, | Movie podcasts

This week we see something that Johnny Depp got paid $20 million to show up for. Then, at the 45-minute mark, we present our favorite presentations in movies for this week’s 3×3.

Next week: The Other Woman

, | Game reviews

“Mound Builders?” my friends ask, picking up the half-sized box. “What this?”

“It’s a solitaire game from Victory Point, the folks who published Nemo’s War, Dawn of the Zeds, and Ottoman Sunset,” I start to explain.

“What do you do in it? Build mounds?” My friends assume a mock heroic voice. “Hey, what should we build? A cathedral? A castle? No, I’ve got it! Let’s build a mound!”

They think that’s pretty funny. I guess it is, especially if the phrase “mound builders” doesn’t have any historical connotation for you. Mound builders were basically the native Americans more native than the Native Americans; the Indians before the Indians; the equivalent of the Precursors in a dopey sci-fi story. They made huge earthenwork structures in North America a thousand years before any pharaoh in Egypt had the bright idea to tell his slaves to stack a bunch of stones in the shape of a d4. When Europeans swept across North American, conquering tribes with now familiar names, they asked them, “So who built these enormous mounds? Was it you?”

The tribes with now familiar names just shrugged. “They were already here when we got here,” they said. Some of the Europeans concluded they must have been made by the giants briefly mentioned in the Bible. Other Europeans did some archaeology and eventually gave the earlier tribes the name Mound Builders. Great. Nice work, archaeologists. That’s the best you could come up with? My friends wouldn’t think it was so funny if you’d given them a cooler name. People of the Earthenwork Edifices? Tumulists? Was Barrow Lords taken?

“Is the game any good?” my friends ask after they’ve stopped laughing about mounds.

After the jump, I have some bad news. Continue reading →

, | News

Spring is here. In the eternal war for your gaming budget, this is a tense time. Hardware manufacturers deployed their latest and greatest machines during the Winter offensive, but campaigns have settled into static sales and preparations for the E3 counterattack. Systems square off with their specs. 1080p! Streaming! Second screen use! Propaganda efforts have paused to gather intelligence. Officers gather in their respective headquarters to plan new strategies. How do the weary armies fare this Spring?

After the break, let’s see if you spent your console money wisely. Continue reading →

, | Games podcasts

Jay Gittings joins us this week with a report from PAX East! Find out what caught his eye at the show and what was far too popular to see. He also reveals the exact wrong way to enjoy certain games. Then join us for a conversation about Sentinels of the Multiverse, which we’re playing as part of our ongoing weekly series.

, | News

Meridian: New World, the old-school real-time strategy title from Elder Games, is now available on Steam early access. Previews of the game in July of last year made a splash mostly because Elder Games is largely a studio of one. As hard as it is to believe, Ede Tarsoly wrote the story, programmed the game, and supplied most of the art for this old-school celebration of tiny space marines fighting over a resource-rich alien planet. It’s a throwback to the gather, build, and attack RTS formula, updated with modern graphics. There’s even dialog options when you talk to the crew and wander the command ship!

Multiplayer may be coming, but the work-in-progress is strictly single player at this time. An alpha version of the scenario and map editor has been released to buyers of the “Contributor” version of the game, and user-made maps have already been uploaded to the Steam Workshop.

, | News

Following the mysterious removal of the Xbox One edition of Amazing Spider-Man 2 from marketing materials and retailer web pages, Activision has acknowledged that the game no longer has a scheduled launch on Microsoft’s next-gen console.

We are working with Microsoft in an effort to release The Amazing Spider-Man 2 video game on Xbox One. Currently, the game will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and the PC on April 29, 2014 as previously announced.

No official reason was given for the Xbox One version of the game being on hold, but the “working with Microsoft” statement could mean there are technical difficulties with the development. In a statement to MCV, an Activision representative said a possible Xbox One release is yet to be determined.


Tom: This week’s villain is The Matriach, who rules over a bunch of crows. This week’s random die roll situates us in the Wagner Mars Base. Here we are, fighting birds on Mars. You can’t make this stuff up.

Jay: I’m glad we don’t have to, as Sentinels of the Multiverse provides so many wonderful, quirky interactions. I’ll let the readers in on a little secret as we begin. This is the game that made me fall in love with Sentinels all over again. The ebb and flow, tragedies and triumphs, made for a story worthy of a Hollywood production.

After the jump, birdocalypse. Continue reading →

, | Game diaries

It took 93 hours for me to realize that I’d been tricked in thinking I was capable of completing Persona 4. Where I was once unable to settle into the game, it had recently made a home upon me, as does a cat who’s decided to nap. I hadn’t noticed, and in standing to take my leave, we were suddenly tumbling to the ground alongside each other, its claws caught in my clothes as I tried to escape. It pondered a lifetime in seconds, “How did I come to be owned by this person?” before we hit the floor.

And this time, it was personal. Find out just how personal after the jump. Continue reading →

, | News

Richard Garriott, creator of the Ultima games, has announced a contest to port one of his earliest creations for use within his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar. Garriott’s D&D #1 was originally written for use on his high school teletype machine in 1977. The game, written in BASIC, was copied onto spools of paper that had to be fed into the system. That code would result in a primitive ascii printout for the player to visualize the exploration of simple dungeons.

Richard wrote 28 of these “D&D” games in high school. He numbered them D&D #1 through D&D 28. When he finally had that Apple II, he rewrote D&D #28 to become D&D 28…also known as AKALABETH the precursor of all things Ultima!

No one has seen this game run since the retirement of the teletype in 1979, which is when Richard made the final printout of the game.

The best version of “D&D1 Resurrection” that runs in Unity and the best in-browser version will win pledge rewards for Shroud of the Avatar worth $550, while the runners up will receive pledge rewards worth $165 each.

, | Game diaries

I’d been at Persona 4 for three years. Playing any kind of game for that long requires a different approach than what committing regular hours to it asks of someone.

This was like building a sand castle that would take all summer long — constantly at risk of being washed away or stomped on by some uncontrollable force. Construction would be put on hold for the tide to lower, or to recover from having to fight some beach jerk. Once I’d picked myself up, operations would continue. I’d refresh myself on the game’s story, re-familiarize myself with my registered personas, and soldier on.

The end of 2012, however, brought with it a tidal wave. After the jump, we will rebuild. Continue reading →

, | News

Snoop Dogg is coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts. Forget Michael Myers or the Predator. Who else could’ve played Huggy Bear in the 2004 Starsky & Hutch movie? That’s right. Only Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr – AKA Snoop Dogg! His dulcet tones will be coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts in a Snoop Dogg Voice Pack for $2.99 on April 22nd for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Infinity Ward and Activision will be adding a few DLC packs on the same day. Play as John “Soap” MacTavish in multiplayer for $3.99, or be Simon “Classic Ghost” Riley for $1.99. Add a bunch of garish skins to your weapons for $1.99 each. Finally, the Drill Instructor Voice Pack features R. Lee Ermey gently encouraging players to exercise good sportsmanship for $2.99.

What I wouldn’t give for a voice pack with R. Lee Ermey reading Snoop Dogg’s lines!

, | News

Star Citizen, the hype-fueled money train from Roberts Space Industries, just had a successful showing at PAX East, and reached $42 million in pledges and purchases. What do backers get for helping the ambitious space-jockey simulator reach such a high number? An in-game towel, of course!

Other goals unlocked include additional updates to the “Observist Guide” universe encyclopedia, and a way to access it in-game. The next goal at $44 million will enable the development team to add a stellar cartography room to the hangar module.


73 hours into Bravely Default and I have more questions than I have answers. Not about the battle system, it’s an elegant affair with plenty of flexibility to let you either prevail or hang yourself. Not about the story, something about crystals and renewing them many, many times. No, my questions all revolve around one thing and one thing only: what job goes best with what job.

After the jump, I’ve been lookin’ real hard and I’m tryin’ to find a job. Continue reading →

, | Game diaries

That’s right — two years in this entry. We’ve got a lot to cover, and that’s not even counting all the stuff I had to leave out just to make sense of everything.

Also, I gotta say, it really killed the mood to fixate on Chie like that. Not when Persona 4 gives you the chance to be a player and go romantic with all the female S-Links. Truly, this was the land of opportunity, Japan. Opportunistic lands out there. Really fertile stuff, if you go for it — girl-wise. Game-wise, though, Persona 4 may as well have been dead to me by February of 2011.

After the jump, two more years closer to the end. Continue reading →