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Pan Am Flies High - Review

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Board Game Review: UFO Alarm

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What VIDEO GAME(s) have you been playing?

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02 Jul 2019 19:17 #299180 by Ah_Pook

Josh Look wrote:
I’ve been playing the living hell out of Horizon Chase Turbo on the Switch. I’m a big fan of arcade racers, but good ones are few and far between these days. This is a GREAT one. It’s along the same lines as Outrun, TopGear, with just a dash of Daytona USA (in that when you hit the car in front of you, you slow down and they get bumped ahead). There’s a ton to do, tons of variety in tracks and locales, and so much to unlock. I got it on sale for $11, but I would have been happy with the full $20 asking price. Absolutely killer game.


This is free on PS+ this month and it seems really fun so far. Only a couple races in so far so we'll see what kinda legs its got, but I'm really enjoying it.

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03 Jul 2019 09:14 #299196 by hotseatgames
Got Mario Maker 2 on the Switch. My boys and I build levels collaboratively under the moniker "Sharky Boyz". Because of course we do.

One son builds the beginning third, I build the middle, the other son builds the end. His part is always the most elaborate. Our first level was released last night, and it took him over an hour to beat it in order for it to be uploaded.

Also got the season 2 battle pass for Apex Legends, so I'll be playing a lot of that as well.
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05 Jul 2019 23:01 - 05 Jul 2019 23:02 #299296 by san il defanso
Alright, it's two years since its original release, but I have thoughts on Super Mario Odyssey.

- This is the first of the "exploration" Mario games that I've liked without reservation. It's still not my preferred kind of Mario game, but this is the absolute best that format has ever been executed.

- Mario's moveset is absolutely sick. It feels like the designers knew full well people would figure out how to chain together all these moves to go all over the place, and designed around that. It's the first time I've played a Mario game where I felt like I could get places a ton of different ways, rather than looking for the path the designers created.

- Not kicking you out of the level after you get a Power Moon is a game-changer. This game seems far more committed to exploration and experimentation than either Mario 64 or Sunshine, and it's way better for it.

- On the same note, the environments are all a lot of fun. While a lot of the usual suspects are here (Ice world! Desert world! Bowser's fortress!) they often have enough of a twist that they don't feel stale before you even get there.

- After defeating Bowser, the game feels way more like it's what it wants to be. The ability to just noodle around in giant areas and explore everywhere is clearly much more what this game was shooting for, rather than the more formal goals of the first fifteen hours or so.

- I do not miss having to deal with lives and 1-up mushrooms.

- Compared with Breath of the Wild, this doesn't feel quite as revolutionary. The Zelda series, for as good as it is, really needed something new. Mario delivers really outstanding experiences more consistently overall. The last several "core" games, aside from the New Super Mario Bros. series, have all been outstanding. Mario Odyssey is also outstanding, but it feels more like a refinement to me than a reinvention.
Last edit: 05 Jul 2019 23:02 by san il defanso.
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09 Jul 2019 17:37 #299476 by Gary Sax
I started playing Subnautica and really struggled at first as I didn't realize you have to kill fish to get basic needs, so I was looking for salt and some other source of food and stuff which are quite difficult to find.
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09 Jul 2019 18:15 #299479 by Ah_Pook
I don't have a switch but I've certainly been watching a lot of streamers play Mario maker 2.

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15 Jul 2019 22:43 - 15 Jul 2019 22:44 #299672 by san il defanso
After buying both it and its sequel at the Steam Summer Sale LAST year, I finally finished the first Baldur's Gate game. I hadn't picked it up since about January, when I bogged down at some point dying repeatedly to the same monsters. But the Enhanced Edition does have a little something called Story Mode, which is basically an invincibility mode, where the characters can't die anymore. I eventually came to the conclusion that I was not going to finish either game at all unless I used Story Mode.

It turns out I was right about that, because it was like the game suddenly stopped being work for me, and started becoming, like, a game. I know I wasn't really dealing with much in the game mechanically, but I don't think the mechanics are what people end up loving about Baldur's Gate in the first place.

Story Mode really allowed me to embrace the parts of the game that interest me the most. I felt way more free to engage with the plot organically, and to let my characters go all over the place without worrying that there was a basalisk who would randomly petrify people forever somewhere. It became a lot more about the exploration at that point, and about the story. I totally see why someone would think I was cheating to get there, but whatever, they don't have to play that way.

In truth, the direct translation of AD&D 2e rules has some real issues. One is that there are way more items and spells than are actually useful. Another is that older editions of the game assume a somewhat adversarial DM, which shows up in the video game in spades. There are "gotcha" items all over the place, and the need to identify items is a big drag on the excitement of getting magic items. Sometimes the translation results in oddly distorted elements too. There is WAY more combat in Baldur's Gate than there would ever be in a tabletop module, where a big combat can take most of your evening session.

But man, the story works for me. The party members really seem to have relationships with each other, and the way quests float in and out of the game feels awesome. The open world element really feels right, and when I'm not focusing on combat I can totally see myself replaying the game making different choices down the line.

Anyway, I am glad I found a way to play that worked for me. I will get to BG2 eventually, but first I am playing Siege of Dragonspear, which is DLC released all the way in 2016 that acts as Baldur's Gate 1.5. It definitely feels more modern and hand-holdy so far, but I'm still enjoying it.
Last edit: 15 Jul 2019 22:44 by san il defanso.
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16 Jul 2019 00:25 #299675 by hotseatgames
I had not heard of Story mode before; that sounds neat. Can you turn it on or off at any time?

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16 Jul 2019 00:48 #299676 by san il defanso
Yeah, it's under Game Options. There's the difficulty slider, and then a button on the left that activates it. It's only in the Enhanced Editions, which are all I've ever tried. I assume the old game had cheats or mods to do the same thing.

I believe Beamdog also did this with the first Icewind Dale, which also has an enhanced edition. Planescape Torment does too, but I think that game doesn't have nearly as much combat, so I don't think it has story mode.
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16 Jul 2019 10:32 #299690 by hotseatgames
Cool, that now puts these games more on my radar; the only one I ever tried back in the day was Planescape. I was intimidated by their enormous playtime and am not a fan of the real time combat, even with the pausing.

Saturday I took my kids to their first ever arcade. The arcade in question is Pixel Blast, near Lombard, IL. This place was awesome! You pay $15 at the door and everything is set to free play. They have a LARGE selection, including some titles you would not expect. The biggest treasure was an actual XYBOTS machine. I played this for quite a while. For the youngsters in the room, this machine was from 1987 I think, and featured split-screen over the shoulder exploration through a maze, fighting robots. You twist the joystick to turn 90 degrees. The closest analog to a modern game would be Legend of Grimrock, if it was third person and in real time.

Other games I saw / played: Ninja Gaiden, Commando, Rolling Thunder, Time Crisis, Area 51, Ikari Warriors, TRON, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Mortal Kombat II, Fast and the Furious, Crazy Taxi.... and I destroyed my children at Air Hockey.

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16 Jul 2019 11:29 #299691 by RobertB

hotseatgames wrote: Cool, that now puts these games more on my radar; the only one I ever tried back in the day was Planescape. I was intimidated by their enormous playtime and am not a fan of the real time combat, even with the pausing.

Saturday I took my kids to their first ever arcade. The arcade in question is Pixel Blast, near Lombard, IL. This place was awesome! You pay $15 at the door and everything is set to free play. They have a LARGE selection, including some titles you would not expect. The biggest treasure was an actual XYBOTS machine. I played this for quite a while. For the youngsters in the room, this machine was from 1987 I think, and featured split-screen over the shoulder exploration through a maze, fighting robots. You twist the joystick to turn 90 degrees. The closest analog to a modern game would be Legend of Grimrock, if it was third person and in real time.

Other games I saw / played: Ninja Gaiden, Commando, Rolling Thunder, Time Crisis, Area 51, Ikari Warriors, TRON, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Mortal Kombat II, Fast and the Furious, Crazy Taxi.... and I destroyed my children at Air Hockey.

We have a couple of arcade bars here in Columbus, and they let kids in on Sunday afternoons. They have some of the old video games - Robotron, Defender, Tempest, Pac Man, etc. Playing Robotron and Defender just makes me feel old and slow.

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26 Jul 2019 01:10 - 26 Jul 2019 01:14 #300071 by san il defanso
Further blasting my way through Super Mario Odyssey. I'm at like 540 moons right now. The endgame content is refreshingly laid back. It's not about doing tons of impossible challenges, but about following clues to hidden stuff. The game does exploration really well. If it looks like you can go somewhere, you almost certainly are able to do it.

GOG.com had a big sale on Bethesda games, so because I'm a sucker for old games I spent $10 on Fallout 1 and 2, and Morrowind. I even got the first two Elder Scrolls games as freebies. I don't anticipate finishing any of them, but for that much money I'm curious to fool around with them and see if any of them take. Fallout 1 at least doesn't seem ludicrously long.
Last edit: 26 Jul 2019 01:14 by san il defanso.
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26 Jul 2019 08:56 #300082 by hotseatgames
Fallout 2 is awesome. I'm pretty sure I shot a kid in that game. I also started a gun fight with a town sheriff, AFTER I had pickpocketed all of his ammo.
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26 Jul 2019 20:13 #300103 by Gary Sax
I started playing Dragon Quest Builders 2, and it's like... a very directed minecraft? For a certain type of person like me, it's incredibly soothing. It's far less creative than minecraft. I think it works for the type of person who likes to build legos from the manuals but doesn't play with them much otherwise.
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26 Jul 2019 20:27 #300106 by hotseatgames
I am playing Prey, on sale now on Steam, and man... this game is amazing. It's a very thinky FPS, much more System Shock than Doom.

You are trapped on a space lab, and you have to figure out what is going on. You read company emails, hack doors, take down aliens, etc. It is incredibly detailed, and the whole thing feels like a real, lived in space. Reading things in the world actually has a tangible game effect; you will get clues to secrets if you look closely.

For only $8 for the deluxe edition, I can't recommend it enough.

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26 Jul 2019 20:38 #300107 by Gary Sax
Prey is amazing. Same people (Arkane) who made all the best other systems driven FPS---Dishonored series.
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