put a baby in Rochelle.
Chris Buecheler: I finished what I think is the main storyline in Torchlight. At least, I killed the big four-legged pissed-off thing. Now I'm exploring some sort of crypt, but it seems to be more additional quests than story. I'm also still playing NBA 2K10, but I'm going to stop mentioning that because it's likely to be ongoing for many moons. In addition to all that, I picked up the original Left 4 Dead for eight bucks during the Black Friday sale on Steam, and I'm playing my way through the single-player part of it. Pretty fun!
Gus Mastrapa: I suppose I should stop mentioning Left 4 Dead 2, but I just can't. I want you guys to keep coming to play with me! Its been fun playing with Ryan and Will. I'm also reviewing the new Zelda game for Crispy, so I'll be huddled on the couch playing that most of the weekend.
And I too have IGF games and a best-games-of-the-year backlog to get to. I really need to spend time with Assassin's Creed II. I'm pretty sure I'm done with Uncharted 2 (wasn't really feeling it).
Steve Steinberg: Heading back into Arkham Asylum. Also grabbed Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes for some old-school, turn-based RPG stuff on the DS. Digging streaming Netflix content on the PS3, but the interface isn't nearly as user-friendly as it is on the 360 and the fact that the Netflix disc has to be in the machine for stuff to stream is a drag.
Kyle Orland: I'm in for some Left 4 Dead 2 action, guys. Let me know when you're playing.
Oh, and I'll be struggling to find time to get through all the games I probably should have beaten by now. 'Tis the season...
Scott Jones: Will hopefully polish off Assassin's Creed II. After a good 15 hours, there's still really no end in sight. As Chief Brody says in "Jaws": "We're going to need a bigger boat."
I'm also winding my way through The Saboteur. I like the boobs, but the whole thing so far feels like Grand Theft Auto: Europe circa the PS2 era. (My review should be up on CG by Tuesday.)
And I'm hoping to log some hours in the new Zelda. Why? Hell, I don't know. I never finished Twilight Princess, and I've been kind of down on Zelda lately. No doubt I'll be getting my sword, then my boomerang, then my slingshot, then I will find a Fairy Fountain, etc. Without turning on the DS, if I just sit here very still and close my eyes really tight, I can probably play through the whole thing ... in my mind.
Yes, that is just a small example of the incredible mind powers that I possess.
Chris Buecheler: Scott just accurately summed up why I essentially stopped playing Nintendo games systems after the SNES, and why I gave my GameCube away to my younger brother for free. :P
Gus Mastrapa: Intelligent Systems.
Kyle Orland: Yeah, Super Mario 64 was just like Super Mario World. And Super Mario Galaxy was just a straight copy of both of them. You aren't missing anything.
Chris Buecheler: I played Mario 64 in its entirety, and felt that it was at the time probably the best game that had ever been made. However, it's not really much of a change from Super Mario World other than that it's in 3-D. The gameplay mechanics remain the same. All that said, yes, it was an excellent game. On the other hand, all of the Zeldas since Link to the Past have been disappointing, the Metroid series absolutely peaked with Super Metroid, the Mario Kart series hasn't really changed in years ... etc.
Galaxy held no interest for me. I've been done with all platformers for years, much like I don't play multiplayer anymore. I'm no longer interested in gameplay mechanics that rely on rote memorization and/or fast-twitch training.
Kyle Orland: One is primarily about getting to the right side of the screen without dying. The other is about figuring out clues to find hidden stars in wide-open levels. It's not much of a change because they both have jumping, perhaps?
I think you're being a bit tough on Metroid Prime, Ocarina of Time and the Mario Kart series in general, not to mention Galaxy, but I can see your point at least. Not on Mario 64 though.
John Teti: Do you ever swell up with so much joy that it hurts?
Chris Buecheler: Every time I remember that I didn't waste money on a Wii :)
Gus Mastrapa: You want to talk about Nintendo's stingy game evolution, look no further than Animal Crossing. They've been making tiny iterations on the same N64 game for years.
How much you wanna bet that Nintencats is the exact game as Nintendogs except with cat skins for the models and ball of yarn?
Steve Kent: Wow, Chris, you have awakened me from my generally stony silence.
I generally agree with you on everything; but this time, I gotta tell you, I could not disagree more. One of the things I have admired most about Nintendo has been its ability to modernize games while retaining their original flavor. For me, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy kept the feel of a Mario game while adding all kinds of new features with a relatively indigenous feel. One of the things I liked least about Mario Sunshine, along with the miserable camera, was that it did not feel like a Mario game. Neither did Luigi?s Mansion, though I admit that I really liked the game.
I think Nintendo has been even more successful revamping the Zelda games. They are bigger, more involved, and 3-D, but they still feel like Zeldas. I think this is the area where Nintendo has really distinguished itself. Sega accomplished this with the first Sonic Adventure, but failed miserably with Sonic Rush and the second Sonic Adventure. I think Crash Bandicoot failed the same way.
And while I loved Super Metroid, I felt the first Metroid Prime was a masterpiece and I am the one who is generally most critical of Nintendo.
Chris Buecheler: Kyle -- Not sure I really see the "finding clues" aspect of Mario 64 - a good chunk of the stars are visible right from the get-go. I do agree that SM64 is a much more open world, and that the win state for the levels is pretty different, so I'll concede the point that they're less similar than I stated. I meant more that the universe is still pretty much exactly the same, and they were still telling the same story. (And they still are, 15 years later. I seriously do not care if Bowser cuts Princess Peach's face off and wears it like a mask, at this point. He can have her.)
Steve -- I bought the GameCube largely in anticipation of Metroid Prime, completed 17 percent of it, and never touched it again. I just wasn't finding it at all compelling. That may say more about me and my changing tastes than about the game itself. I also played some of the two N64 Zeldas and didn't care for them either. I also got about halfway through Wind Waker before abandoning it, after realizing that I had spent every single minute playing it either A) enraged or B) bored. Mostly A ... I destroyed not one but two WaveBirds while playing that game by flinging them across the room in disgust.
Oddly, the game I enjoyed the most on the GameCube, of the limited set that I played, was the Resident Evil remake.
FWIW, you're all allowed to like whatever games you want. I just enjoy when these threads go off on long arguments ... even though it sometimes makes Ryan's job hell. Sorry Ryan! [Intern's note: And mine!]
Scott Jones: Take it offline.
What's on your own playlist this weekend? Inquiring Game Trusters want to know. Leave a comment below.