What've You Been Playing?

Y’know, this might be worth its own topic. Back in the day, well, we all played a lot of the same games. Mysteriously.

What’ve people played lately? (Besides FF14.) I guess lately might be “the last few years” in some cases, but…

I’ve played the shit out of Crusader Kings II. It’s this absurd history simulation, with one of the worst UIs ever. Nonetheless, it’s fun; it’s like Game of Thrones: The Simulator, and you run a dynasty for…about 1,000 years with all the expansions. To date, I’ve:

  • Had the Byzantines retake Rome, reestablish control over the Western Empire, and mend the Schism between Orthodoxy and Christianity, then absorb the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Have the Magyars, rather than invade Carpathia and form Hungary, invade Constantinople, form the Kingdom of Greece, become Catholic, and then take Hungary too for good measure, creating a massive Balkan empire.
  • Irish France.
  • The United Kingdom of Ireland and Scotland defeated and conquered England, ending the King-Bishop’s reign.
  • Sri Lanka conquered half of India.

I was on a WoW kick for some time till I got burnt out on raiding in Mists. Primarily I do console gaming now, and have difficulty pulling myself away from Dragon Age. Mass Effect also ate up a lot of my hours. There was of course also Skyrim, Shadows of Mordor…
I recently picked up Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin.

Oh, and a little more related, I played a bit of this oddity called Astro Empires, this text/browser based imperial space sim that was pretty interesting.

Okay, this will be random.

Right now I only have time for the odd round of Smash Bros. Wii U. I never really got into Brawl the way I did Melee, so in a lot of ways it’s been like coming back to the series and I’ve been having fun (even if the damned GameCube adapter is impossible to find and forces me to play with a Pro controller). It suits a “I have 15 minutes to unwind before I have to do something important” play style of the last few months.

But, I’m also a sucker for Nintendo stuff and have gone in on amiibo big time (the last two days have been painful). Honestly, basically anything Nintendo is putting out these days is a pain in the ass to find. Would have driven me nuts as a kid.

I adored The Last of Us and have played through it twice. And I am not a fan of zombie games so that’s saying something. Great to play on the PS3, even better on the PS4.

I kind of hit a point where I was getting burned out on JRPGs, so I’m not as caught up on them as I used to be. Played through FF13, enjoyed the gameplay if not the story. Not really what I was hoping for in an FF game. I’m (stupidly?) hoping FF15 is.

In the meantime I actually started picking up a good head of steam on Persona 4 Golden on the Vita last year but had to set the game aside after several hours and haven’t had time to go back yet. Ditto Xenoblade Chronicles. But I loved what I played.

Got into WoW during Wrath, kind of clocked out during Pandaria. Played Old Republic for about a year. Really just couldn’t maintain an MMO play style so I retreated to console games.

The Batman: Arkham games were everything I wanted out of a super-hero game growing up. Looking forward to Arkham Knight this summer.

Got lost in Skyrim. Dabbled with The Witcher. Played up to about halfway through Mass Effect 3. Most Assassin’s Creed games. Shadow of Mordor’s nemesis system was an awesome mechanic. Dragon Age Inquisition is on hold since Christmas (but I’d logged something close to 50 hours on it already, so…)

I also finally bought a copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and started playing through it for the first time.

Yet if you asked me what forthcoming game I wanted to play most right now I’d probably say Splatoon.

So, that’s kind of a top level rundown of my gaming habits over the last five years or so. I think. I totally forgot some.

I’ve become the curmudgeonly old gamer we all were afraid we’d end up being.

A lot of the gaming I do, in what time I have for it, is retro-games. I dabble in some of the old 16 bit classics, via emulator. I have a 3DS that amuses me from time to time. The sad thing? My shiny new PS4 is a thing I mostly use for Netflix these days. I have fallen asleep in front of an episode of Columbo more times than I’d care to admit.

A lot of the games that come out these days just make me sad, or bitter, or both. Diablo 3 was a piece of garbage. So was StarCraft 2 – I think, by now, Blizz has to have learned its lesson about the whole “releasing each expansion as its own game” racket. IIRC, it wasn’t as big a money train as they may have been hoping for, given the time and resources they’ve had to commit to seeing it through. I’ve left and come back to WoW a couple of times, but I never had… whatever it is it takes to be a “raider.” That game really wants to reward you for sitting on your ass for lots of days, doesn’t it?

And, M3… don’t get me started on the new FFs. Square completely lost me about a third of the way through FF 12. Now THAT game was a rancid piece of shit, let me tell you. I think it was damn pride that kept me playing it as long as I did. What I’ve heard about 13 sorta jives with M3’s report, but I never felt the motivation to check it out for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, though, there HAVE been games that I’ve played that haven’t made me want to scream complaints till my throat bled. City of Heroes was among the best online gaming experiences I ever had. It didn’t always have the graphical polish of WoW, but one thing it really did well was put control squarely in the player’s hands. Whereas in WoW, you’re very much a guest in the Metzenverse, witnessing story without actually playing a part in it in any meaningful way, in City of Heroes you could pretty much make the experience whatever you wanted it to be. The near infinite options of class, power and appearance customization combinations meant that it was really quite rare to find any two characters who were exactly alike – as opposed to WoW, where virtually every endgame Prot spec Paladin has gear pieces X, Y, Z and B.

Since City of Heroes folded, you can have a similar, though not identical, experience with Star Trek Online. STO uses the same basic engine as City of Heroes, and its character customization options share a similar DNA, although you are sort of limited by the genre and franchise. Still, it’s kinda fun because you get to fly around in a ship and blow the shit out of things. My personal favorite ship type are the Klingon Birds of Prey. Because dropping cloak behind your target and shoving three photon torpedos up their nacelles is how an honor-bound space Mongolian do. Mandatory disclaimer: STO is FTP, which means it is lousy with microtransactions. Which, I guess, are okay… I mean, if you can reconcile yourself to spending $45 in a single day on a bunch of tiny little cosmetic whatsises for your ship when a monthly sub for an MMO would normally run you only $15/month, I guess that’s between you and your god(s). Anyway, buyer beware.

Nearest and dearest to my heart, however, are a few classic RPGs that’ve gotten re-released within the last few years: Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, IceWind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. BG and IWD got the full makeover treatment (with brand spanking new content) from a new house called BeamDog (composed of a bunch of BioWare expats), while PS:T has found new life through GOG.com. All four of these games are what I might call “mandatory reading” for anyone who claims to be an old school gamer.

One last plug: Shadowrun’s gotten new life as a turn-based tactical RPG on Steam called Shadowrun Returns. It also has an expansion, which they’ve released as a stand-alone game called Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Both are INCREDIBLY good; these days I rarely have the focus or time to play a game like this through to the end, but I’m proud to say I’ve beaten both games and am still hungry for more.

As a side note, perhaps of interest to this crowd: BG1&2 and IWD are multiplayer games. How bitchin’ would it be to play through a deep-story RPG with Kupopolis folk?..

Tl;DR – I have some opinions about games.

The main thing I’ve played in the last year is FFXIV. Dustin and I also ran through Saints Row 4 (pretty good time, like SR3, mainly because of the multiplayer. The game itself was pretty good too, though, like a crackdown done righ]t) and monster hunter 4, but hopefully we’ll get back to that if as time and dustin’s awful wi-fi permit. I also played some bayonetta 2, but it didn’t end up holding my interest long enough to finish (even though I still love me some bayonetta)

But, yeah, FFXIV. Good game. Just hit 50 with my alt night before last, and I’m already geared up enough to qualify for the final part of the casual raid, which drops i120 gear (as opposed to i130 gear from final coil, which is the hardcore raid). Basically what I’m saying is that between now and patch, it’s going to be SUPER easy to get geared and catch up after hitting 50. Like, way easier than I imagined.

For all the changes in my life I still play too many video games.

I could go on for pages about the games I’ve enjoyed since the last time I communicated with anything Kupopolis-related. When it comes to what I’ve done and been passionate about lately it’s mostly…

MONSTER HUNTER. Love this franchise. J’s right in that my Wi-fi has been an unreliable bitch which makes dedicated multiplayer hunting a problem, since one connection drop means the whole hunt (which has a max runtime of 50 minutes) has to be completed alone or started over. But I’m having a drastic internet connection change later this month, so here’s hoping.

Speaking of bad internet, FFXIV has been my jam for a little over a year now, and only thanks to a a cousin of mine – Justin Dean? Anyone remember him from HA? – anyways he got me playing and he isn’t even playing anymore himself. If I do anything demanding I have to switch my laptop to wired internet to ensure I don’t get disconnected, which is a chore. It’s my first post-WoW MMO (and I have never and never will play a WoW because I could write volumes about how passionately indifferent I am towards the worlds that Blizzard build) and it got its claws in me pretty hard, though I’m getting pretty bored of the fluff and am at this point mostly interested only in doing harder content and am pretty sick and tired of grinding out shit I’ve done a million times already. Getting 8 man teams together to do said content is a fucking nightmare though, and I think the social/political aspect of the game and keeping teams together trumps the difficulty of the actual content. By like a billion times.

NINTENDO was my jam for 2014. Mario Kart, Smash Bros, Bayonetta 2… all among my favorite games of that year. I’ve always been a Nintendork, but normally I’d have to be all aw-shucks about it because ever since the N64 Nintendo seems to love making pants on head retarded mistakes. But last year they brought their A-game out and embarrassed all these super hyped, TRIPLE A OMG THE GAME BLOGS SAY THIS IS THE BEST EVER derivative shit like Destiny, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed Unity. The year before that Mario World 3D was basically my favorite thing ever, but outside of that the Wii U had an embarrassingly small worthwhile library. (I mean it had Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate which is great but extremely niche as far as Western Audiences are concerned).

One more shout out for Nintendo, though, would be Fire Emblem: Awakening. I mean I’ve loved the franchise since they finally let me play one of the games on my GBA, but I sure did love Awakening. Many a San Francisco commuter fears my street pass team to this day…

Last but not least is probably the crown jewel in my gaming obsessions since Kupopolis stopped being a thing, and that is the Souls franchise. Demons’ Souls captivated me completely and once I finished the first Dark Souls it was basically cemented as one of favorite franchises of all time. I bought Bloodborne on launch and played it for hours ever day, and I’ll be picking up Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin for PS4 on launch day and doing basically the same thing… even though I picked up the original version of Dark Souls II for 360, PS3, AND PC. In fact if you haven’t played this amazing franchise and have a half decent PC, let me know, because I have picked up over a dozen copies of Dark Souls on PC during Steam Sales just to give away to people. I have given them away to complete strangers! But I still have copies left. Most of the art I have up in my room is from Dark Souls. It’s an amazing franchise.

Should throw a mention in for Team Fortress 2 as well. Played so many hours of this, it’s just been a while (maybe even a year?) since I’ve played it last.

Some random shoutouts to other games I got seriously into over the past 8ish years: Street Fighter IV, Persona 3/4, Wolf Among Us, The XCom reboot, Borderlands 1&2, Minecraft, Civilization V (though IV is still my favorite Civ V is so easy to sit down and play), Saints Row 3/4, and a bunch of other games I’m forgetting right now.

And Jackbox Party Pack.

Games I’m looking forward to playing hard when I have the time: Divinity Original Sin, Dragon’s Dogma, and Pillars of Eternity.

I don’t always play video games these days, but when I do, its something spectacularly quirky.

I was big into Minecraft when that came out. Like BIG into it. I played on several servers, my favorite being a super hard core reddit server where if you died once, you were banned for the remainder of the month. It was like lord of the flies on that server. I loved it.

I also volunteered for the first minecon in Vegas. I got to briefly meet Notch at the end for my efforts. The experience humors me since I have a Hollywood job and I occasionally have to interface with celebrities which I deal with mostly with a level of indifference–however I totally went giddy when I met this overweight bearded man in a fedora. I member going up to him and saying, “Thank you for making favorite game! Can I shake your hand?” And he smiled and said, “sure! Thanks for your help today!!” So now I get to brag that I’ve shaken hands with a billionare, which is kinda neat.

For MMOs I bowed out of WoW after completing frozen throne, played an occult themed mmo called the secret word, dabbled into champions online (I was a steampunk gorilla), played vanilla destiny until that got boring.

Besides that, I’ve been sticking to smaller indie games: Crypt of the Necromancer, Papers Please, Tropico4 &5, Deep dark dungeons of doom, broforce, monument valley, skyline: cities.

Right now I’m really looking forward to the future. I got a chance to try the occulus rift (Dustin had it collecting dust on his dining room table!!) And that showed promise. Last month I went to VRLA and apparently I have industry clout enough that I was able to try the new vive headset. Guys, it was the mother effin holodeck. If you walk to a wall in the room you were in, a gride would appear to indicate where the wall was so you didn’t walk into it. You get like two Wii remotes with thumb tack pads that felt very intuitive. I want to build for that now, I can’t wait for a dev kit to cone out for it.

Okay, that sounds awesome, Mike. Are there screenshots? Photos? How would that work, getting images of a holodeck? I’m not sure. I want it.

I’ve also played some Fire Emblem: Awakening, and I love the hell out of it. Matt, if you got a 3DS, you may wanna pick this up; it was some good stuff. I’ve not done Baldur’s Gate before; I did play some Divinity Original Sin, which is… similar? Maybe? I think? It was pretty fun. Making the two main characters “RP” was fun (or assumedly being able to multiplayer it).

I also have done a JRPG on Steam called Trails in the Sky. It’s fun; it’s like from 2004, but released recently. Kinda old school, but the battle system goes to a simple grid every turn. I recommend it, but if you’re not sure, wait for a sale.

Oh, and Civ: Beyond Earth. That’s eaten time too.

And yeah, Matt, I hear you; I haven’t been furious with later Final Fantasy games, but I haven’t felt them either. FF14 was probably the best FF that I’ve played in years.*

  • Besides Bravely Default.**
    ** …okay besides the first half of Bravely Default.

Yeah, fire emblem: awakening as the shit. Dustin and I got a laugh out of the fact that we both chose the same “wife” for our main character.

Fun fact (?) about trails in the sky. That’s a game cris and I were trying to get the rights to localize back in like 2004, when we were going to e3 every year.

[quote=“faits”]Yeah, fire emblem: awakening as the shit. Dustin and I got a laugh out of the fact that we both chose the same “wife” for our main character.

Fun fact (?) about trails in the sky. That’s a game cris and I were trying to get the rights to localize back in like 2004, when we were going to e3 every year.[/quote]

Damn! A friend from college did a translation patch, and stopped when XSEED announced it, too.

Who’d your characters marry? I did a girl and she married Chrom. Gave me cool scenes later.

The other funny thing is that dustin and I almost always play girls in video games, but we both chose a guy for our main, and we both married Tharja.

Tharja is mai waifu.

I did multiple playthroughs. In one, my lady Robin married Walhart.

did you get the figurine?

Hahahah, Walhart.

I liked Tharja. She was coo’.

Scen, I’d suggest Pillars of Eternity then. I’m only a couple hours in, but it is very much in the spirit of BG and others. I’ve heard pretty much glowing reviews about it across the board, particularly from fans of those series.

Oh god no. Not only is it terrifically expensive but I don’t really feel comfortable buying fan service based collectibles.

…though if the price wasn’t so high I probably would still do it, but it would still be mostly out of love for the character.

I have too many games I need to play. I’ve started a bunch and not finished them.

Currently I’m playing Axiom Verge on PS4. I also decided to do a Let’s Play of it, but it turns out my game capture won’t record game audio. I didn’t find out until after I’d recorded twenty minutes worth of commentary. So when I do part 2, I’ll have to dub in music from the game soundtrack.

Also working on Murdered: Soul Suspect. I just wish I could skip the segments of the game involving stealth-killing demons and go straight to the investigation sections.

Waiting for Assassin’s Creed Chronicles to drop and Assassin’s Creed Victory too. I love the AC series, and for all its many faults, I liked AC Unity, largely because it was in one of my favorite historical periods. (French Revolution)

I tend to kill time late at night when I’m just chilling and watching Hulu or Netflix by playing Hexcells Infinite. Nice casual puzzle game with soothing music.

It makes me so happy that Tex is a Crusader Kings II fan, as its one of my favorite games of all time. It’s best to approach it more as a role-playing game almost then a strategy game, as you control a succession of rulers with different motivations.

-The Islamic conquest of Al-Andalus, extending all that way to Paris. Most dramatic moment was when my Sultan died, leaving his 8-year old son in charge, causing revolts throughout my empire…and then a Crusade was declared on me, leaving the armies of all Christendom to descend on me. Good times.
-Genoa. As a Merchant Republic is feels kind of pointless to pursue a huge territorial empire, so I restricted myself to land in Italy and a smattering of islands. And making lots of money. Which paid off, as I was able to assemble a huge mercenary army to defeat the invading hordes of bloodthirsty Aztecs. (I think of it like the climax of Mechwarrior: Mercenaries, except more medieval.)

And mad love for the Fire Emblem Series-- although awakening is the best, Path of Radiance (for GameCube) was also really good. Radiant Dawn, not so much, though it was the game in my Wii when my apartment was broken into and my console was stolen. I basically bought a 3DS for awakening, and it was worth it.

Also: I married Tharja, too. How funny is that?

Bravely Default was really, really good, if especially I filter out the last chunk of grindy grind grindiness, with more recycling then Dragon Age 2. Hopefully the sequel won’t have so much padding.

Because the RTS is all but dead I’ve played some MOBAs: First Dota 2 and now Heroes of the Storm. I could never get into SMITE, but I loved the character designs. I think they’re fun to play, but the people who you play with are kind of dicks, even when things are going well and you’re winning.

(Oh, and I got into Warhammer, but now am more into Warmachine and Infinity, because as a grown ass man I can play with toy soldiers).

I’ve always disagreed with you on this point, but I have nothing to back up why I feel this way. Mostly, I guess, it’s just because I still play and enjoy RTS games every once in a while. (yes, I understand what you mean is “people don’t make good RTS games anymore.” But still, though.)

I can’t play the original StarCraft, because it won’t run on my newer OS, but I have cider-wrapped old copies of games like Galactic Battlegrounds, Age of Empires II and Age of Mythology that I’ll play when I’m bored. I also love Age of Empires III (I thought it should’ve been more celebrated than it was) and Dawn of War, although the former much more than the latter. In Age of Empires III, I think they really perfected distinguishing their various national armies. The Home City mechanic was also a fairly brilliant addition to what would have otherwise been a pretty standard-fare strategy game. If I had to design a Kupop-themed RTS now, I would definitely have it be an AOE3 clone.