Tom Chick

Pinball FX3 gets Carnivals, Legends, and an awkward switch to another platform

, | Game reviews

I have some good news and some bad news on the Pinball FX3 front. The bad news is the Nintendo Switch version. The frame rate hitches are a real poke in the eyeball, especially given the loading times. There’s no comfortable way to control the flippers while using the screen vertically, which is one of the selling points for playing on the Switch. And most importantly, more than half of the tables are missing. None of the Marvel or Star Wars tables are available. Ouch. You’d think Disney has it out for Nintendo. Even the Bethesda tables are missing. How odd that I can play Skyrim and Doom on the Switch, but I can’t play the Skyrim and Doom pinball tables on the Switch.

But the good news is that Carnivals and Legends, the latest pair of tables for Pinball FX3, adds something good and something great to the roster of 70 tables. Or 30, if you’re playing on the Switch.

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Qt3 Games Podcast: loot chests and anime cheesecake

, | Games podcasts

Is Star Wars: Battlefront II in any better shape than it was during launch? Is it safe to play Xenoblade Chronicles 2 without being embarrassed if your wife walks in the room? What makes Injustice 2 suddenly relevant, other than the release of Justice League? The answer to these questions and more on this week’s podcast.

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2: that waifu that you do

, | Game diaries

The last Xenoblade Chronicles — it was numbered X, but it was really number 2, which makes this number 3, although it’s technically number 2 — built up to and was eventually based on a simple idea: wouldn’t it be cool if you could get into a giant robot and fuck shit up? There’s even a Japanese word for this concept: “mech”.

This Xenoblade Chronicles is also built on a simple idea: sexy dolls are supposedly sexy. And of course there’s a Japanese word for this concept: “waifu”.

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Worst 80s movie you’ll see all week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

, | Movie reviews

(This review was written for one of my Patreon review requests. If you’d like to compel me to watch and write about movies like this, please check out my Patreon campaign.)

I have no business telling the guys who invented the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles what they did wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway. Hey, comic book guys from the 80s, when you invent a team of superheroes, the superheroes should be different from each other. For instance, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredibles, or the Justice League. A team of superheroes shouldn’t be four copies of the same thing. Even Charlie’s Angels always have at least one non-blonde. But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are four of the same hero. That’s not how heroes work. That’s how bad guys work. Bad guys are all indistinct copies of each other. Heros should be the opposite as sure as white hats are the opposite of black hats. Heroes should represent individuality while bad guys represent conformist masses.

But these four turtles have to wear colored bandanas so you can tell them apart. There’s the orange one, the red one, the blue one, and the purple one. Even the color scheme is a big fail for leaving out a primary color in favor of two secondary colors. I eventually noticed that each turtle uses a different weapon. The red guy uses two sais, the blue guy uses katanas, the orange guy uses nunchucks, and the purple guy uses a staff. For me, watching the 1990 movie for the first time, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is just a color and a weapon.

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A bit of madness is key in Lovecraft Letter

, | Game reviews

Seiji Kanai’s Love Letter, a game about getting a princess to like you, has come a long way in five years. Back in the day, it was a shrewd little exercise in simplicity, featuring only eight different cards in a deck of sixteen cards. Your hand size was one. On your turn, you drew a card and then discarded down to the hand size, playing the ability of the card you discarded. In other words, all you ever did was decide which of two cards you’re going to play. It was over in minutes. After a few rounds, you moved on to play a Real Game.

But then came the rewrites. The latest rewrite of Love Letter has failed its sanity check.
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Prey is the opposite of American lives

, | Game reviews

(This review was written for one of my Patreon review requests. Since Prey has been out for a while, I wrote specifically for people who have finished the game. It contains spoilers. Lots of spoilers.)

When F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives, he wasn’t talking about second chances. A guy who writes Great Gatsby obviously believes in second chances. He was instead talking about the traditional structure of a three-act story. The first act sets up the conflict, the second act develops how the characters will deal with the conflict, and the third act is the climax in which everything is resolved. Fitzgerald was deriding Americans for skipping past the important second act in which the characters develop. Americans, he implied, go straight for the payoff.

Prey, a solid entry in the tradition of Bioshock, is the opposite of American lives. It is almost all second act. Continue reading →

10 things missing from Pinball FX3

, | Features

Back in 2011, I wrote an article detailing the five Pinball FX tables I’d like to see. They were Star Wars, a Western theme, splatter horror, the Cold War, and Bioshock. Zen Studios must have been paying attention, because nearly half of those tables came out shortly thereafter! You’re welcome, world.

Really, it’s more than half, since there are about twenty Star Wars tables. The Western themed table, Wild West Rampage, is one of my favorites. Although they aren’t technically splatter horror, the Alien, Aliens vs Predator, Doom, and Walking Dead tables are horror enough for me. Which leaves the Bioshock and Cold War tables yet to be realized, so maybe they’re still working on those. Since Zen has already worked with Bethesda, I’ll accept a Prey table instead of a Bioshock table.

But a lot has happened since 2011. Pinball FX has come a long way. So it’s time for me to do my part in continuing to make it better. You’re welcome, world. Continue reading →

Assassin’s Creed: Origins is also its Destiny

, | Game reviews

“They’re just scavenger hunts,” my friend says. He’s dismissing big-budget open-world AAA games like Assassin’s Creed: Origins. He’s explaining why he doesn’t play them. I’m explaining why he’s totally missing out.

“Well, sure,” I agree. “But the idea is they’re scavenger hunts in really cool places. Imaginative places where you want to spend time. The scavenger hunt is disguised as gameplay, and it’s your reason for being there. The real point of the game is the place, the worldbuilding.”

Many many hours later, I will come to rue these words. Or will I?

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