Weekend Roundtable: Recent Videogames Played

It’s been quite a while since we’ve done a videogame-themed Roundtable around here. For this week’s topic, let’s take a look at what games that you’re either currently in the middle or, or have recently spent a good amount of time with.

Wayne Rowe

What videogame am I in the middle of? If you play videogames, there is only one answer to that question: ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3‘. Of course, this time of year is always hard on the gamer. I’m actually in the middle of two other games as well: ‘Uncharted 3‘ and ‘Batman: Arkham City‘ (and I did see this funny Tweet from the God_Damn_Batman). The ‘CoD’ franchise is epic and I’ve been a fan from the start. While I spend most of my matchmaking time in ‘Halo’, the ‘CoD’ campaign and multiplayer aspects in ‘MW3’ have been awesome. I’m rocking ‘MW3’ on the 360, and it has TOTALLY been worth my time.

Dick Ward

I’ve been playing a whole lot to keep busy while waiting for ‘Skyrim’. ‘League of Legends’ is my normal choice and ‘World of Warcraft’ is a good time killer too, but without internet on Wednesday, I had to turn to games that I can play offline. After much perusal of my Xbox titles, I ended up back with ‘Final Fantasy XIII‘, which I think got a lot of undeserved criticism for making some much-needed changes to the typical formula. It was a really cool game the first time through, but unfortunately it’s not the best the second time. There are far too many cut-scenes for my liking, and you don’t get to learn the mechanics at your own pace. You gain abilities very slowly, and that makes for a very boring first few hours. There’s something amazing about the way games used to teach you by letting you learn for yourself. It’s an idea that I’m pretty passionate about and one that this Egoraptor video sums up better than I can. It’s 20 minutes, but it’s so worth the watch. It’s kind of like a Plinkett review, but positive instead of negative.

Mike Attebery

I pretty much never play videogames. The last one I played was back in September at a friend’s place, the Kinect title ‘Rise of Nightmares‘. Dear GOD is that a freaky, bloody game! I’m talking POOLS of blood. Pools of blood that you wade into and slosh around in! Disgusting. Scared the hell out of me and ensured I don’t play another videogame for at least another year. If you like freaky, scary, nightmare-inducing games that have you flailing around the living room, ‘Rise of Nightmares’ is definitely the game for you.

Tom Landy

I feel like I’m going to be the odd man out this week because I’m not much of a gamer. I don’t own an Xbox or Wii, and I don’t even have a PS3. To be honest, I spend most of my free time watching movies. But I do collect and occasionally play the tabletop miniature game ‘HeroClix‘ (which is like chess with superpowers), and an online version is currently in open beta as I write this. I’ve tried it a couple times. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet since it’s still pretty buggy in beta, but that’s probably the last “videogame” I’ve played, aside from a few Facebook games that don’t really count. So yeah, I’m pretty boring in this department.

Luke Hickman

I’m not much of a gamer. Typically, if I find a game that I like, I play that one forever. It’s a very rare occurrence for me to purchase a new game. The one that I usually go back to time and time again is the original ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘. However, I don’t play the game in the standard mission mode. Once I discovered online gaming, I only enjoy killing human-controlled bad guys. The CPU just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Blessed be PlayStation for free online play!

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

Does the question mean professionally or casually? Professionally, I would say ‘Galaga‘, ‘Asteroids‘ and ‘Time Pilot‘, all in the arcades circa 1982-1984 (my misspent youth). ‘Asteroids’ was the first videogame I really tried to master, using a technique called “hunting” where you leave one small asteroid left and fly up the screen hunting the tiny flying saucers for points. ‘Galaga’ was one I would play for about two hours on a quarter, and years later even won a contest on the mobile phone version of it. (The patterns were the same!) I held a world record on ‘Time Pilot’ for about five months back in the day, and was reminded about that when a friend found me listed on the Twin Galaxies web site for the feat.

All of this is why I pretty much gave up on serious gaming after high school. It takes a bit of time to get really good at these things, and I don’t like to not be really good at them. I avoid videogames so as not to obsess over them. I own a PS3, but use it only for Blu-ray playback. Of late, I’ve kinda gotten into ‘Angry Birds‘ and ‘Bejeweled Blitz‘, playing them when I really should be doing something more important, like, you know, reviewing gear or editing articles for my site. My favorite version of ‘Angry Birds’ has got to be the one on the new ROKU box. There’s nothing like smashing evil green pigs on a 92-inch projection screen with a nifty wireless controller.

Aaron Peck

I’m not a big gamer. I really enjoy playing casual-style videogames, though – the type of games I can buy from the PlayStation Network. The last two games I bought and played were PixelJunk games called ‘Monsters‘ and ‘Side Scroller‘. ‘Monsters’ is a simple but fun tower defense game, while ‘Side Scroller’ harkens back to the old side-scrolling spaceship games. They’re both pretty fun, and are fresh takes on old ideas, which is what PixelJunk does best. Truthfully, that’s about the extent of my gaming prowess.

Nate Boss

When I bought the Nintendo 3DS, I did so under the promise that good things were coming: Movies in 3D, Netflix, the classic Nintendo franchises, so on and so forth. Well… that didn’t quite work out. In an effort to put the system to use, I bought twenty bucks worth of credits and downloaded some games off the Nintendo Store, including a few NES classics revamped into 3D and an online battler in the ‘Bomberman’ franchise: ‘Bomberman Blitz‘. If you would have told me that I’d have some fifty-plus hours on any game on this system when I bought it, aside from the eventual ‘Mario Kart’, I would have laughed in your face. Well, the hook of blowing the absolute fuck out of random strangers in this classic won out. Strategy, luck and timing mixed with being an asshole to people make a wonderful combination!

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I have an unopened copy of ‘Arkham City’ that won’t stop calling out to me, but I’m putting that off for the moment so that I can keep goofing around with ‘Rocksmith‘. There’s a room in my house that’s pretty much wall-to-wall musical instruments, and I can’t play a single one of them. I’ve just taken comfort in knowing that if I want to plink a few keys on a Moog synthesizer or pluck a Rickenbacker bass, all I have to do is walk down the stairs. Random notes and power chords were the best I could hope for until I picked up a copy of ‘Rocksmith’, the videogame-slash-instructional tool from Ubisoft that lets you plug in any electric guitar and rock out.

Unlike the mostly-terrible pro guitar feature on ‘Rock Band 3’, I felt as if I was learning something meaningful with ‘Rocksmith’ from Word One. Heck, I learned more in my first half-hour with ‘Rocksmith’ than I did in a decade-plus of “teaching myself” (wrapped in sarcastic fingerquotes for a reason). ‘Rocksmith’ makes doing your drills feel fun and rewarding by wrapping minigames around them, and it does a terrific job of easing players into songs… gradually increasing the number of notes before shifting gears into chords, along with dropping in moves like bends, slides, harmonics, palm muting and tremelo. I’m not saying it’s a substitute for a flesh-and-blood teacher who can answer your questions and give your technique a first-hand look, but if you have a guitar caked in dust in a corner somewhere, ‘Rocksmith’ is a pretty much essential purchase.

Josh Zyber

Like many on our staff, I’m not much of a gamer. I just don’t have the extensive free time needed to devote to most videogames. I’ve had a PS3 for a few years but still only own about half a dozen titles for it, most of them uncompleted (and I don’t rent games either). Needless to say, I don’t scoop up new releases when they come out. Recently, I made a point of playing all the way through ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops‘. The game is pretty fun overall, and I really like the variety of different environments and settings, but the “story” is basically incomprehensible, and I hated all of the jittery, quick-cut, Tony Scott-inspired cut-scenes.

Currently, I’ve just started playing the original ‘BioShock‘. (Aren’t they up to three of these now?) I’m loving the retro-futuristic design and atmosphere, which remind me a lot of ‘City of Lost Children’. However, I’m not so keen on the game mechanics so far. I just can’t seem to get the hang of the super-powers the character has, and I can never collect enough ammo for his guns. I feel like this would be better suited as a third-person game rather than a First Person Shooter. I’m also sort of stuck on an early level that I can’t find my way out of. On the other hand, the story in this one is a lot more engrossing. I’ll give it some more time and see if I do better at it.

Those are the games we’ve been playing. What are you up to?


  1. JM

    Mr. UPS Man just dropped off ‘Skyrim,’ so I’ll see you guys in three months.

    Josh, with ‘Bioshock,’ power up your wrench. You can pretty much pound your way through the whole damn game. It’s surprisingly cathartic.

    ‘Might & Magic: Clash Of Heroes’ on the DS recently sucked up 50 hours of my life. Puzzle + Strategy + RPG = Compulsion.

    • Here’s some advice on ‘Skyrim.’ Don’t try beating your sort of escort dude to death when you have the opportunity. He doesn’t like it. He also doesn’t die. You get him low and then he takes a knee. Then he regenerates and murders you in the face.

      • JM

        I clocked in 4.5 hours of making myself cute, dual-wielding lighting, and random mountaineering. I’m at level 3, with one dragon kill. Today I’m going to buy property, find a black girl, and try to have lesbian elf sex.

  2. LOL at trying to kill the guide in the beginning, good thing they made it so you couldnt or you wouldnt have made it very far πŸ™‚

    Yeah I’ll be getting that tonight and as of late I’ve played Rage, Star Wars The Old Republic, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Arkham City, Dark Souls, some Pinball and many other things, also in a week and a half I got WWE 12 coming out as well, all that plus watching shows and movies and having a newborn son, LOL, I dont get much time with each but they are all there for me when I can πŸ™‚

  3. Seriously? Only one mention of Uncharted 3? That game is all kinds of awesome, especially for movie aficionados! I haven’t been able to put it down since I got it last week. Unfortunately, I hardly have enough time to sit and play. Before that, it had been months since I played, but i am also looking forward to Assassin’s Creed Revelations, in stores next week. Those two should keep me busy for a while… considering I bought Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood last year, and I still haven’t gotten around to it.

  4. Drew

    I just beat ‘Batman: Arkham City’. It was easily the best game of 2011. There can be no argument to the contrary.

    I’m in the middle of ‘Resistance 3’, ‘Forza Motorsport 5’, ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’, ‘Uncharted 3’, and ‘Battlefield 3’. I don’t have time to really devote what is necessary to make any headway in any of them because of the plethora of fantastic blu-rays that have been released recently!

    • I can’t wait to start playing Arkham City. (The biggest reason I didn’t dive right in is that I bought Infamous 2 a week or two beforehand, and I didn’t want to play two superhero-centric open world games in a row. Well, that and I knew it’d consume every waking hour, and I don’t have time for that quite yet.)

    • Skyrim is argument to the Contrary my friend, while I’ve highly enjoyed Batman so far, Skyrim is my game of the year now, everything you could possibly want in an RPG is in this game, they are different genres so its hard to really compare the two, but so far Skyrim has smacked Batman all around IMO

      • I’m not a big fan of the Batman games personally. Skyrim, on the other hand, took up all of my spare weekend hours. Best Elder Scrolls game since Daggerfall – so very good.

  5. Kelly

    I’m currently playing Batman: Arkham City and I have Gears of War 3 and Uncharted 3 lined up next. Can’t wait!

  6. Brian H

    If your answer doesn’t somehow involve Dark Souls, you probably need to change your plans- with a quickness.

  7. Will L

    Just finished Mass Effect 2 for PS3, and now I am forcing myself to actually finish the main quest and go through the Shivering Isles DLC before I buy Skyrim. There’s no way I will want to go back to Oblivion if I don’t just finish it now.

  8. Just started Zelda: Twilight Princess. Finally. Still 50 bucks, 5 years after release. Until last month. Probably because the next Zelda is around the corner.

    If clothes dramatically reduce in price a mere 6 months after release, why does it take Nintendo 5 years to provide an affordable game?

  9. Oh tough quesiton. I don’t play games as much anymore – I get into these times when I may not fire up a console for months (with the exception of the PS3, which is currently a very expensive media player),then I will get into gaming mode for a few weeks.

    Right now, the majority of the games I am playing are on Facebook. Extreamely addicted to Sims Social, Empires and Allies, and Garden of Time. I also ocassionally fire up Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

    On the PC, the only new game I am playing is Alice: Madness Returns. I LOVE the Alice games.

    I am also playing quite a few older games on the PC. I must have spent 3 hours last night playing Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup (really nice now that I figured out how to get it to work on widescreen monitors). Put quite a bit of time lately into SimCity Societies and SimCity 4 Deluxe lately, as they just run great on my laptop (also finally got them working in widescreen mode, not stretched, but actually rendering in a widescreen resolution). I am about to finish Kings Quest 1 (YES, ONE!). I also have all 4 Tropico games installed, but I haven’t played those yet.

    On the consoles, the main games I am playing are the Katamari games. I am so addicted to these. I am also playing the Fable series – I have had them for years, but never actually played them.

    My PS3, I was playing Final Fantasy 9 and Elder Scrolls Oblivian, but I cannot find my controller at the moment. I have just started the process of packing for a move, and stuff is everywhere right now. So it may be a couple of months before I play games on the PS3 again.

    The Wii hasn’t been fired up in about six months. Before that, I was playing mostly Mario Kart, Zelda The Windwaker, Mario World, and Sonic 2.

    I’ve been debating on renting the new COD game and the new Goldeneye game, but I just am not into First Person Shooters anymore. I got Duke Nukem Forever just because I had been waiting for it for years, but was bored to death by it. I have probably put in an hour in it. Games I used to like, such as Unreal and Doom and Half-Life bore me now – I finally picked up HalfLife 2 about 3 years ago, and have put in maybe an hour on it. BioShock on the other hand I have played quite a bit.

    Oh, on the 360, they have a new version of You Don’t Know Jack, which I love. One of my favorite old-school games. I should get a second controller and actually buy the game. Loving the demo, though.

  10. Prydie

    I just finished the main story On Batman: Arkham City and have only to collect Riddler trophies to finish the game (not counting challenge maps). I brilliant game and one I will treasure for along time. Am still playing Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3 and must finish Mass Effect 2 sometime before the end of the year. So much to do…

  11. paramedic0112

    I’m playing MW3 online everyday I don’t have to work! It’s great, love it and all that but sometimes there seem to be lag problems that result in my death. I’m not using that as an exuse ha ha! My rank is 44 right now and I’ve been using the M4 pretty much the whole time. It’s at level 30, so I’ve got some cool attachments. I think level 31 is the top, so I’m curious if there will be anything left to do with the guns once they are all fully leveled. My brother plays with me alot but he uses the MP5 quite a bit which is crazy IMO. Everyone knows that 9 mil is light in the ass and you need at least .45 or 5.56 to put someone down, but he has some kind of MP5 fetish.

    • paramedic0112

      I also want to get the new Batman, but between just buying MW3 and a bunch of Blu Rays, I have to wait. Now that Wally World is gonna have it for 28 bucks on black Friday, I think that is my opportunity.

  12. Modern Warfare 3 is looking great.

    Lately it’s been “FallOut: Las Vegas”…. incredible game, but doesn’t seem to spawn enough enemies throughout the landscape once you’ve passed through once and defeated them.

    Arkham City is looking pretty good too….

  13. Alex

    Arkham City is magnificent even if the Riddler Challenges can get kind of obnoxious. The plot is just incredible and the ending… wow!!! I wouldn’t dare share a spoiler of it, but there hasn’t been a better examination of the intimacy of the relationship between Batman and the Joker since “The Killing Joke.”

    Plus dropping down from a gargoyle and stringing up a bad guy just never gets old!