Hey Harvey!

Posted on Sep 15th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Bwaaaah, Mario, Rabbids, Switch, XCOM, Strategy, turn based, bwa bwa bwaaaaaah


Pic from Nintendo.com and my 9 Year-Old's-imagination


Some creative mash-ups end up working so well they seem obvious in hindsight.  And then there are those that still don't make sense afterward, even if the end result is far greater than the some of the respective parts.  I don't know what is the bigger surprise, that Mario Plus Rabbids: Kingdom Battle even exists, or that it is easily among my favorite games this year.


Continue reading Thoughts on Mario Plus Rabbids Kingdom Battle



Posted on Aug 16th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Downloading Blog Patch 1.3 80 Gigs remaining, patching, Prey, art, No Mans Sky, get off my lawn


The price of high-definition half-tucked shirts.  (pic from PlayStation.blog)

I don't think I know a single gamer that doesn't have some kind of backlog, some stack of games they want to play but have yet to do so.  I only half-joke about wondering why I'd buy any new game anymore, as I know at this point I will never actually play through every game I once intended to.  Strangely, I'm fine with that;  I'm pretty quick to move on to the next game if I'm not getting anything out of what I'm playing at the moment.  Trophies, Achievements, Leaderboards, and other virtual accruements hold no interest to me; I'm blessedly liquid in my gaming interests and can jump from one game to the next without getting caught in anything but interest or entertainment.

That being said, another recent development has made me very glad to be "behind" most of the time when it comes to playing modern games.



Continue reading Thoughts on Backlogs, Patience, and Transitioning Art



Posted on Jul 17th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Gems , Cities Skylines, Jackbox, ADK Damashii, Micro Machines, Cursed Castilla, Little Nightmares


Continuing the grand tradition of pointing out nifty games that can fall under the radar, here's an update of some great and/or lesser-known games I've been playing while my Beloved and our oldest are outside causing traffic to swerve with Pokemon Go.



Continue reading Slackur's Obscure Gaming Theatre: Recent Gems



Posted on Jun 15th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Robots reading Nietzsche, Nier, androids, robots, it is funny how a supposedly male robot with a female voice named Pascal is even a source of arg


She just heard about her game's release window.

Most of us enjoy a good underdog tale and the existence of Nier: Automata certainly fits that description.  It was released alongside two other highly anticipated AAA open world action/exploration games (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn).  That alone would sound a death knell for most games.  In retrospect, it is amazing Automata has gained the attention it has.

While polished, with amazing character design, art direction, and a fantastic soundtrack, it was created on a developer-admitted small budget with noticeably last-gen graphics.  This is shared with the rest of the series, as Automata is an unexpected sequel to the cult-favorite series Nier, itself an offshoot of the Drakengard series.  And like its forefathers, there are a lot of reasons gamers may miss it.


Continue reading Spoiler Free Thoughts on Nier Automata



Posted on May 16th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Collecting, Alan Wake, PS2, preservation, video games


Pic from Kotaku and about a million bookmarks

Approximately a million years ago in Internet time, I wrote an article intended as a sort of clarion call about losing our gaming history.  You can dust off the electrons and find it here.

This weekend, two events reminded me of that article.  The first was reading about how Alan Wake, the Remedy developed atmospheric action game, was about to be delisted from digital sale from Steam and Xbox Live storefront due to music licensing issues.  When smaller titles are released in only the digital format, they occasionally disappear and the lost content may be lamented on an equally small scale.  (Not to claim irrelevance, just the level of awareness.)  To have a decently successful IP such as Alan Wake become unavailable for purchase seven years after release may still seem pretty reasonable in our gaming economy.  Every game goes out of print eventually, right? 



Continue reading Saving Games...Continue?



Posted on Apr 18th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Wii U, Collecting, Modern, Retro, Retail


I guess it makes sense that Nintendo.com has pictures that makes me want to buy a third one.

Isn't it funny how we easily get caught in a trap of thinking that, because things have been a certain way for awhile, that is how they will stay?  For years and years and years, Atari games were a dime a dozen at yard sales.  NES games were everywhere, and a copy of Contra was $5 to $10 tops.  Final Fantasy VII and Symphony of the Night were both twenty bucks new everywhere.  Collecting N64 and Atari Jaguar games seemed like a silly idea.  PS2 games were never, ever going away.

And before that a Coke was a nickel and gas was a quarter and yada yada, I get it.  Different times.

My point; How many of us are kicking themselves for not buying that complete Earthbound from Blockbuster, or those last few Saturn games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Burning Rangers on clearance?  Wish we knew then what we knew now, right?  Queue the classic discussion about time machines and grabbing retro video games.


Continue reading PSA: Now Would Be The Time To Collect For Wii U



Posted on Mar 16th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Rating, numbers, fun

In the last week, I've spent far more hours than I expected firing arrows and using gadgets to overcome humongous creatures.  I've explored dark caves and a vast open world through lush forests and towering mountains.  I've stopped and enjoyed gorgeous vistas, marveled at detailed inclement weather, and slowly learned how to survive in a video game version of the wild.  Wild... where have I heard that before?

Wait!  Not that!  Is that what you though I was talking about?  I mean, that one is great, but I've hardly played it since I've been sinking all my free time (and then some) into this:




Continue reading On the Problem of Quantitative Metrics



Posted on Jan 17th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Getting along with those other gamers, Switch, Wii U, XBox One, PS4


Pic from technobuffalo.com, puppyface from Nintendo

This is a transcript of an actual text exchange from a friend:

Him: I was in no way excited or have any interest in the Nintendo Switch.  Having watched all the videos and read multiple articles I can confidently say my interest sits at 0%.

Me: Got one reserved, looks like a lot of fun Smiley

Him: I figured you'd be into it.  Pass but have fun Smiley

Me: We do B)


This conversation can be an example of more than just a lack of interest juxtaposed with an expectant happiness.  Here we have a beautiful component of modern gaming; the wide range of options, opinions, and interests spread over a massive and growing gamer populace.  One man's Dark Souls is another's Splatoon.  And our gaming industry is big enough for it all.



Continue reading We Don't All Have To Switch Sides



Posted on Dec 18th 2016 at 08:48:33 AM by (slackur)
Posted under WELCOMETOTHENEXTLEVEL, perspective, forgetting where we came from, video games are still some crazy alchemy of science and magic


So as mentioned by myself and others, 2016 has been a tough year.  But you know what?  (And if you do, why are you wasting your psychic talents on a blog instead of using your superhero powers for the good of mankind?)  2016 has also been a good year.  In fact, as I look around, I get dizzy.  But I also see how my gaming life in the here and now, when taken as a whole, is very much a fantastical realization of so many childhood dreams.


Continue reading In 2016 Gaming Is Something I Could Only Imagine As A Kid



Posted on Nov 18th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Trance inducing without recreational chemicals , Tetris, No Mans Sky, FZero, Pinball, Double Dribble, VR is pretty good for this too


Pic from advancehappynewyear2017.com

For many of us, to say the year 2016 has been difficult would be an understatement on par with mentioning the N-Gage never quite surpassed the Game Boy Advance.  It seems everyone I know had a tough year for several reasons, and I spent quite a bit of it with family members in hospitals or medical appointments.  Many good things happened, but it seemed every week the idea of a return to some 'normal' got pushed further and further out.  I think I see some disadvantages to this whole 'being the adult' thing that never got spelled out alongside the whole cookies-and-bedtime-whenever-I-want setup.  Or maybe it was spelled out and I was too busy drawing plans for my future home, complete with helipad and shopping mall in the backyard.  (Was I the only kid who drew that up?)   

Oh, and I guess some famous family is moving out of a nice house near Virginia and the new family moving in is making the neighbors nervous or something?  We live in a strange country.  And it's not even Canada!  (Although I hear they have some nifty retro-stocked video game stores up there.)  And apparently some Brexfast thing happened and now importing games is all confusing and/or tasty?  Crazy world. 

Most folks on this site likely play games to unwind, unless you play games to get mad, in which case I recommend Carrier Command for Xbox 360.  For the rest of us, it's good to have our go-to games for decompression.*  You know what I mean; those games you aren't necessarily playing to complete, but rather to mentally unfurl and let the stresses of the day process somewhere in the back of your mind.


Continue reading On Video Games as a Processing Tool During Tough Times



Posted on Oct 19th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Thumper Review, PSVR, rhythm, what insects hallucinate on a bad trip


There's something inherently natural about the desire to make rhythm.  Leave a conga drum out in the open, and it's guaranteed to get bopped a bit by random folks passing by.  We may not all have perfect timing, but thumping hands in a percussive manner comes as natural as whistling or toe-tapping to pretty much everyone.

In that sense, the real surprise isn't so much the recent rise and fall of music video games, but rather that they haven't had more of a longstanding presence alongside other classic genres.  We've pretty much always seen some variant; sound and pattern recognition (endless runners like Temple Run), instrument training (Miracle Piano, Rocksmith), exercise and dancing (Dance Dance Revolution, Pump It Up), abstract music integration and layering (Frequency, Amplitude, Rock Band Blitz) and of course, the playful guitar/band sims (Rock Band, Guitar Hero).


Continue reading Spooky Plays: Thumper



Posted on Sep 15th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Expectations make us weird., No Mans Sky, BioShock 2, Monster 4X4, Happy Feet Two, I actually thought BvS was alright.


If you have yet to play it, you probably know No Man's Sky for two things.  First, for the gigantic expectations surrounding it.  And two, if you believe a collective online mantra, an apparently gigantic let-down.

I'll be direct; if you are caught up in the first, you may fall into the second.  Not because No Man's Sky is not worthwhile, but because that's just how expectations tend to play out.  Considering four out of five members of our family are hooked on No Man's Sky (and the fifth is too young to play, so he just watches) it is safe to say our house has an incredibly positive opinion of the game.

But I'm not writing this to repeat Crabby's excellent article about enjoying a game despite a common antagonistic theme against it.  And anyway, No Man's Sky is doing well and already has some ardent defenders.  I'd like to write about what my boss said when I asked if he had yet played No Man's Sky:  "Yes," he sighed, "Way too much.  I've spent so long playing that game already.  I don't know why I keep playing it."  He's also said the same of his time in World of Warcraft and a few mobile games he plays frequently.


Continue reading I Don't Know Why I Play This: How Modern Gamification and Groupthink Change Our Play



Posted on Jul 18th 2016 at 06:23:10 AM by (slackur)
Posted under The New Game Market, Collecting, Modern, Retro, Retail


If you're as old as I am, go take a nap.  Are you back yet?  Sorry, I didn't want you falling asleep while reading, as folks our age tend to do.  I may have yet to hit the big four-oh, but it feels like the world is a different place than in my youth, and it sure is spinning faster these days.  Yeah, when you've been into video games this long, you see quite a few things change over time.

For example, it doesn't seem like too long ago that once a game was released, it was as simple as walking into any major retailer to nab a copy.  Sure there have always been obscure titles with small print runs, but preordering felt like an extravagance, online retailers felt like they had unlimited inventory, and unless you were importing or looking for a game more than a few years old, most relatively modern games seemed pretty easy to get.  Although I do remember the challenge of trying to ask for Katamari Damacy at a GameStop during the week of release (or just explaining what the game was.)


Continue reading Gaming Retail Ain't What It Used To Be



Posted on Jun 17th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under E3 and Life, optimism, pessimism, Tomorrowland, I miss Kevin Butler so much


Really?  You can say no to this man?

I want to talk about E3, but not about specific games.  I want to bring up other events of that week, but not get into an argument.  And I want to make a very important plea.

But first.
Ever see Tomorrowland?

If not, I think you should.  I found it to be a fantastic movie, though I am partial to Brad Bird's work.  But anyway, without delving too much into spoilers, the main theme of the movie boils down to a choice for the future; hope or despair.  Optimism or pessimism.  Fighting for light versus accepting the dark.

Sure, a great deal of media concerns this dichotomy.  It is a near-universal theme.  And while Tomorrowland isn't the first or best representation of this struggle, I watched it directly after this year's E3 so it is the freshest in my mind.  And it does a great job of encapsulating the roller-coaster ride of the few days around E3.


Continue reading Which Wolf Will We Feed?



Posted on May 16th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (slackur)
Posted under Video Game Narrative, rants, overthinking, Black Ops III, seriously go play Soma I wont tell you again Yes I will


pic from Bo News

So for the first time, you see this very attractive and interesting person from a distance.  Later you find yourself with the good fortune to begin a conversation with this person, and also find that they are fun to talk to and seem to have some points worth considering.  Things are going great, and you are considering arranging time to hang out more with this new person.  And then, in the middle of the conversation, for no discernable reason, they quickly rabbit-punch you in the nose and continue talking as if nothing just happened.

Blinking, disoriented, and in at least a little pain, you are confused as to what just happened.  But you continue the conversation, desiring to dismiss the random event in light of how well everything else is going.  Besides, maybe it was an accident or easily explained later.  You reinvest your attention into the other person, a short time passes, and your concerns start to assuage, then *BAM*!  Again on the nose.

It doesn't take much more time for you to seriously question if investing in this relationship is at all worth it.  And sure enough, this becomes a pattern, an understood factor to any time you spend with this person: interesting conversation, some fun thoughts, and then sharp, immediate, frustrating pain for no real reason.


Continue reading Video Game Narratives and the Face Punching Problem


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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