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thegiantbrain
July 13, 2023
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June 29, 2023
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Cult of the Old - Citadels

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GrantLyon
June 26, 2023
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thegiantbrain
June 22, 2023
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Cult of the Old - Brass

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Gary Sax
June 21, 2023
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Hot
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oliverkinne
June 20, 2023
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June 13, 2023
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June 09, 2023
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June 02, 2023
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Ahoy Board Game Review

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Village Rails Review

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01 Mar 2023 14:02 #338524 by Jackwraith
I'm moderately optimistic, considering the debacle that was the design of Diablo 3. They were still in that phase where the devs considered all of their players to be idiots (this was later supported by a former customer service person) whose requests and desires for the game were to be roundly ignored. Of course, when D3 faceplanted upon release for a variety of factors and they jettisoned the game director and released Reaper of Souls introducing all of the changes/features that fans had clamored for before the base game's release (artwork, Mystic, unique item properties, stat changes, on and on and on), one hopes they finally realized that maybe incorporating some of the vision of the people buying/playing the game might be something to consider. (My favorite part was when Battle.net used to show the numbers of people playing each game on their network and, three months after D3's release, there were more people playing the decade-old D2 than were playing the new game. But we were all idiots-! And so were Dave Brevik and the Schaefers!) At the time, D3 was in the longest development cycle of Blizzard's history, but D4 has now exceeded that. Lessons learned? Like the story of the boy and his horse: "We'll see."
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01 Mar 2023 14:05 #338525 by hotseatgames
I love D3 Adventure Mode, and I think that is in D4 as well, so I expect I will be more than happy.
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01 Mar 2023 17:51 #338527 by RobertB

Jackwraith wrote:

RobertB wrote: Then I dragged out Skyrim for the sixth or seventh time. Once again I got about 20 hours into it and got bored. Maybe open worlds that are that open (Fallout 3/4 as well) just aren't for me.


This is where I am with WoW. I originally got back into it because I had friends that were still playing and were all geeked about Dragonflight, etc. But one of them got waylaid by another RPG that's taking all her time, one of them does nothing but raid with his guild, and another is swamped with real-life stuff that has kept him offline. So, I've spent the last three or four months, until recently, playing mostly by myself, outside of running dungeons with the LFG tool, which is precisely NOT what I wanted; hence, the "until recently" because I basically stopped playing two or three weeks ago and am probably not going back. It was fun while I leveled all my healers and a couple other toons, but now it's just doing the same stuff over and over and doing it alone in the MMORPG. The other complication is that I didn't realize that all of said friends play mostly Alliance, with Blizzard trumpeting the "war is (mostly) over" so you can actually play with your friends, cross-faction. But you still can't run dungeons or raids with them, which is mostly what I enjoy doing, so there went that. I tried logging on the other day and running one dungeon and it's kind of a bore and I'm just not interesting in doing rep grinds or the rather pedantic climb that professions have turned into.


I read somewhere that the WoW killer has been WoW, in the form of WoW Classic. BC is the best expansion that Blizzard ever did.

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03 Mar 2023 03:21 - 03 Mar 2023 03:22 #338536 by Frohike
I think Elden Ring has kinda ruined me for other games at this point. I've made a minor dent in God of War: Ragnarok but it just doesn't hit the same dopamine vein with the combat. So while the ER DLC forms (Shadow of the Erdtree), I've been occupying my time with No Man's Sky, which seems to have finally formed into the game it wanted to be back when it was released & fell like Icarus under the searing heat of hype. It still has an element of tedium, and "wide as a sea, shallow as a puddle" issues, but something about the wide open freedom of it just compels me to keep playing and to make my own fun in a way that other survival/exploration games haven't maintained my interest. I'm not sure I'll ever achieve some of the stuff I see on the subreddit or on YouTube, but it's been a really pleasant experience so far. If I had the cash, I'd drop some on the PSVR2 to play this. Also fiddling around with Hogwarts Legacy, but I think I'm a bit too jaded with open world games to fully appreciate it at this point. My daughter is way ahead of me in that game, and a sight to behold in combat.
Last edit: 03 Mar 2023 03:22 by Frohike.
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06 Mar 2023 11:45 #338565 by jason10mm

hotseatgames wrote: I built a full-on MAME cabinet many years ago, and did a 4 player control panel, even going so far as to re-create the panel for Guantlet in Adobe Illustrator. I also made two of the joysticks standard, added an extra rotating 4-way joystick in the center (for Q-Bert and Donkey Kong) and the outside two joysticks were actually rotary sticks because I was determined to play Victory Road and Ikari Warriors as intended. They were a pain in the ass and overall not worth it. I would have been better off adding a trackball.


Yeah, I started building my 2P+6 button panel with trackball. Blew WAAAAYYYYYY too much cash on top of the line RGB buttons and sticks, but at least the end result should look flashy :P Turns out building a panel out of wood isn't as easy as it seems with all the measurements, cuts, and even the need to undercut for joysticks. I'm realizing this is actually two or even three different and not exactly overlapping or complementary hobbies all rolled into one grand title of "build yourself a MAME cabinet!". You got woodworking, software, and hopefully, at the end, something actually playable :P

I have a star wars yoke and tron controls coming, hope I can find a place to put them without needing to build something that could double as a coffee table art display. I originally was going to do 4 players but barring some intense desire for all the neighborhood kids to come and play, I could probably live with adding xbox controllers for the 3 times a year I can get 2, much less even 1, other person to play DnD or Gauntlet with me.
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09 Mar 2023 13:05 - 09 Mar 2023 13:06 #338623 by Disgustipater
I’ve been playing way too much of Freelancer Mode in Hitman 3 (sorry, Hitman: World of Assassination). It is basically a rogue-lite mode where you start with no tools/weapons and you earn money to buy stuff along the way by completing optional objectives. Not having a lockpick or silenced pistol early on makes this game pretty hard. I also usually save scum the shit out of these games, but no saving is allowed during a mission so it is pretty tense because if you die, you lose all the gear you had on you and half your money as well as the rest of the missions for that contract set are on high alert so it is even harder.
After a few missions there are Showdown missions where there are 4+ targets on the map but only one of them is the leader you have to eliminate. You get a set of physical characteristics and behaviors and you have to watch them to find out who the real target is. If you fail on a Showdown you fail the campaign.
So far I’ve only made it about halfway through a campaign. Still pushing forward though. I really should actually finish the main story campaign so I am familiar with the rest if the maps but Freelancer has its hooks in me deep.
Last edit: 09 Mar 2023 13:06 by Disgustipater.
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17 Mar 2023 15:18 #338694 by hotseatgames
I have played an hour of Diablo IV, and can happily confirm... it's Diablo!

That's a good thing.
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18 Mar 2023 07:34 #338698 by gversace

jason10mm wrote: I'm realizing this is actually two or even three different and not exactly overlapping or complementary hobbies all rolled into one grand title of "build yourself a MAME cabinet!". You got woodworking, software, and hopefully, at the end, something actually playable :P


Yeah, definitely with you there. I ended up buying a Tankstick panel from X-Arcade and the cabinet from the old RecRoomMasters site, and then just replaced the buttons and joysticks. That way I could focus on the software (now using Launchbox/BigBox) and games. Ended up working out pretty well. Added a couple Sinden lightguns last year - pain in the ass to set up, but once you do, they work well.
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18 Mar 2023 10:42 #338699 by Jackwraith
Got into the Diablo 4 beta. I'm not particularly impressed at the moment. There are a lot of technical issues, as you'd expect for a beta, with long queues (anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to even get into the game) and disconnections (which then put you back in the long queues.) But the controls feel wonky. My system isn't top of the line, but I play most things (like WoW, for instance, just to cite a Blizzard title) on max video output and I'm on middle-of-the-road settings here and have a lot of jerky movement and things in the shadows are difficult to see and so forth. I don't know for sure if that's a product of system overload (more users than they can handle in the beta; why would you make an open beta in that case?) or art design or the game requiring really high-end systems to be at its best. I suspect it's the first of those three which, again, kind of begs the question as to why your open beta (open to pre-purchasers, anyway) isn't able to handle the number of users so as to really demonstrate the capability of the system. There are different stages in a beta test, of course.

But the atmospherics are great. This feels like a reversion to the original Diablo in terms of storytelling (lots of mystery, you have no idea where it's leading you but it's all very dark) and both that and D2 in terms of art design. One of the biggest complaints about D3 was that it was too bright. In D2, you could see things moving in the shadows at the edge of your screen, but couldn't always make out quite what they were. That's a horror element of a horror game. D3 lacked that almost entirely. So, style-wise, it's pretty cool. Mechanism-wise, eh... I got in for about 15 minutes in the afternoon and then got booted and left to get dinner and do other things. I got back on around 10 PM and played for about an hour and then put it down. I'm never THAT thrilled about betas because of the limitations mentioned above, but I also didn't find this particularly compelling, either. All of the gear I was picking up (the usual driving element of Diablo games) was nothing but stat sticks (I was playing a Barbarian.) There were no flashy abilities attached to them which, again, is probably understandable for a beta but still kind of disappointing. This is a famed element of the game; cool gear! And there's nothing here for the first few levels.

The skill tree is awkward. You can only see part of it and they borrow the "blood flowing from rune to rune" imagery that is prevalent throughout the early story but it only takes up a quarter of the screen, so it feels like you'll be spending a lot of time in the early hours of play staring at that, instead of actually adventuring, since you can't easily see the whole thing at a glance and decide where you're going to put your points (1/level so far.)

So, I dunno. Again, first days of the open beta so a lot can and will change. But I can't say I'm excited to jump back on in the next few minutes.

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18 Mar 2023 15:43 #338702 by hotseatgames
My take on the beta, now that I have hit level 20 with my Rogue. I like it a lot and will surely be spending a great deal of time with the full game. I have experienced the following:
- upon dying, I respawned completely invisible and had to trigger a climbing down animation in order to be visible again.

- a world boss that did not spawn on its schedule. It eventually spawned an hour later and we ALMOST defeated it

- a giant pink square very briefly appeared when I teleported back to town once

- stutters and terrible frame rate when I enter any new area

Yes, it is a beta ass beta

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24 Mar 2023 08:11 #338753 by Dr. Mabuse
The Resident Evil 4 demo is fantastic! The original terror I felt running around the village the first time has returned in all its updated glory.

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24 Mar 2023 08:56 #338754 by hotseatgames
I just got a Steam Deck, and it is pretty great. Demanding games do get the thing running pretty hot, but it's manageable. I've actually spent the most time with it doing emulated stuff, which leads me to playing:

Snatcher - this Sega CD title from Hideo Kojima is basically an adventure game cross between Blade Runner and Terminator. It's really cool, but there are some quality of life annoyances that you just have to chalk up to this being an old ass game. For example, you can read about something in the central computer, and then later on when something related to it happens, your character acts like it's the first time they learned about it.

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24 Mar 2023 11:51 - 24 Mar 2023 12:01 #338756 by jason10mm

gversace wrote: Yeah, definitely with you there. I ended up buying a Tankstick panel from X-Arcade and the cabinet from the old RecRoomMasters site, and then just replaced the buttons and joysticks. That way I could focus on the software (now using Launchbox/BigBox) and games. Ended up working out pretty well. Added a couple Sinden lightguns last year - pain in the ass to set up, but once you do, they work well.


Yeah, just buying something that works out of the box and tweaking is probably the way to go if you don't have the obsessive hobby compulsion AND a full workshop. I'm building my control panel with mostly hand tools using some bricks next to my driveway as a bench and let me tell you, it ain't great aesthetically :P

Buuuut I'm almost done once I give it a few coats of paint and then it is off to the wiring. I was gonna leave it as raw wood but I feel like I am very unlikely to disassemble all this stuff anytime soon to recase it so a day making it look somewhat respectable with a bit of wood putty in the gaps, a little sanding, and some paint to give it a little pizazz will pay off down the line.

My biggest struggle at the moment is figuring out how to connect the flightstick I bought to play tron to the ipac encoder board. It is SURPRISINGLY difficult to find clear documentation of what types of wire, connections,and tools you need to wire these things, etc. There is clearly a bit of insider knowledge they expect you to have and most of the sellers either have kits they expect you to use without alteration or random parts that you gotta figure out how to make work.
Last edit: 24 Mar 2023 12:01 by jason10mm.
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24 Mar 2023 11:59 #338757 by jason10mm

hotseatgames wrote: I just got a Steam Deck, and it is pretty great. Demanding games do get the thing running pretty hot, but it's manageable. I've actually spent the most time with it doing emulated stuff, which leads me to playing:

Snatcher - this Sega CD title from Hideo Kojima is basically an adventure game cross between Blade Runner and Terminator. It's really cool, but there are some quality of life annoyances that you just have to chalk up to this being an old ass game. For example, you can read about something in the central computer, and then later on when something related to it happens, your character acts like it's the first time they learned about it.


A lot of folks use (or try to use at least) the steamdeck to drive their virtual pinball or MAME rigs. Given the price to power ratio compared to the usual miniPCs, raspberry pi, or ancient office refurbs a lot of people are using, it is a pretty attractive alternative. Takes some work though for multiple monitors, but wouldn't surprise me to see steam evolve into the defacto home of "real" arcade and vpin ports and if the deck can easily accommodate external control inputs and a few more screens through a dock it makes things real easy.
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24 Mar 2023 13:23 - 24 Mar 2023 13:23 #338762 by Gary Sax

Dr. Mabuse wrote: The Resident Evil 4 demo is fantastic! The original terror I felt running around the village the first time has returned in all its updated glory.


I've put about a couple hours into the game. Very good, the extremely unhinged vibes are still present and work even better in the modern era, to me. Strong recommend---hardcore difficulty is very difficult, so don't necessarily take their advice and choose hardcore if you played the original RE4 unless you like retrying sections.

The move to better technology helps visually, but also something like the village scene has a way different vibe. There are like maybe 20-30 villagers around the village at all times, creating a real sense you are actually surrounded and fighting THE WHOLE VILLAGE, something the gamecube couldn't do technically.
Last edit: 24 Mar 2023 13:23 by Gary Sax.
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