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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?